Vehicle: 1975 CJ-6
Engine: TBI Chevy 350
Transmission: Turbo 400
T-case: Chevy 203/Ford 205
Axles: High pinion 44 front, Rock Crsher 60 Rear
Tires: 37x12 50x15 Super Swamper Radials
Suspension: F-150 leaf springs front and rear
The Project: (Click the icon for photos)
Kurt’s CJ-6 Project started over 4 years ago. He was driving through a northern California rice field when he spotted a weird looking jeep in a barn. Even though Kurt already had a really nice CJ-5, he was always looking to expand the Jeep Collection. With two sons getting old enough to go four wheeling, Kurt really needed a bigger jeep. After a closer look, Kurt realized that the Jeep in the barn was the elusive “CJ-6”. Kurt quickly pulled off the road and climbed the fence. He was crawling all over the thing by the time the farmer’s wife came out with a 12 gauge. After a brief confrontation, the woman mentioned how here husband was farming more cars than rice. She struck a deal with Kurt. As long as he could have the jeep gone before her husband came home, she would give him the pink slip. All it took was a jumper box and some gas. The Jeep fired to life! Kurt headed home with a buddy following him. The Jeep ran out of gas a mile from his house. It was just in time for his wife to drive by and see him on the side of the road. This wasn’t the ideal way to tell your wife you just bought a new jeep!
Many people confuse the CJ-6 with the CJ-8 Scrambler. They are 2 different jeeps. The CJ-6 came before the Scrambler. The CJ-6 is basically a CJ-5 that is stretched just behind the door opening. From the rear tire back, it is the same as a CJ-5. From the door opening forward, it is also the same. This gives you a longer wheelbase, with the same approach and departure angle as a CJ-5. A Scrambler is basically a CJ-7 with extra length added to the rear of the Jeep. This makes for less departure angle.
The first thing Kurt did was strip the jeep down to the body and frame. He did this all at his own house. Everything was discarded except the frame and body. At this point, we decided to go with a dual transfer case setup, and a Chevy V-8. Kurt picked up a low mileage 5.7 TBI Chevy V-8. While he was prepping the frame for the motor to go in, I found a Chevy turbo 400 automatic transmission and had it rebuilt. I mated that transmission to a Chevy 203 range box and a Ford NP 205 transfer case, using an Off Road Designs Doubler. This setup would give him 4:1 gear reduction with both boxes in low range. It would also give him a 2:1 reduction with one box in low. This would be a perfect gear for mud, sand, or snow.
From there, we narrowed a 79 Ford high pinion Dana 44 front axle. Dutchman 4340 Alloy axle shafts were used, along with CTM u-joints. A set of 4.56 Sierra gears and an ARB air locker were installed. Chevy 6 lug outers with flat-top knuckles had to be installed, in order for Kurt to run his favorite “solid” Centerline wheels. WFO tall high-steer arms were then installed, along with a 1.25”x.219wall DOM tie-rod and draglink. Chevy tie-rod ends were used for extra strength.
For the rear, we decided to build a Rockcrusher high pinion 60. We also used 35 spline Alloy axle shafts from Dutchman. Explorer disc brakes were bolted on to the 9” big bearing ends. An ARB was also installed in the rear. A torque arm was added to the rear axle to stop un-wanted axle wrap.
For the suspension, we decided to go with F-150 rear leaf springs all the way around. The springs are off-set to one direction, so we mounted the short side forward in the front, and backward in the rear. A shackle flip was done in the front, and the frame extended a few inches. The steering box was also moved forward a few inches on the frame.
With the motor, tranny, and t-cases bolted together, we mounted them as far forward as possible. A custom belly pan and cross-member was built to mount and protect the transfer cases. The cross-member also had a spot to mount the shackle for the torque arm.
The next order of business was the gas tank. With visions of a huge stereo, we knew we wouldn’t be able to leave the gas tank under the driver’s seat. We also knew we would need a lot more gas for the V-8. The only option was to put the tank under the back. Beau headed for the office, and started designing the tank. He tried to use as much extra space as possible. He wanted the tank to mount under the rear, and come up over the top of the rear axle. Once he drew the dank, he mocked it up in cardboard to check the fit. After a few modifications, Beau cut all of the pieces on the water-jet. The pieces were then welded together.
It ended up holding around 21 Gallons. The bottom pieces were made from .250” steel, while the upper sides were made from 10 gauge steel. It was a tight fit!
At this point, it was time to mount the body. This is where Kurt threw a curve ball at us. He decided to toss the CJ front clip, and add a YJ front clip. He really liked the square headlight front. We didn’t argue with him! We picked up a YJ front clip. Luckily, it bolted right on.
