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Old Yeller

Posted in Features on January 13, 2004 Comment (0)
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Old Yeller

Having been introduced to Jeeps at an early age 36 years ago, Phil Beachamp decided it was time to build a trail-only Jeep. When he purchased this '73 CJ-5, he had no idea it would go through so many different phases of buildup before reaching its final rolling height.

The progressive buildup of this Jeep has led Phil through quite a few changes in suspension design and drivetrain conversions. He wanted to find the right combination of components to fit his style of 'wheeling. Obviously, he trashed the original Dana 30 front axle and replaced it with a Dana 44; he then decided it wasn't enough and swapped both the front and rear axles out for Dana 60s. Still wanting more, he removed the 60s, sold them on eBay, and purchased a set of 2-1/2-ton Rockwell axles. These massive axles took about eight months of cutting, grinding, and welding to mate to the rig. Both front and rear axles are steering axles (rear steer), are geared at 6:72.1, and use PSC components and Detroit Lockers for traction.

A custom three-link suspension and four custom coil springs from Valley Spring Works did the trick attaching the axles to the vehicle. The control arms were crafted from 2-inch DOM tubing and use 1-1/4-inch-shank, 1-inch-bore National rod ends at all connecting points. The frame of the Jeep was lengthened and strengthened to support the new 112-inch wheelbase. Dual Rancho 9012 shocks soften the ride at all four corners of the vehicle. The whole creation rolls on massive 49x21-17LT IROK Super Swampers mounted on 17x12-inch MRT 40-bolt bead locks. Phil and his two Jeepin' friends, Jerry Cantrell and Doug Stacey, found it especially rewarding to be able to complete all the suspension work themselves.

For the powertrain, an AMC 360ci V-8 was completely reworked, balanced, and blueprinted. It was fit with a 280 Comp Cam, 9.5:1 pistons, an Edelbrock manifold, Holley Pro-Jection fuel injection, a custom pointless ignition, a GM ECM, and a custom aluminum radiator to keep things cool. A Ford T-18 transmission and Atlas II transfer case geared at 4.3:1 kick the power to the wheels.

The CJ-5 also features a custom rollcage and rocker guards, built by Phil from 1-1/2- and 1-1/4-inch DOM tubing. The 'cage attaches to the frame in six places and to the tub of the Jeep in almost 20 locations.

After the buildup, this monster CJ-5 can handle the harshest terrain thrown underneath it. Although Phil says his old CJ-5 may never be completed, he is very happy with its current state. He religiously reads any and all four-wheel-drive publications, and bases quite a few of his buildup designs on the tech articles within the pages. With the way the sport is advancing technologically, we can't wait to see the rig in the coming years.

Specifications
Owner/hometown:Phil Beachamp/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Year/make/model:'73 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-5
Engine:AMC 360ci V-8
Induction:Holley Pro-Jection/Edelbrock intake manifold
Transmission:Ford T-18
Transfer case: Atlas II
Front end: 2-1/2-ton Rockwell
Rear end: 2-1/2-ton Rockwell
Ring-and-pinion: 6:72.1 with Detroit Lockers
Suspension: Custom coil spring conversion with front and rear three-link.
Wheels/tires: 17x12-inch MRT 40-bolt bead locks/49x21-17LT IROK Super Swampers
Everything on Phil Beachamp's CJ-5 is scratch-built from the ground up, with the exception of the tub. Everything on Phil Beachamp's CJ-5 is scratch-built from the ground up, with the exception of the tub.
The front and rear axles are custom-built 2-1/2-ton Rockwells. The front and rear axles are custom-built 2-1/2-ton Rockwells.
Phil built the front and rear three-link suspension from 2-inch DOM tubing, with coil springs from Valley Spring Works. Phil built the front and rear three-link suspension from 2-inch DOM tubing, with coil springs from Valley Spring Works.
The powerplant is a completely rebuilt and blueprinted AMC 360ci V-8. The powerplant is a completely rebuilt and blueprinted AMC 360ci V-8.
The rollcage and rocker guards were built from 1-1/2- and 1-1/4-inch DOM tubing. The rollcage and rocker guards were built from 1-1/2- and 1-1/4-inch DOM tubing.
The Jeep also features front and rear steering. The Jeep also features front and rear steering.
Auto Meter gauges keep tabs on the engine, a Chevy tilt steering column acts as the controls, and Summit seats bolt to the tub for comfort and safety. Auto Meter gauges keep tabs on the engine, a Chevy tilt steering column acts as the controls, and Summit seats bolt to the tub for comfort and safety.
Massive 49x21-17LT IROK Super Swampers mounted on 17x12-inch MRT 40-bolt bead locks give the Jeep impressive ground clearance and provide excellent traction. Massive 49x21-17LT IROK Super Swampers mounted on 17x12-inch MRT 40-bolt bead locks give the Jeep impressive ground clearance and provide excellent traction.
A Warn industrial 9,000-pound winch is mounted to the custom front bumper for recovery purposes. The entire body of the Jeep was shot with spray-on bedliner material. A Warn industrial 9,000-pound winch is mounted to the custom front bumper for recovery purposes. The entire body of the Jeep was shot with spray-on bedliner material.

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