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Gem Of The Rockies ‘71 Rii Restomod

Discussion in 'Builds and Fabricators Forum' started by dnb5853, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Dec 31, 2017
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    Here’s my effort to cure the Photobucket ransomware disease that has plagued many. This is condensed from my original post. This first entry covers 11 years of work, dating back to 2006.

    The following paragraph qualifies my Gem of the Rockies statement.

    I sold my last CJ in the early 90's due to family pressures, but I kept all service manuals. I always knew I would have another one someday. After wheeling with a friend in 2004, the CJ bug bit hard and I was looking again. After over a year of finding junk pile after junk pile, my search continued but at a more leisurely pace. In July of 2006, I planned a Colorado hiking trip with 3 friends. It rained on us most of the day for our drive to the trail head in the Holy Cross wilderness (central CO). We started to set up tents, but I suggested making a detour to Leadville because I knew of a decent motel there. That idea was met with much enthusiasm. We got our rooms and drove thru town. I spied an orange CJ for sale at a local grocery store. I immediately recognized the V6 emblem, but was unfamiliar with the Renegade II stripe. The price was $4200, and included a winch. I called the number and was able to drive it within the hour. It stumbled and hesitated upon acceleration but smoothed out for steady driving. It pulled dangerously hard during braking. I intentionally drove into the ditch and surprised my buddy. The 4WD drive seemed to work fine. The body was in very good shape. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see large nuts on the rear axle shaft ends (I didn't know then they were flanged axles). I was also impressed with the 4:88 tags on each differential. It was no surprise this Jeep was spunky, although it needed carb work. I didn't like the 3 speed and knew I would have to change that. I offered the owner $3200. We didn't make the deal as he was firm on his $4000 price. About six weeks later, the owner called me, and said he hadn't gotten any better offer so he'd sell everything for $3200. Strangely enough, I had planned to call him and offer him more money that same week after learning more about the unusual RII! I mailed him the money, he sent me the title and I quickly planned another trip to CO to retrieve my Jeep. The owner and I work in the same professional industry so I had little concern about the long distance transaction. I rented a trailer (not from U-Haul since I drive an Explorer - but that's a different story). I got two Colorado vacations that year. My wife went with me to get the Jeep. One of the most ironic things about finding this Jeep was that my original travel plan would have NEVER taken us through Leadville had it not been for the rain! So, to me, Gem of the Rockies is fitting.


    Here are the pictures I took while in CO July 2006:

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    It is not my intent to do any significant body work for several years. I will wheel this vehicle and have fun with it. I am not worried about the occasional scratch or dent that typical off-roading usually provides. This 225 runs very well, and I don't plan to do any work to it, even cosmetic, for some time. Please don't judge this Jeep by the appearance of the engine - I know it's dirty!



    February 2007:

    After learning more about the RII, I found that original wheels would be nearly impossible to find. I wanted the oval shaped slots anyway. Thanks to the eBay Want-It-Now feature, Ken in PA & UPS, I not only have slots, I also have 33” x 10.50 BFG Mud Terrain’s! Here’s Ken’s truck before he sold me his wheels.

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    …and my CJ with the “new” rubber (no suspension lift yet).

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    March 2007:

    I like the low profile Ramsey since it doesn’t obscure much of the Jeep grill. It needed a mounting kit, however. Since the advertised application range for Ramsey’s CJ mounting kit was for ‘70-‘86 CJ’s, I figured this would be an easy bolt-on. It was quickly apparent that the forward holes (in the non-boxed frame area) were not aligned with the winch plate brackets. I called Ramsey and they apologized for the misprint in their manual. They said it should read ‘76-‘86.

    I fabricated some plugs from ¾” bolts and welded them in place so that I wouldn’t end up with elongated holes. I had to use sleeves at the rear holes to compensate for hole size discrepancy and to properly support the boxed section.

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    The final installation:

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    By the way, here is a wench (seems to be commonly confused with winch).

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    May 2008:

    After much review (and recommendation of this site) about the BDS suspension kit, I opted to install it. I also replaced the frame bushings with poly bushings, and installed HD Warrior shackles. This is an exceptional upgrade, and I continue to recommend the same.

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    September 2008

    I have owned the RII for 2 years now. I have continued to look for a Jeep, even though I have what I want, just to make sure this is the one in which I want to invest time and money. I haven’t found anything since, so here goes! I’m going to fix this one up and make it a keeper.



    I didn’t like the way the PO P/S pump brackets looked so I tried a couple of factory type options.

