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M38A1 restomod project kicking off.


Sep 22, 2021
I've finally got some time to do a little work on this project. The primary purpose of this build is to take my disabled daughter out on the trails, as stated in my original introduction post a year ago. It's not going to be a hardcore machine, mostly seeing use on low difficulty forest service trails and the like. So far all I've been able to do with it is build a temporary bumper in order to put a tow bar on it to get it home. It's nice to finally be getting moving on this.

I'm replacing the stock seats with some suspension seats. I found the seats at a garage sale for $75, still in the original plastic bags. I also plopped a side-mount truck toolbox on the back, it fits nicely between the bars so I think I'll mount it there permanently. It's just been sitting in the barn waiting for a permanent home.

The gas tank is shot beyond repair, so I'm probably going to relocate it to under the rear toolbox. I'll use the space under the driver's seat for more storage after I do a little patch work.

The seats look good, for now just sitting on blocks to get an idea of the height.
I'm debating notching the wheel wells a bit, at least for the driver's side. In my opinion it's not a real jeep if you're not eating your knees when you drive it, so I may not bother. (A bit more patch work needed there on the body, too.)

I'll probably just use the original mounting points, so the seat brackets will be patterned loosely after the stock seats. It's a good excuse to buy a tube bender, as I've got to build a couple of half doors as well, and maybe some grab bars.
I'll also run a 1.5" bar across behind the seats for the harness mount. I'll probably just do a seat belt on the driver side but my daughter will need a full 5 point harness to keep her strapped in.

All in all this thing is in pretty OK shape considering it's history. I've seen a lot worse. In fact, my dad's CJ5 is in much worse shape, and he still uses it up in Alaska. Mostly just to plow his driveway but he takes it out once in a while. He's in his 80's and his old Jeep has been with him since it was new in the early 70's.

There's a pretty good sized todo list, but once I get rolling on it, I think everything will fall into place.


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