Since my last update, I’ve gotten a lot done on the Jeep. I finished the undercoating, got the tub mounted, the wiring harness roughed in, and the brackets mounted for the gas tank. I know it doesn’t seem like much has been done since September, but mounting the tub was a huge milestone in building the Jeep. To make sure it was level and even on the frame, I measured multiple times over the course of about 2 weeks. I also needed to figure out the shortest hight it could be to clear the transmission. It’s still higher than I really wanted, but without having to completely re-engineer the center hump, it was the only way to build it.
Roughing in the wiring harness was almost as big as a pain in the neck. Trying to find a secure and dry location for the fuse box, and then getting the wire run so it didn’t kink. I also loomed every run. I used about 3 rolls of 3M electrical tape just looming the wires. The looming too extra time, but the protection for the wiring should be worth it. Although the worse part of the installs over the last couple of months was drilling the cross members to hang the brackets for the gas tank. Laying on my back and getting pelted with glowing metal shavings just suck. Although the biggest issue I’m having right now is finding 1″ fuel line. I’ve got a couple of leads at this point, I need to follow up on them.
So I received the new tub from Willy Overland. The crate was a lot larger than I expected, but the tub was well protected. I know I couldn’t unload it by myself, so I went over to Home Depot, and got a couple of day laborers. We moved the 525lb crate into the garage where it sat while I finished up getting the engine fired up and tuned.
Once I was able to turn my attention to the tub, I needed to figure out what needs to be done for the undercoating. I know I’m going to have an issue with the heat coming off of the headers. We used a laser thermometer to see how hot the headers got, and they were running at a constant 475º. In the cab, the radiant heat is going to make the ride very uncomfortable. To waylay I looked at a lot of solutions from aluminum heat shields to ceramic paint. I chose to use Lizard Skin. This is a ceramic heat shield paint, that is quite interesting stuff. The instructions say you should spray it on. This stuff is like dealing with warm creamy peanut butter. A normal spray gun is not going to work, you really need to use theirs, or you can do what I did. I used foam brushes to smear this stuff on. Man this was like working with cold peanut butter. I had put a coat of POR15, so i needed to scuff the POR15, and then put a self etching primer on. After that, I was able to put a light coat of the Lizard Skin, and let it dry. Once dry, I put a 2nd coat of the Lizard Skin, and let that dry. This 2nd coat was myc thinker than the first, and this was followed up with a 3rd coat. I wasn’t able to get it perfect smooth, but I’m fine with that, since it’s on the under-carriage.
I have a feeling I’m still going to have heat issues, even though I plan to put the Lizard Skin on the inside of the tub. I’m thinking about wrapping the headers while I’m at it. I’ll probably use something like this: DEI Exhaust Wraps More info on this if I decide I need to do it.
The suspension was probably the most painful thing I have been through yet on this build-up. It wasn’t the installation that was so difficult, but getting all of the correct parts. I ordered the 4″ Skyjacker suspension lift from 4WD.com, and received it in a relatively short time. I also bought new shocks, since the CJ kits don’t come with shocks. Knowing that I was going to have to completely re-do the whole brake system, I went to Quadratec and bought a new pre-bent brake lines and Earl’s Steel Braided brake lines.
The issues I ran into were finding the correct spring plates. For this kit you need to get ’72 to ’75 Intermediate Jeep spring plates. I ended up going round and round with Quadratec, and finally gave up trying to get the correct spring plates from them. After 4 tries I ended up with 1 correct plate. The Dana 27 that is on the front of my Jeep had an oddly drilled plate on the right side. The hole pattern for this set of U-joints is wide on 1 side and narrow on the other. It needs to be this way because the pumpkin is real close to the knuckle.
This kit was not difficult to install. Really anyone can do it with just simple hand tools. I didn’t really lift the truck any more than what it originally was lifted. This kit allowed me to get rid of the 2 1/2″ lift shackles with 2″ lift springs. This is not a bad setup with the exception of long lift shackle can act as a lever and crack the shackle mounts. If your shackles are through the frame, they can crack your frame, and on a 40 year old Jeep, I really didn’t want to risk it while off road.
