I have a 1973 Jeep CJ5 that I purchased in 2005 and have had it stored in my basement since then. It has been driven a few times throughout the years I have had and been “working” on it, but it has spent most of its time begging for me (or someone else) to give it some loving.
The basics and new stuff
- 305 small block V8 (rebuilt before I purchased it).
- Old style roll cage (see section below for more details)
- 33″ tires
- T15 Transmission – (rebuilt by me)
- Dana 20 Transfer case
- Dana 44 rear axle assembly
- Dana 30 front axle assembly with disk brakes (modified by me)
- Front assembly modified as follows: outer knuckles and hubs removed and replaced with setup from a 1979 front axle assembly in order to get disk brakes on vehicle.
- 2.5” lift kit and 1” body lift installed. Includes new shocks and springs
- New brake lines and front brake pads installed.
- New manifolds installed, but no exhaust system yet applied to the manifolds.
- Carburetor professionally rebuilt
- Other new items:
- Gas tank
- Fuel pump
- Starter motor
- Wiring harness – 90% installed
- Dakota Digital full gauge kit ($600 retail price) with:
- Fuel Level
- Water Temp
- Oil Pressure
- Warning lights
What is the current condition?
The vehicle is in running condition but is not yet street ready. It currently does not run due to the need to finish connecting the new gas tank. We have gotten the vehicle to run fine if we drained all the gas and put brand new gas in (or feed the gas from an external fuel tank) but after sitting for a few days the engine would not stay running, so I replaced the tank, but have not finished the connections and fired it up again.
The body looks fine from a distance, but close inspection shows plenty of Bondo work and lots of rust underneath. I have not done anything with it since my first goal was to get the vehicle running. The 73 series design had the roll cage bolted to the body and not the frame, which (in my opinion) is about as useful as not having a roll cage. My plan would be to add the necessary pieces to the frame to allow the roll cage to bolt through the body to the frame mounts so the body does not need to handle any of the load.
Items that need to be addressed:
- Finish the gauge wiring and mount the gauge panel and controller board
- Finish the electrical wiring (headlights were working but they stopped when I was trying to clean up the wires going through the firewall. Need to troubleshoot that.)
- The transmission bell housing is missing the back cover plate. Not sure where it is so a new one would be needed.
- Get an exhaust system added to the engine (it had sidepipes, but I would recommend a full exhaust to lower the noise and to allow for room to mount the roll cage to the frame.
- The original seats are pretty sad. They are functional, but they’d eventually need to be replaced.
- I think the windshield wiper motor is not working, so that would need to be handled.
- I removed all of the heater guts and have not looked at any of that, so I have no idea what condition that is in.
- The current wheels are large enough that when you turn the wheel hard left or right, the wheels rub against the frame. Some sort of stopper setup would probably be required to keep that from happening.
- The wheel mounting bolts are not in great shape, and a couple are even missing. I would recommend pulling all bolts and replacing them with new ones.
- I have the front hood, the windshield, the cloth side doors and a bikini top designed to go over the roll cage. These are not in the pictures because They are stored in other areas of the basement. I can provide photos if needed.