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Trailquest.com restoration, replacement, and Off-Road Jeep Parts
Trailquest Jeep® Parts
7888 Memorial Drive
Plain City, OH 43064
Local Calls 614-873-8337

Restoration, Replacement, & Off-Road
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1976 Jeep CJ restoration1976 CJ
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The story of Lime1983 CJ7
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APRIL 2004 FEATURED VEHICLE
The Story of Lime


this article was written by: Stefan DeMatteo

The '83 Lime began as an IDEA as an off-road beast for me about 2 years ago. All I needed was a GOOD donor Jeep to get the project rolling.  I found a beater in my area with all the goodies I needed.  It was a 1983 Jeep CJ7 Laredo that had seen its better days, but the frame, axles and accessories were just what I was looking for.  The hard top, hard doors, and huffed straight 6 were immediately sold away for funds for bigger and better parts.

Starting with "the donor" frame, we (we, being my trusty assistant Rusland) sandblasted and coated it with Hammerite topped with Herculiner.  Under the frame we used a Black Diamond 3" lift kit with AT shocks mounted with some extended Trailquest "H" style shackles.

building a jeep

building a jeep The trusted Detroit locker was added for strength and traction, even though "the Lime" was going to be a street queen for the first few years, it was getting bulked up for the trail.

It was now time for a power plant and I wanted to keep it as "AMC" as I could, so I opted for the 304. Rebuilt and bored out .030 with a performance cam, the old high mile engine began to come to life. Attached to the engine was a set of headers and straight 3" dual pipes. Bolted to the 304 was the classic T-18a which was completely rebuilt to withstand the torque and power we were creating.

Next, we used the trusted Dana 300 transfer case bolted to the tranny using a Novak adapter (TeraFlex 4:1 gears to be added before the first trail ride in a few years) along with Tom Woods Super Heavy Duty drive shafts. With a total creeper ratio of 74.9 to 1 "the Lime" was slow enough to tackle the trails in Ohio. But, once we hit the tougher trails the 4:1 transfer case reduction will be needed for an astounding 115.3 to 1 creeper ratio.

We next added a Trailquest 22 gallon heavy duty gas tank with welded on diamond plate skid specially made to fit the Wrangler gas fill and stainless fuel lines to feed the large appetite of the 304. Stainless steel brake lines and extended stainless brake hoses rounded out the work needed to complete the rolling chassis.

building a jeep It was now time to start getting everything together for the tub assembly. I selected a very nice 1995 Wrangler tub and set in on rust proofing it. We sanded every inch of the top and bottom, and thoroughly coated both with a mixture of Hammerite and Herculiner to keep out the rust and noise, and, as a bonus, it looks fantastic. We bolted the tub to the frame using Daystar's all inclusive 1" body lift kit for an easy fit. Only one set of body mounts are different from the Wrangler body to the CJ frame and this was easily fixed using a carriage bolt down through the body which actually went through a hole in a support under the tub!!

The fenders, hood and grill were all Herculined for superior rust protection before painting. All this work and I wasn't about to risk the first rust bubble. Ruslan then prepped the tub and after adding his "patented secret rock guard," began the endless task of adding numerous coats of Chrysler "Limelight" paint.  The hood, fenders, windshield frame, and grill were painted and then added to the tub.

All of a sudden it began to look like a jeep.

building a jeep

I opted for some Corbeau racing seats and harnesses and a Tuffy locking console loaded with stereo and CD player to spiff up the interior.

building a jeep I chose to keep the dash like the original CJ Laredo style with the factory original clock, tachometer, and speedometer. I added a Grant steering wheel to the tilting Wrangler steering column and some stainless goodies to round out the interior and exterior.  I topped it all off with a Bestop Supertop, Trail Quest heavy duty bumpers, 33" Grabbers with AR58 rims and she was about finished.

Whew, 2-1/2 years later I actually had a running jeep.  Of course there are a few items needed to make her completely trail ready (ie. Front locker, 4:1 T-case reduction, and some 35" tires)

but, " the Lime" is only a road queen for now ....
for comments or questions, contact Stefan at: stefan[at]trailquest[dot]com

To have a vehicle featured on our site
send information and pictures to Brigitte at: brigitte[at]offroadtrail[dot]com.

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