79 Chief Golden Eagle

Discussion in 'Build Threads' started by 89wrangler, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    This is technically not a build for those keeping records, more of a get it running/driving thread. I guess it would go here.
    Picked up this Chief a while back off the site. Sitting in weeds for years, appears was last tagged in 01. The known was all original condition, TH400/Quadratrac with bad transfer case,AC, tilt, Cruise, rear defrost, power rear window, factory wheels, factory grill guard, factory am/fm/cb, according to OD 102,000 miles, basically no body rust which is rare, a small rust area on passenger and driver side floorboards which is very common. Appears to have been under coated from factory between frame rails, including inside rails. Brakes work, but need new pads. Haven’t checked rear yet. Tires were shot. Was told jeep ran when parked...
    The rig was FULL of trash, car parts, clothes, shoes, beer from 02, empty beer bottles/cans, tcase parts, so needless to say with clothe interior it is trashed. Will deal with later once I hopefully get it running. The good thing, unbelievably, is there were no rodents living in there so no dreaded piss and shit stinch inside.
    Goal is to get it running, driving 1st, then work on what else doesn’t work, a good wax job, tires. Then drive around with a big grin!
    Just got home
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    Some of trash inside

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    Broken tcase
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    Replacement 1339 with part time kit installed
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    Stay tuned...
     
  2. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Dropped the gas tank as I figured it would be rusted inside since there was no gas cap on it. I was correct.
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    So, in with a new poly tank. Had to order new sending unit and pickup and they were shot as well. Thanks to @rodney eppes for making me look at another chief on Facebook market place, found this tank in the process!
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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  3. McCracken

    McCracken Lip Snatcher

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Location:
    With your mom at a nice seafood dinner
    Nice find. Lots of extras on that model. Roof rack, spoiler, chrome accents, A/C. Not a fan of the wagon wheels but definitely a solid contender for a comeback.
     
  4. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Southmont
    Had a dark red & an orange Cherokee Chief in high school...loved them. Look forward to updates!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  5. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    waiting on parts...

    I discovered that when the Tcase chain broke, it also took out the top of the housing and along with that one of the adapter mounting ears. Thanks to @1-tonmudder I have one of those coming as well. Hopefully will have all the parts here tomorrow, hopefully..
    case.jpg
     
    Jason W. and doc like this.
  6. ColeTrickle

    ColeTrickle New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Location:
    Rock Hill, SC
    I love my 78 Chief. Ain’t gonna lie they drive like shit, at least with the AWD. Nonetheless still a cool vehicle to have!
     
  7. junkxj

    junkxj Well poop!!!!!

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Location:
    Mexico!!!!!!
    Cool rig, following along on the rebuild!!
     
  8. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    Hartsville/Camden,SC
    Love those old tanks....
     
  9. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Yea, I love the Chiefs as well and actually really enjoy driving them. In the snow as they are a beast. I have a 79 Chief,360/4sp/D20 in the shop stripped I need to finish sanding and paint. When I saw this one, I figure if I could get it running and driving, it will scratch the itch until I can it done.

    Prior 77 chief I drove for years until the rust took its toll
    77Chief.jpg

    My 79 Chief with the 77 grill conversion. I ended up trading it for the AMX I have. I tell myself that when I get the car on the road, it will have been worth it..lol

    Chief in snow.JPG
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  10. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Location:
    Hartsville/Camden,SC
    Oh you have an AMX too! Is there a tread on it?
     
  11. DAWGTOY

    DAWGTOY Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    tanzania
    ahh another AMX. my brother still has the one he bought new in 69.
    red with white stripes 390 go pack auto. it's been repainted / restored twice. all stock.
    and it still sits covered in his garage unused----pity.
     
