1975 Jeep CJ5 Build (Part 2)

Last time y’all heard from me, we were still in the process of building a V8 Jeep for the 2013 mud bog season. We have since completed the project and attempted the maiden voyage with her.

We wound up having to use the full 3in body lift to clear the air cleaner on the engine. Many custom components were built to use the older-style body with the newer frame. We used the same body mount locations on the frame, but new holes needed to be drilled into the plates along with the body. The body was mounted with new, grade 8 carriage bolts for added strength.

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The driveshaft angle was pretty sharp with the lift, so we picked up a set of 6-degree shims to put between the axle and springs in the rear. This rotated the pinion upward to give a better angle for the rear driveshaft and be easier on the u-joints. New u-bolts were also installed when this was done. (I’m a believer that if you are removing u-bolts, you should replace them while they’re out just for safety reasons)

We had the exhaust built by Lefever’s Garage in Quarryville. It consisted of 3in. tubing from the headers back with short glasspack mufflers. It was kept tight to the body to and exited behind the rear tires to keep mud collection to a minimum.

We decided to keep the jeep the original color. We picked up a gallon of “International Red” Rustoleum paint and a Harbor Freight spray gun. We set up drop cloths in the garage and went to town on her. For a cheap paint job, it came out looking very nice. Be sure to use a good thinner and hardener for a clean look when finished painting.

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Finally, we went to Sign-A-Rama to have our stickers made. These were not cheap, but they are a professional company that does damn fine work. We were very happy with their work and I recommend them to anyone local that needs stickers made.

Off to Buck Motorsports Park. We finally made it to opening day. We got the jeep teched in and ready to run. Dad lined the jeep up and took off into the pit. He hit a rut and it took him up onto the left side of the pit, then he dug down into the slop. The tires got traction and the engine began to bog. Finally, the engine came back to life, but the tires didn’t. Smoke began to flow out from under the jeep and he shut it down.

After some consideration and more research, we believe the culprit to be the wrong clutch for the engine/transmission combination. The donor jeep had a T-18 4-speed and we used a T-150 3-speed (and earlier trans). A little research at autozone showed that there was 3 different clutched for the V8 jeeps throughout the years, and 2 different throwout bearings. We will be changing the clutch and testing much more thoroughly before the next race.

Stay tuned on the 717wheelers forum for more testing/upgrades or come to Buck Motorsports Park for the next mud bog event to see us in action.

1975 Jeep CJ5 Build (Part 1)

During the 2012 season at Buck Motorsports Park, I made the mistake of letting my old man run my ’97 wrangler in the mud bogs. He was instantly hooked and had to have one of his own. Now, Dad’s a horsepower man so we decided to build one with a V8 for him. What better platform to start with than a CJ. The later year CJ’s came from the factory with an optional V8. We began looking and found a guy that had a plethora of parts for a steal. We picked up all the parts and began tearing into them.

CJ5 Parts!

CJ5 Parts!

The body we decided to use, the best one we got with all the parts, was a 1975 CJ5. This jeep had previously been owned by a fire company, so the body had many holes in it for the pump assembly and other accessories. These holes were filled with sheet metal, pop rivets, and bondo. The old parts (wiring, seats, heater, etc.) were removed to be replaced later. We got the body work roughly finished in about a month and set the body on jack stands outside.

75CJ5cj5_frame001cj5_body001

At this point we got really lucky and ran into a former rock-crawler jeep that the owner was preparing to pull parts off of and scrap the rest. This jeep had a good running AMC 304 V8 in it already. After a little negotiating the jeep came home with us. We began by removing the parts that he wanted (aftermarket fuel injection, ARB compressor/locker, T-18 4-speed transmission, Dana 20 transfer case, and flat-fenders). Once his parts were removed and returned to him, we began teardown.

