78 Chief WT Driver Build

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1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:17 pm

This won't be a complete restoration of my 78 cherokee chief, but more of a driver build. Here is what I am starting with:

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1978 Cherokee Chief
360 out of a 90 Grand Wagoneer. Estimated 90k on the engine
TH400/Quadratrac
Dana 44s with 3.54 gearing
Everything pretty much stock

Plans are as follows:
Redo interior
Swap out factory a/c for aftermarket
4" lift and 33s (either BDS or BJ's since they are changing spring suppliers)
Maybe some paint down the road but it's in pretty solid shape.

I am still a novice when it comes to working on cars. So I may need some schooling here and there. Although I also have a 79 CJ5 that I have basically gotten to where I want it. Done all the work myself. Was bone stock when I got it. Worked on the 258 a decent amount to get it running well, plenty of minors repairs and improvements. And a 2.5" BDS lift installed.

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Looking forward to working on the chief and learning a ton along the way!




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Last edited by 1979bettywhite on Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:52 pm

First job is somewhat for me, but more for the GF. The interior was, well, a bit rough. Carpet tearing away, stained, stinky etc. Factory seats were a little grimy. Drivers seat was torn and repaired with tape etc. Not to mention there is just not much adjustment and support. So out it all comes.

But first, check out these goodies I got with the chief:

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Now on to the build:

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Goodies that I did not really want or need from the previous owner - a Philips head screwdriver, two video game tokens and a dime. But I did find a sporting goods reciept from 1981. I bet that was the original owner's:
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In pulling the seats out, the two rear, door side bolts sheared off at the head. Can see that in the above picture on the passenger side. More on that later. Also, when removing the trim piece holding the carpet at the door jam, I think I broke at least two of the self tapping screws off on each side. You know it, rust.

And now to my rust discoveries:

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So my plan for this was to wire wheel it all down, apply a rust reformer and the POR 15 over it. But there are a few small holes as you can see in the above picture of the passenger side. After some research it seems a good option is to use some fiberglass mat in conjunction with the POR 15.

Rust reformer working:
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Wire wheeled, cleaned, painted seat brackets:
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So my first question to you guys is, do you think I should try and remove the rusted floor plan plugs, or just leave them in and POR 15 over them? The one on the driver side has a decent hole through it already. If I do remove them, planning to just use a rubber plug in place of them.

Now on to those pesky broken bolts. After a few sessions with the drill, three broken bits, a few beers and potty mouth talk, I was able to get them drilled enough to break them off. I found that the key was drilling up from the bottom where the captive nut was. Just drill far enough to clear it. Then keep using a bigger bit. Eventually they broke off with some persuasion from the top. Since the threads were pretty much toast I pulled out the 1/4" bit and clearanced them a little more. They will get thru bolted.

Daylight:

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Ordered the carpet today from BJ'S. Seat order going in tomorrow. Decided on Corbeau Moabs in spice color. I spent a lot of time at three junk yards. But nothing quite suited my fancy. Did not want cloth and I can't weld (yet) so fabrication is out of the question right now. Also, remember this is mostly for the GF. She would sit in some random person's old seats, but I would also have to try and answer all of her questions like "what do you think happened in these seats?". "Do you think this car was in a bad accident?", "Do you think they survived?" Etc. New seats it is.

Fitting my CJ seats to see how the felt:

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Way better than stock and these bestop seats aren't even the best seats.

Second question. I am just ordering the seats and was planning to swap over my stock sliders. Will that work or do I need to order new sliders?

That's it for tonight. Maybe more Thursday when I will try to get to the POR-15 job.

Oh, and beer pic:

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OK, two:

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twisted frame
Posts: 440
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:41 am
Location: Massachusetts

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby twisted frame » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:13 pm

What an excellent Chief you found there! My favorite color too.

On the floor plugs, I'd remove the rusted steel ones and go with new rubber plugs - maybe apply some RTV around the plug before installing.

