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Old 04-03-2017, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default 1979 Jeep CJ7 - long term refresh

Just before Christmas, I unexpectedly lost a life-long friend. My buddy, Reuben, was only 45 years old when the good Lord recently called him home.

I was fortunate enough to purchase a couple of Reuben’s pistols from his family, as well as his old 1979 Jeep CJ7. As a tribute to my friend, we’ve decided to pour some dinero into the Jeep and get the old girl road/trail worthy. This will be a long term thread as we slowly make progress.

The purpose of this thread is to share the refresh of this old CJ7, but TBH members are welcome to read more about Reuben’s story and the 2 beautiful daughters he left behind, at www.gofundme.com/daughters-of-rueben-lohkamp. Please feel no obligation to donate.

Since the Jeep had not run in a couple of years, I bought a tow-bar hook-up at Walmart and towed the old girl to our local mechanic. Two weeks and $1300 later, she was running good…a new timing chain and cam gear, and even passed inspection.

The Jeep still has the original AMC 304 ci, but somewhere in her past the factor 2-barrel had been swapped for a Holly 4-barrel. The CJ7 has the factory 4 on the floor, but someone had installed headers and dual exhaust. There appears to be mufflers under the back end, but apparently they’re only for looks. She’s loud, obnoxious, and a blast to drive….not unlike the girls I dated in college.
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Old 04-03-2017, 01:58 PM   #2
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The seats were shot so I picked up some new Bestop high backs from Quadratec. I was too cheap to pay for the reclining option, but the new seats fit well and I like the black-denim color. They almost appear to be grey in the photos, but have a faded black look in person.

With the old seats removed, you can see the Jeep came with a Tuffy center console, as well as a large storage box in the rear. Both security boxes were rusty so they’ve were pulled for sanding and painting. The rear Tuffy storage box takes the place of the back seat, which may be a good thing since we have 2 teenage boys.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honker View Post
Just before Christmas, I unexpectedly lost a life-long friend. My buddy, Reuben, was only 45 years old when the good Lord recently called him home.

I was fortunate enough to purchase a couple of Reuben’s pistols from his family, as well as his old 1979 Jeep CJ7. As a tribute to my friend, we’ve decided to pour some dinero into the Jeep and get the old girl road/trail worthy. This will be a long term thread as we slowly make progress.

The purpose of this thread is to share the refresh of this old CJ7, but TBH members are welcome to read more about Reuben’s story and the 2 beautiful daughters he left behind, at www.gofundme.com/daughters-of-rueben-lohkamp. Please feel no obligation to donate.

Since the Jeep had not run in a couple of years, I bought a tow-bar hook-up at Walmart and towed the old girl to our local mechanic. Two weeks and $1300 later, she was running good…a new timing chain and cam gear, and even passed inspection.

The Jeep still has the original AMC 304 ci, but somewhere in her past the factor 2-barrel had been swapped for a Holly 4-barrel. The CJ7 has the factory 4 on the floor, but someone had installed headers and dual exhaust. There appears to be mufflers under the back end, but apparently they’re only for looks. She’s loud, obnoxious, and a blast to drive….not unlike the girls I dated in college.
That will be a good looking Jeep. I like the old ones much better than the new ones. It will probably cost less than a new SxS even after all the work!
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:07 PM   #4
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The side mirrors, steering wheel and hood hinges were also pretty rusty. These were pulled, sanded, and painted…small fixes, but these little things start to add up and she looking better.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:10 PM   #5
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Following!

Nice call and tribute to a friend man!
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:13 PM   #6
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My plan is to eventually use bedliner on the inner tub. To prepare the inner tub we removed the new seats, gave it a good power washing, and then stripped away a couple layers of old paint. I found Aircraft stripper at O’reillys and that is some powerful stuff, but I still have some sanding to complete.

Next on the list is to cut out the old rusty floor boards and install the replacement pans, which have been ordered. Once the new floor pans are installed, I have to decide whether to spend $500 on a professional spray-in liner or go the cheap DIY route.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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Are those the Bestop neoprene seats? If so, keep em outta the sun, they fade fast. Like several days fast.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:14 PM   #8
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very cool!! love my CJ 7! I have had many they are very fun!

Has anyone ever told you what J E E P stands for???

JUST
EMPTY
EVERY
POCKET

Enjoy it.
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Old 04-03-2017, 02:20 PM   #9
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Following.

