Build Thread Treblehook's 79/85 CJ7 Circus!!

Build Thread Treblehook's 79/85 CJ7 Circus!!

TrebleHook

Jeeper
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Location
Norfolk, VA
Vehicle(s)
1979 CJ-7 with 1985 258/Ebay T-5/Dana 300 - twin sticks/AMC 20 Rear 3.73/Dana 30 Front 3.73/Alloy Wide Track Axles/2" Body Lift/Gremlins.....

More to follow....
Allright folks,

I have so many questions and issues that I'll just start a build thread to capture all of it in one place -- hopefully you all will be able to assist and enjoy as this circus gets underway!!

So, as posted elsewhere, I recently purchased a frame-off restored 79 CJ7. The PO and restorer installed the drivetrain from a 1985 CJ7. So it's a 258, T-4, Dana 300. It's appears to be a quality rebuild - virtually every bolt is new which should make working on the Jeep a little more pleasurable.

He also put in wide-track axles. New one piece in the rear. I am still working on exactly what he did to the rear, but he claimed that is was a 3:10 "posi" and is now a 4:10. The diff cover is round and smooth - I think its the AMC Dana 20. More on that later....but I can tell you its geared low sine 55 mph has the motor really winding!

The good news is that my first newbie repair went swimmingly. Since day one, the fuel hoses that leave the gas tank and plug into the Liquid Check Valve (LCV) behind the driver-side taillight were cracked and spewing gas all over the place to include the hot (new) tailpipe. I thought that might be a good place to start. I may be a newbie - but I recognize a fire triangle when I see one!!:)

First inspection revealed that apparently, these two hoses were the only ones not changed out during the restoration, so that's a good thing!

I thought about changing out the LCV because I thought it was cracked - but a google search quickly revealed that they are virtually impossible to come by locally and rare on the internet. So I just changed out the hoses and clamps and....Ta-da! First repair complete and dry.

Of course, as soon as I got in the CJ to go for a test-drive I see just a little puddle of coolant on the passenger floorboard. Heater core is going to need some attention. Wiped it up - it's still dry. We'll see how prevalent this leak turns out to be....I really want to put in A/C (insert comments here) so I can make it to work in the summer without sweating through my uniform!

I've installed a carseat in the new rear flip and fold high-back seat so I could putt around with my 2 y/o daughter...that actually went easier than I thought -- but it's apparent that I will need to swap in a family roll bar ASAP. First, for safety. Second for rear 3 point seatbelts! It's project to get those old CJ belts around a carseat! I found a family bar from a 92 Wrangler local for $200. Put it on the list....

The transfer case weeps like soap-opera star. But I hear that's just par for the course. It puddled up about a 4" inch stain on a drop cloth overnight.

OK - so here's today's question: Why is the T-4 so difficult to shift once it warms up? Cold, it's no problem. 20 minutes of driving and its grinding when downshifting and embarrassing to grind into reverse in a parking lot. I've tried the 4th to Reverse to stop whatever part that stops -- it works...sometimes. Do I need to add tranny gear-oil? It doesn't "feel" like a clutch issue. I'd love to swap it out, etc...but for now I just want to fix it and drive it. I'll get to upgrading down the road....

Again, thanks for all your assistance here....I'll post pics of the rear end - anyone know where it ID numbers are on an AMC Dana 20?

Cheers, :chug::chug:
Treblehook
 
Alright -- nobody will be impressed, but I locked myself in my Jeep this morning. Went to get out and the handle wouldn't unlatch the door. I have Wrangler hard doors. I rolled down the window and pulled on the latch from the outside...nothing. So there I am, all 6'3 of myself jammed in behind the wheel -- and then artfully and gracefully crawling out the passenger seat.

I ended up pulling off the door panel, taking off the handle, pull handle and window crank, cutting into the plastic liner, unbolting the small panel over the lock mechanism and taking a look. I got it open by pulling the rod.

The plastic door rod clips had broken off at the interior pull-handle. So I just headed over to Napa and picked up the ones (x2) I was told were "universal." $3.99.

Ummm, not so much. After I jammed my arm up into the door and finger-wrestled the clips onto the rods, I then attempted to push the clip into the retainer. Snap! Snap! F*&K.

Lesson #1: Get the right part. I took the original broken clips (in pieces) to Pep Boys (we were out running other errands) and was able to find exact matches. $3.99.

Lesson #2: Slow down and think. Had I actually looked at the clips and the rod ends, I would have realized that it makes more sense (and actually works) to put the clip in the receiver and then slide the rod into the clip -- the rod expands the plastic in the clip, thereby holding the entire thing together.

Door went back together very easily and I even managed to get all the panel on better than when it came off (all the plugs are actually in!).

