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Thread: Another New Member

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    Default Another New Member



    I'm Bill. I live in Parker. My kids love the outdoors. We're out camping most months when it's not too smokey. I've usually found a way to sneak an AWD something rather or little 4wd truck deep into the forest. That said, yea... we like to overland camp. I was lucky enough to inherit a CJ7 recently. Although it was in fairly good working order, i've stripped it down to the frame and i'm now waiting on parts to reinforce the frame and replace a few bad spots. I've got a nice budget and plan on making some good upgrades to be able to really hit the trails next year. I've wanted to really go deeper into more inaccessible areas and ride some of the real 4x4 trails a road truck with 4wd can't handle. My goal here is to learn from others, cross the stage from novice to anything more, and meet up with some of you next year after the snow melts.

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Welcome to the dark side...
    we have cookies!!!
    ___________
    In a never ending search for the proper mix of dirt & rock !

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    Default Re: Another New Member





    Welcome to the group!

    Any disassembled jeep pictures - sure, even if it's in pieces - we'd (ok, maybe just me) like to see'm!

    What's the plan for the CJ?

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Here are some photos (below). Not much to see, but here we go.

    Taking everything off was pretty easy. I've got lots of photos to help me put it back together. All parts are in labeled bags. Bags are in boxes, slightly organized. But there's a lot of worn parts, so i expect a lot will be replaced.

    Current status: The frame is stripped and waiting for parts. The rear cross-member was toast, so waiting on that to come in along with reinforcing plates for the sides of the frame (ordered from MORE early Sept during the awesome sale). I've welded before, but not too much, so i'm practicing until the parts come in. The frame was in good shape overall. The rear crossmember was the only really bad part. The little water cups created by the front shock towers ate away at the frame a bit, but the reinforcement plates should be plenty to restore strength. I found a small crack in the front cross-member. I'm pretty sure that was from when the brakes went out while going down a ravine (not me, cousin) - the front hit a tree and a large rock. I think the frame was welded by the FNG at the factory. The top seam on one side is completely separated where the top C channel was welded to the other C channel for a few feet. Also, much of the weld just looks like garbage - welder was moving too quickly. So i'll be fixing all of that for a bit. After the weld, i'll coat the inside of the frame with rust retardant and the outside with frame paint (primer + BlackTop). I probably should have just replaced the frame to keep the project moving faster, but that's two grand more than i've spent on the reinforcements, so eh.

    I've spent a LOT of time researching and have so far come up with this for upgrades as i put it back together:
    Suspension / wheels / axles: BDS 4" lift w/Fox2.0 shocks, heavy duty shackles, 4.10 gears, new axles, sticking with 15" wheels, 33x10.5 BFG ATs (don't want to add too much weight for the i6 to turn), Ox manual locker in the front, Eaton Trutrac Torsen in the rear, replace front hubs with 6-bolt locking hubs.
    Engine / power train: Rebuild the i6, new internals for the engine, upgrade (bigger) intake and exhaust, Holley EFI (throttle body injection), all new exhaust, rebuild the T4 transmission, rebuild the transfer case (replacing low with 4:1 gear).
    Body / Interior: Send the tub / fenders / etc off to a body shop to professionally strip and paint (probably Jeep garbage can blue-gray), new seats, dash rebuild / restore, probably will do a boxy roll cage made from DOM tube (wife wants it 'safer'), probably truck bed liner on the floor.

    The idea is to restore it close to original but modify it to be taller, more capable, and thus more fun. I've done enough easy trails in a 4wd truck and i want to do a lot more, but i doubt i'll ever get to the point that i'll want to go absolutely nuts and hardcore wheel. So the goal is capable enough to make moderate trails easy enough for my green butt to make it through them. I've got a lot ahead of me, but i just heated the garage and added lots of lights, so i'm planning to spend plenty of cold days in there tooling away. My boys are excited to help too. They had fun tearing things apart and keep asking when i'll start putting it back together.

    The jeep has been in the family since the early 90s. I learned to drive in this. Lots of good old memories in this thing.







