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05/01/2007, 10:13:38 - Mission Accomplished
After working some long hours on this and other projects, I've finally achieved the goal I set a few weeks ago: Make the jeep driveable by May 1. Today I drove the jeep down the block and back to test the systems. Had the kickdown set wrong for the transmission so it wouldn't get out of 1st and the brakes as expected were weak. I'm still having a devil of time getting all the air out, mostly because the wheel cylinders are pitched backward 21 degrees as a result of pointing the pinion at the transfer case. My clever plan is to find a hill with something like a 21 degree slope and finish the bleeding. I'm also looking carefully to see if there are any leaks, because if there are I'll never get it right. I'm mostly done with the shock mounts, though I don't have any shocks in there right now. The front towers are going to be the Ford shock mounts mentioned here. They fit up nicely! I'm using the 1 inch hole and a steel spacer (much like I did with the outboard brackets) to mount it to the frame, and then I'll run a couple of small welds just to make sure it doesn't move side to side or rotate. The Ford mount is nice, because it bends outward, making up for the fact that the shocks need to be mounted out from their usual locations as well (since I'm running the Scout Dana 44 front axle). Two pics, one from two years ago, and the new one from today. Notice it's pointing the other way!

21/04/2007, 18:37:56 - It's Working!
... But not very hard. Yes, yesterday I successfully started the engine! After a failed attempt Thursday, things are looking up. Apparently the fuel pickup tube doesn't go anywhere near the bottom of my tank, because even two gallons of gasoline weren't enough to get picked up on level ground. Another two gallons on Friday apparantly did it, because Big Red started right up with that and the addition of a brand spanking new red top Optima battery (although $160 for a battery - come on). I'm putting the exhaust system back together and am going to set the steering column and add a nice new Grant steering wheel. Pretty cushy if I do say so myself. Otherwise, everything seems to be running peachily, and I'm probably still on track for the first road test in about 2 weeks.

04/10/2007, 20:16:52 - It's Official!
My jeep is now proudly claimed by Slovakia, thanks to some of their fabulous hockey pucks now supporting the rear body. Remember that beefy bumper I had built? Well, I had 'em build it too narrow. As a result, there's no way to mount the jeep in the stock (CJ or YJ) locations. It turns out it wouldn't have mattered anyway, since the parts yard so wonderfully cut out the rearmost mount locations. It must be fate! Anyway, it turns out that hockey pucks are pretty cheap little pieces of rubber just about the _perfect_ size to support some weight in the back. They aren't bolted in, but it's a good snug fit. I drilled a hole in the center of each puck, and they rest on a protruding bolt, so they aren't going anywhere. Also a funny shot of Darth Tom doing a little painting.

04/01/2007, 22:11:32 - The body is on.
I finished all the prep work - the new fuel and brake lines are run to the rear and the body is back on the jeep before spring break is over. I'm setting a goal of having the jeep driveable in 4 weeks - by May 1. With a lot of other things going on that's going to be tough. I've got a new experiment I'm running at school (a very MacGyverish project involving 30 laser pointers hacked apart to form a position detection grid) and I want to take my oral PhD exams soon. Even so, it's so close that I just have to finish it. It may done be DONE by May 1, but it should be safely driveable, and I can finish the remaining tasks over the final 6 weeks of the term.

15/03/2007, 11:30:57 - With a little help from my friends...
... the jeep gets a test fit of its new YJ tub! For those of you keeping score, this is just short of two years after the original body was removed. I need to test fit it so that I can repair a few of the frame body mounts which are rusted out. I plan to weld a couple of gigantic washers of the appropriate size to all the mounting points, which I guess amounts to a 1/8" body lift. I have to say that having a body back on the thing, even if just for a week is very inspiring. My goal over spring break is to get that body actually bolted on, which will be huge. After that I just need to buy some fenders and windshield, and we'll be ready to roll. Actually, who needs a windshield? Anyway, big thanks to some of my friends (Dave O, Wes, Jeff, Matt, and Phil from left) who stopped by to help out and have a homebrewed Porter.

