Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Been a year since I've updated.  I still have the Jeep, but haven't driven it in quite a while.  Here's the short version.

After it was repaired in my last posts, I ended up daily driving it to work for about 2 months.  It really sucked driving in the heat of Atlanta, GA... but it was a Jeep!  I could drive with the doors open.  It was cool.  I didn't care about sweating my ass of on my way home.

I ended up taking it to a Jeep get-together that is put on every year by Southern Jeep CJ sales and enthusiast group on Facebook.  Had a great day showing off the only DJ5 that was there.  Here's some pics from that day...

So on the way home from that gathering, about 1 mile from my house... something loud clanged in the engine and then it started banging and running rough.  I managed to drive it home and get it into the garage, but I was fairly confident something in the bottom end broke.

I ran a compression test on each cylinder and they all checked out good except for one that had maybe 15-20 lower than the others.  The sound only occurs when the engine is under pressure.  If I remove all sparkplugs and spin the motor with the starter, the clanging sound is not there.  I pulled the valve cover off and couldn't see anything wrong in the top end.  The sound for sure sounds like it's coming from the bottom end.

So..... the Jeep sat in the garage for almost a year since I knew the motor needed to be pulled and possibly rebuilt.  We're trying to get out of debt at the moment, so it didn't make sense for me to dump more money into this now.

I contemplated doing many things with it over the year:
  1. Pull the existing motor and rebuild it myself...great learning experience for me.
  2. Pull the existing motor and have a shop rebuild it
  3. Have a shop pull it and rebuild it
  4. Pull the motor myself, sell it for cheap on Craigslist as a rebuildable, and pick up a Chevy 250 I6 which is a directly drop-in replacement for my I4.
  5. Pull the motor myself, sell it for cheap on Craigslist, and pickup a cheap Chevy 350 to drop in its place.
  6. Pull the motor myself, ,sell it on Craigslist, and convert the Jeep to an electric vehicle.
And reasons for / against each of em:
  1. This is probably the one I'm going with.  I have the time, it's probably the cheapest option, and I can learn a lot from this process.
  2. This would be quite a bit more expensive, but cheaper if I pulled the motor myself.  I know it would be done right, but I'll pay a ton for that.
  3. This will just cost a lot more than #2, but probably would get the Jeep back on the road the fastest.
  4. This is also a very cheap option, and honestly faster than #1.  I'm still considering this.  If I can find a freshly rebuilt, well-running Chevy 250 that I can snag for a good price, I may still go for this since its the fastest to get done, it's very cheap, and it would be a decent upgrade from the 4-cylinder.  Trouble is I was looking to possibly drive the Jeep to/from work on occasion.  A 6-cylinder would impact gas mileage (not that it was all that great with the 4-cylinder anyway, but still.)
  5. This would be moderately expensive depending on the price of the SBC I find.  If I get one that's just pulled from a Chevy truck but still running, that would be pretty cheap...but may not have much life in it.  I could find a "built" SBC and drop that in, but that could easily be a few thousand dollars for the motor.  Plus I'd need to figure out how to mount the damn thing. Custom motor mounts and whatnot.  Not sure I need this much power in this Jeep.  I'm not looking to race it or do any serious offroading or anything.
  6. This would be awesome for Atlanta commuting and short driving around town.  The simplicity of the components and low maintenance would be ideal.  But the limited driving distance and insane cost of doing this makes it unreasonable.  The batteries alone for this conversion would cost minimum of $4000-6000 (but could be up to $12000 if I went with lithium ion).  Pretty much cost prohibitive with little gain other than it's "electric" now and needs no gas.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shop work

Well well well, I finally caved.  It's been taking me so long to find time to work on my DJ5 I decided to just toss it at a local customs shop for some work to be done.  I'd like to get this thing back out on the road soon.  I'm actually considering driving it as a daily driver since I just sold my Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.  I have my wife's old minivan that I could drive, but... ya know... I'm just not a minivan kinda dude.  I'd actually rather drive a 46-year-old, no frills postal Jeep than an 07 Chrysler Town & Country.  Call me strange...but I guess I'll for sure earn my "man card" with this one.