More impressively, I got 2 car seats into the back seat using the STOCK LAP BELTS. One forward facing for the 2 y/o and one rear facing car seat base. Here's a couple of pics (especially if you need to "sell" a CJ to your wife!!)



Did a little modification to the base just for my own piece of mind.



NOTE: The car seats are in TOTAL compliance and properly installed using just the lap belts. They are SOLID. I even used the instruction manual. The straps on the back of the forward facing seat are "optional" and "recommended" and I happened to have a perfect bracket to clip them on. The modification to the base is also totally unnecessary - but holds the seat securely down and does not interfere with the structural integrity of the base. They are NOT "rigged" into the Jeep. Not with my girls riding in them. Next up - family bar from a 92-95 Wrangler.

Works brilliantly.

So all in all -- totally unimpressive...probably completely boring. But that was what went on under the big-top today.

Oh BTW -- here's some pics of the rear diff, etc....
 
OK - so here's today's question: Why is the T-4 so difficult to shift once it warms up? Cold, it's no problem. 20 minutes of driving and its grinding when downshifting and embarrassing to grind into reverse in a parking lot. I've tried the 4th to Reverse to stop whatever part that stops -- it works...sometimes. Do I need to add tranny gear-oil? It doesn't "feel" like a clutch issue. I'd love to swap it out, etc...but for now I just want to fix it and drive it. I'll get to upgrading down the road....

Treblehook
Your T4 grinds gears because the syncros are worn out. It needs a rebuild. The T4, along with it's brother the T5, are the worse transmissions to go into a CJ. Worn syncros are a common problem with the T4.

If I were you I'd swap out the T4 for a Ford T18. Go from one extreme to the other. The T18 is an excellent HD tranny. Jeep had a T18 they put in CJs but they were all mated to Dana 20 TCases. You don't want that. Get a Ford T18 but you will need an adapter to mate it to the Dana 300. I have done that before and used an Advanced Adapter kit but Novak has a similar kit.
 
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The T-18 swap is what I was dreaming of...the e-research I have done makes it seem like its a really hard transmission to come by. I priced the Novak transmission and adapters at $1200+. I would love to find one at a reasonable price - do a bench rebuild on it (learning process?), purchase the adapter and also rebuild a Dana 300 -- leave my Jeep together to drive -- and then throw it all under there in a day or two when it was ready.... Any suggestions on where to find a reasonably priced T-18? Of course I'll do my own research...but if you have any tips, I'm all ears. I am in Norfolk, Virginia. Thanks for the input!
 
Your T4 grinds gears because the syncros are worn out. It needs a rebuild. The T4, along with it's brother the T5, are the worse transmissions to go into a CJ. Worn syncros are a common problem with the T4.

I'd have to disagree the SR4 was the worst idea for a manual trans in a CJ, but the T4 and T5 were pretty bad ideas as well.

I came across a T18 not that long ago for 200ish, I'll see if it's still around, and I will have a 300 available in the near future.
 
I dont think theyre that hard to come by. Ive had 2 that Ive already sold. The T-18 is probably the best rock crawling trans you can put in your Jeep. The 6.32 first gear is awesome for crawling. They were also available with 1st gear at 4.02. The rest of the gears are comparable to a T-150 3 spd. Being that you'll mate that Ford trans to the dana 300 via an adapter your gonna need some custom/adapted driveshafts.

On the more economical side Id lean toward a T-176/7. Its a good medium duty trans and will bolt right up to your dana 300. The T-177 has a first gear ratio of 3.82. Coupled with a dana 300 its not a bad crawling trans for the average ( Me :) ) Joe. If you can make your T-4 last , and have the cash to build the T-18/dana 300 combo its a no brainer!! If not you can probably find a used T-176/7 for around $150-250. Find the right guy who doesnt wanna pull it, and go get it yourself with the driveshafts for the same price. Use the following link to search Craigslist in a broader area around you.
SearchTempest - The EASY way to search Craigslist

Good luck! :)

The T-18 swap is what I was dreaming of...the e-research I have done makes it seem like its a really hard transmission to come by. I priced the Novak transmission and adapters at $1200+. I would love to find one at a reasonable price - do a bench rebuild on it (learning process?), purchase the adapter and also rebuild a Dana 300 -- leave my Jeep together to drive -- and then throw it all under there in a day or two when it was ready.... Any suggestions on where to find a reasonably priced T-18? Of course I'll do my own research...but if you have any tips, I'm all ears. I am in Norfolk, Virginia. Thanks for the input!
 
