If you own a Scrambler, make sure you hit my Scrambler Registry page before you go!

My Other Scrambler pages: Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 Page 4Page 5, Page 6

The "Grape-8" Frame-up of 2006/2007/2008!

 Last Update: 01/09/10

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First of all, the Scrambler will be a daily-driven rock crawler, still powered by a V-8 and automatic transmission, as well as my favorite combustible material, propane.  Above are the "before" pictures.  A word of warning here: I pulled the trigger on this February 2006.  It hasn't been off-road since.  Don't kid yourself that you'll have this knocked out in a couple of months.  I had no expectations of getting this done quickly and a good thing.  Had I completely ignored my family for the last year, it'd be done, but it's just not worth it.  It looks like it's going to be 2008, but that's fine.

Click here to forego reading through the Planning Phases and check out the Execution

Why Convert to Propane

How did the conversion go?

Phase I: Determining your goal (what capability to you want to have? Mine are listed above) and your constraints (how much time, money, tools and skills do you have and what will you have to outsource?) I had a decent line of credit to play with, a few months, a pretty good selection of tools and I tend to know my way around a Jeep.

Figure out how much you can spend, and how to fund it.  Don't spend every last dime on your initial list of parts - bolts, belts, hoses and connectors will nickel & dime you, as well as the special tools you need but don't know it yet.  Because you just can't buy a Jeep like this, I decided to build it myself.  So I got a credit card with a good APR and a limit high enough to let me do this.  Consider that payment your car payment.  Don't forget that you have to pay at least 2% of the balance by law, so if you max out a $20,000 card, your payment is $400/mo.

I've spent quite a bit of time deciding on parts and sources.  I've been at this too long to enjoy parts that don't fit (like my Patriot Headers), poor quality parts or tools (like my engine hoist), and having delays due to shipping the wrong part and getting the new one (from Quadratec). 

I spent a lot of time considering the powertrain.  If I went Chevy, there were a lot of adapters and the engine parts were cheaper but when I added in getting a new transfer (or adding adpaters) it turned out to be cheaper to use a Magnum.  Besides, they put the 5.9 Magnum in the 98 Grand Cherokee (or was it 99), so technically, I'm still Keeping it Jeep.  Additionally, my buddy who introduced me to off-roading put one in his CJ-7 and it turned out great, so the learning curve was just a touch shorter.  Murphy's still there but, for example, I know I need a spacer between the tranny and transfer.  That lesson cost him a few pennies getting the tranny flange rewelded.  But he's still the man.  You've probably seen his jeep as it falls out of the pages of your JP Magazine on one of those annoying subscription inserts!

Here's the short list and potential sources.  I've decided to go with these vendors due to a number of factors to include 1) customer service & knowledge of their products 2) quality of their products 3) diversity of selection 4) price.  I am willing to pay a little more for a good part and somebody who knows the difference between a connecting rod and a tie rod.  As an interesting experiment, I decided to see how much of this I can do online vs having to call a customer service rep.  Not that I don't like to talk to people, but it is 2006, and the internet seems to be a bit more than a fad ... so let's get with it, shall we?

Lessons Learned:  If you're going to attempt any portion of this, read these warnings first.  Learn from my mistakes.  Please!

Here are items that I don't think are going to work out.  So if you're ahead of me or considering a portion of this, I want to point out the problems I haven't worked out yet so you don't get caught due to my failing to highlight the issue.



From Summit Racing, well over $10,000 worth of parts and still ordering:

From Jegs, $3700, then $0.

OK, well, maybe not.  See comments below.

From Powerdemon, about $2800:

From 4WheelDrive Hardware, about $2,000 worth:

From other vendors:

From Ebay:
Windshield washer tank & pump; power steering pump (bought it for the reservoir to go on the AGR pump); rear sump oil pan, just in case

Things I have to address myself or with local assistance:

Phase II: Parts Acquisition

Here are my comments on my experiences with various suppliers so far:

Summit has done a great job.  Their website is very organized, almost everything has a picture, and you can actually use their website to figure out what parts will fit or not.  Their selection is fantastic when you consider that they're mostly a racer's supply store, they carry a LOT of stuff for Jeeps.  When you order, you get an email with a hyperlink you can use to track your order.  The only complaint I have is that they couldn't arrange for liftgate delivery of my crate engine to my house.  Kind of a pain to pick it up at a terminal or make arrangements with the terminal to pay extra, but they couldn't tell me what company they'd use so I could at least plan for the added trouble/expense.  So I went with Jegs.  See below for the rest of that.  Anyway, Summit is very good about shipping quickly, for free, $10.95 for handling regardless of the size of your order.  They also don't charge tax in my state.  Saved me a lot of money. - update - time is money, and I'd rather spend an hour finding the truck terminal than wait 2 weeks for Jegs to get it to my house.  Summit wins, again.  Update: they list a LOT of stuff on their website, but watch out for the ship dates.  I still have parts outstanding from my first order a month ago.  Not a big deal, but something to watch out for.  They're still the first place I shop.   Update: The crate engine arrived, the crate was smashed.  I could have refused shipment, but who knows how long I'd have to wait.  So I took it.  The only damage was the oil pan took a shot and doesn't seal up right, but I think the seal got jarred - so I'm going to reseal it and see if it leaks.  My favorite go-fast parts store.  A year after I wrote this first part, they've helped me a dozen times, to include cycling through a couple alternators and power steering pumps trying to find the one that fits.  They even added a part to their inventory for me and STILL beat most of their competition's prices.  I've had two problems with stuff they've sent me, both dealing with brakes ... cross-check your part numbers, then CALL to make the order.

Jegs' website is junk in comparison.  Very few pictures, it's difficult to tell if a particular part will fit so you have to cross-reference from the brand's website.  Not a big deal unless your competition is making it easier.  They don't have half the selection of Summit.  They're advertising free shipping, but it won't help if I can't get what I want, or worse - can't find it!  I ordered my crate engine from them because they would arrange for liftgate to my house.  Nice, except that it's been 10 days and my engine still hasn't left their warehouse, according to their website.  I wonder if my hand-built transmission will beat it here?  Probably will (update: it did).  I won't use these guys again. - update - Well, I found out 10 days after I ordered (had to call to get the info, wasn't on the website like it is at Summit) that the engine was back ordered and it may be another 2-3 weeks.  I called Summit, it was on the way the same day.  The last trip taken on the old AMC 360 engine was to the terminal across town to get the new engine.  Kind of poetic in a way.

4wd Hardware:  Great site, lots of pictures.  They don't charge tax and their prices are the same as Quadratec.  See below for my thoughts on them.  They do charge shipping but it doesn't seem too outrageous. Their website is now completely fixed, great service, support, pictures, absolutely no complaints. Their prices are great, and there are only a few items that I needed that I couldn't get from them.  My favorite jeep parts store.  These guys continue to be my first stop (and usually my last) for Jeep parts of any flavor.

