Project "Blue", My 1987 J20 Build

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#1
Background story-

I have always loved FSJ's and have owned multiple Waggys. But I never had a Jeep Truck. I knew that someday I would build one, but that day never happened...until now. The need for a tow vehicle provided all the justification I needed to start the Craigslist search. I missed out on a few, passed on many more, and finally found "The One". It is a rust free J20, 1987, originally owned by Al Unser Jr. of Indy 500 fame. After negotiating a screaming deal including delivery from Springfield OR to Redmond, OR, I was a proud new owner. Here'a what I started with...

Craigslist ad:
B2BD6D1F-FC71-4EF0-B03A-86A41F0596CE.jpeg

Home, waiting for attention-









Al Unser Jr original title copy-

27E7061C-3CA8-432F-8D11-CCD3F6CD2338.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#2
So, my first order of business was to check it all out. 360, 727, 228. Nah, not my style. Hacked wiring by PO. Big Time. Mouse infested Waggy seats. No headliner. Wheel flares cut to fit bigger tires.

But...No rust. Yep, I love it. And...low mileage...not that that matters.



So, I listed the engine for sale, and before long, it sold. Jason Adams forwarded me a link to a 5.3 and transmission, which I am in the process of negotiating a purchase. Time to remove the power train.
 

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#3
Into the garage...







First order of business was to remove the heater box, and while I was at it, the a/c system too. Lots of dirt trapped in the cowl...








Planning on a Vintage Air Magnum system in it's place. I never did like having all that junk outside the firewall, and if I'm going to fit in a 5.3, I needed room. It seemed like a lot of bolts, but in no time the front clip was off too.





I'm surprised that there was no rust with the amount of dirt and junk that was trapped between the fenderwells and the firewall!




And, if you ever wondered why these things always leak- look at the sealing job on the cowl. I swear they got pre-schoolers to slap wads of Play-dough on the seams. They missed half of them. That will get some attention.









With the garage door shut, it takes up a lot of room!





Best news- no rust found, every bolt came out like the day it was built, nothing broken, and yes, I did bleed on it, so it's really mine! No pics of that- it was minor.
 
Last edited:

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Ashburn
State
VA
#4
This is awesome. Subscribed. And I am trying to convince my wife we need a J truck as a tow rig as well. Wish me luck.
 

zr10054

Car and Gun Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Gonzales
State
La
#5
If the motor and the front clip is out and you got your blood on it, you have an official build thread.
BUT did you bust your nose like Dain did?
 

gr8dain

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Ashburn
State
VA
#6
Project "Blue", My 1987 J20 Build

If the motor and the front clip is out and you got your blood on it, you have an official build thread.
BUT did you bust your nose like Dain did?
Hey now!!! Honestly, I hope that no one does.
 
Last edited:

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#8
Project "Blue", My 1987 J20 Build

Today's progress... The engine is out. Along with the Trans and transfer case. Thankfully I remembered where my engine tilter is.





Then I shot the whole thing with degreaser and hosed it down. Got a couple pounds of dirt out of the rockers and frame rails.







After that, my arm/shoulder were screaming pretty good, so I called it a day.
 

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#9
As far as the engine/Trans deal- there were sufficient red flags to get me to decide against it. On a positive note- while my friend at the local yard was researching it for me, he offered to make me a screaming deal on a 2014 low mile 5.3 complete, and a Trans to match at a later date when funds were available.

Turns out one of the main reasons the 1999 to 2007 engines are expensive is a dwindling supply of good units. But- 2008 and up Gen4 units are plentiful and comparatively well priced. An added bonus is better performance and an aluminum block!
 

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#11
Logic has nothing to do with it! It's cool, that's a good enough reason- right? [emoji41]
 

zr10054

Car and Gun Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Gonzales
State
La
#12
Logic has nothing to do with it! It's cool, that's a good enough reason- right? [emoji41]
Expensive is cool too. And if that's true I must be one cool dude. But not nearly as cool as some of MySunnshine's customers.
 

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#16
Wow... Nice late model J Truck :)

Chrysler wiring lots better than AMC.
Except for when the prior owner was Jack the Ripper! The lighting harness is great. But the engine portion is hacked, and under the dash it's a cluster. I'm going to try and save what I can, because I'm going to keep the stock gauge cluster.
 

Randyzzz

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#18
Collecting parts and waiting for my buddy at the junkyard to check out a recently arrived 2014 5.3. Going to start filling firewall holes soon...
 

gazzo

AMC Jeep nutjob
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Fremantle
State
WA
#20
I'm in. Seems the "just get it so it's a good DD" idea has gone.
 
Top