03/10/2007, 18:54:54 - Back on Four Wheels Again!
After being on jack stands for almost eight months (hey, I was out of town for 4 of that) the jeep is back on four wheels! The new outboarding brackets look like they are holding up quite well, and I flexed the frame up and down for a while (easy to do that without shocks!), and nothing seems to be binding up. I ended up having to make spring plates for the new, wider wrangler front springs. The plan here was pretty simple: I used 4" flat stock, 1/4" thick to make the plate, and then welded a 6", 5/8" bolt to either side for (a) a place to connect the swaybar and shock and (b) to stiffen the plate. Looks like it's going to work pretty well! I'll fill the threads on the bolts so that the threads don't cut into the bushings for the swaybar or shocks. Ralph Hassel's Project CJ-7 describes some custom U-bolt plates for those interested. I think mine should work out ok, too. I am going to have the fill the threads, so I'm going to look around to see what looks like it'll work well for that.

28/02/2007, 19:26:24 - The rearmost front bracket
Just a pic of the new rearmost front bracket.

26/02/2007, 19:50:01 - One side finished
The recent weeks have found me trying to redo the front suspension. I've finished the second installment of the brackets. This time, they're made from 1/4 inch plate, with another plate welded to it to form a T. I then welded gussets of 1/4 inch diamond plate in to strengthen it, and tied it into the two existing large holes on the frame in front, and drilled some new holes in the back. To prevent the frame from squishing when I tighten those massive bolts, I've added steel spacers. I've finished the entire driver's side, and now just need to finish the rear bracket on the passenger side. Some pics of the recent work:

30/01/2007, 10:45:37 - Use your ShopVac to Bleed your Brakes!
I've always had trouble bleeding the brakes on the jeep. It seemed like I could never get all the air out and so the pedal would be low and mushy. I'm interested in trying a larger master cylinder, too. Anyway, when a friend's clutch system needed to be bled, I thought I'd try making an adapter for my wet/dry vac, so that I could apply reliable, continuous vacuum to the system. My dad has since told me that some people do this with engine vacuum, which also seems like a good solution. In any case, I bought a Craftsman Tool Adapter (right by the wet/dry vacs), a 1/2 inch by 1/8 inch galvanized bushing (in the plumbing department), and a 3/16 Barb - 1/8 MPT adapter (also in plumbing). I hooked up 3/16 clear tubing to the barb to hook up to the bleeder. The bushing fits on the inside of the Tool Adapter, and the barb just screws right into that. Total cost, about $11. To make sure the brake fluid doesn't go into the shop vac, you can use a brake bleeding cup that you can buy at sears for about 8 bucks. It allows you to apply vacuum, but it deposits the fluid in the sealed container. This is probably a good idea to avoid damage the shop vac and avoid atomized brake fluid in the air.

12/07/2006, 12:33:36 - What the heck have you been doing?
OK, ok... it's been a while since my last update. I was out for quite a while over the summer, and when I got back to school I was pretty busy with fencing and teaching. I finally turned a corner with getting reasonably caught up/ahead in my real life, so I could come back and start working on the jeep. So what's up? Well, last time I was working, I had made some brackets to outboard the springs 2 inches on each side. When I went to hook it up, I was 1/4 inch off on each side? How can that be? The centerline for the bolts on the jeep frame is 27.5 inches, and the centerline for bolting them to the scout axle was 31.5 inches. It's a mystery! Well, turns out that the sides of the jeep frame (or mine at least) seems to cant inward (topward) about 2 degrees. Over the roughly 7 inches between the frame and the bottom of the leaf springs that pushes them out (7 * tangent of 2 degrees = ) .25 inches. What to do? Well, one solution is just to move the holes outward 1.75 inches instead of 2, which will translate to the correct 2 inches at the bottom of the springs. But, I don't like that the springs will basically be torqued under spring compression. Since the bottom of the frame doesn't seem to be canted with the rest of the frame, maybe I'll just keep the holes 2 inches apart at the top, and make sure the springs end up dropping totally vertically. That way, there's no twisting forces under spring compression, and the springs should last somewhat longer. My old rear springs were torqued under compression. You can read about the horrifying results in an earlier journal entry (short version: all but one leaf were broken and useless, the remaining one cracked). Anyway, I'll make a wood mockup of the bottom plate and see if this is going to work at all, and I'll post the results soon. Pic on the left is the raggedy frame just after I removed the double frame. Pic in the center is painted frame with new beefy front bumper attached. Pic on the right is the basic design of the outboard brackets.