Once the fenders were removed, accessing the engine was a breeze. We removed the 2 barrel intake in favor of a 4 barrel. Because of the class we are going to be running in, we had to replace the 2bbl with a stock, cast iron 4bbl. These can be tough to find if you don’t know the right people, but, once again, we got very lucky. We removed the valve covers, rocker arms, push rods, etc. to replace the camshaft.

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Engine tear-down

With new camshaft and lifters installed, we painted the 4bbl intake, valve covers, thermostat housing, and oil filler tube how we wanted them. We replaced all the gaskets during reassembly of the engine. Torque specs were closely followed as well.

cj5engine_002

Engine Painted and ready to roll.

The axles are stock to the CJ5. A Dana is 30 up front and an AMC 20 out back. The AMC 20 will be welded solid (Lincoln locked) and the Dana 30 will be left open for ease of steering in the pits.

The 2nd jeep we acquired already had a 4inch suspension lift and a 3 inch body lift. We are going to remove the body lift and see how it fits with 35 inch tires. If needed, we will install the minimum body lift needed to clear the tires we’re running. As of now, we are planning on running 35 or 36 inch Super Swamper Boggers or TSLs.

We are still in the process of building this mud bogger so stay tuned as the project develops!

46′ Willys L-134 Turbo project.

Keep In mind things may change as the project goes on. But below is what I have gathered from a lot of researching and planning. I still do not have everything planned out at this point. Surprises and redesigns will come up as they usually do with a project like this.

The plan is to start simple and get the Turbo mounted and working on the engine. I want to make sure everything is correct before doing all of the work for a intercooler. Until I install an intercooler The boost pressures will be vary little. Once all the kinks are worked out, an intercooler will be installed allowing for more boost. When adding a turbo to a non turbo engine you need to increase fuel for the extra air that is being forced into the intake.

When I rebuilt my engine last winter I adapted from a one barrel carb to a Two barrel carb by machining up a billet Alum adapter mount. This gives my engine that extra fuel that will be needed for the Turbo’s air / fuel mixture.

Choosing the Size Turbo was a research project in itself.  I do not plan on running the engine at high RPM’s. A smaller turbo is my choice as it will take the least amount of time to spool up. This will hopefully will give me more of a low end difference in power which is what I’m looking for because of being on the trail most often.

The exhaust now needs to be as “free” flowing as possible so there is not back pressure back through the Turbine. Typically Vehicles need a little bit a back pressure for the engine to be tuned (or running) currently when naturally aspirated.

Listed are a few Main parts to this project.

  • VW Passat 1.8T Turbo 68K miles on it.
  • Weber 2 barrel Carb
  • 1.5” tubing for exhaust-Turbo mount. With 3/8”flanges
  • 3/8”exaust flange, Exhaust from turbo (down Pipe) 2.5” pipe
  • Turbo to Carb. 2” pipe.
  • Cone intake filter
  • Oil line to Turbo
  • Oil return Line
  • Coolant Lines to and from Turbo

Project “Turbo” will be a lot more than a simple weekend project so please stay Tuned for more updates and pictures of the progress!   As always feel free to check out the forum if you have questions or comments!

Tire Tech

Let’s talk tires. Now before we get started, I know everyone has their own opinions on which tire is best for which application and vehicle. This is just what I’ve experienced with my own vehicles, and what I’ve seen and heard from others on their rigs. We’ll start moderate and move towards the extreme end as we go.
Let’s start with the all terrain department. All terrain tires are usually best for a little bit of everything…go figure. They have larger voids in the tread and deeper lugs than a street tire, while still maintaining a lot of siping. The siping is especially effective in wet weather and icy conditions while on the road. In the winter time, you really can’t beat a good all terrain. My personal favorite is the BFGoodrich. They hold up well for many miles under continuous street driving, and are invaluable in the winter time here in the 717 area. The only downfall that I’ve found with the BFGs is the price. Depending on the size, they’re usually one of the most expensive all terrains out there, however, you usually get what you pay for.

