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1975 Jeep CJ5 - Wild Oats

Posted in Features on February 1, 2004 Comment (0)
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1975 Jeep CJ5 - Wild Oats
0402 4wd 01 z+1979 jeep cj5+jeep

When he purchased his brand-new CJ-5 in 1974, Rod Pepper of Cheyenne, Wyoming, had no idea that the Jeep would go through so many changes over the next 20 years. In its many incarnations, Wild Oats has run stock, 31-, 33-, 35-, 38-, and finally 39.5-inch tires. It has used leaf springs, rear leafs and front coils, and ultimately coils all the way around. The original Jeep mill was swapped out for a Mopar 340 that was built to the hilt, and then, when that engine had finally seen enough years of service, a new Mopar 408 Magnum stroker made its debut. The CJ has been used as a snow basher, a sand jeep, and a rockcrawler. It has been taken on trails both famous and infamous all across the U.S. Pepper even endoed it once in the dunes, breaking his neck in the process.

When Rod blew up the 340 motor while snow bashing last winter, he decided that some major changes were in order. Never one to wimp out on horsepower, Rod enlisted the help of James Stewart of Drivetrain Unlimited in St. George, Utah. A Mopar 408 Magnum stroker was built using a dyno-engineered package from KRC Performance of Cocoa, Florida. Stewart ported the 2.02 Magnum RT heads from Mopar Performance and installed Comp Cams stainless roller rockers, Smith Brothers NASCAR pushrods, and Crower guideplates. Ross 0.030-inch lightweight racing pistons, billet H-beam rods, a Scat forged stroker crank, and a Comp Cams custom-grind roller cam were installed in the Mopar Magnum block, and the complete setup was balanced and blueprinted by Stewart.

A four-barrel TBI from Howell Engine Developments mounted on a Mopar M1 intake manifold handles fuel delivery. An MSD 6AL, an Accel Super coil, and Moroso 8mm wires provide spark. Sanderson headers dump into a 2.5-inch Flowmaster dual exhaust system. A modified Be Cool radiator and a SPAL 16-inch electric fan keep the big 408 Mopar cool. The engine dynos at 440 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque - enough even for Rod and the many demands he places on the Jeep.

A Mopar 727 Torqueflite automatic with a Low gearset and TCI converter was the transmission of choice. It's bolted to the original Model 20 transfer case. Tom Wood driveshafts send power to the front and rear. Up front, there's an owner-built Dana 60 with 35-spline 'shafts, Dana 70 stub axles, 5.38 gears, a Detroit Locker, disc brakes, Warn hubs, and a Poison Spyder Customs rock ring differential guard. In back, there's a Currie high-pinion Dana 60 with alloy axles, 5.38 gears, another Detroit, disc brakes, and a Poison Spyder differential guard.

Rod wanted to run 39.5-inch tires and upgrade the Jeep's suspension to 2004 standards. To do this, he built a custom four-link coil suspension in front. In back, he enlisted RockWorXtreme of Montrose, Colorado, to build a custom long-arm four-link coil suspension with triangulated upper control arms. Craig Ross and Terry Sweetin, owners of RockWorXtreme, really know what they're doing. An added plus is that they live in Montrose and have all those tough trails to test their suspension products on. The RockWorx suspension also uses a Currie Anti-Rock antisway bar. The CJ-5 now sports a 97-inch wheelbase.

Other bits and pieces that work to make this Jeep exceptional include an AGR Rock Ram steering system, a Mobi Weld onboard welder, a Currie 12-volt air compressor, a Warn XD9000i winch, Off Again Navajo brakes, Procar seats, Auto Meter gauges, a Mike Flynn rollcage, and an 18-gallon aluminum fuel cell. Wild Oats was painted '70 Dodge Panther Pink by Neil Wolski of Quicksand Off Road and Customs in Longmont, Colorado.

During the photo shoot, we had a chance to observe Wild Oats in action. The low-end torque of the 408 Mopar was impressive, and the suspension worked superbly. In fact, the suspension worked so well that we plan to have RockWorXtreme do work for us in the future. With all the fabulous updates that this trusty old CJ-5 has undergone, it should be sewing wild oats for another 30 years.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown: Rod Pepper/
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Year/make/model: '74 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-5
Engine: 408 Mopar {{{Magnum}}}
Induction: Howell Engine
Developments TBI
Transmission: 727 Torqueflite
Transfer case: Model 20/2.46:1
Frontend: Dana 60 with
Detroit Locker
Rearend: Currie high-pinion Dana
60 with Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 5.38:1
Suspension: Custom four-link front;
RockWorXtreme
four-link rear
Wheels/tires: 15x10-inch Champion
bead locks/15x39.5-15
Super Swamper TSLs

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