It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down and write in the blog. I’ve been busy with both my day job and working on the Jeep as I get time. I have gotten quite a bit done on the Jeep. The suspension is finished, I’ve fired up and tuned the engine, and I received the new tub. I will write more about the individule pieces in the coming days…
The engine is put back together. Personally, I don’t think it looks like the same engine. It’s amazing what a little paint and a couple of new pieces will do. I used all Fel-Pro gaskets and Edelbrock Performer Intake and Carb. A little RTV on the intake gaskets held them in place, along with beads of RTV front and back. We set the intake gasket straight down, and then tightened the bolts down in the pattern specified in the instructions. I then torqued the bolts down to 30 ft/lb. A little tip I wish I would have known about when I was installing the intake. Replace the 4 center bolts with a smaller head. There isn’t much clearance to get a socket in there. It was a real fight to get the torque wrench in there. Take a look at the pictures…
So just how do you fit a Jeep body into the bed of a Chevy Avalanche? With a sawz-all of course. This weekend, I chopped the body up, and hauled it off to a steel recycler. By the time I got back yesterday, it was kind of late and hot. I started cleaning. I took a steel brush hooked up to a drill, and started knocking everything loose. I’ve actually started to paint engine parts at this point. I’ve painted the valve covers using a Chevy Orange Hi-Heat paint. I also cleaned the headers. I prepped one side, and painted it using POR-15 products. I used the Marine Clean to clean all of the gunk left over after running the wire brush over them. I then sprayed it down with water to neutralize the cleaner. I then sprayed Metal Ready on the tubes to etch the metal, and start the conversion of the rust. After letting it sit on there for a bit, I sprayed it down with water, and was shocked with all of the scale and rust that just rolled off the tubes. I then painted the header tubes using Black Velvet high heat paint. While painting, I’m looking at all of my brush strokes, and was thinking it was going to look like shit. As the paint dried, all of my brush strokes disappeared. It looks almost like powder coating. Next week, hopefully I’ll get the engine finished up, Paint the headers on the other side, and touch up the paint that is chipping off on the engine.
Well I’ve been working on the Jeep getting it ready to pull the body off, and today was the magic day. A few days ago, while working on the Jeep decided to name it FrankenJeep. The thing is a beast with its Chevy 350, I have a feeling that it’s going to be a bit scary to drive the first time.
This was a good weekend for working on the Jeep. This morning I got the tub off of the frame, and it’s sitting on the floor just waiting to be cut up and recycled. With the help of one of my neighbors, we go the engine running. This thing was just screaming, and sounded the way a V-8 should. Oil pressure was good, We never really let it warm up enough to reach temperature, but there were no bad sounds, just a lot of smoke. The biggest issue we ran into was the carb had issues. I need to buy another one. In the mean time my neighbor lent me a carb that he had set-up. This carb was too big and set up to run rich, which is why it was smoking so much. I will post pictures in the gallery tomorrow.
It’s been a long time since I got a chance to work on the Jeep. I’ve come up with the goal of having the Jeep street legal by summer. This Jeep is a total rust bucket, which is why I decided that instead of trying to repair the tub, life would be easier to just replace it. Chances are I’m going to go with a Willys Overland tub. They are a little more expensive, but they weld in all of the crush sleeves, all holes drilled in stock locations, and the holes are also correctly angled. Willys Overland claims the tub can be installed in 45 minutes. We’ll see about that.
I had been going through hell because of all of the rusted bolts. Well I bought a Dewalt kit that came with a 18V cordless hammer drill, an impact wrench, and a reciprocating saw. I wasn’t expecting much out of that little impact driver, but man, that thing just popped the rusted bolts right out. I was very impressed. I was able to pull the whole front clip off today. Take a look at the gallery for everything that I was able to get done today. Tomorrow the goal is to get the bad steering column removed, get the pedals out, and I’m just going to grind all of the bolt heads off out of the body. That should be easier than trying to unbolt each body mount. I will be using all new stainless steel bolts on the Jeep, so I’m not worried about saving any of the current ones.
I should have an update tomorrow on whether or not I’ll be ready to order the new tub.
Well I was working on the Jeep today, and I wired up the starter and the key switch. I flipped the switch… The engine started turning over.
The fuel system has a quite interesting set up. Coming out of the carburetor, there was a rotting rubber hose going to a hard-line. The hard-line runs the length of the frame rail where it ends in another rotting rubber fuel line going to the sending unit in the gas tank. This sounds like a fairly normal set-up except for what is missing. Simple little things like a fuel pump and a fuel filter.
I put a new battery in place, and off the battery, I ran a new cable to the starter. Also I wired up the ignition switch. My neighbor was kind enough to loan me a fuel pump. To get gas to the engine, I used a jerry can and hoses to get the gas from the jerry can into the carburetor.
The next step I need to take is pull all wiring out of the Jeep, and install the harness that I had bought from Painless Performance. After that, I need to start builbing out the fuel system.
Ok, so I’m still waiting on the harness. I was hoping to get it before last weekend, but according to the tracking number it was shipped out last Friday… Almost a week after I ordered it. Yes, I’m a little anoid about this. Despite this, I started the demolition of the CJ-5. I ended up fighting the seats most of the day. I still have no idea how 1 bolt in the drivers side is attached, I ended up having to cut the bracket. It was no big deal since the seats were shot, and ended up in the trash anyway. I just need to grind the head off, and push the bolt through.
My goal for this past weekend was to get the seats, carpeting, and wiring completely removed, but it’s kind of apparent that that didn’t happen. The removal of the seats took much longer than I expected. Oh well I guess I know what I get to do next weekend.