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  #1  
Old 06-15-2018, 08:13 AM
rang-a-stang's Avatar
rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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79 to 77 Chassis swap, Advice?

My chassis is bent more than I would try to repair. I guess I should have measured it before I put 8 hours of labor into it.

I found a 77 Cherokee WT chassis that's straight and rust free for $100, fairly locally. My Cherokee is already pretty much disassembled (trans case forward)so if I am going to swap chassis's, its now or never.

I plan to pressure wash it and scrub it with comet and a stainless steel brush, pressure wash it again, then paint it. Once it's under my Cherokee, I will swap my bumper mounts and shackle reversal brackets across then trash my original chassis.

Questions/Reason for the thread:
1) Is our VIN stamped on the chassis? If so, do I need to worry about having a 77 Cherokee chassis registered under/as a 79 Cherokee? I'm in Cali and i think we register the chassis, not the body. This chassis has been out of the system for a long time and does not come with a bill of sale or anything.
2) Any warnings or advice before I start on this? I am picking up the chassis tomorrow (Sat the 16th on June) morning.
3) I have to do the swap fairly quickly because I don't have anywhere to store a spare chassis and my work space is taken up with Cherokee chunks. Other than paint, any quick/easy/free upgrades I should do to this chassis before I paint/swap it? (boxing the back was an idea but I won't have the time)
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  #2  
Old 06-15-2018, 08:26 AM
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babywag babywag is offline
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zero issues w/ swapping frame.
I’ve had several of these apart and there is no complete VIN# visible anywhere on frame(s). Only sequential serial production number is stamped.
You’d leave title alone and still have a ‘79.
In CA you could easily title a frame *if* it had a complete VIN#, however since they do not, the CHP would do the full monte and issue a new VIN#.
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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2018, 08:28 AM
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tgreese tgreese is offline
 
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Frame is unchanged '77 to '79.

Yes, the sequential serial number in the VIN is stamped into the frame. You'll have to check with the DMV or maybe CHP can answer.

The usual failure point I've seen is the rear mounts for the front springs pulling off. I would reinforce there.
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  #4  
Old 06-15-2018, 08:52 AM
joe joe is offline
 
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It won't be the entire VIN, that's stamped on the frame. It'll just be the serial # portion of the VIN(last 6 digits of the VIN). Pretty sure all US car/truck/mc manufactures were required to stamp the ser# on the frame. Never seen it on a FSJ frame but never looked for it either. Common location would be on the top of the curved frame hoop for the rear axle. On old CJ's it was on one of the front frame horns. If the donor frames VIN is no longer in the system it's prolly a non-issuse now but it may be for the next owner if he's required to get a VIN verification. Just in case it could be an issue I would talk to the law enforcement agency in CA that does the VIN verifications. Here in WA it's the WA State Patrol.
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  #5  
Old 06-15-2018, 10:43 AM
wiley-moeracing wiley-moeracing is offline
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You just want to be careful and honest if/when you sell this vehicle. If someone decided to do a full resto and found the numbers do not match will cause a problem and or if stolen and cops do a check on #s and they do not match vin you will loose the vehicle but other than that it should be no problem.
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  #6  
Old 06-15-2018, 11:24 AM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babywag
zero issues w/ swapping frame.
I’ve had several of these apart and there is no complete VIN# visible anywhere on frame(s). Only sequential serial production number is stamped.
You’d leave title alone and still have a ‘79.
In CA you could easily title a frame *if* it had a complete VIN#, however since they do not, the CHP would do the full monte and issue a new VIN#.
Sounds good. I don't want to lose my original blue plates.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joe
It won't be the entire VIN, that's stamped on the frame. It'll just be the serial # portion of the VIN(last 6 digits of the VIN). Pretty sure all US car/truck/mc manufactures were required to stamp the ser# on the frame. Never seen it on a FSJ frame but never looked for it either. Common location would be on the top of the curved frame hoop for the rear axle. On old CJ's it was on one of the front frame horns. If the donor frames VIN is no longer in the system it's prolly a non-issuse now but it may be for the next owner if he's required to get a VIN verification. Just in case it could be an issue I would talk to the law enforcement agency in CA that does the VIN verifications. Here in WA it's the WA State Patrol.
I'll take a deep look for it and see what I come up with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgreese
Frame is unchanged '77 to '79.
Yes, the sequential serial number in the VIN is stamped into the frame. You'll have to check with the DMV or maybe CHP can answer.
The usual failure point I've seen is the rear mounts for the front springs pulling off. I would reinforce there.
Good info. I'll plan to reinforce the front spring mounts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiley-moeracing
You just want to be careful and honest if/when you sell this vehicle. If someone decided to do a full resto and found the numbers do not match will cause a problem and or if stolen and cops do a check on #s and they do not match vin you will loose the vehicle but other than that it should be no problem.
Will do. My brother works for the CHP so i'll ask him too. If it's not the full VIN on the chassis, it'll be hard to track the frame to a stolen vehicle. the body that goes to this frame is sitting in the guys yard so I'll get it's VIN just in case.