Quadratec:  They used to be my favorite warehouse.  I They have recently annoyed me by selling my dad a gift certificate that I can't use online, I guess I have to phone in the order.  Not a show-stopper but annoying.  The other thing is that their catalog has gone too far with their latest scantily-clad not-so-hottie in front of the Jeep.  (Turns out it's actually Bree from JP, like I care.  This is a trend/competition between them and 4WDH, which you don't notice unless you save the catalogs.  4WDH has a girl too, but I don't mind my daughter seeing that picture.  I hope Quadratec sells a lot of $10 peel-and-stick chrome junk to the punks who will buy from them based on their catalog pictures.  They'll have to in order to make up for the $4,000+ worth of parts that I bought from their competitors.  The only parts I will by from Quadratec now are the ones I can't get anywhere else for roughly the same money. It occurs to me that I should scan the covers of the last two years' worth of catalogs for these two companies to prove my point, but I have thrown out my old catalogs due to recent spring cleaning.  If you have any back catalogs and can email me the front cover, please do and I'll post it here with my thanks and credit due.  Update: they shipped me the wrong shocks - I ordered the right ones, the bill says the right ones, the invoice says the right ones, but the boxes were wrong, and by the way the shocks that were in the box didn't even match the box.  It took two phone calls and 12 days to get the right shocks.  Good thing I wasn't in a hurry.  Later, I gave them another try ... basically because I had a gift certificate and couldn't avoid it.  They got it almost right.  Seems that a rear track bar bushing for a TJ is too hard to find for them.  Guess I'll get that one from 4WD or Summit.  I have now downgraded them to STOP.  This time the offending part was Warrior U-bolt skid plates.  I got two right-side plates.  Good thing I didn't want to ... you know ... DRIVE my Jeep or anything.  There's another week down.  Then when I did get the box, they were CJ plates.  I ended up cutting the shock mount off one of the righty, welding it on the other side to make a lefty.  Sure I could have done that in the first place but that's not the point. Now, to be clear, they simply reshipped the box that Warrior sent to them, but I can't waste two weeks again.  BLUF: These guys screw up every order I place.  I'm done with them.

Shrockworks: Jim is a good guy, pleasure working with him again.  I'm sure the parts he's custom making for me will fit exactly. Update: they did, and boy does it look cool!

Powerdemon: Robert is a good guy as well, great working with him.  He certainly knows his stuff and stands behind his product.  I can't wait to get that tranny on the road!  Update: that being said, he's out of business.  I hope it's not because the trannys he builds are junk.  I'd have to count to ten a few times then go looking for him.  Update: tranny's working fine, but I haven't tried the 3-4 or OD shifts.  I remain confident.

Poison Spyder: Couldn't buy what I wanted on their website because they didn't have a "buy it" button on that particular page.  So I just called them instead - I don't mind cutting a little slack to a company that knows all their employees by their first name, I might be in that same boat someday if I'm lucky.  So I also bought a hat :)  I'll be back for their tube fenders.

Local parts houses - Advanced Auto, Napa, Pep Boys, AutoZone: The Pep Boys here is populated/frequented by gearheads of all types.  As a result, their employees know their stuff, and their selection is great.  It also happens to be on the right side of town, unlike Napa, so they'll get a lot of my "oh, crap, I forgot to order that" business. They cater to the tuner crowd, but I don't have a problem with that - do you know how to install an oversized turbo with nitrous and not blow up your motor?  Are you mapping your fuel curve on a NASA-capable laptop as you drive?  I can't, but these kids do - they're gearheads too, so cut them some slack! I still can pound them with my 500+HP Excursion though! <wink>  Napa has the good parts, so I buy my serious components from them.  AutoZone here is OK, but you'd better know what you want before you get there, and watch for the quality of the part they hand you. (you get what you pay for!)

UPS: They carry everything that I buy - on their backs all the way to my door.  My delivery guy is a car nut, and was extra careful to protect a delivery from the rain - good thing because it had the MSD ignition and all the gauges inside!  These guys ROCK!

Phase III: Hands-on planning

This part will be the phase where I mark, cut, weld, plan for and re-evaluate.  Initial plans get wrung out here, and this is where the next batch of ordering (and sending parts back) will occur if I messed up Phase I.  It's going to be easy to get distracted, and I will have to stick to my initial planning guidance otherwise this project will spin out of control in time, scope and money. (Not good on either front).  Messing this up will produce a junkpile of mish-mash.

Phase IV: Tear down, prep and paint

Take it all apart, one last check for serviceability of anything you're reusing.  Verify your paint scheme.  Metal prep is crucial, don't get excited and paint over a patch of hidden rust - you'll hate yourself for it later.  Every piece I take off, I put the fasteners in a baggie that's marked with where they came from.  "I'll remember" works on a weekend job.  8 months later you won't remember where that last Torx bolt came from.

Phase V: Reassembly

Take your time putting it together.  Here's where "Jeephead's rule of 3" comes into play - on every project I get in a hurry, forget a step and end up installing, pulling then reinstalling something three times!  Make a plan before you start.  Use lots of masking tape when fitting painted parts together so you don't scratch your new paint.  Pay attention to torque specifications where it applies.  Make a list of any bolts that you have to leave loose for some reason.  That's the one that will rattle out on the freeway at 65 MPH.  Don't rely on yourself to "remember to tighten that one".  I put a strip of blue painter's tape on something if I need to remember to add oil, retighten a bolt, etc where it won't come off so I don't forget.  Blowing up a brand new crate engine would be very bad indeed.

Done?  OK, check EVERY BOLT again, especially the steering and suspension.  Those will KILL YOU, in a very literal, dead, kind of way.  Check them again.

Now, go ahead and fill the engine, radiator, transmission, transfer case, power steering, differentials, brake and clutch with the appropriate fluid.  Make a list of everything that needs a fluid and cross it off when it's filled and bled.

Phase VI: Shake down

If you've not installed your exhaust yet, make sure it's at least not pointing at your fuel line, brake line or wiring harness before you fire that demon up and scare the dipstick neighbor next door.  Usually best to do this really late on Sunday night.  Everybody around here has a Harley with Vance and Hines pipes, so now it's my turn:  5.9 magnum with 3" of downtubes on the headers.  <wink>

Take it slow, and make sure you follow the break-in recommendations for things like: camshafts, engines, brakes, transmissions, lockers, ring gears, etc.  Some have specific heat cycles they need to go through or it will void your warranty in the case of PowerSlot brake rotors and Hawk brake pads for example. Here's an example, not the actual procedures: The engine may need to be run at temperature for 1/2 hour then driven with varying speed.  The tranny just needs to be warmed up and topped off before you hammer it.  The disc brakes need to be gradually warmed up then hammered hard down to zero from different speeds.  The radiator has to be burped after you warm it up enough for the thermostat to open and let the air out of the manifold.  You get the idea.  Have a plan to accommodate all of these or something's not going to operate as advertised for very long.

Once you've taken your victory lap around the neighborhood, check everything for leaks, anything that smells hot, and check ALL the bolts again.  Look for wires that may be touching something sharp or hot.  Go get your license plate off the shelf and put it on, since you forgot because you were so excited to take the beast around the block.  Not that I've ever done that myself, with the state cop living across the street watching the whole thing :O

Phase VII: Scramble on!  See you on Tellico, Uwharrie, and if I can manage a month's vacation, another Rubicon Scramble!

(I'd like that to be the happy ending, but maybe this is: Phase VIII: e-bay all the stock stuff you took off and put it against the credit card you just ran up! <grin>)


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Ready to pull the engine.  Finally got the rat's nest of wires out of there.  One of the wires from the alternator FELL out ... boy, that could have been bad.  Here are a couple pictures - it's a little tight in the garage with the door down:

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Some of the stuff I've learned so far:
The Magnum Crate Engine: It isn't a Magnum on the front - the heads and block are, but the water pump, front cover and dampner are old "LA" style, so this requires a V-belt system opposed to a serpentine.  This is mentioned in my How to Build a Magnum V8 book by Mr. Shepard, and the documentation that came with the engine.  I've had trouble finding the right power steering pump and alternator.  I'll post all part numbers when I'm sure I've got the right stuff.