16/06/2006, 15:36:03 - Outboarding the front springs
So the next big step is outboarding the front springs - moving the spring mounts outside the frame due to the wider Scout II Dana 44 axles. The previous owner/chimp welded sections of another CJ frame outside the other, blocking in the motor mounts and a few other things. There was also a little bit of movement in the frame, which over time could have caused a fatigue break. In any case, it was in inelegant solution. So to fix it, I'm making some mounts out of 1/4 inch angle iron and flat stock. I'm more-or-less following the mounts at Ralph Hassel's CJ-7 build site with some minor differences. On the left is a pic of the in-progress front spring hanger outboards. On the right is the jeep as it stands.

06/01/2006, 09:28:18 - The rear wheels are back on!
After stealing a couple hours most days this week, I've finished welding up the rear supports, made the rear bumper, and welded the other crossmember back on. The rear bumper is quite stout at 1/4 inch steel. I had Delta Welding cut a notch in the bottom so it will clear the spring hangers and bend four 3/16 brackets which I welded to the piece. It's held on with six half-inch grade 8 bolts. At some point I'm going to bolt a rear bumper to this piece (which should just be the rear crossmember, not the bumper), and those bolts will also go through the brackets for extra reinforcement. With my handy new high-lift jack I was able to lift it back up so I could put the rear wheels on. The axle is centered to within 1/64 of an inch, so that's going to have to be good enough. I still need to set the pinion angle, but I need some friends to sit on the frame when I do that so I know it's sitting near what it should be when the body and other assorted pieces are put back on. Judging from the front shocks, it's sitting about 1 and 1/2 inch higher than usual without all the extra weight. Left is the beefy bumper, and right is the jeep as it stands now. By the way, I threaded holes for the gas tank skidplate into the bumper instead of welding nuts on, since it's already 1/4 inch anyway. If I don't think it looks strong enough later I will fix that.

22/05/2006, 21:07:04 - A weekend of arcading and manifold installations
In addition to the jeep project, I had also been working on building a MAME based arcade cabinet. This weekend Chris and I finished it. We had most of it built, but we made a new button deck, reinforced it, and put in the marquee (complete with blacklight). The pic on the left is my arcade machine which proudly sits in the house bar. Otherwise, I finished up a little on the jeep. I mounted the new exhaust manifold and intake assembly on the 258. This is a hard job with the old manifolds because both are cast iron and heavy. I eased my job with the clever use of two studs that I put in on the top to hold most of the weight while I put enough bolts in there to do the job. I highly recommend doing this if you are putting those heavy manifolds on. The new exhaust manifold is from 1a auto parts and the piece itself is made in China. It's mostly the same with one strange tube runniing vertically through the center.

14/05/2006, 22:21:00 - Progress on the engine detailing
This weekend we started to put the rear end back under the jeep. Unfortunately, one of the u-bolts I had had damaged threads that I didn't originally notice. So, now I need to but a new set of U-bolts. That's fine. I didn't really like the others anyway. This is just going to push back the rear end install another week or so. I also decided that I'm not going to switch to wrangler springs right now in the front (I already have in the rear). It's just a little too much work right now to do that. I'm just going to build the outboard brackets enough that I can switch later when I want to. So instead, we spend the weekend detailing the engine. It was looking pretty bad before. So we pulled and repainted the valve cover, and pulled the intake and exhaust manifolds. After brushing the rust of the exhaust, I discovered several cracks, at least one of which goes all the way through. So I ordered a new exhaust manifold. I thought about switching to headers, but I think eventually I'm just going to put a better motor in anyway, so there isn't too much point in upgrading this one too much. I purchased the exhaust manifold from 1aauto parts for $130 on ebay, and we'll just have to see how good it ends up being. So, not great progress, but good progress this weekend. On the left is the jeep at the beginning of the weekend, at the end is how it sits now.

05/07/2006, 22:59:48 - The Hammer of Justice
This was a good weekend for the jeep. Friday evening and most of the day Saturday was spent getting the transfer case ready for reattachment and putting the rear frame supports on. The transfer case went on pretty easily. The rear frame took quite a while, but in the end we got it on. It took the Hammer of Justice (a short handled 8 lbs sledge) to pound to bushing collar out of those wrangler springs so whey would accept the new polyurethane bushings. Hopefully very soon I'll get the axle back underneath the jeep! Left is the jeep as it stood yesterday morning, and on right is Chris and I exhalting in our victory. Chris wields the Hammer of Justice.

