The CJ Build

The buildup of a 1982 CJ-7 Laredo

In the following pages I’ll attempt to document the HIGHLIGHTS of the buildup of my Jeep CJ based on the pictures that I took during the process and the stuff I remember about it all. I am going to present it all in somewhat like an “article” format so people can link to these pages from the outside and they’ll make sense to them without having to go through the whole buildup if they don’t want to. (may be scratching my head a bit in some areas!)

Lots of pictures… (bandwidth beware!)

The story behind the story…

I got the jeep for next to nothing from my brother in law, who didn’t want to mess with it after it got crushed by a HUGE oak tree in his backyard, in the condition that you see in the “before” picture below. I didn’t have lots to work with, and much was needed to get the jeep just in the “ground zero” phase to start building it back up. Good thing was, it recently (under 2000 miles before the ‘incident’) had a new engine, and a rebuilt tranny, rebuilt and packed and sealed both axles, and a new exhaust system. I have purchased a TON of stuff to get this thing back on the road. It is now a daily driver and a weekend warrior rig…so I’m not just putting “stock replacement” stuff on it…I try to put good stuff on if I can afford it. Now, it looks like the “after” picture that you will find at the end of the buildup.  The only difference is that as of winter 2008/2009, I’m rebuilding a chevy vortec 5.0 V8 to replace the 258 straight 6 motor that I originally had in this writeup.  I’m also going to be putting in a TH400 automatic along with the motor. 🙂  I’ll have more to post on that after I’m done with it.

Ok, here we go!

When I got the jeep home…this is what it looked like the day it was dropped off…..HORRIBLE condition, I don’t know how to describe it but it was NASTY to say the least.

So, looking at this picture (taken from my video camera) it’s hard to see just HOW bad it was crushed because most of the damage was on the drivers side, but the hardtop was completely busted in two…right down the middle! The rollbar was bent like someone hit it with…well, a TREE! it must have been bent so bad that it dropped by about 8 inches or so in the middle…it was amazing.

First things first…. I rolled this heap of rust and junk in the garage and decided to basically tear it down as much as possible without going past what I needed to, to see what I really had to work with (which turned out to be NOT much). I didn’t plan on this being a whole restoration process at first, until I started digging and finding all of the problems.

So I get the top off and it starts to become apparent that this thing is rusted like crazy…you can see in the pic above that the rockers have holes in them, even above the trim work….YIKES! I was looking here to see what needed replaced on the thing mainly…and I was starting to get discouraged right from here even…. this thing was in pretty bad shape.

I noticed that the frame was bent pretty bad from the tree resting on it like it had been for nearly two weeks before it was cut off the Jeep! At this point I though the tub was going to be ‘ok’ possibly with just welding in some panels here and there and then just dealing with it. I didn’t really plan on going down past the frame at this point…but more on that later.

Continue On With The Body Tub Replacement and Repair!