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    The first was from a late 60’s Buick. Although it worked and cleared the exhaust, it was very bulky and probably would interfere with a future P/B booster.

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    I settled on the 3-piece bracket that holds the more modern pump and still clears the exhaust.

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    I found a single pulley for this pump later.

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    November 2008:

    The left valve cover was occasionally rubbing the firewall, and the transmission shifter wasn’t centered in the floor cutout either. I knew I could shift the body some when I did the body bushings, but figured the motor mounts should be replaced anyway. The new motor mounts have a failsafe bracket built into them.

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  2. Dec 31, 2017
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    February 2009:

    The seam between my filler neck and fuel tank was damaged so this was next on the list. After getting the tank out, I just decided to put in a new one. I installed new poly bushings as the old rubber ones were almost gone.

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    April 2009:

    The rubber body mounts were in need of replacement. The rear mounts were so bad that the body structure had to be repaired. I also had to fix the body mount at the toolbox location. I also found a factory draw bar that was installed at the same time. I treated the rust inside the toolbox. I found that Allis-Chalmers orange was a very close match to Riverside (or Big Bad) orange. It’s available at Tractor Supply in spray cans or quart cans making it a reasonable touch up paint.

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    I added a body mount below the driver’s seat. This mount can be found on most intermediates. Apparently, it wasn’t added to production until well after the fuel tank was moved to the rear.

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    I added a Wrangler style CB antenna mount.

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    May 2009:

    I was having cooling problems on hot days when running slow. The old 2-row core radiator looked like it had some serious issues. Finding a replacement for a’71 model is a trick. The tanks were fine, so I had a local shop install a new 3-row core in it. This smoothed out running significantly. I also added the shroud.

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    March 2010:

    After reading about all the positive results with the Dana 30 swap, I decided my time was here. I wanted tighter a turning radius, more choices for differential locking/LSDs and omit the bath type knuckle u-joints. I used a 1982 model axle. I kept the factory disk brakes. I found a Powr-Lok differential. I had a local speed shop do the R&P/differential install. I did the rest in my garage; new bearings, seals and ball joints. I used a pair of Mcruff’s castor shims. I kept the 4:88 gear ratio.

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    September 2010:

    It was at Little Sahara State Park, OK (sand dunes) where I was convinced that my old Trac-Lok just wasn’t working. I got stuck in soft sand. I’m glad Jayhawkclint was there to offer a quick pull. I later found a Dana 44 Powr-Lok and grabbed it.

    During my rigorous testing of my new front disk brakes, I notice one rear brake starting to lock more frequently. I have never done much with the original 10” drums so I took a peek inside. The wheel cylinder was seeping and everything was covered with brake fluid. I had no intention of fixing the 10” rear brakes as I had a full set of 11” brake parts and hardware waiting for the next upgrade. Since the axle shafts had to be pulled to swap the backing plates, I figured it was a good time to get my Powr-Lok installed too. I yanked my rear axle and hauled it down to my local speed shop. They had to drill two holes in each backing plate to match the axle flange. I had to get a new case so it would work with my ’71 model D44. New bearings and seals were installed. I had new aggressive clutches for the Powr-Lok, and they installed them too.

    I used the same wheel cylinders as a 1982 model (even though the ’82 had 10” drums). Since I had the complete ’82 front axle and disks, I will keep the brake system as close to ’82 as possible. I may, or may not, convert to power brakes. I punched the PB M/C holes in my firewall plates just in case.

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    Here are the new 11” brakes:

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    …and the final view through the Renegade slots:

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    Although the clutch pedal won’t be hooked up for several years, I modified a set of later CJ hanging pedals to work with the early style dash and steering column. The brake pedal is now functional with a firewall mounted MC.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  3. Dec 31, 2017
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    April 2011:

    I scored 750 on a local Jeep club’s RTI ramp. This is a respectable score considering the short wheelbase of the CJ5. The BDS suspension can take much credit here.

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    2012-2013:

    My employer shut down its Wichita, KS in late 2012. I had to move to UT and no Jeep work was done during my relocation. I had a generous move package, and it is worth noting that since the CJ had a soft top, it qualified for enclosed transport. The cost of this shipping from KS to UT was almost $3K. It was 100% covered. That sure beat flat towing it! I wish I would have taken a photo if it inside that covered trailer.



    July 2014:

    I was going to use a stock GM bell for my Ford T18 conversion, but decided to get an Advance Adapters bell instead. I wouldn’t have to elongate mounting holes this way, and all 4 mounting holes would be properly supported.