Great tribute to your friend!

Heck I'm excited to watch this jeep develop, with just the minor touches you've done so far I'm really liking this build. This is gonna be a great ride, I'm sure your friend is looking down smiling.
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Old 04-03-2017, 04:15 PM   #10
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Are those the Bestop neoprene seats? If so, keep em outta the sun, they fade fast. Like several days fast.
They are not neoprene...just some type of vinyl. I have heard the same thing about the neoprene covers. Thanks.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:50 AM   #11
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The replacement floor pans arrived this week so yesterday evening I went to work on the passenger side. I stopped by Northern Tool and picked up an electric metal shear, which worked really well trimming the new pan. On a side note, Northern Tool is a dangerous place to spend your lunch hour.

My trusty angle grinder and several metal cut-off wheels worked well to remove the old rusty floor. I was able to save the two support braces. One you can see with the floor removed and next to the frame. The other runs perpendicular to the length of the Jeep and along the bottom edge of the hole.

The new replacement pan was much larger than I needed. The electric shear made a clean cut when I trimmed about 2 inches off the top and made a rounded cut in the upper left. The shear was also a big help fitting the new pan down the right side next to the door well. This area had quite a bit of rust that I removed, but this meant I had to fit the old with the new like a puzzle piece.

I still have some trimming to do before I permanently attach the new pan. More to come...
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:16 AM   #12
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Definitely a worthwhile endeavor!
Good on you.

Keep it going and post lots of pics, I love a good Jeep thread.

Here's my CJ project.
http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...d.php?t=359584
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Old 04-05-2017, 10:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark View Post
Definitely a worthwhile endeavor!
Good on you.

Keep it going and post lots of pics, I love a good Jeep thread.

Here's my CJ project.
http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...d.php?t=359584
Good job on your rig. That's a good looking CJ.
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:04 AM   #14
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Tuned in
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:26 AM   #15
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in for this. great build
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:46 AM   #16
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Following! I did the spray in bedliner myself with a product called raptor liner. Kit was $150 and it came with the gun.




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Old 04-05-2017, 10:28 PM   #17
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Looks good!

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Old 04-05-2017, 10:51 PM   #18
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Thanks Flash. The bedliner looks great. I might have to give that a try.
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Old 04-05-2017, 11:08 PM   #19
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lookin good!
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:17 PM   #20
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nice work
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Old 04-10-2017, 11:03 AM   #21
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We spent most of the weekend on the old CJ7. I am anxious to have the inner tub sprayed with bedliner so we've been working towards that goal.

This weekend, we finished cutting out the driver's side floor pan and generally cleaning up the firewall. We had to remove the gas pedal to have enough room to remove and replace the driver's side floor. This also gave us the opportunity to sand and paint the gas pedal.

I'm sure some will disagree with our method for securing the replacement pans. After a lot of research, we decided to secure the new pans with automotive structural adhesive. We used Nortons Speed Grip and I am very pleased with the product and the results.

We spent an equal amount of time removing old paint from the tub. More to come...
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Old 04-10-2017, 12:24 PM   #22
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Did you decide to get it sprayed or do it yourself?


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Old 04-10-2017, 12:53 PM   #23
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I looked at a handful of YouTube videos last night and for $500, I'm going to push the easy button. There are a couple of places in and around Katy, TX. I'm going to use Rhino liner. Its a bit thicker and a little more rubberized. One of the standards colors is a gun metal grey, which shouldn't get as hot in the dog days of summer.
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Old 04-10-2017, 06:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honker View Post
I looked at a handful of YouTube videos last night and for $500, I'm going to push the easy button. There are a couple of places in and around Katy, TX. I'm going to use Rhino liner. Its a bit thicker and a little more rubberized. One of the standards colors is a gun metal grey, which shouldn't get as hot in the dog days of summer.


Cool. Consider having them too it over the door opening a little the protect from people getting in and out. I did it on mine and it works great!! You can see it here a little in the picture. Also one more tip. Remove all your drain plugs and re install after the liner. That way they will be removable later and won't have liner over them. And pick up a box of disposable foam ear plugs to put in all the screw holes so they don't get gummed up with the liner.



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Old 04-13-2017, 06:11 AM   #25
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Great tips Flash...Gary's on North Fry Rd in Katy has the CJ7 now and they will be doing everything you recommended. I'll post pics once we it's done and we start reinstalling the interior.

There's still a lot of debate about what to do with the exterior. It's flat black now and looks like a rat rod., which I think is kind of cool. More to come...
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:17 AM   #26
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Quote:
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Great tips Flash...Gary's on North Fry Rd in Katy has the CJ7 now and they will be doing everything you recommended. I'll post pics once we it's done and we start reinstalling the interior.

There's still a lot of debate about what to do with the exterior. It's flat black now and looks like a rat rod., which I think is kind of cool. More to come...


I got prices for $750 from the maaco here in Tomball to paint it in a single stage paint. For some reason I wanted base and clear. I bought the paint and dropped it off at a local mom/pop body shop and had them spray the base and clear for $1000. If I did it over again I would just drop it off at maaco and let them do their thing. I'm my case it's a jeep and I plan on using it as one. Messing up the paint is inevitable.

I thought about going the bedliner route. The cons out weighed the pros for me. It makes the jeep heavier, holds the dirt, fades in the sun, makes bodywork and repairs more difficult, and it was pricey.

If I did the maaco thing I could have the jeep repainted ever 4-5 years and after 10 years it would still be cheaper than getting it bedlinered.


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Old 04-13-2017, 12:52 PM   #27
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Man...your advice couldn't be more timely.

A friend of a friend owns the Maaco shop in Pasadena and he's a great guy. He just quoted me $750 for a single stage, urethane paint job. The CJ will never be a show car and I don't want to spend an arm and leg. I think we'll go with the single stage in white and then have a lot of the accessories stay black.

I appreciate your input...its been helpful.
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Old 04-17-2017, 02:22 PM   #28
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Me and Dad have a 1979 CJ7 too. The thing is a tank. Have fun
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:16 PM   #29
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We dropped off the CJ at Gary's on N. Fry last week to have the tub sprayed with bedliner. I told them we weren't in a hurry and they took me seriously. We'll post some pics when we get her back...hopefully later this week.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:46 PM   #30
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Following. Awesome build.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:57 PM   #31
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Very nice.
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Old 04-17-2017, 08:57 PM   #32
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That is great. Thanks for posting
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Old 04-17-2017, 10:29 PM   #33
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Following. Very cool.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:07 PM   #34
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I finally picked up the old girl last night from Gary's on N. Fry Rd in Katy. I told them I wasn't in a hurry so they took their time and she's looks great. I couldn't be more pleased with the results. Gary's did a fantastic job with the Rhino liner.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:14 PM   #35
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The tailgate cables were toasty so I ordered some replacements and installed them last night. I also found a set of stainless steel tailgate latches that look great against the new black bedliner. I also put on the new Bestop rollbar pad in black denim. The pad looks wrinkled from being in a box, but I expect it will look better in a few days. This should be the same color as the Bestop seats that I am itching to reinstall.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:19 PM   #36
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Coming along quite nicely.
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:48 PM   #37
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Very nice!!!
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:42 PM   #38
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Looks really good to be painted with whole kernel corn!
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:13 PM   #39
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What did it cost you to have it rhino lined?

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Old 04-27-2017, 09:50 AM   #40
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What did it cost you to have it rhino lined?

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Gary charged me $550 since I had stripped and grinded most of the tub. If they do all of the prep, I believe the price is $600 for the standard black.

They also added some bondo to smooth out the seams around the new floor pans, which I did not request. They did not charge me for the additional work.

You can also see in the photos that they removed the transmission floor plate around the shifters, sprayed it separately, and then reattached with new sheet metal screws. When I thanked them for this attention to detail, Gary said its necessary in case I need to access the tranny.

They did a great job!
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:57 AM   #41
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Looking good!
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:02 AM   #42
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Man that thing looks good
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:23 AM   #43
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Last night I realized how bad the seat frames look so they're getting a fresh coat of paint.

I also installed a new 3-point seat belt on the passenger side. The old girl had crusty lap belts that made me nervous so I ordered replacements made by Corbeau.

Despite the picture on the box, these are standard 3-point belts, but the quality seems very good. The belts came with extra Grade-8 hardware, as well as extensions for tall seats...like a Jeep. You can see the extension in the 3rd pic.

I've read several threads where folks had trouble with 3-point replacement belts not being long or tall enough. Not the case with this set.

Since early CJ5's and CJ's did not come with 3-point seat belts, it was necessary to drill a hole in the roll bar to bolt the upper bracket. Corbeau did not include hardware for this modification.