The Advance Adapter Short Dana 300 32 Spline output kit:  The outer bearing is supposed to be hand-pressed on, but it's not.  After sending the first one back because I couldn't get the #$%^ing bearing off, they sent me another one in the same condition.  I bought a hydraulic press from Harbor Fright ($104) and pressed the @#$%ed thing off and the rest of the install went mostly without a hitch - the only issue I had was I forgot to make sure the slider ring was on the shifting fork when I installed the tailshaft housing.  I immediately realized what I had done, and it only took a couple of minutes to take it apart and position the ring correctly.  Note that my '82 Scrambler has a short shaft Dana 300, so if you have an '82 don't assume it's a long output.  Measure from the mating surface to the end of the output - if it's 3.25", you've got a short shaft and AA is the only company that makes a 32 spline kit for you.  The kit is for a non-CV 1310 u-joint.  My driveshaft will be around 22" at road height, so I don't think I need a CV.  I must admit I'm not the smartest on u-joint numbering, but it turns out that an old driveshaft from one of my Wagoneers fits - I just have to have it shortened. Boy, did that save me some dough!  I later found out that these numbers are pretty close to a CJ-7 with a 6cyl & 4 speed.  But I had one for the Wag.  So I cut 15.25" out of the middle.  First mark a straight line down the shaft so you get it back together with the u-joints in synch.  Then cut the section out of the middle.  Then grind 45 deg angles on the part you're going to weld back together so the weld penetrates.  Strap the two halves together on a piece of angle iron to keep them in line and tack it all the way around then finish your welds.  Too much weld will make it unbalanced and grinding it will weaken it, so be careful.  I'm going to have a real one built later, but mine will work for now.  Pictures to follow.

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When mating the Dana 300 to a 46RH, 46RE, A-518, A500, A518 and probably the same with the 47RH, 48RH: You will need a spacer that's at least 1/4", better to go 5/16" to account for expansion of shafts and rearward motion from helical cut gears.  It won't take much movement to waste a thrust bearing, so a little more spacer is better than a little less.  I used a clocking ring from Go2Guys Engineering, who sells only the ring, not the full kit like from AA or JB Conversions.  If you get the full kit, you'll get a clocking ring w/ spacer, but you'll also get a lengthened input shaft and be in the same boat you were before.  Also, Ken advised me to grind the lip off the input housing flush with the seal and that will give me the clearance I need.  Not bad for half the price of a full clocking kit.  See the paint marker stripe where I checked that the output seal on the tranny engages the input shaft on the transfer - note, you have to do this when the paint is WET <grin>  Looks like I've got good seal engagement, so I don't need to use the supplied seal extension.

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I've completely gutted the interior.  With the Mohave heater, I won't need all that duct work, so even the dashboard is not a given.  I'll probably keep the vent system and plumb it into the engine compartment for a stealth-snorkel approach, as long as I can be sure I won't get water in there when driving in the rain.  There's a high-pressure envelope that develops at the base of the windshield at higher speeds, great for feeding the beast some cold air ... as long as rain water doesn't carry in and soak the air filter.

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liteinthenose.jpg (461652 bytes) Being nice to the neighbors, I reattached the fenders and hood while I built the driveline in the garage.  I don't have enough room inside for everything so I had to push the Scrambler into the driveway.

tugowar.jpg (413983 bytes) Here's how I move it back in - very carefully!  Don't try this with your wife's car!  Note that it was raining at the time (fun) and also my kid's Jeep in the back of my Jeep!

During the engine mockup, I must have put in and pulled the engine/transmission a dozen times or more.  I am now sorry I saved $50 on a cheap-a$$ engine hoist.  It now can't hold the driveline up unless I reef on the valve - eventually that won't work either.  I learned long ago not to buy cheap tools.  Too bad I don't listen to myself sometimes.

Novak Adapter's motor mounts work well.  Their instructions suggest shifting the driveline's centerline 1 1/4" to the left to clear the front driveshaft.  Without the Patriot Headers I'd never get close to that.  Anyway, the most critical positions are forward (leave room for the radiator, fan, pulleys) and left for the steering shaft.  Back for the firewall, but then I've cut the seam out of the center already.  Letting it go back some will require cutting for the distributor and left cylinder head but it's all good.

The accessories have been a challenge as noted above.  So far, I've tried an alternator for a Magnum Dodge pickup V-8, a Magnum Jeep V-8, no dice.  Now I have an externally regulated alternator from a 77 Dodge 360, seems to line up so far.  The AGR power steering pump for the Magnum Dodge pickup didn't fit, then I tried a different part number, same.  Currently have an AGR for a Dodge 360 pre-magnum, with a Magnum Dodge reservoir on the back, with 6 cyl jeep power steering pump bolts holding it in place.  The pump because it has to bolt/line up with the rest of the March pulleys, the reservoir because it's got a better shaped return line than the jeep one I have, and the bolts because the pump requires ASE bolts, not metric ones according to the AGR directions.

I've sealed up all of the holes in the firewall that I don't need and will use bedliner stuff on the entire engine bay to try to keep the heat, noise and vibration down.

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So far it looks like the Dana 300 can be clocked all the way up, and the only part of the driveline below the framerail is the tranny pan.

Once the position of the driveline is locked in, I'll set up all of the hoses etc so I can get the brackets and firewall holes set before I line it with the bedliner.  Part of this is going to be placement of the MSD ignition, autotronics controller (for the propane mixer) and Mohave heater which will go inside the cab.  I may have to work out placement of gauges and stuff to make sure I get these components in the right place before I cut the holes.

I've had to move my brake lines, I should probably swap to an upgraded brake system, including rear disc brakes which will be on the new axle which will also have a locker and 4.56 gears, which means the front axle needs to go to 4.56s.  Or I might just find a new place for my brake lines until I get this thing running.

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I modified the included brackets for the Black X-Treme fan - it's the biggest (CFM-wise) one they make, and it has to be mounted rotated 90 degrees to fit, but it only hangs an inch over top and bottom, easy to seal off.  I got the thermostat switch with it, and will also wire an override switch for water crossings.

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Here's a top-down view of the radiator with the cooler in front, I wanted this clearance so that's why I ground down the grille and mounted the cooler to the grille instead of to the radiator which would have required long bouncy brackets that would either break or let the cooler bash the radiator.  A black bug screen on front won't look too bad but should save the cooler from a big stick on the trail.

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While gasket matching the headers, I discovered that although the LA motor headers will bolt up, the mating surface is kinda thin at the top.  Not many options here, so I'll roll with it and if it develops an exhaust leak, I'll have to remove the headers and have somebody (or try it myself) weld the header ports shut a little bit so there's more sealing surface.  I'll get a better picture in here but you can kinda tell that the R/T head ports are way smaller than the exhaust ports on the headers.  Good for anti-reversion I guess <grin> (update: they do leak.  I may have someone laser cut a spacer, then weld it on the headers due to the bolt clearance issue below)

6 September 06 update:  I've had to buy more header bolts, because the locking ones I have won't fit under the left-most pipe.  A regular bolt barely fits, so I got some "clearance head" bolts, which are just as tall as the locking ones.  Sheesh.  Guess I'll have to knock one down with the wheel grinder.  The AGR power steering pump is finally installed.  There was a little bit of a casting bump I ground off to make sure it cleared the bracket.  I got the pulley installed, but the belt that March Performance recommends is too short.  The reservoir hits the front cover, giving me a limited range of adjustment, so either the next-size-up belt (cheap) or a smaller diameter pulley (not cheap).  I finally got the firewall cover welded up, and four layers of bedliner on it and the inside fenderwells.  Looks pretty good, actually.  So, I'm getting pretty close to being able to put in the driveline for good.  Once I get the accessory drives set up I'm ready to go.