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    I used the Novak hydraulic slave cylinder mounting bracket. As you can see, I still had to modify the bell for its use. This machine work was done at a local shop as it was more than I could comfortably manage at home. I called AA, and they said there was plenty of extra material in their design to allow some cutting to allow such modification.

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    The T18 conversion was still a ways off.

    I had these hood decals custom made to my specs. They are subtle yet add some personality.

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    A new exhaust was in order. I’d struggled with the old system long enough.

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    The Waldron kit was a pretty good arrangement.

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    The tail pipe was wrong and had to be cut and re-welded at a local garage.

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    March 2015:


    With a total rewire in my plan, I want to get all my electrical components installed and functional first. I picked up a core Delco 12SI from an Oldsmobile that should have a 94 amp alternator. I installed a rebuild kit, and it still had no output at the FLAPS.

    I took it to a local auto electrical place and they quickly identified a bad crimp in the stator winding. He fixed it for a small fee. He tested it, and I watched the output climb to 90+ amps. YAY!



    Out with the old…

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    And in with the new…

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    Here’s one diagram that I found helpful when wiring my 12SI.

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    Opinions abound as to how these alternators can be wired. I know the one-wire is easy, but take just a few more steps and have a fully functional unit with a four-wire arrangement. Don’t forget your GROUND! That’s the typical 3-wire + dedicated ground. Assuming you have a ground thru the alternator body, bracket, engine, motor mounts is NOT a good plan. Even if you have a little ground strap between engine and frame, that may not be enough for a large output alternator.





    We all know stock headlights aren’t the best. I was out to upgrade, especially with my bigger alternator. I decided on these IPF units. The bulbs I selected had street legal low beam, but the high beams are something else. WOW! ;-)

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    This headlight kit includes a relay trio.

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    The stock 40 amp ammeter would be no match for my 12SI, so I replaced it with a voltmeter. I also replaced the oil pressure gauge with a matching SW unit.

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    April 2016:



    Photos of wires aren’t that interesting…so I’ve included one of the fuse panel. This is not stock equipment on a ’71 CJ! I used a Northwest Autowire kit. They are out of business now, but offered neat upgrades at the time; such as a Delco alternator and a light trailer tow option. The system allows expansion and is working well.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Dec 31, 2017
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    May 2016:



    I pulled the D18 and installed the NOVAK bearing & seal kit.

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    They include a bushing for the front output shaft that isn’t covered in the FSM. A one-ended hacksaw makes easy work of its removal.

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    The finished case with an OK coat of gray POR15 applied. I didn’t hot tank this case.

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    June 2016:



    After pulling the stock T14 transmission, I could see much oil seepage behind the 225 block. Although the compression still checked within acceptable limits, I figured this was a good time to replace the engine. I’ve done rebuilds several times in the past, but I wanted something easier this time. I was ready to pay more for a remanufactured unit. S&J engines had a 225 long block ready and an unbeatable warranty. Two days later, my engine showed up!

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    This is such a small crate for $1500.

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    I probably stared and inspected this for two hours that night.

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    For those that like to critique others’ garages, I include this shot. I’ve seen better; I’ve seen worse…enjoy. My ‘new’ D18 is on the floor. My new 225 is on the stand. The old 225 is still in the CJ. Ford T18 transmission parts can be seen if you look closely. A Centerforce clutch disk, pressure plate & TO bearing are waiting patiently on top of the little black rollaway.

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    Up, up and away…

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    I just couldn’t use this old engine with all new transmission and transfer case.

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    Here is one last glimpse of the new engine.

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    Since I’m not going for an all original restoration, I used a color that I liked. Buick blue, or close to it, fitted me well. This is also POR15.

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    It’s ready for final installation.

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    I gotta have a tach…right?!

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    RUNNING…at 2,000RPM for 15 minutes per manufacture’s break-in recommendation. The fitting wrench is holding the throttle open.

    This is the only time I ran this with no air filter. Needless to say, this was an exciting time!

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    The air cleaner is in place…just needs a tranny!

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    July 2016:

    This was the biggest step of my drivetrain modification; the addition of a Ford T18 transmission. I used the NOVAK transfer case adapter. Here’s the new main shaft with parts installed. I converted to a 6 spline main shaft.

    [​IMG]



    This is checking overall case fitment.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Dec 31, 2017
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    One concern was the lack of instructions with the Advance Adapters bell. I had to check and recheck the input shaft engagement with the pilot bushing. Mixing a Ford transmission and a GM engine with an aftermarket bell has some challenges! I’m glad I trial fit everything on the floor prior to installation in the vehicle. I needed a longer pilot bushing and I needed to cut some material from the input shaft retainer.

