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304 Engine Rebuild - Part #1
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When I bought the Orange Jeep back in August of 2002, I was told that the engine was a remanufactured block and that it had about 10,000 miles on it. Now, I am not sure about this or not, but if it had 10,000 miles on it, then it was some of the hardest revving 10,000 miles I have ever seen. Oil dripped from this engine regularly. Now I know that CJ's are notorious for leaking, however, this was ridiculous. So, with 3 attempts on the rear main seal and each and every time it came back with the same issues of leaking, I figured that there was something wrong with the lower end of the motor. On the last pass through the engine, it was suggested that maybe the crank was "out of round" in which case there was no hope to stop the leaking without a rebuild.

So, I contemplated this, and though about what should be done. People say don't rebuild the 304... it doesn't have enough this or enough that. Get a 360, or a 401, that will be a much better investment, etc. etc. So, I called up the guys at affordable Fuel Injection since I had already gone with that setup on the 304 and talked with them about what would have to be done in order to get that setup to work on a 360 or a 401. They said it would need a new chip and some new larger injectors, but we could probably work out a price on that.
Decisions, decisions. Not knowing what to do, I turned to the Jeep forums and eBay and I saw a 304 engine for sale with a carburetor and all the goodies out in Galeton, PA. So the auction ended and the reserve price was not met. I had contacted the seller and told him that I wanted the block and that I didn't need the intake or the carburetor, or the distributor. So, we went back and forth, but he still thought he could get a lot of money for the entire setup. With the price not met, the auction ended at $150.00 for everything. We talked and settled on a price of $200.00 for me going to pick up the motor and him helping me load it. Everything would be on the motor that was shown, minus the carburetor, distributor and alternator. Didn't really matter to me as I had a donor engine, I was just happy that I was able to get an older model block, 1974 to be precise, and therefore according to the engine specifics, will have better horsepower numbers then that of the supposed 1976 engine block that I have. You can see the technical specifications for the 304 motor here.

So, it was determined that Friday would be a good day for us to go and get the motor, however, the weather wasn't exactly cooperating. The forecast called for quite a snowstorm. Either way I was going. In retrospect, that little voice of reason, well in this case it was Jen, said that maybe we should wait. I am a man and stubborn, so I was going. She agreed to come and funny enough, when we got into the truck to go at 6AM (12/09/05), there was a horoscope reading on one of the radio stations. Mine said that I would embark on travel with a companion; hers said that if she didn't complain about circumstances out of her control, she would make her partner happy. So with that, we headed off into the storm.
It wasn't really bad out, a little snow and at 6AM there were no other cars on the road. This was the case until about 8AM when more people started getting on the road and then the accidents started piling up. Many trucks were off the side of the road and many cars were stranded. Who takes a Porsche Carrera out in 10 inches of snow with performance tires on? I'll tell you, people that were put on this earth to piss me off! Well, after a close call with a car doing a 180-degree turn right next to us and missing us by about 5 feet, we were into PA and through the storm. It was 325 miles to the guy's house and we lost a lot of time going 30 mph in the storm section.

We arrived at his house and when I say he lived in the middle of no where, I mean this place was truly out there. It was a nice quaint town, but the snow plowing left something to be desired. We loaded up the engine in a couple of minutes; strapped it down and we were on our way. Our 325-mile journey took 7 hours to get there. At an average of 45 mph, that wasn't going to work on the way home, so we started back. It took us just over 6 hours to get home with a stop for diesel, bathroom and a case of Juengling beer for the following weeks card game. That time was a bit better and the mph was averaging out to be around 55, much better. We didn't really hit a whole lot of traffic on the way home, so that helped things quite a bit.

We saw quite a few cool things on the way home, as indicated by the shots of the Willy's pickup (the number is in the background if anyone is interested, it was there as of 12/09/05 and is located outside of Gaines, PA). There were a lot of accidents and a lot of cops in different forms of 4-wheel drive vehicles. It took 13 hours and we were beat when we got home, however, we were able to get a motor that I will drop off to have it cleaned, inspected, redone, and hopefully dropped into the Jeep in the beginning of next year. There are a ton of changes coming for the Orange project Jeep to get ready for the new season, so keep tuned, you don't want to miss anything!
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