Articles / Q&As

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Detailing your Jeep

Engine detailing is an expensive process which should usually begin with the rebuilding of almost all of the engine bays components including the engine itself. If you are removing your motor to overhaul and detail it then it’s pretty easy. You can still detail the engine compartment without rebuilding your motor.

We all like a nice clean engine compartment but how do you go about cleaning off the accumulations of years of leaked oil, road tar, sand and mud? A lot of it will actually have to be physically scraped off. No matter what kind of engine degreaser that you use, none of them will eat through a half inch of dirt and oil accumulation around the bottom of the motor. You can jack the car up and put it on stands. Use putty knifes and scrapers with different blade widths. Steel brushes with good stiff bristles also work.

Once you have gotten off the heavy accumulations, you can start to use engine degreasers. Degreasers are available at most automotive suppliers,hardware stores and grocery stores. To get the best results it is a good idea to follow the instructions as different solutions require different applications to work properly. It is also a good idea to find out about disposal of the dirty water. You don’t want to degrease your motor and find that you now have a toxic waste site in the middle of your lawn which won’t allow grass to grow for years. Some are environmentally friendly, some are not.
If you are not worried about the paint in your engine compartment Easy Off is actually one of the best and cheapest degreasers going, but it will also remove most paints or at least damage them so take that into consideration if you opt for using it. Paint damage may also result from the use of some other industrial grade degreasers.

Use common sense when you are applying water to the engine and compartment. The local car wash is one of the best bets. You should rinse your motor with hot water and then either as much pressure as you can get from the garden hose or ideally a small pressure washer, but you must make sure not to force water into the engine through its carburetor or any of the vents or breathers. A rag thrown over the top of the carb won’t do it. Use duct tape and plastic to seal up your carb, oil dip stick tube and whatever vents and breathers that you have. Later, when you are cleaning by hand you can remove valve covers, caps, wires, vacuum hoses, etc.

Use a good high temp engine paint. Naturally by taping, masking and holding a small cardboard strip you can put the paint from the can nearly anywhere you want.

I just finished detailing a 1981 CJ8 and it took me over a week.

Jeep electrical problems

For proper current flow to exist the circuit must have the correct source voltage applied and be free of any unwanted resistance in the circuit and the best way to test this is to measure voltage drop in the circuit.

Here are the steps to take to perform a voltage drop test:

1. Connect your DVOM negative lead to the battery’s negative post.

2. Connect your DVOM positive lead to the battery’s positive post and measure its voltage. Record this reading.

3. Connect your DVOM positive lead to the positive side of the load being tested, as close to the load as possible.

4. Operate the circuit, and record your measurement.

5. Connect your DVOM positive lead to the negative side of the load being tested, as close to the load as possible.

6. Operate the circuit and record your measurement.

Let’s take a closer look at these steps. First, we want to test the integrity of the ENTIRE circuit so placing your test leads at the battery is a must. You can make an extension lead for your DVOM so you can always connect to the battery ground terminal with your negative meter lead. Second, it is important to know the source voltage available. If the battery is weak to start with your circuit is already working with a handicap.

In the third step, you are making sure all that source voltage is getting to the load component. Getting as close to the load as possible insures you are testing the entire path. On the positive side of the load you should read within 0.50 volts of your source voltage, i.e. if you started with 14.56 volts you should read no less than 14.06 volts. This applies to most basic circuits. If you are diagnosing a PCM/ECM related circuit you may want to see even less than that.

In step #5, you are looking for unwanted voltage drops in your load downstream because all the voltage should have been used by the load. If you get a voltage reading of 0.50v or more here there is something else taking voltage from the primary component. This unwanted source may be ultimately found downstream of the load maybe even at the battery connection itself.

Some voltage measurement on the ground side of a working load is normal. If an open to ground exists you will measure source voltage on both sides of the load. If the ground side measures 0.0 volts and the component is receiving correct source voltage then the load likely has an internal open AKA you have a failed component.

