1978 Wagoneer

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velvetcustoms
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:12 pm

1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:05 pm

SInce some of the photo links in this thread seem fleeting, all the pics are here. https://goo.gl/photos/ST8pfWw77XDaFYnN7


I grew up on woodsided wagoneers. As a teenager my father turned me onto 66-77 Broncos (he said he couldn't afford them when they were new), which was my only vehicle from '92-99, and stayed with me until '06. Now I have a family and my penchant for motorcycles and hot rods aren't conduscive to family outings. Apparently I've since been priced out of the early bronco market, so Wagoneers were a logical step. An acquaintance said he had this and was going to sell it. The price was right, so I agreed to buy it sight unseen, just as something to tinker with.

Turns out there's alot of bad, but some good. But, it was running and sort of driving when purchased, so that's half the battle.
-bad tires (35x12.50-15), but new rims. But it still has stock 3.08 gears. They are fine for getting around town.
-I was told it had a lift "kit", but that turned out to be cut and welded front shackles (3") and two rear lift blocks (total 5"). The pitman arm is also cut and welded. But at least, shocks, brake lines, and driveshafts have already been dealt with.
-body lift- has 3" lift on top of what I assume is a stock spacer. So essentially what I would consider 4" body lift.
-trans wasn't working well (TH400), but that appears to be a lack of fluid after it drained while the Quadra-trac was rebuilt.
-rebuilt quadra-trac
-top is cut open and has a professionally made snap-on canvas cover (this actually was a major selling point for me).
-interior is there but pretty much junk, absent, or not correct. There does appear to be a recent carpet kit.
-fender trimming, which I don't mind
-body is in pretty good shape, although the rear quarters were filled with foam when trimmed. so they need some love
-frame is fine.
-floors need some patches, although not terrible
-paint is by no means a professional job, but it is 2 colors. All the glass and trim is present.
-some recent parts (quadra-trac rebuild, rear glass, rims, gas tank)
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Last edited by velvetcustoms on Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:02 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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az chip
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby az chip » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Welcome! Nice start. Once you remove all the crap. No welded lifts ya know? LOL. Doesn't look rusted.
'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.

velvetcustoms
Posts: 17
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 8:12 pm

Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Next, a heavy bath to remove the growth. New tires and slightly narrower steel rims. Brought the TH400 up to proper fluid level (amazing what a difference transmission fluid makes. read sarcasm). Cut and cleaned out the rear quarters of all the spray in foam and junk, and hammered out the mangled left side quarter. Replaced the 4x6 rear bumper with steel tube that resembled the front. Got all the seatbelts working (wife and kids wouldn't ride with me until this was done).

Next up is to address the pitman arm, front shackle lift, and rear lift blocks; for safety reasons.

Image
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velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:10 pm

