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Freebie 1976 Jeep CJ-5 Rolling Chassis


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#1 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 05:19 AM

Hi All!  My cousin stopped by for a visit a couple of days back, and we got to talking about projects.  He said that he was just finishing up his wife's driver, a mid-70's CJ-5 that they'd swapped a 300 cid Ford straight six and four speed truck transmission into.  Apparently, the tub was beat, bashed and abused, and he bought a 76 CJ-5, complete, for the tub and seats.

 

 He said that the (now) rolling chassis was cluttering his yard, and was I interested in having it for hauling it off?  Said he got a clear title for the thing when he bought it, also, it had a freshly overhauled AMC 304, 3 speed, unknown transfer case, and didn't recall if it had the AMC 20 or D44 rearend.  It does have the Saginaw power steering box and pump on the engine with the plumbing and the steering wheel and shaft ass'y.  He didn't recall if the D30 up front had discs on it, but I don't recall that discs were available in 76.

  

I'm headed over to pick it up with the car hauler the end of the month, can't pass this up!  I have the 49 CJ2A out back with the Pinto 2300 4 cylinder conversion, but the remainder of the drivetrain is still stock, so of course, I'm thinking of parting out the CJ-5 chassis and updating everything that I can into the 2A.  

 

Is this going to be worth the effort, or should I just part the thing out?



#2 Moses Ludel

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 07:20 AM

Rocket Doctor...A '76 CJ-5 should be drum front brakes, the chassis is the first year for a boxed frame, a big plus, the 304 V-8 would be great power for a flatfender CJ-2A chassis. The transfer case is a Spicer 20, rear axle an AMC 20 with the Dana 30 open knuckle up front.

 

All of the these parts have merit.  The transfer case is a through-drive, so it would not line up with the 2A's offset rear axle center section.  You could swap the AMC 20 into the early Jeep or install a D44 with a centered diff from a '72-'75 CJ. 

 

The Saginaw gear retrofit would be a real plus over the Ross cam-and-lever steering gear in the 2A.  You'd go to a one-piece knuckle-to-knuckle tie-rod and a one-piece draglink ("short tie-rod"), eliminating the 2A's bell crank and twin tie-rods.  The D30 front axle, even with drum brakes, is an improvement over the CJ-2A's Spicer 25 closed knuckle.  

 

1976 drum brakes all around would be a major improvement over the 2A's 9" drums.  I'd do a dual master cylinder conversion with this brake upgrade, you can maintain the OE through-the-floor pedals if desired.

 

If you're okay with the AMC Model 20 rear axle (which I like a lot, see my forum topic/post on how to tighten the hub flange-to-axle shaft nuts), you could swap both axles from the '76 chassis into the CJ-2A.  There would be adjustments to the spring perch locations and for spring widths in this process;  measure the front axle carefully to center it up properly.

 

I'd want to confirm the degree and caliber of the 304 V-8 rebuild and verify the condition of other pieces (power steering pump, alternator, etc.).  The transmission, if the original 1976 unit, is likely a T150, a decent all synchromesh 3-speed that is just "okay" ratio wise with the 2.0:1 low range of the Spicer 20.  The 5.38 axle gears in the CJ-2A help offset the crawl ratio limitations and should work with 31"-33" diameter tires. 

 

Of course, you could do a T18 four-speed swap, but this means a conversion and adapter parts if you use the common Ford truck version to get the 6.32:1 compound low gear.  This 6.32 ratio was only available with some Jeep CJ T18 units.  Most were 4.02:1 first gear.

 

You'd have the cooling/radiator, 12V electrics, exhaust (rear exit, please, whether single or dual, find a safe way!), fuel supply and other issues to tackle.  This is straightforward on a vintage Jeep, though, as each component is simple and easy to access.

 

If you're willing to do all of this, and if the CJ-2A was not earmarked for a stock restoration, you have a lot of "stuff" here.  This buildup would be a time hungry "project", as you know.  The result would be a Jeep CJ-2A with much better drivability, handling and highway performance.