The firewall is worth it's own discussion some day, but here's the short version: I cut the hole to make room for the cylinder heads and the distributor.  Instead of making three small notches, I figured one big hole is more ... dramatic.  So first I figured out how far into the cabin I needed it.  It was about 1.5 inches, but 3 took it parallel to the bottom of the cowl vent system, so it looked better.  The first piece I made went along the top of the hole and stuck into the cab 3 inches.  Then I marked every 1/2 inch across from one side to the other, then hung the plumb bob, transferred the mark to the floor, and measured the distance and transferred that to a sheet of steel to get a swag on the front plate dimensions.  Then after banging and grinding, got it close and welded it in.  The sides were next, and pretty tough with all the weird angles.  Only while welding the sides in did I realize a good technique for shaping is to tack it in place where it touches and hammer the gaps together.  Looks pretty good now, if I don't say so myself.  I must admit, everything I know about working with metal I learned on the Discovery Channel! ha ha.  Thanks, Jesse, Paul Sr, Paul Jr, Vinny and even Mikey!

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17 Sep 06: Power steering is installed - the reservoir hits the front cover if I try the belt that's recommended by March Performance (pulley manufacturer), and the next one up is too long.  So, to get it installed I had to disassemble part of the bracket.  Once the belt is over the pulley it adjusts just fine, so I will have to put a big dent in the PS reservoir so it can swing in enough to get the belt over the pulley.  I'm fighting with the Patriot Block Hugger headers - the tubes are so close to the flange that I can't get a header bolt under it, not even the Mr. Gasket "clearance" bolts.  A regular bolt barely fits.  I guess I'll have to take a chance using a regular bolt, and hope it doesn't loosen up.  There's not even enough room for a lock washer.  I also had to grind away part of the flange to get the bolts to line up, so I'm not really happy with Patriot right now.  I'll call them this week and see what they recommend I do, but I can't wait forever.  Because the alternator is so big, I'm going to have to grind a bit off the right side cylinder head, but it's just a mounting tab so I'm not worried (much) about getting into the water jacket.  I still have to press on the alternator pulley, but at least I got the stock one off - what a struggle but it's off.  I got some Jeep valve covers, they look much better than the Mopar Magnum ones that the crate motor came with, and they did put the 5.9L in a Jeep Grand Cherokee ... for one year ... so technically I'm still keeping it Jeep <wink>  Another bit of advice: when you get the crate motor, immediately change the oil pan gasket to a FelPro PermaDry - the stock one is 4 pieces, short ones rubber and long ones cork.  The Felpro is one solid gasket which requires no adhesive and has no joints to leak.  Very cool.

As I find things that I have to leave loose while I assemble, I'm marking them with blue masking tape and writing it on my list so I don't forget to come back later.

19 Sep 06:

belts finally.JPG (381058 bytes) Finally got both accessories on there.  Still have to shorten one of the spacers, beat a dent into the power steering reservoir and replace one of the bolts I lost.  What a pain.  At this point, I'm thinking it would have been easier, cheaper and more effective to buy the used 2001 Magnum 5.9, had it completely worked over, put on R/T heads, and I'd probably be ahead of the game, not to mention have an FI system to sell.  Hindsight.  But that's why I'm doing this, so you have less pain than I do! <grimace>

left tube clearance1.JPG (329059 bytes) These are the only block hugger headers for the Magnum I can find, they're from Summit.  Unfortunately, they can't seem to make those end pipes bend enough while clearing header bolts, so here's what I'm stuck with.  I hope these things don't leak, or I'm screwed.  I could also cut these tubes out of the flange, then weld another flange on, basically a spacer, that'd get the bend away from the top of the bolt.  Sounds like a bunch of ... trouble.  I'll hang on to hope for the moment.

left tube clearance2.JPG (345799 bytes) right tube clearance.JPG (336526 bytes)

ls eng done.JPG (364542 bytes) I figured it's worth $100 in valve covers to "Keep it Jeep"  Since they offered the 5.9 Magnum in the '98 Grand Cherokee, it's actually a Jeep motor.  This picture is really the ONLY reason I didn't go with a Chevy crate motor.  Can't call it Jeep, no matter how hard you try.

The headers look hot rod, don't they?  Kool.

ps res hitting.JPG (312269 bytes) It's going to take a pretty big dent in the reservoir to get the pump to swing up enough to allow the ps belt to slip on.  I'll have to ask March about this one, why their bracket isn't just a touch longer, then I could use the 5060330 (6rib, 33.0" long) instead of the 5060325 (6-rib, 32.5" long) they recommended.  If I can find another brand that is 32.75" long I'm all set.  I ended up smacking the side of the power steering reservoir with a BFH and now it fits.  Beating the snot out of your pump wasn't in the March instruction book, by the way.

square on pulleys1.JPG (369300 bytes) square on pulleys.JPG (290281 bytes) Here's how I determined the depth of press on the alternator pulley: I set a square on the water pump down to the crank in the first belt groove.  The outside edge of the square landed flush with the end of the alternator pulley shaft.  So, the centerline of the alternator pulley's inside groove is 1/2 the square's width in from the end of the shaft.  So a couple of measurements on the pulley and I knew how far into the pulley the shaft should be.  Turns out the pulley won't go on that far, so I had to stack two spacers to set the alternator back, then press the pulley to the new depth.  It worked out great, once I remembered to stack two washers under the back of the alternator shaft.  When I started pressing the shaft, it tried to push out the back of the case.  Duh.  Check where the force is going to go when you're using a press.  Preferably before you squish something you don't want flat.

Anyway, it was a long drawn out process, but the reward will be starting the engine and not flinging belts all over the place because they're not aligned properly.

So now the engine, transmission and transfer case are bolted together and in the Jeep for good.  I've got a temporary crossmember under the tranny to hold up the back until I get ready to fab the skid plate.  The cooler stack is put together.  Because the cooler is so #$%^ing big I had to buy -6 AN fittings so I could make the elbows fit, so then I needed -6 AN line for the engine and transmission.  That cost me about $300 that I didn't want to spend.  I found some universal hoses for the radiator which fit with just a little trimming.  I'll post all of the part numbers later.  Email me if you need them now.  I'm currently cutting the dashboard to clear it for the gauges, because I didn't consider the defrost duct and bulkhead seam when I decided where to mount my gauges. I cut a big hole in my dash, then made a plate for mounting all of my gauges.  This way if I want to change them I just have to make a new plate.  Basically it'll take less time to cut the bulkhead and duct than make a new gauge plate.  this later ended up being a big mistake.  Later I'll make a new dash plate dropping the tach and speedo, then I can actually run a defrost duct.

cooler prepped1.JPG (442641 bytes) cooler prepped2.JPG (425208 bytes) empty dash.JPG (385767 bytes) gauge panel mock.JPG (331008 bytes) grille cutaway.JPG (464501 bytes) tach v defrost.JPG (329462 bytes) vent bracket.JPG (410131 bytes) vent other end.JPG (390320 bytes) 

It looks like I can retain the function of the fresh air duct but making a new bracket and then running the control cable somewhere.  I'm not too worried about it right now so I'm not going to waste a lot of time on it.  The right side, it looks like, I can turn 90 degrees, punch through the firewall and force-feed air to the mixer.  Again, not a lot of time so that'll wait for another day (see below).