I've spent the last week focusing on little stuff:
    Things dash related. Replacing lights in the gauge cluster. Wiring cleanup under the dash and a little in the engine compartment.Fixing Heat/Defrost (more vacuum- did I say I hate vacuum). broken record, but it was a mess. Tons of wire nuts and loose ends, wires everywhere, etc. I'm almost done with that.
    Gas Gauge- DONE- it wasn't working. First I tested at the gauge, and it was fine. Then I traced the pink wire to the tank. I grounded it and the gauge worked, so I knew there were no shorts. The tank, sender, and pick-up were all new, but then I realized it's a PLASTIC TANK. So, I made a short pigtail to the frame, from one of the sheetmetal screws that holds a metal tab that holds the sending unit in the tank. Problem solved.
    Vacuum Lines and tuning- DONE- I like to see nothing more that vacuum advance line and a PCV valve, but I'm not ripping everything out of this truck, so had to see what was up. I found a couple of crappy or missing lines (including the Quadra-trac lines), and 1 unplugged nipple on the manifold. I sorted those things out, then adjusted the carb and timing, and it's MUCH better. Pretty steady 17-18" vacuum. I'm using ported vacuum for the advance. It's not using any of the CTO valves, and I'm OK with that.
    Quadra-Trac- I knew it had a new chain, fluid, and supposedly other stuff. After finding that the vacuum hoses were broken off at the metal tubes, I knew it has never been tested. After fixing the lines, I was concerned about which line went on which nipple. After a little bit of reading it wasn't entirely clear, but I had a good guess. And instead of trying to trace 5' of vacuum line, I eventually realized I could just hook everything up pull the line at the diaphragm to see which one had vacuum and which one didn't. Then I could swap the lines if I needed to. Regardless, the Dash light tested good. The indicator switch tested good. The vacuum switch was working and I had a steady 15" of vacuum at the diaphragm, but I couldn't feel any change when doing hard turns, plus I knew it wasn't actuating the indicator. I finally pulled the diaphragm out and found the shaft was simply stuck. I freed it up, but I couldn't get it free enough for the vacuum to engage it alone, so I guess I'll be replacing that. But at least I know everything works now.
    Fixing Front Lift- It has 3" lift shackles (made by cutting and extending originals). I'm going to split the difference and do 1" new aftermarket shackles and a set of Rusty's 2" add-a-leaf springs. The truck likes to wander all over the road, so I actually measured the caster (King pin inclination) and it's -1 degree as a result of the extended shackles (whether you call it negative or positive, it doesn't matter. The point is that not only is it not 0 degrees, it's another degree in the wrong direction). Now I know why it wanders so bad. FYI, the rear XJ shackles that say "1-2"" lift are 6" eye to eye, plus another hole at 7", so they are pretty darn long to try to run in the front.
    Steering- The homemade pitman arm is not only in the way of the tierod during any suspension movement, but it's showing a crack at one of the welds, which is exactly why people shouldn't do this. I'll replace it with the Rough Country 6602 (same as Rusty's RS-DPA2). FYI- Rough Country describes it for 2.5-4" lift , while Rusty's says 6", and some on ebay describe it as good for 8". But the fact is that it only has 3" of drop compared to a flat arm, and 2" of drop compared to stock. Regardless, it should be sufficient in my application.
    Rear Lift- has 3" on top of 2" blocks. While not the best solution, I'm going to use the same Rusty's 2" add-a-leafs for the rear,
    then ditch one set of the blocks.

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Last edited by velvetcustoms on Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Itschrisb
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby Itschrisb » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:21 am

Looks good man. I like the detail you're going into with this thread. I should have documented more of my "PO fixings".

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velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:59 pm

I finally got the front end buttoned up. Steering/handling is MUCH better. That all-over-the-road behavior is gone.
    already had full length add-a-leafs
    The original shackles looked like they had about 3" extension. That's gone, and I replaced with a set of XJ rear shackles that were advertised as 1-2" lift (see previous post for details). As I read elsewhere the leaf spring end was a tad wider than the leaf springs, so they got what amounts to a thrust washer on each side to take up the space. These included Red Urethane bushings and sleeves. I kept the shackle bushings b/c they weren't bad, but I replaced the metal sleeves and bolts with equivalent grade 8
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    Now I was back to exactly the same height as before, but with less frightening parts, I still measured 0 degrees of caster. I added steel 5 degree shims to get the caster back and some pinion angle. Again, not ideal. But I'm not trying re-invent the wheel.
    Replaced the homemade pitman arm with a new drop arm (see previous post for details).
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    I found out the shocks were too short, and that they were shot. The bushings were long gone and the metal eyes had since beaten themselves into an oval shape. I figure I had ~5" lift, so I opted for Rusty's RX13 shocks for the 4" lift, rather than go too long on the ones for the 6" lift.
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    Say what you want but I'm not running the sway bar. It's simply not necessary, nor is it advantageous on a truck that's been lifted 5" from stock with 35s and modified springs. Never understood that mentality of doing major modifications yet expecting stock handling.
    The last thing that I have yet to address is that I found out the driveshaft hits the exhaust crossover before full suspension droop. So,
    I'll have to figure something out there.
Aside from the front driveshaft\exhaust issue, next is to install the rear add-a-leafs and shocks, fix the horn, replace the Quadra-Trac vacuum diaphragm, and see what's up with the vacuum selection for feet\vent\defrost (did I mention I had all things controlled by Vacuum).