 

Moses



#3 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 05:41 PM

Long time waiting, but this afternoon, Clyde pulled up on his way through with a trailer in-tow, and the rolling CJ5 chassis onboard.  We rolled it off into one of the stalls in the old horse barn (the one stall with a still-good steel roof!), and took a very quick look see.  This chassis does indeed have a center-diff AMC rear axle, open knuckle D30 up front, with the big drums.  Steering isn't what I thought he said it was, but is still a manual Saginaw box with cross steering.  T case is through type, centered driveshaft, three speed manual, all behind a 304.  

 

Still raining hard, so I didn't unwrap the motor to even get a sense of what it is, except it's an AMC V8.  The fuel tank is mounted between the frame rails, under-body, with a skid plate (of sorts).  A box of parts came with it, including a Carter AFB four barrel in pretty tough shape, two p/s pumps with hoses, extra distributor, two starter motors, extra water pump, and other 'stuff' that I didn't take the time to pull out.

 

Total expenditure so far was enough components to load five boxes of .308 Winchester hunting ammunition.  I had the components on hand from past projects, and had bought them back when Hornady 165 boat tail .30 caliber bullets were around $6.00 per hundred.

 

I'll get some photos of what's here, if you're interested.  As you mentioned, there is a BUNCH of conversion material in this thing, which should make upgrading the 2A a bit more interesting!



#4 Moses Ludel

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Posted 28 September 2014 - 07:32 PM

'76 indeed, the two tip-offs would be the AMC centered rear differential and Spicer 20 transfer case.  This is a much better frame than AMC/Jeep '72-'75 CJ.  1976 is fully boxed rails like up through '86.  You might want to work with this rolling chassis and the CJ-2A body, although the wheelbase length of the '76 is 84 inches, and your flat fender 2A is 80 inches.  Can be fitted, with your talent, though not a "bolt-on", for sure.  You'd be balancing the wheelbase versus body sections length.

 

Posting some photos would be helpful, I'm curious!

 

Moses



#5 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 01:00 PM

Photos coming, just got to wait for the camera's batteries to charge.   In the meantime, a few other observations.  The block, and cylinder heads, at least the exterior surfaces give the impression that they came out of the hot tank, were assembled, the engine sealed up, and not much more done to it.  All exposed metal on the engine exhibits a coat of rust.  The intake manifold, at some point, was swapped out for an Offenhauser 360, and a Carter AFB, what size AFB is unknown, but it IS there, and, with what seems to be an original 'sorta' triangle shaped data tag under one of the top cover screws.  IIRC, the 304's were all 2V's, weren't they?  Doesn't mean that a wrecking yard carb couldn't have been sorced.  I hate to say it, but I believe that I'm going to attempt to beat the weather, and get this engine onto a stand, and into the garage where I can at least sacrifice some gaskets to see what the internals look like.  I'm thinking top end coming off, and the oil pan to see what the bearings look like.  That'll let me get a better idea of what, if anything, was done to the AMC v8.

The bellhousing is mated up to the transmission solidly, but there are no bolts securing it to the engine block.  One less thing to do prior to hoisting the engine out.  

Other accessories that were in the "box-o-stuff" are, 2 alternators, one is a Delco, the other an Autolite.  2 starters, condition unknown.  2 complete power steering pumps with brackets installed, though the chassis wears a "manual" steering box.  

Single shift lever for the transfer case, and the trans is indeed a three speed, though so covered with grease, mud, and grime that it might take awhile before a really good positive ID can be made, but I have my suspicions.  

Boxed frame, that is widened at the rear,and appears to be rust-free (really, really unusual for a Utah-titled vehicle!!!), and damage free.

I'm going to look long and very very hard at utilizing this frame with the 2A tub.  The difference between an 80 and an 81 inch wheelbase might not be near as tough to do as going from 80 to 84, but, as the 2A's tub is coming off, anyway, why not give it a trial fit?