We've decided that we're going to move after Christmas 06, and our new house is very cool but it will not have a garage!  So some things are going to be delayed indefinitely ... mostly the full cage.  It'll take too long to make so I'll have to wait.

I've got the power steering pump hose fab'd, pump is on, steering shaft is mostly installed (I dropped one of the #$%*ing set screws, now I've gotta find another one).  With that, I was able to put on the grille.  Pics to follow.  Need a new radiator hose, I SWAG'd it and missed by 3".  Dash is coming along nicely.  I've got LEDs for the power indicators for the ignition, brain box, 3/4 and TC to the tranny, left/right turn signal and a "High Beam" lamp from a Harley Davidson :)  I'll get those holes punched then wire up the whole mess.  Then it's mount the heater, ignition and brain box, wire it up then run the wires for the switches up into the overhead console.  Then wire the engine, run the cooler lines, finish up the crossmember and exhaust underneath, then top off the fluids, hit the key & pray.

Here's what I'm planning for the dash and the overhead console.  I'm using a double-radio Tuffy console and cutting out one of the drop downs for the switch panel - easy access, keeps the rain off the switches and I can reach them with the 5-point harness on.  I don't need the space for the radio because I'm running an amplifier and an MP3 player w/ an FM radio in it.  I don't like commercials anyway.

Here's another "current condition", this one as of January 7th. 7 jan scrambler.JPG (439657 bytes) Gettin' there, slowly.

Had some trouble with the pipe plugs in the Crate motor's M-1 manifold - they're 5/16 inch square sockets.  What a deal.  Luckily, a guy from my Jeep club (with whom I've yet to 'wheel) had one that I could borrow.  The front one is the heater hose out and the back is the manifold vacuum source for the power brakes.  Both kinda necessary.  Ya think?

m1 manifold.JPG (346257 bytes) m1 back plug far.JPG (396820 bytes) I got an adjustable 90 degree water neck from Mancini Racing.  This makes finding a radiator hose MUCH easier.  The bypass hose is for a 1979 Dodge Ram pickup with a 360, as is most of the stuff on the front of the motor.  I cut about 1/2" off of it to soften the 90 degree turn it makes.

I attempted to modify my B&M truck shifter so I could go from Drive to Reverse without pulling up on the handle, no luck.  I finally found where I saw it done - 4-wheeler's Teal-J.  But they used a Street Bandit.  I called B&M and asked for help or an exploded diagram.  A very curt "No" was the reply.  I'll call again, maybe he was having a case of the Mondays.  If I get that again, they go on the list of "folks who's crap I don't want in my Jeep" along with Jegs and Quadratec.  I'm probably in the market for an Art Carr.

The crossmember for the tranny is in.  I'll have to modify it so I can put in the front driveshaft at some point, but I just want to get it running right now.

I had to install the new soft top enough to know where the bow would be so I could install the console so I could install the wiring.  I had to modify the install of the Tuffy Overhead Console.  It's designed to U-bolt to 2" CJ-7 rollbars, not 3" CJ-8s.  And I didn't want 1" hanging down for someone to hit their head.  So I welded a ledge and bolted it down from the bottom instead.  More to follow on this when I get the switches put in.  Oh, and they don't bother to tell you how to mount your CB in there, I had to fab some brackets, so be forewarned.  Otherwise it's a good product and I couldn't have made anything like it myself, so overall I guess it's OK <grin>

shifter drive.JPG (389576 bytes) temp xmember.JPG (400584 bytes) tuffy console.JPG (389005 bytes) tuffy console mod1.JPG (303063 bytes)

Finally figured out the fitting sizes on the tranny cooler lines: 1/4"NPT.  Just need the 90degree AN -6 fittings & the tranny is connected.  Engine oil system is done.  Filter mount is fabbed.  Need to move the battery support now.  Switches, wire and exhaust elbows are in from Summit Racing, just need to run it all the electrical and fab a mounting plate in the console.  Exhaust can wait, not really necessary once you get the fire pointed at the ground! ha ha.

Since we're on the topic, my biggest challenge that I know of right now is the exhaust.  Jesse James is my inspiration, I'm going to try to make it myself.  Right side will go around in front of the oil pan and link up with the left side and go from 2 1/4 into adapters into a flowmaster Y pipe with 3" outlet.  Then some 3" pipe to the Random Technologies high flow catalytic converter, then the Flowmaster muffler, then across and dump out in the right rear fender well (or cut out through the body, haven't decided).  Anyway, running that is going to be a challenge, never done anything like that before.  And if I really screw it up, I'll take it to a local shop or something.  Or just run it with 3" of exhaust pipe on the headers.  That ought to drown out the local Harleys :)

dual filters.JPG (491014 bytes) remote eng filter.jpg (104982 bytes)

22 Jan 07: The weekend included - moving the battery tray support to clear the filters, fill and prime the engine oil (trick: use needle nose pliers to lift the intermediate shaft up 1" or so, then slip string or fishing line under the drive gear and lift it out.  Then use the Mopar priming shaft to spin the oil pump.  Remove the left valve cover to see when the oil's up, then you can also watch the #1 rockers while you spin the crank to find TDC.  Note the approximate direction of the distributor drive slot when you pull out the intermediate gear).  Ordered the fittings from Summit to finish the tranny, then I'll put in the temp sender and fill it.  I jumpered the starter to spin the engine to get TDC and set up the distributor.  Working on the switch panel.  The headlight switch is too long to fit, so I'll have to use a heater switch instead & run it through a relay.  Fittings and 3" exhaust pipe is inbound, next is finish the switch panel, run the exhaust, finish the tranny lines, temp sender and fill it. 

29 Jan: exhaust pipes are here.  Tranny pan is down waiting for me to put in the temp sensor.  I filled the radiator only to have the @#$ing stuff run out the locking header bolts.  A note "hey, by the way, the exhaust bolt holes go into the water jacket" would have been nice.  So there's $60 wasted.  Good news is that the switch panel is done, waiting for the last 3 switches to arrive then I can wire the whole mess.  That will be a few hours' work!

2 Feb: right side exhaust is welded and goes forward around the oil pan to below the left side.  Both are 2 1/4" pipes.  There, they'll hit a 2 1/4 to 2 3/8 adapter into the 2x2.5 to 1x3" flowmaster Y pipe, vicinity of the starter.  That's as far as I got.  Here are some pics.  First one is drawing the cut line.  I knew I needed 12.5" on center to get around the oil pan.  So I set them on the table, clamped them together and drew the line (pic2) and cut them with the chop saw.  I only have two hands, so I welded little tabs on the downtube (pic3) to hold up the end of the pipe while I held the far end with one arm, leaving the other hand free to tack the pipe together.  Then I took the pipe off the jeep, got it on the table, cut the tabs off and finished the weld.

180deg exh cut.jpg (98365 bytes) 180 deg exh close.jpg (95923 bytes) exh tube tabs.JPG (371041 bytes)

Here's the finished product.  After doing this, the rest of the pipe should be easy.  This took me about 5 hours total, and I put each side on and off about 1/2 dozen times or more.  Be patient, make those welds count.  If you don't like it, cut it apart and do it again.  It's not "chromeable" but it's pretty good.  I'm happy with it.