05/01/2006, 20:33:42 - Painting the frame and a short distraction
With the rear frame reinforcement pieces near completion, Chris (bottom left) painted the rear frame with Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer. I had coated the rearmost 4 feet of the inside of the frame with a rust converting primer. So now I just need to finish some minor welding and grinding on the rear reinforcement pieces and we should be able to get that rear suspension (finally) on. Also, the rear pinion yoke made by Omix-Ada arrived, and boy is that part junk. The casting has big holes in it! Rob had warned me that their parts weren't so good (after I already placed my order), so I'm not even going to bother trying to replace it. Now I'm just going to see where I can get a real Spicer yoke. Also this weekend, we replaced the wheel studs on Dan's Subaru after he broke two of them replacing a flat tire. The books recomment pressing the old one out with a socket and C-Clamp, but we twisted a 2 inch C-Clamp like a pretzel doing that. So we got a bigger C-Clamp and had the same problem. Here's our solution: when you put a lot of force on the wheel stud with the C-Clamp, you can LIGHTLY tap the end of the C-Clamp to add a lot more force without much risk of ruining bearnings. Just tap-tap, then tighten the C-Clamp again, the tap-tap, tighten, and so on, until you get to the point where you can just use the C-clamp. We actually couldn't use a socket in back because there wasn't enough room, so I welded two pieces of angle iron to make a piece that would do the same thing but required less room on one side.

28/04/2006, 15:29:17 - Tranmission stablizer stud pictures
Below is a mostly assembled picture of the transmission stabilizer stud for my 80 CJ7 with auto transmission, though I think they use the same mounting (or pretty darn close) for many years/kinds of jeeps. The link further down the blog shows the schematic assembly. I ordered the washers parts 46 and 47 in the pictures from the jeep dealer. Basically these are heavy duty washers, about 1/8 inch thick, and both wide enough to fit the bushings (about 1 and 5/8 inch diameter). The bottom one fits on the stud, and the hole measures 1/2 inch. The top one doesn't, and I measure that hole at about 3/8 inch.

27/04/2006, 23:06:08 - Vacuum diagram for 1980 CJ-7 with 258 engine
In addition to the many other things I've got going on (transmission, transfer case, rear pinion seal, repairing the frame) I've started looking into what I need to fix the emissions/fuel system in the front. I found the right grommet for the PCV valve, and I've started working on what I need to do to get the EGR system working again. In the process I found a good site from Dale Becket (http://home.sprynet.com/~dale02/list.htm) with diagrams and descriptions of a 1985 CJ7 with 258. I'm posting the vacuum diagram for a 1980 CJ7 with 258 from my factory service manual. Also, as I prepare for the YJ Tub Swap, I've found these diagrams of the CJ7 and the YJ Frame Dimensions.

23/04/2006, 22:03:24 - Bad transfer case
As I cleaned up the transfer case early this week and went to replace the gasket on one of the covers, I found little metal pieces inside. Looks like 3 different gears have at least one cracked tooth each, so I need to have that rebuilt. Looks like something that would be fun to try if I had more time, but I've got too much going on, so I'm having that done instead. I did replace the pinion seal on the rear axle, so that leak should be stopped. I think I'm going to wait and see about the axle seals. I can't remember whether one was leaking or not. I'll check it a few hundred miles after I get it all assembled. It isn't that much work to pull the rear end. I also started putting the frame back together. I decided not to flip the shackle hangers, mostly because I reinforced the questionable section so it's quite strong now, and because it was easier to figure out where the holes should go. Now I know everything is where it is supposed to be. This week I hope to get the transmission and transfer case finally put back on and working, and then finish the rear frame and put on the rear suspension.

18/04/2006, 19:49:18 - Fitting the transmission up
Just a quick note on the transmission progress... The transmission, flywheel cover plate, and linkage is fitted up. I had been having a problem with figuring out how the transmission stabilizer stud fits between the long metal piece and the skid plate. Looks like the thing just fits in there loosely, after looking at a friend's old CJ. Fighting misinformation is probably the hardest part of this project. In any case, the transmission is mated up and off the hoist. Today I painted it, and I have to say that when you finally paint the parts everything LOOKS good, and that's a big help for morale.

