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-   -   Swapping '72 body onto '81 diesel-powered chassis (

Thomas792 06-18-2012 03:24 PM

Been peeking in every now and then. May have missed it if it was mentioned but what color is that. Looks close to the cumberland green that I want to paint mine.

the original Honcho 06-21-2012 10:35 PM

Awesome green!
I used to have a '79 Dodge truck that was close to the same color. I loved it on that truck but it is even better on a Jeep. Nice! :thumbsup:

budojeepr 06-22-2012 07:30 AM

Thomas, I was looking for British Racing Green. My local Paint Mart had a book of color chips that I was obliged to choose from. I think I chose one that is lighter than I'd intended. I can get the specs from my receipt if you're interested.

I still like the color! I'll be sanding and cutting/buffing this weekend, weather permitting.

Hutcho 06-25-2012 09:37 AM

what are your plans interior wise? I ask cause I'm going to paint mine synergy green,(it's close) and I have been going back and forth on the green dash and doors with black or dark gray insides...I can't wait to see pics!!

budojeepr 06-26-2012 07:35 AM

The dash and sills are green. I have a Dakota Digital dash, please Lord let me have specified teal, and am going to buy panels from Men In Black. It'll need a headliner soon. I saw a Chevy Silverado 4-dr in the jy that tempted me sorely. Next time one shows up I'll try to grab all 4 seats and the console. I like the Lokar vintage-type shifter so we'll see how that fits.

I'm doing the wiring harness now...

Hutcho 06-26-2012 09:16 AM

sounds an awful lot like what I am going to do. I can't wait to see pics! :cool:

budojeepr 08-26-2012 03:42 PM

Wiring progress and almost ready to start
Well, I've been working steadily on the wiring, almost done. I ran everything that could potentially use a lot of current through relays - fan, fuel pump, starter, headlights, tailgate window, rear defrost.

Mounted dual batteries in the cargo area (photo below).

Mounted the Lokar Nostalgia shifter - man that thing is sweet!

I also had all the side windows and the tailgate window tinted. Front windows (including vent wing) are what they called "Aero Blue" - not much tint but blocks 80% of IR and 99% of UV. The rear door windows, panel windows, and tailgate window are the 80% tint (lets 20% through). I checked out my GF's Honda, which has the same tint scheme and it works ok - you can even see out the rear window at night.

What works:
  • Tailgate window
  • Fuel pump
  • Auxiliary fan relay (no fan, haven't decided whether to use it or not)
  • Tail turn signals and flasher
  • Injection pump solenoid
  • Injection pump fast idle solenoid
  • Starter (and by extension, neutral safety switch)
What is wired and should work :rolleyes: but haven't been tested:
  • Dakota Digital gauges
  • Wipers
  • Headlights (with Serehill's headlight relay harness)
  • Front signals and flashers
  • Interior lights
  • Fuel gauge
I decided to postpone the final hosing/wiring of the auxiliary fuel tank. That's a weekend project that can be done later, and I'm itching to get this rig on the road!


Tailgate relays. The far two are for the window, the close one (disconnected) is for the defroster. I bent a bracket up around my vise jaws, cleaned up the tailgate metal, and JB Weld-ed it in.

Dual batteries. I put 'em in back for several reasons...first, there's not much room up front since the turbo's there, and I put in the wider radiator. Second, in a previous life I fabbed up a 1/0 welding cable battery cable and ran it back there for my second battery (the first stayed in the stock position). So I already had a very nice cable running the length of the Jeep. Third, it keeps about 60lbs away from the front of the Jeep, with is Big-Block heavy already.

Some wiring rat's nest pictures. The EZ-Wiring Harness has been alright to work with. Workmanship is great and it's 99.9% complete (I wish a few more connectors had been included but ...). Instructions are pretty good but there was one moment that I misunderstood that a label of "something Power" meant I should supply power to it (why wasn't that done in the fuse block?) instead of it supplies power. Anyway, a quick fix. One thing EZ says to do, which I support, is to leave the dressing up of the wiring until the troubleshooting is over.

Let me say, I'm ready to clean it up! I'm tired of looking at and working with the rat's nest!

Teaser shot:

Radiator mods to fascia, fan and shroud test-fit:

That may be all for a couple weeks. I'm outta town next weekend...but the itch to get it on the road is still there!

Resbum 08-26-2012 04:38 PM

:thumbsup: nice. I hope to be doing this stuff in the next few weeks

budojeepr 08-26-2012 10:09 PM

I got a headlight switch at the junkyard today, and got the headlights and taillights tested. Unfortunately, the front signals/park lights don't work. But it's been a great weekend!

budojeepr 09-10-2012 06:45 AM

Fuel tank dropped and reinstalled
I dropped the stock fuel tank yesterday afternoon, so I could get to the fuel sender connections.

It was in this post that I took my hat off, figuratively, to those who have performed this job with the body on the frame. I've now joined that group. What a mess, even with a cleaned-up Jeep. I did find a bracket that was mis-attached, so I fixed that. I also replaced some of the old hardware with shiny new bolts 'n nuts.

