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  1. #1
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    what it takes to keep a classic trail ready?

    I am thinking of picking up an old cj2a, cj3, or even a first generation bronco (I know not a jeep but it sure is a classic). My intentions would be a mild build, while maintaining the traditional body and hitting the moderate trails on the weekends. I have never owned or worked on anything this old before, so I am curious to see what others experiences have been with the older cj's. How much time have you guys spent with the up keep, what are your thoughts on wheeling something this old? I know i'll have to box the older cj's frame for strength, but aside from that any other major issues you guys have run into?

  2. #2
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    unless you're willing to make significant modifications to the suspension system, wheeling an old jeep really is no fun at all. sure, they look cool and i do still miss my old cj but my kidneys thank me for getting rid of it. so long as the vehicle you get is old enough, you shouldn't have to worry about getting it smogged in CA but, you're more than likely still gonna have to address some rust issues (especially if it's from out of state) and just about every bolt you turn will end up stripping or breaking. you'll start to get real familiar with how to drill out and tap holes and or how to cut and weld. having said all that, trying bring an old jeep back to life is fun if you have the time. me, i'd rather be out on the trail.

  3. #3
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    x2 on Wayoflife's statement above. You are basically going to need to upgrade the systems on the old vehicle to mimic what makes a new vehicle so much more friendly, which generally means ride comfort and safety. I keep contemplating doing this with a full size jeep (FSJ) from the late 60's, to as new as the late 70's, like a Cherokee, Gladiator (J2000-4000) or J20 for my tow rig. I would start by upgrading at a minimum; suspension and brakes(probably newer axles too) to a 21st century set-up (this is the ride comfort and safety part), then eventually a motor and transmission upgrade to a more efficient powerplant combo. Then lastly would be the interior comfort, aftermarket a.c./heat that works, seats, etc.

    For me this is all for nostalgia reasons, I like the old iron and it would be nice to let others see what used to be common place. But truthfully, new jeeps are way more capable than any of the old CJ's I have owned. I am by no means trying to talk you out of doing a "restoration", because everybody gets the itch at some point. But again, the suspension and brakes are where most resto-mods begin. Good luck brother
    2009 Black Rubicon Unlimited
    EVO Long Arm w/Envy Links
    EVO Front Double Throw Down
    EVO Lever Rear w/Double Throw Down
    Dynatrac Pro Rock 60's f/r
    PSC hydraulic ram assist
    Mastercraft Baja RS seats
    J.E. Reel 1350 drive shafts
    ATX Slab wheels
    40" Nitto Mud Grapplers

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCM 2 View Post
    I keep contemplating doing this with a full size jeep (FSJ) from the late 60's, to as new as the late 70's, like a Cherokee, Gladiator (J2000-4000) or J20 for my tow rig. I would start by upgrading at a minimum; suspension and brakes(probably newer axles too) to a 21st century set-up (this is the ride comfort and safety part), then eventually a motor and transmission upgrade to a more efficient powerplant combo. Then lastly would be the interior comfort, aftermarket a.c./heat that works, seats, etc.
    man, that would be a fun build.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCM 2 View Post
    x2 on Wayoflife's statement above. You are basically going to need to upgrade the systems on the old vehicle to mimic what makes a new vehicle so much more friendly, which generally means ride comfort and safety. I keep contemplating doing this with a full size jeep (FSJ) from the late 60's, to as new as the late 70's, like a Cherokee, Gladiator (J2000-4000) or J20 for my tow rig. I would start by upgrading at a minimum; suspension and brakes(probably newer axles too) to a 21st century set-up (this is the ride comfort and safety part), then eventually a motor and transmission upgrade to a more efficient powerplant combo. Then lastly would be the interior comfort, aftermarket a.c./heat that works, seats, etc.

    For me this is all for nostalgia reasons, I like the old iron and it would be nice to let others see what used to be common place. But truthfully, new jeeps are way more capable than any of the old CJ's I have owned. I am by no means trying to talk you out of doing a "restoration", because everybody gets the itch at some point. But again, the suspension and brakes are where most resto-mods begin. Good luck brother
    You know a 4 door Jk frame and axles fits perfect on a Willys truck body. The body mounts damn near line up
    2012 Rubicon Unlimited
    1990 Jeep Comanche
    1958 FC170 (Jeep Forward Control)


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayoflife View Post
    man, that would be a fun build.
    Yes it would! My only reason for not doing it is that I don't have the space for it, not sure where I would park it


    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    You know a 4 door Jk frame and axles fits perfect on a Willys truck body. The body mounts damn near line up
    You know I actually have a friend that had a beautifully built up TJ with ProRock 60's, coilovers, Atlas transfer case, V8 conversion and did this with a 1957 Willys Overland Wagon. Very cool!
    2009 Black Rubicon Unlimited
    EVO Long Arm w/Envy Links
    EVO Front Double Throw Down
    EVO Lever Rear w/Double Throw Down
    Dynatrac Pro Rock 60's f/r
    PSC hydraulic ram assist
    Mastercraft Baja RS seats
    J.E. Reel 1350 drive shafts
    ATX Slab wheels
    40" Nitto Mud Grapplers

  7. #7
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    My preference would be for the old Bronco (66-77).

    Find a good body and frame. Get rid of anything old, electrical or maybe even a problem.

    Gut the powertrain and drop in a EFI V8 with trans and t-case of your choice. Ford, Chevy, Toyota, whatever your flavour.

    Lots of suspension options out there that ride and wheel nicely. Radius arm and coils up front with leaf over axle suspension in rear actually works quite nicely. Much like an XJ.

    Axle upgrades are fairly easy. D44 front and 9" rear.

    Hydro-boost steering and brakes.

    Modern wheeler with old school skin. Keeps the maintenance to a minimum.

    YEE-HA!
    05 LJ - Hi-Lo-2nd Lo- Stupid Lo
    Herd of Turtles 4WD Society

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    You know a 4 door Jk frame and axles fits perfect on a Willys truck body. The body mounts damn near line up
    Now that would be cool!

    I think Indefatigable hit the nail on the head of what I have in mind. I see a lot of bronco's with a rebuilt engine and tranny with a 9" d44 combo, that just need a little tlc. With a CJ I would want to lengthen the wheel base a little bit so you guys are right, I would be swapping axles out and redoing the suspension pretty much entirely. I have a feeling if I were to go that rout it would turn in to a crawler and I dont have anything to tow it to the trail with. Seems like I would get carried away real quick, and never find myself on the trail with it.

    Rust is one of my biggest concerns, especially if its on the frame. I don't want a 50 year old frame bending on me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GCM 2 View Post
    You know I actually have a friend that had a beautifully built up TJ with ProRock 60's, coilovers, Atlas transfer case, V8 conversion and did this with a 1957 Willys Overland Wagon. Very cool!
    And by "overland" you mean "camping" right?

    j/k... been thinking about this one though... in a nutshell, I think "overland" is more means to an end, i.e. a way to get there, vs. other forms of wheeling where taking the more difficult line is the end in itself. Bit of a hijack. Sorry about that. Can't wait for pics of this build...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmccurdy View Post
    And by "overland" you mean "camping" right?

    j/k... been thinking about this one though... in a nutshell, I think "overland" is more means to an end, i.e. a way to get there, vs. other forms of wheeling where taking the more difficult line is the end in itself. Bit of a hijack. Sorry about that. Can't wait for pics of this build...
    Haha! I'm busted Funny thing is that is I don't think it has anything to do with "overlanding", but is only a hyphenated name, Willys-Overland. Two companies that merged when John Willys bought Overland Automotive Division from the Standard Wheel Company. Maybe they were on to something in 1912 when John Willys combined the two companies, but I think they called it camping back then too
    Last edited by GCM 2; 04-18-2012 at 12:16 PM.
    2009 Black Rubicon Unlimited
    EVO Long Arm w/Envy Links
    EVO Front Double Throw Down
    EVO Lever Rear w/Double Throw Down
    Dynatrac Pro Rock 60's f/r
    PSC hydraulic ram assist
    Mastercraft Baja RS seats
    J.E. Reel 1350 drive shafts
    ATX Slab wheels
    40" Nitto Mud Grapplers

 

 

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