Build Thread Restoration of my 1955 CJ5

Build Thread Restoration of my 1955 CJ5


Burney, CA
55 cj5, 61 cj6
I recently purchased a 1955 CJ5 Jeep and a 1961 CJ6. I paid $1000 for the two of them. My original idea was to keep and restore the 55 and sell the 61, but now I am considering keeping them both. I will start the restoration of the 5 first, so I pulled the 5 into the garage and parked the 6 outside and covered it up with a plastic tarp.

Here's the beginning of the restoration process:

Well, it's been a week or so and I have both jeeps at home. I covered up the CJ6 to be worked on some time in the far distant future. The CJ5 will be my current project.
The day before yesterday I pushed the jeep out of the garage and washed it in the rain. I wonder what the neighbors were thinking. Yesterday I continued the cleaning process by spraying degreaser on the engine and front suspension and scrubbing with a scratch pad. I hate working of durty parts, so a thorough cleaning is in order before I begin its path to restoration.
I flushed the cooling system and replaced it with new anti-freeze. I would have just put water back in for now, but it's too cold even in my garage to take a chance of freeze damage. I checked the oil and for a motor that hasn't run for over 12 years, I thought it looked pretty good. I will leave it for the test fire. I pulled the spark plugs and poured in some mystery oil to lubricate the cylinders. Then I turned the motor over with a socket wrench, it turned over very nicely. Next, I pulled the carb to open it up and see how bad it looked inside. Not the bad either, but I took it apart and dropped it in the can of carb cleaner. Now I need a carb rebuild kit to put it back together.
The reason the previous owner stopped driving this jeep was due to an electrical problem, the wiring is a mess. I will have to sort it out before I start the engine, at least sort it out at the very basic level of operating the motor.
The braking system probably needs a complete overhaul.
My goal is to bring the jeep up to a basic running order so I can drive it around as I restore it in segments. At some point I will probably lift the body off the frame, but I would like to drive it a little before going to that step. I hate the thought of bringing home this jeep and spending the next two to three years restoring it before I have a chance to drive and enjoy it.
So, there's where I am at this point of my first jeep ownership.
I am having a blast so far.




There has been some rewiring to convert it to a 12v electical system, but most of the original wiring remains intact. An extention cord was spliced into the lighting system to plug into a towing vehicle, which looks improperly done, but I like the idea so I will try to sort it out correctly. I need to drop the dash panel to see how they converted the gauges to 12v. The speedo glass it broken and gone as well as the speedo needle, does anyone know of someone who rebuilds these units (it's probably cheaper to just buy a new one).
The PO installed an electric fuel pump, but left the mechanical pump in place, I guess to continue to use the vacumm portion of it. I'll have to think about which way I want to go with the fuel pump.
I have a Buick V6 odd fire sitting in the garage if I don't care for the F 134, but I sure like the looks of the 134 sitting in that engine bay.
That's it for now.
Nice find!

Looks like a real good project ahead. The V6 is a good plan. The 134 just doesn't like the highway.

Keep us posted on your progress.
i would go with the v6. i never liked 4 bangers in offroad/onroad rigs. my friend has a sammi with a 4 banger, 5 speed, 5.13 gears, and 35" tires and the engine still has a hell of a time turning the 35s.
I have been moving along, slowly. I had it running, smooth as silk. Drove it around town and then I found a small leak at the fuel line connection under the gas tank. I removed the gas tank and took it for repairs. I re-installed it and tried to start up the motor and it would not fire. How could this be when it ran so nicely just a few days ago. Of course, when ever you have a vehicle that has sat for 12 or more years, anything is possible. I took the head off after several hours of checks including a compression test that showed two cylinder at zero lbs. After removing the head I found two stuck open intake valves in the number 1 and 2 cylinders. I dropped the head off at a repair shop where the mechanic is going to see if he can just clean up the valves to fix the problem.
In the mean time I have been pounding out some dents and waiting for a new master cylinder. I'll post some pictures when I have a chance.
Do you have any current photos of your project? I have a CJ that I just picked up and need all the help I can get. Mine is either a 53, 55 or 57. Still trying to figure that one out.
Did ya get it runnin' yet? :D

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