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Project "Free Jeep" a.k.a Project "FJ" - part #15
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(01/06/07) Well we have reached yet another year of working with Jeeps... woo hoo! Actually there is good news to report that we are very far along with the house, I got the garage wired up so now I have plenty of outlets and now I am trying to get the garage insulated and sheet rocked (either me doing it or farming it out, depends on how much and the time)... so with all that going on, the house is mostly painted and now hopefully I can start working more on the Jeep... after football season though!

I haven't been totally slacking however. I have been ordering up parts and squirreling them away. I was able to order up the shackles I would need for the front and rear and with that Christmas snuck up on us and I was given a shop vac, which is really cool because I never had one before. I have always made due without it, but let me tell you, if you don't have one, it really comes in handy to clean up all the messes...

Other then all that, I ordered up the 4" lift kit that will go on this project and made an assessment of the frame that it needed some repair in the rear. I searched all over the internet and looked at what other people had done and I didn't want to put plates over the frame to fix the issue temporarily, I wanted to fix it permanently, so that is what I did.
I ordered up the rear frame horns from Auto Rust Technicians. They were sort of local, so I figured I would help out the local eastern economy. Anyway, they came in and they looked nicely constructed, they seemed to look right when I held them up to the frame rails, however, the hole looked to be a bit big. So, after a few emails, they said they had welded in the YJ rear eye hanger and not the CJ, but it would be easily rectified with a set of YJ bushings. Not a big deal either way to me, but it will require ordering a set of bushings. These ear horns are not cheap either. They are thick, heavy, and not rusted which is what I was looking for, but for the set with the bushings, it will run you $280.00 to your house. Combine that with the new rear cross member I purchased, the cost of the frame to begin with, the new body mounts that need to be welded in place and I am into this frame for over $500.00 already with the purchased parts.

Now this is a great lessoned learned. I went to Throttle Down Kustoms for a comparison on what a new frame would cost vs. this 25-year-old one. Mind you I still have a ton of time to spend on this frame cutting, fitting, welding, sanding, cleaning, painting and drilling out some snapped off bolts. All in all with labor and materials it will probably be in the $750.00 range to get this frame back to life, whereas a new one from TDK comes in around $1895 with some starting at $1495 according to their website today. So, for 2 times as much money, you would have to throw a coat of paint on it and it would be brand new steel. This is the Cheap Jeep now, so we won't be doing that, but I never thought the frame would need all this work...
I helped the UPS guy unload the springs and the lift kit box and he was happy to get rid of them. They are a bit heavier then I remembered. Hey, they now have fiberglass ones, so if weight is an issue... Anyways, with all that ordered up and in house I continue to search for more parts. I am going to look at a windshield frame, dash, glove box, and finally a front bumper today (even though it is pouring). Hopefully I will see what else they have in their teardown and possibly score some more stuff then I bargained for. I am still searching for a parts Jeep as well as I am finding there are a lot of the "small" parts that really cost a lot of money to buy up. A parts Jeep from the beginning would have been a much better idea...

(01/07/06) I was searching on CraigsList when I came across a guy near me selling a bunch of parts. I emailed him and set up a time to go look at the goodies. What I came back with was a pretty good haul for the $135.00 that I paid him. A lot of the stuff can be used and things like the windshield frame that is all rusted out, the glass can be used. So, all in all it was a good haul for the 2 hours invested. I need to also go see another guy that supposedly has a bunch of parts as well. It should be a fun day of parts carving...
(01/14/07) I have done quite a bit in the past week. I was able to get a bunch of parts off a guy on CraigsList, I then bought a 1978 Jeep CJ-7 off of on CraigsList, and then finally I went to take a look at a set of seats that I saw on yet again, CraigsList, and when I saw them, they came with a set of floor mats and part of an A/C unit. All for one low price. Got to love when people are trying to get rid of stuff...

I mentioned before that I needed to order up a set of YJ spring perch bushings due to the order I placed for the rear frame repair panels having the wrong size welded on. Well those came in and all is good with the Jeep world.
As you can see from the pictures, the Jeep I got was in rough shape, but the windshield frame was aftermarket YJ, so that is pretty decent. It is in great shape and it has all the stuff that you need in order to make it work. It has mirrors, wipers, wiper motor and it all worked! It was red to start with, then painted while, and finally it needs a bit of work with the defrosters, but all in all, not too bad.

The dash is in pretty decent shape as well. Between this one and the other one I got, I will figure out which one is better and go from there. The doors are the old style and they are in decent shape as well. As you can see, it is a Levi's edition inside with all the blue, so who knows, maybe it is worth a few bucks to someone that is restoring one.
As it shows, 68K on the odometer. Not sure if this is correct or not, but who cares, I have a lot of parts. That is the good news. Finally, the seats. Not sure if we are going to use these in this project, but they are suspension seats by RaceCraft, I got a great deal on them and that is about that.

Lastly, I got an A/C unit and floor mats from the guy that sold me the seats. This is pretty nice. I didn't expect it, nor will I probably use them on this project, but it is a good problem to have.
So, the last picture shows all the parts I am accumulating. I don't want to get preachy here as it is common sense, but you really have to plan ahead and get a lot of the parts up front so your project doesn't come to a screeching halt waiting for things to come in. It is always that you have time and no money and then you have money but no time. I am eliminating the money factor here. I am buying things when I see them and hopefully when I finish up all the other stuff in my life, I will have time to use all the parts to put the Jeep together.

The shelves in the basement are a good idea to put parts up and keep them off the floor. I here that fiancees really like this too...

cb (01/14/07)
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