Building a retro-modern early Jeep is a fun, yet sometimes annoying undertaking. Seeing what you’ve created with your own two hands is very rewarding when things go well. The problem is the designers of both our ’56 CJ-5 and ’98 XJ that we are merging into one never intended for anything of the sort, so sometimes things don’t exactly jibe. Oh well, this ain’t our first Jeep-building rodeo and no one who ever built a Jeep allowed a couple issues to stop them in their tracks.
Last time we finished mounting and connecting our XJ’s steering box with an early CJ steering column using some well-established parts and methods. We also tied the suspension together, mounted the engine to the frame, and now have something that looks like a Jeep rather than a pile of parts.
In this installment we mess with modifying the original ’98 XJ wiring harness and start installing it, begin building a simple, yet effective rollcage, modify a TJ radiator and build a mount to fit it to the 2.5L four-cylinder, add mounting for some new, yet retro Bestop low-back vinyl seats, add a JB Conversions NP231J HD Super Short Slip-Yoke Eliminator to our T-case for maximum rear driveshaft length and amazing strength, and finally, bolt on some retro wheels and modern tires with a twist! Follow along as we cover these mods to our Ground-Up retro-tastic early CJ-5.