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Carrie Jo

The Starting Point: I got the Jeep bug after my brother bought a YJ. Since then I've had a handful of Grand Wagoneers and XJs but really liked the simplicity of the Rango build and wanted something smaller. I went back and forth with a guy on Craigslist for a while about this Jeep. Not having a tow rig I didn't want to rent a truck and a trailer just to go find out it was a piece of junk. The guy swore the body was solid but said that a rod came out the side of the block. He offered to deliver it since he dove a flatbed tow truck. When he arrived it was well after dark. I could tell the floor was not solid but I couldn't tell how bad it really was. We negotiated the price a little more and the Jeep was mine. In hindsight I probably should have sent it back home with him and kept looking but the wife had given the okay and I didn't want to risk her changing her mind.


Passenger floorboard:


Driver floorboard:


Build Plan:
Engine: 305 SBC (Donated from a buddy's parts truck)
Transmission: SM465 (Rebuilt)
Transfer Case: Dana 18 (Have but needs a rebuild. Hopefully will end up with overdrive)
Front Axle: Narrowed J-10 Dana 44 (Complete minus cut down long side shaft)
Rear Axle: Full float Dana 44 (build from an offset Wagoneer rear)
Tires: 37" on 17s
Wheelbase: 4" Rear Stretch
Suspension: YJ leaf springs with minimal lift
Body Mods: Highline Stock Fenders

There truly is nothing new under the sun. I found this while doing research for this build. It is an early CJ5 (shorter wheelbase) with 37" tires, 4" rear stretch and the same body mods I was planning.

37's Stock Springs 4 Inch rear stretch.jpg
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I tried to make some progress on this but ran into a snag. I was able to get the first set of hangers clamped in place. 89A5A032-F7E2-4780-8B64-CFA8725C85B2.jpeg

I wanted to hang a spring from them to make sure the shackle angle looked right before I tacked them in place. That is when I found out that the used YJ springs I purchased have mismatched bushings. Time to order some bushings! The best I’ve found are from RoughStuff Specialties at $6.80 each. Has any one used their stuff or have other recommendations?
I havent specifically used their YJ spring bushings, but all of their heims and brackets have been good quality. Are you running rubber or poly bushings?
I finally got around to pulling the rear axle and suspension off and when I did I found out just how flexible this frame really is. I could tweak it a couple inches pressing on it with two fingers. Apparently the structure/weight of the rear suspension had been enough to keep it from moving. I was hoping to avoid it but I'm going to build a new frame. I got the frame layout from JP Magazine's Project Ground Up. I've placed the order for the steel. Hopefully I'll have it in my hands soon. Since I'm building a new frame I've decided to model it up. Hopefully I can find files for the engine (small block Chevy), transmission (SM465), transfer case (Dana 18) and body. If anyone has models or drawings or knows where to get them please let me know. This is where I stand at the moment.

The CJ frame is supposed to have flex in it. Your frame is probably still fine. A common practice is to box in the frame. The common problems with the frame flex is the shackle mount points in the front and rear will crack over time.

But there is something to be said about having a clean new frame

The CJ frame is supposed to have flex in it. Your frame is probably still fine. A common practice is to box in the frame. The common problems with the frame flex is the shackle mount points in the front and rear will crack over time.

But there is something to be said about having a clean new frame
I know they are supposed to be "flexible" compared to modern frames but I wasn't expecting this much. I thought about boxing it in but the only mounts on it that I would reuse are the body mounts and by the time I clean enough rust off to box it in... I think it will be faster and I will be happier with the finished product if I start from scratch.
The steel came in Friday. I don’t have a good way to transport 20’ sticks so I had the shop cut them.

I bought a 3rd stick to cover the unforeseen that I’ve come to expect. I tacked the ends together for a makeshifts frame table. It isn’t perfect but it is better than the cement.

Every piece was between 1/8 and 3/16 short. At least the sets of parts were constant. I laid out and clamped down the first rail. Measured a couple more times and tacked it together.

I clamped the second rail on the first to make sure they were the same and then tacked it together too.

They are starting to look like something useful! A6E0C191-C558-48A4-8C30-E46B127C7C95.jpeg

Hopefully this week I will be able to finish welding them and get the fish plates on.
I like where this is going, keep it up!
Thanks! My wife and I are expecting our second child in the next week or so. When she comes along I’m sure progress will slow for a little while.

I got the rails fully welded and prepped for the fish plates last night. How would you weld this? Weld the holes first so clamps can pull the outside edges down for any distortion or weld the outside first? Should I do the outside as a single continuous bead or stitch weld to minimize heat input? Thoughts?

Im not a fabricator, but i would clamp the crap out of it and put some solid tacks all the way around the outside ... then finish weld the circles and come back to the outside edges.