1981 CJ7 Restoration - 2020.05.23

11 days since I last did any real work on the Jeep - guess I needed a break. Spent 6 or so hours today in the garage and to the unfamiliar, it would look like all I got accomplished was setting the fuel tank skid plate in the frame and holding it there with zip ties!

Today was actually a big day for me as I completed some things that I'd left unattended for almost 5 months. Back in December of 2019 I was working on the rear axle and thought I had things oriented correctly. I knowingly had the axle upside down to make leaf spring mounting easier, and proceeded to install the parking brake cables. I thought I had it figured out, but I'd confused myself and installed them on the wrong sides of the axle. I was able to correct that today and also test the bearing preload on the rear wheel bearings.

The new 1-piece Yukon rear axles were very hard to turn by hand and I thought I really screwed something up. A person I consult from time to time suggested attaching a wheel with tire on it to one side and giving it a healthy spin. If it goes about 1 revolution, it's the expected resistance of new bearings packed with grease, the oil seal, axles in the differential, etc. I had to give it a pretty good "Wheel of Fortune" spin, but it came around almost full circle, which makes me feel a LOT better. I don't want to revisit this axle if I don't have to. Time will tell and I'll be driving the first mile very carefully and slowly to break everything in.

They say once new bearings seat and break in, things should loosen up. I can tell that since December the resistance has decreased, probably from the bearings starting to set in from me rolling the chassis in and out of the garage, which is maybe up to 10 feet each way.

Finally done with the rear axle after almost 5 months - I think.

Next up were the front locking hub bodies. In an earlier post, I wrote that the new Warn hub bodies wouldn't allow the wheels to be mounted with the center caps installed, since the new Warn hub bodies had a circular flange that interfered with the center cap. After restoring the original hub bodies, I finally got around to installing them over the new hub clutches. I tested the engagement and they seem to be working as both sides engage the axle shafts. I just hope they engage enough to enable 4 wheel drive.

Original front locking hub bodies back on.

I've had restored front brake caliper anchor plates sitting around for 3 weeks. Feels like a lot longer - one of the strange effects of sheltering in place as we hopefully near the reopening of some businesses in the wake of the current COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 virus) pandemic.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how these are oriented. Playing around with placement, it becomes evident that they retaining screw hole goes on the bottom. There isn't any documentation of installing these in my service manual, the photos and drawings in there for brake pad replacement have it showing in the bottom in a couple photos, then one has it on top??? The other way creates interference with the dust shields, so hopefully this is right and there won't be further issues.

I have new calipers, but they are different colors so I'll paint them with caliper paint to give them a nice uniform look.

I think this is the proper orientation.

I hadn't installed the clutch fork either. In order to do this, I had to remove the bell hosing from the transmission to install one of the return springs for the clutch fork. In the photo below, there is a small spring that anchors to the bell housing through a tiny channel that captures one end of the spring between the bell housing and the transmission housing. The other end of the spring attaches to the clutch fork and between the fork and the bell housing is a steel ball for it to pivot on.

Some photos to show where the small return spring goes. I assembled everything and forgo to take photos. The right photo is of the old clutch fork and small return spring, for illustration purposes.

The larger return spring was actually harder to deal with until I decided which way to install it. I tried to put the squared end into the clutch fork, but could not figure out how to do it. So, I decided to put the J-shaped end in the fork, but the end of it that hooks back interfered with the rubber boot, so I trimmed it. Now that I look at it, I believe this is right since the spring coils may have interfered the other way around.

Larger return spring installed.

Just to make it look like I actually did something today, I placed the new Kentrol stainless steel fuel tank skid plate in the frame to see how it would look. It's just held there with zip ties, but I wanted to stage it. Not sure if the polished stainless is too flashy, but I hear it will oxidize some and be less mirror-like over time. That's it for today - I'm beat!

Shiny new stainless steel fuel tank skid plate.


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