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    Jim (2 Weeks Ago)

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    welcome to the group
    ___________
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    Cesare Pavese

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Looks good. For the build you are doing, it will be well above any of the moderate trails around here. You'll be set for all the difficult trails with some skid and rocker protection. What vintage cj7 - Looks like a later, wide track version? My 2nd jeep, 1st cj was an 84 cj7....back then it wasn't old enough to be a 'classic'. Keeping the model 20 rear? I see you aren't going full locker in the rear, which is probably wise if you are keeping the model 20. I ran 33s with a weak limited slip in on the model 20 in my cj7 - never had an issue, but I didn't pound on it. New axle shafts for it might be worth considering. I don't keep up with cj7 stuff much these days - but I run the BDS 2.5 springs on my cj5 and they clear 33x10.5, and most who go with the 4" kit go with 35s. 4.10s and 33s is a sweet set-up for a 258.....As you probably know, the other week spot in later cj7s is the T4 or T5 transmissions.....The overdrive is nice in the T5, and the relatively low first gear is nice off road (especially when combined with the D300 low range) but durability is questionable. While I never had issues with the model 20, I did have issues with the T5. It was always interesting to me that high performance corvettes used a T5, but the jeep T5 just wasn't that strong.....Keep making progress....
    ___________
    James Orofino
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    stone (2 Weeks Ago)

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    stone previously posted:
    "The jeep has been in the family since the early 90s. I learned to drive in this. Lots of good old memories in this thing."

    Nice!

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    stone (2 Weeks Ago)

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Yes... wide track. 82.

    Thanks for the tips and info on the capability. I haven't been able to find much on what i necessary for what, which makes sense as you just kind of have to feel it out and every rig is different. I've been on the fence about new axles (single piece for sure) as it did fine in the hills of west Texas for 30+ years, but they're 38 years old and i'd hate to break an axle anywhere, let alone on a trail. I think you just pushed me over the fence. I deliberated a good bit on a 2.5" vs 4" lift, but ultimately decided the extra 1.5" looked better and seems to be more common (more vendors do a 4" than a 2.5" it seems). I also don't like it when the tires are tight in the well. It just doesn't seem right. Skid and rockers are on the list. Haven't really settled on options there as i'm trying not to get too ahead of myself, which if you can't tell i'm prone to doing. If you've got some suggestions, please let me know. I'm not sure what needs protection other than at the existing plates (transmission, transfer case, rear fuel tank). I want rock sliders that are attached to the frame, not just on the corner of the tub, but I don't want to go nuts with something that's overkill for this jeep.

    Yes, keeping the AMC 20 in the rear. I don't see a reason to replace it (yet). Maybe later, but for now, i'm thinking it will be adequate for my expected use. That was part of the reason for the limited slip instead of locker in the back. Here's the rest of my reasoning: Rear lockers will push, making sharp turns more difficult, and (as you mention) the AMC 20 is not very strong. Front lockers will help to pull the heavy front over an obstacle, which is more effective than pushing from the rear. There is also the cost, benefits for my intended use, and road manners. I think there's plenty other good arguments to go another way, but my thoughts are that this is good for me for a while.

    I'm hoping the T4 will be adequate, but yea, i'm concerned about its durability. That's also another one of those cases where i could swap it, but that might have cascading affects, so the budget ends up getting big fast. I'm probably a couple months from getting to the transmission, so still a little time to consider options.

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Some thoughts on my mind (mine: 90 YJ / 258 / vBelt / MPFI conversion / 4:1 xfer / 5-spd man / D44-ARB / HPD30-ARB / 35x12.5x15 / 3" body lift / ?4" suspension lift)


    stone previously posted:
    "I'm not sure what needs protection other than at the existing plates (transmission, transfer case, rear fuel tank)."

    I'm stock in this arena (aside from body mounted rocker diamond plate) and feel no need to change. Granted, you're looking at 33's and I'm with 35's though it's not a significant change. I'm more for scenery than technical obstacles though it's seen a few of the more difficult trails. Differential skids might be the first on my list. Fuel / Trans / xfer - not on my radar yet (9 yrs with it).


    stone previously posted:
    "Front lockers will help to pull the heavy front over an obstacle, which is more effective than pushing from the rear."

    I'll be curious to hear what others say here - my impression, having dual selectable lockers, trying to climb something - more weight / traction is from the rear tires - all depending how steep the obstacle / rock is. Either way, I'm very pro lockers or effective traction control.


    stone previously posted:
    "I think there's plenty other good arguments to go another way, but my thoughts are that this is good for me for a while."

    There's no "perfect" vehicle that fits every need/trail, so long as you're comfortable with the one you have - golden!

  13. The Following Member Says Thanks to Jim For This Post:

    stone (2 Weeks Ago)

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Thanks! Again, great info.

    I agree that more lockers is better. If one were to choose lockers in only the front or rear, it seems this is always an active debate. Pros and cons lists seem to never end. I wouldn't say my mind is made up yet either, so thanks for the input.