A common mistake is to use a chassis ground under the dash when testing inside the car.; but don’t forget that chassis ground point still has to make it back to the battery typically through a few more connections before the ground path is complete.

CJ8 Scrambler shackles setup

Q: I am going to go with outboard springs on my Jeep when I switch to early Bronco or GM axles. I was reading through some old threads on axle swaps and was thinking about when I do my axle swap. Instead of reinventing the wheel I would like to see some pictures of what you and others have done.

A: Look up at my website  Go to the Service page and find the off-road scrambler.




Q: I have a stock 1983 cj8 jeep. I’m wanting to put different leaf springs under it, along with shackles. I want to know what jeep years would interchange. I once was told that the newer jeep leafs will fit and lift. I don’t know what make and model or how hard it would be to switch out? Also will cj7 shackles work?

A: ’76-’86 leaf springs are the same, but none of these (stock ones anyway) will lift your Jeep higher than it is now, unless your current springs are completely shot/sagging. All CJ shackles (again from ’76-’86) are interchangeable between CJ-5, CJ-7 and CJ-8.

The only Scrambler specific items are things that are affected by the wheelbase difference between a 7 and an 8 like the rear driveshaft. Because of the extra wheelbase length, you can typically keep your stock rear shaft and not run a t-case drop or switch to a CV shaft with a 4″ suspension lift. I’d suggest reading the driveshaft tech articles at so that you can gain an understanding.

Q: The leaf springs are shot. I’m just looking for 2-3 lift from stock height. Will I need any other hardware if I put stock leafs and 2″-2″1/4 shackles (lengthen brake lines etc)?

What would be a good low cost suspension lift say, 4″-5″? What would be other hardware that would be needed? (pitman arm, lines. etc)?

A: So it sounds like you want to replace worn out springs and also do a lift. Why not get a set of lift springs? Doing a 2 1/2″ lift with just shackles requires shackles that are 4″ longer than stock shackles.

Check with Quadratec or 4wd Hardware catalogs, lots of options in there.

Amount & type of lift will determine what else you need to do. Typically, if you stick with a 2 1/2″ suspension lift you don’t have to mess with much else. Tall shackle lifts are a bad idea, throws the front end geometry (caster) out of whack, detracts from lateral stability, can affect ride quality, and flat out looks goofy.

Now, exactly how much lift are you after? Also what size tires are you planning to run with that lift? Larger tires often lead to needing to do other things like re-gearing and installing 1-piece axle shafts in the AMC 20 rear.

Q: I want to run 33′s or 35′s. I want good ground clearance but still be very road functional.

A: At 35′s, you’re definitely drifting into more modifications & money. You’ll need 4″+ of lift which means you’ll definitely need to look over that driveshaft tech info, install longer brake hoses, address the steering, beef up the AMC 20 rear, re-gear, and depending on usage beef up the Dana 30 front as well.

You’re probably going to want to stick with 33′s…the stock axles can safely handle that without beefing them up (though you may still want to do the 1-piece shafts in the rear), unless you’ve got 2.73′s you’ll be on the border of whether or not you’ll want/need to re-gear, and you can use a 2.5″ lift and maybe supplement it with some heavy duty greaseable shackles.

Another option is a spring over. It will give you an additional three inches to any new spring installation, Procomp and Skyjacker are two both good installations for the same lift. Procomp will give you a stiffer ride. Skyjacker is some what softer. Just remember to install longer shocks, brake lines (Mid 80,s chevy trucks will work), pitman arm (4″ offset), correct stabilizer linkage, rear angle block (6 deg), etc. Look at my two scramblers on www.raysjeeps,net, one street and one off road.

Another note about bigger tires. I recommend not putting the maximum air pressure in them.

Lower the air pressure by 5-7 lbs. You may not get the best gas milage but will have a softer ride. Jeeps do not get very good milage anyway.



I’m looking for someone who may have pieces of rear bed panel that they are
willing to part with to make repair from what looks to be fertilizer spill. Or can you do the repairs yourself?  In particular the left rear 10″ between the rear floor support/rollbar brace and tailgate end support. Bed is in good condition otherwise and do not want to replace the entire bed. Any help or advice would be most appreciated.

