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Old 10-04-2012, 01:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Getting a 48 CJ-2a

So come the end of the month I'll finally be going down and picking up my Willy's. It's a nearly all original '48 with a new soft top and a period correct hard top. Running flat head, good trans and t-case, and original axles. It's pretty much all there with a bunch of extras being tossed in. I'm really excited about it as I've wanted one of these things since high school.

Anyways, I am starting to plan out exactly what I want to do with it. I know I can't just leave it alone, and it's a bit rough for a full on restoration, so I want to build it up but while keeping it fairly original or at least period correct.

Off the top of my head I'm thinking 100" wheel base and the 35" Krawlers off my XJ. It's not going to be driven on the highway, but I do want to be able to cruise it around town so I'm planning on a Saginaw steering upgrade with assist. I'd like to keep the flat head, but I'm not sure how it's carb does off camber.

I'm sort of planning it to be a 2-seater buggy that I'll flat tow (tow bars just seem fitting on these old Jeeps to me anyways) behind the XJ. That way it can hold my extra camping gear so I don't have to stuff the XJ so tight, but unlike an expo-trailer I won't have to drag it up the trail. I'll hand the XJ over to the wife and cruise the CJ myself.

Any advice as to what to change out/modify on it for it to be a capable little crawler on 35's while still keeping it a CJ-2 would be appreciated. I'm still researching and figuring my game plan.

Pics of the rig:









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Old 10-04-2012, 04:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great project.
If it were me I would find some toyota axles with low gears and lockers and swap those in on some waggy springs to get a little stretch front and back and call it good.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Like this?

A 100" wheelbase is going to be tough to get without stretching the body or comp cutting the rear.

The stock 4cyl is fine for a budget build, but your probably going to want more motor. If you keep the stock motor don't dump money into it.

I would find some way to do a granny 4spd transmission. The np435 is probably the most universal at all as far as adapting to just about every engine including your stock one....with the longer dodge input shaft. If you can find a factory T98 from a 4cyl early cj5 that would be a nice way to go.

For axles I would probably do Toyota if I was going to do it again. I would probably just run a centered rear output t-case ( D20 or D300 ) for front dig and being able to use a factory toyota mini truck axle.

I would stick to a SUA suspension and that would make the toyota mini-truck stuff a little harder to do.

Unless the frame is perfect and your keeping the stock engine I would just build a new frame.

SOOOOO many ways to build one....
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Dutchvdub, I went through the same thought process with mine (don't we all?), I completely kept the stock look to the body. Ended up going mostly stock wheelbase (like 81-82"), spring over, waggy 44's, chevy 350, sm420, Dana 18, on 35's, etcetera. Wheels great, always somethings you would do different after the fact. Anyways, I'm roughtly 20-30 minutes up the road from you if you want to check it out to get some ideas of what you like and don't like.
Stock 4 banger sucks, it was 60hp 60 years ago. Lots of other alternatives, but newer motor and 4 spd are key if you want to build it.
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Old 10-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I've read through your build a few times now. You've definitely got one sweet looking rig and I love a lot of what you did with that MB.

As for the lack of power I'm not super concerned. Before I got into XJ's I was really big into Zuki's. I actually got into the Samurai's because they are almost identical to the CJ2 on paper, but typically cheaper and more readily available. Actually, the flathead is rated to make 25 or so more ft/lbs than the Zuki 1.3L engine.

Yeah, 100" WB is a bit of a stretch. Literally, like 20" of it.

What I have in my head image wise is kind of a mix between yours (Meiser), your original photoshop rendering, and the Screamin Lizard build.







I know color wise I want it to be tan. Not neccessarily Harvest Tan, but a tan color. I am thinking though that making it tan w/ red wheels would be sweet. Like a retro-mod buggy deal.

I of course also have this left over desire from my Zuki days to do a TDI swap. Needless to say I have a lot of ideas floating around as to what I may or may not do. I've really been wanting to play around with propane, I have a 5.0L and AOD sitting in a junk Bronco I can scavenge, all sorts of idea.
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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So come the end of the month I'll finally be going down and picking up my Willy's.
Beginning to not like you.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Anyways, I am starting to plan out exactly what I want to do with it. I know I can't just leave it alone, and it's a bit rough for a full on restoration, so I want to build it up but while keeping it fairly original or at least period correct.

Off the top of my head I'm thinking 100" wheel base and the 35" Krawlers off my XJ. It's not going to be driven on the highway, but I do want to be able to cruise it around town so I'm planning on a Saginaw steering upgrade with assist. I'd like to keep the flat head, but I'm not sure how it's carb does off camber.
None of what you said you want to do is keeping it fairly original.. Just make sure you have the money and or skills to complete the project...Or it winds up in the want ads................
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Beginning to not like you.
Your build makes me really hate you

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None of what you said you want to do is keeping it fairly original.. Just make sure you have the money and or skills to complete the project...Or it winds up in the want ads................
FAIRLY is a broad term.

I've built a 1/2ton swapped XJ on 36's and a 1 ton YJ on 42's. I have since gone back to family wheeling with my current XJ on 35's. I want the willys to be able to do the stuff I won't take the XJ on. Nothing too crazy though, but trails like BV Carnage, 21 Road, and Pritchett Canyon. At the same time I want to be able to enjoy it and cruise it to/from work or into town to get my son from daycare. I did that in my YJ too, but the huge tires and full hydro made it tedious.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ok, so I'm pretty sure I'll be running front Waggy springs on both ends in a SOA set with a front shackle reversal. That pretty much narrows down my eventual suspension setup. I've lowered my desired wheelbase to around 89" as that seems more reasonably attained than the 100" WB I had originally envisioned. For shocks I'll probably stick with the softer valving Bilstein 5150's in 10-12" travel variety. I've always been happy with the 5150's and am currently running them on the XJ with great results. So that takes car of the suspension, on paper at least.

Suspension:
SOA with front shacckle reversal
reversed front Waggy packs both front and rear
Bilstein 5150 shocks
89ish inch WB


As for axles, well I've got a HP driverside drop front D44 sitting in the garage. Its been narrowed to run TJ rubicon inner shafts and I have a set of Waggy flat top knuckles and 6 lug outers to run on it. Once assembled it should come out to approx 62" WMS width.

I also have a rear D60 that I was in the process of narrowing/converting to Ford New style/Torino 9" bearing ends with Explorer 8.8 disc brakes. I'm setting it up to run equal length shafts (offsets the pinion approx .5") and appprox 61" WMS distance. It'll be 6-lug also once all said and done.

I was originally building these for the XJ, but I'm now thinking they'll go into the Willys. Once the CJ gets going I'll be even less inclined to take the XJ on anything worthy of built up axles. I might even take it back down to 33's to save me having to regear to 4.88's and keep me from having so many issues clearing my tires once fill it with camping gear, although I do love its current stance with the 35's.

So if I'm going to use these axles I'll definitely need to make some drivetrain changes. One issue being that the D44 is driverside drop. Another being that the lowest I can gear the D44 is the same 5.39's the CJ's stock axles already have. I'm going to guess that the little Go-Devil's 60hp isn't going to do well with 35's and a mere 37:1 crawl ratio.

As I previously said, I have a 302 sitting around I was originally going to put into the YJ and convert to a propane burner. My issue with putting it into the Willys is that I don't want to hog precious cargo space with a propane tank. I also don't particularly feel a desire to shoe-horn a V8 into this thing. Right now I'm kind of tossing around a Ford 2.3L Turbo (because it would be cool) or a VW TDI. I know with the Ford 4cyl I could even adapt it to go to the stock T90 3spd, although I'm not sure how long term awesome it would be. Plus that would still leave my t-case o/p and front pinion on opposite sides of the vehicle. I still haven't fully figured out what I can put behind the VW Diesel other than a Zuki transmission. Edit: Looks like Toyota transmissions also.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There is a kit out there to put a kubota diesel into a flatty, its a good fit and a great little engine.
I'll see if I can find a link

EDIT: http://www.overlanddiesel.com/Home.html
Found it

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Old 10-08-2012, 07:44 AM   #11 (permalink)
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There is a kit out there to put a kubota diesel into a flatty, its a good fit and a great little engine.
I'll see if I can find a link

EDIT: Welcome to Overland Diesel
Found it
Thats cool, I'll have to send them an email and see if they sell an adapter orif they'll only do it in house.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:04 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Why spring over axle?
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Well Svaras' rig was SOA and on 36's running waggy width axles. I really like the stance on his.

I'm not really big on the ultra LCOG craze. While I agree that there is no need to run 8" of lift for a 31" tire, I like uptravel and belly clearance. It also makes packaging a little bit easier.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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My dad just finished his. It turns a lot of heads.



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Old 10-08-2012, 11:51 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thats nice looking man, what are the specs?
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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He's been working on it so long I've forgotten most of what he's done to it. It looked a lot like the one in the OP when he got it. It has a Buick V6 and a 3 speed in it. Tires are 33" Hercules Trail Diggers.

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Old 10-08-2012, 02:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Well Svaras' rig was SOA and on 36's running waggy width axles. I really like the stance on his.

I'm not really big on the ultra LCOG craze. While I agree that there is no need to run 8" of lift for a 31" tire, I like uptravel and belly clearance. It also makes packaging a little bit easier.
I will agree that it makes packaging easier, that is for sure...

