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Jeep CJ-7 Year 5-8


In 2000 I was pretty busy with work and moving into a new house.  When I moved to a new state, I didn't put the CJ on the road because I was worried about the inspection.  The CJ was pretty rusty and had scads of patches all over the place.  I was sure it was a safe vehicle, but I heard Connecticut inspections were legendary for bizarrely nit picky rust inspections.  (I heard first hand accounts of them wanting factory drain holes welded up because, "well, those are holes and we have the ULTIMATE POWER to decide!!!!")

After a year of sitting in my garage, I found out that CT did away with saftey inspections, but required emissions inspections.  So I put it on the road.  It failed for the first emissions inspection because after sitting in 90 degree heat and idling for 20 minutes, it left a DROP of oil under the engine and they failed me on the spot.  (pun intended) They wouldn't even test it.  Arrrrrgghhhhhhh.

So I grit my teeth and decided to do a bunch of work.  I dropped the oil pan and installed a new rear main seal, high volume oil pump, timing chain and gears timing chain before and afterand the Dana 44 rear I had lying around.  I also installed used rancho 2.5 springs.   I sandblasted the rear and installed new outer bearings and resealed the whole thing.  Luckily, the ratio was the same as my front Dana 30.  They say the Jeepster Commando rear perches are the same width as the early CJ, but I found that the perches were about an inch wider.  I fudged a bit with the rear shackles with spacers to make up the difference. 

When I find the pictures, I'll post them!!!!

The CJ lift was real nice after the new springs were installed.  And the rear was sweeeeet sounding after having to listen to the clankity clunk grinding of the old AMC 20 rear.  I'm surprised that thing never blew up.  It was that noisy.
CJ with the rancho 2.5 springs
I also painted the top black.  I was tired of the glaring white.  I installed the new fiberglass rear liftgate too.  I'll detail how I did it with the nasty fiberglass sometime soon.  (Basically, you have to trim and sand the crap out of the flange where the gasket goes so the gasket will fit over and not bulge out.  Lots of trimming to fit the glass in too.)

While working underneath the Jeep I really got a good look at the frame rust and I was not encouraged.  It had no holes when I first got it in '95, but now there was a two foot wide hole on one side. Frame Rot It was on the inside part where the frame is thin sheet metal anyway, but the rot was spreading. 

Another problem: advancing body cancer.  There were bubbles forming in the front fenders.  I knew this would happen, I just skimmed over the holes with bondo.  It needed new fenders.  The tub was really starting to turn to dust.  More patching was needed, but I was running out of good metal to attach new metal too.  But in keeping with the spirit of yankee thriftiness, I searched for old office furniture that yielded some sheet metal.  Ha Ha!  No, really, I cut up an old metal bookshelf they tossed out at work and did some patches.  On top of some other patches. Yep.

Dana 44 narrow track in the ol' CJ

I finally finished it and got it on the road.  I drove it to work many days out of the week.  Then, in 2003, the Wrangler Rubicon was introduced by Jeep.  I decided to trade my Nissan Crewcab for it and also get rid of the CJ.  I did this partly because I didn't like the Nissan, I wanted to keep having a Jeep, and I wanted to switch all my free time attention to my GTO rather than a losing battle with the CJ rust.

Home | About | Links
Jeep Main | CJ-7 Year 1-4 | CJ-7 Year 5-8 | Ford V8 into a CJ | Scrambler | Rubicon
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Dave Miles
November 2004
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