04/11/2006, 18:13:11 - Transmission Mount Assembly Picture
Since whoever had this jeep before I did didn't feel like putting everything back together correctly, I am left with many messes to clean up from people who took the easy path (like Darth Vader). One of those messes is putting the transmission mount assembly back together again correctly. The transmission mount on there is different than it is supposed to be, with new holes drilled into the transmission skid plate to accomodate it. I'm raising the transmission and transfer case back to stock location (since I've got a new CV driveshaft in the rear anyway), so I intend to put everything back the way it is supposed to be. Anyway, the guy at the parts store had this great graphic for the 6-cylinder CJs of various years. Mine is a 1980, so this works for me. Your mileage may vary. Take a look at this graphic of the Transmission Mount Assembly. Warning, this jpg is about 350k. The pic also includes schematic for the manual transmission and the engine mounts. By the way, looks like the second Timesert torque converter repair is going to work. I was able to torque the bolts to specification.

04/09/2006, 18:48:12 - Torque Converters Are Fun!
Well, we put the flywheel on, but when I put the transmission back to the engine and bolted the flywheel to the torque converter, the very last bolt hole was stripped. Oh, the fun of working on these things! I strongly suspect that the last transmission shop that did work on it stripped it out, and didn't bother to take it back out and fix the damage. After talking with Rob of Rob's Four Wheel Drive in Goleta, it sounded like I could retap the thread. He recommended Keenserts, but the local shop didn't have 'em, so I used Timeserts instead. The first one didn't work so well, because there isn't all that much room in the torque converter hole before the tap runs out of space. My second attempt looks better, but I'll have to wait until the lock-tite is dry. Because the hole was short, I had ground off about .1 inch of the Timesert, but this was a mistake, since it needs that bottom part to lock in. This time I threaded it in all the way, expanded it, and then ground the top .1 inch off instead. It looks much stronger, but we'll have to see. Pic on the left is countersinking the hole (which turned out to be unnecessary), and pic on the right is the second attempt, with that hole painted black so I can spot it easily. Oh, further fun is that I don't have a TF-999, I have a TF-904. There is some debate over which ones came with the 80 CJ7 with 258 motor, but in any case that's what I have. Someday I'll rip out the jeep engine and tranny, and put in a chevy 350 and an overdrive automatic transmission.

31/03/2006, 18:33:19 - Rain, Rain, Go Away.
Yesterday Chris and Dan came over to help with the jeep. Despite the jeep looking pretty much the same as it did, there is some improvement. We replaced the flywheel and painted a bunch of stuff. There are still a few things left to do, but the cursed rain has halted progress. In the meantime, the old pickup has lost its brakelight switch and is leaking coolant out the drain valve. Attached are pictures of Dan and I working and the cursed rain.

27/03/2006, 19:19:56 - The Big Week
This week I'm on spring break, and in addition to getting some school work done, I'm trying to get a lot of work done on the jeep. With a little luck, the rear suspension will be fixed, a good portion of the frame will be painted, and the engine and transmission will be separated, and the flywheel replaced. Today I also picked up my flywheel inspection cover (or whatever's it's called) for the Chrysler 999 transmission. I've had this big old hole that opens up right to the flywheel, which always made me nervous when I went mudding. Now, it'll be all better. The part number, for those looking, is marked as 52118136, and it cost me like $8 from the dealership. Pic on the far right is one of the spring plates for the rear suspension, halfway through welding. I used a 5 x 4 x 3/16-inch plate, and drilled the appropriate holes for my u-bolts. To stiffen it up (where the factory plates have a channel bend), I welded an inch-wide piece of 3/16-inch steel. I thought about welding a similar piece on the other sides, but I didn't. If it doesn't seem strong enough, I'll just take them off and weld that piece on. It's raining today and probably all day tomorrow, so I'll be working inside and probably won't get much done. In order to combat the dreaded leaf-wrap that seems to be a perpetual problem with spring-over-axle lifts, I bought these MORE 7-inch spring pads for the Dana 44. I didn't see them on Four Wheel Drive Hardware's site (where I usually buy my parts), but I did find them at knowwhere2jeep.com. They are 1/4-inch steel, so pretty beefy. They fit up on the scout axle very nicely, and they are only $45. Part number there is MORE-98105.

