Structural Integrity

Structural Integrity


New River Valley, VA
1976 CJ-7
4.2L AMC I6
Borg-Warner T-4
Dana 20 Transfer Case
Dana 30 front
2-piece AMC 20 rear
I'm new to the whole Jeep thing, but I've looked into it and have wanted to be a part of it for some time. I recently acquired my first project, a '76 CJ7 , and while the frame looks solid and I've gotten the engine running well, I'm a little concerned about the body. Specifically, all the rust holes. More specifically, whether the seats are going to fall through while I'm driving. What would I look for and how should I go about making sure that its safe to drive? (Besides state inspection, of course. No way the old man will pass that yet.)
some pictures would be a good place to start. lets see how bad the rust is.:cool:
that's pretty rusted , for sure. Your options are, find a good used tub, find patch panels, make patch panels. Can you weld sheet metal? Do you want to learn?
I don't think the seats are going to fall through but the body mounts are in pretty bad shape. This is pretty much what a CJ is all about, if it was easy everybody would have one.:cool:
It's just one long learning experience. :D
I don't have a welder, but I'm not averse to learning, as long as it doesn't cost too much. What would you recommend?
I would recomend a small 110 volt mig , perfect for a home shop, and light metal work. They run about $500 from lowes. It should come with an instructional video. Find you some scrap steel and go at it. Patch panels are also pretty easy to come by. Your best bet for that tub is probably to replace it with a yj tub, you'll spend a small fortune on patch panels.

Sent from my DROID2
A mig welder, for the body- a small one. Harbor Freight has one on sale this month for $99. Its small but great for any body welding. Find a source for sheet metal, my preference is any heating and air shop since they have a lot of left overs. 16 gauge is perfect.

Get on you tube and type in "mig" or "welding" and you'll get a lot of 'how to" videos for diy folks. Mig welding is easy to learn and the satisfaction of doing the job yourself is very rewarding.

I'm new to jeeps myself but I've been around the block with other projects. I'm sure you can find replacement mounts for your cj, but if you're a novice welder I'd really consider taking it to a shop and getting it done- or (and this is how you save AND learn cheaply) pay for one body mount or panel to be welded and watch closely.

Good luck bro
Well, mine works well. Of course this doesn't mean that you have to go cheap on welders but that grade of welder is perfect for body work and even thicker metal (albeit not much more).

That was just my 2 cents- but it has worked for me.

Regardless of what kind you buy, go to YouTube and you get some great tutorials and if anything- you'll get a great perspective on diy welding.
The easiest thing to do is to find a tub that is in better shape than yours, they don't grow on trees but they are out there. If you want to repair the body you have you will have to get good at welding and steel fabrication not to mention painting. Which ever way you go it is going to be a pretty big job.
You need to look around and see what resources you have, spend a lot of time on line and in the local library and book store and make a plan. The object of the exercise is to have a CJ you are proud of with out throwing massive amounts of your income at it.
Just about all of us started out with a "project Jeep", some of them were in worse shape than yours. There is a saying that Jeeps are built not bought, it is a pretty major commitment, if you feel the love it helps a lot , if not it becomes a pile of parts to eventually end up on E-bay.
There was a kid in here for a while that was rebuilding a rig he called the bruise, He had some pretty good shots of haw he built the patch panels and put them in. I can't remember his handle and can't find his thread , maybe some one else remembers him and can help.:cool:

I don't have a welder, but I'm not averse to learning, as long as it doesn't cost too much. What would you recommend?
You guys are wonderful! This is more information in a day than I've gotten asking around at body shops for two weeks! What are the pros/cons of doing the YJ tub vs. Patch panels? And I had a friend do some tig welding for the door mounts, but he's too far away to do it now. What's the difference between tig and mig (or was I just hearing him wrong?)?
A mig has a wire feed and a tig has a torch that you hand feed a rod into the puddle, kind of like an electric oxy acetylene torch.
Technically the $99 HF machine is not a MIG, it is a Flux cored wire machine. MIG stands for metal and inert gas, TIG stands for Tungsten and inert gas.
Do you have any trade schools or Jr. collages in the neighborhood? a continuing education class would give you some hands on time with a lot of different equipment and access to a lot of useful information. You can buy a machine and start making sparks and have a fair chance of success but if you had a little help and education it could save you a lot of time and money. MIG welders, especially, can make a very pretty weld that is actually not holding anything together.
I, personally, would want my CJ5 to remain a CJ5 . The reason you will have a problem finding a replacement body is because there are not that many out there so not just anybody gets to own one. If you do a good job of it men will envy you, large game animals and sport fish will fear you and women will want you.:D

