Build Thread 74 CJ5 Build Nearly Complete BUT NEED YOUR HELP / ADVICE!!!!

Build Thread 74 CJ5 Build Nearly Complete BUT NEED YOUR HELP / ADVICE!!!!
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Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
Vehicle(s)
1974 CJ5, 304 V8
Alright so my previous car was a Chrysler Crossfire if that tells you anything I'm NOT mechanically minded but have always wanted an old CJ for years and years so I finally picked up this 74 CJ5 about three months ago and have so far put about $1,500 grand into it and it's come a LONG way.... Here's some pics and a list of what I've put into it / what it had when I got it as best I can think off the top of my head. Now what I need your help with is at the bottom in a numbered list - as I said I'm new to Jeep's and just not mechanically minded. I know what I like and what looks good to me and have others do it for me but I am out to save money so I do a lot of parts hunting myself and need to know what took look for / what I've already got, ya know? And I just have tons of other misc questions that I'm sure I'll add to as this thread grows. Thank you so much in advance for all of your help!!!

1974 CJ5
304 V8 rebuilt with 45,000 miles on it
3 speed manual
Fiberglass body
I've added new...
Amp
12 inch sub
4 marine speakers mounted to roll cage
Speaker in dash
Deck
Dash
Gauges
Indicators
Sky Jacker 4 inch soft riding lift
Bikini top
Brakes
Stainless steel brake lines
Control arms
Soft top
Soft doors
Locking safe
Corbeau seats with harnesses
Corbeau grab handles
Headlights
Grill
OEM turn signals
Diamond plate (black powder coated) rear wrap
LED taillights
Full roll cage
Replaced missing body mount on passenger side
Stainless steel door entry sills
Phone charging port
Dome light
Fuel pump
Steel plates bolted under the fiberglass body to reinforce it
Carpet kit
Spark plugs
New magnaflow exhaust
LOTS of engine work...............
Etc etc etccccccccccccccc lots more I can't think of right now.

Point being it rides, handles and runs a hundred percent better than when I got it. It originally rode like a dump truck and had a CJ7 lift on it incorrectly mounted and I was told by several mechanics they were surprised I was alive after driving this thing even a mile. It was terrifying - now it hits 75 mph on the freeway with no trouble and stays in one lane while doing it!!! And sounds GOOD.

To be done next:
Clutch rebuild (clutch is slipping a bit, not bad yet)
Throw out bearing? (Random light scuffing noises heard on occasion, mechanic say's that's what it is -doesn't occur too often.)

List of questions....

1. With this fiberglass body... I've got LOTS of cracks in the gel coat but it's otherwise a fairly good body aside from some ripples in the surface - looks like someone who didn't know what they were doing worked over the entire body and jacked it up. My question is what's everyones experience with the fiberglass body? I do like the idea of no rust and how light weight it is but is it possible to really have it worked over professionally and get all these cracks out and not have them all reappear like crazy??? Most I've talked to have said they'll always come back but I don't see Corvette's running around with cracks all over? Is it possible to rework this body to show condition and have it maintain it? Please note I'm NOT the off roading type really, I just want this mostly for looks and a daily driver if that helps understand what it will / won't be subjected to as far as stress on the body. What everyones experience in maintaining appearance on the fiberglass bodies??? Should I buy a steel body as my next step or would I be money ahead to just have the current body reworked??? Or money ahead selling the fiberglass body and putting on a steel body? My worry there is all the hours charged for swapping them out, etc.

3. Anyone ever seen pics of a CJ with a fiberglass body after being wrecked / rolled? How do they hold up? I worry about getting killed!!!

2. What year does this body look like? The reason I ask is NOTHING from an early CJ5 fits (like my soft doors!) and I've been told by some mechanics it looks like though this is a 74 that the body is a later model (76 or newer) CJ5 body or possibly a CJ7 - what is the differences between an early CJ5 and a late CJ7 in terms of measurements and also with the CJ7???

3. What is this windshield off of? I believe it's an early CJ5 windshield, but confused there as well.

4. I've been looking for an old fiberglass top to refurbish and have come across a few one especially i'm looking at is off a 77 CJ5 - will it fit this windshield and if not is it easy to swap my windshield and will it thus fit my Jeep or are the body measurements different (of course depending on what body mine even is)?

5. I've got a weird rattling sound when I put it in neutral at higher speeds (30, 40, 50 mph in 3rd gear) to coast to a stop - only when I'm at high speeds in neutral, sounds like it's coming from below the shifter and almost sounds like the rattle a diesel trucks lets out as it slows to a stop - any idea what it could be???

6. Is it possible to put an air conditioning system in these early CJ5's? Are there aftermarket kits for it and how costly is it???

7. Thoughts on this engine? I know nothing about it and haven't pushed it too hard with the clutch issue, yet.
 
The first thing I would tell you is: If you have questions about a particular part of your jeep...i.e...the windshield...take a good clear pic of it from the front. Although artistic pictures are cool to look at and good for magazines they don't help much when trying to help someone answer questions. Take clear, straight on pics of what you are talking about and try not to cant the camera.
 
Ok I'll try to get some pics up on here of the windshield by Sunday night - you should be able to tell the body type though clearly... Most 74 CJ5's I see have the gas tank on the side, mine's on the rear like the later CJ5's if I'm correct...
 
~~~ Most 74 CJ5's I see have the gas tank on the side, mine's on the rear like the later CJ5's if I'm correct...
Standard for 72 and Up CJ's is the tank in the rear. -->> http://www.jeep4x4center.com/jeep-fuel-system-parts/cj5-cj7-cj8-scrambler.htm#15

1. With this fiberglass body... I've got LOTS of cracks in the gel coat but it's otherwise a fairly good body aside from some ripples in the surface - looks like someone who didn't know what they were doing worked over the entire body and jacked it up. My question is what's everyones experience with the fiberglass body? I do like the idea of no rust and how light weight it is but is it possible to really have it worked over professionally and get all these cracks out and not have them all reappear like crazy??? Most I've talked to have said they'll always come back but I don't see Corvette's running around with cracks all over? Is it possible to rework this body to show condition and have it maintain it? Please note I'm NOT the off roading type really, I just want this mostly for looks and a daily driver if that helps understand what it will / won't be subjected to as far as stress on the body. What everyones experience in maintaining appearance on the fiberglass bodies??? Should I buy a steel body as my next step or would I be money ahead to just have the current body reworked??? Or money ahead selling the fiberglass body and putting on a steel body? My worry there is all the hours charged for swapping them out, etc.

3. Anyone ever seen pics of a CJ with a fiberglass body after being wrecked / rolled? How do they hold up? I worry about getting killed!!!

2. What year does this body look like? The reason I ask is NOTHING from an early CJ5 fits (like my soft doors!) and I've been told by some mechanics it looks like though this is a 74 that the body is a later model (76 or newer) CJ5 body or possibly a CJ7 - what is the differences between an early CJ5 and a late CJ7 in terms of measurements and also with the CJ7???

3. What is this windshield off of? I believe it's an early CJ5 windshield, but confused there as well.

4. I've been looking for an old fiberglass top to refurbish and have come across a few one especially i'm looking at is off a 77 CJ5 - will it fit this windshield and if not is it easy to swap my windshield and will it thus fit my Jeep or are the body measurements different (of course depending on what body mine even is)?

5. I've got a weird rattling sound when I put it in neutral at higher speeds (30, 40, 50 mph in 3rd gear) to coast to a stop - only when I'm at high speeds in neutral, sounds like it's coming from below the shifter and almost sounds like the rattle a diesel trucks lets out as it slows to a stop - any idea what it could be???

6. Is it possible to put an air conditioning system in these early CJ5's? Are there aftermarket kits for it and how costly is it???

7. Thoughts on this engine? I know nothing about it and haven't pushed it too hard with the clutch issue, yet.

1) Cheaper made fiberglass bodies use thinner gelcoat and less reinforcement in the glass. You may be SOL unless you do some rework.

3) N/A

2) Hard to tell from the pics but could be a 76 and up body.

3) 4)

http://www.jeep-cj.com/forums/f2/windshield-cj-1134/
http://www.jeep-cj.com/forums/f7/educate-me-windshield-frames-8717/

5) Sounds like bearings starting to go allowing the shafts to rattle. Could also be throw out bearing or even a u-joint.

6) They make after market kits, never used one though.

7) The 304 is a good engine, just watch your oil pressure.
 
Great looking Jeep man :D

I particularly like the lock box under the seat:drool: Though I like my second tank of 10 gal (ish) back up gas too.. :rolleyes:

Hope you have a Garage with all that fancy stereo stuff going on, I've got problems keeping a good stereo in my lockable vehicles, much less a grab and go / slash and go Jeep... I do live in South Sacramento, CA though... Tends to have become a "not-so-good" hood as of late... :cool:

For the 304 motor... They do nicely! Wait until your all set up right and get to tear into it a little before switching. I easily hit 70 on Freeway, and if wanted, it has plenty of power to keep going...:eek: Although obviously it has more to do with than just the motor... :cool: Just Like CJ said: keep eye on oil pressure...

On the tank, I have both on my 74. Not sure if came that way or converted one way or the other... I know my Uncles 72 had the under Driver's seat tank originally (or both??) but it has been patched up smooth from the outside to appear it never did. If you look on the inside of the body near seat belt area, you should see a large indent there if it had one there originally too? but if the PO put a fiber-body on it may have been ordered knowing he / she wouldn't re-use...

For the fiberglass... (I may have miss understood, but if you were talking about the paint / gel coat quality... >) If you're wanting a show jeep quality look, (which it looks from the pics is very possible) and it is really that terrible, you may be like CJ said SOL. But if you're wanting a nice look from afar / doesn't need to be perfect up close, and are going to do a new paint job anyways, then you can probably do some "patch" work to get it nicer... They sell (i know for boats) fiberglass patch kits, and Even though it is correct that the cracks may come back etc, You can slap a pretty nice auto paint over old gel-coated fiber and come out with a nice look... See my boat below, I did this with auto paint over old rotted and cracked jell-coat. But it is so bright in the sun, and unless you try to look very close, you can't see the small imperfections there... It does require some "extra" prep-work, but not too much more than you'd do for a normal new paint job anyways...
:chug:

~ JR
I should add, I haven't seen how long this pain will last this way (boat) I did it a little over a year ago though, Still looks great waxed up.
 
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Hey guys sorry I took forever to get back to you all!!!! Thanks for all of the great advice I've learned a great deal and am making progress!!! I've got a few new questions though...

Looks like my 304 is burning through oil pretty fast and has a slight tick - estimates for a good rebuild are running much higher than just buying a new engine and swapping them so far as I see. So I want your advice on what engine I should put in it??? Should I stick with a 304? Or as everyone in my area is saying switch it to a Chevy 350? What other options do I have? I'm looking for a balance of more power with not spending a ton of money...

Also looking at putting wider axles on shortly - remember my Jeep is a street vehicle only, will most likely never take it off road - what type do you think I should keep an eye out for???

Thanks in advance for your help guys!
 
Should I stick with a 304? Or as everyone in my area is saying switch it to a Chevy 350? What other options do I have? I'm looking for a balance of more power with not spending a ton of money...


On this, It really depends what you want to do...

There are 2 schools of thought too...


  1. Easiest to swap to a 360 (maybe a 401? someone else should confirm the 401 part) because it will bolt right up to everything you currently have, and has more power. It's the same block as the 304. Now your tranny, motor mounts, drives hafts headers / manifolds, etc all are reusable, without adapters.
  2. The 350 is a power house. There are plenty of upgrade options out there that are cheap and readily available. The only problem I see is the original swap / set up. It requires new motor mounts, possibly a new tranny or at the least most likely a adapter for bellhousing to mount up. Drive lines will need to be shortened / lengthened, exhaust system will need some reconfigurations... etc.
So in short either will give you more power, ones easier up front, as far as lasting and end performance, I am not positive which would tip the scale...

I think if it was me, I'd stick with the AMC V-8's... But I was not to long ago considering the 350 swap myself, so... :confused:

Either way :chug: and make it yours man...

~ JR
 
If the gel-coat is cracking you probally have a cheap body that will keep cracking. They make different grades of bodies. My HD glass body is 7 years old, gets beat on the trails and the gel-coat still looks like new.(except for some pin striping from mother nature) It aslo weighed more than the steel body I took off.
I can tell you an amc v8 will be a lot cheaper to put in than a chevy, theres alot of things that need changing and some adapters needed for the chevy. It all adds up. The only advantage is chevy parts are cheaper and easyer to find when it breaks.
 

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