I suspect you'll need to do some work to the seat sliders to get them to fit any aftermarket seat. I haven't done this myself but I don't think I've seen any cases where someone mentioned a certain kind of aftermarket seat was a direct bolt-in.
73 J4000. 360, MC 2100, T18A, D20, stock closed knuckle Dana 44 front, 60-2 rear. Warn Lock-O-Matics, Warn/Belleview electric winch, true duals with glasspacks, old-school front diff skid plate, used 265 Toyos on 16" AR wheels.

rocklaurence
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby rocklaurence » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:15 am

For fixing the floor pans, I have had good luck using bedliner. It is very strong and is less likely to separate and pull up than fiberglass. I use tape on the underside of the small holes before rolling it on. You can use this method on pin holes, small holes up to 1/2 inch.

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:42 pm

Started with the drivers side today. Probably all I will get done. Will need a little more time for the passenger side since it is a little worse.

Prep:
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Fiberglass for the smaller holes:
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First coat applied:
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I know some may remark at the odd layout of the tape, but I am not trying to win beauty contests. This will be covered with carpet. Just want it to be solid and stop the rust.

And these arrived the other day:
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Motivation is what I call it. Will have to wait for the lift before they go on. 33x12.50s. Got such a great deal on them I could not pass it up. No tax, free shipping, $70 off and a $50 promo card from 4WD.com.

Also, after reading all that I can, I might have been swayed towards the skyjacker softride kit. Seems the consensus is that it rides fairly similar to stock and might be more like 5" versus the 3.5-4" it claims. Was a little worried about rubbing/stuffing the 33s with the other 4" lifts out there.

Also, carpet scheduled to be here today. Went with medium doeskin cutpile.


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1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:03 pm

Coated the passenger side this evening:

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nightglide
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:04 pm
Location: Reno, Nevada

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby nightglide » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:28 pm

I used the smittybuilt low back bucket seats for a cj in my j10 and the stock sliders worked perfect. I'm pretty sure yours will be the same.
77 J10 360/T18/Dana20
Fitech fuel injection
4" Lift....3" body lift....35" ats

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:08 am

nightglide wrote:I used the smittybuilt low back bucket seats for a cj in my j10 and the stock sliders worked perfect. I'm pretty sure yours will be the same.

Did you use your original sliders? Original bases as well? Was going to try and use my original stuff if possible.


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nightglide
Posts: 264
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:04 pm
Location: Reno, Nevada

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby nightglide » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:45 am

All original parts bolted to new seats. I'd take pics but seats are at upholstery getting a hounds tooth insert.
77 J10 360/T18/Dana20
Fitech fuel injection
4" Lift....3" body lift....35" ats

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:21 am

Thanks Nightglide. I called Corbeau and they told me the dimensions of their attachment points for the sliders were 11 3/8" wide and 13" long. I measured mine it it looks like the bucket sliders are roughly 13" wide. So I am not sure if they will work or not yet. But the seats are on backorder so I won't get them for a couple of weeks. Corbeau's site actually lists a seat bracket to mount to a stock CJ5/7 seat bracket so that you can retain the fold and tumble feature of the stock CJ brackets. I know I bolted my bestop CJ seats with their sliders attached directly to my stock Cherokee brackets no problem. So I am wondering if maybe I will need these brackets from corbeau, but they are $105 a piece! I may just have to get some flat steel stock and try and make my own. I know there is another member here that has the corbeau seats in his, so I may PM him to see what he had to do to get them to fit.

Also, I plan to install the carpet kit from BJ's this week. But I have a question for anyone who may have dealt with it. I have the stock vinyl mat in the rear as well as the rubber/plastic piece that covers the mat at the front and runs down to the passenger area floor. The back seat bolts attach through this piece. The carpet kit comes with a molded section that fits up over the top of where the rear seat mounts and extends probably another 5-6" on top of the rear bed area. So my question is, do I unbolt the rear seat, remove the plastic covering piece, and install the carpet under everything and then reattach the plastic piece? Or do I just cut off the extra section and just slide the carpet under the retainer piece just before it goes up to where the rear bench seat bolts in?

Anyone have any experience with this?