So here's what it's getting done to it once I had the shop take a look at my DJ and review short-term goals:
  • "New" Transmission- So the original Powerglide that it came with (actually, I have no idea if it's the original one, but it is what came with the Jeep for that year) was pretty much shot.  I pulled the DJ out of my garage, started it up, and I couldn't get it to go into any gear.  Not even reverse.  It was leaking a bit, but I replaced the fluid it leaked out over the winter so it should've had plenty in there...but still wouldn't work. The shop wanted to convince me to upgrade to a Chevy Turbo 350 trans, which I really want to do actually, but they quoted me somewhere north of about $2500 to do the swap because of all the custom fab work I'd need done with a new cross-member, new driveshaft, and other stuff.  No way I want to drop that kind of cash into this DJ right now...I got lucky though. One of the mechanics had an extra Powerglide from a 67 Corvair that was converted to a manual 5-speed trans.  He sold it to me for $300 "outside of the shop" and we're going to swap that into my DJ.  It's super clean and shifted just fine when it was in the Corvair.
  • New Kingpins- the front axle had quite a bit of play in the tires.  Shop suggested a kingpin replacement to tighten things up in the front a bit.  Sounds like they found an exact set of replacement parts and they can do the work with a hydraulic press they have.
  • Finish Front Seats - I'm having them finish up my front seat project.  They're going to mount the Ford Ranger seats, get some seatbelts hooked up, and also relocate the existing transmission shifter to account for the placement of the front seats.  Sounds like they're also going to fab up some support braces for the mounting brackets I made for the passenger side to strengthen it up a bit.
  • New ignition - I broke a key in the ignition and the only other key I had doesn't fit it properly, so I'm having them put a new one in.  Nothing fancy, just something that works.
  • Plugs, wires, vacuum advance - just some of the basics of the ignition system.  They said the distributor/points looked good and didn't need to be replaced.
  • Carb clean/tune- Just some basic tuning to get the carb working right with everything else.  No rebuild or anything.
I'll update more once I get it back.  Should be fully in running and driving condition after this all.  I still don't know what this is going to cost...hopefully it's not an insane amount. How about some pics!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Test Mounting the Seats

So I've finally been able to spend some time working on the Ford Ranger seats that I've had for quite some time now.  I've managed to be able to mount both of them.  Here's what I had to do:

First, the Ranger seats sat to high when I mounted the stock mounts to the Jeep mount.  So I had to cut off the bottoms of the Ranger seat leaving only the slider.  It was a royal pain in the ass.  Ford uses some kind of plug that I can only assume is spot welded together to fasten the slider to the brackets.  Only thing I could do was use a cutoff disc to slice through each of these "fasterners".

Once the sliders were only there, I drilled holes to match the stock seat bracket that I already had and then that one was able to be mounted on the driver seat.

To fabricate another set of brackets to mount the passenger seat, I just copied the dimensions of the stock one and then added everything up to a total length (times 2) and went up to Ace Hardware and purchased to bars of angle steel.  Just L-shaped cold-rolled steel, 1-1/4 x 1-1/4 x 4ft 11 gauge.  I didn't think 11-ga was thick enough (not when compared to the steel the original seat bracket was made from), but since it was angled I felt that would add enough strength to compensate.

I basically cut it out and welded it together to create almost the same shape as the original bracket.  Once the bracket was cut, I cut holes in it and mounted it to the sliders on the bottom of the Ranger passenger seat.

Now with brackets all mounted up, I put the seats in to test fit everything and mark off where the brackets need to be on the tub.

With the seat positions all marked off, I drilled holes in the tub and also the brackets and then test fit the seats with actual bolts.  The seats could actually slide now on their sliders and I could test the reclining part of the seats.  So far all seems well.  The only tweaks I need to make is to the passenger mount holes which were a little off, and also I still need to determine what to do with the transmission shifter.  I'm probably going to have to move it forward about 2-3 inches which means some cutting/welding will have to happen under the tub with the linkage. Here's a shot of what the seats look like in the Jeep again, but this is before I permanently mounted them with their holes and bolts in their final positions.

Next steps are:
  • Paint the seat brackets and sliders
  • Paint the transmission shifter
  • Mount the driver and jumpseat seatbelts
  • Find a passenger seatbelt and mount that too
  • Refinish the parking brake, and figure out where to put that in the cab and how to make it work.

Monday, April 20, 2015


How about some new pics of the newly coated interior?  I just finished putting on the 3rd coat (yes 3... I had extra so I figured why not use it) of Herculiner truck bed coating.  I've owned a Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor for 4 years now and I really like having the rubberized floor in that car. No need to have floor mats or clean any carpets.  So, I wanted to do the same with the Jeep.  Have something tough, easy to maintain, and something that looked good on a Jeep.

