1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

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Jeeptchr
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1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:34 pm

I've been gearing up to start my build/restoration of my 78 Chief. Since buying it a month and a half ago I've been reading on here and the "Mother ship" a lot and didn't want to intro myself and my build until I was ready to get started :)

I've been around jeeps for over 20 yrs, and somehow I even convinced my wife to trade her Mercedes she had when we met for a JK 4dr. :D
I wasn't really looking for a FSJ or any rig at all when I found this one on Pirate, and it had a look I liked, next thing I knew I was arranging shipping from California to Missouri... Shipping cost as much as the jeep did to buy. :shock:

Spec's are pretty simple, 78 Cherokee Chief WT, 360 TH400, Quadratrac with part time conversion, 87xxx orig miles, 4" of spring lift, not sure what brand yet. not sure of the gears yet (haven't checked), 33x12.5's. Just your standard specs.

Motor sounds good, it runs down the road well, except that the gauges don't work consistently, and I need to check the qtrac chain.... doesn't seem to be skipping but I feel like there is some slack there.

My goals are to build a reliable rig that when finished (I know this is a long term project) will be reliable, look good, be slightly wheelable (I have a TJ for serious wheeling) kinda an Expo type rig. I like the original look and styling so I will be doing this build as much as possible without detracting from that. I want a rig that I can drive anywhere, mildly wheel and then roll back home all in comfort.

Short range goals...
The Interior is Roached.... get it where it's comfortable, quiet "er", not trashed... so this means sound and temperature dampening, new carpet, seats, dash restoration/wiring, headliner, all water leaks stopped, rust in floorboards fixed (obviously probably first). I'll probably end up yanking the AC, dash and column to repaint them at this point and reseal the windshield at this point if I'm not ready for paint.
Tires, they are dryrotted; Roof rack resealed, engine wiring PO wiring fixes included running new wires when one didn't work.

Short/Mid range goal. full repaint and any rust repair (rear flares in a few spots :( ) It was repainted at some point, poorly in areas. I am going to go back factory paint colors, and probably oe paint scheme. I'll end up doing all of the disassembly work, possibly some prep, and then if the stars and pocketbook align I'll be able to get my father in law to get it in his auto-body shop for that part :) otherwise I'll do the rust repair and then a buddy and I will shoot it.

Long range is pretty simple.... 5.3/4l60e/not sure on tcase swap or either 4bt or 4bdt1 swap. leaning towards the 5.3 right now. get the AC working, start daily driving it :)


as always, these plans are subject to change at any point and time :)

Discussion is always welcome, I've never documented a build like this before so this will be a new experience.

Now for some pic's!
Just some minor dents and dings... Rear flare rust on both sides :( has anyone used the BJ fiberglass ones?
Image
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Good Dash Pad and awesome Shifter knob!
Image
Does anyone know if there are any differences between California tuning and other states?
Image
Weird Water rust path....Image

I started by yanking the seats and carpet out to see what I have to work with I'll get them posted hopefully tomorrow.

Brad

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jaber
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby jaber » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:00 am

Hey Brad, welcome to the network... Image

Getting one from Cali sure saved you some time. :-bd Looks like a great start.
Jeff

'46 cj3a
'51 Willys p/u
'51 Willys Parkway Conversion
'74 CJ5
'75 J-20 Wrecker
'75 J-20 Cummins service truck
'77 J-10 p/u
'79 Cherokee
'88 Grand Wagoneer
http://s252.photobucket.com/albums/hh14/jeffaber/

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Mrpatatomoto
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Mrpatatomoto » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:48 pm

Cali cars typically have more smog crap. Some companies met Cali standards and made them all that way, and some only met Cali standards on the ones sold in Cali.
1982 Cherokee Chief, 258, T5 , NP208, 3.31, 33" BFG KO2's
32/36 weber, MSD 6a, Core/Hurst Shifter

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fulsizjeep
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby fulsizjeep » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi Brad, welcome to the dark side! Looks like you got a hold of a good one. :-bd :fsj:


Jeeptchr wrote:Weird Water rust path....Image

That path is normal for the drip rails. I am thinking Cali acid rains... :shock:
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

twisted frame
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby twisted frame » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:47 pm

Nice Chief with a black interior to boot!
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.

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81Cherokee Laredo
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Location: Tuscola TX

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby 81Cherokee Laredo » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:45 pm

Hi Brad, welcome from Texas. You got a nice one to start with, I'm diggin your custom gear shifter.
81 Cherokee Laredo 360/727/219 - SOA/SF Inwk - 4.56 D44/AMC20 35 Cooper's - J20 Steering Box
83 Cherokee W/T - Katy - Long term project
89 Grand Wagoneer 360/727/229 - 31 X 10.50

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:32 am

Thanks for the welcomes.
Yeah, getting one from out west saved some time rust wise for sure, for the most part. I am finding it here and there though :( about what I expected overall..
That water path in the passengers door hinge area was throwing me, I figured it was water runoff, but the fact that the drivers door didn't have it was weird Thanks! Cali acid sounds as good as any other expanation :) When we reshoot it I'll make sure that area gets a bit of extra paint.

The black interior was a pretty great find, especially with the shifter. The dash pad seems to be in great shape with no cracks. I yanked the carpet and padding out, they were both trashed, seats and seatbelts all came out ok. I'm debating whether to rebuild the original seats, or swap some in out of another vehicle. I know the dakota swap is popular, but I feel like the seats are too rounded for the look/style that I'm going for. I'm thinking about newer JK or grand Cherokee.
Next out is the windshield so I can pull the dash to reshoot it and the steering column.
They should be a satin black right?

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:46 am

Here's pics of the floorboards, I lucked out for the most part.
Drivers side was about as expected, I think I'll be ok just replacing the main rust area, I have a air flanger to flange the original pan to accept the patch. but the passengers side has really weird potmarking. Not sure on what is going on there, and not sure how much to replace, Thoughts?

Drivers side.
Image
Drivers side back
Image

Passengers side
Image
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Image
Any Thoughts?

Thanks
Brad

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:12 pm

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:08 pm

as I was cleaning the interior out I had my head under the dash and was untangling/deciphering the wiring mess of the PO's I saw on the right side a rust spot above the air vent slightly behind and on top of the vertical support, with the screwdriver rust testing tool I determined there is a spot about 4x3 right up next to the bottom and back of the cowl vent...
So out came the ac, windshield, dash, wiring, brake petal. The only thing left right now is the steering column and the heater, not sure if I should take them out also while I'm at it... After all I'm planning on doing a thermal and sound deadener roll on, then bed line over the top of that. If I'm in this deep what's a bit deeper to do it right, right?

I'll add a couple of pics when I get some time,

Jeeptchr
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Thu Jan 30, 2014 8:57 pm

I haven't posted any progress for a bit, I've been tinkering on my powerstroke; glow plugs, front springs to level it back out. Plus it's just been cold out even in the shop.
I was discussing my build with my father in law who will be hopefully doing the exterior paint and bodywork in his shop, and he made the comment that if I didn't frame off it I would regret it..... I knew he was right... So, here we go; frame off is in my future, I've been down this road before, and I knew I was heading there but didn't want to admit it. One of my parting comments to the FIL was if I'm in this deep I might as well do the motor swap at the same time. He agreed, so he's keeping his eyes out for a 02 or newer gm truck that has been totaled.

Next steps, continue disassembly and repair all the rust in the pans and reseal all of the body seams. Also I'm starting the parts gathering.. Np241 pass drop is spoke for, and will be picked up in a couple of weeks.


To be continued.....
Last edited by Jeeptchr on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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81Cherokee Laredo
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Location: Tuscola TX

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby 81Cherokee Laredo » Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:42 am

You're in deep now.. Looking forward to your frame off build are you going to keep it yellow?
81 Cherokee Laredo 360/727/219 - SOA/SF Inwk - 4.56 D44/AMC20 35 Cooper's - J20 Steering Box
83 Cherokee W/T - Katy - Long term project
89 Grand Wagoneer 360/727/229 - 31 X 10.50

Jeeptchr
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Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:36 pm

81 Cherokee, I was planning on staying yellow till the other day the wife and I were heading down I-70 and a '10ish dodge passed us, it was that Non-metalic Dodge Orange, I pointed it out and said... I like that. So, that is the new color, with factory style black on the bottom and probably a matte black around the side windows wrapping onto the hood, similar to cu4whln's yellow jeep underground cherokee. There's quite a bit in his thread that I'll probably copy, very similar sense of style here . here's the link to that thread (posting for my own reference :) http://www.ifsja.org/forums/vb/showthread.php?t=89280 I've been in contact with Steve at SMS Headliners, when I bought the jeep in november, I had him put me on his list to get a headliner made, it has been ordered, it will be charcoal, I was going to go with black, but the more I thought about it I thought that would be too dark.

I've had a few snow days at work the past couple of days so I've been able to get out in the shop and work a bit. not a lot of hrs,but quite a few.
here is some update pics.

I used a few jumper wires and started the motor so I could video it running before I remove it. Thought that might be a good thing. :roll:
Headliner rails were taken out along with all interior side panels,
found a long forgotten 1 1/2 wrench and 2" ball stored behind the passengers side panel, odd spot I thought. Is the black grab strap in the picture factory?
Image

Got the glass and vent windows out of the doors, there's a little bit of repair that will need to be done on the drivers side, it has cracked where the vertical divider was, a support strap connecting the interior and exterior panels under the vent window broke, so that will need repaired.

Front grill, bumper headlights and all lighting and front lighting harness has been removed. both coolers are trans coolers. I'm hoping my spare parts wagoneer down at the farm has some bumper brackets that I need to fix the bumper.
Image

dash looks fairly good, going to sandblast and then repaint it. I toyed with the idea of filling the holes and leaving the dash pad off, but I think I'll put it back on.
Image

status of the interior at this point. I know I need to clean up a bit, I've ran out of places to stash parts, I think I'm going to have to put a loft in the back of the shop just to store the parts I'm taking off.
Image

CherokeeJim
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Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:51 pm
Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby CherokeeJim » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:28 am

Wow!! Nice Rig Brad, again welcome to the dark side. You have a lot nicer platform than what I started with! :-bd :fsj: :fsj: :fsj:
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'77 Cherokee 6" lift/EFI 377/TH475/BW1339/D44s/4.56s/35x12.50x15s soon 401/422/ Detroit rear
79 Cherokee 4dr EFI 408/TH400/1339/31s
'82 J10 5.3L/4L60E/Atlas 3.8/SOA with 2" front springs and 6" boomerangs/ 63" rear GM springs inboarded/D44FHD and Ox locker/high steer/14Bolt and Detroit 4.56s/ 4wheel disc brakes with hydroboost/37" Pro Comps
74 Cherokee, 401/TH400/1339/31s
71 J4000 short box on Cherokee frame/4.3L Vortec/TH400/D20/ D44s/4.10s/33s
'08 Tundra 5.7L 3" lift/33s

CherokeeJim
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:51 pm
Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby CherokeeJim » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:31 am

After my restore
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'77 Cherokee 6" lift/EFI 377/TH475/BW1339/D44s/4.56s/35x12.50x15s soon 401/422/ Detroit rear
79 Cherokee 4dr EFI 408/TH400/1339/31s
'82 J10 5.3L/4L60E/Atlas 3.8/SOA with 2" front springs and 6" boomerangs/ 63" rear GM springs inboarded/D44FHD and Ox locker/high steer/14Bolt and Detroit 4.56s/ 4wheel disc brakes with hydroboost/37" Pro Comps
74 Cherokee, 401/TH400/1339/31s
71 J4000 short box on Cherokee frame/4.3L Vortec/TH400/D20/ D44s/4.10s/33s
'08 Tundra 5.7L 3" lift/33s

Racegas
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:50 pm

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Racegas » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:36 pm

The rubber strap is used to hold the rear seat up, when you fold it forward. There is a 'hook' on the bottom of the seat frame that the strap attaches to.
Robert E Lee
89 GW White/Maroon, Son's DD

89 GW Silver/Maroon/Rust, parts car

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:12 pm

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:03 pm

Ah thanks! I was kinda lost on its purpose, I'll look at the seat and find the hook.

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:12 pm

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:05 pm

Cherokee Jim that is sweet! I'm going for a very similar look. Where'd you get the white side decal?

CherokeeJim
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:51 pm
Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby CherokeeJim » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:53 pm

Thank you :-bd www.bjsoffroad.com sells them, pheonixgraphics makes them.
'77 Cherokee 6" lift/EFI 377/TH475/BW1339/D44s/4.56s/35x12.50x15s soon 401/422/ Detroit rear
79 Cherokee 4dr EFI 408/TH400/1339/31s
'82 J10 5.3L/4L60E/Atlas 3.8/SOA with 2" front springs and 6" boomerangs/ 63" rear GM springs inboarded/D44FHD and Ox locker/high steer/14Bolt and Detroit 4.56s/ 4wheel disc brakes with hydroboost/37" Pro Comps
74 Cherokee, 401/TH400/1339/31s
71 J4000 short box on Cherokee frame/4.3L Vortec/TH400/D20/ D44s/4.10s/33s
'08 Tundra 5.7L 3" lift/33s

Jeeptchr
Posts: 170
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:12 pm

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby Jeeptchr » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:26 pm

here is the link to my Google + album with all of the pic's someday I'll organize them but right now i haven't taken the time yet. if you need any assembly reference shots there is a chance I'll have them here. 185 images and growing as of right now
https://plus.google.com/photos/115562027480153836882/albums/5964183192017789089

CherokeeJim
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:51 pm
Location: New Braunfels, Texas

Re: 1978 Cherokee Chief Restore/Build.

Postby CherokeeJim » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:28 pm

Nice shots!! Pics along the way make for an exciting look back and see its progress as it grows. You'll enjoy going over it again and again. On my FB account I think have something close to 900 pics, maybe more I don't remember. Keep it going bro!! I'll be picking up another Cherokee from Flint this spring, 78 Cherokee Chief as well. I look forward to your build! If you need anything let me know.
Here's my number as well 619-764-9379 :-bd :-bd :-bd :fsj: :fsj: :fsj:
'77 Cherokee 6" lift/EFI 377/TH475/BW1339/D44s/4.56s/35x12.50x15s soon 401/422/ Detroit rear
79 Cherokee 4dr EFI 408/TH400/1339/31s
'82 J10 5.3L/4L60E/Atlas 3.8/SOA with 2" front springs and 6" boomerangs/ 63" rear GM springs inboarded/D44FHD and Ox locker/high steer/14Bolt and Detroit 4.56s/ 4wheel disc brakes with hydroboost/37" Pro Comps
74 Cherokee, 401/TH400/1339/31s
71 J4000 short box on Cherokee frame/4.3L Vortec/TH400/D20/ D44s/4.10s/33s
'08 Tundra 5.7L 3" lift/33s


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