bigwalton Postal teardown/rebuild - what would you do?

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
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Dexter
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MI
#1
Hit me that this might be fun, a little "bench building" exercise :smokin:

Background:
I have resolved that my postal needs to get blown apart after the SOA National Scramble/SandBlast next year to fix lingering issues, some of which have been there since the purchase in Anchorage in 2002. I covered a lot of ills with my body armor along the wheel wells and the rockers and I've only replaced the completely missing driver's floor (when I had the cage put in at JCR Offroad). Miraculously, I have never dropped the gas tank in this thing :eek: and my fuel gauge has been non functional for over a year. Last Sandblast, the front right body mount at the driver's "toe box" punched through the sheet metal and we did a solid fix that I feel fine about, but it's not right and I need to address a couple other bad no-longer-captured nuts. I've made so many additions and changes to the wiring that it's time it was completely redone too.

Question:
What would you do if it was yours?

Things that definitely stay:
Axles (D44/HD20 with 4.88 gears and ARB lockers): the brakes have always been great and I love this pair for what I do.

Dual diaphragm MC: Vanco unit that's been awesome

Frame: I do have front reinforcement plates from chiefwaho that I want to get on and I want to do the rear ones as well as fixing any other issues I find

Wheels/tires: no reason to change, no intention of ever going beyond 35s

Interior: Outside of the rear seat mentioned below, there's nothing really wrong with the interior.

Cage: I've been thrilled with the cage and aside from making the feet in the front floorboards work for whatever new floor ends up in there, it should be fine with a coat of paint.

Things that could go:
Motor: I have abused the CRAP out of this poor 4.0. I did the swap to this motor so that I could drop in a stroker in a weekend. The recent turbo developments for the 4.0 had me wondering about that route too. I wonder if @MrBeep if going to let me have my stroker motor and exhaust finally :)

Body: This is the BIG one. Fiberglass is out. It is MANDATORY that whatever I do work with the World Cab (that needs restoration of its own). That means that the top lip has to be right and able to accept the World Cab flange. With what I've seen of the Phillipine units, I don't think they'll work. I spoke with the owner of Aqualu for over an hour standing in front of the Postal at EJS and he is 100% confident that they can make a body that will work exactly right as everything they do is CAD driven. A few measurements and we could confirm it for certain and if adjustments were needed, they'd make them. I can't get over the idea of scrapping the original tub and it's not THAT far gone. Sadly, I have zero experience with sheet metal work and I'm worried that what I do won't look good or last if I go the repair route. It's also going to slow everything down enormously...

Suspension: I have the rear BDS leaves where I'm happy but need to play with the front. I've always said I'd like to get corner weights and go with a custom set of Alcan/Deaver/etc. springs to finally get things exactly right. I will get these weights before this project starts just in case.

Tcase: I dream of a 3/4-speed Atlas/STAK/etc. unit but the price will likely kill this. (Not into the idea of doublers.)

Crossmember: I have an XJ trans mount under the AW4 with holes drilled for it in the CJ crossmember, it's way taller than I need it to be. I'd like to suck up the crossmember and go with some other, shorter trans mount to take up the difference.

Things that have to be done:
Rear seat: need one with head rests and want to move it back. Matt Trout's recent third row seat install looks pretty killer.

Fuel system: Need more gas for my road trips and fuel lines should be replaced. I'd like to clean up the regulator/pump mounting while I'm in there and add a spare pump in parallel for easy fixes when one dies. Need a proper skid plate. I've destroyed one side of the stock unit.

Body replacement or fixes (see above):
I could take in/down the wheel wells with my lift and wider axles while doing the rust repair. New body mounts all around while I'm at it.

Outboard rear shocks/u-bolt flip:
I finally had to weld the lower shock mounts into the Rubicon Express U-bolt skid plates I have. They're total rock anchors and I bend/break one per wheeling trip on average. This would allow me to make/install a u-bolt flip so I can finally ditch the stupid skids that further kill ground clearance.

CB delete: get rid of this entirely, it's GMRS or nothing from now on, I haven't used it in years.

