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The Sh!tbox Derby: Cappa's Freefender

Jeep Flatfender Engine Bay
John Cappa | Writer
Posted October 1, 2010

Part II: Turning Two Junk Jeeps Into One Runner

After taking inventory of both free CJ-2A Jeeps I went to work making one of them a runner and cutting up the remnants of the other. The previous owner of Jeep number one said it ran, so I gave it the once-over to see why it wouldn't run now. It was missing a battery, part of the air cleaner was gone (I found it in the tool box under the passenger seat), the fuel tank and mechanical fuel pump looked as though they had been bypassed and replaced with a hokey gravity-feed tank (which was no longer on the Jeep), and the wiring was just altogether questionable.

I fished through the wiring so that only the starter and ignition wires were functioning, just in case there were any short circuits waiting to reveal themselves. I built a mount and slapped in an Optima Yellow Top battery to see if I could start any electrical fires.

No fires started, but the engine wouldn't crank over using the starter switch. I figured that the starter solenoid was shot, so I used an old screwdriver to make the connection and jump-start the engine. I poured a little bit of fuel down the throat of the carb while cranking and it fired right up, idled smoothly for a few seconds, and then died when it ran out of gas. Only after I got it running was I willing to pop for an oil change. Hey, it didn't look that dirty!

I rifled through the wiring some more and found the starter solenoid was fine-the connections were simply corroded. I was actually surprised how easy this was turning out to be. After more investigating I found a few other issues, ordered some parts, and got to spinning wrenches while trying to stay on the cheap.

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Sources

Optima Batteries, Inc.
Milwaukee , WI 53209
888-867-8462
http://www.optimabatteries.com
Tellico 4x4
800-566-3646

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