1982 Jeep Cherokee Chief
This Wide-track Cherokee started its life in Texas and was fairly solid when I brought it to North Carolina to undergo restoration. This Cherokee had much less rust than those available in NC, as well as the newer claw-type door latching system for better reliability and availability of parts. (claw type door latch was stock from 79-91)
The goal of the project was to build the ultimate STOCK appearance Cherokee Chief! To maintain Jeep originality, while adding convenience features such as power windows, power door locks and power seats sourced from late model grand wagoneers. I finished the chief with the 76-78 paint scheme, decals and badges because I believe this to be the most iconic. I sourced new, old stock items wherever possible.
Color/paint: 1977 Jeep Captain's Blue, primer, base coat, single stage. Body panels and doors were stripped to bare metal, blocked and painted. All rust was removed from the body (fender flares) by media blasting with acid treatment or by cutting out and replacing with original clean sheet metal. No filler bondo, fiber, or any shoddy repair was made. Only top-quality metal work using original Jeep sheet metal. Paint is approximately 4 years old at this point and has maintained high luster and excellent appearance. Proper preparation, maintenance and garaging has yielded no return of rust or bubbling. I would rate the original final application of the paint as an 8.5 out of 10. I know of one small run at the end of one of the roof dimples and a 1-2 very small foreign objects. Because I have used the truck, there are some very small chips and light scratches that you might associate with a 1-2 year old vehicle. I have touched these up as they happened. Honestly though, I'm being hyper critical of the paint. It's a gorgeous truck and people complement me all the time when I'm driving it. The paint's not new, but it's better than my 2013 wrangler and certainly better than original paint from the factory.
Rust/Rust proofing: This jeep had a small amount of rust in the floor and in two of the fender flare bottoms. Original Jeep sheet metal from a wagoneer was used to repair the floors and flare sections from a Jeep J-truck were used to weld/repair the flares. All rust was removed, not covered/filled/painted. The Jeep retains its original running gear and frame which both have light corrosion as I do currently run/drive/maintain the Jeep. The vehicle was originally from Texas and was Ziebarted. (a process using an oily tar type substance is sprayed into internal panel cavities) Consequently, it was fairly well-preserved when the restoration started. You will be very happy with the results.
Decals: Cherokee Chief fender and rocker black-out treatment with white accent stripe was painted on the vehicle. New vinyl Chief decal applied to tailgate. (‘76-'78 style)
Badges: NOS Chief badges adorn the rear panels, NOS 4-wheel drive badges on the quarters, NOS Jeep and Command-Trac badges on the Tailgate, Reproduction Jeep Grille badge up front on original razor pedestal mount.
Door Hardware: Door handles are original and in driver quality condition. Door locks have original key. All hardware and locks from both sides have been serviced and work properly. New weather strip seals around lock and handles. Mirrors are remote-actuated by cable and both work. Mirrors are driver quality. New base seals for mirrors.
Hood latch: NOS exterior operated hood latch. Hood latch handle retained in interior if new owner wants to change latch type to interior-operated.
Grille: Razor type with razor type valance (top quality razor grille sourced, no funky adaptors for valance)
Front Marker lights: Cat eye metal housing parking/signal lights with original amber inserts and new clear lenses with chrome accent. New bulbs, all working.
Side marker lights: Cherokee style, non-wrap, new amber and red lenses, new bulbs. Parking and signal lights are all working.
Headlights: Original wiring harness serviced. Excellent quality original headlight buckets with new adjusters. Headlights/Brights work with foot-actuated switch in cab
Tail lights: Earlier style Cherokee taillights with Brake and turn signal in series. Brakes and signal lights all working. Reverse lights are not operational.
Bumpers: Steel three-piece bumpers (re-chromed), NOS Front over riders (bumperettes) New Chrome carriage bolt hardware, Good driver quality black strip inserts.
Tailgate trim: NOS Cherokee license plate chrome cover with working license plate light
Wheels: Original Jeep Wagon wheels were powder coated white red pin stripe.
Spare powder coated with no pin stripe. Center caps are NOS Jeep (absolutely no pitting) New lug nuts.
Tires: 5 BF Goodrich All-terrain TA/KO (some light wear but still plenty of tread)
Roof rack: This Cherokee was a roof-rack delete model. Original racks mounted by drilling holes in the roof. I preferred not to do this as the racks often leaked and caused rusting in the roof. Newer roof racks use gutter mounts and I had intended to go that route. If the buyer wants, I will include an original Jeep roof rack. BJs offroad sells the rubber expansion nuts and gaskets to mount an original rack. The kit is reasonably priced and mounting the rack is as simple as drilling 12 holes.
Windows: Front windshield and gasket are both new. Chrome reveal was installed properly around the front window. Original, good quality rearview mirror with darkening switch was reused. Side vent windows are ‘77 style wing window with partial stainless wrap. A full post wing window frame from 91 grand wagoneer was used to accommodate power window mechanism. Power windows are fully-serviced 1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer new-style worm-drive mechanism. (no caterpillar tracks). This is a much better design. Tailgate window is original and has some scratches. Tailgate lift is power assist using 91 style motor. Tailgate key and dash switches both work to raise and lower the rear window. The tailgate mechanism has been overhauled and uses a new electronic relay. Rear pop-out side windows are operational. Hardware was replaced.
