Friday, October 23, 2020

As promised, an update on the hood gas spring. The returned gas spring made it back from Bansbach being recharged to handle the additional weight of the Line-Ex that was applied to the underside of the hood by Garys Body Shop. As requested from Bansbach, new specs were required from me to them to make an accurate calculation. The hood hinge end was set on saw horses, while the front was left overhanging, a length of wood setting on a scale at the middle of the hood supported it and the poundage read, which came in at 36lbs. The hood was then mounted to the body and additional gas spring mounting dimensions were recorded. A "to" scale drawing
was then drawn up. That, and billing info was faxed to Bansbach along with mailing the gas spring. Once received, their engineers reviewed it and emailed their own rendering for my approval. Not surprising their dwg. was similar to mine, along with a graph for calculating. How they calculate, is over our heads, but hey that's their forte. $47.96 later for recharge and shipping it showed up at our door. Bansbachs service and communication was great once I got past the fact that my emails were going to their spam folder and ultimately not read. Once I actually contacted them by phone that got resolved. Once installed it worked like it was supposed to, using only a little effort to lift before the gas spring took over. It is worth mentioning that there is a right and wrong way to install  gas spring. In this application it is advantageous to mount it with the rod down. This way the oil in the cylinder lubricates the seal and more importantly provides a dampening effect at the end of the stroke eliminating a sudden stop and reduced stress on the hinges and mounting points.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

It was two weeks since the hood was dropped off for paint at Garys Body Shop. When dropped off we were shown how wavy the fiberglass was and that it would require extensive blocking for an acceptable appearance. Well as usual they did not disappoint. With the black paint it was a necessity and it turned out great. Along with the reversed Shelby hood scoop from C J Pony and the red 401 emblems it made for a striking combination. Stainless steel hood hinges were used with a layer of roofing rubber underneath as gaskets to protect the paint. The roofing rubber is a cheap and easy way for mounting and was used several other places as well. On mounting the hinges, nuts had previously been used on the underside of the hood 
but was unsightly, especially since they were right alongside the cross bracing. Aluminum blocks were fabricated instead. This also served the purpose to distributing the load over a wider area. Now in the past Jeffrey expressed the wants of having a Jeep grille logo Easter egg somewhere in an inconspicuous place on this build. The newer Jeeps have these hidden all over the place. The opportunity presented itself with these blocks. As the threaded holes were drilled, it was realized that they looked like headlights. One thing lead to another and with a bit of creative milling this is what developed. The hood prop was next and although this was specked out previously, the addition of Line-Ex to the underside of the hood 
added weight therefor affecting the function of the gas shock. Although it held the hood open, it had to be raised manually considerably more to get to that point. Bansbach was contacted, and with newly provided specifications from our end, they would recalculate what pressure was needed and they would repressurize for a $20.00 fee. Presently it is rated at 58lbs. but they recommended 75lbs. This will be returned as soon as we get the ok. A sheet metal plate was fabricated under the hood scoop for two purposes. One to give a wider area of fastening down the scoop and two to give a mounting location for the gas shock. This plate was then powder coated by Nichlas Powdercoating. The other end of the gas shock was supported by 
modifying the grille support rod on the passengerside with a ball end which was also powder coated.

