We last left our Cheap Truck Challenge CJ-7 project ("Reviving a CJ-7," Mar. '05) with a smoking engine and a few empty Corona bottles, but with a balance sheet showing only $32 spent for a running Jeep. Of course, I have a long way to go and only $1,468 left in the budget, but as usual, the plan didn't come about as I hoped. Lack of time is my biggest problem, but an hour here and there let me fiddle with stuff on the Jeep, and sometimes make it worse. I finally realized that certain items should be addressed, which meant spending some cash. Ick. Time was also running out, as this pile had to lead the Cheap Truck Challenge, and I was nowhere near ready. I still needed an interior, a cooling system, front sheetmetal, a front axle, a major tune-up, some serious bodywork, and safety items. Not only that, the adapter between the trans and transfer case was broken so the mount was gone, and the tranny was full of Pepto Bismol-looking sludge. But a wheeling trip is worth any sacrifice, so I dug into the mess I had created to finish it, and make it to its first official run. Not only that, I still have some room in the budget for more Corona, just in case I need to pay off some buddies when it breaks down. Since the engine ran somewhat well, I knew a standard tune-up couldn't hurt, considering the Jeep had been sitting for 15 years out in the open. Plug wires only last two years when new, and UV rays can kill a distributor cap when exposed to sunlight. Plus, I had originally wire-wheeled the rust and crud off the sparkplugs instead of replacing them, and I knew a carb kit wouldn't hurt either. A quick trip to the local auto parts store netted a bill of $73.53 for wires, plugs, cap, rotor, carb kit, engine oil flush, oil, filter, fuel filter, carb spray, blue towels, and hand cleaner. After an afternoon of wrenching, draining, bleeding, and rebuilding, the Salvage 7 ran much better.Since the engine ran somewhat well, I knew a standard tune-up couldn't hurt, considering t Next in line for upgrading was the cooling system. Strapping on a used radiator was fine for testing, but every time it fell into the fan blades I'd have to solder some more tubes shut. I finally called Radiator.com for a stock replacement and they had one out to me UPS in just two days. At only $145 bucks, this heavy-duty, new, perfectly fitting radiator was worth the investment. I only had to modify the bottom tranny cooler fittings to match my cooler lines, and it was ready to bolt in.Next in line for upgrading was the cooling system. Strapping on a used radiator was fine f First, I had to bolt on a new front clip, since the radiator bolts to the grille. Now, can I say the clip (hood, fenders, and grille) was free? Not really, but I had bought it 12 years ago and stored it ever since, and even transported it from Arizona to California, because I might need it some day. It only cost me $100 then, so that's what I'll put on the balance sheet. It even came with a spare ignition module and starter relay bolted on the fenders, so it was a really good deal, even back then. Regardless, the whole cooling system cost included the radiator ($145), front clip ($100), hoses, thermostat, cap, JB Cooling Flush, and antifreeze for $45.79, for a grand total of $290.79.First, I had to bolt on a new front clip, since the radiator bolts to the grille. Now, can The front axle was the most trashed mechanical component, as the passenger-side tube was cracked out of the housing. I figured I'd just get a used housing and swap the parts, and that would be that. A call to Drivetrain Direct netted me a used housing with knuckles on it for only $100, including new inner axle seals and a pinion seal. After another can of JB-80 to loosen the rust, I drained the water out of the diff and took off the wheels, rotors, spindles, and axles. Actually I had to pry the axleshafts out since they were in a bent housing, but then I just unbolted the steering links and spring U-bolts and pulled the housing off. The replacement housing had a worn in 3.54 gearset already, so instead of swapping gears, I just replaced the inner seals and pinion seal and called it a day. A quick trip to my buddy with a press straightened out the axleshafts enough, and sanding the seal surfaces should keep most of the goo in and gack out.The front axle was the most trashed mechanical component, as the passenger-side tube was c Then the olive drab paint came out for that truly custom utilitarian look, and the axle assembly found its new home.Then the olive drab paint came out for that truly custom utilitarian look, and the axle as Slamming backwards into a tree caused the floor to buckle, along with trashing all of the other sheetmetal. Hammer blows and a lot of prying with chains, winches, and Hi-Lifts sorta straightened out the sheetmetal, since a new body wasn't in the budget. Using a torch to soften the steel--while a load was applied from a winch cable--made straightening things easier too, and all of my Bodyworking 101 training came back into memory. So did the muscle pain the next day, but at least I didn't spend any money on this part of the project.Slamming backwards into a tree caused the floor to buckle, along with trashing all of the The stock seats were bent, rusty, and lacking most of the material, but weren't that uncomfortable. However, I found (yes, found) a set of what appeared to be broken YJ high-back buckets in the back of David Freiburger's '78 F-100. Someone had donated them to the pile and never told anyone else, so I used them. True, I had to remove some studs and bolt the frame seat to the back, but hey, cheap seats that almost bolt in with only one small rip in the fabric can't be beat.The stock seats were bent, rusty, and lacking most of the material, but weren't that uncom Our final delight was the rollcage from a previous CJ-7 project. It had served shelf duty while in storage, but this was the time to use it. It was straight enough that when installed, it actually helped to straighten out the mangled skin of the Salvage 7. The old cage is from a '76, so the rear bar only goes to the wheelwells, just like this '78. On a '79 the bar goes to the floor and the wheelwells, which is stronger but doesn't bolt in. All we had to do was drill the holes for the front-cage foot pads and bolt it in.Our final delight was the rollcage from a previous CJ-7 project. It had served shelf duty The floor was ripped away from the fenderwell, so after a bit of massaging with a big hammer, I pinched the parts together. Drilling a lot of holes and using 8-32 machine screws, I kept the pieces together, then straightened more body panels. Once I was somewhat happy with the shape and direction of each panel, I tightened down the screws and let it be. The screws will allow for more flex than welding over old welds, so this Jeep should be able to wheel better than stock.The floor was ripped away from the fenderwell, so after a bit of massaging with a big hamm The force of the wreck broke the foot of the adapter between the TH400 tranny and Quadratrac transfer case. With mushy motor mounts up front, I had to replace this piece since the drivetrain kind of wandered around under the body when wheeling. It's a good thing too, as the Pepto Bismol-looking stuff on the bearing is ATF and water whipped to a froth. Needless to say, I had to change the fluid and filter rather than have problems down the road, or trail. Oh yeah, I had a spare adapter that needed the threads fixed, so that part was free. But it cost a Corona or two to have my buddy help me bench-press the case back into the Jeep while laying in the mud. Total cost: Six-pack of Corona, 5 quarts of ATF, and a transmission filter -- $39.47.The force of the wreck broke the foot of the adapter between the TH400 tranny and Quadratr The Salvage 7 is almost ready to drive away from the dirt lot to a new garage for final touch-up work. The windshield came off another project, and the molding and wiper guts were transferred. Headlights, mirrors, and windshield hinges came from a rusty bucket of Jeep parts a friend was throwing out, as were lots of little knobs, bolts, connectors, and screws. Eventually we'll swap springs to take care of the list to the left, but for now we'll just load all our gear on the right side. Total cost for this installment of the Cheap Truck Challenge is still cheap, at $503.79. That brings us down from the initial $1,500 to $964.21, which is plenty for the important stuff like tires or a winch, or...heck no, just more Corona! Either way, it has to run as is for the Cheap Truck Challenge, check it out and see what broke.The Salvage 7 is almost ready to drive away from the dirt lot to a new garage for final to Part 1Part 2 SOURCES Justice Brothers N/A Radiator.com N/A Off Road Connection N/A Safety Seal N/A ProForm 8-10/-774-7775 proformparts.com Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!