My Willys is REALLY stupid low but still has great clearance in my opinion, over 17" at the belly with approx 4.5" up-travel. It was a LOT of work however. Its on 35's with basically a 1/2" suspension drop and is less than 2" taller than a stock flat fender on 31's ( at the top of the tub ).

On thing with SOA and a decent amount of uptravel, you will probably have to run the springs into negative arch to get it. That is bad.

Belly clearance on a shorter wheelbase isn't a big issue in my opinion, especially if you can get things pretty flat and smooth.

Different strokes for different folks and all that...
I like all flat fender builds!
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I agree that with a shorter WB you can get away with less belly height. I'm not looking to get any more lift out of it than what the SOA will net me. As for leafsprings not liking to bend backwards, well I'm not sure about that. A naturally flat piece of spring steel doesn't care which way it bends. My YJ SOA with stock XJ packs (plus 1 main leaf) netted me a goood 12" of travel with it being 50/50 up and down.



I never had any issues with the springs not enjoying a bit of negative arch. While I'm sure it means they won't last 100 years, its not a huge issue for me to replace some cheap springs every few years.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:17 PM   #19 (permalink)
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If they are flat under no weight than ok, if they have an arch, they generally won't like going the other way in the long run...that might be 1, 10, or 100 years depending on the quality of the steel, heat treatment, etc.

All in all leaf springs are pretty cheap....
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Stock XJ springs all sit flat or negative by now.

For the most part leafpacks are cheap, and thats why I like them. So much cheaper, simpler, and less maintenance intensive than links.
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Old 10-10-2012, 08:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Sweet Dutch! I was sad to see the YJ die, and had been hoping to see you do another non-xj build!

Looks like you have a good place to start! Out of curiosity... what is the stock wheelbase on that thing? How about axle width?

As you could expect... I fully support the tdi idea. I think the compact/light package would be a plus. Having to plumb turbo lines might be the main space drawback. I think an MTDI setup would be nice and clean, and suiting of the classic. With the light weight rig you should be able to get enough power out of one of those.

As far as tdi driveline options go... zuk, toy, ax5 or ax15 are all easily doable.

That 302 would be sweet as well... probably need to start from scratch on the frame if so though? Mieser is definitely the man to talk to about that!

Would the loss of space a propane tank would take really hurt you much for your intended use with this Jeep?

If you're itching to play with propane... and still itching for a tdi... you could always scratch those itch's simultaneously?

Either way... Can't wait to see where you take this Jeep!
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:56 PM   #22 (permalink)
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A mechanically injected 1.9L TD would be my engine of choice, it would just be a matter of tracking one down.

AX-15 adapters huh? That would be the ticket right there. That would allow me to run an all Jeep driveline after the little VDub diesel. I still have my D300 w/ AW4/AX15 adapter on it so I could easily flip that and run cable shifters to it. The would allow me to run the Waggy width HP D44 and semi-float D60 I'm building. In fact, that would be just about perfect. Where can I source these AX-15 adapters? Acme only shows Zuk and Yota ones.

I was going to ask you some questions about gearing. I'll be running 35's and was wondering with the TDI what gearing would work best with those. As you've got a Jeep TDI I figured you'd be the one to ask.


Stock specs on the CJ2a are almost identical to a Zuki (again, the reason I used to run the Zuks)

CJ2a/Samurai:

Cylinders: 4/4
Power: 60/60
Torque: 105/76
WB: 80"/79.9"
Overall width: 59"/60.6"
Overall height (top up): 69 3/8"/64.6"
Overall length: 122.75"/135"
Curb weight: 2,137lbs/2,059lbs


As for cargo space? Yes a large propane tank would kill my plans. I'm building this thing into my crawler/hunting/zombie survival rig. I am hoping I can fit 2 action packers in the back of the thing, with coolers on top of them. Ammo cans on the driver side fender well, tool bags and fluids on the passenger one, a fuel can and spare tire on the tailgate, another fuel can on the passenger front fender step, and the axe/shovel combo on the driver side. Front and rear pintles, front winch, front tow bar, and the tool box removed from under the passenger seat so a second fuel tank can be installed. I also plan on adding an AR mount (maybe 2) between the front seats, and probably a rifle mount across the cage in line with the harness bar.

I'm actually hoping the 2 action packers will fit side by side because I have an idea of putting a jump seat in the back for my son. Leave one action packer out and he can sit there, flip the seat up and pack in the extra gear. I'm also going to go ahead and build my expedition trailer I was planning for the XJ. It'll be great for hauling the deer out behind the CJ.

Can somebody measure the rear tub for me? I found via google that the rear seat is 32" wide, and by the looks there might only be a 1/2" on either side of it. How long is it from seats to tailgate? How wide between the tubs? How tall are the tubs from the floor? Its looking like I might have to run the small 8gal action packers if I want to run them like I'm thinking. I might go with different totes, the cheap ones I uses now might have better foot print dimensions for what I'm planning.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:11 PM   #23 (permalink)
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HPA motorsports has some 1.9 TDI adapters.....

