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Thread: New to the Site and have a general question

  1. #1
    Bulltear forum member New to the forum
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    New to the Site and have a general question

    I just bought my 3rd jeep, a 1978 CJ7. 304/T400 Quadratrac. My last jeep was a 1977 CJ7 a chevy conversion. Well here I am with a very nice, stock Jeep and I really want to make it nice, but the 304 just doesn't quite do it for me.

    I have a few questions and I will list it out. This site looks like a place where I may get some insight on how to do justice to the jeep and not cannabalize it in the process

    1. Rear end, Dana 20. It looks very good, not bowed like from what I have read happens. This would be a 2 p axle I believe. Should it get a 1 p axle. On that note, I have always stuffed Detroit lockers in my 4x4's and I don't really have a fear about control problems from them.

    2. The Trans and Transfer case is in great shape and just had them looked over. The quadratrac was converted to part time at some point as it has locking hubs, but I don't see a need to make changes

    3 suspension. omg 1980's 1 to 2 inch rancho suspension. This is intolerable for an old fart like me on the streets. I need a compromise between road comfort and suspension off road.

    4 tires : 31 inch and I am happy with em. I dont need to hunt for a ladder to climb in this.

    5. 304 is ok, but a bit limp wristed. Would I be making a mistake by putting a mild 401 in this? I would probably go with a stock lower end with a little head work and a basic aluminum intake.

    on that note EFI seems very popular these days.

    thoughts? did i post this in the wrong area? thank you for your patience. I will follow up with a picture or two from my phone.

  2. #2
    Thank you from BT ULTIMUS MAXIMUS STATUS tufcj's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site. I had a 77 CJ7 that I built for rock crawling. I'll try to answer your questions based on my experiences.

    1. rear end - As long as you stay with 33" or smaller tires, the 2 piece axle will be fine. I ran Detroits in both ends of my 77, they really aren't that bad. If you do the rear, loosen and re-torque the axle nuts to 250 ft/lbs. They do work loose with age, and that's what usually causes failures.

    2. I believe the part time conversion on the q-track adds a slight overdrive. You might want to do a slightly lower gear (higher numerically), especially if you increase tire size.

    3. Rancho is the stiffest suspension I've ever dealt with, you could remove the shortest leaf to soften them some, but I'd replace them. I had great luck with custom springs from Alcan Spring. They aren't cheap at around $800/set. But they are built to your specs.

    4. you could probably fit up to 33" with a 2" lift, but if you like the 31s, stick with them.

    5. 401s are getting rare and expensive. They were last built in 1978. It might be easier to find a 360 out of a Wagoneer (up to 1991). Any AMC V-8 from 73 and newer will bolt up. Just remember that AMC v-8s are externally balanced, so you need to find one with the matching harmonic balancer and flex plate or you will have a vibration. You can't put a 304 flex plate on a 360 or 401.


    I had Howell-EFI on my CJ7 (360 powered), it was great. I hear a lot of good things about the Holley Sniper or FI-Tech systems. All cost about the same.

    Bob
    tufcj
    1969 AMX
    1967 Rambler Rogue

    If you need a tool and don't buy it...
    you'll eventually pay for it...
    and not have it.
    Henry Ford


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  3. #3
    Bulltear forum member New to the forum
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    Quote Originally Posted by tufcj View Post
    Welcome to the site. I had a 77 CJ7 that I built for rock crawling. I'll try to answer your questions based on my experiences.

    1. rear end - As long as you stay with 33" or smaller tires, the 2 piece axle will be fine. I ran Detroits in both ends of my 77, they really aren't that bad. If you do the rear, loosen and re-torque the axle nuts to 250 ft/lbs. They do work loose with age, and that's what usually causes failures.

    2. I believe the part time conversion on the q-track adds a slight overdrive. You might want to do a slightly lower gear (higher numerically), especially if you increase tire size.

    3. Rancho is the stiffest suspension I've ever dealt with, you could remove the shortest leaf to soften them some, but I'd replace them. I had great luck with custom springs from Alcan Spring. They aren't cheap at around $800/set. But they are built to your specs.

    4. you could probably fit up to 33" with a 2" lift, but if you like the 31s, stick with them.

