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1982 Jeep CJ 5 - Rock Hound

Posted in Features on December 26, 2006
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It's not everyday that you see a completely custom-built and functional CJ-5 out on the trail, so when we ran across this rig, we just had to take notice. This particular Jeep belongs to Craig and Marsha Ross of Montrose, Colorado, and Craig has owned the vehicle since he was a freshman in high school and built the coil-sprung 'crawler you see today by combining old and new Jeep technology.

With a quick glance at the Jeep's undercarriage, a person might swear they're looking at a newer coil-sprung TJ suspension system. Yet upon closer inspection, they'd notice the custom fabrication work built to handle the extremes of four-wheel abuse. When Craig started building this CJ-5 he wanted a 'crawler able to handle the toughest terrain, offer maximum articulation, yet have the comfortable ride that coil springs offer. First, the front and rear OEM suspension components were completely removed from the rig and Dana 60 axles were placed underneath the vehicle. Once the axles were in place and measured for proper alignment, the coil spring perches, shock mounts, track arm bar mounts, and custom tri-link suspension mounts were fabricated to the chassis and axles. The coil springs used on the front and rear axles were purchased from Skyjacker.

The axles were built by JB's 4x4 in Attica, Indiana, and use 5.13 gearing, 35-spline Moser axles, and Detroit Lockers for traction. To keep the axle wrap in check, the front axle features a custom four-link design; the rear features a custom Y-link. For dependable stopping power, both the front and rear axles were fit with GM disk brakes. The suspension buildup took place at RockworX's in Montrose, Colorado, of which Craig is part-owner. Once the suspension was completed, there was more than enough room for a set of 39.5x16.5-15 Super Swamper TSLs wrapped over 15x10-inch American Racing Outlaw II wheels fit with Champion bead locks.

The powerplant is an '82 5.7L Vortec engine, which kicks power to the wheels via a 727 Torque Flite transmission and Dana 300 transfer case. The transmission was rebuilt using A-1's Low-gearing kit by Smitty's Transmission in Montrose, Colorado. The long-travel driveshafts were built by Drive Shaft Super Store in Phoenix.

With the completion of this Jeep, Craig has taken his old-school CJ-5 and fit it with the latest in four-wheel technology. As you can see, combining the suspension technologies from two different eras has created a 'crawler for the future.

PhotosView Slideshow
Owner/hometown: Craig and Marsha Ross/
  Montrose, {{{Colorado}}}
Year/make/model: '82 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-5
Engine: 5.7L Vortec
Induction: OEM
Transmission: Torque Flite 727
Transfer case: Dana {{{300}}}
Frontend: Dana 60
Rearend: Dana 60
Ring-and-pinion: 5:13 with Detroit Lockers
Suspension: Custom coil-spring
Wheels/tires: 39.5x16.5-15 Super
  Swamper TSLs/
  American Racing
  Outlaw II wheels fit with
  Champion bead locks
PhotosView Slideshow

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