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    I checked runout of the re-surfaced flywheel and bell.

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    Everything was within spec. I was relieved as I didn’t want to use offset dowel pins.

    Here is the clutch, pressure plate, TO bearing installed, along with the bracket for the hydraulic slave cylinder.

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    Stabbing this big transmission was a chore. I did have the case hot tanked. That’s POR15 on the transmission.

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    Even after moving the cross member aft, I had to drop the transmission mount another ½” to maintain proper driveline angles.

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    Figuring out the mount for the D18 single shifter was a trick.

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    Here are the firewall plates and filler modified for brake and clutch MC usage. These took a while to figure out!

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    Here’s the CJ moving out of the garage for the first time in months!

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    Here is the custom transmission tunnel work necessary for the taller T18. I fabricated the sheet metal and tacked it together. I had a professional weld shop finish it for me.

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    The dash sticker completes this project!

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    July 2016

    I had a local Jeep shop fabricate a HD tie rod and drag link.

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    June 2017

    I became very frustrated with the aftermarket center gauge cluster. Even though it was correct in appearance, the odometer slipped and fuel gauge was unreliable. I decided to buy an American made unit. Here is my Speedhut cluster installed. The matching voltmeter and oil pressure gauge are also shown. These gauges all swing a full sweep upon start up. The speedometer is GPS powered; no speedo cable connection required. It also displays elevation, time and direction. The fuel gauge has a low fuel warning light.

    These electronic gauges weren’t cheap, but I have so much more confidence in venturing out 100+ miles from home now.

    [​IMG]

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    This entry brings me up to my current status. Thanks for looking!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
    ITLKSEZ, Danefraz, 73 cj5 and 15 others like this.
  6. Jan 1, 2018
    Muzikp

    Muzikp Member 2020 Sponsor

    Sacramento Ca.
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2016
    Messages:
    967
    That was a great read. An orange Renegade with patina is my favorite. Great looking CJ.
     
  7. Jan 1, 2018
    Alan28

    Alan28 Well-Known Member 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Châtillon en...
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,651
    That's beautiful work. Thanks for photos.
    I understand that I will never modify my CJ5.
    In fact it works well as it is!
    My main happiness is about engine. I have a solec carburetor, and it works very well, in winter and in summer.
    I don't understand why, I have been at the local shop for maintenance because I am not able to work under the Jeep (except that I changed a U-joint).
    Last summer the idle was not perfect, I just touched a bit a screw on the carb, and I got a perfect - yes, perfect- working engine.

    I wonder why you don't paint it, I know that orange patina is nice, but all is changed and new on your Jeep, why not conclude with a new painting?
     
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  8. Jan 1, 2018
    wally

    wally SSSSTER

    upper merrimack...
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Messages:
    528
    very nice work, and a great looking cj.
     
  9. Jan 2, 2018
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! 2020 Sponsor

    Washington DC.
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,765
    You have more orange than me! What a great read and awesome jeep!
     
  10. Jan 2, 2018
    SKT

    SKT I Like CJ's...

    Location
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    494
    Thanks for rebuilding your thread!
     
  11. Aug 28, 2018
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    I added a stock 1982 brake booster for power assist. The aftermarket models would not work since they interfered with the stock type clutch master cylinder.
    This booster works great and does not give a feeling of over-boost. The rest of my brake system is 1982, except the rear drums are 11".
     
  12. May 15, 2019
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    One day after I finished the power brake conversion, I noticed a drip on the garage floor. After inspecting the new master cylinder connections carefully, I could not find a leak.

    Darn it, the steering pump was leaking. This was a cheap junk yard unit that I got to test new pump brackets a few years ago. Since my steering box was also an unknown application, I decided it was time to match the pump and box to a similar vehicle. The mismatched box and pump always created a lack of response feel in the steering. It was like a video game. I also wanted all new PS hoses! The PO cobbled some together that just looked awful.

    I bought a re-manufactured 1979 CJ5 steering pump and box from NAPA. The pump was reasonable, but the box was pricey. The box was just over $200, but my core was worth $150. They both came with lifetime warranties. The box is a 3 turn unit and dos not feel over-responsive, even for the short nosed CJ5.

    The main reason I posted the steering story was to share the trouble I had with getting custom automotive steering hoses fabricated. I know many who claim to take a tubing template to their local hose shop and have inverted flare fittings custom bent with a piece of flex hose in the center. I visited the 3 largest hose manufactures in the Salt Lake City area and none could perform the automotive inverted flare interface. I would have to provide them the end fittings and they would install compression splices on both ends of a custom hose. This was NOT acceptable to me. I just trial fit several universal hoses and even stock CJ hoses until I found a suitable pair. Summit has a nice pair of universal hoses, but they were about 4” too short. The return hose was an easy NAPA universal part. The pressure hose ended up the same way, since none of the stock CJ hoses would fit. The pressure hose routing isn’t ideal, but now I have active part numbers for all my steering components!

    I and very pleased with the new power steering system. It has great road feel and very quiet. Saginaw units are supreme!

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    Last edited: May 15, 2019
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  13. May 29, 2019
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    Summer 2018 Bestop Top install

    The instructions said to allow 3 hours for top installation. Due to an oversight with the Bestop design, this installation took me over 30 hours. Significant modification to the body was required on both sides at the factory bow pocket locations for proper fit. Splice straps had to be made to bridge these locations.

    The first step of top instruction lays out the position of the corner and side rails. Within minutes, I could see a big problem. The main bow fastening points were almost directly over the factory bow pockets (air space). There was no way to drill and install a bolt here!

    [​IMG]

    I had spoken with two other early CJ5 owners who installed this top. Both had moved the center Bestop bow attach point about ½” aft to avoid this issue. While this will eliminate the problem of putting a bolt into air space, it creates three other issues that I didn’t like. 1) The door strikers would have to be bent to engage. 2) The bows, in the stowed position, would overhang the rear body and interfere with my rear mounted spare tire. 3) It also creates a very tight condition with the top up.

    I almost sent the top back. However, after reviewing everything else, it looked like a really nice top. I really needed a better top so time to modify the body.

    These are the splice straps I fabricated to bridge the factory bow pocket holes. They’re not pretty, but do the job. I also had to trim the pocket tubes to allow fitment of the straps. Dremel cut off wheels came in handy here.

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    I had to remove two of the hinge pins from the doors and form them to better fit the contour of my body. This may, or may not, be a typical issue.

    While I really enjoy this top now, I hesitate to recommend it, since installation was difficult. My wife loves riding in the Jeep now since the side curtains are easy to open and close. That’s worth ALLOT! It’s tight and keeps heat inside very well. It does not reduce road noise thought - ha.

    Converting back to a bikini top is difficult, unless you have a roll bar attachment.

    It’s easy to put this top up and take down. It’s really cool how the bows stay with the body when the top is down. The doors can be easily split and stored in the back seat.

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    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  14. May 29, 2019
    62CheepJeep

    62CheepJeep Member

    Spartanburg SC
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2018
    Messages:
    314
    Looks great
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
  15. May 29, 2019
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,996
    No need for a bikini - just take the doors and windows out and it's virtually the same experience..;)

    Looks good. Seems most top installs on ECJs these days are 1/2 DIY affairs.
     
  16. May 29, 2019
    fhoehle

    fhoehle Sponsor

    Harford Township, PA
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2012
    Messages:
    945
    I can relate. On my Bestop CJ-6 top I just got around to cutting the stitching on my door bottoms and cutting and reforming the roundstock to match the body. I hope to sew it back together this weekend.
     
  17. May 29, 2019
    johneyboy03

    johneyboy03 The green beast

    Quebec, Canada
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,761
    I really love the multiple configurations you can have with this best top supertop. I have the bikini top too but never used it since i bought the supertop.

    You can ride with the top only with no side, with half door....or no door. Also if you have back seat with passenger the bikini is no use at all.

    40858880_10155419589916621_1541978037623455744_n.jpg

    11402954_10152812031096621_6448220635249543052_n.jpg
     
  18. May 29, 2019
    Chilly

    Chilly Active Member 2019 Sponsor

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,443
    dnb5853, I like that Jeep! Making nice progress without going overboard.

    I wouldnt mind seeing that extinguisher locked down with something more substantial. The bracket probably wont restrain the bottle, and the tie wraps probably wont hold the bracket. As-is it's a head-seeking missile.

    I also think there is a recall on models with plastic handles. Being exposed to sunlight, might be worth a call to manufacturer. UV rays are hard on plastic.
     
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  19. May 29, 2019
    Boyink

    Boyink Super Moderator Staff Member

    Ava, MO
    Joined:
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    4,996
    dnb5853 likes this.
  20. May 30, 2019
    dnb5853

    dnb5853 Member 2019 Sponsor

    SLC, UT
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    596
    Thanks for the comments, Chilly & Boyink. I have purchased a new bracket and will install it soon.
     

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