Making our $13 CJ-6 a runner.
In Part 2 you read all about the saga of our latest Jeep purchase. To briefly recap, a buddy saddled us with a free but unregistrable CJ-5 with a good drivetrain, so we naturally had to buy something to put it in. Along came a deal on an $800 '71 CJ-6 that needed a drivetrain. Since the CJ-5's engine seemed like it would be a strong runner, we were able to sell an engine we had on the shelf awaiting our next project to recoup the CJ-6's purchase price, then we sold off the rest of the odds and ends we didn't need from both vehicles for a $339.45 profit.
However, when we finally got the CJ-6 up and running for last month's driveway cover shoot, we did so with no front brakes, only four wires in the vehicle to control the ignition, severely bald, leaky, dry-rotten tires, and a 5-gallon fuel can on the passenger-side floorboard as our gas tank. Otherwise, the CJ-6 had absolutely no working lights or switches, cooling system, fuel system, or electrical system. Since the goal was to make the CJ-6 functional enough to get through this year's TDS Desert Safari without killing ourselves or others, we needed to start spinning wrenches in a hurry.
We began with the front brakes, but it soon became apparent that finding parts for a '71 Jeep locally wasn't going to be as easy as it should have been. Maybe it's just us, but we don't even consider this an old Jeep. After the counter donkeys at three different parts stores looked at us like we were speaking Idiot-ese, we finally found some front shoes and hub seals at our local NAPA. The writing was on the wall, so we gave up on the parts stores for all but the most mundane of purchases and dove straight into the 4Wheel Drive Hardware catalog.
There's nothing quite like having a source for all the little hard-to-find odds and ends you'll need for an older Jeep project, as well as the big stuff. You can literally build a Jeep from scratch out of the 4Wheel Drive Hardware catalog. Before you start thinking our strokage isn't well deserved, just try to find an underseat fuel-tank hold-down strap or a tranny mount for a T14 at your local auto parts store. Heck, we couldn't even come up with a part number for a V-6 radiator at any of our parts stores, let alone find one, but 4Wheel Drive Hardware lists a couple, including a heavy-duty three-core version. You can check out the parts list for everything we ordered, including the buildup tally to date.