Took me months of prep work to clean up all the holes, fix flaws, and try to recover as much of the rusted sheet metal as I could.  Got 3 coats put on in a 24 hour period and I'm told this stuff should last years.  I'm keeping some extra on hand for touchups (even though the stupid instructions say to throw it out.  This stuff is $90 a kit.  No way I"m throwing it out).  Here's some pics of the primed surfaces right before applying the Herculiner:

And pictures of the finished look.  These were taken after the 2nd coat but don't look any different than the 3rd coat I just did an hour ago:

Monday, April 13, 2015

Old Pix of Interior

I forgot to post some of these photos of my interior progress last fall.  I worked hard at sanding down a lot of the old adhesive (from the carpet), paint, and rust that was in the tub.  There wasn't really any horribly bad sheet metal actually.  The worst part was on the driver side, and it was just pitted.  I ended up deciding not to cut it out simply because it still seemed pretty solid.  Just patched the holes that I could by welding in small cutout patches and doing plug welds, and then I covered over a bunch of it with body filler to fill in the gaps left by other small pinholes and missing sections of metal.  Anyway, here's some shots of my progress at cleaning up the tub when I was halfway done before any primer was applied.

Spring into action

Spring is here!  The weather is warmer and paint sticks to metal better in warmer weather.  So I've started working on the DJ again.  Seems that it's developed a transmission leak over the winter.  Best that I can tell, it's due to the transmission shifter linkage resting on the speedometer cable which might be loose causing the leak.
I cleaned up that leak and started working on patching more of the holes in the interior. I can't believe how many drilled holes there are in this thing.
I've been coating any exposed sheet metal soon as possible with primer (anything I have on hand...looks like I've been mixing between buying grey and black primer).  The corners of the wheel wells were repaired with fiberglass some time in the past, so the gaping holes there couldn't be patched with sheet metal and welding.  So I ended up using body filler instead.  Once I had all that drying, I moved onto figuring out how to mouth the Ford Ranger seats on the stock seat brackets.
I originally cut off the ends of the stock seat mounts so I could fit the Jeep brackets on there, and just bolted them on with a single bolt on each side.  Just wanted to get an idea of the height and measurements front to back when the seat is slid on its track.  Tossed the seat in the DJ and took a look.
So....  It looked cool to see a seat in there again, but after trying it out it was very obvious to me that the seat was MUCH to high up.  There was only about 2 inches of clearance between the top of the head rest and the roof of the Jeep.  Looks like the combination of the stock brackets bolted to the Ranger seat brackets makes it sit too high up.  So I ended up cutting off the Ranger brackets and left only the sliding track.  Then tested attaching the Jeep brackets back to the seat temporarily and it sits much better.  The seat adjusts frontwards and backwards quite nicely too.  It goes from way to close (my knees are almost in the dash), to almost too far away to reach the pedals.  Perfect!  So the next step is now to drill so more permanent holes in the sliders, mount the brackets to the sliders on the Ranger seats, and then drill new holes into the tub of the Jeep to mount the seat in.  But before that...finish up the body patching and roll on a few coats of truck bed liner.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Door Latches - Custom?

Discovered something about my DJ5 today that I didn't know. I was trying to figure out why I'm unable to slide open my doors and keep them open like I hear everyone else is able to do with their postal Jeep. I started digging around for pictures of the latch mechanism to see if mine's just broken or missing a part. Turns out...I have a completely different setup (ie...customized) for my door latches than normal DJ5's do.
Here's what a normal DJ5 latch is supposed to look like:

As you can see, it has two latches... a front one and a rear one. This is so you can latch it in a closed position, or also in an open position.  My doors don't look like this, nor do they stay latched open.

I'm guessing it was customized sometime in the 80's when I think some of the other custom mods were done on mine. My door latches are mounted completely inside the sliding door itself. Only thing sticking out is the handle on the outside, a thumb lever on the inside, a slide bolt lock to lock it from the inside, and the latch catch. I'm going to try to find a way to see if I can rig up a latch to hold the door open when it's slid open since this setup doesn't allow that. Interesting how it was done. A little crude, but definitely customized over the stock double-sided latch solution.  Here's what mine look like: