M38a1 frame for late cj5?

M38a1 frame for late cj5?
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Location
Colorado Springs
Vehicle(s)
1981 CJ5 GM 250 paired with the ungodly tough Borg Warner SR4 and Dana 300 t-case. AMC 20 rear (and maybe front?) with 4.11s.
I've seen multiple threads on various boards about doing a frame swap with a M38A1 on early CJ5s and DJs. The latest I've heard it being done was on a '73. On to the question: Would I be able to do the same sort of swap with a 1981 CJ5 without too much hassle? As for the "hassle" part, I mean very little cutting and welding and preferably none. I imagine I'll have no choice but to do some.

Picked this thing up knowing the frame was bent but doubting the severity of the bend. Now I know why the very reputable guy who sold it to me had tires on it with less than 100 miles. Less than 6000 miles later, the outer edge of my front passenger tire's got a good 75% tread life. Good thing 31X10.50 BFGs aren't expensive. :mad:

But I digress, I'm considering this particular swap as I've heard the M38A1 frames are stronger. Getting my frame straightened is far from worth the money. Quadratec has new CJ5 frames for 1800. I haven't been able to find the M38A1 frame. What would you guys suggest for getting a stronger frame while staying under $2K (or pretty close to)? Or does anyone have experience with custom frames on a CJ5 for under or around $2K?

I'll get a picture (of its good side obviously) up soon.
 
Jeep lengthened the wheelbase on cj5s in 1972 so that their straight 6 would fit.The tubs are the same length but the fenders and hood are a couple inches longer from '72 up so unless you want to swap to the '71 back front clip and put a v6 in there its going to be a big hassle.Not to mention the steering setups are completely different,although the newer setup can be adapted,and often is,it would qualify as a 'hassle'.I dont believe that the m38a1 frame is stronger than a '76 up factory frame either....for that matter I doubt its much stronger than the civilian '55-'71 frame if at all.I can't see any reason to do this swap on a '72 up CJ5......and can see a lot of reasons not to.I'm not sure where you live but if you cant find one locally you could get a used frame shipped from one of the jeep dismantlers in california or arizona that isnt eaten up with rust for much less than 2 grand,probably less than 1 grand.Any '76 up would work without much hassle.
 
Thanks. I figured that out. We've got a local place here in Colorado that's got a few frames. I'm a bit of a skeptic buying frames around here though. I'd think its pretty easy to buy a frame that's bent but not noticeably bent, and with all the people into trail riding... its likely they bought new frames for a reason.
 

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