Project Purple People Eater ('81)

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#1
I bought my first Jeep in June 2014 - '79 CJ5. I performed a basic restoration on that Jeep (new paint, new interior, fixed some of the mechanicals, etc.) but didn't do a frame off. I began looking for a new project at the start of this year (either a CJ7 or CJ8).

In June, I found an '81 CJ8 in TX that has become my next project with the goal of a frame off restoration. At some point in its lifetime, someone decided to paint over the original paint (I think it was brown) with a purple and white color scheme (hence, Project Purple People Eater). Overall, the Scrambler was in pretty good shape considering it has been used mainly as a ranch truck. The frame is solid and the tub only has some minor surface rust. The body had a few dents around the top of the bed which I have already straightened out. The worst of the body is actually the two front fenders (both pushed in) - I'll probably end up just replacing those. It came with a nice half cab hardtop. I'm currently looking for some doors (if anyone has some leads).

I've been following this site for a while to gain knowledge and ideas prior to jumping into the project. I officially commenced work on October 28th. Within a week I had the body off the frame and the engine pulled by the following weekend. I haven't worked on it much in the past two weeks but I have managed to get the front axle disconnected from the frame. I'm hoping to get the frame completely stripped this week. I still have to pull the rear axle, remove the brake lines and cut the bumpers off the frame. I bought a new rear crossmember from ChiefWaho to replace the current one on the frame. I've had a few nuts within the frame break that will need to be fixed after I sandblast the frame. One of these nuts is behind the brake proportioning valve which is the only thing keeping me from removing all the brake lines from the frame (I just haven't gotten around to cutting the head off the bolt to remove it).

Anyways, here are some preliminary thoughts for the goal of the frame off:

- New crate Chevy 350 or 383
- TH350 trans
- 4.10 gears
- 3.5” BDS Suspension lift with a YJ Spring Conversion
- Tie Rod flip
- 33" - 35" tires

For the color scheme, I am leaning towards a dark hunter green with the orange graphics and brown/tan seats.

Please chime in as I post more updates and correct me or offer suggestions as y'all see them. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions as I get further into the project. Now on to the photos...
 

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MrBeep

CJ-8 Vendor Supporter
CJ-8.com Vendor
City
Dillsboro
State
IN
#2
Nice start. :thumbsup: may I suggest an LS 5.3 or 6.0? Newer technology, more efficient, easier cooling and more "stock" horsepower and torque. They are getting more reasonably priced and availability is a lot better. Not to hard to find a downer vehicle on Craig's List so you get everything in one package. :twocents: :wave:
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#3
Lost a few of my posts when the forum went down so I'll backtrack just a bit.

Got my whole frame sandblasted and repainted (Eastwood 2 part Epoxy primer and chassis black paint). Also added a new rear crossmember courtesy of ChiefWaho.

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wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#4
I built a rotisserie from some old metal carts. I know I need to get some bracing in the door areas so for now I just have sawhorses set up under the door openings to provide some support as it hangs on there.

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After getting fed up with my siphon style “blast out of the bucket” sandblaster I finally bit the bullet and bought a 80lb pressure abrasive blaster. Within the first 5 minutes of using the new abrasive blaster I was kicking myself for not purchasing it sooner, it is such an improvement over what I had been using. I wasted way too much time blasting the whole frame with the siphon style blaster, oh well. At least the blasting on the tub should be much quicker.

I completely tore down, sandblasted and repainted the AMC20 rear axle only to find out upon reassembly that one of the outer axle bearings had at some point fused to the race, causing the race to spin in the housing, in turn warping the housing and making it unusable. Wish I had discovered that before going through all the effort of painting and sandblasting but oh well.

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wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#5
I've done some blasting and sanding on the tub. Overall it's in pretty good shape. I have a few spots I will need to patch and several of the body mount capture nuts are busted and will need to be replaced. I think I will replace the braces on the worst ones with some new parts from Classic Enterprises.

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wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#6
On Tuesday I got another set of axles delivered that will hopefully get my project back on track to having a rolling chassis very soon. I got the axles from a guy in Florida (set of wide tracs) but there is only one hiccup - when they were dropped off today I noticed that they were set up for spring over axle. I didn’t have any pictures of them before I got them. Anyways, that throws a bit of a curveball into my build as I was not planning on running a spring over axle set up and have very little knowledge about it. I was planning on using the scrambler 50% - 75% on the road and I have briefly read that with SOA you can get more significant axle wrap and wear out parts rather quickly. I’d love to hear anyone elses input on a SOA setup . I believe the front Dana 30 has an anti wrap bar mount on it but it doesn’t look like there are any mounts on the rear AMC 20. I already have a Tru Trac and 4.10 gears for both axles so I’d like to use these but am hesitant to start working on them until I get a little more information on the pros/cons of the SOA setup.

