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.


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.


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.


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!

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