    5. 401s are getting rare and expensive. They were last built in 1978. It might be easier to find a 360 out of a Wagoneer (up to 1991). Any AMC V-8 from 73 and newer will bolt up. Just remember that AMC v-8s are externally balanced, so you need to find one with the matching harmonic balancer and flex plate or you will have a vibration. You can't put a 304 flex plate on a 360 or 401.

    I had Howell-EFI on my CJ7 (360 powered), it was great. I hear a lot of good things about the Holley Sniper or FI-Tech systems. All cost about the same.

    Bob
    tufcj
    1. glad to hear, this makes changing the carrier to a detroit a lower priority. I cant imagine i am going to be trying to trying to put myself in precarious situations.
    2. might not be necessary based on 1.
    3 thank you for that, I will look into Alcan.
    4. changing 3 would drive the possibility for a 33 but honestly, the jeep looks nice with 31's.
    5. found a complete 401, including intake, pan and exhaust manifolds for $1500 but will need to be rebuilt. I think its a project calling out to me..
    6. I keep reading on Howell and Sniper, I think I will stick with the 2 barrel until 5 is a reality.

    thank you for your time on this, it helps me set my priorities in place.

    ~Rob

  4. #4
    Thank you from BT ULTIMUS MAXIMUS STATUS tufcj's Avatar
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    $1500 for a rebuildable 401 is about the going rate right now. I wish I would have picked up a lot more 15 years ago when they were plentiful and I could get them for $75 from a couple of local junkyards as core motors with no warranty. I have one virgin 60K mile 401 still stashed away and a builder 390. I'm working on a deal for a Molinar stroker crank for the 390 block. You could do a Sniper any time, they self tune based on some initial settings. The Howell would require a new chip to be burned if you change engines, that used to cost $100. I sold my Jeep a few years ago, I still have a 69 AMX and a 67 Rambler Rogue.

    Bob
    tufcj
    1969 AMX
    1967 Rambler Rogue

    If you need a tool and don't buy it...
    you'll eventually pay for it...
    and not have it.
    Henry Ford


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  5. #5
    Thank you from BT ULTIMUS MAXIMUS STATUS tufcj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Watkins, CO
    Posts
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    $1500 for a rebuildable 401 is about the going rate right now. I wish I would have picked up a lot more 15 years ago when they were plentiful and I could get them for $75 from a couple of local junkyards as core motors with no warranty. I have one virgin 60K mile 401 still stashed away and a builder 390. I'm working on a deal for a Molinar stroker crank for the 390 block. You could do a Sniper any time, they self tune based on some initial settings. The Howell would require a new chip to be burned if you change engines, that used to cost $100. I sold my Jeep a few years ago, I still have a 69 AMX and a 67 Rambler Rogue.

    Bob
    tufcj
    1969 AMX
    1967 Rambler Rogue

    If you need a tool and don't buy it...
    you'll eventually pay for it...
    and not have it.
    Henry Ford


    Vote for BULLTEAR on top4x4sites.com ===> VOTE BUTTON

  6. #6
    Bulltear forum member New to the forum
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    Quote Originally Posted by tufcj View Post
    $1500 for a rebuildable 401 is about the going rate right now. I wish I would have picked up a lot more 15 years ago when they were plentiful and I could get them for $75 from a couple of local junkyards as core motors with no warranty. I have one virgin 60K mile 401 still stashed away and a builder 390. I'm working on a deal for a Molinar stroker crank for the 390 block. You could do a Sniper any time, they self tune based on some initial settings. The Howell would require a new chip to be burned if you change engines, that used to cost $100. I sold my Jeep a few years ago, I still have a 69 AMX and a 67 Rambler Rogue.

    Bob
    tufcj

    yes I sold my 1977 CJ7 and regretted it shortly after. Three vehicles i never should have sold was the 77 Cj7, a 1977 Ford F100 Custom / 460 conversion and my 1970 L79 numbers matching Chevelle. sigh. Well when we are younger we don't accumulate and keep we sell to acquire new ventures. I won't be selling this jeep. I can't find another L79 Chevelle so I have a 67 Malibu and all we can do is make our peace with the past and appreciate the days ahead. I have looked at a bunch of Jeeps but they were all so dis-shoveled that I wasn't gonna deal with it. It's true that cars find us sometimes, the Jeep found me.

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