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1976 CJ5 Project


NAXJA Forum User
Just picked up a CJ5 a few days ago.

1976 CJ5 with a 304 V8, T150 3-spd transmission and a D20 Tcase. It needs some TLC but I've began the process of getting it back into shape. It does run and drive as of right now but has a little bit of rust in the floor boards and windshield frame and I'm wanting to take it back to a more stock condition vs how it is now. The brakes are also in poor adjustment resulting in pulling hard left and even locking up the left tire under even moderate braking. The steering is in need of a refresh, the steering shaft has a lot of play in the upper u-joint and the collar (not sure what it's called) just above the U-joint. And the carburetor has a pretty bad fuel leak but fuels well.

The POs did some pretty janky wiring on the Jeep as well and modified the stock bumper in various ways. Including welding supports to the frame which I'm going to have to get creative with a cutting wheel to get loose.

Anywho I'm glad to find this forum and hope to be able to come here for help in the future on this project.

This morning I got up and busted out a few hours of work getting the interior ripped out and a few other odds and ends removed like the home made roll bar and the rotting windshield frame. One of the POs did some "interesting" wiring on the Jeep. Should be a fun project and not too much effort to get back into decent shape. Biggest stuff I think is going to be the rust repair of the floor board and rocker panels.

End goal is to get it back pretty close to stock.

Last night when I shoehorned it into the garage.

Janky previous owner wiring

That's 3 self tappers in the frame to ground a set of LED podlights :(

Lift shackles. Those are going away and the suspension will get a full rebuild.

Previous owner wiring to make the LEDs work

Windshield frame rot


Most of the interior out. I pulled the roll bar and wheel well carpet right after this photo. Roll bar definitely looks home built/welded.

Passenger floorboard rot

Driver's side not as holey but still kind of bad.

Tried to salvage the windshield and botched the removal.

Shedding rust from messing with the windshield frame

It had some diamond plate rocker covers riveted in place. I drilled the rivets and found what I expected. Same spot on both sides.

Underhood the wiring is a bit of a mess and the airhorns are going bye bye. Powertrain is AMC 304 V8, T150 3 spd manual, Dana 20 Transfer case, Dana 44 rear axle and Dana 30 front. The transmission needs an overhaul, it won't stay in first gear unless you hold the shifter in place. And the Transfer case has a pretty stout leak from the rear output seal. I'll probably overhaul it as well while I have the transmission out.
Due to a leg injury project speed has slowed to a crawl. But the first of the parts have arrived. T150 transmission rebuild kit.


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Stock bumper cut away from the winch. Now I have to cut the winch away from the crossmember without destroying it.


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Looks like a fun project.

Every now and then I think I want an old CJ. And then I think about my odds of being able to defrost the windshield. I suspect I am happier sticking with what I have now.

But I look forward to seeing what you do with this.
Yesterday I went to Lowes and picked up some Romex and a wall mount 220 outlet. The plasma cutter wasn't cutting it (heh) on 110 so added a 220 outlet to the south side of the garage. Once I got that in place the Plasma cutter was blasting through that mess of a bumper in no time.

Got the winch mess finally removed from the front of the Jeep leaving a few spots that will need to be cut further down and then flap wheeled. Got the grille and fenders off, then got the dash the rest of the way pulled off. The wiring is such a mess that I think I'm going to bite the bullet and pay for the drop in CJ5 wiring harness from Painless Wiring. I went to look at the body mount bolts and to get some PB Blaster on them when I noticed that one of the previous owners, probably the same one that put the winch on, also welded on the side tube steps but instead of welding them into a blank spot in the frame they decided to weld them into the body mount pockets on the frame. I cussed whoever did that shit for about 5 minutes.

This morning I woke up and tackled the side steps. I cut them about half way with the sawsall then used my breaker bar in the tubes to lever them around till they broke off. 2 of them broke off all the way at the frame giving easy access to the body mount bolts the other 2 broke off outside of the body mount pockets so I'm going to have to melt them out with the plasma cutter. Went ahead and pulled off all the soft top mounting hardware as well while I was in there. I may or may not get out there to do more today. It's supposed to be around 100.