After a lot of work to the original body, we finally gave up on it. We ended up buying a new steel body. We cut the tunnel and tool box out of the new body. We built a new tunnel to house the bigger transfer cases. We also filled in the rear tailgate, the rear corner pockets, and the gas cap cut-out. At the same time, Beau ordered some hinges and designed a built-in, rollout tool box. The body and frame were then sent to a friend of ours for a 3”x.120 wall roll cage. He bent the tube and built the custom overhead stereo console. When it came back, we added a built in seat mount, and two rows of overhead switches. Kurt didn’t want any switches on the dash.
Everything from the wipers to the headlight switch was re-located to the roll cage. A custom dash was water-jet cut to house the 3 digital CJ gauges.
In order to fit the 37x12.50x15 Super Swamper Radial tires, both fenders needed to be trimmed. Tj fender flares were installed in the front and rear. Rear shock towers were bent from 1.5” tubing, while Ford F-250 shock towers were installed in the front. Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks were used, along with a custom rear sway bar from Tony at Rock equipment. For driveshafts, we call Tom Woods Custom Driveshaft. A 1310, longslip, CV driveshaft was ordered for the front. For the rear, Tom built a 1310, high angle, CV driveshaft.
With most of the Jeep built, it was time to work on the wiring and the stereo. First of all, a painless wiring harness was installed in the jeep. At the same time, another painless wiring harness was installed to run the fuel injected motor. The stereo and the amps also needed to be wired. With so many wires, computers, and amps, Beau decided to make the dash fold out. With the center of the dash folding out on a hinge, he wouldn’t have to crawl under the dash to install everything. All relays, fuses, and the computer, were easily mounted, just behind the fold out dash. We were also able to fit a Mojave heater below the dash.
Kurt has always wanted to be the obnoxious guy, so it was obvious he needed a loud stereo. The overhead center console was stuffed with an Eclipse CD player, a six disc changer, and a Uniden CB. The speaker system consisted of six 6” diamond audio speakers, and two JL Audio 8” woofers under the front seats. Four of the speakers were mounted in custom boxes in the roll cage, while two were mounted in the dash. Beau built custom boxes that fit under the seats for the 8” JL’s.
With so many Speakers, it was obvious we were going to need a lot of power. In order to hide the amplifiers, we built a covered amp housing with two electric cooling fans. The housing fit just between the rear box, and the back seat. It held two JL Audio amplifiers. The dash speakers were powered by a 300x2 JL amp. The four cage speakers were powered by a 300x4 JL amp. In order to hide the amp for the woofers, we had to build a center console. It housed a 500x1 JL amplifier. It also had 12 volt cooling fans built in. Not to mention, Beau added a really nice beer holder. By the time the stereo was dialed in, the neighbors really hated us!
For the motor, we basically dropped it in as-is. We used hooker center dump headers, and built a completely mandrel bent exhaust system. We ran the driver’s side tube around the front of the motor to a Y-pipe. From there we ran 2.5” pipe to a Flowmaster muffler.
Even though the ARB lockers had their own air pump, we also added a Kilby, on board air compressor. We wanted to be able to run an impact, and not interfere with the ARB system. The pump fits in the place of the stock AC pump, and comes with a new pully and serpentine belt. A 3 gallon air tank was added under the hood.
To finish the jeep up, we mounted an external fuel pump, and two electric fans. We also broke a piece of .250” aluminum diamond plate to wrap the rear of the jeep. After the full wrap was fitted, we water-jet cut a door out, in order to access the tool box. A warn swinging tire rack was also modified to hold the 37” spare tire. We also squeezed a transmission cooler with an electric fan under the rear of the vehicle. Lastly, we used dual Odyssey batteries, and a Wrangler products isolator switch.
After a short test drive, we completely tore the jeep back apart. The body was Rhino lined and painted, along with the roll cage. At the same time, the frame was primed and painted. The dash was sent to chrome, along with the shifters and the hinges for the windows.
After waiting a few weeks, we put it all back together. Luckily when we wired the jeep, we used weatherpack plugs at every spot we could. The harness going into the roll cage had at least 40 wires in it!
Even though this jeep took 4 years to build, it still came down to the wire. We found ourselves still working on it, the day before its debut at the 2005 Jeepers Jamboree. Kurt is the only guy I know that will chrome his dash, then take his Jeep on the Rubicon the next day. To make it worse, I was the one riding with him! I was so nervous I didn’t even want to ride with him! The jeep ended up working great. With the exception of a loose wire on the electric fan, we had no problems. Four full size adults fit in it just fine.
Don’t let the shiny looks of this jeep fool you. Kurt is not afraid to take his jeep anywhere. He has already run Rubicon 3 times and Fordyce once!