You can get replacement panels at

I have a picture of the bed.

Thanks for the pic, more or less I could use any section to make repairs needed as the profile of the ribs should align. I feel that finding exactly the same area that is rotted out is slim due to being welded into the tailgate support. A much larger area would have to be cut out to get to weldable metal. I have used replacement pieces (corners, floor supports, and foot boards) from Classicent before however the ribs on the bed panel have a different profile than OEM.

Very interested and will cover cost of goods and your service, within reason of course.


Scrambler half cab shoulder seat belts

You have several options on the harness straps that are for Scrambler half tops.

There are at least three versions of the roll bar for the Scrambler that I have seen.

  1. One with the nuts preassembled/welded on the inside of the vertical roll bar near the top.

This version all you have to do is bolt the single shoulder harness strap on.

  1. Two with only holes drilled in the vertical roll bar near the top (longer bolts are required).
  2. No holes for the after market roll bar.

Now you have other options if you want the double harness.

  1. Weld a horizontal tube, 11/2” sch 40 pipe, to the main vertical members and bolt the harnesses to it. Preferably around your shoulder height. This is normally only for the short seats.
  2. Weld plates to the top horizontal bar and bolt your harnesses to them. This is good for both the low and the high seats.

Remember that for the half tops the roll bar is on the outside and for an after market full top the roll bar is inside the top. This presents other problems in putting holes in the half top and sealing it. There are issues of the bolts being big, longer and strong enough to hold the inertia with the single harness. It definitely depends on the type of driving that you will be doing with your Scrambler.


Jeep PTO history

THE PTO: there are different PTO units for different applications. Make sure you get the correct one for your vehicle. Don’t trust a seller to give you the correct application. More often than not they don’t know and say it fits vehicles it won’t (“fits jeeps”). For example, the models 40, 41, 48, 50, 51, and 58 all mate to a Dana 18 transfer case found on early civilian jeeps. However, the 40 and 41 only fit the truck, wagon, or sedan delivery frame and cannot be used on a CJ. The 50, 51, and 58 were designed to only fit the CJ. Also of importance is where the PTO sends the power (front or rear). The 41 and 51 only send power to the front and have a single shift handle. The models 40, 48, 50, and 58 send power to front but also to the rear. These units have two shift handles. The 40 and 50 power both front and rear together (both on or both off). The 48 and 58 allow selective use of implements (front only, rear only, both, or neither). Twin stick PTOs are rare and cost accordingly.

THE DRIVE SHAFTS AND U-JOINTS: the jeep drive shafts are all 7/8″ diameter steel bar stock with machined in keyway slots. Woodruff keys index the u-joints to the slots in the shafts. The shaft lengths vary by application. To circumvent typical obstacles (crossmembers, exhaust, clutch linkage, etc), a common application will have two shafts, three u-joints, and a center support bearing. For example the early CJ uses a 27 3/8″ front shaft and a 22″ rear shaft. The jeep truck, jeep wagon, or jeep sedan delivery uses a 31.5″ long front shaft and a 17.75″ rear.

Three different jeep universal joints are used in each setup. The front u-joint has one 7/8″ opening with a 3/16″ keyway and one 7/8″ opening with a 1/4″ keyway. The center u-joint has one 7/8″ opening with a 1/4″ keyway and one 7/8″ opening with a 1/4″ keyway. The rear u-joint has one 7/8″ opening with a 1/4″ keyway and one 1″ opening with a 1/4″ keyway. Note all shafts use 1/4″ keyways, but the winch uses a 3/16″ keyway and the PTO, which uses the 1/4″ keyway has a larger 1″ output shaft.


Updated parts list #2

Select the parts including description, part number and cost for each. Then copy all of the information pertaining to that part into an Email (in the Contacts page). We will get back to you within 2 days.

