This is a 1978 Jeep CJ7. As is typical of the model, rust set in quickly and voraciously. A Stainless Steel body kit was provided by M.D. Juan Company of the Philippines, and a full restoration was started. All modifications and parts shown were designed and made by B. Dash Fabrication unless otherwise noted.
The body kit included all of the major stampings, and major sub-assemblies were welded together, but a huge amount of work remained.
Here’s the Jeep at the start of the project. The frame was significantly rusted, including this area at the rear which had been temporarily patched.
A common failure is the nuts swaged into the frame to hold the skidplate/transmission mount and other components. The bolts rust into the nuts, while rust loosens the swage. An attempt to remove the bolts will break the nut loose to spin inside the frame tube. B. Dash Fabrication developed this repair.
The old nut is drilled out, a hole prepared in the frame and a threaded insert machined. The insert is screwed onto an insertion tool and pulled into position through the frame tube.
After the frame was repaired and modified it was hot-dip galvanized. This shows the rear of the chassis with the damage repaired. The brake lines are a Stainless Steel kit from Classic Tubes. B.Dash Fabrication formed the SS fuel supply and return lines. Also in the picture is the Stainless Steel rear exhaust hanger we made.
We cut holes into the bumperette mounts and the rear crossmember to eliminate a pocket that collects mud and water. There are similar holes in the front crossmember. Now the frame can be flushed of debris from end to end.
In their stock location, the CJ instruments are very difficult to see, requiring that the driver lean over and turn his head to read them. B. Dash Fabrication designed and built this instrument housing. The green LEDs are turn signal indicators, red are for oil pressure and brake failure/parking brake, and there is a small blue one in the top center for high beam.
The panel is centered in front of the steering wheel and in the driver’s line of sight. It’s held in the housing with button head screws and can be removed in minutes for service.
The instrument pod required relocating the wiper motor to the center of the windshield frame, but the stock linkage was retained. The motor cover is by Omix. We also made Stainless Steel knobs for the lights, wiper and heater controls. The note panel is of magnetic 430 SS alloy. The switches on the shift lever control the snow plow. The blue knob is a vernier throttle control.
Mount for the Hi-Lift jack on the floor behind the seats. The jack is secure, out of the weather and away from larcenous eyes. A single knurled knob holds it securely.
The steering box brace. It clamps around the pitman shaft housing of the Saginaw box and bolts to a stock hole on the passenger-side frame rail.
Stainless Steel quarter-release hood hinges.
Front axle conversion. The stock Dana 30 axle broke and we replaced it with a Dana 44. The housing is from a 1979 full-size Jeep Cherokee, shortened 3” on the passenger side and 7” on the driver side. The knuckles, brakes and hubs are from a 1981 Dodge Ram Charger. The knuckles were modified to retain the stock steering linkage arrangement, although the links were replaced with stronger pieces. B. Dash Fabrication did all the work except for shortening the axle shafts, which was done by Moser Engineering.
Steering shaft utilizing Dana Spicer U-Joints and yokes, but retaining the collapsible section of the stock shaft.
Firewall stiffener plate. Most of the Philippine components were acceptable, but the stiffener was not, so we made this one. It looks simple, but there is a deep compound bend to the side of the steering column.
Hood prop. A SS duplicate of the factory version, including the ball-and-socket joint at the top.
The spare tire carrier is also a duplicate of the factory part, except that it can be opened 90º and lifted off. The bottom pin is drilled to accept a small padlock.
The stock fuel filler is mounted in a recessed plastic housing that tilts it down about 20º. That puts it just out of reach of a Jerry can spout. Although this looks stock on the outside and accepts the stock cap, the filler and vent tubes are tilted down to allow it to be mounted on the vertical face. A Jerry can can now be completely drained without losing a drop.
B. Dash Fabrication built this transmission cover to accommodate the shift tower and boots of the Borg Warner T18a transmission and Dana 20 transfer case.
The Motto of the project.
This isn’t a mall crawler. It performs well in the mud and woods.