  12. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    No, not yet. I traded the Chief for it being told that it had a 401 engine, had been professionally built with just a few hundred miles on it, needed brake work, a door, paint and a few other odds and ins, hadn't been started in a long time. Drug it home, turned motor over by hand, removed valve covers to inspect and make sure it was oiling, has roller rockers, heavy duty springs and it was spotless on inside. Has torqer intake and Holly 700 carb. No reason not to believe original owner now. There were no cid numbers on the side of the block where they normally are, which baffled me a bit. After some research I found out it was an early service block (good thing) and after running numbers and measuring the stroke, determined it was actually a 390 block which was a big bonus. Added fuel and it fired right up and sounds wicked! Got brakes fixed and drove up and down the road a few times. it is Fast, at least when it hooks up...lol. Got the door and found two NOS hinges to replace the ones that where bent and that is where I am at. Bought a damn JKUR and it took priority..hopefully more work on it this summer.
    Oh and it is Big Bad Orange, go pack, 4 speed, tracloc. according to the numbers they built 131 of these in 1970. :D

    few pics
    AMX7.jpg
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    AMX10.jpg
    AMX12.jpg AMX14.jpg AMX16.jpg
     
  13. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Got the tcase pulled. When that chain broke, it really fubared the case! Makes one wonder what caused it.
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    Inside was extremely clean as well as the trans fluid. Hopefully it is in good shape.
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    New one with part-kit installed, complete with some left over Moab dirt.
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    Still waiting on gas tank parts that were supposed to have been here last Wednesday. Said USPS “lost” the order. Yea right, never was picked up, which makes it hard to lose. “Reshipped” Friday to be here Tuesday. At least this one was picked up.
     
    doc likes this.
  14. paradisePWoffrd

    paradisePWoffrd Recovering Project Junkie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Location:
    Newton, NC
    I wished multiple times that someone made an adapter to put a different tcase in place of the qt.
     
    doc likes this.
  15. Caver Dave

    Caver Dave Just holdin' it down here in BFV Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Hooterville (24171)
    There aren't any "adapters" out there due to spline count and output length of the AMC belled TH-400... but I think by replacing the output (Chevy), there are OE (Chevy) adapters that will allow a D300
     
  16. paradisePWoffrd

    paradisePWoffrd Recovering Project Junkie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Location:
    Newton, NC
    Agreed. As many QT cased FSJs there were, I would have thought Novak or AA would have come up with an adapter/coupler. Maybe the FSJ folks are too cheap to pay for one. o_O
     
  17. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Novak does have a adapter to use a Model 18 T-case. You need a Model 18 case and $600 to do that. You can also adapt a Model 20, but have to swap to a centered D44 and loose some of the low range gearing. For this rig, the $100 QT case with part time kit installed fit the budget perfectly.
     
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  18. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Got the sending unit and pickup in finally. Got them installed in tank.
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    Replaced the gas tank fill and vent line since others were crack. Also replaced all the other 5/16 rubber lines from tank to carb as they were almost like jelly. Was surprised to see all the original lines and clamps being it is 40 years old.
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    Went to put gas in and the metal fill line that connect to the rubber one has a hole in it. Gonna have to source one of those.
    Cranked it over and it started! Engine sounds good, no knocks or ticks. Gonna put a set of plug wires on it tomorrow as the one on there are sad to say the least. Hopefully back it out of the shop if things go well. Fingers crossed.
     
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  19. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    There was no key with the jeep when I got it. You could turn it to start it, but once I got it running, and it stayed running, you couldn’t shut it off. Had to pull coil wire. So, I scrounged around and found a keyed ignition switch I had and installed it this morning. That problem solved.
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    Red neck spring compressor to get c clip installed
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    Finished up, horn even works
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    Went and picked up the plug wires I ordered yesterday and got them installed as well. Found 6 of the 8 plugs were not tight?
    Old wires
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    New wires
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    The moment of truth, stated it up, backed it out of shop. Drove it around the yard a couple of times, no leaks or fires, so I took it a mile down the road. Trans shifted good, ran excellent, steering is loose and needs brake pads on front. Was smooth up to 60mph.
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    Got back to house and opened the hood to see if it developed any leaks and it died?? Would not start.. wtf.. determined there was no fuel. Looks like a fuel pump is needed now. Stay tuned.
     