7360 $250.00 82-86 Wide Track One Piece Axle Kit Timken axle bearings & retainers, inner/outer seals and wheel studs

7366 $350.00 Dana 300 transfer case

7437 $30.00 Front bumper OEM – U-channel type

7438 $40.00 Bumperettes rear OEM – black
7820 $60.00 CJ carpet sets, various configurations, red and gray
8002 $600.00 CJ5 hardtop new hatch struts
8003 $40.00 Car ramps poly 6k lb rating
8005 $125.00 CJ YJ leather steering wheel, excellent condition, each (Maroon, Tan, Spice)
8006 $30.00 Horn button matching CJ YJ leather steering wheel, excellent condition, each (Maroon, Tan, Spice)
8025 $350.00 Jeep high back seats new black, adjustable back settings
8027 $15.00 Seat bracket OEM driver’s, does not tilt
8028 $40.00 Seat bracket OEM passenger’s, tilts forward (2 each) – price is for each
8029 $40.00 Locking glove box with bracket, no key
8032 $30.00 CJ door hinges – one door set
8033 $30.00 CJ windshield hinges – one set
8002 $750.00 CJ hardtop – has rare Levi roof liner excellent shape
8041T $125.00 Windows for half doors, pair – tan, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995 (square edges)
8041W $125.00 Windows for half doors, pair – white, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995 (square edges)
8042B $125.00 Windows for half doors, pair – black, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995 (square edges)
8043B $125.00 Windows for half doors, pair – black, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995 (round edges)
8044B $500.00 Half hard doors, pair – black, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995
8044W $500.00 Half hard doors, pair – white, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995
8045B $75.00 Mirrors for half hard doors, pair – black, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995
8048 $125.00 Half soft doors, pair – black, fits CJ7/CJ8/YJ 1981 – 1995 (2 sets)
8050 $100.00 CJ7/CJ8 tailgate in reasonably good condition, drilled for snaps, needs gasket
8052 $75.00 CJ back tailgate brackets – one set
8055 $250.00 CJ swing out spare tire carrier, complete with all brackets
8070G $50.00 CJ dash, gray, has cracks
8076 $20.00 Windshield wiper tank OEM
8087 $50.00 CJ Front winch mounting brackets OEM


Updated parts list #1

1741 $40.00 CJ brake & clutch pedal assembly with switch
1750 $20.00 Cooling fan / clutch (2 each) – price is for each
1755 $15.00 CJ starter, alternator – price is for each
1760 $50.00 Drive shaft from CJ7, various transmission configurations, one was recently rebuilt – price is for each
1766 $30.00 CJ front rotors, excellent shape. Only need rust film removed (btwn .001 – .003) – price is for each
1795 $200.00 CJ air conditioning evaporator unit – inside, under dash unit only & Condenser ( no compressor)
1796 $125.00 CJ air conditioning bracket assembly
2010 $30.00 Aluminum spacer plate for bell housing (2 each) – price is for each
3001 $20.00 CJ brake & clutch rubber pedal pads – new set
3002 $10.00 CJ brake & clutch rubber pedal pads – used set
3004 $25.00 CJ hood spring latches new complete set
3005 $15.00 CJ hood spring latches used
3006 $25.00 CJ hood hinges – set new black
3007 $25.00 CJ hood hinges – set used chrome
3008 $30.00 Speedometer/fuel gage/oil pressure cluster
3009 $40.00 CJ horn – new OEM black
3010 $35.00 CJ dash light set – new 6 pieces
3011 $25.00 CJ inside door pulls – used set
3012 $12.00 CJ glove box button – no key type
3013 $15.00 CJ glove box button – lock assembly without key
3014 $40.00 CJ Bushing kit – new one inch
3015 $20.00 CJ door pads – used set
3016 $20.00 CJ hood light – OEM rare
3017 $12.00 Plastic loom clamps
3018 $20.00 CJ Tailgate latch,spring, bolt – one only
3019 $15.00 CJ rubber hood bumpers that attach to radiator frame – OM rare used
3020 $20.00 CJ heater switch – new with knob
3021 $15.00 BWD Automotive R3107 Starter Relay
3022 $50.00 CJ YJ yoke Splicer 2519 – new
3023 $12.00 CJ YJ inside door restraining straps, 6 inches long set
3024 $10.00 Personalized document holder for your glove compartment
3025 $40.00 CJ ignition control module – Duralast F102
3026 $12.00 Clip on mirror for the sunvisor
3027 $15.00 Footman loop sets
3028 $30.00 CJ soft door latches, brackets, bolts
3029 $10.00 Spare tire cover camo
3030 $40.00 Spare tire cover – rare OEM with Jeep emblem black

