July 21, 2011
WAIT! Start From The Beginning!

Well, Tumblr hasn’t quite figured out how to sort chronologically yet… so, I’ll manually provide a link to the first post in this restoration. Stupid, I know.

To start from the beginning, go to the last page (http://79cj7.tumblr.com/page/4).

July 4, 2010
Specs, Specs, Specs…

Vehicle: 1979 Jeep CJ-7
Engine: AMC 5.0L 304 V8 bored .30 over
Transmission: T-150, 3-speed
Transfer Case: Dana 20
Axles: Front: Stock AMC 20 / Rear: Dana 44 scavenged from a FSJ
Gear Ratio: 4.10
Brakes: Front: Disc / Rear: Drum
Tires: 35”/75-15 BF Goodrich All Terrain
Wheels: Mickey Thompson Aluminum
Other: Body is from a 1992 Jeep Wrangler (YJ)

Anything else? Feel free to ask me anything.

July 3, 2010
Part 28: Look! It’s Moving. It’s Alive. It’s Alive… -Dr. Frankenstein

Here are a few pics from the maiden voyage! Shot at the neighborhood playground but hey, they’re pics, damnit!

Still gotta hide some of the under-dash wiring…

As you can see, I have some details to iron-out. The punch list of to-do items is much smaller now and there is a strange feeling of accomplishment to actually drive something I built with my own two hands. I see flaws everywhere I look, though in actuality, this 1979 Jeep CJ-7 is far superior than anything that rolled out of the factory. :-)

June 28, 2010
Part 27: Wiring Harness Installation

I got the Painless wiring harness (pn: #10110) 95% installed and am working out the remaining bugs. I hesitantly connected the harness to a low-amp battery charger to test. I turned the radio, fans and lights off in the shop so I could see and hear any “pops” or sparks. With a flashlight I connected the harness and then proceeded to run around the Jeep smelling for burning wires. And to my surprise, there were none! I put a fully charged 12v Optima red-top battery in place and tested once more and again, no burning wires… not even a popped fuse! The only issue, which I’m sure is simple, is that the tail lights (possibly brake lights) stay on all the time. Also the headlights won’t turn on (relay?). All simple, I’m sure. Just need to spend some time with a multimeter.

The steering column (Ididit) electrical connections were a little different than stock which required a few modifications (mostly covered in the manual) and I’m unsure if these modifications may be a source of one or more of my issues so I’ll talk to Ididit and Painless to get that resolved.

I still need to hookup the alternator, starter, backup switch, neutral safety switch and horn, chase a couple gremlins behind the dash and then the wiring will be complete. Whoohoo!

Here’s a quick summary of manufacturers:
Ididit: Rocks!
Painless Performance: SUCKS! 

June 21, 2010
Part 26: Finished and Installed Dash

Got a day to work on the CJ for Father’s Day! I’m in the tedious stages of the build where photos just aren’t too exiting. in any case, I got the dash finalized with gauges wired and mocked-up. I’m going to need to make some modifications (of course) to get the fit just right. The design I had all intentions of creating just wasn’t feasible in the real world. Oh well, I’m happy and the dash looks great.

I also got the steering column installed, corner armor installed, tail lights wired and installed, fuel filler installed, ps master installed and mostly plumbed (still waiting on the return line). Here are a few pics of the dash. I need to get some better pics of the corner armor and I’ll post those as well. They look pretty good.

Getting the gauges in the correct place and position

In place and finding where the modifications will need to be made for a perfect fit…

Look at that bulky-ass windsheild gasket. Are they all this fat?

Flash makes the paint look funky.

The dash was primed and then I applied a single coat of POR-15. The result looked great but I wanted less of a glossy finish to reduce reflectivity so a couple coats of POR-15 Chassis Coat Black sprayed at a lower pressure through the HVLP provided a tight “spatter” effect that almost looks powder coated. Turned out great. Only painted, stripped and started over 3 times!

The 12v outlets are from PartsExpress.com for $6 a piece (I opted not to use the radiused rectangular bezel). They can be found cheaper but I trust PartsExpress and have been dealing with them for years. Here’s a link: Marine Grade Cigarette Lighter Socket 12 VDC | Parts-Express.com

June 20, 2010
Part 25: Upper Mount for Rear Seat Belts

I’ve been playing around with designs for mounting the rear 3-point seat belts and have (I think) found a viable solution…

I’ve ordered a rear bar to span the width of the roll cage behind the rear seat. I ordered the bar (1.75” OD, 1.5” ID and .120 wall) from Rock Hard 4x4 and it looks like this:
(it’s the rear-most bar spanning the width of the roll bar)

Since the bar is a permanent solution, I’ve also ordered a pair of ID Tube Clamps from Ballistic Fabrication which look like this:

The plan is to use the clamp as a semi-permanent joint on either side of the bar to allow it to be removed. I’ll need to cut the bar, insert the ID clamps, weld and then paint them. When completed, the bar should sit just below the top of the rear seat and provide a strong and stable mounting point for the rear belts.

June 3, 2010
Part 24: 3-Point Seatbelt Mounting Front & Rear

Here is a brief of how I finally ended-up mounting my seatbeltsplus.com 3-point seat belts. I’m waiting for a rear spanning bar for the roll cage to attach the rear upper belt mounts. Photos to follow. The seat belts themselves are of excellent quality. Nicely finished and supplied with good hardware. I’m very happy with the belts. I highly recommend them.

Planning where to mount the upper belt mounts. 

Pre-drilled the rollbar with 1/8” bit then a step bit to finally arrive at ~7/16” hole.

Mounted the upper belt mount using 3” x 7/16” Grade 5 fine thread bolts. Hid the nut under the belt mount cover.
Rollbar back-side now only shows bolt head and washer. Much less profile than a washer/nut/bolt sticking out back.

Mounted the retractors to the factory YJ (tub swap) seatbelt mounting location. Attached the fixed end of the seat belt to a roll bar bolt.

Buckles were mounted in the factory location.

This is a shot of the REAR retractor and fixed belt mounts. The retractor was mounted in the factory YJ (remember, I did an early 90’s Wrangler tub swap?) seatbelt mount
location. The fixed belt mount was mounted next to the retractor in an existing unused, reinforced hole. I widened
the hole to ~7/16” and used the supplied grade 5 hardware and fender washers. The rear buckle-side belts mount
to the rear seat floor mount as they were from the factory (I believe).

June 1, 2010
Part 23: Here’s a Novel Idea for 1979… Seatbelts!

I’m in the process of mounting the front 3-point, seatbelts to the factory rollcage. I’ve tried to illustrate what I’m trying to accomplish here but the illustrations may be a bit vague.

The Issue:

The Options:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

May 25, 2010
Part 22: Holy Detritus, Batman!!!

I’m still working on this build every evening. I’m in the midst of wiring and reinstalling the interior pieces. I’ve been waiting on a bunch of parts to complete the dash. I’ve been bad about taking pics. Boooo.

I need to take an evening off and clean my tools/garage and inventory the remaining parts. I’ve strayed significantly from my original reassembly punch list and need to get that back on track.

Weekends are shot for me now. Saturdays and Sundays at the motocross track or mx trainer with the kiddo have wiped me out in the evenings… if I had half the energy of my 6 year old, I could rule the world.

I’ll get some pics up and get this thread back on track as well. I’m really happy with the progress so far. This beast can’t be done soon enough to enjoy the summer months!

May 14, 2010
Part 21: Almost Recognizable as a Vehicle

This project is looking deceptively close to finishing. Lots more work to do though… lots. Here’s a quick shot fitting the fenders, hood and grill. No sunshine shots yet. Booooo.

I started on the wiring last night. Looks straight-forward but time consuming. I’ve been putting off completing the vacuum lines for the 304 because I’m completely lost with what goes where even after reading *every* article regarding vacuum routing… paralysis by analysis.

I also painted the old, worn-out old aluminum Mickey Thompsoin wheels. I tried everything to clean them and they still looked like oxidized junk but a little sanding with 400, a few coats of wheel paint/clear and they look great.