Any advice welcome...

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CJ7Pilot

18436572
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Yuba City
State
CA
#7
How "unusable" is the original axle end? Are you using one-piece axles, or going with the original configuration?

If the inner shoulder where the bearing race sits is still square, I think you could work with it... depending on how loose the new race is when you slide it in there.

With a one piece axle kit, the bearing is clamped very tightly (end-wise) by the bearing cap, so spinning the bearing is unlikely, but it still needs to be centered correctly.

Also, if you could find a free-floating axle kit, you'd eliminate the problem altogether.

I wouldn't bother with the soa setup... but that's just me. :shrug:
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#8
The original axle end is no good. You can slide the race in and out by hand. If you slip it in there and just turn the axle up on an angle it will slide out.

The original already had one-piece axles in it. One of the reasons I also liked the idea of the "new" axles (before I knew they were SOA), was that I'd be going from narrow-trac to wide-tracs.
 

Kim Dawson

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Molalla
State
Or
#9
Just cut the springs perches off and put new ones on the bottom side where they used to be. You've got your narrow track axles to show how far apart and the rotation of the spring perches if you want them in the stock position. You wanted wide tracks and you have them, so use them. I personally wouldn't go to the hassle of doing a spring over either.
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#10
I think I'm going to go with y'alls recommendation and just cut off the old spring perches and put new ones on the bottom like it was stock.

After I tore down my new axle housing I was finally able to visualize the difference in one-piece vs. two piece axle setups. My old housing that I thought was bad had one piece axles installed and this new wide trac housing had stock two piece axles.

Interestingly enough, the stock outer bearing race from the new housing (two piece axles) was a very snug fit when I transferred it over to the old housing that I thought was bad. Alternatively, I tried the old bearing spacer and race from the old "bad" housing (one-peice axle) into the new axle housing and it was also a slip fit by hand. Thinking this was odd, I did some research on the one piece axle installation online and then called up Moser. Apparently, the bearing races and spacer for a one piece axle setup are designed to be slip fit. They are supposed to stick out of the end of the housing just the slightest amount so that when you bolt the flange on the outside of the housing it provides pressure to lock the race in place.
 

Cmath

Scrambler Enthusiast
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Woodstock
State
Ga
#11
I prefer SOA but it is a considerably more work to do it the correct way. More than just perches. I have SOA on two cj7 and Cj8. Unless committed to a proper SOA I agree just flip the perches and go spring under.
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#12
Anyone have suggestions of where to get new spring perches? Looking to run the wider 2.5" YJ springs on front and back.
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#14

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#16
Got a bit of work done tonight. Completely disassembled the AMC 20. Weather here in TN shows a low of 56 tomorrow so I'm hoping I can get out tomorrow evening and get the axle housing sandblasted. I only blast outside so I have to take advantage of good weather this time of year.

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The old axles had seen better days. I wasn't able to remove the hub off the drivers side but luckily I could slip a wrench behind it and undo the bolts that held the brake to the outer housing flange so I just pulled the whole axle / brake assembly off as one piece. Ordering some one piece Moser axles along with new spring perches right now.

Can anyone give me any insight as to the costs / noticeable benefit of doing a rear disc brake conversion? I'll likely have to replace a bunch of parts in these old drum brakes so I am wondering if it is worth sticking with them or trying the conversion.
 

MrBeep

CJ-8 Vendor Supporter
CJ-8.com Vendor
City
Dillsboro
State
IN
#17
I ordered my Wildwood through JEGS and fabed my own mounting plates. They do make a nice very complete Teraflex "kit" for the 20 but it isa little pricy and takes about 8 weeks to get one. :thumbsup:
 

sdsupilot

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
OKC
State
OK
#19
Nice looking build. I am running 31" tires with stock brakes and am happy with the stopping power. A friend of mine (also running 31" tires) bought a manual to power brake conversion from summit racing. The booster on that kit is much larger than my stock booster, its stopping power is pretty awesome. Our setups are a bit different, but I think a bigger booster would have more of an effect than rear discs.

Also, love the shop and the pretty yellow woodworking equipment.
 

wewjr32

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Franklin
State
TN
#20
Nice looking build. I am running 31" tires with stock brakes and am happy with the stopping power. A friend of mine (also running 31" tires) bought a manual to power brake conversion from summit racing. The booster on that kit is much larger than my stock booster, its stopping power is pretty awesome. Our setups are a bit different, but I think a bigger booster would have more of an effect than rear discs.

Also, love the shop and the pretty yellow woodworking equipment.
Haha, thanks. Good eye spotting those Powermatic machines. The shop I'm working in is primarily a woodworking shop which was my first hobby before jeeps. I just have to stop all woodworking when I get into certain parts of my build so I don't get dust all over everything.
 
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