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Project "Free Jeep" a.k.a Project "FJ" - part #1
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I contacted a Jeep forum member about a “Free 258 Engine” that he had in Columbia, CT. Not knowing where Columbia, CT was, I looked it up on a map and saw that it wasn’t horribly far away. We agreed on a date and time and I was on my way, with Jen in tow. Now, she is a really good sport about these things and she doesn’t get upset too much, but once we got there and nothing was ready to go, I was about 150% sure that it was going to take longer then the 304 Engine pickup which took all of about 10 minutes.

So, we start things off with us trying to get his Jeep started so he can jump-start his blazer since the motor is sitting in the back of that vehicle. After that, we can move the Blazer out and take the motor out of that and then put it into my vehicle. Well the Jeep had a starter solenoid issue, so we had to keep jumping that with the battery in the vehicle because it also had an idling issue.

So, fast forward ahead, as we are running around trying to get these vehicles started, I notice an old body laying in the yard. He had already officered me a Laredo hood for free when I started seeing some new possibilities for the “Free Jeep”. Now the FJ as I am calling it for short is going to have a Wrangler tub, like the “Yellow Jeep” and with that, I will be needing a tailgate, cables, attachment points, defroster duct, etc. like I did in the “Yellow Jeep” build-up. So, I asked him about it, he said OK, and we started trying to figure out how to get power over to the body because we need to cut these parts out.
Instead of bring power to it; we brought it to the power. He hooked up a chain, dragged the body over to the garage and then the blazer died because the battery wasn’t tied down and it bounced out of the engine bay. I started cutting with the sawzall and it was about this time that Jen stuck her head out of the running 2005 Dodge Ram and said, “What are you doing?” I hadn’t forgotten about her, I had just not noticed that this entire running around took about an hour and we still didn’t have the motor in the back of the truck. With that not there, we also had to get to my cousins house for a Christmas party.

I finished up cutting the tailgate off, the connecting points for the tailgate cables, and finally the windshield cowl and then we jerry rigged the engine hoist together and got the engine out of the Blazer and into the back of my truck. I tried to explain the benefits to Jen about the parts I got for the conversion and she somewhat listened and said, “Mmmm hmmm”. Basically she is the greatest girl in the world for putting up with my acquisitions. She comes along and doesn’t complain about a thing. She puts up with me and what can I say, I am a PITA.
So, we were on our way home with a hood, the back end of the Jeep, and the cowl section, almost all the pieces necessary to take the Wrangler body and convert it to look like a CJ. Just a little welding and some bodywork and we should be all set.

So, the project is off to a good start. I am on my way outside right now to snap some pictures and get the motor onto the engine stand. I still need to get a lot more parts for this Jeep and I am going to try to get sponsorship and free parts as much as I can. It is going to take a lot of research, driving and communication, but I think I will be able to build up a Jeep that is reliable and looks good without a whole lot of money invested. This will just take a lot of time and energy to finish this project. The only thing that I will be looking to do so it is safe is to get a Painless wiring kit and a nice new battery, hopefully from sponsors, so we can make sure we don’t have any fires under the hood.
With a total of $35.00 expended plus diesel for the Ram, we had a good haul. I was also able to salvage a taillight, fuel filler neck and the stop and mount for the swing out tire carrier. These are all necessary parts. I will donate a bunch of parts as well that are left over from the "Yellow Jeep" project that will help to add to the list of donators to the project as well as get the project going. We need a lot to complete this project and any parts are more then welcome, so if you want to be a contributor, please email me at Free Jeep Project Donations and we can talk about what you have and how I can get it.
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