Sunday, November 07, 2021


Nov. 6 2021. This is a date that we have been anticipating for 17 years. This is the day that we finally were able to title the CJ. Since we were applying for a "specially constructed" title the Jeep had to be approved by an enhanced inspection station of which there are about 6 in Schuylkill county and then not all of them had all the endorsements to do it. It just so happens the station I take all my other vehicles to is one of those that is qualified. "Morgans Garage" in nearby Tremont, Pa. Owner Ted Brown. Appointment was made and the Jeep was delivered to him on the 5th. By Sat. lunch it was completed. Everything passed, a pack of paperwork was handed to me, and we were off to
the notary. Pine Grove Notary took care of the paperwork which was totally painless. I was really expecting some road blocks applying for a title. The original title was turned into a "Salvage" title right after it was purchased 17 years ago in anticipation of applying for a "Specially Constructed" If we hadn't then the new title would have been a "Reconstructed" in which case any emissions would have been required. Going the Antique tag route was out of the question due to restrictions if they decided to enforce them. Plus with this thing possibly ending up being registered in another state could have been a problem. We left the notary with a tag and pink slip, with title
expected from Harrisburg later. Now that we had registration in hand we could then pursue insurance options. My other two fun cars are insured thru Hagerty so that was a no brainer. These people are passionate about cars. When contacting them you go thru a series of keys to press for the various departments. But they even have one to press if you just want to talk cars. How cool is that? Again the process was painless. Turned out the rep I talked to, is into Jeeps also. An email was sent to me with a copy of proof of insurance I could print out, now that it is insured the only thing left is an actual inspection to get the sticker. So it will be going back up to Morgans and then put some shakedown
miles on it. Is it done? Hell no are they ever? Running boards, Laredo stripe kit and a few other minor details. Been a long rewarding ride but would not have missed working/learning as father and son for anything. 



Friday, September 10, 2021



Got the call from Rays Upholstery this morning that the door panels were finished. I couldn't get there fast enough to pick them up because I knew they were going to look great, and they were. He used black vinyl to match the seats and we gave him patterns for the shape and diamond stitching size. The pattern was transferred to a thin fiber board with the hole locations for the push pins that we previously located on the door. Push pins were purchased thru McMaster Carr  and inserted in the holes on the fiber board. The black vinyl was then layed over the top covering the pins and stitched around the edge. This way the panel could be inserted and the pins would be hidden. Black carpeted inserts were made up in the same manner
excluding the push pins for the bottom location of the door panel. These were then glued to the door panel using Right Stuff gasket maker. New upper door inserts were used to locate the removable windows along with supplied push pins that came with the door panels. It's not your run of the mill rock crawling CJ interior, but then that's not what it was built for.














Wednesday, September 01, 2021


Had some time to finish up the inside of the tailgate. Fabricated a sheet metal plate to cover the latch mechanism. That just snaps into place. The carpet had already been cut and trimmed by Rays Upholstery, now we just had to fasten it. Didn't want to use trim screws, so took an idea from a full size Jeep Wagoneer which uses stainless wear strips. A trip to the local salvage yard yielded a hand full of usable strips. These were longer than needed plus the holes were in the wrong place for our usage. So cut the end off a test piece and practiced forming it around a piece of steel with chamfered edges. Finally got a method that was suitable and cut 4 of them to length then

formed the ends. Holes were then drilled
in location and using a center punch formed a countersink for the #8 x 3/4" stainless screws. The finish on the strips is what was expected from having who knows what drug across them for 45 years, so I enlisted the services of Blue Mountain Metal Finishing to bring them to a high luster. And just like the wheels they did not disappoint. Before applying the carpet 3 rectangular indents in the tailgate had to be filled to create a flat surface. These are 3/8" deep, so grabbed some 3/8" thick plywood and cut out the shape and siliconed them fast. Strips of adhesive backed velcro was applied at the corners and edges 


between the wear strips to assist in holding it all in place. The wear strip locations were measured off and cinched down with the stainless screws.

Sunday, August 01, 2021


Picked these half doors up some time (years) ago from a 1994 Wrangler that were rust free, but minus the locks and associated linkage. We pre-fitted these to the body and made the necessary latch adjustments. which frankly was a bit frustrating due to the fiberglass body. The opening size and shape was good on the body but the latch was the problem. Seems your on your own when it comes to the latch as I found only one made by 
Omix-Ada but it didn't conform too well to the double wall of the Shell Valley body. So original door latch striker brackets were modified. Luckily a steel plate was glassed into the body to mount them. The driver door showed a slight bow in the

middle and that was taken care of with a hydraulic press until a straight edge laid flat on the outer face. Once everything fit correctly the doors were stripped of all hardware and dropped off at 
garys autobody for paint along with the previously mentioned striker plates and aftermarket inside door panels. These panels came from Guage Works and fit very well using existing holes and are molded in black but not quite as black as the rest of the interior so these were also painted. As usual Garys paint work was top notch. Assembly commenced by laying a soft moving blanket on the workbench. All the latches were degreased and re-lubed with white lithium grease for smooth

operation. New inside handles were purchased. A side note on these, watch out for quality. A set was previously purchased and broke almost immediately. The second set was purchased thru 
Amazon and are made by Brock. Comparing both one can see why it broke. Outside chrome handles from Ebay seller am-autoparts fit perfect. The key locks, well that was a different story. I could find replacement locks but no linkage to go with them. Since ours was missing we had to improvise. Turns out the 1967 Cutlass parts car I had in the lower 40 uses the same mounting hole size as the Wrangler. Unfortunately I did not have the key for them which is the same as the ignition,

but did have a trunk lock and key. The trunk lock was disassembled, giving up it's tumblers, swapped those into the door locks, then had an ignition key blank cut using the trunk key as a master. Linkage was then bent up rounding out the assembly. Lock gaskets were obtained thru 
Original Parts Group. Stainless steel hinges were mounted with rubber gaskets made from roofing rubber to protect the paint along with stainless button socket head bolts. The striker plates were remounted to the body, and keeping the hinges loose the doors were hung and adjusted for alignment.









Wednesday, May 19, 2021

This will be a revision to the previous post on the wipers. Turns out the boss wasn't totally happy with the way the passenger side wiper was positioned. It didn't lay horizontal like the driver side. And that was the whole reason for the mod to begin with. Truthfully I thought it looked out of balance also. So I guess criticism to failure is incentive to pursue perfection. Back to the drawing board. The only way this was going to happen would be to increase the stroke (arc) of the blades. Which meant increase the length of the wiper motor linkage. The question was though by how much. Laid down the windshield frame and disconnected the motor from the main linkage, and by moving the linkage and watching the wiper blades, 1/8" gave what was   
needed. Off to the bandsaw and cut the linkage in the middle. No turning back now. Clamped it to the welding table and used a piece of 1/8" welding rod as a spacer and tack welded it. Remounted to the motor and main linkage and turned the wipers on. Too much movement, the blades over shot the glass and there was a slight binding in the main linkage. That was when I realized that 1/8" equated to a total of 1/4" as the motor made a full circle. Took it back apart and cut 1/16" out of it and rewelded. Reassembled then removed the wiper arms and made sure the motor was in the park position. Remounted the blades in a horizontal position and turned them on. Now that was more like it. In comparison the passenger side is significant, The 
driver side not so much, but definitely more along with a total center section clear. I can see where the after market can get some bad feedback, because in our situation 1/16" made a big difference, so if you factor in slight manufacturing inconsistencies in windshield frames and motor placement there is bound to be negative outcomes. So bottom line is the end result is what the boss was looking for and we still only have $20.00 into it, and of course more time.





Sunday, May 16, 2021

Have you ever started a project and it turned into opening up a can of worms? That's exactly what happened with installing wiper arms. First of all like alot of CJ/YJ owners, the factory placement of the wipers obstruct your view. Now granted there are aftermarket kits available to lay the wiper arms down horizontal with the bottom of the windshield and increase the stroke by replacing the linkage arm off the motor shaft. Reviews are all over the place, some have no problem, others end up with a binding of the linkage. This can be the result though of worn linkage bushings and aftermarket windshield frames with improper shaft spacing. Along with the negativity and cost we decided to not take the gamble. I sourced arms from a 
Cherokee Sport which I modified by drilling out the rivet and separated the arm. I then bought new 11" blades because vertically that was the max that would cover the glass. Temporarily fastened in place I played around with the length and ended up shortening it by 4 1/2". The bend in the arm was originally around 15 degs. I increased it to 30 degs. then re drilled the end for the spring and rivet. Fastened it all back together with a rivet and attached the spring using the original metal tab that hooks at the pivot and remounted. It all looked pretty good at this point as far as improved vision, especially in the middle. Except for one thing. Now to open the can of worms. The pressure of the wiper against the windshield was that great that it 
folded over the rubber. My first thought was to go with a weaker spring, and after striking out at the local hardware store I was about to throw in the towel. I hate defeat so I sat back and eyeballed the situation. For some odd reason I remembered a tool to measure wiper arm pressure and it was in the top of my tool box for probably 30 years. (Idon't get rid of anything). Retrieved it and it had instruction on its use. I wasn't aware, but there is a standard of 1 ounce of pressure for every 1 inch of blade put out by the "Highway Visibility Bureau" So I measured the pressure and it was up at 30 ounces. I wanted to use the original springs so I bent up longer hooks that attach to the pivot pins and took a guess and drilled the hole for the spring. I had to keep playing
with spring hole location, along with filing and ended up with 11 ounces of pressure. After several repositioning of the arms I was able to have the drivers side parking at horizontal and the passenger side slightly above, but at least it totally cleared out the center section which was a big plus. So was it worth it? I only got $20.00 into it, didn't have to take out the motor to replace the linkage arm, but a s#*t load of time. Ah what else was I going to do, paint the house foundation?








Sunday, April 11, 2021


The aluminum Isuzu Rodeo differential covers weren't holding up very well with the applied Hammerite paint. They seemed to be deteriorating just setting in the garage and we haven't got this thing licensed yet. I decided this would be a good X-mas gift for Jeffrey, so they were removed and sent to the Powdercoater. Decided to go with black to mimic the valve covers and then using a die grinder remove the coating on the fins. Stainless steel plugs with magnets were ordered up from McMaster Carr along with Fel pro gaskets from the local parts store. I spread a thin film of Right Stuff gasket maker on the cover, applied the gasket and laid it gasket down on a flat surface


with weight on top for a day. (I was in no hurry) Another thin film on the otherside of the gasket then fastened to the axle with stainless bolts. Topped off with some 90w gear oil and we were back in business. We had originally tried to duplicate the aluminum look, but these turned out alot nicer and should hold up very well.