Tech Tips

Taking Apart a Full Size Jeep

A Story of Rebirth

It all started in 1974. The Vietnam War was coming to an end, altough most didn't know it at the time and the nation was coming out of a turbulent time in history. But in April of that year, a Jeep Cherokee was born, rolling out of the womb of Toledo, Ohio. With a GVWR of 5,600 pounds, it was a truck to be respected. A truck to be admired.

We don't know much about its early years.... who the first proud purchaser was.... what went on, if anything, in that rear bench seat. Was it bought on credit, or did the new owner save up for years to buy the Jeep of his or her dreams? After its initial glory years, the old Cherokee started to slowly decline. Rust settled in like an incurable cancer. Seals started leaking. No longer could she be considered old reliable. Parts started breaking and wearing out. The last straw was a front end collision, which sent her to a field in Colorado where she longinly looked out upon the Rocky Mountains that she would never climb again. With a sister Wagoneer in similar condition, they sat like two old ladies on the porch of a rest home, their glory days gone, but still full of life if someone would only pay attention. One fateful spring would change all that, however. Considered an eyesore for her current owner, she was gladly given away to another who promised to "do something" with her. Carted away on a flatbed and borrowed tires, Cherokee J4A177CP58399 was destined to "be something someday".

OK, so it's a little dramatic, but then so was chopping up a FSJ. Even if it was rusted out and no one had any space to store the old shell.Parts came flying off with amazing speed with several folks all helping out.


The interior was already shot, so it was a matter of cleaning out the dirt, debris and mouse droppings of the past year or so that had accumulated. Most all removable trim pieces were salvaged, as were doors, hinges, latches and even roof braces. (For a future light bar project)

Once the interior was cleaned out (read: flammable items stripped out), the torch and circular diamond bladed saw came out. The roof of an FSJ is held up with some MIGHTY STRONG pillars. But soon it was even loose and eventually removed. An open topped FSJ is an interesting idea.....


We even pulled the brake pedal assy. Amazing how easy things are with a torch! Oh, and smelly, too. Even if you don't burn something, the paint stinks when it burns.

Ever wonder about a FSJ dump truck? It can be done, and no hydraulics needed! ;-) Just be prepared to pay your buddies for each lift! Even though it was rusted too much to be worth saving, it was sad to do this to a once mighty Full Size Jeep.

Lifting the last part of the body revealed a rust and twist free frame with a good drivetrain. This frame will be shortened and modified and slung underneath a XJ body. (I know, terrible, but it will live on!) I salvaged the carb and intake from the engine as well as various (probably too many!) trim parts and accessories. Oh, and about that other Wagoneer... We stripped it, too, before chopping and carting it off the remains of the body to the scrap yard.

Ethan B