CJ-7 Projects


Lightforce Lights - H.I.D. High-intensity discharge Upgrade

HEI Ignition System (GM Style) Installed in the AMC 360 V8
Getting rid of gremlins and improving performance

Installing 23,000 Volt Offroad Lights

Autogage Tachometer Installation

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 Centralia PA
Project CJ-7
Offroaders Guide
to Gearing up
for Offroad

From Basic Equipment to Well Equipped.  An extensive list guide to help you prepare your vehicle for the offroad.


Onboard Air
Converting a York
AC Compressor
to Pump Air

Trailering Safety and Trailer Hitch Information


Off-Road Truck Driving Techniques and Safety

Off-Road Lights
by LightForce Product Review / Installation.
from Off-Road Lights


Jeep Dana 300 TeraLow - 4:1 Gearset for the Dana 300 Transfer Case

AMC V8 Engines
GEN-1 Nash/Hudson/Rambler V-8s (1956-1966) through to the GEN-3 AMC Tall-deck (1970-1991)

Chevy Small-Block V8 Engines
Chevy Small-Block V8 Engines Manufactured by General Motors - Production: 1955?2002

Hemi Engine - All about the Hemi Engine

Ford Engines
4 Cylinder, 6 Cylinder, 8 Cylinder, 10 Cylinder, 12 Cylinder Ford Engines

Ford V8 Engines
8 Cylinder Engines manufactured by Ford

Ford 351 Cleveland V8 Engines
351 cubic inch V8 Engines manufactured by Ford

Chrysler Hemi Engine

AMC V8 hp/Torque, Compression & Bore/Stroke by year

Engine Size Conversion Table
Converting engine displacement from CID, Liters, C.C.

Engine Overheating Basics - 16 Common Causes of an Overheated Engine

Fan Clutch Diagnosis
How to tell if the Fan Clutch in your Cooling System is failing or has failed.

Automotive Gauges & Instrument Functions
Information they display & their importance.


From the
Department of Cheap   Tricks and Useful Tips

Ultra-Cool Hand Throttle for Free!

Jeep V8 Swap Tips

The Exploding Clutch

Radiator Protection using 6 bucks worth of material

Cracked Under Pressure - Fixing a smashed fingernail

A Cheap, effective alternative to undercoating

Home-built Saginaw Gearbox Brace for the cost of lunch!

Ammo Box Storage - Mounting Them for Quick Disconnect

Home-built Serious Skid-Plate protection for the Oil Pan for under 20 bucks!

Ramp Travel Index
RTI / Ramp Travel Index  What it is and how to calculate it, with and without the ramp.




Project Jeep CJ-7
HEI Ignition
GM HEI Distributor on an AMC 360

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HEI Installation

There were a few method that I read for installing the HEI.  One method, the one supplied with the HEI I bought, detailed a way to mark the location of and pull off the old distributor, then install the new HEI distributor in about the same location, then set the timing.  Others dealt with how to install a distributor when there was no distributor to start with.  Since I have a properly installed distributor, I followed the supplied instructions, then ultimately I had to clock the distributor to clear the power steering pump where I jumped a tooth of the distributor gear and advanced the distributor forward to the same position in reference to the wire about to fire.

High Performance HEI Distributor Installation Instructions

Step 1 - Unpack the distributor carefully and inspect it for possible shipping shipping damage.  Inspect again after removing the cap.

Step 2 - If the distributor to be replaced has not already been removed from the engine, remove its cap.  On GM HEI Distributors, unplug the pickup-to-coil harness from the cap.  Do not remove the plug wires at this time.  Crank the engine slowly until the rotor blade aims at a fixed point on the engine or firewall.  Note this for future reference.

Step 3 - Find the connect in the wiring from the distributor to the ignition switch, and unplug it.

Step 4 - Note the exact position of the vacuum advance canister.  Put a reference mark on the engine or firewall so that the new distributor may be easily installed in the same position.

