Believe it or not, this old, trail-hardened ’79 Jeep CJ-7 was at the top of its d in the aboriginal ’80s, and alike allotment of the ’90s. The Jeep belonged to Bob Beck, best accepted for actuality the Camel Man, assuming a asperous and adventuresome outdoorsman. It is no admiration Bob was accustomed that job, for that is actually what his activity was about.
Bob Beck was somewhat of an iconic bulk in the Jeeping apple in southern California, so aback his son, Matt Beck, alleged to acquaint me that the Jeep was for sale, I jumped at the opportunity. Bob was the acumen I bought my Jeep aback in 1984 and a ample allotment of my accepting an amazing activity of off-road, backcountry biking and adventure. I did not appetite this Jeep put out to affirmation or bought by accession who would never apperceive of its affluent history. The plan was to accompany this old adamant aback to activity already again.
Aside from actuality emotionally absorbed to this CJ and absent to accumulate it around, an alternating purpose of the anatomy was to allegorize the advance of aftermarket genitalia and accessories as able-bodied as their availability and bulk effectiveness. You don’t acquire to absorb $40,000 to acquire an acutely dependable aisle rig. This Jeep was bought for $3,000 and the aftermarket genitalia will bulk accession $10,000 or so. That’s no baby bulk of money, however, this blazon of anatomy does not charge to be done all at once, and in the end the buyer will be larboard with an acutely dependable aisle rig that will accompany years or off alley biking and adventure.
The CJ had accustomed Bob Beck abounding years of affectionate account and the anatomy was still in acceptable shape. The T-18 chiral manual and alteration case had been able-bodied taken affliction of and would be larboard untouched. The straight-six agent had a Paxton supercharger, which was hot being at the time, about this would be afflicted out and replaced with the new and reliable Howell ammunition bang system.
The blow of the anatomy would be forth the aforementioned lines, replacing anachronous technology, and ambiguous genitalia with aerial tech, avant-garde products. The ambition was not to accomplish this Jeep an eye catcher. On the contrary, every bang and blemish has a adventure and will be larboard alone. The ambition was to anatomy a dependable, go anywhere aisle rig. Something the ancestors can booty into the backcountry with confidence.
After abundant chat with accompany and adolescent wheelers, we came up with a genitalia account that would abode the inherent weaknesses in this best CJ and enhance its off-road capability. The genitalia account amid abounding manufacturers. Fortunately, all but a few are accessible from Quadratec, the Jeep genitalia and accessories specialists. Aloof about any allotment you can anticipate of for Jeeps, new and old, can be begin at Quadratec and alien anywhere in the country.
Unfortunately, one of the arch Jeep aftermarket manufacturers that we capital to use, Gen-Right, was not listed in the catalog. So we contacted this aggregation alone in commendations to their backup gas tanks, fenders, and anatomy protection.
Getting Bottomward To Business The mail adjustment affair formed out well. All of the articles accustomed cautiously and alike eventually than expected. The blow was larboard up to me.
My aboriginal move was to alter the old abeyance in adjustment to accretion added approval for obstacles on the aisle and bigger articulation. This would be able application a Rubicon Express 4.5-inch Acute Duty kit. This kit has actually aggregate bare to get the job done. Rubicon Express larboard annihilation to adventitious aback they planned out this abeyance kit.
Once we caked over the genitalia we were admiring to see that we would not be authoritative any added orders or trips to the bounded auto shop. The kit’s instructions were actual comprehensive, authoritative the accession as simple as possible. The best difficult allotment of the install was the abatement of the pitman arm, aback the aboriginal puller committed suicide. As you know, accepting the appropriate accoutrement makes all the difference.
With the springs, shocks, and shackles replaced, the CJ is now able with a pleasant, dependable ride and affluence of approval for the trails. Not to acknowledgment authoritative allowance for the new Dick Cepek Mud Country 35×12.50R15 tires.
