1981 CJ7 Restoration - 2021.09.05

It's a bit humid today, more so than I prefer for engine painting, so I took part of the morning to tend to the new crate motor that will go into the Jeep. It had been sitting around for a couple of years and was quite dirty. Also, I wanted to install the Centerforce clutch that I had bought for it. There's nothing wrong with the Centerforce clutch that came with it, but I just wanted to get mine on there. Also, this engine doesn't have the pilot bushing that the input shaft of the transmission sits in.

I tapped the pilot bushing in then used the clutch alignment tool to line up the clutch disc, often called the driven plate. This is needed since the disc has nothing to hold it in place during clutch installation. The pressure plate, or clutch cover, goes over this and bolts to the flywheel. When it's secured it will hold the driven plate, but it has to be centered so that the transmission input shaft will line up and go in when mating the engine to the transmission.

Bought a couple of pilot bushings. This $5 part is simple to install, but without it one will have potentially catastrophic results when driving the vehicle.

When installing or removing a pressure plate, it's critical to remove the bolts very gradually by partially installing or removing the bolts in a circular or cross pattern as if you were tightening lug nuts. The reason for this is if you completely remove or install bolts one at a time it places angular stress on the fingers of the pressure plate and will bend them, damaging the clutch. I'm really glad my buddy told me this as I had never heard of this since I don't have experience installing/removing clutches.

A carefully installed clutch. Hopefully it all lines up and works.

To prepare for mounting this engine I needed to address some metal prep I've been dragging my feet on. The pin below is for the steering damper to mount to and I forgot all about it when I assembled the front axle and attached it to the frame. This is a very hard to find part and I'm glad I didn't throw it away. Another Jeep restoration blog (http://1983cj7.blogspot.com/), alerted me to this. The blog is a fantastic resource and documents the restoration of a 1983 CJ7 very well - thank you, Morgan!

The engine mounting plates that my buddy gave me with the crate motor were in great shape, but my OCD got the better of me and I wire wheeled them and treated them to get rid of the surface rust and prepare them for paint. Same goes for the engine mount frame-side cross-member.

Rusty steel parts brought back to life.

To get into the nooks and crannies I used a Dremel tool with steel and bronze brush attachments. The steel Dremel brand brush was solid, but wasn't shaped to get into the smaller crevices, so I used these cheap bronze brushes I bought from Amazon. They worked, but they also come apart if the RPM got too high and the little wire bristles ended up stuck in my arm, as well as all over my shirt and thrown all over the driveway. Some tweezers and a vacuum cleaned up the mess.

Fun times with cheap wire wheels.

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