3031 $20.00 Shock sets – several configurations used
3032 $10.00 CJ frame and body brackets – several configurations used
3033 $15.00 CJ tow hooks
3035 $35.00 CJ YJ roll bar pads
3036 $20.00 YJ wrangler spare tire bracket
3037 $15.00 CJ grill support rods
3038 $30.00 CJ YJ driver side slider bracket


Willis R&R by the Army

View this video of the Army taking apart and putting back together a Willis in 6 minutes.



Welding on your Jeep

One of the most useful skills that a jeep owner can have is the knowledge and ability to weld. It seems like the older the jeep tends to break more often. Knowing how to fix stress cracks, reinforce weak joints by welding on steel support plates, or cutting and shaping parts and adapters out of raw steel plating is an asset that is worth its weight in gold.

There are two types of welding that we will talk about, arc welding and oxy-acetylene. The latter will also include some pertinent information on cutting torches and fabrication of parts and tools.

But we will first cover some basics dealing with arc welding. It is a positively charged electrode and a negatively charged steel plate commonly called a ground complete a circuit at the end of a welding rod. When the rod is held a given distance from the item to be welded, the current jumps the gap creating an enormous amount of heat. The heat melts the rod end and a puddle of liquid metal will result which can be controlled to make a weld.

There are many types of arc welding. A few are carbon-arc, metal-electrode, gas metal-arc, atomic-hydrogen, MIG, TIG, and many others. For our purposes we will focus on two basic types of arc welding; AC and DC. It is difficult to explain the difference in simple, down to earth terms so let’s just settle for some of the main differences and advantages of each.

AC (alternating current) is probably the most common and most economical of welders. The distinct advantage that AC arc welding has is that there is virtually no magnetic blow, which causes excessive splatter and uncontrollable arcs. The basic features are a good forceful arc, an easy arc to maintain once it is begun. It is great for heavy steel plating because of deep penetration. The negative factors are that the initial arc can be difficult to start and that burn- throughs on thinner plates of metal can be a frustrating problem. All in all though, a simple AC welder is a good all around tool for general repairs.

DC, or direct current, provides for a more variety in welding. Direct current, by nature, can be manipulated in ways completely different than the alternating cycles of AC. One example of this is that by changing the polarity of current flow different welding characteristics can be realized. Straight polarity, when the current flows from the rod to the base metal, provides a fairly standard arc for a variety of metals. Reversed polarity, when the current flows from the base metal to the rod, provides for 2/3 of the total heat to be centralized in the welding rod tip. This superheats the electrode metal and shielding gas from the flux causing the molten metal to travel at a high velocity resulting in very deep penetration to the base metal. These variations in the types of DC units can accommodate welding on thick or thin metals. This can give quite a bit of flexibility when trying to avoid burn-throughs with thinner base metals or working on deeper weld penetration on thicker plates.

There are many articles on the different types of welding rods/electrodes and their welding characteristics that you can fine on the internet.

As with any trade there are certain hazards which must be addressed when arc welding.

  • Avoiding radiation from the arc, ultraviolet and infrared rays
  • Flying sparks, globules of molten metal
  • Electrical shock
  • Fumes
  • Burns

Protective clothing and specialized eye protection must be used in order to reduce these risks. An arc-welding helmet with protective lens reduces the amount of harmful eye radiation and protects the head from splatter and heat. The hair, hands, arms and other skin surfaces must be covered, preferably with heavy leather to shield out other harmful radiation produced by the intense arc. Don’t wear regular coverings like heavy cotton or wool as arc welding is accompanied by flying sparks and molten metal pieces that will ignite such clothing. Also avoid pants with cuffs, tennis shoes, thin gloves, and shoes with thin soles.