Gwilson78j10
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby Gwilson78j10 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:28 am

When you pulled the diaphragm out of the T case, were you able to pull it while the tcase was still in the truck or dropped the tcase.

velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:11 pm

Gwilson78j10 wrote:When you pulled the diaphragm out of the T case, were you able to pull it while the tcase was still in the truck or dropped the tcase.

I hate body lifts, but twice now the body lift on this truck has been a huge savior. First was adding a ground to the sending unit on the plastic fuel tank.
The second time (twice now) was fixing the vacuum diaphragm. Short of cutting a trap door in the floor (which i would do before pulling the drive train), there's no way i could have gotten access without the body lift.

velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:41 pm

Updates:
Heat/defrost didn't work.
    I found a hole busted in the heater box which is where much of my air went. I removed it and fiberglassed it up
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    I'd checked the vacuum switch before, but apparently i knocked the hose off the cannister when i was going through the rest of the vacuum leaks.
    plastic on the defroster hoses had disintegrated. I rarely used duck tape for anything but in this case it made sense and worked well.
    Heater door had a cable clamp that was toast, and I found a ton of leaves and acorns in the heater box that probably didn't help.

More Vacuum and tuning
    Engine was running good but there was a horrible squeal. Eventually I ruled out a pulley or belt. I finally found that the carb wasn't tightened down all the way on the plastic spacer\insulator between it and the manifold.

Maintenance- started checking everything that takes fluid or grease
    front Cardan joint sloppy, so I'm rebuilding that.
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    front transfer case yoke is sloppy too, but I need to figure out what exactly is the problem and what my options are.
    I already knew the front driveshaft was hitting the exhaust, which I still need to fix, but I have to wonder if the front driveshaft is so crappy because of this.
    finally got the new vacuum diaphragm in the quadra-trac
    fixed the horn. turns out there was too much corrosion for good contact on the steering wheel. Plus I got to adjust the steering wheel so it was straight.
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More steering- now that the pitman arm and caster are correct.
    checked steering in general for play. I adjusted the preload on the sector\worm gear a smidge. Normally I'd never do this, but I figure there's plenty of wear on the vehicle, so the steering gear probably isn't any different.
    The MAJOR issue I found is the joint on the steering shaft is toast. I can't tell if the joint is replaceable without doing the whole shaft yet. If anyone knows, please tell.
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Last edited by velvetcustoms on Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:35 pm

Is this joint at the top of the steering shaft neither servicable, nor removable? In which case I'd need a whole new shaft? That seems crazy to me but it doesn't appear that it's separable from the shaft. All I find when searching is conflicting accounts of replacing the shaft completely with a bolt in one from a CJ (part number, year, and power\manual are so vague or conflicting that it's not even clear which part to try). One guy said he used a 5-103X u-joint, but that's all that was said.

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velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:56 pm

Nice day so we took the top off and got a Christmas tree. front driveshaft is still out of the truck, so I actually used "emergency drive".
https://photos.app.goo.gl/fN2CBplNS2Ox5P7L2

front driveshaft Cardan joint back together with Dana u-joints. Still have to reroute exhaust to clear shaft, and re-install (so I can stop driving around in emergency drive mode).
https://photos.app.goo.gl/zSpOoQ06vQH25DYl2

new upper steering shaft and lower column bearing installed. What a pain in the arse removing the old stuff was. Internet experts said 18024-02 for CJ with power steering was a direct bolt in. The CJ shaft is longer but should just compress to necessary length, but unfortunately the lower shaft was too big to fit the steering box (steering box shaft measures .715") . Luckily my rag joint was still good and the two shafts fit together. So, if u try it, I'd recommend 18024.01 for CJ with manual steering.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/oOMiEG6vAWLG7zyC3
https://photos.app.goo.gl/I7ZKRzCxqyd0aMpu2

FOR SALE. So, this presumably fits the J20 if you believe the linterwebs. And it fits 76-86 CJ with power steering. If anyone needs to replace a tired rag joint, $60 shipped. The inside diameter is .740" from the flat to INSIDE of the splines.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/hvqP3RZ9PwKNDiFt2

WANTED low range reduction to fit Borg Warner quadra-trac.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ecf79VX2hcaUi51p1
Last edited by velvetcustoms on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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az chip
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby az chip » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:47 am

Hey, Nice work! You have a lot going on. There is a sell and wanted section further down the forum. You might get more responses posting in there.
'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.

