Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Mostly done... is any Jeep really ever done?  Woefully behind on the writeups on this page and at Jeep Forum.  Life happens.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

CJ7 Build Thread

Rather than duplicating all of my efforts with the posting of this build thread here, I have decided just to keep it on Jeep Forum.  You can read the thread here.  If you aren't already a member, and you're a Jeep fan, it is a great resource for all things related to every model of Jeep, from CJs to TJs, XJs, JKs, Willys, AMC, and Kaiser, etc.

If you're wondering how I know how to rebuild Jeeps, if it wasn't for that forum, and my uber-smart Uncle Terry, I wouldn't be able to do it.  :)  See you at the forum.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

First Pics and the Purchase

I had heard about this Jeep from a friend who purchased it from a mutual friend's parents.  Although this mutual friend knew I was a Jeep guy, I guess she never thought I would be interested in the old CJ7 rotting away up at her parents' farm.  So, I never even knew about it until he told me he purchased it.  When I heard, I told him that if he ever wanted to sell it, to please let me know.

Turned out that he didn't have the time nor the inclination (thanks Terry for the phraseology) to do a rebuild on it since it needed quite a bit of work.  I saw it in his garage one day and just shook my head at it.  It was a platform that had great potential, but I could see it would need a ton of work.

Well, the fellow ended up having to move, and he decided to move one less thing, so I got the call.  Here were the pictures he sent.

 Forgive the blurry cellphone pics

As you can see, there's a whole heap of potential and the risk of a little tetanus too.  At least I could supplement my license plate collection with some nice crusty vintage maroon Missouri plates!

I borrowed a trailer and brought it home with me.  The intention was a low-dollar mechanical once-over, and drive it while ignoring the rust, but that didn't end up being what happened.

At home in my garage
I discovered that one of the reasons he hadn't been able to get it to start was because it wasn't getting any fuel.  Turns out that the fuel lines coming from the tank had rusted in half.  I picked up a new battery, and checked out the electrics.  When they checked out okay, I took a water bottle full of gasoline and attached some new fuel line to the mechanical fuel pump, which I then discovered was leaking.  A quick trip to NAPA got a new fuel pump.  I just wanted to see if it was going to run before I put another dollar into it.  I was already committed to the CJ5 project, and didn't want to get into a second Jeep if it was beyond saving.  He'd had it for several months and wasn't even able to get it to start, so I didn't know what I was getting into by purchasing it.

I wanted to at least take it for a short drive if possible, and make sure that the transmission shifted well and that the engine ran.

Showing redneck-engineered fuel system
Not optional with "redneck fuel tank" system.  It's a must.

 When doing the "redneck fuel cell trick" make sure that you feed the return line back into the bottle, else you won't get far, and you'll surely leave a huge puddle of fresh expensive gasoline behind you in the garage.  Don't ask me how I found that out.

I will be posting this to as well under this thread: JFab's 1983 Jeep CJ7 Limited Rebuild Thread.  The thread might be updated more often than this blog in the hopes that the pictures and info might help others as the forum has helped me in the past.

Finally... An update!

I've been a bit sidetracked on the CJ5 project lately. Have not even posted here for nearly two years. But it's not because I've not been working on Jeeps... I just haven't been doing much to the CJ5.

It all started last July when I picked up a 1983 CJ7 "Limited" in need of a tremendous amount of TLC. It has the 4.2L, Auto, Air Conditioning, hard top with factory headliner, color-matched wheels and fender flares, extra sound insulation throughout, and even real leather seats. The Limited was a relatively low-production submodel of the CJ7, and they only made them for two years. When I came across this one, I hadn't ever even heard of a Limited, and I thought that I knew Jeeps.  I thought that the Laredo was the top option package ever offered, and the Limited truly was limited!

This one had been a Colorado Jeep, and had rust repair over the years, but it was clearly losing the battle. It had been sitting outside for ten years on a farm unused, and I thought it could be a quick-and-dirty, in and out mechanical refresh and just drive the '7, warts and all.

As it sat.

I used to own a 1983 CJ7, with manual everything and a T-4 4 speed. It was the second vehicle I ever owned at age 18, and I loved that Jeep! Though I've owned a few other jeeps, that's one that I really loved, and I was getting a chance to own one again.  I couldn't pass it up.

I'll start at the beginning, but I need to stop typing this on the iPad.  It's taking forever. I'll fill you all in on the goings-on of the last couple of years along the way. Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Uncle Terry's 3A

Hey all...  My uncle has owned this Willys for nearly 35 years.  He used to use it regularly, until the block cracked.  He's going to repair it, retain the patina, and start enjoying it again! There's a picture of him with the Jeep as it sits now.  And, no, it's not for sale.  Talk about a BARN find... this one is STILL in the barn.  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1956 F-134 Willys Dual-Stage Fuel Pump Photos

As requested by a member of the Early CJ5 forums, here are pictures of the old fuel pump that I replaced during the resto-update I'm doing on my Jeep.

I'ts been in a box in the attic of my garage since I pulled it.  I am probably going to sell it at some point.  If you want to go all-original and you're in need of one, shoot me an offer.  It could probably use a rebuild, but it was working when I pulled it.  I was no longer in need of the two-stage system as I am converting to an electric wiper.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We all did it together!

I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for us in the 2012 FDIC Battle Of The Bands. We qualified to make the trip to Indianapolis to play at Lucas Oil Stadium for the chance to win $20,000. We are really hoping that we win, because we want to send two children to the IFSA Burn Camp with some of the proceeds. It is quite expensive, but we would really like to help make a difference in a couple of young burn victim's lives. Wish us luck!

And, please, take just a moment to "Like" us on Facebook. Visit today!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Vote for me!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012 FDIC Battle Of The Bands - I need your help!

I need your help. My band, Jack's High, has entered in the 2012 FDIC Battle of the Bands! Please go out and vote for us! Every vote counts, and it only takes a moment to register.

Please visit:

That address will take you directly to the site where you can vote. The top three bands as voted by you get to go to Indianapolis to play at Lucas Oil Stadium for a chance to win $20,000! Thanks in advance! Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Welcome, Henry Oliver Fabrizio!

1402 CDT
6lb. 3oz.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stay Tuned for more Jeep Tech

I just saw that under certain search circumstances, this page shows up on Google relatively high in the page rankings under certain search terms related to my 1956 Jeep CJ-5 Project.  So, I wanted to put in a brief update about it.  I am currently working on it right now, and I have some new things to post, but I haven't pulled photos off the camera yet.  I hope to have more information up in the next few weeks, to include my suspension upgrade, and installation of Herm The Overdrive Guy's dual-master cylinder conversion.  So, please stay tuned!  Things here have been busy, but I haven't forgotten this project!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Getting it rolling again, and getting it cleaned!

So, upon seeing just how dirty the Jeep was under the body, I decided to get the wheels back on to make it into a rolling chassis again, so that I could get it out into the driveway and power wash it.  Since I only had the brake drum off on one side, I decided just to put that wheel back on and only put the new drum on the other side.

Old 9" drum on passenger side. I left this on temporarily.

New 11" drum brake on driver's side. 
Note size difference between it and the old one on the floor.

Bearings freshly repacked, and new seals installed, I put the hub back on.

New drum, freshly cleaned with brake cleaner

There was a pretty big difference between how the freshly cleaned and packed bearing wheel spun versus the uncleaned original side.  Easily half the resistance in turning it, and it spun cleanly for quite a while.  Once I got both wheels back on, I was ready to roll it out to clean it.  Since the steering wheel is in the corner of the garage, I had to move the wheels left and right by hand to steer it out.  It was easily pushed out alone.

View showing new drum in place.

I spent about a half hour spraying off the frame with my Karcher power washer.  Quite a bit of crud came off, but I will have to take a second stab at it, using commercial degreaser and a brush.  Some of the stuff was just too caked on. I think that while I have the tub off, it would be a good time to straighten out any bent parts in the frame and shoot it with some fresh paint.  I was pleased to note no serious damage, and no rust, other than superficial surface rust, which should clean off relatively easily.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Removing the Tub -- The Willys is naked!

If you've been following along, you know that the body had been sitting on the frame for a short time.  So, I asked a couple of guys to come over to lend me a hand getting it off. It was a lot lighter than I thought it would be. Three of us had no issues lifting it up and putting it on my 4x8 utility trailer.  I was going to put it on saw horses, but I liked the ability to be able to move the whole mess around.

Prior to loading

Last time together for a while

Thanks, guys!

M.C. Escher Jeep? (thanks, JP)

Normally, I would give a few beers to the guys for helping, but since it was 10am, and neither guy drinks beer, I got away cheap.  I owe one of my Uncle Terry's soon-to-be-infamous Whiskey Sours to Unvy, though, and some Postum (yuck) to JP. 

Anyway, it went very smoothly, other than a missed wire to the taillights which we discovered before trying to move the body.  You can tilt up each corner and with a helper, determine if there are going to be any bind points or things still connected.  The wrong time to find out that you are still attached is when you have the body lifted three feet above the frame!

Here are some shots of the "rolling" chassis.  "Rolling" is in quotes, because I still have the front wheels off, the results of my attempted brake job.  More on that later.  The access to the components is amazing, and it should be a pleasure replacing parts as needed now.  This is how the Jeeps were assembled in the factory -- as a complete, rolling chassis.  The body was added near the end of the assembly line.

From the rear

Easy access to everything, including the MC

Engine, transmission, and Transfer Case Access

Transfer case with PTO.  Note E-Brake built-in

 Thirty-five-year-old farm crud (tm)

 As you can see, reaching where I need to in order to rebuild component systems will be much easier without the body.  What is obvious now, though, is that I need to get this thing cleaned.  The Jeep is pretty cruddy, as I neglected the first step in a normal Jeep rebuild -- the power wash.  The crud keeps falling into my face when I'm underneath it, and since I want to repaint the frame, I am going to have to get this thing washed.  More on what I did about that later...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wrenching on the Tub

This post should get me to where I actually am in the rebuild project, so all of my "back blogging" will be complete, and the posts will likely come much more infrequently.  I have been working a lot of overtime at the fire department, working part-time as a bartender/server at The Fifth Quarter, and playing in my band, Jack's High, so wrenching time has dwindled over the last week.  However, I have a few guys coming over this weekend to help me lift off the tub.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

From the factory, early Willys CJ5s had a mechanical fuel pump, whereas modern vehicles have an electric pump.  The benefits of the mechanical pump are that if the engine cuts out for whatever reason, the fuel flow immediately stops, whereas an electric pump may keep running, overfilling the carb float and potentially causing an engine bay fire.  The earliest models had a two-stage pump, in which the top stage pumped fuel, and the bottom stage creates a vacuum in the system to drive vacuum-powered accessories, most notably the wiper on the driver's side.  The vacuum-driven wipers can be problematic, as they have a leather flap inside which tends to deteriorate over time if it's not kept lubricated properly.

The old two-stage fuel pump
Also, the extra resistance of running a two-stage pump for something that admittedly doesn't run that often (a wiper), made me decide to switch to a later-model one-stage pump and convert the wiper to electric.  There were several factors involved in my decision to swap out the pump for a single-stage.  The original pump would likely need a rebuild, which cost nearly the amount of a new pump between parts and bench time. Originality was not a concern, either.  It felt like a no-brainer to convert to a single-stage.

The pump runs by means of a lever which is driven by a concentric on the cam. While it does "rob" a small amount of horsepower, and you don't have a lot to spare with only 74hp from the factory, I thought that the benefits outweighed the disadvantages.

The open hole, showing the cam

The new fuel pump, installed

That was my brief break from wrenching on the tub, and it was back to business.  Among the things I did next were:

  • Removal of steering wheel and gear
  • Removal of brake pedal and clutch pedal
  • Disconnected speedometer drive cable
  • Disconnected and labeled chassis wiring
  • Removal of body mount bolts
  • Removal of starter switch and disconnected high/low beam switch
  • Removal of under-seat fuel tank and seats
  • Disconnected throttle linkage (pedal and hand throttle) and choke cable linkage
  • Removal of floor plates
Steering wheel removed (that was a bear)

Floor plates removed

After all of those things were accomplished, I tilted the body left to right and front to back on the frame to ensure that I was completely disconnected from the frame.  I then removed the windshield and tailgate to save on weight when lifting the body off.  When that was done, I decided to remove the roll bar.  A few of the bolts snapped off, but that's not a concern at this point, as I am likely to replace the roll bar with a full cage somewhere down the road.

Now you see it...

...and now you don't!

So, back to the current state, as mentioned above.  I am having a couple of friends over to help me lift the tub off the Willys and put it on a utility trailer I have so that I will have complete access for the mechanical parts of my rebuild project.  I'll keep posting as things progress!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Front Clip Removal

The first step in taking off a CJ body is the clip removal.  There are several small things that you need to do to ensure it comes off smoothly.  You can completely unbolt the clip, but like the removal of the tub, you will need a hand to get it off.

The first thing that I did was remove the hood.  The hinge bolts were only very slightly stubborn, after a quick blast with my new best friend, PB Blaster.  Given enough time, it seems that there's nothing PB Blaster can't get unstuck.  It eats rust like Pac-Man gobbles pellets.  Anyway, this isn't a commercial, but if you're using WD-40, you're missing the boat.  Really.

Hood hinges being removed

Hinges on the parts washer. 
You can see the original color (orange) here.

Hood's off!

After I disconnected the battery, radiator hoses, grill bolts and hood strut (one's missing), I was ready to examine the wiring on the wiring block.  That was an Air Force issued item that my Uncle Terry installed to facilitate removal of the clip.  It definitely made things a lot easier, as there were only a couple of things to disconnect, after photographing and carefully labeling with masking tape and a Sharpe, to ensure I can reconnect everything properly.  There's a chance that when I go to reassemble this, I will just replace all of the wiring while I am at it, but for the time being, I thought that it would be prudent to treat it as though I was going to retain the original wiring.

Wiring Block.  Hood strut directly above.

After I disconnected all of the wiring, there were some bolts along the side of the clip edges.  I removed these, and replaced them in their holes to ensure they wouldn't get lost.  I mean, who knows how long it will be until I get everything back together.

Speaking of which, you might see some coffee cans in various locations in these photographs.  I use a different coffee can for each little subsection of hardware, such as hood mounting hardware, etc.  I label the can, throw the lid on it, and the parts stay together and more or less clean (or at least as clean as they were when I pulled them) until I need to reinstall them.  I have found that this system works as good as any.

I had a friend come over and lift the clip off with me.  It isn't that heavy, but it's very bulky, and flexes a little when you try to remove it alone.  It consists of the grill with lights, both fenders, and the radiator.  When the clip is off, the access you gain to the front end of the Willys is amazing!  After only forty-five minutes, this is what it looked like:

Originally, I thought that I would just take off the clip for better access to the master cylinder and brake lines. However, I was inspired by the ease at which the clip came off, and decided just to pull the whole tub off while I was at it, and just do things right the first time.  Besides, just removing the clip didn't give me the complete access to the master cylinder, though it did help a bit.  Since I have to replace the leaf springs (two are broken) as well as all of the brake lines, and really want to inspect the frame, it seemed like the right thing to do.  More later!