Step 5 - Loosen and remove the distributor hold-down bolt and clamp.  Lift the old distributor out. If the engine had been running within the past few minutes, the distributor housing may be hot coated with hot engine oil.  Wrap a shop towel around the distributor to avoid burning your hands and catch dripping oil.

Step 6 - Install the gasket onto the distributor shaft, then lower the new distributor into position.  The rotor should be aimed at the same fixed position as was the old rotor of the old distributor, and the vacuum canister aligned with the reference mark.  After the new distributor has been lowered into place, you may find that it hasn't seated firmly against the support boss.  This indicates that the lower end of the distributor shaft is not properly aligned with the oil pump drive rod.  Do not attempt to force the distributor into position.

Step 7 - Reinstall the hold-clamp and thread the bolt just enough to exert a very slight pressure against the distributor.  If the distributor was not firmly seated, manually rotate the engine until the distributor drops down into place.

Step 8 - With the distributor properly seated, tighten the hold down bolt just enough so that the distributor is held in place, but can still be rotated with a little effort.  Again make sure that the vacuum canister is aligned with the reference mark. 

Step 9 - Remove the plug wires one at a time from the old cap and install them in the corresponding positions of the new one.  In this case the wire were replaced with Live Wires HEI spark plug wires.  After all wires have been transferred (or installed), verify that the wire in the terminal post that is aligned with the rotor leads to number one cylinder.  IF you are unsure of cylinder number position or firing order, this information can be found in the service manual that covers your particular engine.  Put on the distributor cap.  HEI distributors, plug the pickup lead connector into the new distributor cap.

Step 10 - Reconnect the wiring leading from the distributor to the ignition switch.  In this case the ignition wire on the HEI was run back to the firewall and continued over to the starter solenoid, same place as the original wire that ran to the coil.  Back at the firewall the ignition switch wire was spliced into this wire.  Another wire was run from the tachometer to the distributors plug for the tach.

Step 11 - Connect a timing light.  Start the engine and allow it to warm up sufficiently to idle smoothly.  It may be necessary to rotate the distributor (either clockwise or counter-clockwise) before a smooth idle can be achieved.  If the engine will not idle smoothly, the firing order may be incorrect or the rotor may not have been properly aligned during installation.  Consult a service manual for corrective procedures.

Step 12 - Consult the appropriate service manual to determine the factory-recommended initial timing and idle speed.  Set the initial spark timing with the vacuum advance line disconnected and plugged.  Advancing timing two to four degrees from the factory setting will usually provide improved performance and fuel economy.  However, timing advanced beyond factory specifications may result in detonation, which can cause engine damage.  Listen carefully - if you hear engine knocking or pinging, retard initial timing as required to eliminate it.  This AMC V8 was set to 10 degrees.  The plug gap was also increased to .050 to take advantage of the increased coil voltage.

Break In Procedure For Distributor Gear

IMPORTANT: Premature gear failure and resulting engine damage may result from failure to follow these precautions!

  • Coat gear thoroughly with zinc or moly break-in lubricant prior to installation.
  • DO NOT use synthetic oils during the distributor gear break-in period.  Subsequently, any suitable oil may be used.
  • Use 30 or 40 or multi-viscosity oil (i.e. 10W30)
  • For engines that are highly modified and have oil pressures exceeding 70 psi (cold), the gear should be broken in with a racing grade mineral oil.
  • Oil filter bypass should be removed (if vehicle is so equipped).
  • Carefully observe gear wear after the break-in period of several hours.  Look for proper mesh, tooth alignment or excessive wear of gear teeth.

AMC V8 Firing Order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2

HEI Review

Immediately after installing the HEI distributor, the first thing I notice was the Jeep actually fired up.  (remember the Ford "not so" Duraspark system had failed and it didn't run.)