Adventure_Wagon88
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby Adventure_Wagon88 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:21 pm

That thing is awesome! Love
The cut roof. I'm planing to do a Legacy Products sliding rag top on mine eventually. Funny, there was a discussion going on over on Facebook sparked by a similarly modified Wagoneer for sale. That one had almost the entire roof skin removed and left the cross beams. It had a custom canvas top also. The discussion (all speculation by non-engineers or people who understood how the Jeep was built) was that all the rigidity of the body was now gone. It would fleet like a wet cardboard box and the windshield, which was structural (lol, yes) would pop out or crack as a result of this modification! God I love morons, such great entertainment.

velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:11 pm

A couple weeks ago I redid the tailpipe from the donkey dick hanging down in front the rear tire to something up and out of the way, and all the way to the rear. I modified a replacement stock tailpipe so it clears the axle, shock, etc.
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I was missing an ashtray, and a small cobra CB that fit almost perfectly. So, I recycled a piece of wood a PO and installed it in the the ash tray's place, matching the passenger side of the radio. Woodworker I am not.
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I got the exhaust crossover re-routed so it now clears the front driveshaft (it was rubbing before). then reinstalled the driveshaft (rebuilt cardan joint).
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Checked axle fluids. Steering was still way too loose for my liking. I found the aftermarket dropped pitman arm had loosened up on the splines with use. I got it tightened to 185ft/lb again and did a formal adjustment on the steering box. Things are much better.

velvetcustoms
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby velvetcustoms » Sat Mar 17, 2018 5:26 pm

Since last update, I battled a noise that turned out to be a dust slinger on my front passenger spindle.
viewtopic.php?t=14100

Also got stranded, and ended up doing a Remy starter and solenoid.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/EbpYOHEU4ZYcZjpE2

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will e
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby will e » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:05 pm

velvetcustoms wrote:
Also got stranded, and ended up doing a Remy starter and solenoid.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/EbpYOHEU4ZYcZjpE2

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My rig has seen the back of a couple of different tow trucks too. ;)

It sounds like you are making steady progress. I love the look!
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

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jpswapmohn
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Re: 1978 Wagoneer

Postby jpswapmohn » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:06 pm

Just found your thread and looked at the picture link.
I like the small CB in place of the ashtray! I may have to use that idea.
The rear "bumper" turned out pretty well, but I thought the pressure-treated 4x4 was a nice touch.. 8^)

I have never seen front shackles connected by a bar..
With the rear leaf eyelets "hard mounted" to the frame, the axle fixed to the center (more or less) of each leaf, and the front shackles solidly connected to each other, I do not see how the thing can flex. Articulation is achieved by the spring and shackle on each side moving in opposite directions, with one drooping and the other elongating (compressing). It would seem that the front shackles welded together would prevent that movement, or at least cause significant stress in the system.

That configuration appears to drive both sides to droop or compress together, which is not generally ideal. I am curious what the builder/PO thought to gain from doing this.

And for the rig Adventure_Wagon88 referred to, completely removing the whole roof and only leaving the sheetmetal crossbars, held in place with little sheetmetal screws, IS a loss of structural integrity. (I are a engraner..8^) Yours still has 1/2 the roof. With off-road use, over time, you may see stress cracking in the area around the A-pillars and windshield as well as the B-pillars between the doors (can happen even with the roof in place). The cost of all those great windows is minimal support structure. Add that to some marginal QA/QC on the assembly line, and you get cracks and separation. Some of us find gaps in those places where welds were suppose to be.. Just something to keep an eye on. A roll bar that is tied to the frame would mitigate that. The frame and bodies on these wagons flex quite a bit.
One day I will wake up and realize that my jeep is complete...one day, I just know it.
88Wag, LT1/4L60E/NP242, etc.
95YJ, STaK, D44's, SOA, ARB's, Bilstein 5150s, 35" KM2's
50 CJ3A
77 J-10 (sold)


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