2into1exhaust.jpg (380473 bytes)

15 Feb: I've got the exhaust run back to the muffler, good enough.  There was a compound angle after the Y-pipe that I hadn't anticipated, it gave me some serious headaches for an hour or so.  I haven't connected the trans kickdown cable yet, though.  I'm betting that when I do, I'm going to be cussing myself for finishing the exhaust and putting those pipes up in the frame so tight.  I also have a bunch of exhaust head shielding so I don't melt the jeep down.

The Currie TwinStick is finished - there are three bolt holes in the side of the Dodge transmission that are in the perfect spot for a bracket to hold those shifters.  Pics will follow.  I just had to fab a bracket, find some spacers, make some longer actuating arms, and I'm done.  Easy!  Didn't even have to cut the floorboard!

I need to finish the brakes, then it's pretty much electrical.  I'm not scared but it's going to take some careful planning.  I'm resisting the urge to gator-clip the ignition, starter and propane solenoid to start the thing.  If I do it right the first time then I can actually drive it when it starts. :O

I ripped the brake lines out.  Probably should have done that before I put the grille back on, but I should be able to snake the lines in there.  I've modified the front holding brackets for the lines to go under the frame instead of through it, should give me another 2 inches of droop.  Proportioning valve is going on the outside of the frame rail, no room on the inside.  I'll weld some protection underneath it so a rock doesn't take it out.  Change 3: it went on the firewall below the floorplate:

proportioning valve.JPG (404057 bytes)

I've cut the emergency brake lines, they were in the way.  Later I'll put in two TJ parking brakes, one for each rear wheel.

I finally got the switch panel modified to keep the wiper and heater switches from spinning (welded a little piece of steel across to make that D shape).  Here's the finished product, as well as the gauge panel:

switch panel 1 4 mar.JPG (386978 bytes) switch panel 2 4 mar.JPG (476967 bytes) dash 4 mar.JPG (318838 bytes)

One thing I should mention here: when these drawers open, they will not allow the use of the first row of switches.  The installation requires them being installed in the open position.  I just redrilled the holes in the sides of the console and installed the drawer while in the closed position.  Not a big deal but figured I should mention it in case anyone else is contemplating the same solution but wants to be able to open the drawer.

Here's a peep at the exhaust.  Note the drip of oil on the pan, remnants of the thing getting bashed in shipment.  I'll change out the drain plug during the first oil change.

dual exhaust.JPG (359936 bytes) exhaust routing.JPG (388307 bytes) I tucked that puppy right up in there.  Made it really tough to hook up the shifter and kickdown, and may end up melting my shifter cable.  The cable's in a heat sheath and I've got heat shield on the pipe.  Hopefully that's enough.

horn button cut away.JPG (352785 bytes) insde 4 mar.JPG (449964 bytes) This is another "bolt on" that took over an hour: the billet "Jeep" horn button.  I was supposed to be able to remove the horn button assembly from the assembly that came with the wheel.  What actually happened is I blew up a fiber cutting wheel trying to cut the aluminum away, and ended up using a scroll saw to get the horn button out, then still had to shave 1/16" off the button to get it to fit.  We'll see if it works when I put the juice to the circuit later.  Not exactly how the instructions said it should go.  I'll drop Grant a line on that one soon.

left side 4 mar.JPG (410998 bytes) right side 4 mar.JPG (464186 bytes) Here's what it looked like today when I dropped the tools.  Not done but closer than before <grin>

short waggy driveshaft.JPG (312734 bytes) Here's a shot of my driveshaft, 22 1/2" at ride height if I remember right.

 twin stick linkage.JPG (380345 bytes) Here's the twin stick linkage mod, and the bracket w/ spacers is in the shot a little bit.  I'll get a better one of that.  This kept me from having to cut more floorboard.

17 March: I've moved to the new house.  The brakes are done, front bumper and winch are on, full soft top is on.  No wires yet.  I think I've got it all figured out on paper - you need to have a plan, don't just start running wires or you'll drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why you don't have spark.  No real words of wisdom these days, just trying to get everything unpacked and pictures hung so my better half will let me go out into the carport to play.  Sure wish I had a garage.

25 April: Quite a bit done since the move, so here's an update:

Switch panel is finished and installed.  Here's what the back looks like:

switch panel back.JPG (485783 bytes) switch panel bridge3.JPG (386255 bytes)

Had to move the brake proportioning valve because the starter was in the way

brake line bottom.jpg (97693 bytes) brake line top.jpg (122380 bytes)

Dash marked for the wires to come down from the overhead switch panel

 easter 07 dash.JPG (365112 bytes)

Engine will get wired while I put the whole thing together.  There are many wires that I won't need from the stock harness.  For example, the ignition is in the cab, there's no heater, etc.  So those wires can be either pulled back or reused for something else.

easter 07 eng lf.JPG (530794 bytes) easter 07 eng rt.JPG (495453 bytes)

STC softtop is on, looks pretty different.  Takes a little getting used to.

easter 07 side.JPG (558799 bytes)

Final Touch powdercoating did my bumper for me, they did a great job especially considering the piece of junk that I brought them!

easter 07.JPG (472476 bytes)

I moved the propane filler port up into the body to protect it from the rocks.  There will be some plate across the bottom to protect the lines.

new propane filler location.jpg (79466 bytes)

Here's the backside of the gauge panel, almost complete.  Again, have a plan before you start and try to make this as organized as possible.  I want to be able to rearrange the gauges later, so I didn't cut any wires short, and ran everything to two 12-pin plugs from Radio Shack so I can take out the entire panel together and not worry about crossing wires or anything.

 gauge backside.JPG (502655 bytes)

7 May: switch panel is installed; engine compartment is wired, to include pulling back the wires that I don't need.  Had I mapped out the wires that were in the painless kit, I could have planned ahead and used a couple of them, but no big deal.  I'll find a use for them later.  The hardest part of the wiring is figuring out how to make it work with the custom stuff I'm putting on.  I'll post my schematics later, but bottom line is that I'm cutting into the main wire to the ignition circuit to run the master cutoff relay, then the switched side of that relay will go into the regular wiring harness.  It's pretty scary cutting into a brand-new perfectly-good $400 wiring harness, but I've cut up more expensive brand-new stuff, so no time to get sentimental! Ha ha.  Just the relay panel to mount about about two dozen wires to run, then I'm on the "pre-firing checklist" which is all the stuff I've written down and all the blue tape I've got all over the place "NoOil" or "Bolt Loose", etc.  Anyway, won't be long now.  Pictures will follow.

14 May: It STARTED!  And I mean it started right up.  Like on TV or something!  So obviously, all the critical wiring systems are in place.  There's an oil leak someplace that I need to track down, because it's leaking on the exhaust pipe and making a LOT of smoke, but macht nichts.  It RUNS!

dash wiring path.JPG (395967 bytes)  engine center.JPG (420018 bytes) engine right.JPG (400763 bytes) not so painless.JPG (569444 bytes) relay panel 1.JPG (604897 bytes) swtich panel installed.JPG (382583 bytes) Startup clip - Hear it start and see it run!

double brake pedal.JPG (378224 bytes) Since I'm running an automatic, I don't really need a clutch pedal, so a little more brake pedal wouldn't hurt, right?

I found the oil leak, it was the holes in the oil pan meant to locate the 4-piece oil pan gasket ... but since I went with a one-piece, the holes just slopped out oil.  I'd say "I can't believe I missed that" but ... well ... I can, 'cuz I did.