    You're making me think hard about a transmission swap too. I came across a T-18 swap story a little while back that makes it seem like a great idea. Doing this makes me so giddy. I love the work and research i'm doing for this project! I've always worked on my vehicles, first out of necessity, then just because i find it rewarding, but this project has me so excited to wrench!

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    stone previously posted:
    "I want rock sliders that are attached to the frame, not just on the corner of the tub, but I don't want to go nuts with something that's overkill for this jeep."

    I thought that as well - but with the early cj5 - the through the floor pedals and frame mounted master cylinder make that almost impossible - so I went with body mounted ones and they have held up very well - rubicon bashed and thrashed. You can high-lift jack them as well.....of course, frame mounted ones are also great. I wouldn't rule out body mounted ones though unless you want to tie your roll cage into your frame and sliders. And there are some weight savings, and a bit more ground clearance to the body mount style well. I think a model 20 with single piece axles is plenty strong for anything other than full locker, and even with a full locker, it would probably be okay with 33s and 258. They guys blowing that stuff up typically are running v8s and 35s etc. How easily something blows up is often related how aggressive the driver is with the skinny pedal. As you mention, there is a lot of balancing between what you have, what you want, what you can afford - how it all fits together etc....

    stone previously posted:
    "Rear lockers will push, making sharp turns more difficult, and (as you mention) the AMC 20 is not very strong. Front lockers will help to pull the heavy front over an obstacle, which is more effective than pushing from the rear."

    I think a LS in the rear and a full locker in the front will get you most anywhere. But it is my experience that a single locker in the rear is better than a single locker in the front, or even LS in front and rear. When climbing slick steep spots where the locker is most needed, all the weight gets shifted to the rear axle....locked up wheels will still spin if there is no weight on them, and this is much more pronounced in short wheelbase jeeps....I also think affect on steering a rear axle locked up is pretty minimal (and I run manual steering), but no way I could turn with a front locker (power steering of course makes that less of an issue). Again, a LS rear, locked front combo will get you almost anywhere....you can always add a rear locker at a later point, and I get the need to minimize the stress on the model 20.

    stone previously posted:
    "I'm hoping the T4 will be adequate,"

    That would be my single biggest concern....but I also am one that kind of uses whats there until it breaks, then replace it with an upgrade. Downside to the T4 is weak transmission and no overdrive....in case you want some replacement options to look for - the T176 is a solid 4 speed (no OD) that would essentially be a bolt up option as it was offered OEM on some cj models. For a five speed with OD, other than the T5, the later ax-15 is great choice, but it would probably require quite a bit more work to get in. I am fighting some of these same choices with my 58....thinking of replacing the oem 3 speed, but it gets complicated fast with various adapters and modifying cross-members etc....I keep waiting to blow up the T14 in my 70, and then it'll be replaced with a truck 4 speed, but it goes and goes....I spend more time researching and investigating options than I do actually working on it...As I said, just some thoughts from my experience...your overall plan is solid, and probably overkill for most moderate and overlanding style wheeling. It's going to be a pretty sweet jeep and extremely capable.
    ___________
    James Orofino
    1970 CJ5
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    stone (2 Weeks Ago)

  17. #12
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    Default Re: Another New Member



    stone previously posted:
    "If one were to choose lockers in only the front or rear, it seems this is always an active debate."

    Three season wheeling:
    In my mind there's little debate. Where I typically needed traction assistance I'm trying to get up an obstacle (rarely is a locker needed to get down an obstacle). When getting up the vehicle is typically tilted with a weight bias to the rear. In an area where I might turn locker on - rear / front use is about 80/20 or maybe 90/10.

    Front only use is rare. I did remove the interlock where when the front is selected the rear is enabled so that I can independently enable - I'm content having them run independently.

    Winter wheeling:
    Even for flat ground use - both are on about 90/90. Chains start in the front (level ground use - engine weight up front) and might get added to the rear.

    The above is my experience. I'm up for healthy debate - I'm game to learn.

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    Default Re: Another New Member



    Welcome!

    The AMC 20 isn't a horrible axle, it's just got a couple weak spots. The axle tubes are thin and it has the 2 piece axle shafts. Truss it and some one piece solid axles will cure that. Or if you can find a wide track D44 from an 86 CJ7 even better, but don't count on it as they are few and far between lol.

    The carb on the 258 sucks. If you can swing fuel injection that would be a huge upgrade.

    Look at Alcan springs in Grand Junction too. They are built to order. I've heard good things about BDS as well though.

    Good luck! I miss my CJ7.
    ___________
    I started out with nothing and still have most of it

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