HPA Motorsports Inc. - Jeep TDI Conversion Packages

I think a 1.9 TDI-M would be a great motor in a flat fender.

OTT also had a toyota to sm-420/465 transmission adapter at one time. You could do a acme VW to toyota adapter to a 4spd.

The AX15 is going to be pretty dang long in a flat fender, stretched or not.

Sounds like a cool project, but don't get carried away bolting on tons of stuff. Pretty soon a light nimble flatfender becomes an overweight pig......
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Don't you sleep?

Yeah, the AX15 is fairly long. And from the little bit of googling I've been doing since I posted that it seems I'm probably better off sticking to the Zuki or Toyota trans and t-case.

How well do you think the stock axles would hold up powered by the VW TDI and running the Krawlers? I wouldn't have a problem keeping them as long as they'll hold up. Is there even a worthwhile aftermarket for them?

I'm just going to have lots of extra brackets to hold stuff in case I need to hide out in the mountains with this thing as a means of evading the zombie hordes. And I want it to be able to support me and another for a week of camping/hunting as well. I try to pack as light as possible though, and any trips the XJ is along then I don;t need to carry nearly as much because the XJ will be the support rig for it.
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #25 (permalink)
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A mechanically injected 1.9L TD would be my engine of choice, it would just be a matter of tracking one down.

AX-15 adapters huh? That would be the ticket right there. That would allow me to run an all Jeep driveline after the little VDub diesel. I still have my D300 w/ AW4/AX15 adapter on it so I could easily flip that and run cable shifters to it. The would allow me to run the Waggy width HP D44 and semi-float D60 I'm building. In fact, that would be just about perfect. Where can I source these AX-15 adapters? Acme only shows Zuk and Yota ones.
That is exactly the engine I was seeing. You could always take a computerized 1.9 and put a m-pump on it. They are pricy (about a G IIRC) but you can sell the E-pump... as well as the computer and wiring harness to swappers.

Two options for an ax-15:

A) HPA sells an adapter... although it has an HPA pricetag

B) AX-15 and AX-5 are same core units as the toyota transmissions... ax-5 for g series(4 cyl toys) and ax-15 for W? series(6 cyl toys). You can convert a jeep trans to match up to toy engines by swapping the corresponding input shaft and bellhousing. Easy to do with an ax-5 to acme kit... but the ax-15 wants to adapt to a toy v6 engine. Trick to an ax-15 to tdi match is you have to get an input shaft and bellhousing off of a 4cyl turbo toy trans... as they had the v6 trans(think ax-15) matched to the 4cyl engine(think acme TDI), however the turbo transmission are relatively hard to come by.


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was going to ask you some questions about gearing. I'll be running 35's and was wondering with the TDI what gearing would work best with those. As you've got a Jeep TDI I figured you'd be the one to ask.
Keep in mind I have a toy g series (ax-5 brother) transmission... and I'm not positive how that compares to a say... ax-15 but I would imagine it is close.

I have been running 35's and 4.88s. It works really well... but I hate that I'm cranking 3k at 70. I just swapped in my original open thirds that have 4.10s for the winter(spool and auto locker in the 4.88 thirds would be deathly in the snow), but have yet to drive them. They should put 4th gear right about where 5th used to be. that should put my highway cruise near the bottom of the power band... and give me better mileage I hope. I expect to pay a price in my 0-5 mph acceleration though.

Sounds like that is not as much of a concern for you... probably not doing a lot of interstate cruising.

I wouldn't be afraid to go too low if you're not worried about high speed. The main struggle with the tdi is power at idle. It will maintain idle fine, even under load... but getting that initial rev off idle is hard. Once you get it revving just a little above idle it will accelerate just fine... but those first few revs don't come easy when pushing a brick with 0 psi boost. Don't forget I'm still stock tune though... but then again if you go MTDI you probably won't find much more power than I have stock. That being said... I have plenty of power... you should be fine with a smaller rig. It won't be a v8... but it will be every bit of the 4.0 you are used to.

4.88's work really well for me... if I didn't do so much interstate travel I'd stick with them. I also may try the 4.10's and hate them. In the build up phase I thought I'd like 4.56, but I stumbled upon a rear with 4.88's so I went with it. In hindsight I think 4.56 is what would work best for me... but I'd tell you 4.88's... or maybe a step lower if you really don't plan on running interstate speeds.

Right now it has a diesel leak into the cab... so I won't be bringing it to the front range anytime soon... but if you wanted to come up here... you could take it for a spin anytime and feel it out a bit.
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Last edited by TDIJ; 10-10-2012 at 10:45 PM.
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