I've got a Lokar shifter installed now, no more cables.  It was a little iffy getting it installed, but it seems to be working well.

melted cable.jpg (555125 bytes)

I'm currently having charging problems - the problem is that it's not.  The alternator checks out, and the wiring harness and voltage regulator are new.  So I've either got something put together wrong or it wasn't meant to work like this.  But I've got a couple ideas and will post the solution when I find it.

25 June 07:  Got that one nailed down.  It was a bad voltage regulator.  Two of them.  The third one is working still, knock on wood.  Guess I'll have to buy a couple extra for my 'wheelin kit.  Good thing they're only $14 each.  Another twist is I put 15 ohms resistance in the wire running to the regulator (I think it was the "I" wire), I think that is what's keeping the regulator alive.

19 Jul 07:  In the middle of welding the header ports so they provide more clamping surface on the heads.  Then it's on to skid plates, front driveshaft, tranny cover and front roll cage.

31 August: headers were done a while back.  Here's how I did it.  I removed the headers (which included draining the water jacket.  Now there are studs in there so I can drop the exhaust with messing with the antifreeze).  Then I used the bolts to attach a 3x5 card to the cylinder head.  I rubbed some dirt from the axle on my finger then smeared it on the card, making a really nice outline.

port tracing.JPG (450635 bytes) dirt is good.JPG (236666 bytes) Make sure you label the engine side and manifold side, and which cylinder it is.  Then I welded the insides of the header ports until I had more material than what I needed.  I filled the header with water and kept the towel wet to keep down heat warping.  I only tweaked the header a little bit making installation a challenge but not impossible.  Then I used the card to mark where I need to grind back to, and used a burr to grind it back.  Each one took maybe an hour to do.

3_5 before.JPG (160927 bytes) 3_5 during.JPG (370110 bytes) 3x5 matching.JPG (372231 bytes)   closing headers.JPG (356913 bytes)  header cyl head difference.JPG (395949 bytes)  no 8 matching.JPG (176864 bytes) no 8 pre grind.JPG (305964 bytes)

Current project is installing and modifying a Rockhard 4x4 Parts CJ-8 Sport Cage.  It didn't fit very well, but I have no idea why.  The guy at Rockhard was really great and sent me a new dash bar, and I used the original one to go up top.  I'll be modifying my switch panel to fit in the cage, since I didn't plan on doing this at first.  It'll all get powdercoated to match the bumper when it's finished.

 cage center.JPG (484711 bytes) cage upper cross.JPG (298821 bytes) rear switchbox.JPG (190018 bytes) switch box.JPG (286843 bytes) switchbox_closing.jpg (342536 bytes) switchbox_open.jpg (353466 bytes) boxend1.jpg (378950 bytes) boxend2.jpg (368409 bytes)

So here's the Rockhard 4x4 CJ-8 Sportcage after I got done killing it.  For some reason, the crosspipes were too short by about 5/16".  So I modified them along with the top part.  They were good enough to send me another crosspipe even though he swore there was no way the first one was too short.  I don't know what happened.  I really don't.  But he cut me some slack so I've got to be nice.  Anyway, the first one is the dash during mockup.  Second is the top bar before I mocked the spreaders and switchbox.  Third is the back of the switchbox, mounting modified so I can remove it intact.  The string over the top is the softtop (didn't want to rub a hole in the top with a box that was too high).  You can also see that I doubled the spreaders, there's two pipes in there!  Four 1/2" plug welds plus a seriously hot bead all the way around on both ends, I'm pretty sure it'll hold, and more sure I never want to test it!  The fourth picture also shows the sleeve I had to put on the lower bar.  There's only about a 1" gap in there and I welded the snot out of it, pretty sure it'll hold too.

At some point during this time my power steering box developed a leak.  So I swapped in a slightly-less-broken Wagoneer steering box.  The only difference is that the Waggie is a variable ratio box, the CJ isn't.  The endstate here is a stronger J-20/AGR box.  The reason I did it now is that aside from the non-leaking thing, I swapped in the 3/4x30 spline u-joint end on the flaming river shaft.  The CJ PS end is 13/16.  CJ manual is also 3/4.  So since it was down for the roll cage I took the opportunity to order the u-joint end.  Note that flaming river doesn't like folks swapping their own u-joint ends.  I convinced them that I had sufficient skill to accomplish this task without putting them at risk.  They prefer you mail the shaft in to them and they do the work, which I recommend to you as well.

It's November, the front axle is now 4.56, and the rear is getting done now, complete with an Ected locker.  Let's see if I can break it.  This rear axle is getting a used Warn Full floater kit (so I have to put in all new bearings and seals), some kind of disc brake kit (doesn't look like SSBC, probably some fly-by-night company, so there's a challenge coming as I try to get replacement parts for it.  I've also welded some bracing and welded the tubes to the pumpkin for additional strength.  Time and welder I have, $$ for a Dana 60 I don't so we're making do. Pictures to follow.

I've smoked my fourth external voltage regulator, obviously I need more that 55 amps.  So now I have to figure out some other alternator arrangement, preferably of the 100+ amp internally regulated variety.  Looks like some phone calls to Mean Green and Powermaster are in my future.  I shied away from this during the initial build, I didn't want to spend the time on it with so much to do and a home sale looming.  So now I have to deal with it.  And I must admit, my machining abilities have improved dramatically since then too.

Axle is shaping up nicely.  Full set of new bearings for the full floater kit.  Warn is sending me new spacer shims, as of a week ago.  I flattened the old ones & will replace them if they show up.  I also pressed in new wheel studs - rule of thumb is you must have the same amount of thread engagement as you do stud diameter.  In this case it's 1/2".  I only had .3".  So my friends at Napa gave me their book and I found part number 641-3115, which presses into the Warn spindles, has a 19/32" shoulder which engages the disc brake, and is 2 3/16" long with a dog ear end to prevent crossthreading.  I found some lug nuts that have enough depth that they will still engage the wheel properly.  I will also flip the u-bolts.  Rather than pay $350 for the dynatrac kit, I think I can make one that will work.  Have welder, will modify <grin>

20A1_lr_locate.jpg (420657 bytes) Checking the axle left/right to locate the perch position 2wheeldrive.jpg (400256 bytes) Old axle torn out, ready to get to work 20a1_wingswelded.jpg (422113 bytes) Shock, spring and mini-truss welded on.  The truss got a little close to one of the bolt holes ... should have been paying attention! amc20A1axleend.jpg (414768 bytes) Checking the depth of the axle inside the diff to make sure I'm not going to have any clearance issues with the locker.  Disc brake caliper bracket on the ground below.
axlehangermock.jpg (424334 bytes) Mock up of the u-bolt flip.  If I'd used the CJ axle, I could have pulled this off with no welding!  I still would have made the spring-side sliders though.  As it is, my J-10 axle is 2 3/4" OD instead of the stock 2 1/2" OD, so the u-bolts spread too much like this. gaugesnight.JPG (151635 bytes) Dash panel at night.  Got the purple light covers at a Flying J.  Green light is Propane solenoid on, ambers mean I need to fix my marker light wiring - they're not supposed to be on! LOL gaugesnightflash.JPG (244202 bytes) Here's what a grand worth of gauges looks like. I like the Harley Davidson high-beam indicator.  Wiring still needs to be tidied up. Lokar shifter also visible, need to turn the handle on that one of these days. ls ubolt bracket spread.jpg (2493361 bytes) My first attempt at a u-bolt flip.  I'll take it back down and weld a piece front and back to keep it from spreading laterally like it did.  This thing cost me a day and about $50, $25 in u-bolts.
length_matters.jpg (205677 bytes) Trying to figure out which stud to use. ls_wings.jpg (453133 bytes) Left side wings, pumpkin-to-tube welded too. lugnuttest.JPG (285657 bytes) Decided to go with the one on the left, it's got the shoulder I talked about earlier. mayhem_ensuses.jpg (508667 bytes) At the height of the car -er- Jeepnage.