Once it was running I noticed that it was firing on all cylinders, all the time.  Prior to this HEI, at idle the Jeep V8 would seem to miss a cylinder fire now and then.  Now, it was a constant fire on all cylinders and it sounded strong.  Once the timing was set, the Jeep had a very quick, strong throttle response.  Definitely better than before whether the V8 was warm or cool.  On the road, it felt stronger without a doubt.  Now I wouldn't say it was a huge increase in horsepower and I don't exercise the V8 like some people do but pulling out from a stop there was a definite improvement.  At trail speeds low RPM torque is improved just do to the fact that the HEI is burning hotter and more accurately.  This results in less stalls at low RPM crawling.  The HEI is an upgrade that is definitely worth the bucks.  Highly recommended.

One of the physical improvements that I liked about this HEI over the stock distributor was the fact that it was taller, making it easier to set the timing, and service.  The clearance of the wiring was also a plus. 

The "Live Wires" spark plug wires were nice.  Double insulated, low resistance and heavy duty.

Project Jeep CJ-7 
HEI Ignition
GM HEI Distributor on an AMC 360

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Super Swamper Bogger
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Interco IROK TSL
Super Swamper LTB
Super Swamper TSL
Super Swamper TSL Radial
Super Swamper Narrow
Interco SS-M16 Swamper
Thornbird TSl Radial
Thornbird TSl Bias
Thornbird TSL
Parnelli Jone Dirt Grip
BFGoodrich Krawler
BFGoodrich MT T/A KM
BFGoodrich MT T/A KM2
BFGoodrich AT TA KO
BFGoodrich Mud King XT
Bridgestone Dueler MT
Cooper Discoverer ST
Cooper Discoverer STT
Cooper Discoverer ST/C
Firestone Destination MT
General Grabber MT
General Grabber AT2
Green Diamond Icelander
Ground Hawg Mud Tire
Hankook Dynapro MT
Hankook Dynamic MT RT01
Hercules Terra Trac MT
Hercules Trail Digger MT
Kelly-Springfield Safari DTR
Kelly-Springfield Safari MSR
Kumho Road Venture MT
Kumho Road Venture KL71
Kumho Road Venture AT
Dick Cepek Mud Country
Dick Cepek F-C II
Dick Cepek Fun Country II
Dick Cepek Fun Country Nylon
Dick Cepek Fun Country Kevlar
Mastercraft Courser MT
Mastercraft Courser HTR
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Maxxis BigHorn Radial
Maxxis Creepy Crawler
Maxxis Trepador
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Maxxis M-8080 Mudzilla
Maxxis MT-754 Buckshot
Maxxis MT-753 Bravo
Maxxis MA-751 Bravo
Maxxis MA-S2 Marauder II
Maxxis MA-S1 Marauder
Maxxis MT-762 BigHorn
Nitto Mud Grappler
Nitto Dune Grappler
Nokian Vatiiva MT
Pit Bull Rocker Extreme
Pit Bull Maddog
Pit Bull Growler
Goodyear Wrangler MT/R
Pro Comp Xterrain
Pro Comp All Terrain
Pro Comp Mud Terrain
Pro Comp Xtreme AT
Pro Comp Xtreme MT
Toyo Open Country MT
TrXus Mud Terrain
TrXus STS All Terrain
Mickey Thompson MTZ
Mickey Thompson MTX
Mickey Thompson Baja Claw
Mickey Thompson Baja Crusher
Competition Claw
Dunlop Mud Rover
Yokohama Geolandar

Latest trips Offroad
... trail reports with the Project CJ-7
click here.

Sounds System, Raised the Rear Seat
Storage below and a great place to mount 6x9 Speakers for Great Bass ... In a Jeep!

York AC Compressor Conversion.  What used to pump Freon, now pumps compressed air to the front and rear bumpers.  125 psi,  2 gallons of storage, air fittings at the bumpers, enough CFM to power air tools!.  Click Here for more  Details


Dick Cepek's 2008 F-250 Super Duty Project Vehicle ? Project CRUSHER

Warn X8000i
Winch Installation

ARB Air Locker Install
Jeep Wide Track Axles Swap

Mud Tire Reviews

Building a Garage?
Need a Garage Plan?

Reader's Rigs and Seriously Stucks!


Jeep Trans Swap Info
T-18A Transmission Rebuild & Short Shaft Conversion