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1980 Jeep CJ5 - Lone Star 4x4s

Posted in Project Vehicles on July 1, 2002
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Our second installment of the "Trucks Of..." series takes us to the great state of Texas. The first thing we noticed, once we arrived here, was that everything really is bigger in Texas, including the trucks. This is due to lenient lift laws, which create the ability to install tall lifts and big tires as long as the truck's headlight height falls within state-mandated parameters.

We crisscrossed the central and eastern part of the state in an effort to gather a wide variety of trucks. We photographed Mark Claus's "Texas Frog" and Tim Taylor's CJ-5 at Thomas Perdue's massive Shiloh Ridge Off Road Park in Alto, Texas, while Randy Goeth's sprawling ranch near San Antonio, Texas, was drafted as a photo location for Hondo Rivera's Ford F-350, Irma Cruz's Chevy Z-71, and Bill Davidson's Toyota FJ-40. Special thanks go out to these two land owners and to the folks at Lone Star Off Road Land of The Giants in San Antonio for all their logistical assistance-and also for the breakfast tacos.

Tim Taylor's '80 CJ-5 is one of those 4x4s that catches your eye, and as you look closer, captures your attention. It's one of those vehicles that you need to crawl underneath of, inside of, and under the hood of, in order to satisfy your curiosity. So that's exactly what we did.

Powering the CJ is an '89 Chevy TBI 350 V-8 engine, and while the engine's internals remain mostly stock, it features a K&N chrome air cleaner, Hooker headers, dual exhaust, and Flowmaster mufflers. The engine features a custom wiring harness (fabbed by Troy Reid of Nacogdoches, Texas), a 100-amp alternator, dual Optima batteries, and a Northwest Power Products Relay Kit and Battery Manager (for selective charge and draw from either or both of the batteries). Torque is sent to a TH400 transmission that is controlled by a B&M shifter and modified with a shift kit and tranny cooler. Bolted to the tranny is a Dana 300 transfer case, which has been heavily modified with a TeraLow 4:1 and tailshaft kit.

Underneath the truck, custom Tom Wood driveshafts carry power to a full-width GM 14-bolt rear axle and a front full-width Dana 44 axle. Both sport Detroit Lockers and 4.88 gears, and are suspended by a spring-over axle conversion that utilizes Superlift 4-inch-lift leaf springs and Revolver shackles. Bilstein 7100 shocks perform dampening duties. The custom crossover steering is comprised of Hi Steer and AGR Rock Ram components that ensure that the steering components and their operation remain trouble-free. They also make it easy to turn the 39.5x18-15 Boggers that are mounted on MRT 15x12 steel bead-lock wheels. Finally, the transfer case is guarded by a custom skidplate that's fabbed from 1/4-inch steel.

One of the most obvious things about Taylor's CJ is its extended length, accomplished by cutting the frame behind the rear of the front spring hangers and grafting in 17 inches of frame. Of course, this necessitated modifications to the body, so he cut the body at the cowl and added a cowl from a donor CJ. Adkinson Paint and Body in Nacogdoches applied the silver base color, which then was enhanced with purple and yellow scallops. The finished piece sits on a 1-inch body lift, and features a Warn 8274 winch, KC lights, polished aluminum diamond plate rocker guards, modified front and rear fender openings, Tomken nerf bars, rear bumper and rack, and trailer hitch.

Inside the Jeep, Taylor integrated everything needed for safe and successful trail riding, including a six-point rollcage, fire extinguisher, CO2 tank, Quick Air II with remote tank, and a Uniden CB radio.

Tim Taylor's CJ took more than two years to build, but it'll undoubtedly provide years of reliable service as he 'wheels the challenging terrain of the Southwest. It'll also undoubtedly turn a lot of heads.

PhotosView Slideshow
Owner Tim Taylor, Nacogdoches, Texas
Vehicle model 1980 {{{Jeep CJ}}}-5
Estimated value n/a

Type 1989 {{{Chevrolet}}} V-8
Displacement (ci) 350
Aspiration Throttle-body injection, K&N air cleaner, Hooker headers, 1 1/2-inch dual exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers

Transmission TH400, shift kit, auxiliary oil cooler
Transfer case Dana 300, TeraLow 4:1 kit, TeraLow tailshaft conversion kit

Front/rear Spring-over axle, Superlift 4-inch-lift leaf springs, Revolver shackles, Bilstein shocks

Front Full-width Dana 44, Detroit Locker
Rear Full-width GM 14-bolt, Detroit Locker
Ring-and-pinion 4.88

Ring-and-pinion 15x12 MRT steel bead locks
Tires 39.5x18-15 Boggers

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