Chapter 16: The Sickness Spreads

Introducing CB & HD

One day in early March, I was trolling around the internet just keeping an eye out of local jeep parts for sale. It is something to do while waiting for customers to show up at work.

I ran across an ad that sounded eerily familiar. It claimed to be a 71 CJ5 along with a 76 CJ5 for parts. As someone who already had a 71 and a 75, these could be a great parts find! There were no pictures, but it hinted that it was partial torn down. I called and scheduled a meet up, but then work needed me that day so I had to cancel.

It turns out that the seller dropped the price after I canceled. I rescheduled a few days later and met up at the storage location.

In typical abandoned project fashion, they were quite disassembled. The 71 had the V6 Odd-fire sitting in the next garage. The engine had run and sounded good when the seller bought it but “struggled to make 35mph”. Yikes. He claimed that it didn’t smoke, but regardless, he also had a 302 that he was planning on dropping in. Interesting.

Oh, and the tub had been removed and was just placed back on the frame, minus the body lift. Oh, and there’s the bucket of bolts that they threw everything in.

The 76 was bought for its T18 transmission and its axles. It had a rebuilt 304 with a hole in the oil pan. Neither had front fenders. The 71 had the radiator and grill off. On the 76, it was attached by only the headlight wires.

The 71 was kept inside but the 76 had been out long enough for the tarp to blow off. The body was loose on the 71, all set for a frame up restoration. The 76 had carpet. Soaked, dirty carpet.

Still there were plenty of good parts. Warn front hubs on the 71. Two matched sets of 4 aluminum mag wheels. All drive train, except reliable engines. A nice soft top with half and full door options. There was even a winch on the front of the 71.

We settled on a reasonable deal and I started trying to figure out the logistics of getting it home. I had a landscaping dump trailer I had inherited from my dad. It was either going to be just long enough or just NOT long enough.

A couple days later I drag dad’s trailer up there. The length was fine. But it’s too narrow. I hadn’t even thought about the width. Luckily, the seller has a trailer, but it just needed picked up. A mere 45 mins the wrong way. I fly down the road, grab the trailer and head back. This trailer is not only small, it lacks any confidence.

It wasn’t any wider and definitely shorter, but it had an open deck. Now, this trailer wasn’t in the best condition but all lights worked except the right blinker. Brakes? Surely you jest.

CB, Jeep #3

Since the 71 had a winch, we hooked it to a battery and winched it right up onto the trailer. Sweet. The proverbial 10 pounds of old jeep parts in a 5 pound bag. That’s how the saying goes, right? I had to strap from the transmission crossmember as the axle was too far back to strap properly.

Driving it was interesting as it was a very windy day. As I was approaching the interstate and considering my lack of a living will, I realized that there was no engine but a bunch of parts in the back of the jeep on the trailer. This made it rather tail heavy.

I pulled over and found that there was a rear swing spare tire holder sitting in the back. That thing weighed about as much as the tub. I threw that in the back of the tow vehicle, along with a few other parts, such as the front fenders that had been thrown in the back. It drastically helped keep the trailer straight.

I made it home without incident and ran up to work, only 3 hours late. Sorry hon!

Before going to grab the 76, the world started to get impacted noticeable by the Coronavirus. It also was approaching a local spring break, but the weather has decided to go back to winter mode with cold rain.

I managed to get the 71 unloaded by myself, with help from the winch, and put away in the garage.

It took a few days, but I took the seller’s trailer back up and we loaded the 76, this time with the winch from the 71 mounted to the trailer. Like I was going to use a come-along. The 76, being 6″ longer, just barely fit on the trailer. The rear tire contact patch ended at the end of the boards. Both side has 2″ of tires hanging off the sides. And the weight of a Jeep with an engine definitely strained the winch battery. But it was on and strapped tightly. That ain’t going nowhere.

We then preloaded the 302 spare engine and the original 225 V6 in my dad’s trailer and threw a tarp on.

Even with less wind, it was a much sketchier drive with the added weight. I focused on driving slow and smooth and missing the tire eating potholes.

HD, aka Humpty Dumpty, Jeep #4

Getting the 76 off the trailer was a little more difficult. Turns out that tires don’t like rolling with 8 to 10psi. Once they were pumped up to 30psi, I got it rolled out of the way and ran up to work. Only 1.5 hours late this time. Progress!

The next day, I returned the little trailer and considered it a miracle that I hadn’t lost a tire, since there was no spare and my spares were too big. Grabbed my dad’s trailer after checking our engine tiedowns and took off. Made it home easily and got the V6 off the trailer and in the garage. Since I didn’t have the correct length bolts to attach it to the engine stand, I just used the same old tire the previous owner had dropped it on. It’s fine.

Dragging the 302 to the back of the trailer where I could grab it with the engine hoist took some doing. By doing, I mean a lost of sweat and swear words. But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. At least I didn’t roll the engine onto its side.

I named the 71 CB, short for Corona Build. I figured on that name because I’d probably work on it a lot with the mandatory shutdowns occurring.

The 76 I decided to name HD, as in Humpty Dumpty. It looked kind of sad outside with no fenders, hood or bumper and some plastic over the air intake. So I figured out which two of the four white front fenders belonged and attached the radiator and grill, fenders and hood, using a total of five bolts, hand tightened. Then I threw the hood on and bam! It looked pretty good to me.

Looks Good, Right?

With everything tucked away, I surveyed the garages. A total of four CJs, of which two ran, although one was up on jack stands awaiting a rearend rebuild. That’ll do nicely.

Some Disassembly and Assembly Required

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