Tips For Rebuilding An Old Jeep, Or Building One From Scratch

old-jeep-by-arkosfl.jpg If you ever have the opportunity to get your hands on an old Jeep, the availability of Jeep parts is nothing short of amazing.

With their longterm durability, people just keep them forever.  As a result, the demand for parts has generated an aftermarket supply chain that will keep even the oldest Jeeps running indefinitely.

Ready to tackle that DIY Jeep project?…

 

Jeeps Are Definitely Worth Restoring

My experience with Jeeps goes back over 50 years (…and I’ve always had 4×4′s from as far back as 1973).

My dad bought a new CJ2A shortly after World War II.

Due to shortages and war production, there just were no new cars available to buy.

Advertised as a dual-purpose piece of agricultural equipment, the small 4×4 Jeep was shown pulling plows and performing all sorts of tasks around the farm or orchard.

For my father, the Jeep was simply a necessary form of transportation.

I was introduced to the Jeep soon after I was born.

On a winter trip north from Duluth Minnesota, to Winnipeg Manitoba (where my mother was from), I rode unceremoniously in a cardboard box placed between the two seats.

From that humble beginning, I eventually purchased a used 1979 Jeep CJ5 of my own in the mid 80’s.

Still a nimble little vehicle, I always thought would have been nice to find an old CJ2A to rebuild or restore.

rebuild-jeep-by-36Bananapies

 

Ideas For Your Jeep Project

old-wwii-jeep.jpgOver the years, Jeep maintained that upgrading designs was a worthwhile pursuit, while changing designs simply for change’s sake would be a losing proposition.

To that end, the drive train and mechanics of the trusty Jeep evolved very slowly.  As a result, the mechanics of today’s Jeeps are very similar to the original military Jeeps from way back in the 1940’s.

For starters, the original 4-cylinder engine with energy passing through a transmission followed by a transfer case with drive shafts going both to the front axle and rear axle.  Pure, simple, and straightforward.

If you’re eager to jump into a DIY Jeep project, rest assured that it really doesn’t matter the condition of your Jeep (even if it’s a recent CJ barn find!).  That’s because replacement bodies, frames, and other Jeep parts are readily available for all years and body styles.

jeep-cj-rebuilders-manual-1946-1971.gif In fact, the source of parts is so good, you could actually build your Jeep from scratch using readily available parts.  If you have a good title and VIN plate, then you can buy the rest! (Some states may allow you to forego the existing title issue. Just be sure to check with your state’s DMV to confirm what they will allow you to do before building a vehicle aimed to be licensed and driven on public roads.)

Fiberglass bodies have become quite popular for 2 reasons:  (1) They’re lightweight; and (2) They don’t rust.  Once you have a usable frame and a rust-free body, you’re well on your way.

Your drive train can be pretty much whatever you want to put in it.  Adapter plates will match up many engines to different transmissions.  You can build your Jeep as “mild” or as “wild” as you like.

Jeep lift kits will enable you to raise the ground clearance and put on a set of those super swamper tires that you’ve been looking at.  When you’re done, your Jeep will be ready to go anywhere!

If mud is your thing, you might want to set it up with a snorkel kit. When in deep water, water will get into the intake unless you’ve relocated your air inlet up by the roof.  A snorkel will make your Jeep part submarine!

If you haven’t found that perfect “project Jeep” yet, and you’re still looking for the Jeep of your dreams — be it ready to roll, or a basket case — then drop by eBay. There, you’re bound to find something that will meet your needs.

Feel free to share links to photos of your own Jeep project in the Comments below!

Curtis Carper

I’ve been involved in RVing for over 40 yrs -- including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. I do all of my own repair work. My other interests include cooking at home, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you've got a good idea of who I am.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/theodore.vassilhorse Theodore Vassil-Horse

    I’m one for WW2 jeeps, I have a 1943 early jeep and a 42
    slat jeep both mb,s. you can ether eBay original parts or by brand spanking new
    originals. Just be sure to make sure they don’t put their names on the repo
    parts so that you keep it looking like the real thing. JUST MAKE SURE TO NOT
    GET RID OF ORIGINAL PARTS!!! i and many other ww2 jeep dudes savage the parts
    since they are original metal parts. i bought my 42 off of a guy who cut them
    off and got rid of them, he even burned the original wiring harness. Got rid of
    the slat grill and replaced the engine, the frame was perfect and he cut it up
    and thought it was trash, I saved it fixed it and maybe about to sell it,
    thinking about it. it’s a really nice frame so I’m thinking about fixing the 42
    up completely. AND if you ask yourself if you want a ww2 jeep and want to make
    it perfect and or buy it to mod it then DON”T BUY ONE. get a Jeep CJ.

    IF you want something awesome and you have undying
    motivation for a piece of history that you can call yours then buying one is
    the right thing to do. Then buy a WW2 jeep.

    Don’t take it the wrong way with my last two sentences but it’s horrible for
    someone to RUIN a original WW2 jeep makes me sick to my stomach to meet a guy
    who thought the jeep needed to be converted to a CJ or wrangler, causing thousands
    of dollars’ worth of damage, a example of that is my 1942 slat jeep, was worth a
    lot of money until it was destroyed and made to look like a wrangler. if you
    want a cj or wrangler then buy one of those not modify a ww2 jeep into a cj or
    wrangler, you destroy the value and the looks and the original parts that ww2
    jeeps dudes like myself want our hands on.

    and if you absolutely want one to mod, then buy a reproduction body, frame, etc
    and mod that.

    i only voice my opinions

    and mind my grammar