Petescj has a point. The Ford T18 isn't really too rare. It is a great tranny. Plus the T176 is an easy swap, bolting up to the bellhousing and the TCase. But if you do find a T176 or T177 make sure you also get the drive shafts. The T4 and T5 are long trannys, longer than the T176. On the other hand if you go with a ford T18 then the adapter from Advance Adapters or Novak then both of those adapters are just the correct length to be as long as the T4 or T5. There will be no need to swap out drive shafts if you go with the T18.
 
Good info Dave. Thanx :chug:
The T4 and T5 are long trannys. On the other hand if you go with a ford T18 then the adapter from Advance Adapters or Novak then both of those adapters are just the correct length to be as long as the T4 or T5. There will be no need to swap out drive shafts if you go with the T18.
 
Gents -

Thanks for all the input - I've gotta dig in on all the information and I'll get back to you.

Just a quick one -- I have not done my research on this b/c I just stumbled on it on Craigslist....

FORD NP435 TRANS W/CRAWL GEAR JEEP BELLHOUSING

Thoughts? Major mods required?

Thanks again! This site RULES!! :chug:

Cheers,
Treblehook
 
Oh yeah big bertha...I have an 435 in my truck and its a great tranny
 
I'm having a bit of a reality check -- not so much of a "limit your dreams" check -- but a "how are you really going to use your Jeep and how much money and talent do you have" check.

Some context: I spent this afternoon driving around town with my daughter in the back. Stopped at the base. Drove across town to the running store. Over to the Zoo. Long way home. So much fun, I am in heaven!!

But, I definitely need a new transmission!!

Once the tranny is warmed up, it's a bit of a mess. The shifting becomes more and more difficult. As previously diagnosed, the syncros are worn-out. Moreover, there is a bit of a shudder after I shift into first with the clutch depressed. I only notice this when I am shifting up and down a lot (light-to-light; downtown) -- which makes me think the clutch hot and is worn and/or out of adjustment. There is also a strange winding/grinding noise that is noticeable whenever the Jeep bounces: throw-out bearing?

The NP435 and T-18 are both amazing, tough, transmissions. But considering the fact that this is a daily driver that I want to wheel when I can, and I apparently have a lower-geared rear-end (haven't calculated yet, but it's said to be 4:10) I think that I need a tranny with better "streetablility." Am I off the mark?

T176 looks promising. I'm going to keep and rebuild my Dana 300. Even if I have to buy the driveshafts, I'll still be "making money." Still open to suggestions, of course.

If anyone has a recommendations for a 5 speed/OD tranny....let me know. I'll certainly consider it and do the research, but having this forum is like a teacher telling you not to cheat with the answers written on the blackboard!!

Cheers,
Treblehook
:chug:
 
.

Great looking '7 you got there!


.
 
Well it looks like it's going to have to be a T-4 to T-5 swap for now....I just need a drivable CJ until the Fall.

Problem is: can't find a T-5. Anyone have a T-5 (preferably rebuilt) at a reasonable price? Reasonable distance from Norfolk, VA?

The salvage yards around here don't have diddly-squat. Ebay hasn't been promising. Craigslist - not so much.

Also: I need a Dana 300 to rebuild. I need to drive my Jeep, get the transmission and transfer case all set -- and swap them in one day.

Suggestions? I'll be hitting you all up for advice if I could just get the parts.

Thanks for the continued assistance guys....:notworthy:

Cheers,
TrebleHook
 
The Circus needed a TOW TRUCK! Ignition Upgrade?

So I loaded up the family into the CJ with the intent of driving to my sisters across town. It was raining. No problem - I had driven it all morning -- transmission issues be damned....

So with two car seats in the back (3 mos. and 2 years) and a very happy wife (honestly!) we headed out. Stayed off the highways (can barely do 60mph as geared). Just a leisurely drive....

It was running like a champ. Wife was impressed with how great the heater worked. We were having a nice little drive.

Sputter. Sputter. Dead. :confused: It turned over just fine, even tried to start a couple of times, but not. Felt like an electrical issue. Clearly the rain and water were a factor, but that was just my instinct at the time....

We ended up stalled out on the side of a VERY busy three lane divided street (heavy 50+ mph traffic) between the off-ramp and on-ramp of a major highway! Needless to say, I was VERY concerned about somebody slamming into the back of the stalled CJ - even with my flashers on.

Thankfully, a cop pulled in behind us pretty quickly. Nicest cop I've met. He threw out some flares and offered to get me a tow-truck number because it would be $175 if he called one. We talked Jeeps for a bit -- he liked the CJ!;) My wife called my sister to pick up her and the kids. She made it there a few minutes after the tow truck.

Nicest tow truck driver I've met too! He waited in the rain patiently while we moved the kids my sister's car. Towed the CJ to a nearby Jeep Shop (Open Air Jeeps, VA Beach) that I had read about. Then he told me he's only charge me the minimum of $67 since it wasn't very far and the dispatcher hadn't quoted me a price. He could have taken me for a lot more. Honest guy (Jack's Towing, VA Beach).