11 Jan 08: Axle is in, it moved under it's own power today.  That said, all I did was turn it around in the driveway.  New master cylinder from an '82 Corvette.  Proportioning valve to match, but it needs an adapter for the rear line.  New Powermaster alternator, 140 amp Chrylser version.  Working on finding the right length belt. The ubolt flip went pretty good, but it bent a little bit under the load - I may modify the design slightly, but she'll hold for now.

15 Jan 08: Found the right belt, had to cut down the adjuster buckle.  If you try this before I update with the exact lengths, please note: cut a little of EACH END, not all off one end like I did and almost ended up botching the job.  It was a stupid mistake so please learn from me <grin>.  I'll put more in there about that, BLUF is I used a Powermaster alternator #8-57529, and a March pulley #112.  I went with that one because it's the smallest diameter, therefore spins the alternator the fastest - charges better.  Then I needed Dayco belt # 5060430 instead of the '450.  The only drawback with this idea is that the one wire terminal is really close to the head, so you have to make sure you insulate it or it'll arc for sure.

Here are some more pics of the work in progress

alternator out.jpg (2353063 bytes)

Working on a new alternator.  Note oil leak and area where I ground down the head but forgot to paint it.  Guess this Jeep is determined to leak and rust no matter what! LOL

vette prop valve.jpg (2647944 bytes)

Corvette proportioning valve seemed like a good idea, goes with the master cylinder.  Except it's got a 9/16x18 rear output, and the line has a 7/16x24.  Stainless line so I can't put a new end on and re-flare it.  This is going to wait until I have more time to finger this out.

firebird master cyl.jpg (2413651 bytes)

'77 Pontiac Firebird master cylinder.  Didn't work, wasted $30.  If I could remember where I saw that online I'd ... have somebody else to be mad at besides myself.

ls ubolt flip.jpg (2142443 bytes)

Axle's in, looks like it's going to work.  Hook up the shocks, bleed the brakes (double-check that there's oil in the diff) and we're on the street!

rs ubolt flip.jpg (2197326 bytes)

Right side spreading slightly as well.  I'll get that fixed.  I'll have to put something for the eventual bumpstop hit too.

ubolt keeper1.jpg (1941434 bytes)

Rock-view of the underside of my u-bolt flip.

ubolt keeper2.jpg (1988798 bytes)

This will come back off and I'll weld a bridge between the two bolts.  Note how -er- inexpensively this is done: those are the old u-bolts I used as guards.

vette master cylinder.jpg (2267083 bytes)

Ah, finally.  The proper master cylinder.  This is from an '82 Corvette.  I am told that the '77 thing is an Eldorado.  I was close.  Anyway, this one bolts up too.  Prop valve is another telethon but I'll get that figured out eventually.

25 Feb 08: I'm trying to get the brakes and the propane system to behave properly.  The master cylinder is puking fluid out from under the cap.  The propane system won't work when the converter is connected to vacuum like it's supposed to be.  Which means I either messed something up or something broke on it's own.  I'll get it figured out one of these days.

4 March 08: Brakes are working better now that I figured out you're supposed to bleed CJ brakes front then rear ... I was doing it backwards for nearly 10 years.  Duh.  Anyway, I have figured out the riddle of the disc-disc conversion, pending the arrival of the 9/16 male to 7/16 female adapter from www.inlinetube.com.  I got the adapter, it fits and just need to replace my power booster and bleed the brakes.

Propane system is working a little better, I think I had a restrictive solenoid, but I still need to get it running like it should then mess with the solenoid.  I put a second one right at the converter so when I kill the fuel the engine is off immediately, rather than burning off the 10 minutes of fuel in the line after the rear solenoid/lockout.

I pulled the solenoid and there was no change.  Then I discovered the air valve was sticking.  So I freed that up and adjusted the fuel rod pins per Franz' book specs.  It still runs lean off idle, but let me tell you - I don't think there's more than 5 cars in town that can keep up with this thing now.  I'm going to run some 0-60 passes once I get the brakes dialed in, that's how quick this thing is!  The crate motor was definitely a good choice, it spins up to 4 grand in a split second.  I'll put the second solenoid back on as well as add the Y pipes in the heater line.  Long story but bottom line is it's required to operate propane systems properly. It won't last without them.

27 Mar 08 - Y pipes are in.  I discovered that the posts that the fuel rods sit on are .849" tall rather than the .826 spec.  So they're currently at .817 to see if I get a rich condition. I'll update the writing later, here are the latest pics.  I braced the Shackle Reversal because the buggy springs were squirming around making steering kind of an adventure.  These angled pieces will let the buggies droop and flex but lock them in when on the street.


Still has a lean spot in it but it's better than it was.  I think the limiting factor now is the converter - if I connect the vacuum to the top it kills the engine.  Very confusing.

4 May 08 - I replaced the front calipers with new stock units, because I figured out they both were frozen.  The right one immediately puked all the fluid out on the ground.  I've never had a copper seal leak before.  I'm going to check it out, but right now I'm thinking Autozone has crappy brake parts.  If it proves different I'll modify this post. Fair enough? LOL  I've done some other work on it but not frame-up related, so that all went on a different page.

17 Aug 08 - Summer has been taken up by family and work, not a lot of time for Grape 8.  BUT I did, I think, get the brake situation figured out.  I now have:

'82 Corvette master cylinder; '82 Corvette proportioning valve; '82 CJ front calipers, '82 Buick Riviera back calipers.  It doesn't throw me through the windshield like I want but at least I can drive it.

20 Sep 08 - Brakes are good, moved on to fixing the oil leak.  Had to cut away part of the firewall to get to it.  It was either that or pull the engine, since I didn't leave enough room back there to get a wrench on the thing.  Oh well, now I can set my timing easily!

I've clocked the transfer case, clearanced the skid plate, reinforcing the back so it can support the transmission.  Fixed the shackle inversion while braking situation.  Wired up the ECTED locker.  I'm about to take it off-road for its first shakedown, but need to put in the emergency brakes first - hate to find out that downhill in low range is too much for the brake system, and end up testing my roll cage.

I figured out the "lean spot" in the propane system was actually the fuel cones sticking.  Got it cleaned up and it's within reason now, but still needs adjustment to be in the green.  My vacuum lines were run incorrectly, so once again, Franz Hoffman to the rescue.  What a guy!

9 OCT 08 - I've managed to get the propane fuel rod rests punched down so it runs rich ... now I can connect the tuning computer.  But that'll be on the propane page.  I got thh emergency brakes figured out too, pictures to follow.  I used two TJ handles, grafted onto one TJ mid-bracket.  Lokar GM universal cables into the parking brake on the calipers.  Sounds easy, took a while, looks pretty good, might even work <gasp>  So with that, my friends, I'm ready to go off-road for real.  All further updates will be listed under the appropriate heading and thus ending the Great Grape 8 Frame-up, 2006-2008.

Scramblin' on!

Body Electrical Driveline Propane Suspension

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