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will e
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby will e » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:11 am

I bolted Corbeau seats (Moab) to my stock Cherokee seat brackets. Non-power and the bracket doesn't fold forward, just the seat back.
81 Wagoneer - 'WILL E' Retired

82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/custom bumpers and roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CB/dual batts/custom TC skid plate

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:42 am

will e wrote:I bolted Corbeau seats (Moab) to my stock Cherokee seat brackets. Non-power and the bracket doesn't fold forward, just the seat back.

Did you use your original sliders off of your original seats, corbeau sliders, or no sliders?

Would like to use sliders if possible.

JD


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fulsizjeep
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby fulsizjeep » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:52 pm

Looking pretty good! :-bd
1979bettywhite wrote:Coated the passenger side this evening:

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Looks like this has had the front drive shaft CV failure. See the lumps by the Dana 20 shifter cover?
Sent from my IBM 5150 using TN5250 emulation.

Flint Boardman ~ http://jubileejeeps.org
Embracing the Borg Warner QuadraTrac since 1980 http://jubileejeeps.org/quadratrac
88 GW, 401/727/208, 5" lift, D44s/4.10s/locked up, 35s, a few Evil Twin mods, http://eviltwinfab.com and a few TT's Fabworks mods, http://www.ttsfabworks.com
76 401 Wag, 77 401 Wag, 77 401 J20

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:00 pm

I agree. That's what I thought as well. But everything seems to be working fine now. Has a QT in it currently.


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1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:40 pm

Finished up the pans last night. On to fitting the carpet today.

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Got the back piece fitted in. Lots of cutting. Eliminated the whole piece that fits over the step up since I have the plastic piece that
holds the vinyl mat in place.

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I think so far so good for my first time installing carpet. Can't even hardly tell that I could not get the seat belt floor mounts out. Still carpet and backing under those. Just cut the new carpet to fit around.

Overall looking pretty nice.


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will e
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Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby will e » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:48 pm

It's coming along very nice. That's a interesting piece that goes on the step up. I am not sure I have ever seen one before.
81 Wagoneer - 'WILL E' Retired

82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau Moab Seats/RCI 6point Harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/custom bumpers and roll bar/WARN 8000/steering brace/CB/dual batts/custom TC skid plate

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:56 pm

Thanks. I actually kind of prefer it being there. Nice transition and seems to fit more of a working truck style.

Also for those that might need it, a good 90 degree pick is a great tool to have handy when doing carpet. Was able to use it to help me tuck the carpet in to spots as well as pull it back up when i needed to trim some. Also good at helping to locate bolts and holes that need to be clearanced.

Harbor freight set is just fine.

Hey Will E, did you see my question about using the stock sliders with the corbeau moab seats?


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HeavyMetalThunder_81
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Joined: Sat Mar 17, 2012 5:01 pm
Location: Central Valley, CA

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby HeavyMetalThunder_81 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:28 am

Looking good!
I can not wait to get my carpet installed. I need to address all my water leaks to prevent it from getting soggy and rusting out the floor again first, though. :-x
-Jonny B.
1979 Cherokee Golden Eagle - 4" lift, 33x12.5x15
AMC 360 - 4180, TFI, Headers, Dual Exhaust
TH400 - Shift Kit, Deep Pan, Aux Cooler
D20 - Twin Stick'd
F D44 - 3.54, Open
R D44 - 3.54, Lock'd

1979 Cherokee Chief - Parts
1979 Cherokee Chief - Parts
1979 Wagoneer - Sold
1981 Cherokee Chief - Cubed

1979bettywhite
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:14 am

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby 1979bettywhite » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:23 pm

Finished up the front half today. Fitment is a little off but pretty good.

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Got the seats back in as well. Picked up some $30 wally world seat covers to tide me over till the corbeaus come in. And they actually don't look half bad.

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az chip
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Location: Mesa, AZ

Re: 78 Chief WT Driver Build

Postby az chip » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:22 pm

Nice job. Looks really good.
'81 Cherokee Chief 81 WT Chief/MSD 6/ Rusty 4" Spring lift/ Bulltear oil adapter/K&P Engineering Oil Filter/ NP 208/ Serehill Light Harness/ H4 Headlights/ Evil Twin Fab Roof Rack and sliders/ Ross mirror mounts.


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