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1981 Jeep CJ 7 - Six-Month Plan

Posted in Features on July 1, 2005 Comment (0)
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1981 Jeep CJ 7 - Six-Month Plan
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It started in November 2004 in Loveland, Colorado, when Marlon Seals pulled the last body bolt off his '81 CJ-7 and removed the tub. At the time, the finish date was but a dream, but Marlon had a goal. His CJ would make it to Moab for the 2005 Easter Jeep Safari. Considering the plans laid out in front of him, it was a far-fetched fantasy at best; four-link coilover suspension, Chevy Vortec V-8, full-hydraulic steering, 1-ton axles; Marlon had some sleepless nights ahead. But with careful planning and no vacations, the CJ miraculously came together in time for the scheduled unveiling in Moab.

Marlon began his CJ restoration by ditching the stock frame and starting anew with a frame from Advanced Frame Works. After situating the built axles beneath the new frame, he then went about designing and locating the suspension links and installing the Bilstein coilovers. Since Marlon was tackling this effort on his own, a good degree of trial and error was employed until the desired results were achieved. Marlon did his homework, though. After witnessing his CJ in action, we can confidently divulge that the rig handles as good as it looks. Even with the 42-inch Interco IROK meats mounted to Walker Evans bead-lock wheels entered into the equation, Marlon's CJ still flexes like a champ without any tire rub.

We caught up with Marlon and his wife, Christina, at Area BFE outside of Moab during the Easter Safari. Though they'd been hitting the trails for a few days, the CJ-7 was still performing flawlessly. This was an even greater testament to Marlon's building abilities, since it was the CJ's first venture out after the seemingly short six-month buildup. Another fine example of what can be accomplished with a plan and a lot of hard work, Marlon's freshly built CJ is not only a head turner, but functions as intended, well above and beyond Marlon's expectations.

SPECIFICATIONS
Year/make/model: ’81 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-7
Owner/hometown: Marlon Seals/
Loveland, Colorado
Engine: ’01 Chevy 350 Vortec
Transmission: Chevy 4L80E
Transfer case: Atlas
Frontend: Dana 60, Detroit Locker
Rearend: GM 14-bolt, Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion: 5.13
Suspension: Four-link with 14-inch
Bilstein Rock Crawler
Series coilovers, 2-inch
body lift
Tires/wheels: 42x14x17 Interco
IROKs/17x9-inch Walker
Evans bead locks

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