None of this absolves me of the sin of not doing that wiring while the body was off the chassis...:angel:

That was the last bit of chassis wiring troubleshooting. Now I'm going to clean up the wiring and get on with it!

Achilles 09-10-2012 10:50 PM

Great thread with lots of useful tech. Subscribed.

budojeepr 10-19-2012 09:32 PM

I've made a lot of progress of late, installing all the glass I'm going to (I'm going to have a windshield shop install the rear quarter windows).

I've installed quite a bit of weatherstripping, the hood's on, the dash cluster is in and works.

I've been trying to start the engine on and off for 2 weeks now, but this weekend I'm going to focus on that step. A 6.2/6.5 is built to run "air-free", that is, like your brake system. Purging all the air from the system is the sticky point.

I'm going to document a few links here so that at least I (and maybe someone else in the future) can find the info some dark day.
From what I can gather I'm on the right track, just a bit skittish about burning out my starter. Hopefully by Sunday I can post a video of a running diesel Wagoneer...

budojeepr 10-20-2012 09:43 PM

Bad news
I got all methodical and junk today...tested the fuel system from the injectors back. Injectors good. IP good (as far as I know). Filter and supply and return lines good. Fuel pump good.

No fuel to pump, even when I put 4 more gallons (total of 7 now) in. It sounds like the fuel pump is just sucking air. This would either be because of a split hose or a bad fitting. I think. :mad:

Now I fear I must drop the tank one more time to make sure the tank outlet is plumbed properly and the intake isn't clogged.

budojeepr 10-28-2012 09:41 AM

It runs!
Got 'er started (actually last weekend). Turns out dropping the fuel tank was a good thing. I had the fuel pump plumbed to the return bung on the tank, and the return plumbed to the outlet. D'oh! :p

While I was in there I put in a new fuel float. I also upgraded a lot of the hardware holding the tank and coffin up there.

Aside: I have now removed the fuel tank on this vehicle three times. The one task I hate the most I've been given the most. Ironic.

I've been plugging away at my to-do list. However, the power steering has me befuddled. I don't think I moved any of the hoses during the body swap - it wasn't necessary. But with the engine running the steering refuses to turn. It's not bound up; I can steer just fine with the engine off.

Suggestions? Thanks!

[edit]Never mind...[/edit]

Resbum 10-29-2012 09:13 AM


Originally Posted by budojeepr
Got 'er started (actually last weekend)............ I had the fuel pump plumbed to the return bung on the tank, and the return plumbed to the outlet. D'oh! :p

Don't feel like Homer too much. I confess to doing the same thing back in the 90's. I'll bet neither of us makes that mistake again. :rolleyes:

PS Congrats on getting it running.

budojeepr 11-02-2012 10:14 PM

Baby got new shoes, and drove it
Baby got new shoes this week!

ProComp Xtreme Alloys, 15 x8 flat black. Although I ordered 5 from the same guy at the same time, after making sure I could get a package deal on all 5, the fifth wheel came 3 days after the first 4, and was a 5-lug wheel, not a 6 on 5.5! Arg, but it's been like that all along.

Goodyear Wrangler Authority ATs, 31 x 10.5 R 15 tires.

Anyway, pics! In my driveway, running, warming up to go on the maiden run down my street and back.

You can see I still haven't addressed the hood latching issue. I also should not have put on the front corner pieces before putting on the grille. No roof rack, radio antenna, bumpers...wires for the fan still hanging in front. Windshield still has paint-sanding dust on it. Cool hood vents back near the windshield...rear quarter windows will be professionally installed once I get it legal and all.

Showing off the awesome tinted rear window. I really like the look.

The new weatherstripping around the doorjambs will not allow the doors to close fully. Some lubrication with silicone spray and/or petroleum jelly should fix most of those issues.

You can also easily see where the idiot who mounted the tires (which, incidentally, cost only $143 each!) at Walmart put the silver-colored lead balancing weights on the outside of the all-black wheels. Good thinkin'. Now when I have them take them off and re-balance using sticky weights on the inside, the wheels will be all scratched up.

Yes, that's paint overspray on the rear passenger-side window. The masking was not up to snuff there. I got what I paid for.

Wheel center caps are here, just have to put them on.

You can barely make out my '69 J-4000 in the background...

Whoo-eee! MOST fun to drive! :drivin:

budojeepr 11-04-2012 12:52 PM

Cost Breakdown
So, as the project nears completion, I did the unthinkable and tallied up the project costs.

I use a spreadsheet to track my monthly expenses; there's a tab in the spreadsheet for each vehicle and other significant categories (Dogs, for instance). So, from July 2009 when I first purchased the white '72 Wagoneer through this month, I have everything I bought or sold for the project, save a few cash-only transactions whose receipts didn't make it home. :p

Remember, this project started out as just a simple body swap. A $400 initial expenditure followed by $268 in fixes to get it running (so I could sell the engine and transmission) were all I had into the project.