#6 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 01:56 PM

Sorry 'bout the poor quality. Condition about what you'd expect for a vehicle stored for several seasons outside with only the body, and some duct tape for protection. The transmission sure does look like a tiny thing. My hand isn't all that big, and it isn't but about a quarter inch or so longer than my hand is spread.

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#7 60Bubba

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 02:47 PM

Looks like a heck of a restoration job, no matter which direction you go.  I had an old CJ-5 when I was stationed in Puerto Rico.  It had spent much of it's life in the canal zone in Panama, then down to PR.  I know all about rusty Jeeps.  That frame really does look pretty good considering.  I wonder if they put any preservation oil in that engine before storing it...



#8 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 03:06 PM

I put a socket and ratchet on the front of the crankshaft, and the motor will turn over, but is very, very stiff. The dipstick is in the box-o-stuff, so I don't know right now if there's anything in the crankcase.
I'm not terribly familiar with AMC V8's, and have to ask how to prime the oil system on these.

I uncovered the spark plug holes, the hole where the distributor mounts, the intake manifold, and noticed that what I can see of the inside appears to be clean, dry, and devoid of nastiness. Also pulled the crankcase drain plug, and noted that there is no oil, and what I could see of the inside was again, nice and clean, and dry. Also took a close look, and all of the exposed gasket ends, especially the intake manifold, cylinder heads, valve covers, oil pan, and timing cover/water pump/oil pump gaskets appear to be spanky new. Or at least, haven't been warm, hot, or exposed to liquids.

While looking down through the spark plug holes, I noted that the tops of the pistons that I could see were sparkling clean, with no evidence of having been cleaned, at least not by mechanical means. I couldn't make out anything to indicate an oversized piston, but also, that the cylinder walls were fairly smooth, with nothing to show any crosshatch.

I'll pull the exhaust manifolds tomorrow, and take a look at the back side of the exhaust valves, and open up the valve covers. I'm waiting to hear back from a friend who has a compression gauge, though turning this motor over is a ways down the road.

In any event, things look promising, but I'm also NOT holding my breath hoping that it had a thorough overhaul until I see something different.



#9 Moses Ludel

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Posted 29 September 2014 - 05:48 PM

From the photos, I've seen far worse places to start, Rocket Doctor.  There's plenty of potential here...The engine sounds like a mixed bag.  New pistons without crosshatch visible?  That's a bit unnerving.  If the heads come off soon, you'll get the answers.  Maybe fresh crosshatch will appear once the heads are off.  If you're curious, you can always run a cylinder leakdown test on a stationary engine.  For those curious, see my video on running a cylinder leakdown test:  
 

 
As for priming, there are several oil gallery pipe plugs on this engine.  One thing to consider is the AMC oil pump design: in the timing cover like a pushrod Buick V-8 or the V-6.  I always prime these pumps with petroleum jelly packed into the pump cavity before startup.  You can then prime the oil system in the usual manner:  the distributor drives from the camshaft, the oil pump shaft runs from the base of the distributor.  A priming tool (similar to Ford or Chevy V-8 applications) can spin the oil pump's driveshaft once the distributor has been removed.  Cavity packed around the oil pump gears, the pump should pick up oil and circulate it through the galleries and passageways to the valvetrain and so forth.  This will provide a wet first start.
 
Moses

#10 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 03:38 AM

Great information! I appreciate it. I must be suffering from a mental block of some sort, and didn't even consider a leak-down, rather than a mere compression check. As you mentioned, when the top end and oil pan come off, most of my questions will be answered.

#11 Moses Ludel

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 10:30 AM

All the cylinder leakdown test requires is the engine's firing order and finding TDC on the compression stroke for each cylinder tested. 

 

Might be worth running this test.  If you don't have the leakdown tester, see my post about making a facsimile that puts cylinder seal into perspective (albeit without the benefit of leak percentage readings):  http://forums.4wdmec...er-leak-tester/

 

Moses



#12 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 03:35 AM

So.....the weather is giving us a few days respite.  Temps up in the mid-50's, unseasonably 'warm' for Feb,  In any event, cabin fever set in, and I headed to the shed with the tool kit.

Dropped the exhaust manifolds off, to find new exhaust valves looking back at me, in sparkling clean ports.  Next off was the valve covers, and indeed, saw the tops of the new valves, both intake and exhaust, with new springs, seals and locks.  Tomorrow, I'll take the intake off, and see if I can get a look at the cam.

One thing puzzles me, though, and it is that none of the gaskets I encountered have had any sort of sealant applied, and a lot of the bolts are installed loosely, as if it was slapped together in an attempt to make an assembly and not lose any parts.  More detective work to follow.........if nothing else, it's probably going to need at least a new gasket set.



#13 Moses Ludel

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 07:31 PM

Rocket Doctor...Are they Felpro (blue) gaskets that do not require additional sealant?  Lack of torque on hardware is suspicious...

 

Moses



#14 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:34 AM

No, the intake manifold gasket is a plain steel valley pan with raised "crush" grooves around the ports and water passages, with orange paint on both sides.  Only other seals were front and rear valley seals of rubber like material and had a bit of RTV at each end.  

The intake and exhaust manifold bolts were all evenly torqued, and took some effort to break loose, so I have to assume they were all adequately torqued.  The valve cover gaskets were cork, and had shrunk, perhaps that is the reason that those bolts were so loose.  

BTW, the lifters appear to be new, and well lubricated with an assembly type light grease, as are the lobes of what appears to be a new camshaft.  I rotated the crank both directions a short distance, and noticed NO slop.  As soon as the crank moved, so did the camshaft.  Must assume that it's a new, or really good condition timing set.

Weather is returning to what I'd expect for mid February, so I'll have to wait to drop the oil pan and inspect the crank.

In the meantime, I had to pay some attention to other vehicles and move them around while I had the good weather.....



#15 Moses Ludel

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:43 PM

Like you have suggested, a gasket set and full teardown would be useful.  You may find a fully machined and as-new rebuild here.  You'd have the opportunity to assemble the engine yourself to assure proper fit and long term reliability of the engine...Dust off your micrometers!

 

As for the weather, you're often in the same pattern as we are near the Eastern Sierra (greater Reno Area).  Sometimes we get the Pacific storms from Northern California, other times it's a Northwest pattern, which you likely get.  Idaho and Eastern Nevada (i.e., Elko County) seem to have similar patterns.  We had intermittent 70-degree F some days (still near freezing overnight) at 4,500 feet elevation over the last few weeks.  Cooling this weekend, and this coming week it will dip to highs in the forties, nighttime lows will be well below freezing...

 

Moses



#16 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 04:28 PM

Been awhile, but here's an update on the 304. 

I was greeted with a very nice looking block, that looks like perhaps the block was "decked".  Spankin' new .040 pistons of unknown mfg. installed, and the bores are indeed cross-hatch honed with no trace of ridge in any cylinders.

Cylinder heads had four exhaust valves replaced, oddly, all in the center two cylinders on both heads.  Heads were surfaced, tanked, new teflon valve stem seals installed.

I won't be able to see what the crankshaft looks like till I can get the thing rolled out of the 'shed', and where I can get the lift on the tractor onto it.  The motor mounts are only loosely attached at the chassis, and there's only two bolts loosely installed in the bellhousing to block.  I'll  lift it out with the 8N Ford, and haul it over to the shop and get it on an engine hoist before I take the pan off........

I was worried that there might have been some water invasion, as the spark plugs were removed, and there was no carb installed, but, my fears were unrealized, the bores were rust-free, with only some dust and cobweb accumulation.

If my math is right, the overbore should've let the motor realize 310 cid.



