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Discussion Starter #1
Ever see a $120 Jeep CJ7?



Well, you have now.

Of course, a couple of years, and thousands of dollars from now, she'll be looking way better, oh and running too.

Here's the story. I picked up a 1980 Jeep CJ7 last week that I intend to build as an adventure/overland rig. My skills are limited, so I will have to hire some of the work done, but I want to do as much of it as I can myself. As we all know, there is great satisfaction in standing back and looking at something you built with your own hands. A thing America is losing these days, as is so accurately reported by public figure Mike Rowe. I like him... he's cool in my book. Wish I had the skill I've seen so often here.

Anyway, She isn't running now, but she is complete, and near as I can tell, almost 100% stock, (except added fog lights) so that gives me a known starting point. That itself is something lacking in so many old Jeeps, including my current CJ5... that I was going to build up. The "new": CJ7 has a 258 I-6 and the auto trans. The shifter is on the tilt column with a very nice Lecarra wheel. The dash, seats, everything about the interior and hardtop is complete and in nice shape. The hardtop even has a defroster in the back glass and a rear wiper. The doors are great and the roll up windows work perfectly. The windshield is a goner, and there are some panels on the tub that will require attention.

So I met a fellow combat vet at a 4x4 meet. He also has 3 tours. He also drives a '79 CJ5. (way nicer than mine) He's trying to get out of paying storage on two old Jeeps he was going to build, and he sells me one, and a buddy one. I got mine for $120. Yeah, that's right. $120. I didn't miss a zero. He just wanted me to cover the last months storage fee. He's younger, still in, and single. I'm old, fat, crippled, retired, wife is a teachers aid that has no paychecks in the summer, and we have two kids in college, but man he hooked me up!

Now the CJ5 I already have just happens to have a very strong powertrain from a Dodge truck. It has a built Dodge 360 (Holley 4V, headers, cam, MSD ignition...) , a TF 727 and full width Dana 44 front, and Chrysler 9.25 rear axles with 4 wheel discs. This is on a spring over axle lift that allows for a 35s on the CJ5 tub, so it should on the CJ7 tub.

Do I really need to go that high? No.

Is it a bit of a pain to climb in and out of with my injuries? Yes.

Is it fun, and cool? Yes.

The CJ7 has a much more sensible straight six that would be plenty for adventuring around this beautiful nation of ours and I do like how easy it is to climb into and out of as it sits now in stock form. However, she isn't running at the moment and who knows what it would take to get it that way... Besides, I may be old enough to complain about stuff, but I'm still young enough to enjoy the roar of a good old American V-8.

That Mopar 360 sounds awesome.

I'll be using the power train from the CJ5. I'll duplicate the spring over setup on the CJ7 as well, but go with YJ springs that are known to soften up the ride and allow for more flex. The Hardtop will give me a more secure vehicle in bad weather travels. It still allows for the normal door off Jeep driving on nice days. I have found Jeep facebook pages in my area that will make it easy to sell off remaining parts from either vehicle I don't use. Of course, I also love off road forums like this, and have learned a lot from these places. I hope to learn (and share) more as I go. I will probably need to ask questions when I get stuck on something. Thanks in advance people.

I started with cleaning out the garage a bit getting ready for teardown of the CJ5. Still have to make some room in the shed, get rid of some stuff. I picked up a couple commercial grade steel shelving units from a college that went under. With my injuries, and inability to handle much heat, I have to do my work in short spurts in cool evenings right now. I'm also under the typical buy a part or two each month budget of a retired disabled soldier. This will be a 2 year project (or more) as I'm taking two vehicles down to the frames.. to build one back up.

I will build the inside up to be user friendly as an adventure/overland vehicle with stuff I've learned traveling on my own, in groups, with the Army, and on sites like this. The outside of the Jeep will be a tribute to my time in the military. (and to my brothers and sisters who serve now) I will do it up in desert sand much like the trucks we had on my last tour in Iraq, but with the bumper numbers from my first tank I had in West Germany back in 1981.

Wish me luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
By the way I'm calling her "Two Seven."

She will be done up to resemble a military vehicle. As a tribute to the guy who most influenced me in my 28 years in the U.S. Army, I'm using the bumper number of the first tank I was ever assigned. In 1981, after I left basic training for West Germany, I ended up assigned to 2nd plt L troop 3/2 ACR in Amberg.

I was on SFC Gary (Lucifer) Anderson's tank. He was our Plt Sgt. His tank number... L-27. He was a Nam vet, the cold war was still on, we were on the Czech border, and were taking the soviet threat very seriously. I learned a lot from that guy in those first two years that served me well in the 26 after I left that unit. Other units never measured up to L Trp. Those guys took their job seriously. Oh we cut up and screwed around, but when we were on mission, we kicked butt like no other unit. For the rest of my career I was searching for more of this. I missed Desert Storm because I was a Drill Sgt at the time, and I did not see actual combat until 2000 in Macedonia, but it was those first two that had prepared me the most.

I was also inspired by the very last unit I ever deployed with the 1438th Trans Co. We were attached to 1st Coscom. and were a unit made up of volunteers from other units. I had come from the 1638th. This unit did not in any way work together well. There was always petty infighting, the head shed had a few favorite pets, and the rest of us were cannon fodder, but we somehow managed to function and get the job done. This, was my 3rd deployment, and the one that ended my career, but I was gonna call it quits at 30 anyway. So instead of old school OD green or cammo, the CJ7 will be desert sand like the vehicles we had in Iraq, and like those my brothers and sisters are using in the Stan today...