Thanks everyone for the feedback!
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2018, 11:33 AM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I checked the service manual for VIN, Serial, and Stamped and there are no hits for anything being stamped on the Chassis in 79. This does not mean I will not be looking it over closely...
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2018, 11:40 AM
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babywag babywag is offline
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Just get a bill of sale/receipt for the frame to cover yourself if you're concerned.
Swapping a frame is no big deal, it's damaged, falls under repair.
Back in the day before minor accidents totaling cars, they used to actually fix them.

If you want to get technical/screwed around with...
Provide all receipts/documents/title/etc. and bring in to CHP for a full inspection. I'd bet $ they say zero issue, move along.

Here's a '79 frame, examined from end to end, inside & out. No full VIN anywhere only the sequential numbers in 2 spots.
It isn't the only frame I've looked @ either.

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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
1994 Caprice wagon
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2018, 11:45 AM
SJTD SJTD is offline
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I wouldn't use Comet. Chlorine and all that. Be like scrubbing it with salt. Might not rinse out of the crevices.

If you were to go the register it with the frame number route it would mean a new smog check. If you do be sure to get the tag from the body so the guy that buys it doesn't use that for his.
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2018, 09:43 AM
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rang-a-stang rang-a-stang is offline
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I saw date codes all over my 78 chassis but no sequential numbers. The biggest spot is on the drivers side, facing out, behind the rear axle. I am mulling the idea of re-registering it as a 78 because then my 401 would be smog legal. If I can do it and keep my blue plates, I'm in. If not, then all is well as is.

Oh, and good point SJTD. I did not use comet specifically because of what you said. It just got a good pressure washing.

tgreese, my rear mounts looked great so I left them. I mulled adding a gusset to each one but I don't wheel very hard and my tires are not all that big so I decided to let the factory design stay. I appreciate the advice and don't want you to think I ignored it, it just would have added an hour to my work to get out the welder and grinder to get it done. If I notice any issues down the road, I should be able to address them in the truck.
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  #11  
Old 06-24-2018, 11:09 AM
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babywag babywag is offline
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I have never read/seen/heard of anybody who has ever had a single smog-related issue having a 401 where a 360 used to be installed.

Just swap the frame.
IMHO it's damaged on yours, counts as a "repair", same as if the car got in an accident and a body shop replaced it.
If it was me I wouldn't lose a seconds sleep or worry about it.

Screwing with the title, however, I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole. The frame doesn't have a complete VIN on it, so DMV/CHP wouldn't allow title by the frame alone.
You switch just that VIN tag on the firewall and you're opening a BIG can of worms.
One that is best left closed IMHO.
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'88 GW (aka Babywag) and '90 GW (aka JUNKbucket) both fuel injected
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2018, 12:10 PM
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fsj454 fsj454 is offline
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production date

My 1982 Cherokee has production date stamped in frame .Middle of drivers door straight down to outside the frame. 9 17 81 B 03 G, 9 17 81 B 03 G VIN.DATE NOV 81
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