15/03/2006, 11:44:02 - I have become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
Well, with the aid of my new engine hoist, anyway. Thanks to a special from Pep Boys, I am the proud new owner of a 2-ton engine hoist, which I will use to hold up my transmission and transfer case while I replace the flywheel and remove the spacers between the transmission skid plate and the frame. Someone had put in 2 inch pieces of square steel tubing to lower the transmission. This helped the driveline angle problems caused by the spring-over lift (a little), but caused stress between the engine and transmission. I believe this is responsible for the persistent oil leak (the valve cover rubbed against the rear firewall, jostling it loose and causing oil to drip down) as well as possibly being a contributing factor to two transmission failures (although that remains very much speculation). In any case, being able to pull the transmission is going to be very helpful, and since there is no body on it, it's just as easy (probably easier) to do it from above.

02/09/2006, 11:55:45 - Getting back to work
Now that nobody reads this anymore since I haven't posted since before Christmas, it seems time to put in all the details of what I've been up to for months. First, I was gone for a month for Christmas Break, so no work there. Since I've been back, I've been making some great progress though.

The big news is that I've ordered and received all the parts for the rear suspension and (drumroll) purchased a YJ tub from a California driven 1989 Wrangler. Dan and I drove up to Rancho Jeep Recycling (http://www.ranchojeeprecyclers.com/) in Rancho Cordova (near Sacramento). It was a 6 hour drive from here to there, and 6.5 back. That was a pretty long drive in the old Ford Ranger, and we were lucky not to have any mechanical trouble with the truck. The tub fit nicely in the back, not even hanging out over the tailgate, and only a little out the side. It's in great condition, and a steal at $500. Even with gas it was still a very good deal. Rancho Jeep Recycling seems well stocked, so if you are in California and need some used jeep parts that you're having trouble locating, this is a good spot.

Anyhow, I'll be taking a few weeks off and then I should be able to put the rear frame and suspension back together. Here's a pic of the new tub sitting next to the old one. I will, of course, be repainting it after I do some minor repairs on it.

10/11/2005, 10:21:27 - Are you just fiddling around or what?
No, I'm working slowly, but I'm working. Yesterday I started work on the other frame reinforcement piece. It sure is easier after you've done it once. That side is in about the same condition as the driver's side rail. Hopefully only a couple of more hours to finish that one and make sure everything is straight. I think I'll order those rear suspension parts soon! This is an action shot of cutting the steel with my 4 inch angle grinder - which, by the way, works great if you don't have anything better to work with. The cuts are actually pretty straight, and I use my bench grinder to straighten them out when done. By the way, I've not seen any objection from anybody about turning the rear spring hangers around.

09/06/2005, 15:17:00 - Rear Spring Hanger Reversal
Why not point the rear spring hangers forward instead of the back? It seems to me that moves the bolt point forward, marginally increasing the strength. I might have problems at the very end because of the way the one-piece I bought is cut (there's a funny notch). I can probably do it, but seems like it would be a lot stronger the other way. I'll solicit opinions on this and get back. Here's a rough drawing of what I have in mind. The right side is the end of the frame.

09/05/2005, 19:07:12 - A Beefy Arm Back There For Good Measure
The new rear, drivers side reinforcement frame rail is nearly complete. I finished the last of the tack welds today, and I'll weld it up tomorrow or the next day. The whole thing is made from 3/16" steel, and weighs 18 lbs now, probably a little more when finished. I still need to add some more steel to the bottom. Sometimes I feel like I'm overengineering this thing, but better too much back there than not enough. The title quote is from Trogdor, the Burninator.

27/08/2005, 14:53:49 - The rear drivers side frame is cleared
At last, I've removed all the questionable metal on my way to reinforcing this part of the frame. It is awfully tempting to just buy a new frame...

08/08/2005, 23:08:06 - Irony is Breaking Down At The Hardware Store and Not Being Able To Fix Your Car
So today I'm running errands, going over to Home Depot to see if they have steel in larger sizes than the neighborhood hardware store. No. Ok, cool, I'm on my way out and go to start my car. Hmm, no starter - so after a little diagnostic work I discover that the wire terminal connector is broken - no problem, right? I'm in front of this HUGE hardware store. They'll have one. No. I couldn't believe it! I had to walk to Kmart to get the piece. The clerk looked at me like I was crazy when I asked, too. Anyhoo, here's a recent picture of the finished axle. I'm still working on reinforcing the rear frame. It isn't easy - those plates I bought will be a little helpful, but they aren't going to do the trick by themselves.