The roll bar has an OD of approx. 2.5 inches so I bought some Grade-8 3.5 inch bolts, washers, and nuts are Home Depot. I drilled where the new roll bar pad had a seem at the intersection of the rear support.

All in all, I am happy with the install. Tonight I will try to find time for the driver's side.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:50 AM   #44
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That is looking really nice!
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Old 04-28-2017, 08:30 AM   #45
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Looks really nice, great job!
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:25 AM   #46
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It's all looking clean and nice.
Tailgate, latches and cables looks great.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:27 AM   #47
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It’s been a while since our last post, but we've been making small improvements here and there.

The old girl still wasn't running great so I dropped her off at Auto Care USA at Fry Rd and Westheimer Pkwy. Perry and his team have one of best auto shops in West Houston. It’s hard to find an honest mechanic and these guys are good.

Auto Care USA rejetted the back barrels on the Holley carb and then adjusted the timing. Since Perry’s team had performed the initial work on the CJ7, he didn’t want to charge me anything. After a brief debate, we agreed on $30.

Since the last post, we've installed some aftermarket goodies. She was missing a glove box and that's been remedied. I had to remove the earth-quake handle on the passenger side to install the glove box. While we had the passenger handle removed, it was sanded and repainted.

The old girl was also missing a rearview mirror so that's been fixed.

Even though we just installed new Bestop seats, I saw a pair of Jeep seat covers at O'Reilly’s and I couldn’t help myself. The covers will protect the new seats and the material makes the seats cooler on your back side.

One of my favorite add-on’s is a set of shifter knobs I found on Amazon made by Sickspeed. The knobs feel like an 8-ball from a pool table and are engraved with the correct shift patterns.

When we acquired the Jeep it came with a center console and large rear storage box made by Tuffy Security Products, which are lockable. Both boxes were removed, sanded, and painted, and have now been reinstalled.

The center console has a single DIN slot for a stereo receiver that can be locked to discourage theft. I found a reasonably priced JVC receiver with Bluetooth at Best Buy, which we installed in the center console. There’s no CD player, but all of our kids have their music on their phones so this should work well.

While I was at Best Buy, I asked the lead car audio installer about speakers. He recommended several options, but all of the speakers were designed for flush mounting and would require the purchase of some type of box. I asked about the indoor/outdoor patio speakers they have available. The Best Buy rep admittedly told me that patio speakers would not work, but he couldn’t tell me why. I pressed the issue and never received a reasonable response.

So I ignored his advice and picked up a set of Yamaha indoor/outdoor speakers in black. I’m happy report that they sound great. The speakers came with mounting brackets and bolts topped with plastic wing-nuts.

To make the speakers a little harder to steal, I swapped the wing-nuts bolts for some stainless hex bolts from Home Depot. We installed the speaker brackets to the Tuffy storage box with more stainless hardware...bolts, washers, and lock-nuts.

The speakers sit at a 45 degree angle resting on the floor and against the Tuffy storage box…they’re rock solid. All of the wiring has been enclosed with plastic conduit and it looks fairly clean.

We also installed a universal car antenna. Its flexible and should be good when we're driving through brush.

We drove the old girl a lot this weekend. I’m surprised how quickly my 15 year old son has learned to drive a manual. Strangely enough, I believe the manual transmission forces him to be more cognizant of his driving. It seems he is more focused and aware of his surroundings…which ain’t a bad thing.
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:47 PM   #48
Muskles
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Jacksonville
Hunt In: Cherokee Co
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To kinda answer your question about the speakers, to the best of my knowledge, is that it comes down to the ohms. Most home speakers are 8 ohm and car stereos are designed best for under 4 ohms. The home speakers should work, but your system may run hotter and not have quite the sound clarity. If you think it sounds ok, I'd go with it.

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Old 05-08-2017, 07:03 PM   #49
Hughiam
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Palmer, AK
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I have a 79 CJ7 as well that I did Raptor lining on myself. I got the tinted variety and am glad I did as the black absorbs too much heat. I also went with water proof boat speakers as it tends to rain every time you take the top off.

Nice project.
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Old 05-10-2017, 10:00 PM   #50
Booner Sooner
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Location: Corinth
Hunt In: Southeastern Oklahoma
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Sorry I missed so much! Have fond memories of my old '79 CJ7
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