As if I wasn't already a very luck-unlucky CJ owner, one of the owners of Open Air was actually at the shop at 5pm on a Sunday -- we talked and he took the keys and promised to get to it first thing Monday since it's a daily driver.

So -- not the worst events that could have happened. Couldn't really avoid the tow since it was blocking traffic. I'd bet that it's the distributor (having looked it up since I've been home) - so I could have fixed it myself - but I guess them are the breaks eh?

So -- any input on upgrading my ignition since it's already on the chopping block? I'll take any and all suggestions.

Cheers,
Dylan:chug:
 
If its the distibutor itself Id go h.e.i. Im not affiliated with or recommending this person on Ebay , Im just using it for an example. Seems too cheap to be good. Probably made in China. Anyway that would be the best way to go if your dizzy is shot.

AMC JEEP 232 258 4.0 4.2 6 CYL HEI DISTRIBUTOR 6511-R - eBay (item 330526168812 end time Apr-02-11 18:25:46 PDT)


Theres always this if your dizzy is still good as well. I have one Jeep with h.e.i. and one with team rush. I like both.

I-6 'TeamRush Upgrade' (definitive) - JeepForum.com
 
Well I just did all the math and hand-wringing and math. Looks like I am just going to do what I want to my Jeep and do it myself. What I save in labor will pay for all the goodies I want....

So with that said - I need to start compiling the tools I'll need. I have basic tools -- wrenches, sockets, pliers, hammers, etc. I am looking for advice on the following:

Jack Stands (size, manufacturer?)
Floor Jack (reasonably priced, not junk)
Arbor Press (can I get away with a small one?)
Vice
Torque Wrench
Any other "must haves" before I start???

The plan is to get a rebuilt transmission and a rebuilt Dana 300 and all the necessary parts (clutch kit, drive shafts, tunnel cover, fluid, etc) ready and on-hand. I'll run the Jeep into the garage, pull out the bad - in with the good. One weekend....or so.

Thoughts?

Cheers,
TrebleHook
 
Oh BTW - the diagnosis on the stalled motor was good gas, good electric, no spark.

Instead of having the mechanic chase gremlins for another hour, I just had him replace the ignition with an HEI. $165.

Funny thing is -- it looks like he used the one that PeteCJ posted above. I looked around the shop and all his projects had the same set-up. It was relatively inexpensive and he says he has not had any problem with them.

The HEI instantly solved the starting problem. It runs MUCH stronger and smoother than before. One issue we are still working out is the "bogging" at higher RPMs (i.e. highway 60mph). It was really bad at first. Capped a few vacuum leaks. Small adjustment to the carb and the bogging is minimal and only at a certain rev point on the highway. And ideas?

Cheers,
Treblehook
 
So with that said - I need to start compiling the tools I'll need. I have basic tools -- wrenches, sockets, pliers, hammers, etc. I am looking for advice on the following:

Jack Stands (size, manufacturer?)
Floor Jack (reasonably priced, not junk)
Arbor Press (can I get away with a small one?)
Vice
Torque Wrench
Any other "must haves" before I start???

Heres what I have and find useful.
2 sets of jack stands. A 6 ton set and a 10 ton set. 6T is from HF, I don't remember where I got the 10T set, I've had them forever.
2 floor jacks, 1 3T and one 2T I use the 3T the most as the 2T doesn't go as high.
I don't think you will find much use for an arbor press unless your talking about a 20T unit. I don't use a press often enough to own one, I do have one at work though if I need one.
Get the best and biggest vice you can, don't cheap out here. Your going to be pounding and twisting on it so build a heavy duty work bench to mount it to.
I have and use both in. lb and ft. lb torque wrenches. Life is better if you have both the click type and the old needle type.(not sure what they are called)
Make sure your floor jack and jackstands are tall enough for jeep work, most are not.
 
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Well if it's not one thing, it's another....

The brake pedal seemed awful soft (and it wasn't before) when I was driving today. In fact, it's not going to the floor. Still stops - but something ain't right and I don't want to die just yet.

I popped the master cylinder open and sure enough, the front (small) chamber is EMPTY. Rear (big) chamber is full.

I presume -- and I need a lesson here -- that the fluid in the front chamber leaked/squeezed out of one of the lines somewhere. I did a quick inspection and the passenger front brake caliper/yoke is a little wet. It looks like brake fluid to me - it's clear.

So -- that seems the likely problem. Two questions:

1. From your experience, what probably failed and how do I fix it?

2. How exactly does the master cylinder work? What do the front and rear chamber do and what does it mean if the front is empty?

Thanks again....

Cheers,
TrebleHook
 

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