I didn't cut this one. It broke like that.
Got the tub off and power washed along with the frame. We though the frame was full of mud. Was actually full of dirt dauber nests. Those things are quite resistant to even the power washer but I think i got the frame blasted out. Got the caked on oil blasted off as well. Going to roll the frame back into the garage today after everything dries out and going to start pulling the t-case and transmission later this week. Before I do that I'm going to hook the engine back up to the battery and do a compression test. A few things need to be sealed up on the engine as well. Still a ways to go but making steady progress.

Some more janky wiring by one of the previous owners. Pretty sure it was a kill switch of some kind. It was screwed to the bottom of the steering column.

The master cylinder is so full of gunk I'm not even going to try to salvage it. Not for the 30 or 40 dollars a new one costs.

Throwing down some paint as well. Been doing it one piece at a time. Sanding a body piece one evening and spraying it the next morning before I leave for work. In another week or so I'll wet sand each piece and bust out the polisher.

Tcase out. Both outputs have a pretty good amount of play so may go ahead and rebuild it. Front drive shaft is also shot. Slipyoke has a good half inch of play in all directions.

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Trans and clutch out. Going to have to replace the starter ring gear.

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Engine out. Frame cleanup and spray tomorrow. Also dug up part of the backyard to find a water leak.





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Tore the CJ carb down this morning. Cleaned up the main body and have the rest of the parts standing by for carb dip when i get home today. Goal this evening is to have that put back together and get started on the transmission.

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Transmission torn down, case cleaned up and painted. Going to have to order at least a new reverse idler gear i think. Maybe a first gear syncro. Not sure what this originally looked like. Going to run it by thr CJ5 forum and see what they say.

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I hate waiting on parts. On to the tcase.

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Tore the CJ transfer case down (Dana20) had to order a few parts that wont be here for a week or two. Ill start cleaning it up today but it was a big greaseball when i pulled it out.


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Didn't make much progress on the T-case past painting it.* Still waiting on a thrust washer and had to order some more adjustment shims for the output assembly since it had zero clearance with the new bearings.* Did get the trans back in frame along with the cross member and new starter.


Spent most of the day messing with the CJ. Got the pulley and reservoir on the PS pump after painting it.

Got both diff's drained and refilled with new gear oil. The old stuff was pretty disgusting and the front diff had obvious water contamination but luckily the gears were spared. The rear diff is leaking from the pinion seal already so I get to drain that again and replace that seal the diff cover is also leaking a little bit, ordered a new rubber seal for that. Yay. Front diff sealed up fine.

Replaced the rear rubber brake line from the frame to the axle. Pretty sure it was the original. Need to do the front's eventually but they'll be easy to do even with the tub on the frame.

Got a little carried away with my big press while changing U-joints and busted the ear off of the slip yoke of the rear driveshaft. That was an 80 dollar mistake. More like 100 after I get the shaft rebalanced.

The front drive shaft has a ton of play but the splines on the drive shaft look fine so going to test the new slip yoke on it and see if I can salvage the shaft with a new 80 dollar slipyoke vs 250-300 for a whole new front drive shaft.

Painted a few odds and ends here and there but getting closer to having the driveline/frame wrapped up and starting on the body work on the tub.

Bummer on that ear. Those things happen.
Indeed. Im not sweating it but the front driveshaft is shot. The splines are worn to a knife point.on the ends and all of the blue coating is gone. Going to have to go new on that one. Probably Tom Woods.

Resealed the steering gearbox and got the transfercase as far as it will go without the output assembly shims I need. Also inspected the front drive shaft and its not going to be salvagable.


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Painted some more odds and ends

Got the Tcase finished with exception of the shift shaft seals, all I needed was the thinnest shim in the new pack of shims to get within spec ha. Amazon dropped the ball on the seals and lost them so had to reorder.

Rear driveshaft rebuilt with new slip yoke

Replaced Valve Cover gaskets. Engine is a little sludgy. More than I would like but I'm going to ride it till it won't go anymore. Compression is still alright.

Got the clutch linkage rebuilt

Steering gearbox mounted back on the frame

Remounted the headers

Reconnected the exhaust

Replaced the ancient spark plugs

Remounted the carburetor

Started trying to reverse the hack job one of the previous owners did with all the emissions gear.

Put the sending unit and new seal on to the gas tank

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Yesterday I started cutting the rot out of the body and got the passenger side floor panel cut to size and tacked in place. And painted one side of the tailgate.