By Jon Maib
Since installing our 2.5" Superlift suspension, we have been working hard to make Project Oh Deer mechanically sound and drivable. While some of the repairs have been to get the Jeep running, others have been for cosmetic appearance.
We have been watching Stronghold Shift Boot's Instagram page and have loved their products. When they had their black Friday sale back in November, we ordered our boots. These are made out of high quality marine grade fabric and can be customized to your taste. We went with a black boot with red stitching to help them stand out a bit more. The quality of these shift boots are amazing and they are beautiful. Highly recommend picking up a set, and they are not just for CJ's, they make them for many different Jeep models.
Stronghold Shift Boots Website

In keeping with our 80's throwback, we had to have a thick padded sports bar cover. Bestop has been making the sports bar cover for many years now and so we got one to add to the Jeep. Installation is fairly straight forward, however smaller hands tend to help with the zipper install. While we were adding the cover, we also went with a full interior carpet set (yup, we like the old carpeted CJ's) from ACC Poly which we ordered through Morris 4x4 Center. Install was easy, just time consuming as we had to remove everything inside, do some clean up on the inside, cut holes for everything that protrudes through and then we did use some spray adhesive to keep some areas of the carpet down. Over all, this really cleaned up the interior of the Jeep.
Bestop Website
Morris 4x4 Center

When we purchased the CJ, we noticed that putting gas into the tank got messy. You couldn't pour very quickly or it would spill out. Once we climbed under the Jeep, we could see why. At some point, someone replaced the standard filler hose with their makeshift galvanized 90 degree pipe with a reducer to make it work. This made no sense to us until we dropped the fuel tank to try and resolve the issue. Come to learn that not only did the previous owner replace the hoses, the fuel tank was from an older model CJ and thus why they needed to make the bubba filler hose. To ensure we had no issues in the future filling up, we went ahead and replaced the tank and the filler hoses at the same time. We now have no issues filling the tank.

When the CJ got warmed up, we noticed that the hoses to the heater core were cold and no coolant was running through them. Thinking that perhaps the water pump was broken or had gone bad as it had begun to squeal when the Jeep was started. We decided to replace the pump as well as ensure that the thermostat was working properly. Oh dear, once again to our surprise, there was no thermostat installed and the Jeep had a reverse rotation water pump installed. Reverse rotation pumps on CJ's are intended for a serpentine belt (usually installed when AC is present) and ours was a v-belt, requiring a standard rotation water pump. (Interestingly enough, our buddy's CJ who was having over heating problems had the exact same issue).

With the water pump and thermostat replaced, everything seemed to be working, except for the temp gauge. We began tracing down the wires to see what the problem was. In our troubleshooting, found that the previous owner had it hooked the wire to the wrong plug on the engine. In fact, the engine didn't have a temp sensor installed, just a plug where it should go. After ordering the right sensor, we could finally read our engine temp off the guage. With temp gauge working, we began to hit all the electrical (lights, wipers, blinkers, brake, etc...) just to have a functional Jeep at this point. A new wiring harness is definitely in our future though!

To help us get past the Texas inspection process, we knew we needed new rubber on the wheels. The wheels that came with the Jeep were black, old and worn. Continueing with the 80's look, we went for the classic wagon wheel that you find on most trailers these days, but are so vintage CJ. We ordered our white wheels from US Wheel as they were perfect for the look we want. Keeping the vintage theme going, we went with some BFG All Terrain KO2s and set our white lettering out. Pure vintage look! The two of these together really pulled our Superlift suspension together. These 31x10.5 r15s and the 2.5" lift are the perfect combo for Project Oh Deer.
US Wheel Website
BFGoodrich Website

As you can see, we have had a lot of 'oh dear' moments in this build as we find the crazy things people have done to try and keep this old Jeep running and probably on a limited budget and with perhaps not enough knowledge. We are getting closer to having a fully functioning Jeep that we can just mess around in and have some fun.

Stay tuned for more!