Avoid electrical shock by working on a dry floor with thick rubber shoes and by wearing dry leather welding gloves. Also make sure to use insulated electrode holders and have the equipment properly grounded. Keep the area properly ventilated to avoid inhaling the burnt fumes. The fumes generated in the welding process may contain highly toxic metal oxides. Keep in mind that you are welding with molten metal. The arc is hot, the metal is hot, and everything in contact with the metal is hot. Watch for falling metal globules; they burn quickly through tennis shoes and unprotected pants. When done welding use tongs to pick up the metal; it does not cool quickly and even when quenched in water beware of the superheated steam it produces when dipped and the heat it retains when removed.

Above all be aware of others around you. When an arc is struck to start welding the sudden flash can cause severe eye damage to onlookers.

More on oxy-acetylene welding in a later revision.


Scrambler hardtop repairs

Restoring full length hard tops is a time consuming project. There are many types of repairs I.E. fiberglass, latches, hinges, glass, felt trim, etc.

Sagging  in the center from length wise down the top(running from front to rear) and sagging across the center going (running from side to side) are major repairs. Stiffeners can be used on the inside of the top. They can be either bent 3/4″ aluminum box tubing or number one lumber,1 x 2′s or 2 x 2′s arched to fit the Original Bend(s). Surface preparation at this point is essential. Round off the outside corners of the stiffener because fiberglass does not like sharp corners.

The next step is attaching the stiffeners to the inside of the fiberglass top. Use a total five flat head wood screws for each wood stiffener and five metal flat head screws for the aluminum.  Drill the holes from the outside of the top into the stiffener. Mix up some bondo and apply between the stiffener and fiberglass. Set the first two screws lightly and temporarily using a flat washer under each head to hold in place then set all five without washers. Let set until hardened. Apply fiberglass and resin, smooth, sand and paint.



Different ways to lock the spare tire on your jeep.

The locking spare tire lock on early model  jeeps, OEM version.  Here is a picture of what it looks like.


A short piece of chain and lock will do.  You can buy locking nuts for all of your wheels and spare.



Fiberglass versus steel body

I live in Boston and have this jeep.  As you can imagine, it’s all rusted.  I don’t want to get rid of it, but don’t know where to start regarding possible refurbishing.  I’m told there is a fiberglass body I can put on it.  Is that a better way to go than completely changing out all the metal?  Thanks, Rip Reeves (Senior Portfolio Manager-Insurance Client Strategies).

Hello, glad that you contacted me. There are fiberglass body assemblies, I.E. tub ($1500), one piece front-end ($900), and other various parts available from aftermarket retail stores. Most of the pieces are basically blank and you have to drill & cut various holes for fit-up. Naturally fiberglass will not rust and the cloned assemblies fit up pretty close.

 After market steel assemblies are reliably available and have more holes in the right places and are priced a little higher than fiberglass.


Lifted Scramblers

Pictures wanted of Lifted Scramblers

Pictures of Scramblers with different style wheels black, aluminum, chrome etc. Also let me know if the Scrambler has a lift on it and tire size so I have some idea what I am looking at. I have a 2.5 lift kit to install.

I have an 83 that I am in the process of purchasing wheels and tires. I just bought 31×10.5×15 Mickey Thompsons.

I was looking at the Crager rims soft eight style in black.

I also really like the new Dick Cepek DC-1 in black. I can’t seem to find the DC1 in 15×8 with the right bolt pattern. What problems would I have, or can I mount the 31×10.5 on a 15×10 rim?

Go to Service on my website 


Keystone Rims. 


Traxxus radial MT 33′s on 15×8 American Racing Diamond lock.


4.5″ lift, 1.5″ body lift and 35″ mudders 


2 1/2″ Skyjacker springs, 3/8″ shackle lift, 1/2″ body lift, 31″ tires. 


Stock: 4.5″ RE lift, 1″ body lift: