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Thread: 1977 CJ7 Slow Build {UNDER CONSTRUCTION}

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    Default 1977 CJ7 Slow Build {UNDER CONSTRUCTION}

    Day 1

    Being a photographer and a closet mechanic/carpenter I have started and finished many projects, stepped back and wondered why I didn’t take pictures of the process. Even my wife has asked me time after time, “Why didn't you take pictures so you could show ‘Before and After shots’?”. I never really had a good answer other than, “I just forgot.”

    Well today I finally got started working on my 77 CJ7, and while I did not get pictures of the first two projects, I did get some before shots of the whole Jeep to show my starting point. Prior to shooting them, I have ordered a new taillight, (still need another one), 5 each Super Swamper LTB - BIAS35X12.50-15LT LTBs, a Rockhard FR Bumper w/vertical hoop, 4 each skyjacker nitro shocks, a Rubicon Express 4.5 inch extreme duty lift kit, a kool breeze brief top (US flag) and everything minus the brief top has sat around collecting dust. Well I did get the shocks on before my last trip to SMORR, only to find out that they sent me the wrong front shocks, they are too long. So as this progresses, I will be looking for top shock hangers off of a newer CJ to allow for the added length of the front shocks.

    Just before my eye sight went south I had taken apart the Motorcraft 2brl carburetor off of my 79 Cherokee to rebuild it, and while it was still in the dip tank my eyes got so bad I could not see to put it back together. After two weeks of running into things, I bought some cheap reading glasses and went to work putting it back together. Since I had all the stuff lying on the table, I thought, “Why not?” and I went ahead a put the carburetor on the CJ into the dip tank, and rebuilt it too.

    On my last trip to SMORR, I had a linkage problem on the PRNDL2l1 and found that reverse was now located where park should have been. Upon closer inspection I realized the “U” shaped bracket on the side of the TH400 transmission was about to fall off. While down there, I saw that a plastic bushing against the frame was broken, and the rubber bushing on the shifting linkage was worn out too. Both parts that may or may not be able to be bought, but I’m a better Closet Mechanic than that.

    About a month ago I was getting ready to cook something on the stove; I turned on the wrong burner and melted my wife’s plastic cutting board. With that in mind I figured I could make the bushings out of said plastic.
    Well that’s where my day started today. Cutting and shaping new bushing out of my wife’s now ruined cutting board. Everything that I had to remove got run through the bench grinder/wire brush and painted black before going back on. If it didn’t look good after I got done with it, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

    So after putting the linkage back on, we decided to try it out and make sure all gears were back where they were supposed to be. Giving the key a twist the AMC 304 rolled over and over and over without even a burp of life. That is when it hit me. The carburetor was still on the work bench in the dip tank. Of course the fuel had to run down the side of the motor and into my father-in-law’s eyes before we decided that there was no carb on the motor. So back to the work bench I go.

    Once put back together and back on the engine, she fires up and runs like a top. Now it’s time to show the body some respect. As you can see from the images below, my rusty old CJ is just that. Rusty and old, so bad in fact that I plan on trying to find another tub before this project ends, but one has to start somewhere

    After shooting these images, I removed both front fenders, washed the dried dirt off them, and plan to start building my own rock fenders. That is where day 1 ends, since I had to go pick up a used fridge for my carport, (must have something to put meats in while preparing for upcoming BBQs) and my father-in-law had to go shoe a horse. I didn’t even know he knew how to do said shoeing.

    Tomorrow; we start cutting the fenders.

    Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.










    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  2. #2
    Mall Crawler NightStalker's Avatar
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    Day 2

    Today started out with me making the short 10 mile trip back to my in-law’s house where my father-in-laws body shop is. Of course I had to make two stops in his driveway to pick and eat some blackberries, me loves some blackberries. As a matter of fact, last night I made a sugar free cobbler out of some I had picked last week. Yummy! I got there just in time to sit down and have breakfast with Bob and Karen, and had the flattest scrambled eggs I have ever seen.

    After breakfast, I moved the CJ to the wash stall side of his building, and did a little power washing. Since I have the front fenders off, I plan to do a little cleaning up of the frame and coat it with POR-15 and then apply undercoating, so my frame will last longer. We all know how well the CJ frames held up to the years of abuse. The front end of my frame is in great shape, the rear end is another story and we’ll get to that project sometime later this year.

    Here’s a shot of the wonderful lift that was put on the CJ by one of the previous owners. You gotta love driving a CJ on top of eight inch shackles. This is just one of the reasons this CJ runs down the road like a lumber wagon pulled by a couple mules on a rutted muddy road. When I bought it and drove it home from Springfield MO, top speed was around 45 MPH, because I was afraid to go any faster for the wondering. The lift kit is in, but we’ll get to that in a few more weeks.



    Below is a couple shots of the fender I was able to work on for a few hours in between helping Bob, who was putting a side in a Chevy pickup for a local school teacher. I may get a few shots of it tomorrow, so you can see what else we have going on while I am doing my slow build. The masking tape shows where I was going to cut the fender at, but as you will see later, I changed my mind.



    Re-masking the fender shows where I did make the cuts, and I like this much better as it gives me plenty of room for tubing to be added later. I also wanted to leave my inner fenders in to help keep the engine clean and dry once I am done, so I tried to follow the lines of it as close as I could.



    Once the fender was cut, I hung it back on the CJ to help hold it in place as I did some grinding, and hammer and dolly work to clean things up a little. As you can see, I also have a cancer problem, most of which will be cut out and replaced with galvanized sheet metal so hopefully I will never have a problem with it again.




    OOOPS, here you can see one of the many mistakes I plan to make as I go along with this project. While masking for final cutting, I followed the line up the grill and a crossed the front of the fender. When I put the hood back down, it overhung the fender by about a ½ inch. When I took it to the tubing guy, I showed him this image and told him to have the tubing stick out about a ½ inch and taper it back to flush after the bend heading back to the firewall. Problem solved, and I will cut other side the same way so they match.


    For spending time with Bob working on his project, I guess I didn’t do too bad considering; I was home by 3PM. Now for a tall ice cold glass of tea, all I need now is for Auga to come home and rub my feet.

    There are more images in my album in the gallery, if you want to see them. Also CW4x4Him, I have plenty of time, but because of that, I have little money. So far, I have spent only gas money on this project, after buying all the parts that will go on as we progress. I may not do a write up tomorrow, since I will be doing the same thing to the other side. Stay tuned because when I get the fenders with tubing back, we’ll be doing real bodywork, getting things ready for paint.

    Thanks for reading.

    God Bless
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  3. #3
    Mall Crawler NightStalker's Avatar
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    Day 3



    I know I told you I was not going to do a write up today, since I was doing the same things as yesterday, but, I had some things that I wanted to share.



    Bob is a 40 + year veteran of body work, and might be the first person in the state to have ever clipped two cars to rebuild one. For that matter, he might very well be the only person in the state back in the 60s to clip frames as well. The project he is working on now it this Chevy truck that had slid sideways into a pole of some kind. So hard that as the floor pan was pushing inwards, the front and back of the door jams pulled towards each other a full foot. It was so far out of whack that the front glass broke, and the back glass popped out of the window frame, and they're both glued in. No rubber gaskets here.



    After about a week of pulling and cutting, to get the floor pan back where it was meant to be, this is what it looked like today.





    Here is the new rocker and side that will go back in where the old stuff was cut out.



    A little more trimming to assure proper fit.



    Bob's very first truck, he bought it when he was 14 or 15. It has been stored most of it's life. Sometimes it had to live out in the weather, but for the most part, it is solid as it was the day it rolled of the line. Bonus point for identification of the year.



    Bob's father's old Model A, back then they came in any color you wanted, as long as you wanted black. You can drop a battery in it today and even with those old plug wires it will start on the first lick. His dad parked it back in 1941 before going off to war. He was killed in Normandy, and this one sat for 25 years outside, then moved inside until Bob hung a gas tank on it and fired it up for joy rides 4 years ago. It still has the same oil in it that his dad put in it back in the 40s.



    A closer look at the plug wire on cyl 4.



    A few more tugs and this side panel will be ready to stitch up and will be ready for the new roof skin to go on.




    If your ever looking for a good body man, and don't mind it being done right. Bob is your guy.


    Thanks for reading,


    God Bless
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  4. #4
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    Day 4

    Well today was not a very productive day for the CJ, I was planning on doing some sandblasting, but because of the rain I decided not to. Besides when I got my sandblaster put together, it was so humid I was afraid the sand would clog and not blow correctly.

    Bob on the other hand made lots of progress on his project. Remember yesterday we hung the new side and rocker panel on the pickup to test fit. Well as it turns out, everything matched up so well, after I left, Bob did a little welding to hold one end in place while he adjusted the other end. I can't brag on him enough, like i said before he has been doing this for so long, I really think he could put one of these things together in his sleep.

    Today we hung the rear door to test fit it before stitching up the spot welds. If you go to the album and look at these images full size, you'll get a better look at the lines and where Bob drilled out the old spot welds and how he puts them back together just like it was originally built by the factory. Some shops, well quite a few of them would over lap the sheet metal and glue it together with this automotive glue. It seams up pretty well, but in a future wreck, it might not hold up. So we go back with factory seams.



    This one will get split back down the inside and a fish plate welded in overlapping the outside weld, and then stitched back up, so if there is a rollover in its future, the top will not break off.



    Same goes for the rocker panel, from bottom side a hole will be opened to allow for putting in another fish plate inside the rocker panel. This may be overkill here since we are working on a full framed truck, but one never knows what the future holds.



    Here's a look at the floor pan and how it over laps the old floor, will be welded from both sides, and then undercoated to prevent rusting.



    With the rear door hung and closed, check out this line between the cab and door. Remember, this was a test fit just to check out if everything was cut to fit properly.



    Here is the line between the front and rear door. Even Chevy could not get it any better than this.



    Keep in mind the front door hangs from the old cab, and the rear door hangs from the new rocker and slide clip. You tell me, do those stickers line up or what?



    Door to rocker line...



    Here is what Bob does in his spare time, like he has much. The old coupe will one day be set on a S-10 frame, power plant as of yet he is unsure.



    Extra Credit Question...What model and year is this old lead sled? Hint; the roof folds back into the trunk.



    In the early 60s Bob bought that car in KCMO for $1,500 because it was the only one on the lot that would start on a sub-zero day with the ground covered with snow. On his test drive he bumped a pole and that guy said, "You have to buy it now" but Bob was already sold.

    Thanks for reading,
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  5. #5
    Mall Crawler NightStalker's Avatar
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    Day 5

    Well today was a hot and muggy, but I didn’t let it stop me. I just sweated out about 5 lbs today.
    I finally got the fenders cut the way I want them, and they’re currently at a tubing shop waiting for tubes to be welded on. While waiting for them, I pulled the grill/core support off and did a little sandblasting. Well a lot of sandblasting, about 150 lbs worth. If any of you have ever done any sandblasting, you’ll appreciate this. After blowing 150 lbs of sand through the gun and onto the grill, I think I had about 25 lbs of sand stuck to me. If a pig could sweat, I would sweat like a pig, and all the moisture made for a perfect place for the sand to stick to me. As soon as I got home, I jumped into the shower, and I don’t have to tell you I had sand in places I can’t even see.

    Here’s a look at today’s progress…





    I also measured the spring perches on my Dana 44s in the Cherokee and found that by moving my spring hangers out a few inches on both sides the front will fit like a glove. The back will have to be moved quite a bit, but I have to cut about two feet off of the back frame horns to get rid of some rust, so when we get there, we’ll just build it to fit the Dana 44s.

    Thanks for reading,

    God Bless.
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  6. #6
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    Day 6

    Well today I finally got back into the shop after a long weekend spent up in Kansas City MO. We had to go up there for a funeral, one of Bob's lifelong friends passed away. Larry was a guy Bob met in trade school when he took auto body class back in the 60s. He had a fight with cancer for a few years, and he was finally called home. Larry was born again, so that made things a little easier on his family and friends. There is another soul singing praises in heaven.

    I still have not got my fenders back from the guy who is bending and welding the tube to them, but today I found plenty of things to work on. Along with helping Bob put the new roof panel on his project, Bob found an error I had been making on my grill and I am glad he found it today. I had bought some Rust-Oleum as a primer on the pieces I had sandblasted, and we found out the two stag paint I will be using will not stick to it without problems. So back to the sandblasting. Below you'll see where I had applied some plastic over the spot welds on the grill, but later had to remove all of it and get the grill back down to bare metal for the proper primer and filler coats that will go on tomorrow.





    I also made a trip to C&D paint store and picked up my PPG primer, filler, and color and clear coat. An hour of sandblasting and a mere $300 we were ready to prime the grill, but are holding off till tomorrow since this is an epoxy primer and we will be using it on both the grill and the truck Bob is working on. Mix once, spray twice and save all you can is our motivation on this.

    For color, I wanted to go with Zig Zag Orange



    But found out that color has a hard time covering gray primer without multiple coats, and I wanted some metallic in the base coat. So they talked me into General Lee Orange



    Now the above is not my Jeep, and it will have an accent color. I'm thinking of going with Interstate Battery Green.



    We'll just have to see where we end up when it comes time for that color.

    Sorry, no trivia question this time, but I promise to have another old lead sled to identify tomorrow. Hint, It's a Pontiac

    Thanks for reading,
    God Bless
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  7. #7
    Mall Crawler NightStalker's Avatar
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    Day 7

    Well, here we are again. Same grill, new primer/sealer. Funny thing about this type of sealer, it said to put it on before doing mud work.

    So as you can see, the dent is in the bottom of the grill, and the spot welds are showing up at the top.



    That was the only picture I shot today, but I did capture some video. I don't know how to embed them on this site, so you will have to copy and paste these into your browser.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks3npJeWwfs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMeFTVEHCQQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjm1ysn70CI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ngic47gOgU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EqS_Pn6z5U

    I'm not much of a painter, but I have a really good backup painter on site.
    Last edited by NightStalker; 08-14-2009 at 22:22.
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  8. #8
    Mall Crawler NightStalker's Avatar
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    Day 8

    Well today was a day of reckoning. I gave up on trying to find a CJ7 tub a while back, because after searching all the Southern States and finding only one that was worth building and most that were in as bad of shape as mine. So today we reckoned. We reckoned we could put a newer tub on an old cowl and dash. Shoot with a chop saw, a cutting torch, and a wire feed welder, we reckon we could make whatever we want fit.

    So off we go to Harrison AR to Harrison Auto Salvage, http://www.harrisonautosalvage.com , and picked up this little jewel. A 1997 Wrangler tub with minor damage, and NO RUST. For only $321.75










    The guys down there are great to deal with, and were very helpful in finding the tub and even loading it. In case you ever wondered or if anyone ever asks you. "Yes, a Wrangler tub will fit into the back of a short bed Chevy pickup.

    I also got my rock fenders back from the tubing guy today, so we'll start grinding and sandblasting them this weekend or early next week.

    After sitting and looking at my old rusty tub yesterday, I was feeling a little down about this project, but after today's find, I have new steam and can't wait to start cutting.

    God bless, and thanks for reading.
    These pretzels ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!~~

    www.christiancrawlers4x4.com


  9. #9
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    Great thread, brings back ALOT of memories of body work from my inexperience.

    I'm usually a stickler for keeping a CJ fenders, (as they are hard to find intact), but you really didn't have much to work with, so nice flatties!

    Later, T.J.

  10. #10
    Senior Member HillBillE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JavaTee View Post
    Great thread, brings back ALOT of memories of body work from my inexperience.
    .
    Oh yeah! Me too!


    Quote Originally Posted by JavaTee View Post
    I'm usually a stickler for keeping a CJ fenders, (as they are hard to find intact), but you really didn't have much to work with, so nice flatties!

    Later, T.J.
    Same here. I have my perfect, undented, rust free front fenders from my '80 in the back shed

    I cannabalized a set of rusty fenders from an '84 for my flat fenders. Albiet I had a bit more to work with than NightStalker did


    Great work! I love seeing old CJ's come to life! With the YJ tub, you don't even need to cut the cowl. Should be able to just swap in the CJ dash, tailgate and rollbar (maybe a newer CJ style rollbar would be better)


    As long as the people remain armed,
    government knows that it cannot rule over the people by force.
    Those who stand in defiance of unconstitutional laws
    do so out of duty, honor, oath and love of country.


    "Certified Jeep Junky!"


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