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Truck of Theseus - A (re)Build Thread


NAXJA Forum User
Haledon, NJ
Hello all!

It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally taking some time out of the garage to put together a little build post. I hope this can provide some entertainment, and maybe even save some effort for others doing something similar. I'd also like to throw a quick thank you out to others who made build posts and helped me avoid a few headaches along the way. :)

For me this all started in May 2019. I had been looking at MJ's for a while because of how much I liked the design and thinking that I'd like to have one at some point in the future. At the time I was living in a small apartment and had just upgraded to having a driveway to work in rather than how I had been while street parked on my LJ. I stumbled across a fellow car guy who had just bought a house with multiple garages, and wanted to find someone to rent part of it and some garage space. The timing was right with my lease getting ready to renew in around a month, and it all worked out. A garage!

Suddenly the someday was right around the corner, and I found what I thought at the time to be the best starting point :)


"Doesn't need the key to start and lost the key" seems legit.

I live in the rust belt in NYC/NJ so I wanted a nice rust free truck to start with, and I found a good one in GA! One plane ticket, a delayed and rerouted flight due to thunderstorms, a bus ride, and an uber got me to my new MJ a mere 15 hours late. The truck was as expected mostly, and we worked out a good price. Sadly GA doesn't issue temp tags which is fine in state, but I needed to drive all the way home to NJ. One more flight home with title in hand and off to the DMV!



The LJ apparently found out about the new purchase, and demanded some attention. It got moved over to the new apartment with a heated garage in preparation for picking up the MJ and putting it right to work moving me to the new apartment.


One more plane ticket. This time with new tags in my backpack. Got to the truck, zip tied my tags on and we were on our way north!

Naturally not without event. The steering had a dead zone from roughly 10 to 2. The brakes put a valiant effort into quietly suggesting that the truck might consider slightly slowing down if it felt like it. Thankfully being a 5 speed meant I could combine that with engine braking and planning ahead. The interior had seen better days. The cab was full of a collection of cigarette butts and acorns from squirrels, and all the associated smells. Just add the Georgia heat, and simmer. All three windows open and the excitement of the new project helped for a while.

Then turn signals stopped working after an hour or so, looks like time for an arm out the window to signal.

The muffler was almost entirely absent so the sound was really starting to make my head hurt after another hour.

Then it started to rain, and the wiper blades are all but useless... oh look a waffle house!

I picked the truck up and hit the road around midnight, by the time I hit the waffle house it was around 2. I stuck around until the rain quit around sunrise, and got back on my way.

At some point the next morning my clutch stopped working, which meant I now needed to rev match and shift without the clutch to slow down. I found a walmart and made a stop for supplies and parking lot repairs. Thankfully the clutch was just leaking, and had gotten low. I filled it and got some clutch back. The truck apparently had 270k on the clock when the previous owner bought it, and it was broken already. I imagine the truck had somewhere beyond 300k at this point, so it was no surprise to find my oil a bit low. Topped that off too.

I needed to do something about this muffler. I found a couple aluminum pizza pans and some wire and wrapped the pans around each face of the swiss cheese muffler, and wired them in place. Wow what a difference.

Got back on the road for another 600ish miles, and made it back in one piece.



Check out that fancy parking brake! Better yet, check out the gas mileage for the trip home. Stock dry rotted bald tires, and burning oil may have helped a bit. Also magic. I'm just happy it made it.

The truck got home on June 22 2019, so there's a little bit more to catch up on. Stay tuned.
Head over to comancheclub too. Lots of good info and fellow MJ owners.
Looking forward to seeing the rest of the story!
What are your plans for the truck? Keeping it stock?

If you wrench as well as you write, the MJ’ll do fine whatever way you go with it. Keep the posts coming.
Thanks smokeyyank, I'm actually a member there too. Just figured I'd post this over here since there's an MJ section.

Nice, just saw your thread there.