#17 Moses Ludel

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 08:08 PM

Just shared with spdljohn that we had a 1950 8N in the 'nineties.  Used the bucket loader as a hoist like you're doing.  What a beast to steer with a loaded bucket!  The automatic leveling scraper box was ingenious.  The 4310 J-D compact diesel 4WD tractor that replaced the 8N was superior in a variety of ways...

 

Very pleased that your Jeep engine is rust free and full of useful, new parts!  Lots of traditional machine work on that 304!  Check tolerances and measurements, you may want to have reciprocating parts balanced for good measure.  Check for line boring of the main bearing saddles, too.  Sounds like this engine went through customary, utility machining.

 

Moses



#18 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 29 March 2015 - 09:30 AM

Thanks for your response, Moses!  I enjoy this little Ford tractor, but it does have it's foibles!

A "live" PTO would be great.  One that would turn independent of the clutch would be nice.  A deeper set of gears in the transmission!  A 12V conversion, and hydraulic steering assist would be noticeable upgrades!

I sure do appreciate that so far, this little gasoline powered flathead 4 banger starts up on the coldest of days.  Seems like it also takes forever to "grind down" this six volt battery.  Not sure that I ever did understand why that seems to be so with 6V systems in general.

IIRC, Ford and Ferguson shared Ferguson's patent on the hydraulic lift.  Eventually, there was a lawsuit, and Ford was forced to make changes, and the 8n was dropped, it seems like sometime around 53 or so.  The niece's husband has a Ferguson, and I thought they were twins, until I actually needed to use his Ferguson one weekend.

In all, though, I sure do enjoy using my "Red Belly" Ford!  Over the last three years, we've also accumulated a 3 bottom Dearborn plow, 12 point Dearborn cultivator, Dearborn wood saw, scraper (box scraper is in the works) PTO driven 10" post hole auger, 4' rototiller, and Dearborn sickle bar mower.  This summer sometime, I've got to find a mower deck to keep the pasture in check during fire season.  

It's a bit much for the small garden, but just about perfect for chores on our little 6 acre "hobby farm".  There are some days when taking the ride into town for a sody pop and ice cream sammich just needs to be taken on the tractor in my bib coveralls and straw hat!  (keeps the tourista's along US Highway 93 annoyed, but slows 'em down enough to notice the mountains and enjoy the scenery)



#19 Moses Ludel

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 05:58 PM

I liked our 8N a lot. Rebuilt the manual steering gear (Saginaw outsourced by Ford).  Fascinated me that the fan could rotate slowly twice and the engine always fired with an updraft carburetor!  Ours stayed 6-volt and did fine even in sub-freezing weather.  The 8N did a lot of work for the era, affordable, too, used very little fuel.

 

Passed 93 at Wells on the way to Moab via I-80. Great country above Jackpot and into Idaho!

 

Moses



#20 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 04:21 AM

We need to get down that way again.  South out of Twin Falls to Jackpot isn't terribly far away, though we have to pick the night when they have a good show, because I've yet to be a fan of throwing money away!  Got some friends that used their hounds and horses in those hills to pursue mountain lions and bobcats.  Never took one, if I remember right, but always enjoyed the chase.  Maybe it was the campfires and the jug that got passed around!  



#21 Moses Ludel

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 09:51 AM

Wells used to be a great fuel stop with low cost-per-gallon, not this time!  I have 110 gallon capacity and passed on through.  Fueled at Green River, UT en route home, prices matched Western Nevada and Fernley, where we enjoy near bottom rates for the Reno/Carson City Area.  Diesel runs $2.65 a gallon at Fernley gas stations now...

 

Checked out your Craigslist link to the '62 Willys Wagon body on a '69 Wagoneer chassis.  He may have his transfer cases confused.  A Dana 20 would have been OEM on a '69 Wagoneer with a through drive rear output and a single TC shift lever.  His spare with overdrive is definitely a side-drive Model 18 Spicer, could be from the '62 Willys, with a Warn or Saturn overdrive.  You cannot mount an overdrive unit to a through drive Dana/Spicer 20.

 

Moses




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