Monday, August 31, 2020

 With events luckily falling into place with wheels and tires and several week nights of hanger fabrication along with well placed windows with weather, all systems were go for a Thursday morning delivery to Jecks Service Center to finally have exhaust installed. I am sure the surrounding neighbors were also happy. Transportation was supplied by my cousin, Dave Lehr who operates his own business Classic Junkyard and just happens to own a rollback. (Isn't family great?) Delivery was uneventful and after a few minute wait the CJ was driven unto the lift. After a brief description to Scott Aungst (one of the owners) of what we wanted it was left in his capable hands. Jeffrey wanted duel 2
 1/2" aluminized steel pipe to the back running through Flowmaster HP-2  mufflers and exiting with Magnaflow tips along with a threaded fitting for an O2 sensor for AFR readings to tune the carb. These mufflers were the largest/quietest that would fit into the confined space that was available. Since space was restricted, especially on the passenger side, hanger locations were fabricated and hung in the proper locations. Hangers of choice were Walker 36518 at all locations except the one used at the front of the transfercase which is an OEM style, simply made from a length of angle iron, drilled to hang from the pins and a simple 2 1/2" U clamp around the pipe. the Walker hangers were
mounted using a short section of pipe for location then drilling and tapping the crossmembers for 5/16 - 18 bolts. A mark was made on the hanger where it met the pipe then removed and bent on a simple fixture mounted to my welding table. The hanger rod was clamped, heated and bent. Scott called later in the day for us to give the OK before final welding. The slip fit joints on both ends of the mufflers were handled using Band Clamps for ease of removal for possible future Jet Hot Coating. Early Friday morning got the call that it was ready for pick up. Scott did a remarkable job with the confined available space bending the pipes, and the sound, quieter, but still had a nice throaty sound, and
those tips looked awesome protruding out the back. Just the sound and look Jeffrey was after. Now since Dave wasn't available to transport, the decision was made to drive the 8 miles of back roads home. This would be the longest trip to date. First though we traveled the mile to the local truck plaza to get this thing weighed. Curb weight for a stock CJ7 is listed around 3000 lbs. Ours came in at 3480 lbs. Trip home was tense trying to keep an eye on everything but everything worked well, nothing fell apart. The larger tires did cut down on performance slightly along with the fact that it appears to be running rich, which will be determined once the O2 sensor in installed. A stop was made at Jeffreys'
grand parents (my  parents) to show them the progress which they have not seen in quite awhile. His grandfather was and still is a source of knowledge and was helpful in several areas of this build. Altogether a product able weekend utilizing the services of committed individuals. Thanks guys.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

 With an exhaust system install bearing down on us  in a week and the possibility of driving the 8 miles or so back home instead of rollback, the need for tires was a definite need. The tires that have been on this build for the past 16 yrs were worn out studded snow tires from my J10 plow truck. One has a slow leak for all those years and another just recently developed one. The wheels are just as old with lots of rust. New tires would not be going back on these wheels. Instead we retrieved 5 from our stashed inventory. A story on these wheels is that it took several years scrounging junk yards wheel by wheel to find 5. They had to be factory chrome 15 x 8 6 lug which only came on full size Jeeps, usually the
 Laredo version. With not many made you can see why it took so long. Fortunately these wheels were clear coated from the factory which was fairly durable if maintained. When acquired these wheels looked rough, but knowing that they were clear coated, and the coating removed there would be nice chrome underneath. Years ago Jeffrey had painstakingly removed the clearcoat from the fronts using a method of heat gun, paint remover and steel wool and alot of elbow grease with rather satisfactory results. Seeing the quality that this build turned into, the backs of those wheels, which are viewable through the slots was not going to cut it. They had to be stripped. Doing some searching we
 found Blue Mountain Metal Polishing in Bethel Pa. Gave them a call, emailed some pics, dropped off the wheels and got a quote. Gave a timeline of 2 weeks. So tires were ordered from Kens Tires  Mickey Thompson Deagan 38 All Terrain in 31 x 10.5 x 15 was the choice. We have been doing business with Kens for a lot of years. Best prices and great service. Tires arrived, Blue Mountain calls and wheels are done. Picked them up and could not believe what I saw. They did a fantastic incredible job. I had initially told them to strip 5 wheels and polish 4 because we weren't sure if we were using a spare, but they ended up polishing 5 and still stayed within budget. Wise choice. Wheels were then delivered promptly to Kens and they mounted and balanced while I waited. The choice was made to mount the raised white lettering to the back. Once home, we scrubbed off the blue coating and put a coat of wax on the backs for now and then mounted to the CJ. Everything mounted up ok but I must point out the tie rod ends just, and I mean just clear any weights on the inside of the wheels. So far what little driving
 we did, these tires are not noisy. Although hard to tell with open headers. Steering is light and tracks good. Didn't check the air pressure yet which could be responsible for the light steering. Tread is just about even with the flares which is good. It did raise the height slightly so side steps are going to be mandatory.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

 More plating from Librandi's this time the front turn signal trim rings. These started out as non stick coated pie tins that we picked up at a kitchen supply that were modified to use new Wrangler turn signal housings. These gave us the recessed look to go along with the headlights. Clear lenses were chosen to go along with the clear side marker lights then amber bulbs installed to keep things legal. Next up was the console trim. These 3 pieces were machined from aluminum and then plated. A little extra time and expense was put into these pieces to compliment the shifter boot and black paint on the console top surface. I must point out though that the plating is thicker than expected. the
 counterbored holes were reduced in size enough that the button head screws had to be turned down to fit. That alone shows the quality of the chrome plating. All in all the interior turned out better than we expected. Jeffrey had a vision of what he wanted and designed the dash and console and this was the end result. Everything is functional and within easy reach. A white shift knob replaced the red 8 ball to compliment the white seat stitching.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

 The chrome plating returned from the platers and wow what a nice job they did. We used Librandi's  near the Harrisburg airport. Did the whole job over the phone. Initially called them, sent email pics to them, received a quote, mailed parts, took less time than they told me, got a call on a Monday that it was done, paid them and received parts Tuesday afternoon. That was pretty hard to beat. So with parts in hand we moved onto the tailgate assembly and install. Once again Gary's Body Shop did  their usual fantastic paint work. The fabricated linkage was installed. A prior post we explained that we wanted an outside handle instead of the inside CJ type mainly because we anticipated using a YJ hard top. Honestly I don't think this build will see a hard top now but if it does then we will be prepared. A latch was sourced from a previous Carlisle buy but found they can also be purchased through McMaster Carr. To make it work an aluminum housing was milled up and then plated. Once the linkage and handle was installed the stainless hinges were mounted to the gate with rubber gaskets cut out of some roofing rubber that
 was stashed in the shop for future use. Gaskets were also used between the body and hinges. 3/4" x 3/16" stainless steel was used instead of nuts to secure the hinges to the fiberglass body instead of nuts to give a greater area of support. These were simply drilled and tapped 5/16 - 18 for the stainless button head bolts. Everything lined up well then the support straps were installed using stainless shoulder bolts again from McMaster Carr along with some wave washers.

Friday, July 31, 2020

 The new Omix-Ada dash pad was mounted. This is a duplicate of the original with Jeep logo. Nice quality. It has the relief pocket for the inside mounted wiper motor along with cut out for the VIN plate that is mounted behind the wiper motor. Our YJ windshield frame had a VIN plate but is shaped differently than the later CJ plate therefore not matching the dash cut out. One had to be fabricated to mount behind the YJ wiper motor but conform to the CJ cut out shape. Two patterns were used, one for the mounting behind the wiper motor and another for the dash cut out. The one was mounted behind the wiper motor then the windshield frame was brought up and fastened into position with the dash hold
down  bolts. Then the other was held into position in the cut out and marked against the first one. Everything was then disassembled, the two patterns taped together and reinstalled for final trimming, disassembled again then the cardboard pattern was transferred to sheet metal, bent to the proper angle and drilled then remounted. The final angle was tweaked then once again removed. After a coat of black paint cured the face was covered with a black piece of Naugahyde. We experimented with black vinyl door edge guard but just couldn't get the tight radius required. In the end we sliced a small length of vacuum hose down the middle and slipped it over the edge.

Got the windshield frame back from the body shop and as usual they did a superb job. After giving the paint time to cure it was sent off for glass. Now when it comes to glass I trust one shop only. And that is H & M Ebling I have been dealing with this 2 generation shop since 1974 for home and auto and have never been disappointed. Just once a body shop talked me into using a chain company for a windshield replacement and I had to use towels on the dash to collect the rain water, never again. Ebling installed a new glass with a smoked tint band at the top with new gaskets and even applied a rear view mirror mount and never even scratched the new paint. Using a YJ frame while retaining CJ
ductwork and wiper motor resulted in a few modifications. The YJ uses ductwork that is routed through the dash while a CJ is routed through the windshield frame, therefore openings had to be cut at the bottom of the frame and slots at the top for the defroster vents. The reason a CJ wiper motor was used rather than the YJ was the YJ has additional wiring that is routed through the steering column mounted controls where as   the CJ is dash mounted. The YJ linkage was retained therefor the mounting tab on the CJ motor had to be replaced with the one from the YJ. Before removing a 12 volt source was applied to the connector making sure both motors where in the park position. The location was marked and a small gear puller was used to remove the tabs and switched the YJ to the CJ motor. Linkage was then fed in through the windshield frame and the motor mounted. The plastic nuts for the wiper posts were coated with Right Stuff to hopefully prevent water leakage. I say hopefully because I have yet to see a frame that doesn't eventually rust out, ours was no exception. The bodyshop took care of some minor rust issues. The linkage access holes needed to be covered and sealed since the defrosters now were routed through the frame. A cardboard pattern was made then transferred to sheet vinyl then covered with Naugahyde, the same that was used on the console.