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79 J20.... Building The Diesel Truck Ive Always Wanted!

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Hey Guys! Ive enter a new realm of the forum and am embarking on an entire new project away from anything ive ever attempted before. Ive had a blast with my Comanches and Cherokees over the past few years, and still continue to but after setting out on this adventure last Spring I have now finally aquire the 1st peice of the big puzzle and am ready to announce to you all my next project....



If you havent guessed it already, here is the start to hopefully an awesome adventure! 





Yep, thats right....A 1979 Jeep J20 series pickup! This truck was retired from a local Fire Dept. back in April and was owned by the Pennsylvania Dept of Forestry prior to that before being given as a gift to the FD. Since it was a state owned truck it was auctioned off on a government website which I managed to win, by being the highest bidder 1st! (was matched in the final seconds and about gave me a heart attack!) I plan to pick it up Friday.


The very basic plans are 1st and foremost, purchase a 1999 or down model year Dodge 12 valve Cummins Pickup, followed by swapping the Body and mating it with a very nice flatbed. In turn creating a reliable diesel fullsize truck that can be used for towing or just showing off as well as still be a JEEP! This project is long term and is sure to develop many twist and turns along the way. Ill do my best to keep it updated in here just as i have with all my previous projects. I'm extremely thrilled to get this underway and can't wait to see how it all plays out! :D


Here is another photo of the truck as it sits today.



and a shot of it in its former Glory/




Hoping to end up with something like this in the end. (Subject to change)





Check back now and then, this is sure to be fun!  :thumbsup:

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There's a fair looking J truck with a tray that I see parked near my church every now and again. I'll have to snap a pic next time I see it. If I ever feel the need for a bigger truck, that's the way I'd like to go if I can.


Looking forward to this build. I'll echo MancheKid's sentiment. That thing looks pretty mint. 

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There are several rigs already done on http://ifsja.org and http://fsjnetwork.com

The biggest factor seems to be engine weight. I think I'd sooner put that motor onto an M715 because it has a beefier frame and the big 3 discovered the hard way stock frames weren't beefy enough to avoid frame cracking but a N/A 6B should be okay.

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Well until the ground dries out a bit its stayin on the trailer. That doesnt mean i can't tinker around with it a bit though!


I got the old 360 running, the carb likely needs work but a proven running Engine will sell alot easier when the time comes.



The dash is pretty much gone but otherwise the interior is in very nice shape, including a full Rhino lined floor!




Only 16755 Miles! Or 116755......Haha



Rear Dana60. and a very clean chassis!


Just a few more shots of the Cab, The cleanliness of this truck is why i fought so hard to get it! NO RUST!






Progress will be a bit slow untill nicer weather greets me in the spring, O Well thatl let my wallet recover.  :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks! I know its not the original paint, and likely not even the original rocker panels and such since it was repair and repainted in the fire companies colors. However its its in incredible rust free condition which is defiantly what matters.


I'm on the hunt for the donor truck now and hope to have 1 acquired by spring time  :thumbsup:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Didn't realize that the rear axles in these were offset from center...  Pretty cool.  That truck is sooooooo clean.


That's because this one has Quadratrac...


My son's first vehicle was a '78 J20 with a 401/T-18/Dana 20 and it had a centered D60.

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A friend of mine who is really into FSJ's and diesels married his two loves with a rare '83 J-10 stepside and a Nissan SD33T (like IH used in 1980 Scouts).




Personally, I thought he should have used something that wasn't so rare and left this J-10 alone... but then he and I don't always see eye to eye in the Jeep world.  He picked up an ex-USAF CJ-10A tug - just because it was a diesel.  It could have been an awesome trail monster and he turned into a commuter. He did convert it to 4WD, but swapped in FSJ 1/2T D44's with freeway flyer gears and street tires. 



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  • 4 weeks later...

No there really is not. I'm still searching for a donor. The truck still resides in the driveway awaiting warmer weather.


I see it every morning and have not lost motivation for it by far. lol......just another test of patience, but itll get kicked into gear hopefully this spring/summer ;)  

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