07/12/2005, 16:48:05 - What's new?
I haven't posted for a while, but I've still been busy. The rear crossmember is off, and I'm stripping the rear axle for painting. It leaks a little around the yoke seal, so maybe after I get everything put back together I'll have that replaced and new bearings pressed on. Today I cut one of the perches off, and I'll put some new ones on 3/4" out so it doesn't put so much strain on the Jeep. I also found some frame reinforcement plates from Tellico4x4.com. They were cheap, and made from 3/16" steel, so hopefully they do the job.

23/06/2005, 17:24:53 - Guinness is my spinach
I do not eat enough vegetables. So it is no wonder that it took me so long to hammer that accursed spring hanger bolt out. Today, however, I inadvertently decided to have a Guinness while I beat the living daylights out of that bolt. Torching out the bushings may have helped, too, but I really think that it was the Guinness that gave me strength (and made me feel a little ill after an hour of pounding). Other methods included the C-Clamp Press (pictured below), which amusingly twisted 2 of my c-clamps like a pretzel. I still think the C-clamp was a good try, though. Anyhow, this is what has bedeviled me and kept me from making any progress, so now hopefully I'll pick up the pace again, assuming the other spring isn't stuck as well. Pictured below was my c-clamp/socket press and my broken spring, all removed (yes, I was driving on THAT spring).

24/05/2005, 23:35:24 - You Came Here In That Thing? You're Braver Than I Thought...
Well, I'm having a lot of fun at this restoration thing. The more I take apart, the more I find that I'd like to replace. For instance, the rear suspension was _really_ messed up. As I've taken it apart, not only have I found that the frame is rusted away, but more fun things like: the rear shock plate (about 1/4 inch thick steel) is bent and cracked, and the top leaf spring is also stress fractured! Hooray. I always knew that I was very lucky I didn't die driving this thing, but I didn't quite know HOW lucky. Those of you who have taken a ride, know this: the jeep was PERFECTLY fine when you rode in it. Honest. I guess this is one good reason why Scott Peterson recommends moving the perches in 3/4 of an inch. I did not, and my springs were torqued at a _very_ funny angle. (In my defense, I was 18 and foolish when I last had a good chance to examine this issue. I've known better for a while.) For those of you who know the title quote (from Star Wars, what else?) you'll be interested know that I've ordered a fun new bumper sticker from makestickers.com for my Jeep when it is all finished...

16/05/2005, 00:25:33 - Redoing the rear frame and suspension
I actually didn't get that much done today. I removed the tires and shocks, and the gas tank was removed a few days ago. Shaun had some good ideas for repairing the frame. A couple of large pictures here and here to show Shaun what's going on. Anyone else with suggestions on what I ought to do to fix this problem (or just to say a few words of encouragement) can drop me a line: jabalino@umail.ucsb.edu.

13/05/2005, 17:46:59 - Got a little dry rot there, boss.
The frame in the back is rotten much worse than I thought. Patching is probably not going to be an option. Best bet, I think, is to fabricate some frame, cut the old part off, weld the new part on, and then reinforce it. On the good-bad scale, this is way on the bad.

05/09/2005, 10:24:38 - Victory is mine!
Last night I had some friends over and we lifted the old body off. We ripped the windshield off the body, and unfortunately we broke the glass while doing so, but that's ok; there were some chips in it anyway, so it's just as well to get some new glass on the new windshield anyway. The body came off very smoothly, I didn't miss anything, but because of how I parked it we ended up having to lift it OVER the engine. Four friends helped lift it off, so thanks to Chris, Dan, Nick and Adam. We did have a party afterward to celebrate. :) We also dicussed the possibility to moving to The Principality of Sealand in a few years.

05/04/2005, 17:57:22 - Ah ha! The last bolt is out.
Looks like it's going to rain, so I had to skip fencing practice to take the last bolt out! And like the rest, it wasn't easy. I had to weld the nut to the body mount channel so it would stay put while I removed the bolt. I couldn't get the air wrench on it, so I had to use the breaker bar. Nothing like a nice set of tools to work with! Anyway, the bolt is out, and the body will come off. I think I'll have a party.