Dick Cepek has been about aback 1963, and they were a mainstay in the off-road industry for as connected as I can remember. The 35-inch Dick Cepek Mud Country tires forth with Spidertrax 1.25-inch caster spacers were the ideal fit for this accurate CJ.
The Mud Country annoy has a abundant footstep arrangement for an all about aisle rig, and the 35-inch annoy army on the old 15-inch Bandit rims will acquire aloof the appropriate bulk of sidewall. The Spidertax 1.25-inch caster spacer offers the appropriate bulk of approval for a bigger axis ambit up advanced and beneath abrading in the rear. The Spidertax caster spacers came with acceptable instructions and were simple to install.
To advice about-face the new tires and anticipate accident on the trail, Superior Arbor and Gear were alleged aloft for a set of backup accustomed axles and gears. The aboriginal 3.54 arena and adhere apparatus were replaced with a 4.56 ratio. Both advanced and rear arbor shafts were replaced with Superior backup arbor shafts. These axles are up to 35 percent stronger than the originals and appear in complete kits with bearings, studs, and more.
This Jeep had already been able with lockers advanced and rear, about those lockers would not acquire the 4.56 gears, and so were afflicted out to Detroit Lockers. As you know, the Detroit Locker is a absolute locking differential, which maximizes absorption by carrying 100 percent of the torque to both drive wheels. This was the one aspect of the anatomy that I knew wouldn’t be able in my driveway. The install of the new Detroit Lockers, Superior Arbor and Gear arena and pinion, and arbor shafts, would be best larboard to a able shop.
I fabricated arrange with Jim Cox of JC Fab & Design to do the installation. JC Fab & Design specializes in custom 4×4 fabrications and has added time alive beneath Jeeps than best of us do abaft the wheel. It was a acceptable affair I did.
Jim has a abundant accord of experience, not to acknowledgment specialty accoutrement everywhere, all of which seemed to be bare for this process. The job that lay afore us looked daunting, but for the acclimatized veteran, as Jim Cox put it, “it was a allotment of cake.” The job took abundant beneath time than I had accepted and was completed afterwards any problems.
J.E. Reel Drive Band Specialists fabricated up the drive shafts. These guys specialize in boxy dependable drivelines for all types of off-road vehicles. Not alone did the drive shafts charge to be diffuse to board the lift, but a CV collective was bare for the rear to handle the angle. Ordering the drive curve complex alone a few simple measurements. From there it was an accessible remove-and-replace process.
We afresh set our architect on the steering. The council box bracket and the tie rods acquire consistently been anemic links on CJs of this vintage. These were replaced with the acute able council box bracket from Rusty’s Off-Road, and the Asperous Ridge able tie rod kit. The council box bracket from Rusty’s replaced the three, lighter weight, pressed-steel council box plates with a jumpsuit assemblage fabricated out of 3/8-inch-thick animate bowl with anchored gussets.
The Asperous Ridge able tie rod kit provides about one-ton backbone with factory-tapered ends. This is a t-on tie rod and annoyance delivery solution, and it is absolute for preventing a angled tie rod abiding from the rigors of off-roading and the added accent of beyond tires. Both of these were calmly installed.
While alteration out what we anticipation to be accepted problems on the CJ, we additionally replaced the clamp rod linkage. This was done by application Rod Links clamp linkage. Rod Links replaced the exhausted clamp bond with a new appearance rod end abode linkage. This is a absolute backup for the branch linkage. The abode ends are abundant added abiding than the branch appearance and action bland operation. This was accession aboveboard remove-and-replacement process.
It was now time for the body, which had taken actually a assault over the years, to be addressed. The advanced fenders were swapped out for tube fenders with 3-inch flares from Gen-Right. The rocker panels, anchored on either ancillary and in the centermost of the Jeep, were adapted with the Gen-Right rocker bouncer set with bars. The rear corners of the Jeep were covered with a Gen-Right CJ bend bouncer set and Gen-Right 3.5-inch-wide rear tube flares.
The instructions are actually complete and best of assignment went afterwards a hitch. The fenders were captivated in abode with clamps and the holes were drilled. Some acid and accent was necessary, however, the animate is somewhat balmy and was cut application a jigsaw. Already able for installation, the advanced fenders, rear quarters, and rear tube flares were corrective and mounted.
Built from 1.5×0.120-inch-wall bore tubing and argent with 1/8-inch-thick steel, there is little catechism as to how able-bodied this anatomy aegis will bend up to the abuse of the trail.
The gas catchbasin was exchanged for a Gen-Right Crawler Enduro tank. This catchbasin is fabricated from 1/8-inch-thick aluminum alloy, has a able 3/16-inch-thick drift plate, and holds 20 gallons of fuel. The best difficult allotment of the accession complex the sending unit. Afterwards abundant chat we went with the aboriginal CJ-style sending unit. Although the new assemblage was a absolute replacement, we still active it up and activated it with the absolute ammunition barometer afore putting it in to the new gas tank. Bigger now than later.
Once the sending assemblage had been set in the new catchbasin we begin that in adjustment for the float to assignment the ammunition curve would acquire to face the rear of the Jeep, and in accomplishing so we had to cleft the high cantankerous brace to accomplish approval for the ammunition lines. Already the cantankerous brace was cut out we covered the aciculate edges with elastic to anticipate acid of the ammunition band itself. The ts on the shackles were akin to acquire the admeasurement of the new gas catchbasin and the catchbasin was set in place.
Engine Work The agent was able with a Paxton supercharger. Actual cool, but an earlier unit, the genitalia would acquire been adamantine to find, and the aboriginal accession looked a bit questionable. In accession to this, the aboriginal straight-six was generally bedeviled with carburetor problems. Generally in acute angles or asperous area there would be adversity with blockage out due to calamity or ammunition starvation.
To abode this affair we absitively on the Howell Jeep EFI kit. This kit uses a new General Motors burke anatomy ammunition bang assemblage from a 4.3L V-6 agent to alter the absolute Jeep carburetor. It is adapted to the banal Jeep assimilation assorted with an adapter supplied in the kit, and controlled by a GM computer. Aggregate needed, including absolute instructions and diagrams, comes with the kit.
On this accurate Jeep the accession would not be so easy. The assimilation assorted was a four aftermarket artefact and there was no bankrupt manifold. Instead it was able with a actual old set of headers. All of this had to be brought aback to stock. Absent to accumulate costs bottomward we went to a Jeep junkyard. We concluded up at Jeep Alone in Pacoima, California.
The owner, Sam, had aloof what we bare for a atom of the bulk of new. While we were there we additionally best up added allowance and ends that would be bare to complete the project.
Once the genitalia from Jeep Alone were installed (stock assimilation and bankrupt manifolds, bankrupt pipe, and cat and muffler) we connected with the Howell EFI kit. The kit took some time but was not too difficult. Staying up with the instructions was the trick. All the plugs and affairs are able-bodied marked, and added than accepting to booty some of the bung ends afar to fit them through the firewall, the install was beeline forward.
We did aloof as instructed, angry the ignition, and the old Jeep accursed appropriate up. Some arena about with the timing and all was good. We were larboard with a dependable, strong, and able active engine.
Bumpers and More Choosing a set of bumpers was the aing task. There are abounding options available, about too many. Afterwards abundant research, we absitively to go with Bedrock Adamantine 4X4 parts. This accommodation was fabricated alike simpler afterwards a buzz alarm to the company. While talking with the owners, James and Lewis Barth, it was accessible that these guys acquire spent a lot of time traveling in the backcountry and acquire advised their articles to fit that lifestyle.
Strong, rugged, and able-bodied anticipation out, the advanced bonanza and the rear bumper/ annoy carrier aggregate are aloof what the Jeep CJ needed. These bumpers are fabricated of 3/16x2x4-inch tubing with ends that are boxed in. The advanced bonanza comes with an chip winch plate, roller fairlead mount, and holes for lights at the alien bend of the winch plate.
This bonanza additionally comes with an angled advanced bandage for the bedrock crawler look, D-Ring bandage mounts anchored advanced and aback for ultimate strength, and a ascent bowl for a council box guard. The advanced bonanza was outfitted with a Superwinch Epi 9.0S winch with constructed Superline. The Superwinch assemblage comes with 80 anxiety of 3/8-inch constructed braiding with a 10-inch bedrock bouncer sleeve and stainless thimble.
The Bedrock Adamantine 4×4 Genitalia rear bumper/tire carrier has two sets of holes that arise to the Jeep’s anatomy in a accepted position, or can be aloft one inch to access abandonment bend and/or atone for anatomy lift. This bonanza additionally comes with two D-Ring bandage mounts with tabs that are anchored on the front, go through the bumper, and are anchored on the behind too.
A CB antenna arise and accumbent Hi-Lift Jack arise with a padlock accouterment comes standard. This was additionally ordered with a Bedrock Rack and gas catchbasin mounts. The swing-out annoy carrier will authority up to a 38-inch tire. All bare accouterments and absolute instructions are included, authoritative the install as accessible as possible. The job was completed with the ascent of the new Hi-Lift Acute Jack and ammunition cans.
A few items central the Jeep were all that were left. The council cavalcade had to be replaced. The aboriginal had apparent its allotment of acclimate and was exhausted and tired. There were some options in the Quadratec catalog, but the one that bent our eye and looked to be the simplest install was the Ididit agitation angle floor-shift council cavalcade for the ‘76-to-’86 Jeep CJ. We were not aghast already it arrived.
This is a absolute backup council column. The instructions larboard actually annihilation out and answered any and all questions. If there was a difficult aspect to the accession it was not with the new column, but with the absolute council shaft. The banal council shaft had to be removed and then, with abundant persuasion, burst chargeless of years of blight and clay so that it could be burst to board the breadth of the new column. Already that was able the new council cavalcade anchored and acquainted appropriate assimilate place.
To accumulate the cornball attending of the aboriginal CJ, and to accumulate the anatomy amount lower, we afflicted out the broken up old seats with a new set from Bestop. Quadreatec has the Bestop TrailMax II archetypal low-back advanced seats and Bestop TrailMax II Fold & Tumble rear bank bench in vinyl in their catalog. The seats were great. They were the appropriate acme and comfortable.
Bestop did a acceptable job. The advanced seats are a absolute t-in replacement. The rear requires the conduct of a few holes, but it is a actual simple installation. The rear can be bankrupt out of the way or calmly removed.
The aftermost artefact to be installed on the “Camel Man” CJ-7 was the top. The Bestop Supertop soft-top with two-piece doors was adamantine to beat. It came with all bare accouterments and a actual absolute apprenticeship kit complete with diagrams. With the accession of the two-piece doors and affluence of abatement this was accession abundant fit and nice way to complete the build.
It was alone applicable that I alarm Bob Beck’s son, Matt, to booty the ambulatory CJ out for its aboriginal agitate bottomward run. We went out to one of the trails that I had spent endless weekends on. All of the choices that were fabricated paid off in the end. The CJ performed bigger than expected.
The Detroit Lockers and lower 4.56 Superior apparatus were aloof the appropriate fit for the 35-inch Dick Cepek tires. The two best absorbing modifications had to be the Rubicon Express 4.5-inch abeyance lift and the Howell Jeep EFI kit. The Rubicon Express lift had abundant added delivery and was smoother than expected. So well, in fact, that some added accent in the rear caster wells was needed.
The agent ran afterwards any hesitation, acceptance the Jeep to abandoned through best of the trail. We were actual afflicted with the way all the articles were handled by Quadratec.
We able our ambition of breath new activity into the “Camel Man” ’79 CJ-7 and got it aback on the alley area it belonged. The CJ had angry into aggregate we had hoped for. It was a able and dependable aisle rig that would acquire abounding added trips bottomward boxy trails and afresh bear us cautiously aback to the affected already again.
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