Scope creep started with the auxiliary fuel tank idea, which led to a body lift and new body mounts as well as a new fuel tank, lines, fuel pumps and switches. About 3/4 of the way into the project I shelved the auxiliary fuel tank for a later, hopefully weekend-only, project.

Once I got the body swapped, I realized I couldn't stand the cheap paint job that had been slapped over the original yellowish color, so I started the repaint part of the project. The repaint naturally required new weatherstripping. I was lucky to have a buddy with a big shop/garage, some auto paint knowledge and a very generous nature. I included anything that had to do with paint (sandpaper, tools, spray paint, bedliner) in that category.

Other scope creep components included the digital dash from Dakota Digital, new wiring harness, tinted windows, a larger radiator (thanks, Resbum).

One final large component was the need for a storage unit. Yes, I have a house, some acreage and a garage, but no place to store unneeded things like seats, spare tires, chrome pieces, extra tailgates and radiator supports, and the like. So a self-storage unit was a requirement to keep the domestic peace.

Without giving away too much information, the whole thing, including subtracting a few dollars made from parts sales, came to somewhere north of $9k. Yes, nine with three zeros US. Spread out over three years and change, comes to about $227 per month, a nice-sized car payment.

Some areas where I could have reduced costs were
- to go a cheap route on wheels and tires (even not replacing them!)
- no window tinting
- no body lift (but I'd still have had to replace the old rotted body mounts)
- no auxiliary fuel tank
- stick with the original nonfunctional instrumentation

I don't think I could have gotten by with the original wiring, nor the smaller radiator I had previously. It would have been impossible to live with the old cheap paint job, and to do the same thing over again without replacing weatherstrip and seals would have put me permanently in the dum-arse population.

Some areas where I could have reduced time spent were
- have a shop prep and paint the truck. That alone would have reduced the time by a full year. Yeah, I'm slow.

Pretty much every other task in the project was completed fairly quickly with a minimum of fuss.

For those of you looking to do a build on the cheap, watch out for scope creep, and exercise more discipline than I was able to muster!

By the way, in the chart below, "Big Parts Purchases" includes ABS interior panels from Men In Black, tailgate lift pins and door lock knobs from Millerluck, body mounts and 2" lift from BJ's Offroad, a tailgate from the local Pick `n Pull, and some gas tank coffin stuff from Team Grand Wagoneer. Can't say I don't support the FSJ community! :D

Here's the chart:

budojeepr 11-13-2012 10:15 PM

One step forward, two back
I put on the front and rear bumpers last weekend, got the hood latch "issue" straightened out (d'oh), grille is on, got some other little things cleaned up.

If you've ever put on a body lift, you know that you have to relocate the bumpers. In addition to the 2" rise, I needed to account for a slightly different orientation of the '72 body compared to the '81. It turns out the '72 sits about 1" forward compared to the '81. I duplicated the front frame horns with some homemade ones. Once they were tacked on, I realized the bumper would not even clear the front lip of the fascia.

So some creative notching and fabrication resulted in a nice bumper mount, looks good.

Tonight I went to assemble the roof rack...rolled down the rear window (which thankfully works great). Opened the tailgate...BAM right into the bumper.

I don't know if the '81 bumper is the issue, or the 2" rise, or a combination of the two. At any rate, I must disassemble the bumper, cut the nicely-welded brackets off, and reassemble so the tailgate can be lowered fully.

At the same time I found that the gaskets for the roof rack (sourced from BJ's Offroad) aren't even close. I think they're for a '63 Rambler or, the web site clearly says "1974-1991". And the little rubber grommets - same deal. My bad.

The web site should clearly say "Pre-1974 - you're out of luck, don't even think about wasting your hard-earned money on these!"

I started looking around at the rest of my weatherstrip stuff...the tailgate seal is the same way! Argh.

Anybody know where I can find weatherstripping for a '72?

Resbum 11-18-2012 07:58 AM

Glad to see/hear of the progress. I replied to how nice your cost breakdown is. That post and a few others I made around the same time never showed up in the forum. :confused: Other than looking at the 4" tall stack of receipts I have I'm afraid of figuring mine out.:rolleyes:

Originally Posted by budojeepr
At the same time I found that the gaskets for the roof rack (sourced from BJ's Offroad) aren't even close. I think they're for a '63 Rambler or, the web site clearly says "1974-1991". And the little rubber grommets - same deal. My bad.

The web site should clearly say "Pre-1974 - you're out of luck, don't even think about wasting your hard-earned money on these!"

I started looking around at the rest of my weatherstrip stuff...the tailgate seal is the same way! Argh.

Anybody know where I can find weatherstripping for a '72?

I'm not sure, are you giving BJ's a hard time for this. Have you called Ryan or Brent. They'll bend over backwards to help you out if they know a fix.

There must have been a lot of major changes between 73 and 74. I had to get 74 & newer brake lines for my 1970 truck, thinking only minor changes would be needed to make them fit. That job ended up taking a lot of careful straightening and rebending.

budojeepr 11-18-2012 01:33 PM

I'm not hassling BJs. They've always been good to me. I only saw what I wanted to see, and ordered the wrong parts.

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