Cody's First Frame - 1980 CJ7 Family Trail Build

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
Guess who's back? Hide yo wives, hide yo kids, because this asshole is back on the trails!

First, I want to say that I'm fully aware that this isn't the perfect base vehicle for my intended use. But I have a history of picking the wrong base vehicle for intended uses, so I'm sticking with that. It has "cuteness" factor, which was the only buying criteria I was given by the wife. It defies logic, but it must be obeyed.

What I'm starting with:
1980 CJ7
Chevy 350 w/ Quadrajet carb. TF904 Transmission. d300 t-case
Scout d44's, 4.56's, Detroits front and rear
SUA, probably about 4" lift. Rancho 5k shocks. 1" body lift.

Goals:
Make this a reasonably reliable "drive around town and get a soda" vehicle, that can also do some reasonably hard trails. I don't know that I ever need to run Pritchett in it, but probably get close to that level and still be able to drive comfortably at 55-65 mph on the road for short runs to/from trails. I'm not driving it to Moab, but I would like to be able to drive it to like, Elephant Hill. That's the gist.

Driving it home was frightening. Swerved everywhere, probably not safe over 40 mph...so it has some work to do.....

Most likely build list:
New Tires (Done: 35 x 12.5 r15 BFG KM3's)*
New Sway bar disco's (Done, just need time to install)
Some sort of TBI setup
Seats/harnesses
Some tubework to make the cage more family safe.
More comfortable and flexible suspension.

*The new tires solved 80% of the on-road issues. I think the slop in the sway bar will probably take care of a lot of what's left.

I think on that last point I'm probably leaning towards buying the Moto Built Stretch fuel tank that allows me to push the rear axle back ~4", then do some combination of wagoneer/XJ/YJ leaves to push the rear back 4, and the front forward about 2". Get some extended shock towers to run some longer shocks, and overall lower the suspension about 2" from where it sits now. I know it won't ride like coils and links, but I think it would cost half the price, flex ok-ish, ride better than it does now, and I won't have to comp-cut it. If I'm getting to the point where I want/need to comp cut it, I'd just sell the clean-ish CJ and pick up an old YJ or TJ (or possibly, a built S10 based truggy :D ).

Anywho, here it is in it's initial glory. If you have advice for things to do or not do on an old CJ like this, or good insight about the best way to get rid of the carburetor, let me know.

20220419_201727.jpg
 

Pile of parts

Well-Known Member
Location
South Jordan
My thoughts...
Aside from fuel injection, leave it alone. If you want a better riding/performing suspension, fine, but don't hack up what looks to be a clean CJ. There are plenty of YJs and TJs to hack up (and S10 Truggys).

If it's not as clean as it appears, do what you want. Looks like a fun cruiser with decent off road capabilities, as is.
 

xj_nate

Doctor, economist, polical expert, poser
Location
UT
I'd stick to YJ leaves and just move the spring hangers if it were me. In fact you could probably move the rear 2" back and front 2" forward and actually have a good shackle angle. WIN-WIN.
 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
My thoughts...
Aside from fuel injection, leave it alone. If you want a better riding/performing suspension, fine, but don't hack up what looks to be a clean CJ. There are plenty of YJs and TJs to hack up (and S10 Truggys).

If it's not as clean as it appears, do what you want. Looks like a fun cruiser with decent off road capabilities, as is.
I don't want to hack it too much. I was thinking of getting the stretch corners from genright. https://genright.com/products/cj-7-corner-guard-set-stretch-steel.html thinking that it would still look mostly un-cut if they were installed/painted with care.

But I totally get it. The second I cut into it too much it becomes worth less as a trail rig than it would be as a clean CJ.

Cody
 

Hickey

Premium Member
Supporting Member
I like the stretch tank and corners idea. I believe you have CJ springs in front with a Scout front axle. Fitting wider springs such as YJ springs in front may or may not give you fits, so take some time and measure what you've currently got under there.
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
If it’s a scout 44 in front it would need to have outboarded springs to be centered. Also that axle needs to have the inner Cs cut and turned. If that wasn’t done that would explain the swerving. I love me a red 7.
 

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
It is strange that it hasn't been outboarded. Maybe it's not a Scout axle, but it does have the passenger Scout knuckle with its crazy long steering arm. Check the spring perch distance. Should be 31ish inches wide.

Here's the kit I used and was very happy with it. The description says it needs to be used on Scout axles.

 

Cody

Random Quote Generator
Supporting Member
Location
East Stabbington
It is strange that it hasn't been outboarded. Maybe it's not a Scout axle, but it does have the passenger Scout knuckle with its crazy long steering arm. Check the spring perch distance. Should be 31ish inches wide.

Here's the kit I used and was very happy with it. The description says it needs to be used on Scout axles.

They are definitely not outboarded.

What do you think of this one? Comes with the front bumper, which I'd like to replace anyway. I don't love the chrome one... https://motobilt.com/products/jeep-cj-full-width-axle-conversion-kit

I think I'd probably be happy with a couple inches in front and a couple in back. If I could do that without that fancy gas tank, even better.
 
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UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
Looks like a nice kit. Just measure your spring perch width first. Something is off there.
 

xjtony

Well-Known Member
Location
Grantsville, Ut
When I did the leafs in the front of the XJ having the shackles completely vertical like that caused some wandering. Correcting the geometry made a big difference.

I second the Holley Sniper kit. I haven't installed my FiTech yet, but the Holley setup was fairly simple if you take your time and follow the instructions. The Fitech kit is a bit more simple but the Holley has more options if you want to use them. If you get the right Sniper it can control timing (with the addition of the correct distributor set up) and 2 electric fans. The Fitech doesn't read timing at all and will control 1 fan. The control screen for the Holley is a little better setup as well from what I can see.
 

Hickey

Premium Member
Supporting Member

UNSTUCK

But stuck more often.
That kit includes a shackle reversal setup. I'm not a fan of those on CJ/YJ builds. The play hell with your pinion angle and do other weird things on steep climbs.
Truth. But the street manors are much better. Cody will have to decide what's more important for this build.
 
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