Michael & Teddi's 1984 CJ-7

Date: 11/16/2008.  Current state: Vehicle purchased 11/2008.  The vehicle spent its life in California.  No visible changes yet except new H4 headlights and a quick (1 hour) buff / polish.  The paint / clear coat is obviously very sun faded, clear coat is chipping off 100% rust free original chrome rims, tires are really old but evidently drivable.  Engine runs great and has 100% California emissions intact.  Someone told me a CJ with straight 6 would be a dog, I beg to differ, it's far more powerful than I expected.  Driveline is totally tight except clutch shudders in 1st (suspect pilot bushing).  There have been no electrical issues found, everything works.  Runs surprisingly strong and quiet.  I will be posting some write-ups as the restoration goes forward.  The rust condition is almost unbelievable, a few chips in the paint over the years have caused... almost nothing, even underneath!.  There is more evidence of wasp infestations than rust!  No body damage is on the vehicle whatsoever (not a single dent), it's a really nice rig!  I'm doing all mechanical baselining first, then on to body and paint.  Numerous small issues found mechanically, as you might expect from a 24 year old vehicle with somewhat mediocre maintenance.  The important stuff is rock solid with the exception of the clutch (replacing next), needs all cooling equipment replaced (80% done - the radiator leaked ever so slightly, the water pump chirps, the rest was old).  I just replaced the muffler & tailpipe, needs new tires and a lift, new driving lights, LED conversion, and countless other really minor things that add up and take time.

The future

The vehicle will be a summer top-off cruiser, but will see occasional light off-road use.  I'll leave the heavy lifting to the '80 FJ40 which is used as a camping / remote off-roaming vehicle.  We already restored that one and it has some minor battle-wounds and pin striping from trees after that was done.  I might encourage the CJ lead a more trouble-free life, a little further away from the rigors of tree limbs and deep mud holes.  The CJ needs to be mechanically "good as new" with a body / interior to match... That doesn't mean I'm replacing everything, it means if I find a problem it gets restored to new condition.  My future wife will be driving it as much as me so it has to be able to handle that!  The interior paint and underbody is in such good condition that I'm thinking a frame-off is not necessary.  I'd like to paint it a different color, but I think it will be worth more with the original color unless I do take it all apart, which is a lot of extra hours.  So now the plan is to make it look brand new on the outside & inside, and make it rust-proof underneath (but we won't be driving it on the salty Illinois winter roads).

Restoration

The vehicle needs or has received:

Radiator, water pump, coolant hoses, heater hoses, vacuum lines, serpentine belt, 2 idler pulleys, 1 tie rod end, engine mounts, transmission mount, LED conversion, H4 headlamps, turn signal lenses, stainless body hardware, dashpad, seats, paint (body), paint (frame), lift kit, muffler, tail pipe, tires, stereo, fan clutch, weatherstripping, mirrors, clutch, other small stuff.  I find something new every day...

More to come...

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