I've seen the best the Army had to offer and the worst. In both cases the job got done, and America had the might to change the world... as long as our leaders had the political will.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
So I haven't even started teardown yet, and I'm exhausted. Spent the last 3 days cleaning out the shed, and garage moving crap around so I'll have plenty of work space. This is a huge undertaking. Never taking a vehicle down to the frame before. Have to try not to get overwhelmed. I'm almost there getting the garage ready. Very sore though. I hate being a cripple. Had to get my nephews over to help. Tough to keep them focused too. My sister-in-law doesn't really make them toe the line like their dad does, and of course he's always at work, nor does he like to but heads with her. Wish my two were here to help, but they're both in college.

I have plenty of counter/workbench space now... I think.

I have 1 plastic and 2 steel shelves to put all the parts on.

Haven't gone through my containers of nuts, bolts, screws, nails... in years, but hell, I'm just about good enough. Won't need them for teardown anyhow.

Got 2 of my 3 work lights going. Both floor jacks up. One was low on oil and does leak down, but it will lift. Yes, I have 4 jack stands.

Cherry picker works. Engine stand works.

Found my lifter puller. Now I don't plan on opening up up the 360. She's strong as hell right now, but I haven't seen my lifter puller in years. Just happy to see it.

Got some containers and Sharpies to label parts. Going to take LOTS of photos to help me remember how things go.

However, my garage stereo took a dump. I had to take my living room stereo out there. I hardly ever get to listen to it in the house anyway with the wife watching tv. No... I can NOT spend a lot of time out there working and not listen to my oldies.

Got a few loose ends to tighten up, some household chores to catch up on, then I can start in on teardown. Hopefully within the week. It will still be slow, everything with me is (except my temper) but it will feel nice to get out there even if it's only for a shot time every couple days.

The CJ5 that I'm using the powertrain out of is already in the garage, and I've been having to work around it as it's already got it's front axle partially dissassembled. I was going to repair it, prior to finding the CJ7 to build. This will make teardown rather difficult as the roll cage is just about touching the rafters as she sits. I can't roll her around on 3 wheels, so she ain't coming out on the driveway to get the body off. I may have to get a set of those car dollies, take the remaining 3 tires off, then set the axles down on the dollies. That will give me about a foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I've been having a hit or miss kinda deal on posting photos lately with photobucket going crazy demanding high fees. I signed up for Imgur. One minute I got it figured out, the next, I can't do it. Beside my mobility issues, I also have big time memory problems thanks to a TBI. All part of the same IED attack. That's one reason why I'm worried about starting a project this involved. I'll be taking a lot of photos and videos to help me remember how things go. That gave me the idea to do a youtube video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bXS0yYAgy0&t=61s
 

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Discussion Starter #10
More time spent taking parts off the CJ5 yesterday.

I got the side steps off.
Mirrors off.
Can't get windshield off... some bolts striped...
Fuel can holders off.
Hi-Lift mounts off.
Got the twin stick cable shifter off the T-case.
Fire extinguisher came out.
Radio antenna mount came off.
Got my center console (20mm ammo box) out.
Salvaged a few electric parts from the dash.
Ended up getting too sore to finish getting the tach out, and left it hanging by the wires for the night, but it will come out today after my VFW district meeting.... or so I thought.

STILL couldn't get the tach off tonight unless I wanted to cut the wires. Have to take the dash off. Of course I can't do that because the 6 point cage is in the way of the outside bolts to get the dash off. So I spent tonight wrestling with the old bolts getting the cage undone. At least tomorrow I can get the dash off. I'd have to anyway to get the gauges out and the MSD box out as I can't get up in to where they are mounted either... Hope to be pulling the motor this week.


I'm not skilled, and I'm not fast, but I'm not doing too bad for an old fat cripple... I'm having fun jamming to my oldies and wrenching on my Jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Seat out, roll cage out, dash off, gauges out, MSD box out, windshield off, dash back on.

It's fun salvaging old parts.

Maybe not so much fun when you spend 5 songs getting a single bolt off... with the open end of a wrench... left handed... with your back and shoulder cussing you out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
After a long spell of being too sore to do anything on the Jeep I'm back at the tear down again. Got the exhaust off today. Fun getting very rusty heady bolts off when they are right behind where the header tube come out and turns out covering the bolt... Got the fuel tank out as well, that I had topped off right before the breakdown that prompted the tear down, so probably had 18 gal in the 20 gal tank. Must have ended up with at least a half gallon on the garage floor... The tank is a big aluminium one, in perfect shape, and will go in the CJ7. Wish I knew who made it, but it worked well in the CJ5.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wish I knew how. Ever since photobucket went apeshit I've been using IMGR. It's the only way I know to do it.

Today I spent 4 hrs getting ready to the pull engine only to find out my cherry picker was short on hydraulic oil and wouldn't go high enough to take the slack out of the chain on the leveler...
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
A lot has happened to the Jeep, though it seems to be going very slow to me. The Green 79 is gone. I saved the Mopar 360, TF727, and the axles, and sold the crappy tub and frame. I also saved the fenders, hood, windshield frame, grill, and fuel tank.

Next I started teardown of the CJ7 that will be the final product. The tub is a bit more rust damaged than I'd like so I managed to find a nicer one from Utah. Some guy had it in Colorado, and was gonna deliver it to me, but blew his engine in Kansas. His buddy towed him to a diesel shop in Nebraska... and I ended up driving out to Nebraska to get it with my trailer... Damn thing's been halfway around the country, and it's not even on a frame yet.

https://i.imgur.com/mEBgHgD.jpg
 

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The pics are posting in the same size that you upload them to Imgur. Resize the pics on your computer before you upload. It can be done easy in MS Paint. Open the pic (or copy and paste) with MS paint. Use the resize tool and use the percentages to make it smaller.
25% on both the vertical and horizontal axis should be about right for this forum format. then save the file, but make sure you save it as a .jpg file. upload to imgur. make all these haters happy!
 
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