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1968 Jeep Jeepster Buildup - Jeepster Resurrection

Posted in Project Vehicles on July 1, 2009
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For some perverse reason, we keep buying these piles of parts and justifying thepurchases by calling them Jeeps. While it usually translates into great stories, it never gets easier for us. Most people learn from their mistakes. Except, apparently, for Jp magazine editors. Year after year, and time after time, we go and buy long-neglected Jeeps and try to get them ready to not only drive, but wheel, some big event; often with time tables that seem OK to us at the time, but once we are honest with ourselves afterwards, weren't anywhere near attainable.

After however many years of hibernation the battery was dead and we didn't even get a "click" from the starter. So, we put it on a 2-amp trickle charge for five days after getting it home.

So, true to Jp magazine form, Trasborg bought this '68 Jeepster two weeks before Tierra Del Sol's Desert Safari. It hadn't run in about five years, it had two deflated tires, it had overlooked the Pacific Ocean for those years (read: salt air and possible rust), and it shared space with a bunch of goats and sheep.

Sounds like a bargain, right? Eh, there were extenuating factors-some of the other editors Trasborg worked with had hands on the Jeep, and it had some solid, but not ostentatious, upgrades.

Cappa himself replaced the rear Dana 30 with a Dana 44 from '72 CJ-5. The Dana 44 had all new brakes, new gears, new bearings, and new seals. The ignition was replaced, the carburetor rebuilt, the leaky plastic fuel filler swapped out, it had aftermarket springs under it, and at some point it had been treated to a full interior restoration, including carpet, and new seat upholstery.

The first thing we did was put some Marvel Mystery Oil down into the cylinders to break up any rust or oxidation that might have formed and to hopefully break the rings loose from the cylinder walls. We poured a quart into the six-cylinders and let it sit for six days.

So, all in all the $1,000 price tag sounded pretty good, and two weeks to a shakedown run isn't such a huge obstacle, right? Right...

This is going to be a two-part story about resurrecting a Jeepster and breathing enough life back into it to take it wheeling in Moab, Utah, for the Easter Jeep Safari. Check out the sidebar for everything done to this Jeep before the Desert Safari in California, and check out the captions for the highlight reel of a Jeepster resurrection.

Full Disclosure
charge old battery
quart of Marvel Mystery in the engine
cut rear flares
replace door windows
rebuild roll-up window channels, weld up hogged
out mounting holes.
clean snail shells, mouse turds, and other
nastiness out of interior
adjust non-opening points in distributor
touch up paint
weld cracks in door at vent windows
weld six mirror holes on driver's door
remove armrests and flip interior door lever in order to shift with doors closed
remove ratty, falling sun visors
tighten interior rear view window
remove straw from engine compartment
throw out console and floormats
remove rusty spare parts from cargo area
replace coolant and oils
top-off brake master cylinder
install Goodyear tires
break 4WD shifter loose for possibly the first time in a decade

PhotosView Slideshow

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