If the plan is to run it into the ground, save yourself a lot of work and put some duct tape over the holes and brush the whole thing with rustoleum.:laugh:

You guys are wonderful! This is more information in a day than I've gotten asking around at body shops for two weeks! What are the pros/cons of doing the YJ tub vs. Patch panels? And I had a friend do some tig welding for the door mounts, but he's too far away to do it now. What's the difference between tig and mig (or was I just hearing him wrong?)?
Yeah, I'd definitely like to stay a CJ7 . If I wanted a YJ I would've bought one. lol. Where would you recommend looking for tubs? And what's your take on fiberglass? Sorry to have so many questions, I'm not used to getting quick answers like this!
Yep he's right on the h.f welder. Mine is a mig- and I wrongly assumed the sale at h.f. Was the same. They aren't too expensive though. I took a leap of faith with a cheaper one- hoping the cops could find the guy who stole mine. Luckily it worked out well.

Its a leap of faith, but with a little bit of research you can learn it quickly. Take an hour or two with some scrap metal and it'll come to you. The tricky part is shaping non-flat replacement panels.

The attraction to a tub replacement is that you can get to parts of the frame otherwise inaccessible and paint or undercoat it. There's nothing better to me than knowing I've gone through every square inch of my ride.
Cj tub = non galvanized, will probably forever be prone to rot, that many patch panels and you might as well buy a whole new tub. Yj tub = galvanized, can be had cheap, very few mods to make it look exactly like a cj tub, plus if you get lucky you can score a tilt column, and intermittant wipers. Im all for keeping it cj but at some point cost and time win me over, along with the added benefits. Now if you are just wanting to use it as a learning tool and you got the $$$ then I say fix the tub. Jmho

Sent from my DROID2
The part of yours that is the most concern are the channels under the body that support the body at the frame. The side panels are cosmetic compared th these. Do you have a place to remove the tub and flip it for major reconstruction??
The fiberglass has good points and not so good points, I am not a big fan but this would maybe different if I lived in the rust belt. Old dog is quite happy with his and I am sure he will be happy to give you his take on it.
You will find a CJ7 tub in the very last place that you look. Craig's list, Flea bay, junk yard, word of mouth, Hook up with the local 4X4 clubs and check their web sites. They are out there.
Just one more point on wire welders, Properly done flux cored wire is stronger than gas shielded and not quite so prone to warping the panel. I bought one and used it to replace the floorboards in my J-10. It worked OK and for $99 it was even better. I gave it to a buddy when I was finished with it because I have other equipment and didn't want to give up space for this machine. The only thing I did not like at all was the trigger not controlling the current. As in the wire is always hot and the trigger just feeds the wire. this would take me a while to get used to.
This could be a lot of fun and you will find that being able to weld opens up a whole new world of fabrication possibilities from cloths line posts to go carts for the kids.
I had a device implanted in my chest to help control an irregular heart beat about 6 months ago. They told me they wanted me to give up welding, that there was a possibility that it could have an adverse effect on my device. I almost passed on the implant rather than give up my welding machine. As it turn out I have had no problem and don't think I will as long as I watch the amperage. I didn't really need to burn 1/4 inch rods anymore anyway. As soon as the 6 week recuperation period was over I got a couple of friends over to pick me up if things went wrong and did some welding. :D
So help me I couldn't find my back side with a map and a mirror.:cool:

Jeep-CJ Donation Drive

Help support by making a donation.

Help support by making a donation.
This donation drive ends in
Top Bottom