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My recycle bucket


Not @Rockstomper today
May 19, 2020
Member Number
Firestone, CO
I'm not really sure where to put this, and I haven't done a build thread in a long time, but I guess with this board, we can move our threads, so I'll try here for now.

Backstory cliff notes:
I had/have a buggy. Same car I've had for years. Built it in '04, WERock comp'd it, KOH raced it, trail-rode it, all that good stuff. Good little car. 4 wheel steer, coilovers, two seater, 302/C6/Atlas, 60's, 42's, kept it all these years. I tried plating it as a homemade car to make it road legal so I could drive it a bit more, have more fun, no-go there.

Along came kids. And then they got bigger. Two seater wasn't big enough. Time to make some changes.

I didn't want to deal with emissions or other inspection crap, and since Colorado won't plate something that wasn't a "car" to start with, I needed a "car". So I brought home a '75 DJ5 that my daughter immediately decreed "the mushroom". It was cheap, it was ugly, it didn't run, but it was a "jeep" and had a clean pre-emissions Colorado title.

Selling this to my wife meant a lot of my buggy had to be recycled into it. Axles, wheels, tires, coilovers, Atlas, as much as possible. But my engine was tired. No oil pressure at warm idle level of tired. And it was a mostly-unknown 302, and it'd been beat on pretty hard over the years. Recycling it seemed like perhaps not the best choice, and knowing that a four seater Jeep is likely to be heavier than my already-porky buggy, more power seemed like a good idea.

So in the more power department, and in keeping with keeping the wife happy and using my existing stuff as much as possible, means using my smallblock C6 and Atlas, which in turn means smallblock Ford in front of it. So, more power in a smallblock Ford package, coming from a 302, next step up power-wise is a 351W, so I got one of those. And might have snuck a little under the wife-radar in the more power department.

Now that I have my turbos hung, I had engine enough to put it into the Jeep, except I didn't really have a Jeep any more, I'd kind of removed the important bits that I wanted, and pushed the rest out to the side.

Starting on a nerf bar layout. When I get tired of making cars I'm going to be a framer, the amount of practice I'm getting at lumberfab in this project is staggering.

With it right side up, time to start test fitting actual Jeep parts. Not necessarily Jeep parts off the DJ, perhaps best to remember, that's an in-name thing and the "ish" is heavy in this project. I'll get around to using some of the actual DJ parts eventually....

Time for fender bars, this will be a de-fender'd Jeep and the plan is fairly low on 42's, so the hood will have to be trimmed to fit.

With it structural enough, and with the lumberfab quality of my OSB welding table, I didn't trust it for any more weight than was present at this point. Time to de-lumberfab and move to the Jeep being on its own structure so that I can put the engine in.


Radiator is to be recycled from the buggy (time to take my old friend apart, for those watching at home, this is the same car I backflipped in Boyd all those years ago, coming apart now) but since I'm going for boost, a charge air cooler is probably an important thing. That adds bulk, so time to check-fit some stuff.

Transmission and transfer case out of the buggy. Lesson from the buggy: I will not again build a car that has to have the transmission changed-out via the window. Removable crossmembers are a good thing.


And that brings us to about current for today. To be clear, this isn't an imported-from-elsewhere build thread, this thing isn't close to done yet. More of my COVID quarantine panic project. Tilt column is from a Toyota 4Runner to get horn, wipers, signals, headlights, all on the column, trying to keep the dash as naked as can be.


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Cool project. I'm Sub'd.

On the legal end, so you can plate anything as long as it was a car to begin with? Seems like you could buy a rust bucket Jeep and put the windshield and data plate on your buggie. Then you can claim you needed to rebuild the windshield support on it and that's what you came up with. Do they define at what point it is not the original car? I guess it's a moot point now that you need four seats.
So the legal side that they hang their crap on is removal of the VIN plate. I didn't. I removed everything near the part the VIN plate was attached to, and cut away a good bit of the part it was attached to, but I did not remove the VIN plate. It's on the firewall just above/behind the brake booster where it belongs, on its original 1975 rivets. It's petty and juvenile, but it's how they play the game. By selecting a '75, I played one more step: this thing is collector-plate eligible.

She's more OK with the turbos (junkyard Volvo) than the heads (blueprint from Summit) but it's all good. My daughter thinks she's going to get to drive this to high school when she's old enough. Yeah... twin turbo 351 4 wheel steer Jeep on 42s under the foot of a 16 year old, what could possibly go wrong....

Anyway, since the 351 uses the long water pump and accessory package, my short stack accessory mounts off the buggy weren't going to work. Right side power steering pump mount had to be redone. Left side pump/alternator mount may be space-able but I'm not sure yet. Fortunately, since this thing is, at least compared to my buggy, a bus, there's some room to work.

A bit more on the legal side, this will look Jeep ish (there's that sort of word again, it shows up a lot in conversations about this thing) when completed. Legal ish, Jeep ish, close enough. For probably obvious reasons, I'm not looking to drive this thing to California from here, but to the grocery store, or to drop the kids off at school, sure. More importantly, between trails and in-n-out of town in the mountains where we like to spend our weekends.

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Rear links tacked into place. Uppers are just mockups for now, lowers are final. 2.25/.250 on the lowers. Maybe work on bumps and rear shocks tomorrow.

Mock uppers make the endless "just a touch left, whoops, too far, now I need two degrees more/less caster/pinion...." of getting link lengths dialed, a lot easier. There are many ideas out there, this one is what I use. In this particular case, these mock uppers are actually old links off the buggy cut and sleeved to telescope.

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I've run air bumps since back in my WERock comp days on the buggy, while there may be a market for 15 year old air bumps, I need bumps of some sort anyway, so they're getting recycled too. Fresh cans and on they'll go.

On the bumps, I have 4" bumps, but the fronts have been limited to 3", since I have less compression travel in front than in the rear. I'm aiming to set the Jeep up for level ride at around 5-6" compression in the front, and 8-9" in back. I may lower ride height from that, but hard stop is a packaging thing for me.

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