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  • Freshening up the CJ

    So the wife and I are freshening up the CJ to be a daily driver.

    New paint on the hard top and doors to get rid of the black. JeepAir AC & Heat kit, full PSC steering upgrade, power brake conversion, stainless lines, etc. Plus some new interior parts like carpet, seats, seat belts etc. The plan is to get it to the point that the wife can drive it if needed without fear of not being able to reach the pedals because the seats won't budge from their current position.

    Here's some pics of the first week.

    Hard top recieved a few coats of rattle can tan and an old school FJ inspired white top

    Doors recieved a few coats of duplicolor: thanks goes to duplicolor for not being able to provide any sort of information on matching the original CJ Sebring Red to one of their after a lot of ho humming I made a choice. It's good, but not great, but for my purposes it's great.

    Something's wrong with this sight: Somewhere in it's past someone musta bashed in the CJ's front teeth and then slapped a chrome grill over it to hide the damage. When I swapped in the 327 SBC I noticed something was amiss but didn't give it much thought until it came time to mount the AC condensor...someone had already cut out one slat and left three others that were twisted. Unfortunately they had to come out too.

    Chrome Bling Bling grill and broken teeth

    Condensor Installed...Notice the nice PSC power steering pump can lying on the front clip that I had to pull off the new pump because the return nipple was in the wrong place. So a few surface prep pads and some high temp chevy orange on the old pumps can and everything is hunky dory. you can see the can installed two pics above blending into the cylinder head.

    Evaporator temporarily mounted under the dash

    Found this when I pulled out the seats to prep the interior for some Dynamat on the fire wall and some insullation under the new carpet kit. Passanger side had started in the same direction but thankfully wasn't to this extent

    Welded up and painted with a coat of hammerite

    New PSC box mounted to the bigdaddy mount and 4wd brace. Had to do a little trimming and grinding on the brace collar in order to strap it around the new gear.

    Power steerig heat sink mounted to passanger fender.

    Lines are fully ran and mounted out of the way. Had to do some tweaking of the pressure lines as I ordered a full Jeep kit without thinking about what that would mean when it came time to adapt them to the SBC pump mounting location. Ooooopps...but after a few hours and a whole lot of choice words about how dumb I had been in ordering, I was able to finally figure out how to route, bend and rebend things in order to get them to work.

    Love the PSC top cover peeking out.
    Last edited by mdwatkins; 07-11-2009, 12:22 PM.

  • #2
    Nice Work

    Always nice to see a CJ getting freshened up. The little woman will love you for it too! Looks like a new heater motor might be in your future? Keep the pics coming.


    • #3
      The new AC kit has a heater core built into it. It replaces all of the under dash stock pieces, so out came the heater box and the fresh air plenum. With those two pieces gone there is a surprising amount of space underneath. I've been thinking hard about what I can put in that space but have yet to come up with anything good. My original thought was a HUGE dash box...kinda like when you were a kid and watching the cartoon where the character puts their hole arm into a hole in the wall and start pulling out a ton of junk...same idea...probably not very practical though.

      Either way I have a few holes that need to be plugged up in the tub now. The two biggest being the fresh air hole in the cowl (don't need rain dripping in on the new radio going in) and the enlarged blower motor hole.


      • #4
        looks good

        I sure don't like to work on them, but I do like the end results... It looks like the ol' CJ will be worthy of the time and effort you put into it... especially if it keeps the wife happy


        • #5
          very nice...

          That's killer work, MD. The PSC stuff rocks. The toothless radiator made me feel pain. I have a suggestion. Myrtle's seat nuts had that same thing going on. If you lay a four inch wide piece of quarter inch steel or aluminum it will raise your seats a bit, but it will spread the stress across the floor and maybe keep from breaking that nice looking welding job loose in the future. Just a thought while you have it down to the bare bones like that.

          P.S. The paint job on the top looks great. That's a good lookin' CJ. The Blonde One would KILL for A/C in Myrtle.
          Last edited by blackwater; 07-11-2009, 08:00 PM.


          • #6
            Youve taken on quite the list, paint on the top looks good. Keep the pics comming, love to watch. And the AC, who needs, oh ya, thats for youre Wife.


            • #7
              Originally posted by blackwater View Post
              That's killer work, MD. The PSC stuff rocks. The toothless radiator made me feel pain. I have a suggestion. Myrtle's seat nuts had that same thing going on. If you lay a four inch wide piece of quarter inch steel or aluminum it will raise your seats a bit, but it will spread the stress across the floor and maybe keep from breaking that nice looking welding job loose in the future. Just a thought while you have it down to the bare bones like that.

              P.S. The paint job on the top looks great. That's a good lookin' CJ. The Blonde One would KILL for A/C in Myrtle.
              Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't really thought about adding a plate under the riser. The PO had added a seatbelt washer there but I think something that has a bigger foot print would be better. I'm stoked about the PSC pieces. I've been looking at them and AGR for a long time now. The old box started leaking about 2 years ago and I've just been adding fluid to the system left and right ever since.

              Originally posted by redtail View Post
              Youve taken on quite the list, paint on the top looks good. Keep the pics comming, love to watch. And the AC, who needs, oh ya, thats for youre Wife.
              Hey now...I'm not ashamed to say that the AC is for me too. Called it a night at 10:00 tonight and it was still 102 in the garage and 99 outside.

              Glad you guys like the top. The more I look at it the more I really like it. The white panel is just that little something that no one else has that I think adds that much more to it.

              On to tonight's progress. Didn't have too much time after work and running a few errands with the wife, but here it is.

              Thought the old water pump had a little play in it last night and decided to pull it. Glad I did as when it dried up this morning you could feel a slight wobble in it. From the looks of it, it's probably 15 years old or older. So a trip to Checker/O'Reilly's, 32 bucks later and we're back in action. You can also see my old school new guts PSC power steering pump.

              Broke out the new toy. A Mastercool manual AC hose crimper that I picked up on Ebay for $150.00.

              A look at the crimper in action

              I really like the crimper. It took like 30 seconds to crimp the fitting in place. I figure that with the time and aggravation I save by crimping the hoses myself I should come out ahead in the deal. The only guy I could find locally that could do this for me wanted $200 to do the entire system so I'm already ahead there.

              1st hose in place and routed through the grill

              Mounted the dryer to the passenger fender

              Unfortunately I'm stuck at this point on the AC. They sent me the wrong compressor mount so until that and a few different fittings show up next week it's going to have to wait.

              Guess I'll have to focus on getting the radio and dynamat put in now. Sealing the fire wall should cut down on some of the fumes coming through into the cabin and the dynamat should cool the radiant heat coming through the fire wall. I'm debating about covering the trans tunnel and the floor boards as well. What are your thoughts?
              Last edited by mdwatkins; 07-12-2009, 12:57 AM.


              • #8
                Not much got done today. Decided to replace all the frame brake lines with the Stainless kit I bought. I was going to hold off and do everything together when I got the power brake pieces but it seems they're on back order until the end of the month and that's just too long to wait. So out came the old stuff and in went the new. Had to make too many stops to head to the storage shed to look for tools that didn't make it into the garage after our last move so the day was pretty much shot.

                The old lines also kicked my ass. 23 years of junk built up onto them and over the frame mounts meant a day of cussing and broken knuckles. The harbor freight set of flare nut wrenches I have must flex under pressure and ended up rounding the old nuts Break out the vice grips and there you my hands are pretty much shot for the night. Before I let things get the best of me totally I decided to add in a trip to Sears for a real set of flare nut wrenches...what a difference. The new wrenches worked like a charm and things began to look up.

                Here's a pic of the old stuff...the close up is of the rear frame line and it was nasty. when I finally got it out and started flaking the junk off it you could see where it was rusting. Also yanked out the old charcoal emissions canister mount. I don't know how many times I've cracked a knuckle on it.


                The proportioning valve took awhile to get it cleaned up as well. I couldn't get a socket or a wrench on the nut in the frame for the lower right bolt so only the upper left came out. Thankfully this gave me enough space to degrease and get a wrench in to work on things. I'm going to wait on the master cylinder lines until I get the powerbrake booster. I thought about installing them anyway and bending things up to fit but thought better of it. I'm going to have to bleed the system again anyway when I do that install so putting them in now just didn't make sense. Especially when I'd have to bend them to get them to work with the manual set up.

                A view of the front

                A view of the rear axle

                I also ended up pulling the entire front clip off. Got tired of bending over the grill and fenders to fiddle with things and really didn't fell like crawling in between the wheel and fender to do the front lines. So one step forward and two steps back was today's theme.

                Hopefully tomorrow gets better with a visit from the man in brown and an AC compressor mount.


                • #9
                  That hose crimper is one nice lookin tool. Love the red power steering unit.


                  • #10
                    That's one sweet looking ride!
                    Nice work!


                    • #11
                      Getting There

                      So last week I ended up having some minor and I mean minor surgery on my shoulder, but it was just in the right place to keep me out of the garage for a few days so that I didn't pop the stitches. But it didn't keep me down as much as not having the right parts at the right time.

                      But eventually things got delivered by the man in brown and I was back up and running. Got the AC fully mounted, the heater plumbed and a few other things tidied up.

                      I was able to fab up the firewall cover plates while I was down and got them installed with a little RTV and screws. I also got to looking at where I originally mounted the power steering heat sink and realized that there was no way it would work as it was higher than the pump. So a trip to the hardware store and a few 90 degree fittings and I laid it down and out of the way. I actually like it better here as it will totally be out of the way now.

                      Got the compressor mount finally and just looking at it I was doubtful that it would work but things fit...JUST BARELY fit that is The pic looks closer than it is...but don't get me's close, maybe only 1/16"-3/32"

                      I dig the new mount...very beefy, courtesy of Alan Grove components.

                      Got the compressor mounted only to find a few clearance problems with the kits original charging ports. Hmmmmm no workee so off to the phone for a few new fittings that will clear the hood

                      Much better...The new charge fittings hug closer to the compressor and route much more nicely.

                      With that out of the way I got all the hoses run on the AC and the heater to the bulk head fittings on the firewall and then plumbed in the heater core cutout valve.

                      So then it was off to the interior and man o man am I sore from having to lay on that lumpy ass floor.

                      I ended up pulling the dash completely to give me better access for the dynamat and to just work more easily. I ended up dynamating the entire firewall and cowl sections. I also extended it down the trans tunnel and will most likely add the last few pieces I have under the front seats keeping it out of the foot wells in case I ever decide to run without carpet.

                      The cowl presented a totally different challenge. With the fresh air plenum now gone it was acting like a sunroof. So I fit a plate into the bottom side of the cowl vent and RTV'd it in. Then I fabbed up a bolt plate to go around the opening and sandwiched it in place with more RTV and covered it with a strip of dynamat and then sealed the bolts with more RTV to the dynamat. I'm hoping I've have overkilled this thing to the point that it will never leak

                      Reworked the defrost duct to work with the new hose system on the new HVAC system and sealed the seams with some aluminum tape

                      Got the heater hoses plumbed and the AC lines finished up from the fire wall bulkhead to the HVAC unit.

                      In order to keep from interfering with the gear shift of my SM465 I had to push the HVAC back, which pushed it up tight against the firewall. This proved a problem for the heater hoses, but another quick trip to the hardware store and some 90 degree fittings and I was in like flynn.

                      A view of the reinstalled dash

                      I'm not super in love with the cable pull cover that I threw together, but it's functional and will do the job for now. I'll probably rework it when I replace the speedo sometime next month.

                      Then it came down to new door parts and a window washer bottle (since I have to have a functioning washer system to pass UT inspections)

                      I also redid the front clip wire harness. It was a mess of splices and rats nest that I'm still amazed worked as well as it did before the tear down. It's mucho cleaner now.

                      And there's still more to come...but I should have her back up and running by this weekend Unless something else pops up that I forgot about
                      Last edited by mdwatkins; 07-24-2009, 11:44 AM.


                      • #12
                        Awesome stuff and a great job! Keep posting those pics and updates.


                        • #13
                          Finally got the underhood items buttoned up tonight Thank God...cause I am beat. Too bad I don't have the power brake booster, so I'm not really finished up, but it's enough that I can get it back on the road for now.

                          Got the Alternator bracket from the brown man glad that I paid for 2 day shipping only for them to send it ground...asses...It's another Alan Grove product and pretty stout.

                          Had to run with a bling bling radiator hose as it was the only thing I could find that would route around the new compressor. Same deal on the fan shroud...more bling bling chrome, oh well...what are you gonna do.

                          Decided that I've been bolting on too many parts and need a little custom for a change. So I picked up the old charcoal canister that I had yanked out earlier and reworked it to hold my new radiator overflow can.

                          I've had a universal bottle sitting on the shelf for the past few years that I have never been able to bring myself to put in. So when I decided I ought to do something where it's going to be a daily driver I started digging through the garage and it hit me. I've always liked the old rat rods with their beer bottle overflows so why not do something similar. It had to be trail friendly and big enough to hold a fair amount. That's when I had it...the good old Fosters oil can and low and behold I had a few in the fridge so it must have been meant to be. Here's the finished product.

                          I've been told by the wife that this by far the coolest part I have ever installed on the Jeep. I think she's just saying that because I let her help empty the can...or two...ok maybe 3 of them...but hey it was hot in the garage.

                          So all that's really left is bleeding the power steering, charging the AC and a few interior things like seats and seat belts. Carpet doesn't come in until the end of next week and the new speedo is still on back order (along with the power brake kit) until sometime next month. This has definitely been a long month


                          • #14
                            wow! love the can!!

                            the whole project looks great. you're making me miss my CJ.


                            • #15
                              It's perfect...

                              I love the overflow, it makes me thirsty though.

                              One quick, off topic question... How do you post all those pics without going over your size limit? I have been trying to get pics of my new springs and SRS up, but all I can get is about three.