BF Goodrich All Terrain

Another great all terrain that I’ve seen is the General Grabber A/T’s. They are essentially the same tread pattern as the BFG’s, but usually at a much lower price. I’ve never heard anything bad about these tires as far as A/T’s go.
Now, onto what a lot of us are after, the mud terrains. I guess I’m kind of partial to BFG because I run the BFG KM2’s on my jeep in a 33×10.50-15 size. I absolutely love these tires. They have excellent off road traction in mud, dirt, heavy rock, and general trail riding. They also hold up very well on the street for an M/T. The sidewalls are tough too. I generally air down to about 10 to 12 psi when wheeling without bead locks, and I haven’t had one lose a bead yet. Once again, the price is a little more on these than other M/T’s.

BF Goodrich KM2

On the more budget-friendly side of the spectrum, Maxxis offers a nice M/T that they call the “Buckshot Mudder”. I’ve seen these tires in action and they dig hard, and don’t give up. They hold up decent on the street, but are right at home in the mud with the classic mud terrain-style tread pattern.

Maxxis Buckshot Mudder


Heading into the more extreme department, we dive into the Super Swamper line from Interco. These tires are no stranger to the off road world, and have been a major name in it for years. Types such as the TSL, Bogger, and Irok are excellent for primarily off road use. These tires tend to have a soft rubber compound that, while amazing off road, doesn’t hold up well to continuous street use. These tires are quite pricey, but if you have a dedicated off road machine, you’re no stranger to spending some big money for something that works.

Super Swamper TSL


Now we’re gonna start getting technical. Bias ply or belted radial? Everyone you talk to has a different opinion of this as well. This decision is really a compromise one way or the other. Generally speaking, bias ply tires have a stronger and more flexible sidewall which is better when you’re wheeling. The big downfall to bias plies is that they wear out much faster on the street than a belted radial. Bias ply’s can also develop flat spots on them if they sit for a while. Belted radials stay round longer and hold up better on the street, but have sidewalls that are more susceptible to puncture if you’re running on heavy rock. So it comes down to what you’re willing to sacrifice. Most will tell you that if you run your rig on the street fairly often, stick with the radials.
There are many different types and styles of tires that I haven’t touched in this write up. I haven’t gotten into the size argument here either. Please feel free to check out the forum for discussion and suggestions on tire types and sizes from experienced wheelers, and their trials and tribulations along the way.

Check out some great deals on Super Swamper, BF Goodrich, and Maxxis tires.

46 Willys Roll Cage

After the recent addition of a “Lincoln Locker” to the 46 Willy’s Craig made the call to add a little more rollover protection.  Previously, the Willy’s was sporting a roll bar sourced and customized from a CJ7.  The bar was mounted in four points behind the occupants.  Craig’s goal was to add two additional points in front of the occupants and tie it all together for strength.

Craig hit up  http://extremecustomparts.com for a front hoop of the appropriate dimensions.  He then wasted no time getting the kit assembled and mounted but took care in doing so.  “The plan here was to bolt everything together so if I need to take it out for some reason I could.” Craig explained.

Craig started by preparing the feet of the cage.  These included mounting holes that will match frame attached brackets.  The two will then sandwich the sheet metal of the floor giving the cage a full frame tie in as opposed to a sheet metal only attachment.  He made it clear strength and safety were not uncompromisable goals of this project.

After verifying measurements at least five times it was time to Cut and weld.  Craig tacked everything in place and made a test fit in the Jeep.

To complete the cage he then took the measurements between the two hoop sections and cut the appropriate lengths of straight tubing.  With the tubing sections cut Craig verified the fit and burned the sections into place.  After the welds had cooled he removed the cage to prep and paint before reinstalling for good.  The result turned out very nicely.  The cage is mounted close to the body taking away very little room from the occupants while not compromising on design.

If you have any questions for Craig about the install be sure to head on over to the forum and ask away!