Steering box placement/pitman change: I have slight interference between the end of the pitman TRE and the tie rod at full, even compression. This needs to be addressed once and for all

Wiring: time to start over and rethink things now that I pretty much have added every possible 12V thing that this Jeep will ever see. I'd like to get rid of the XJ PDC I mounted under the hood on my driver's fender. Maybe a painless large harness and Trail Rocker or similar. Oops, one final addition, I need a 12V outlet in the bed for my fridge. I don't know how I haven't done this yet.

OBA system: Replace the tubing for everything and clean up/refine. May go electric rather than the converted Sanden setup I have in my LJ now for simplicity. Other than occasional leaks and holes in the air line I used, I've been happy with this otherwise.

I'm sure I'm missing some things, I'll add them as they come to me.

Current picture from Sandblast 13 (guess I didn't take a single one from the front :rotfl:)
IMG_9587.JPG
 
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Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
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SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#2
I’ll address the body issue first. A Postal is a rare and sought after vehicle, even if it isn’t stock. For what you will pay for an Aqualu body, you could have it repaired. And- it would still be stock. For that matter, I’m sure there are members local to you that would be pleased to help you repair what you have. Heck, if you lived by me I’m sure we could fix it up with the proper application of beer and welding. In the correct order, of course. So- Learn to work sheet metal, and have a skill you can use on the next one! No, it won’t be fast. But it will be right. And isn’t that what’s important?

I love Aqualu bodies. I would love to build a Hellcat Scrambler with an Aqualu body, TDK frame, long arms, all the goodies. But- I don’t think that’s your end goal.

Steering- how about a 1” MORE mount? I put one in Red just in case. Was going to go on Copper but never got around to it. I had the same issue.

Fuel tank- while the body is off getting repaired, maybe add a larger tank like I did on Red? Or even a GenRight tank. And both those options allow you to have an in-tank pump.

Air lines? Braided PTFE. Same for fuel. Copper tends to stress crack eventually due to vibration.

Engine? I won’t address that. Because all that my fingers want to type is LS!
 
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bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#3
Already have the MORE mount. Issue showed up when I got the HD steering links from Goferit.

I got them to send me an unassembled version I had my welder friend put together mirrored for RHD.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
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Redmond
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#4
Already have the MORE mount. Issue showed up when I got the HD steering links from Goferit.

I got them to send me an unassembled version I had my welder friend put together mirrored for RHD.
Hmm... well, I was running an Astro van flat arm with a crossover link to the drivers side. Still rubbed. I had found some dog-leg tie rod ends that would set the tie rod back 1/2 inch or so, but I never got that far.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
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City
Dexter
State
MI
#5
Hmm... well, I was running an Astro van flat arm with a crossover link to the drivers side. Still rubbed. I had found some dog-leg tie rod ends that would set the tie rod back 1/2 inch or so, but I never got that far.
I could run a shorter pitman, that’s really the answer. I have the steering stops out thanks to my outboarded springs so slightly less throw wouldn’t hurt me.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
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City
Richmond
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TX
#7
I’ll echo Randy’s comments to a T, except the engine.

A postal is no longer a postal without the unique firewall. IMHO

I would love to build Randy’s dream Scrambler, but that would mean it is no longer a postal as almost all parts would be replaced.

My ‘82 will have a postal top, but it will never be a Postal. (See where I’m going?)

For the engine, a V-8 is wonderful (I hope), but if you are driving it hard enough to do the damage already done, think how much more damage would be done with V-8 power. You start down a rabbit hole once you stab a V-8 in there.

Even though the 4.0 is not stock, it still retains the stockish appearance of a Postal.

In the end, you need to decide what is a Postal, and do you care if it still is one. (There are no wrong answers here.)

Just like great grandpa’s axe that has gone through 5 handles and 2 heads. Is it still great grandpa’s axe?
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#10
I’ll echo Randy’s comments to a T, except the engine.

A postal is no longer a postal without the unique firewall. IMHO

I would love to build Randy’s dream Scrambler, but that would mean it is no longer a postal as almost all parts would be replaced.

