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1975 Brutally Simple Daily Driver

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Trail day!





Just went up into the hills close to town but it was the first time out with the wife and I. It’s been a long time since she was out in a bouncy Jeep. It was short but we had a wonderful time this morning!

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28 minutes ago, fiatslug87 said:

Looks like loads of fun!

Heck yeah! Obviously not much for pictures but the CJ got rad in a few spots!

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Back in the shop today. The air cleaner “solution” after the brake booster upgrade has never been right. The plastic spacers cracked almost immediately after I threw them in there, and the weight of the actual air cleaner housing is always wobbly perched up 1.5” from where it would’ve lived.




Here’s the solution. I made up a steel ring to replace the crack/taped/terrible parts store spacers.





Everything got welded together to have absolutely zero slop. After a quick coat of paint where it needed it and some fresh foam under the lid?…





… Perfect! Can’t even tell I was in there. Next on my list was the rear pinion angle. These leaf springs had a… ugh… CAST ALUMINUM spacer in with the pack. Here I thought the whole time that these were steel! Can you guess how many pieces they came out in?




Once again, folks… friends don’t let friends have cast aluminum angle shims anywhere near their leaf springs! With the shims out, I made up a spacer for the center pin to locate the u-bolt plate better and then put it all back together. 




Much happier pinion and I got rid of another little vibration. The angles of the transfer case output and the pinion yoke are dead on to each other.


This got me thinking about long term spring options and then what to do with my front axle. Right now I’ve got .5° of caster and I thought about (proper) shims to correct it. I don’t like what they’d do to the front pinion angle so I think an inner C cut/turn is in order… eventually. Another piece of the puzzle are my crazy short front shackles. They measure 2.625” from hole to hole and I put them on there originally to get my caster at least in the proper direction. Now that I’m thinking about potential spring options, I’d like to get around a 3.5-4” shackle and adjust from there with the inner C’s. For reference, here’s where my springs measure out to at ride height…




Now I’m wondering if I should look into a BDS kit that would bolt in or if YJ or rear XJ leafs might be a better (cheaper) way to go after getting spring hangers and all the accoutrements that’d go with it. I highly doubt there’ll be any decisions made this year.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I should be working on trim in the house… but this little project sounded better today. Granted, the weather hasn’t agreed with driving this thing for weeks now being we’ve got rain nearly everyday, but we really shouldn’t be complaining about that.


Ever since I’ve gotten used to having the windshield down I’ve wanted to rework the old bikini top or make up something else. The old top looked a little rough so I dug out an old canvas tarp. Didn’t take any progress pictures, so bear with me. 






I had some marine vinyl so after the general shape was figured I added a nice trim around the perimeter. The front edges rolls over themselves and then get fastened with 2” Velcro. There’s a bunch of double sided Velcro strips around the outside along with one in the center to keep the middle in check. Then I added a couple cinch straps at the front to keep the whole works taught.





Now it doesn’t matter if the windshield it up or down! The rain cover still fits over everything too. Then the extra strap on the outside is for rolling the whole works up nicely for when it goes topless. 



I love it! Gross old moss and all!

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10 hours ago, fiatslug87 said:

Do you still have the Meyers top?

I do. It’s sitting next to the shop until winter comes back around. 

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The new top is awesome!




It was finally a rain free beautiful day so why not go out on the trails? We didn’t explore anywhere new. Rather we grabbed a trash bag and retraced out steps from last month. We’re trying to get more comfortable in our local trails and also trying to figure when we can find time to go out for a quick camping weekend.





Mostly filled the bag with bottles, cans, and tons of other such garbage. Picked up a bunch of plastic parts from bumpers and fenders too. PICK UP AFTER YOURSELVES, PEOPLE!!!


Fun time was over today and the cover went back on. Had a look at the cowl and… yup… the bondo is cracking more but also lifting. Eek!



Focus on the positive… focus… :twak:

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Quick little detail job on the new top today. With the jack put back where it was I didn’t like how it sat with the canvas. I’d rather not figure a new mount so a reinforcement patch was added. 




I think a different latch situation for the tailgate/tire carrier is somewhere next in order. 



The latch has been fine, but everything rattles. While the tin top is off, the ratchet strap can stay but this definitely isn’t a long term fix.

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No more gross moss on the new bikini top. Washed a bunch of color out of it too. :laugh:



The rest of the Jeep got washed too. It probably looks worse now than it did before. :shaking:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally tailored the rain top today. It was intended for a YJ so it still doesn’t fit awesome around the windshield, but I think I can live with it. The rear half was a mess and would let rain in when it was windy.







I picked up the top used and it had about a 3” tear. This turned into an 8” tear so that’s what prompted cleaning things up. The new rear shape needed some extra material to fit over the tub too.





Fits way better!





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  • 2 weeks later...

Trying to plan out some more projects on this thing. I threw a little more timing at the fuel injection kit since the 4.0s have more compression than the 4.2s and that really woke things up. Now I’m thinking suspension, transmission, and body. Thinking out loud here…


I picked up a fresh can of Comet and Scotch Brite pads so I can freshen up the paint again. Thinking of doing a Comet wash and then seal it up with Poppy’s Patina wipe on clear coat. Stay tuned. 

Suspension… jury is way out on that. I’m hoping something falls in my lap in terms of a used set of YJ springs. Also stay tuned. 

Then there’s the transmission. I’ve got a line on a known good shifting Ford NP435 for cheap. These are a four speed with a 6.68 first gear that would take my crawl ratio from 25:1 to 57:1. The little bit of toodling around the woods lately already gets me yearning for lower gears. My T150 bellhousing is a bolt on affair that I could reuse my new clutch, linkage, and pilot bushing. I’d need to figure either changing transfer cases and finding an adapter or keeping what I’ve got even though the Dana 20s only have a 2:1 low. Novak offers NP435 to Dana 20 adapters that I could also swap to a Scout Texas pattern Dana 300 with the 2.62:1 low should I ever come across one of those. Or, I find a Jeep Dana 300 and matching adapter. Then there’s the overall length…




After the bellhousing, my current T150 is roughly 9.375” long and the Dana 20 is about 10.5”. The NP435 with a Novak adapter totals out to 14.2” which would change my driveshafts around 5”. The rear would definitely need a double cardan at that point but total rear driveshaft length is still very doable.


I haven’t nailed down a price for sure on the NP435 but I think I’m in the ballpark at $150. It just came out of a Bronco that had it swapped in 25 years ago. Obviously I’d have a look in it at bare minimum, but I trust the guy that it shifts fine.


Anyhow… I think I’m looking for votes or advice here. Should I pick up the trans and leave it for a someday project? Should I live with the T150 since it’s fine for 85% of the driving it sees? If I go for the trans what transfer case should I pursue?


… and I’m very sorry for a long post with only one picture. 

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