The official Rusty CJ5 build thread
I have been into Jeeps and offroading since I was about 22. My first Jeep was a maroon 1981 CJ5 that I purchased from my father when he no longer cared to climb up into it. After a few years and a few thousand dollars later I regretfully sold it.
Took a couple years to focus on hot rods but got the Jeep bug again when a customer came into the liquor store that was willing to sell his 1980 CJ5. He came in a little too drunk one night and I was able to secure a $2800 price tag. I was so happy to have another one:)
Used it as a daily driver for a couple years until I was told of a mudrace in a neighboring town. I was terribly naive when I showed up to the race and decided that I could compete with the big dogs. I entered the 44 inch tire unlimited class with a vehicle sporting 33 inch mud terrains and a stock 304 v8. By luck I drew the very first run and embarrassingly failed to even make it out of the pit, getting stuck less than a foot from the tape.
This is where my stupidity got me into trouble. I decided what I needed was more power and that couldn't have been further from the truth. I pulled the engine the very next weekend and began ordering parts to install a chevy engine. Bought an engine that is probably worthless and is still sitting on an engine stand today. Also got a bellhousing, new clutch, motor mounts, headers, and basically spent $2500 dollars or so that I still haven't got any use out of.
The mounts didn't work with the transmission I had and after inspecting the completely rusted out frame I decided that the Jeep was no longer worth my time. So it sat, and sat some more. It was an unusual time in my life where I was more interested in snorting coke and courting every pretty girl I thought I could bag. While I wasted time and took years off my life the Jeep slowly filled with leaves in the yard:(
Fast forward 4 years and I'm out of the liquor business and onto an actual job. A couple friends of mine had heard of a wheeling spot in Arkansas and asked if I could get the jeep back together in time to make it. After all the months sitting I had it back running and driving in nine days.
After having a great time in Devils Den we found a new spot, Disney, Oklahoma. This place has trails for the most basic 4x4 to the tallest rocks you could ever hope to drive up. Not too mention it's half the distance away. Watching what a real offroad vehicle was capable of I set out to make mine more formidable.
I ordered a set of 35x10.50 Super Swamper Boggers, a winch, 4.88 gears, a spool for the rear axle and a locker for the front along with chrome moly axle shafts throughout to handle the size and weight of the tires(72lbs each). First trip back I broke the driveshaft going through a deep pool within a few hours of being there but in the short time I wheeled I could tell all the hard miles I'd driven had taken a toll on my old 304.
A new engine was in order and this is where this build begins. The plan is to freshen a larger 360amc engine, replace the transmission with one more suited for crawling and to possibly stretch the wheelbase to better handle the rocks. Not sure if wheelbase stretch will happen or not tbh.
I plan to detail the build in this thread and update as often as possible. If anyone has any questions or critiques I'll try my best to answer them. Hopefully this project turns out as good as the potential it has:thumb02:
My younger brother had a special edition cj-5 in the late 80s that he treated like a damn faberge egg. Couldn't stand to get mud on it. I lived at the beach and he was a sex starved inlisted grunt so he came to visit every chance he got. Had his stereo stolen twice parked right in front of my house.
The last Physical fight we had was the one time he let me drive it. I went straight off road.:)
Found a younger gentleman that had a 360 to sell that was supposedly solid. Was unable to hear it run but took the guys word for it. That was a bad decision but really only cost some time and a little money. While performing a leakdown test it was found that the number 4 cylinder was not sealing properly. the culprit was a burnt exhaust valve that is a common problem with the 304 but not so much with the 360.
I'm actually glad that we found this first because whoever had rebuilt the engine prior to me receiving it had cut all the intake seats at a 45 degree angle and the valves at 30 degrees for some reason. I'd have burnt every intake valve in it after a few thousand miles probably.
The block had been bored .040 over by the previous owner and would need another .020 to clean up the cylinders. Of course new pistons would be needed so my good buddy who is a machinist ordered up a rebuilt kit including camshaft, lifters, pistons, rings, and gasket set for around $450. Machine work on the block was farmed out to a neighboring town while my friend did the head work.
He replaced the one burnt valve and recut the rest with a performance three angle valve job and a wide face for better longevity. Valve springs were shot with hardly any spring pressure even fully compressed so a set of edelbrock springs were ordered to match the camshaft. Jeff likes to have alot of spring pressure for customers he knows will drive a rig hard and that's what my intentions are.
The high spring pressure keeps you from throwing the lifter off the camshaft at high rpm in what is called valve float. I'm sure some of you have revved up an engine so far that it actually starts to slow down and that's what this is.
The block was bored, honed, decked, and the rotating assembly was balanced for around $400. Back at the shop it was ready to start assembly. First things first we tapped every bolt hole in the block, cleaned up some casting flash in the lifter valley that will allow the oil to fall back into the crankcase more easily and did some work to the oiling system.
Pic of the casting material clean up here. The four holes in the middle were the main problem areas. Now they're all nice and round. Other than that the casting was very solid and much better than alot of engines I've messed with.
The first pic is not very good but this is where the pickup tube in the pan screws into. There was some casting material removed here to ease the flow of oil through the oil galley and into the pump.
From here the oil goes through to the front of the engine where we also removed material to improve pressure and volume through these two openings. This should help the not terrible but slightly inadequate AMC oiling system.
Once this was done we thoroughly cleaned the block with soap and hot water using a scrub brush and rifle cleaning rods on oil passages, bolt holes, cylinders, and lifter bores. After drying the motor with an air hose we took shop rags moistened with transmission fluid and wiped down the cylinders until no dirt was evident. We then sprayed the inside of the block with a wd-40 type solution to prevent rust in the meantime.
We were preparing to begin assembly when Jeff noticed that the main bearings were the incorrect size. The main journals on the crankshaft had been turned down .010 to clean it up but the bearings were a standard set. Using these would have resulted in poor bearing clearance, low oil pressure, and a short life in general.
The only things we could do without the crankshaft in place was check the rod bearing clearances, install freeze plugs, and put the rings on the pistons. The freeze plugs sent were brass and personally I like their contrast against a painted engine so we decided to wait until it's painted. We could have set the ring gap and rod clearances but by then I was pretty well run down from the heat and dissapointment of the incorrect main bearings.
We went ahead and put the bearings in the rods, applied assembly lube to the bolts, and called it a day. Hopefully today Jeff won't have much going on and we can do a few more small things while we wait for the bearings. Here's a pic of one of the main bearings prior to any machine work. It had some miles on it but could have been much worse.
Here's a pic of the pistons and rods before the bearings were installed. Nothing special really, just cast pistons that will have a standard tension ring package.
I'm currently trying to decide on the color of the engine. I usually paint AMC engines red but since this Jeep will have orange accents like before I thought about Chevy orange instead. If anyone has a preference either way I'd like to know.
That's all for now but hope to have some new stuff up soon. Hope you guys like it:thumb02:
Personally I would go with the orange engine who cares about typical for the model and make, thing is that its never gonna be a restored unit so the nice thing is all the rules go out the window and you can just do what you want.
Should be an interesting build though, typically when people try to build jeeps at least in my experiences they always tend to go with a Chev 350 since they are a dime a dozen. To me the choice of an actual AMC 360 is intriguing. When you first said 360 I was assuming you had changed you mind and went with a Chrysler mill.
Thanks to the rare Golden Eagle package for the CJ that came with a 360 I'm good to go. As far as the color if my memory serves me I think AMC uses a blue similar to a GM blue but I always liked red better. Just having doubts on how well it will look against a white and orange vehicle. Thanks for the feedback and I'm betting is does turn out orange:)
Edit; Alot of guys that put 350's in their Jeeps also go with automatics for ease of installation but I've always loved to shift my own gears. Will probably rig up some type of hand throttle to help me on steep inclines where some maneuvering is required but it's all in good fun:)
I've also heard horror stories of guys with automatics having their vehicle stall and instead of being able to let out on the clutch to slow the vehicle down the obstacle they have to hit the brakes which sends them over backward and onto a smashed roof:thumbsdown:
Ive got no idea what you guys are going on about... but for some reason, I find machined metal very sexy. So, keep posting the pictures Rusty. :thumb02:
Didn't get much done today but did round up alot of pieces I needed. It's just too damn hot to be out in it for very long.
Went to a friends and grabbed my valve covers, oil pan, oil filter adapter, pulleys, and some other crap. Bead blasted the covers but didn't get to the pan. Stupid blaster is like standing against a stove:thumbsdown: By the time I was done I didn't think to get any pics but they look good orange:)
Did get a couple of the front cover and filter adapter. I also took the intake manifold off the engine that come with the red Jeep. Saved me a couple hundred with that there.
Had to get a new front cover because I cracked the old one taking it off but you can see where the oil pump gears go in that orifice on the left. Then this piece goes over it and it's also where you thread the filter on.
The two circles are where the gears have been riding so I'll have to flatten that out by sanding it in a figure eight. The clearance from that piece to the cover greatly affects your oil pressure.
Took a couple shots of the bigger rust areas. They are just as bad if not worse on the far side.
I don't know who the nutsack is that did the body work but he should be slapped. Can't believe someone would spray paint over those abominations and call it good. Hopefully the weather's cooler for the next month or so and it'll be easier going:thumb02:
That body work looks like it will be rough. Can you replace the stuff by the door similar to replacing cab corners on a pickup or does it require a more custom job?
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