I'm going to start with the "before" pictures. First, as it is at the very beginning...
And now, again, without the top...
So, what is this anyway?
This is my 1976 Jeep CJ7. It's pretty much a bucket of bolts at this point. I've done a few improvements to it which I will mention below but for the most part this is where I'm starting from.
The CJ7 was introduced in 1976 so you are looking at one of the originals. The CJ7 was a modified CJ5. The main difference was stretching the length of the vehicle by 10 inches to give it some more stability. But let's face it...these things are very top heavy and even with the longer wheel base it is still prone to tipping over when going around corners at high speed. That's not what they are for, though. A CJ is for going slow up and down hill along trails that are difficult for most other vehicles to traverse.
This version of the CJ7 is equipped with an AMC 258 cubic inch (4.2L) inline six cylinder engine with horsepower probably somewhere in the 110 - 120 range and about 195 ft. lbs. of torque. It is probably a "Renegade" version but when it fell into my hands there was no visible indication (decals) that it was.The History To Date
Since I have had my hands on it I have done a few upgrades:
- Complete engine rebuild
- New heavy duty clutch
- New aluminum, water heated intake manifold from Clifford Performance
- New competition cam from Clifford Performance
- New six into one exhaust header from Clifford Performance
- New Holley four barrel carb
- New Flowkooler water pump
- New three core radiator
- New Mean Green starter
- New Bestop seats
- New seat brackets (driver and passenger) that both fold forward for rear seat access
- New rear bench seat
- New high capacity (20 gal.) fuel tank
The engine upgrades have definitely increased the available horsepower but without putting it on a dyno I would be guessing as to what that number is. So, here's my guess: I think I am probably close to 150 hp. I can spin the wheels in first and second gear, no problem.The Body
But with all of the above upgrades it still looks like crap and I am sort of at the limit of what I can do without cleaning up the body and giving it a new paint job. That is what is on the schedule for this month or next. The time is more dependent on my local body shop than on me. When they are ready for it I'll bring it in and let them get to it. They will correct any body issues (the dents are minor and the rust is mostly superficial) with the body mounted to the frame. Then I get it back for a week or two or three. While it's in my hands again I will remove the body pieces and take them back in for paint. The advantage to this plan is that I end up with the entire body painted...no difficult to get to areas will be missed because the frame/engine/drive train is in the way. It will take longer but it will be worth it...especially when it comes to the body underside. I know that there are some rust issues on the underside of the body that will get properly addressed if and only if the body is off of the frame. Oh, and I do have the hard doors (not pictured) and they will get painted, as well.
While the body is off of the frame I am going to correct a mistake made earlier and paint the engine. I am also going to hit the entire frame with a wire wheel to remove rust, treat the frame for rust and then paint it.
After the body goes back on (I'm shooting for sometime before the end of this year) the real fun will start. There are going to be a LOT of upgrades. The Project Going Forward
I know that it will never look or drive like a late model Jeep...that isn't the point. What I'm aiming for is a classy looking trail machine that is powerful enough to get over all of the trails that Colorado has to offer and do it safely. I am not going to go into the upgrades until they happen (more interesting that way) but there will be lots of pictures along the way with an emphasis on "before" and "after."