05/02/2005, 20:08:47 - Just a few more nails...
A long time ago I heard a story thirdhand about one of the janitors in my high school. This guy was a nice guy, but one day a friend of mine saw him walking along with his head down, obviously preoccupied and mumbling to himself, "Just a few more nails..." So "Just A Few More Nails" has come to mean nearing the finish line of a project with just a very few things left undone. I spent some time tonight working on removing the body mount bolts, and [whew] those things are pesky. Not one has come out cleanly, but that is to be expected. I think that there is only one more left, and then removing the gas filler hose, and the body comes off. I need to clear some space so I can set it down somewheres in the side driveway. No pics today, since the thing is visibly unchanged. Instead, I'll post a couple pictures of my old German Shepherd Indiana. Maybe this summer when the jeep is done I will get a new dog.

30/04/2005, 17:56:29 - Ready to remove the tub
I spent a couple of hours finishing up the prep to remove the tub. The grille, fenders, and rollover valves have been removed. Last thing is to remove the filler tube to the gas tank, then the body mount bolts (those that aren't rusted out completely) and then it's off! I had some trouble getting those rollover valves out - mounting little bolts on the fender is a good recipe for bolts to rust solid. I had to tear the rear drivers side fender off. It didn't take much to tear that off. About the only thing holding it on was an angle brace I put on there a couple of years ago.

29/04/2005, 09:52:10 - Vewwy, vewwy, cwose to the wabbit.
The tub is very nearly ready to come off! Today I removed the dash wiring, pedals, and heater ducting. I was amazed at how rusty some of the pedals were! One of the next big steps is finding the paint that I'm going to need. I'm leaning toward John Deere's Blitz Black tractor paint, but I'd have to drive down to Oxnard (45 miles) to get it. But I'm not so sure that I want to use rustoleum for this job. Anyway, the tub can probably come off this weekend if I so choose, but we'll see how it all goes.

17/04/2005, 22:01:23 - Removal of the dash
Today I spent about an hour removing the dash. The dash is held on by about ten or so Torx size T-27 bolts. Amazingly, none stripped out while I removed them. The wiring behind the dash is in bad shape, and it's going to take some time to try and figure out what needs to be fixed. Many of the dash lights are broken and will need to be rewired.

13/04/2005, 18:18:09 - The steering column is removed
I just removed the steering column. The top electrical connection had a sort of bar that had to be pried up before the socket could be removed. Many of the parts were rusty (including my new Borgeson steering column!) and will need to be brushed, sanded, and repainted. The great part was that I only had to remove 8 bolts to remove the whole steering column!

13/04/2005, 15:37:29 - Making a decision
When rebuilding a Jeep CJ, you have a number of options. You can order a new fiberglass tub (2 grand), you can order a new steel tub (3.5 grand), or you can get a Wrangler tub (~5-1.5 grand). I am still not sure. I now have a line on a wrangler tub in california for 1.3 grand. That's pretty steep for a used body, but a galvanized steel tub would be nice. The swap takes a little work. See what I'm up against at Dan's site or can4x4's site.

04/10/2005, 21:30:49 - A little more progress
Today was a nice sunny Sunday afternoon. You can't tell from the pictures, but the driveway where the jeep is parked is nicely shaded by the house in the afternoon, so it's very nice to work out there when its warm. Today I removed the taillights, and the wiring for them was in pretty bad shape. One will have to be completely replaced, and I had to hammer the side markers off. No loss there, they needed to be replaced anyway.

04/07/2005, 20:20:02 - Days 1 - 4
So far, I've taken the seats out...

I took the tire carrier off...

and I've cleared the radiator, grille, and fenders for removal...

04/04/2005, 21:37:28 - The Jeep Adventure Begins
Hello everyone. Many friends and family have endured me and my dedication to my 1980 CJ-7, affectionately known as "Big Red" (or as Hillary puts it, the Big Red Death Trap). Well, Big Red has been with me for ten years (very nearly to the day), and we've been from coast to coast together. This blog will chronicle the rebirth of Big Red from rust bucket to whatever it becomes at the end. Check in now and then, and see how it all goes.

This image was taken shortly after I bought the jeep: