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Third Project Build-up - Conclusions
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I finally got all the final bugs worked out of the Jeep. It is 11/28/05 and we just finished up the Thanksgiving Holiday. I was able to get all the finishing pieces of the Jeep, minus the oil pressure gauge (that is on order and should be here this week), and all the parts are in the Jeep and everything looks and is acting the way it should. I am itching to take this out for a spin and really see if all the hard work and effort was truly worth it, I am sure it will be.

In all the hours spent on the project, the majority of them were making the 1989 Wrangler Tub that came with the project appear to be a CJ. In order to do this, there are a bunch of areas that will need to be considered. The tub offers the main benefit of being galvanized, so rust will be less of an issue. If you undercoat it and herculine the inside of it, you will protect it even more then how it shipped from the factory.

In order to take a Jeep Wrangler (YJ) body and make it look like a CJ, there are a bunch of things that has to be considered. Below are the areas that need to be modified to make it look and appear like a true CJ body. You can do all or some of them, depending on what you want to do with your project.

Wrangler Body (Tub) Modifications:

1) Tailgate - The opening is the right size for a CJ tailgate, you just have to obtain one and get the attaching hardware that will have to be welded to the Wrangler body. The cables and attaching hardware will attach to the Jeep and holes will have to be drilled to accept the CJ style tailgate hinges. Also keep in mind that you will have to fill in the holes that are left by the Wrangler style tailgate, this doesn't have to be done, but if you don't, you will have a lot of holes left over that will not be used.

2) Defroster Duct - The defroster opening on a Wrangler is much different then that of a CJ. The ductwork is also different. I was able to obtain an original CJ duct from a guy on the Jeep forums. It was then cut out and spliced in to have the opening look like that of a CJ. A CJ defroster duct was then ordered up as well. This completed the necessary modifications to make it look like a CJ and use the heater controls of the Wrangler

3) Clutch Rod Hole - The Wrangler body utilizes a hydraulic clutch that the CJ style did not employ, therefore, there is no hole for the clutch rod to go through to connect to the manual linkage. If you plan on using the old style setup, a hole will be necessary in the firewall to allow for this passage to occur. This hole was already cut, so it was something that was not necessary during the fabrication and mock up stages.

4) Body Mounts - The body mounts for the CJ vs. the Wrangler are very similar except for the two rearward ones that are located right in front of the rear tires. If you move them, you will have the correct bolthole alignment for the Wrangler tub, if you don't, you will have to drill up through the body and connect them that way. It was decided for a clean installation to move the body mounts. This requires either purchasing new body mounts or fabricating your own. This is your decision. Moving the body mounts offers a cleaner installation and mounting from the underside of the body, drilling will put 2 extra holes in the body near the roll bar down mount.

5) Windshield - There was a Wrangler Windshield that came with the project when it was purchased. This meant that the windshield would need to be modified to act like a CJ. Holes had to be cut in the windshield where the original defroster opening would come out. Once this was done, CJ style defrosters were installed into the windshield. This modification allows for heat to travel through the windshield and up onto the glass. Keep in mind that this is a Wrangler windshield and therefore, Wrangler wiper arms will be needed when you attach the windshield wipers.

6) Dash Hold-Down Holes - This was not discovered until after the dash had been painted. When we were wiring up the dash, we noticed that the knobs that screw into the windshield hold-downs were not lined up. This is a product of putting a CJ dash on a Wrangler tub and using a Wrangler windshield. The holes were about an inch off, so we drilled new holes and we were in business. If you have the chance during mockup, cut out the holes and move them over, it will offer a cleaner look without the use of a dash pad, if a dash pad is going to be used, you will not notice this as much, only when the windshield is down and the hold-downs expose the holes.

7) Gas Tank Relocation - The gas tank on a Wrangler is on the driver side whereas the CJ location is on the passenger side. To relocate this, measure where the existing one is and transfer the measurements over to the other side and cut it out. This then needs to be grinded down and the gas filler neck installed. Once that is done, then you can cut a piece of sheet metal out and fill in the driver side. This was done when the LED light upgrades were installed and the license plate holder was added.

8) Fender Flare Modification - The Wrangler style fender flares are quite a bit different from the CJ style in the rear. The front will utilize CJ style fenders and if you get used ones, the holes should already be drilled. The rear will require filling in the old holes by welding them and smoothing them. Once that is done, the CJ style flares can be put into place and marked for drilling. Once that is done, all the smoothing and grinding can be done for finish paint.

9) Rear Cross Member Modification - The rear cross member on a CJ does not have the mount holes in the right location for the Wrangler Tub. The holes need to be moved out about 2 inches. This was done by fabricating up some sheet metal pieces with the correct size holes in them and then cutting out the old ones and welding the new ones in place.

10) Rocker Hole Modification - Some of the Wrangler's came with steps installed on the body. If yours did, then there are about 10 holes that will need to be filled in order to make it look smooth, just like the CJ's did. If you want to then put on the CJ rocker guards, you will need to locate a set. This was left blank to see if someone wanted to put diamond plate rockers on the side or possibly a set of rocker knockers that can be purchased from a variety of sources.

11) High Beam Switch Installation - The Wrangler Body does not have a floor-mounted switch for the high beams. The high beams were located on the column instead. In order to make this look like a CJ, you have to drill 2 holes and install the switch. This was not realized until late in the game making drilling difficult with the pedals installed. Make sure you do this upfront to save yourself some headaches.

12) Transmission Plate Cover Modification (only with a body lift) - The project incorporated a 1" body lift thus changing the position of the body in relation to the shifter. In order to allow for the T5 transmission to shift into 2nd, 4th, and reverse, the transmission pan was modified and recessed to allow for the shifter to move into those gears without hitting the body. This is only necessary with a body lift.
Final Thoughts
After all that is done, you will have a CJ looking body that came from a Wrangler Tub. At a close glance, it is hard to tell that this isn't a CJ, it looks and appears to be all CJ until you see the minor differences, like the fact that it has an extended roll bar that is a product of using the Wrangler Windshield frame with the Wrangler style roll bar. This can be left off if you want, but for a little bit of added protection, we decided to keep it.

All in all, the Jeep came out exactly the way I had planned. It looks great and appears to be all CJ in and out. Just keep in mind that there are some remnants of Wrangler in the Jeep and when ordering up parts, make sure you order the correct ones or you might run into fitment issues.

cb 11/28/05
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