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1983 Jeep CJ7 - The Skinny Pedal

Posted in Features on April 1, 2003
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Toby Furnas likes to whoop it up in his '83 CJ. We've heard him yell out a "Yeehaw" and even a "Git 'em" when the trail starts getting nasty. His friends say it's because he's fairly deranged, but Toby claims otherwise: "It's 'cause I'm fixin' to use my skinny pedal," he offers, "that's why I holler." And with a freshly installed Chevy LTI 350 under the hood, there's plenty of that skinny pedal-accessible horsepower for Toby to yell about. Mix in some Oklahoma trails under his 42-inch Swampers and the kid is down right dancing a jig. Well, at least a two-step.

It all began with Toby wanting to reach this sort of skinny medal euphoria on a more consistent basis. He knew he'd need a capable vehicle to do so, and his CJ-7 was the perfect candidate. Recruiting a few friends to think out the process was his first step, which led to a pounding hangover the following morning. That next night, however, the torches came out, and in the end, the front axle was moved forward 6 inches and the rear moved back 4 inches. This setup offered a total of 104 inches of wheelbase, giving Toby's CJ its first taste of full skinny pedal capability. By this time the rig was ready for some legs and got just that thanks to Wagoner Machine Shop (WMS) in Claremore, Oklahoma. WMS whipped up a GM Dana 60 frontend and Dana 60 rear, narrowing both to TJ width and stuffing them with 5.13 gears, 35-spline 'shafts, and Detroit Lockers. The axles were positioned beneath the lengthened CJ and secured in a spring-over axle configuration utilizing Rancho 2.5-inch CJ lift springs. Then the aforementioned 42x15-inch Super Swamper TSLs surfaced and were mounted to a set of 15x12-inch Allied beadlocks. A Sam's Off-Road heavy-duty traction bar was installed to alleviate spring wrap-up, and Rancho RS9000s were installed at each wheel for a customized ride.

Not surprisingly, a key element behind the skinny pedal methodology is horsepower and torque. In search of the healthiest balance of the two, Toby sourced a Chevy LTI 350 from a '94 Impala SS and dropped it under the hood. The mill is cooled by a Flex-A-Lite fan and backs up to a TH 350 trans and a Dana 300 transfer case. A homemade 17-gallon fuel cell feeds the beast and is mounted at the rear of the rig, beneath a diamond plate cover. Spinning on the same belt as the 350, an AGR power steering pump transfuses an AGR steering box and an AGR Rock Ram, which is incorporated into the custom crossover steering system. Because the stretched wheelbase repositioned the hefty TSLs, Toby and pals trimmed out the fenders, leaving the fronts flat and carving the rears out to the rear of the tub. The front portion of the stretched frame was boxed to create a bumper that houses a Ramsey winch in addition to serving as a mounting location for the leaf spring shackles. Other body armor includes a set of custom rocker guards and a homemade belly pan skidplate that mounts flush to the bottom of the framerails.

Being that Toby's CJ is set up for extreme trail use, the buildup is never really complete. Parts do break and true trail testing often leads one back to the shop for further tweaking. For the time being, however, Toby's CJ more than fulfills his need for a capable 4x4, not to mention his hankering for that skinny pedal vibe. Just watch out if you're standing trailside when Toby gets after it. He's coming up one way or another, and you better believe that the skinny will be to the floor.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: Toby Juan Furnobi/
  Arkansas City, Kansas
Year/make/model: '83 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-7
Engine: '94 Chevy LTI 350
Induction: Tune Port Injection
Transmission: TH350
Transfer case: Dana {{{300}}}
Frontend: WMS Dana 60,
  Detroit Locker
Rearend: WMS Dana 60,
  Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 5.13
Suspension: SOA 2.5-inch Rancho
  lift springs
Wheels/tires: 42x15-inch Super
  Swamper TSL/15x12-
  inch Allied beadlocks

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