1981 Jeep CJ7 Restoration - 2020.04.04

In trying to keep up the momentum from the last couple days of great progress, I tackled the front brake caliper anchor plates. These are essentially caliper mounts that attach to the steering knuckles. As one can see, their condition is far from optimal and I tried to purchase replacements, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I've had a handful of situations where parts were no longer made and very difficult to find for this Jeep - one of the perks of owning a 39 year old vehicle.

These anchor plates literally look like boat anchors that have been submerged in the ocean.

As pathetic as these things looked, a bit of quality time with a wire wheel on an angle grinder did wonders. Some of the areas needed more finesse so I hit them with a Dremel tool and a miniature wire brush - to my amazement, the Dremel began to remove metal where the "BENDIX" letters and numbers are. Either the brush was stiffer than I thought, or rust had penetrated deeper into the surface than I realized and it was just being brushed off.

Once I got all the rust off, I coated them in rust converter and let them dry. They turned out pretty nice. Another set of parts successfully restored and probably saved me hundreds of dollars - if I could've found replacements.

The anchor plates cleaned up rather nicely.

There was still plenty of daylight so I decided to tackle the manual transmission. The 1981 CJ7 with the 258 cubic inch motor was mated to a Borg-Warner SR4 4-speed gearbox. This unit was a popular Ford item and was commonly found on Mustangs. In fact, the top of the transmission says Ford on it.

From my buddy's service records, the transmission was rebuilt around 4,000 miles ago, but that was also at least 14 years prior to the date of this writing. I figured the innards were going to be in great shape, but the oil and all seals needed to be changed.

Looking kind of rough - will take some patience and persistence to get this thing clean and ready to paint.

In order to disassemble the transmission, one needs to remove the adapter housing, the rear portion, which is essentially a spacer that mounts to the transfer case and holds the shift lever on top. After that is removed, then you take off the top of the transmission, then the shifter housing.

Got it apart - doesn't look bad at all inside, well, except for the nasty old gear oil.

A bit out of sequence, but to remove the adapter housing, you first have to remove the offset shifter arm. Once that is off, the adapter housing can be pulled off, then the shifter housing next. The rear oil seal is in the adapter housing and the front oil seal is inside the front bearing cap.

Above left is the offset shifter arm. Right - shifter housing removed. Shifter arms can be seen as well as the green inserts which will be replaced.


Left - the rear of the transmission that goes into the transfer case. Right - the front bearing cap.

This is as far as I got today, which was a fair amount of stuff accomplished. I tried to get the front bearing cap off, but I could not get enough purchase on the four 13mm bolts to get them loose. The area around the bolt heads is very close to the bolt and none of my sockets would fit in there. I tried using an open ended wrench, but it was too sketchy. I was concerned that I'd round off the bolt heads, so I stopped. Maybe I'll leave the front oil seal alone. There are zero signs of leaks. All the crud on the outside of the housing is from a transfer case leak. More to come.


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