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1978 CJ-7 - Lime-Green monster

Front Axle.gif
Pete Trasborg
| Brand Manager, Jp
Posted June 12, 2008

DJ-Grilled CJ

If you've never had a chance to get out and do some serious snow wheeling- like pushing your Jeep through 3-foot snow fields with 5- to 6-foot drifts using only your engine, your driving skills, and plenty of go pedal-then you've never lived.

Snow wheeling like that requires a combination of builds and a particular set of ingredients: big tires that clear out easily to maintain forward progress; big, bulletproof axles that will withstand any rock hits; and a motor to get that big, heavy Jeep through the powder.

We found Dave meisner, a computer engineer from Longmont, colorado, in some snow-covered dunes on the Wyoming- colorado border with all those ingredients in abundance, cooked together in his garage in a matter of four months, to make an awesome snow-wheeling and rockcrawling Jeep.


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This Jeep rides on a frame from an '83 cJ-7 with outboarded springs, a wheelbase that was stretched to 100 inches using the offset center pin of some seven-leaf Wagoneer springs, and a custom rear crossmember was added (to which the antiwrap bar is attached).

The axles are a custom hodgepodge of parts, as well, put together with the precision only an engineer has. The Dana 60 front axle was swiped from a cUcv and narrowed 5 inches. it then got 35-spline moser inner axleshafts and 35-spline Spicer outers with Warn premium locking hubs. The rear axle, meanwhile, is a more unique blend of parts. a '98 Ford F-350 high-pinion front Dana 60 centersection was mated to some '97 F-350 rear full-float axletubes and then stuffed with moser 35-spline shafts. Both front and rear axles received 5.38 gears and Detroit Lockers that help crank the 15/39.5-16.5LT Super Swamper TSL tires on 16.5x10 TnT customs double bead locks through just about anything.

The engine was yanked from a '71 Jeep and started life as a 401ci. Then Dave got it, bored it 0.040 over, and stuffed it with some Federal mogul pistons for a 9.5:1 compression ratio. The crank and rods were turned 0.010 undersized, and the heads got 7.16-inch rocker studs and some porting work. an edelbrock Performer intake tops the engine along with a holley 4di, 750-cfm Projection system, which sucks gas from a TnT customs 21-gallon fuel cell mounted in the stock location

The mixture is lit by an mSD 6aL ignition system with a Blaster coil and then exits through the stock manifolds, a bunchof 3-inch-diameter tubing, and a Flowmaster muffler. Finishing off the engine is a Bulltear nickel-plated timing cover and oil pump with a Performance american Style antiwalk cam button.


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Power goes from there through a locally sourced custom 2,000-rpm stall torque converter and into a TF727 automatic transmission. The internals of the transmission are really neat. it has a cheetah full manual valvebody with a reverse shift pattern, a billet steel servo, straight-cut planetaries from a '70s dump truck (which provide a 3.11:1 First gear), a heavy-duty rear sprag, high-performance Kevlar bands, a 4.2:1 ratio billet Second gear lever, a larger drum with an additional friction plate, and a Jeep output shaft and tailhousing. a B&m ratchet-style shifter rows the gears while a SPaL 50,000-pound GvWr cooler keeps the slushbox fluid cool.

A short rear-output Dana 300 from an '80 cJ-5 then splits power front and rear with a front rockstomper driveshaft and a shortened Ford "exploder" rear cv shaft.

In a strange marriage, an XJ steering box was bolted to a custom 3.8-inch plate Dave made to form a unit that has lasted surprisingly long. many XJ guys are tripping over themselves to ditch the threebolt steering box that came with their XJs, and here is one swapped into a Jeep with big tires, a decent motor, and no problems with the box ripping off the frame. From there, directional suggestion travels through a rockstomper rock rod steering setup with high-steer arms and a rear-mounted tie rod with a 2-inch hydroassist ram.

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