My ‘82 will have a postal top, but it will never be a Postal. (See where I’m going?)

For the engine, a V-8 is wonderful (I hope), but if you are driving it hard enough to do the damage already done, think how much more damage would be done with V-8 power. You start down a rabbit hole once you stab a V-8 in there.

Even though the 4.0 is not stock, it still retains the stockish appearance of a Postal.

In the end, you need to decide what is a Postal, and do you care if it still is one. (There are no wrong answers here.)

Just like great grandpa’s axe that has gone through 5 handles and 2 heads. Is it still great grandpa’s axe?
no V8. Made that bed a long time ago when I swapped the 4.0.

I've swapped all kinds of things on this already, it’s still a Postal.
 
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HighSierra CJ

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Ducor
State
Ca
#11
no V8. Made that bed a long time ago when I swapped the 4.0.

I've swapped all kinds of things already, it’s a postal.
BW, I am glad to hear that. I say go for your stroker. And I back up what Randy said 100%. Sounds like you’re in for fun project.

Everything that I drive has an in-line six. 3 scramblers, an 05 dodge Cummings, and a 15 dodge Cummings. I guess I am biased.

My green scrambler has a 4.6 stroker with a TF-999 lock up transmission, and I love it. Plenty of power and runs strong. The downside is 14-16 mpg. I know you’re running an AW-4 transmission, so you should get better gas mileage behind a stroker.
 

93_Fummins

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Edmond
State
OK
#12
Body: I vote for fix the sheet metal. Aqualu is awesome, but as tinker-y as you are, I think that adding things to the non-steel tub gets cumbersome in terms of fixturing or fastening. Also, the aluminum tubs lose a lot of character in my eyes....not from a "purity" or "original" standpoint, but just the numerous formed textures of the floorboard and bed pan that don't exist in the AL version. The stamped steel body just looks far more Willys or AMC than swanky aluminum. But that's probably a weak argument...

T-case: What about the Black Box-i? Turns the D300 into a 3 speed, and opens up the option for numerous input options down the road, all while only gaining 5" at less than half the cost of a 2-speed Atlas. I'm a huge fan of doublers, especially compact planetary doublers in front of gear driven cases so you can still twin stick. A Black Box D300 is more versatile and just as compact as a 231 or 241 with SYE. Seems like a no-brainer for a passenger drop application, but it is still an investment and requires driveshaft work.

Engine: I vote EITHER stroker OR just tighten up the 4.0 and add boost. I don't like stroker AND boost together because I think that denies the glory of either setup. The stroker is super fun down low and maintains the note and throttle character of a healthy NA motor. Boost is all the rage, and rightfully so, but requires a lighter, snappier setup (short stroke) to really be fun and responsive to the point of usefulness. Deep breathing boosted mills are great, don't get me wrong, but the break-neck fashion of their power band means you're looking at D60's very soon...which ultimately leads to 40"s, because why not at that point? I hate to knock on AMC "purity" again, but the NA stroker is a lot less headache overall (no boost tubing or intercooling or tuning to worry about) and looks the place. I do also love a nicely painted, clean, NA inline-6 with rainbow'd header, raw blasted intake, and polished accessories.
 

certifiablejeep

Definitley Certifiable
LIFETIME
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City
Bedford
State
NH
#13
I think you know my vote already.... gotta fix that tub.... I have done the RHD firewall on a YJ body for the CJ7 export project and I have repaired a couple more tubs.

If you were closer, we could probably work something out, but that is a bit of a hike to bring the tub for repairs.

My only other thought is you mentioned the issues that you know of... there might be others... I mean there will be others, so doing it right is gonna take some time and I know you know that.

cb
 

AdamH

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Mt Holly
State
NC
#14
Another vote to fix that tub. As you know I have a Willys Overland tub still in the crate at my shop that I bought for my Postal with plans to graft over the entire firewall from the original. Fortunately I was able to get my hands on a used tub that is in great shape that I will do the same - graft over the Postal firewall. In the end for me I want to be able to say I my Postal has an AMC tub on it.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#16
My only other thought is you mentioned the issues that you know of... there might be others... I mean there will be others, so doing it right is gonna take some time and I know you know that.
I think I can get it done in two years, so taking the tub off in late 2021, that means that I'll be all set for.............. the National in 2031 :rotfl:

And I most certainly know there will be more that I don't know about than what I know about, that's why I haven't faced up to this yet!!! ;) Ignorance is bliss! :smokin:
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#17
Another vote to fix that tub.
Everyone's going to say that when they're not limited by my lack of skill :banghead: and by "lack of skill", I mean absolutely zero experience with sheet metal welding.

Wait, I think some of my weld splatter from my booger welds on other things has ended up hitting the Postal's tub, does that count as sheet metal welding experience???
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#18
Body: I vote for fix the sheet metal. Aqualu is awesome, but as tinker-y as you are, I think that adding things to the non-steel tub gets cumbersome in terms of fixturing or fastening. Also, the aluminum tubs lose a lot of character in my eyes....not from a "purity" or "original" standpoint, but just the numerous formed textures of the floorboard and bed pan that don't exist in the AL version. The stamped steel body just looks far more Willys or AMC than swanky aluminum. But that's probably a weak argument...

T-case: What about the Black Box-i? Turns the D300 into a 3 speed, and opens up the option for numerous input options down the road, all while only gaining 5" at less than half the cost of a 2-speed Atlas. I'm a huge fan of doublers, especially compact planetary doublers in front of gear driven cases so you can still twin stick. A Black Box D300 is more versatile and just as compact as a 231 or 241 with SYE. Seems like a no-brainer for a passenger drop application, but it is still an investment and requires driveshaft work.

Engine: I vote EITHER stroker OR just tighten up the 4.0 and add boost. I don't like stroker AND boost together because I think that denies the glory of either setup. The stroker is super fun down low and maintains the note and throttle character of a healthy NA motor. Boost is all the rage, and rightfully so, but requires a lighter, snappier setup (short stroke) to really be fun and responsive to the point of usefulness. Deep breathing boosted mills are great, don't get me wrong, but the break-neck fashion of their power band means you're looking at D60's very soon...which ultimately leads to 40"s, because why not at that point? I hate to knock on AMC "purity" again, but the NA stroker is a lot less headache overall (no boost tubing or intercooling or tuning to worry about) and looks the place. I do also love a nicely painted, clean, NA inline-6 with rainbow'd header, raw blasted intake, and polished accessories.
I don't care a whit about what I'd lose in "character" with an aluminum body, for the record.

Tcase, I just want the extra speeds in the tcase. I don't want even more stuff hanging down under there and it'd be great to have a completely new tcase. Your cost comparison only works if you replace all the guts of the D300 to get to something the same condition as a brand new replacement.

On the turbo/stroker I would never do both, I only meant turbo as an alternative to the stroker. The kicker here is similar to the tcase, I'd need to find another motor before I'd put a turbo on. I've BRUTALIZED this 4.0 and wouldn't trust it to hold up to any boost at all. Its a testament to the 4.0 that this one is still running with as much as I've bounced it off the rev limiter in the dunes and drug trailers all over the country on the highway/in the mountains.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
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Dexter
State
MI
#19
Added making a new trans crossmember to the list and edited out the mention of copper for air lines per @Randyzzz's suggestion
 

sdsupilot

CJ-8 Member
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City
OKC
State
OK
#20
I think you have a good plan. Personally I would go with the stroker option. Likely less headaches than a boosted option, closer to stock if broke down in Nebraska looking for parts.

Not to disagree with the others, but given the options I would go with aqualu as long as you are more concerned with the postal top fitting vs originality. The extent of required rust repairs also dictates the amount of time your jeep will be disassembled. I have done rust repair on a couple vehicles. Everything takes at least twice as long as you expect it to. Being married and having a family limits the amount of work time you will have. I personally think the aluminum tub is the choice for a much quicker rebuild.
 
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