The Jeep is for sale.
I put diamond plate over the parts that were rusting badly.
A shot of the interior. You can see the B&M shifter, Autometer gauges, and speakers with no radio. The box on the hump is the ignition control box.
This is a Pierce 9000 lb winch. It has a longer 11" drum that allows it to hold 200 feet of cable. I had the mount fabricated by a local shop (E&R Fabricating). I moved the solenoids under the hood after I had some problems with corrosion.
Note the chalky driver's side fender. In December 1985 I slid on some ice and hit a bridge abutment. The guy who repaired it didn't prep the replacement fender correctly and the paint flaked off. I tried to fix it myself, and as you can tell it didn't work. The other fender is crinkled after hitting a deer.
The Jeep has a 4" lift kit, 2" body lift, and 35" tires on 15x8 rims.
One of these days I'll probably remove the body lift and go to 33x10.50 tires for better driveablility. The 35" tires are almost too big. It will also make it easier to get into.
Here are a couple views of the 401 AMC V8. It runs pretty good, but I think I need to spend some time tuning it.
The motor has an Edelbrock Performer manifold and cam, BlackJack headers, Mallory distributor, Jacob ignition, and a Holley carburetor.
When I bought my Jeep it was very basic. It had manual steering, manual brakes, 2.73 gears, open differentials, 258 6-cylinder, 4-speed manual transmission, etc. It has the Laredo package so it was pretty, but mechanically it was very basic. The first thing I learned to do was scrounge the junk yards, and I converted the Jeep to power brakes and power steering. A few offroad adventures through the Indiana hills and woodlands pointed out the Jeep's next weak link...poor traction.
In 1987 I undertook my first big Jeep project: Trailmaster 4" lift, 33" B.F. Goodrich All-Terrains, 4.10 gears, and positraction for the rear. The lift kit installation was very straightforward. Changing the ring & pinion gears was another story. I think it is the most difficult mechanical undertaking I've experienced. It's precision work, and very time consuming and complicated. It definitely pays to have a wide variety of tools. I'd do it again if I needed to, but it's not something I would recommend for everyone.
Several smaller projects quickly followed. I replaced the 2-piece rear axles with 1-piece axles. Because of the 4.10 gears I replaced the worn out 4-speed transmission with a 5-speed overdrive. While the drivetrain was disassmbled I replaced the clutch, rebuilt the 5-speed, and rebuilt the transfer case. I was really building up the learning experiences...and loving it.
The 6-cylinder was very underpowered on hills and in 4WD, so in a search for more power I 'hot rodded' the motor. I bought a cam, intake manifold, header, and 4 bbl carburetor from Clifford Research. This satisfied my thirst for more power...for awhile. The Jeep now made more power, but most of it was on the high end. My Trans Am has a 400 V8 and I was used to the massive low-end torque. I wanted that torque for my Jeep. This led to my next project...I bought an AMC 401 V8 long block kit. I included all of the goodies: Edelbrock Performer intake and cam, BlackJack headers, Holley 4bbl. carb, K&N air filter, etc.... The V8 provides all the power I need and is still going strong in the Jeep today.
When I drove my dad's truck to pick up the parts for my various projects I made a discovery...I like automatics. Even though I had rebuilt the 5-speed the torque of the 401 was slowly taking its toll. The 5-speed I had was lightduty. Okay for 4- or 6-cylinders but too weak for a V8, and it was already starting to whine. I made a call to TCI Transmission in Mississippi (their secretary has the sweetest accent) and got a Turbo 400 automatic transmission in an AMC case. I also took the opportunity to upgrade the radiator to a 4-row with provisions for the A/T lines. I bought a B&M truck Megashifter, and I got a transmission-to-transfer case adapter from Advance Adapters. When I got everything installed I was very happy. My drivetrain (AMC 401 V8, Turbo 400 transmission, Dana 300 tranfer case) is virtually bulletproof, and the automatic transmission is luxurious. The only thing I don't like is that I got one of their 'Conservator' transmissions and it shifts too early...around 1200 rpm. I should have gotten a higher-stall torque converter I think. Normally you could adjust the shift points by changing the weights and springs on the transmission governer. Unfortunately I bought the 'short' adapter between the transmission and transfer case, and the transfer case shift forks are in the way. I would have to remove the transfer case, change the weights/springs, install the transfer case, test it out, then do the whole process over and over again until I got it right. Too much trouble...I'll live with it.
I had constant trouble with leaky O-rings on the carburetor so I upgraded to an AirSensors Fuel Injection system. The fuel injection is heavenly: it runs smoothly, no cold weather problems, fast starts, no sputtering from fuel slosh. Then one day I keyed my CB radio and found a problem...the motor sputtered and died. It seems the fuel injection computer is sensitive to radio interference. I was able to shield it enough that the CB didn't bother it. Later when I joined the fire department and added a VHF radio the problem was incurable, and I had to put the carburetor back on. When I bought my truck the VHF radio went in it and the fuel injection went back on the Jeep. Note: I think radio interference is still a problem with most aftermarket fuel injection systems so beware!
Over the years I've added many things: A Pierce 9000 lb. winch with 200 ft. of cable, a full roll cage, air conditioning, an Acme hardtop, a frame-mounted tire carrier, a 23-gallon Aero fuel tank, 8" American Racing aluminum wheels, 35X12.50 B.F. Goodrich Mud Terrain tires, 2" body lift, auxiliary heater (very nice), padded center console, wheelwell storage boxes, Autometer guages, Clarion stereo/cassette player.
There's also been many modifications which have come and gone: the 5-speed transmission, the hot rodded 6-cylinder (I bought an air compressor with the money I got from it), a chrome push bar (a deer killed it, but it killed the deer), chrome nerf bars (they rusted away), a rear step bumper (rust), a dual electric fan setup (it didn't do the job with the V8), various light configurations.
Since I've bought my truck the Jeep has spent most of its time sitting around. Mechanically the Jeep is bulletproof, but the body is in sad shape. The floor boards are rusted out, as is much of the outer body from the doors back. I added aluminum diamond plate to the body to hide the rust. It has the added benefit of making the body much thicker and stronger, and it doesn't look too bad either. "One of these days" I would like to put a fiberglass body on it, or find a Jeep with a decent metal body and swap them...like I said, one of these days...
I've been piddling with the Jeep lately. The fuel injection and air conditioning are gone. I got tired of the fuel injection's susceptability to radio interference so I put the carburetor back on. I never use the air conditioning anymore so I took it off to lessen the clutter and maintenance. Both are for sale. I also have some new Autometer guages to replace the digital guages. While I'm doing that I think I'll redo the dash, too. I also need to work on the winch. It won't spool cable out under power. I don't know if something is bad or if a connection is corroded. Hopefully the latter. While I have it off I might remount it. The way it is now it blocks almost half of the radiator/grille and you have to loosen the fender to remove the winch. Some of the oil drain plugs are nearly impossible to get to. When I get some more of this stuff done I'll take some pictures and put them here.
Update Winter 1999...Luckily the problem with the winch was a rusted connection. I cleaned it and it works fine. I mounted the solenoids under the hood to lessen their exposure to the elements. I also took the winch apart and cleaned it thoroughly. It spools much easier now. The new Autometer guages are in, and they work great. Over the years the Cyberdyne digital guages gave up the ghost...the LED segments burned out, and the faces cracked. The tire carrier is sagging because one of its mounting points is rusting badly. I'll fix that one of these days...
Update February 2001...The air conditioning has found a new home in California. The fuel injection is still for sale.
Update May 2002...The fuel injection has found a new home in Michigan.
Follow the offroad links below or click here to go back to my homepage.
Dana 300 Twinstick shift pattern
Four Wheeler Magazine
Nationwide Truck Parts
Aero Fuel Tanks
West Coast Differentials
Randy's Ring and Pinion
Truck Performance Center
Rocky Mountain Suspension Products
Gale Banks Engineering
Leon Rosser Jeep Parts
Drive Train Specialists
National Tire & Wheel
4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers
Desert Rat Truck Center
Back to my 'Jack of All Trades' homepage