  20. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Put on new fuel pump, had gas to carb but still no start. So I pulled top of carb off to check float and found so crud in there from old gas. Clean it out, checked float and blew out internals. Re assembled and it started up. Was another hot damn moment.
    Now that runs and drives figured it was time for a little soap and water to get the mold and dirt off.
    Next up will be to work on some wiring/fuses to get all lights working as well as clean up under the hood, more wiring and vacuum hoses.
    Also I am still waiting on the title work after well over a month. Hope it doesn’t turn out to be an ordeal :rolleyes:
    Carb
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    Quick wash
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    My helpers!
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  21. pikapp691

    pikapp691 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh
    Nice build! Will be messaging you about shop.
     
  22. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Work on the lights and electrical today, didn’t have any headlights, taillights or reverse lights, only gauge that worked was the amp, no dash lights, no wipers and heater defrost didn’t work.
    First pulled gauge panel to get to all the plugs in dash. This requires lowering the steering column and unhooking the speedo cable from the cruise box to get you enough slack to remove it from back of cluster.
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    Figured out why heat blower didn’t work
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    Went to parts bin and had another one and swapped it out
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    Not sure if the switch caused this or this messed up the switch, but it was also shot so I replaced it too with a spare I had.
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    Found the headlight switch was bad, so I changed it out with one had as well. If you ever have to remove one, there is a button on the bottom of the switch that you press to release the rod which is permanently attached to knob. Need to get a pic of this, forgot.
    I checked all the dash lights and replaced two that were bad, cleaned and tightened all the connections
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    The checked wiper switch and it appeared to be ok, check power under hood and it was good. A couple of taps with a hammer on the wiper motor and wa la wipers worked ( surprised me).
    I then moved to the rear and found a ground wire bad, loose connection and broke wire. Now parking lights, headlights, high/low beams, brake lights, reverse lights and wipers work!
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    Gonna put cluster in tomorrow and hopefully heat/defrost will work now as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
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  23. DAWGTOY

    DAWGTOY Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Location:
    tanzania
    nice work.
     
  24. 89wrangler

    89wrangler Not a new member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bostic,NC
    Another update...
    dash lights working, heater/ defrost working. Need to figure out why gas gauge isn’t working. Got wiring and vacuum hoses all worked out in engine bay. Figured our throttle cable was bad and not allowing the carb to open up all the way. Swapped it out with another one I had and now works great. Starts better now that it will open carb all the way to set choke and actually revs up when you push the gas peddle down.
    Moved to the front brakes next. Pads were gone
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    Pads
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    Figured may as well check bearings while at it. Good thing. Cleaned everything real good, repacked bearings and installed new rear bearing seals
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    Also needed a couple of new studs, so I installed them as well.
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    And as you can see, I installed a set of old school Warn lockouts since it now has a part time kit in the t case
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    I should have had the rotors turn, but no one open on Saturday to do it. They were not terrible, so just went with it. Those grooves look worse than they actually are.

    With front brakes completed, I figured I would remove the Frankenstein hitch and install a Jeep FSJ hitch I had.
    Old hitch
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    New hitch with frame supports.
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    All wrapped up.
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    Tomorrow I will be doing the rear brakes. Had a new set of shoes setting on the shelf for some reason. Can’t remember why lol. Knowing the brake cylinders would be froze from sitting, went and picked up new ones this evening. We should be road worthy tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  25. upnover

    upnover Grumpy, decrepit Old Man Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Morganton NC
    Steve, I like your style of going through everything to make sure, as best you can, you don't find yourself siting on the side of the road broke down! While most of this is simple repair and maintenance, it's as about as good of insurance as you can give yourself. Oh, and your read is simple and pics are great!
     

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