Windshield Wipers: Variable speed wipers with fully adjustable delay as well as high/low speed. New blades installed on original stainless wiper arms. Motor bases powder-coated. Wiper washer was serviced and operates properly. Fluid full.
Weather-stripping: All weather stripping is new, NOS or top-quality refurb on the Jeep. Door and rear window sweeps and channel is all new. Drivers door seal has a small defect about ½ way up and passenger rear pop-out window has small defect in rubber trim. Neither of these defects affect performance. Tailgate has all new weather stripping, window track, lift bar and track strips. Driver and passenger doors and rear side panels cabin were sealed with aluminum flashing and are fully water tight behind the ABS plastic door backer panels.
Stainless Trim: All Stainless trim on the Chief was polished and straightened. The roof gutter stainless trim is straight, all present, and mounted correctly.
Sound Deadener: Triple x sound deadening material (like fatmat) was applied to the firewall, interior of door skins and floor of the cabin. Original firewall blanket was re-used on top of deadening material for original look. The original rubber mat sound deadening material was cleaned and re-used in the cargo area. Sound deadening material and insulation was utilized on the ceiling above the headliner.
Carpet: New ACC 80/20 loop carpet, black with mass backing sound deadening material. Cabin, Cargo area and tailgate all received carpet treatment. Tailgate has ABS panel backer covered with loop carpet and original stainless cargo strips. Cargo floor retains original stainless cargo strips
Headliner: Refinished in blue with overhead cargo lights that work when the doors open, or when the cargo light switch is operated in the rear cargo area, or when the headlight switch is turned fully to the right. Overhead Lenses are new or NOS and Map lights work in the front. Floor lighting- light bulbs are new, lenses are original. (all serviced and work)
Sun Visors: Original, Black in good condition with no rips or tears. Visor cups are black with no cracks
Dash: Removed, powder coated in original Jeep interior blue color (slightly different from exterior Captains blue color) Dash pad is original and in good condition, no cracks or tears, no weird recover. Dash Radio speaker cover was updated tastefully. NOS knobs. Switch bezels are NOS. Vent cables are new with new bezels. Glove box door was powdered to match dash. Lock is original and operational. Rubber glove box door bumpers are NOS. Black glove box lock pull handle is extremely hard to find and is NOS. Cherokee Chief Dash emblem is a dated original applied in '76-78 location. Glove box light is fully operational. Glove box insert is plastic and new. Clock is digital, fully operational and keeps time. Ash tray is refurbished, tight, straight and fully operational. Ash tray light works and dims with dimmer. Lighter works properly. Ignition Switch is original and functions as it should. Key cannot be removed except when in off position.
Cluster: I wanted to retain some character with the cluster. The engine turned applique is new, but I left some light patina wear on the black areas (very light) The clear lenses are in good shape. One has a few small spots. Arrow type signals from the 76-78 models are present and working. Gauge faces, numbering and lettering font are from early type (‘74) wagoneer and gladiator. Fuel Gauge is operational but shows ¾ tank when full. Temp gauge works well. Amp gauge works well and retains original wiring. Oil pressure gauge reads about 12-13 psi lower than actual. All lights work and dim with use of headlight switch. Headlight dimmer switch is on floor. High beam indicator works with blue dot illumination.
Heat/AC: Stock Under dash A/C unit is operational and all vents are in good condition, tight and not broken. Fan rheostat has infinite speed settings. Fan operates at high medium and low but has some dead spots on dial. A/C blows at 59 degrees on max cool on a 92 degree day (when last checked this month). Heat temperature lever operates blend door correctly. Off, heat and defrost blend vacuum actuated push buttons all operate properly and divert air appropriately. Fan switch operates heater fan at all speeds.
Radio: Original AMC AM/FM CB Radio serviced and working. Original high-transmission antenna with internal crossover behind dash. Antenna in good shape. (Mast will be unscrewed and inside vehicle for delivery) Balance, tuning and fader and tone functions all work. CB works to my knowledge. (I haven't spoken to anyone on it, but have heard folks talking) Door and rear speakers were replaced with all-weather units complementary to the original radio. Sounds good for the age of the radio!!
Door and Interior Panels: Both door and interior panel backer boards were done in ABS backing material for longevity and to prevent warpage and puckering. Doors used ‘77 vinyl with scant new vinyl and original diamond back pattern insert original to 76-77 models. Chrome strips on door panel were retained for same year. Power windows switches, door lock switch and remote mirror options from 82-83 model Cherokee Laredo were added. All electric switches and actuators were serviced and original wiring harness was used with no cuts or splices. Speaker grilles and surrounds are original to 76-78 years. Cargo panels are '77 vinyl over full ABS plastic backer boards and are retained by stock stainless strips and new clips. Side area are accessible by removal of these panels. Arm rests are '77 style, refurbished with no breaks or cracks. New ABS kick panels at driver and passenger foot.
Seats: Jeep Cherokee seats. Both driver and passenger seats tilt forward. Both are full power six-way operational from late model grand wagoneer. Finished in black vinyl with Diamond pattern insert original to 76-77 models. Back set folds forward out of cargo area and has black retaining strap. Working black seat belts. Front female black plastic seat belt retainers are like NOS. Great shape with no cracks.
Steering column: Tilt column with shift. Shift indicator light works and dims with turn of headlight switch Horn working, tilt working, turn signals and auto cut-off working. Hazard pull out switch working. Indicator has proper working NOS pointer and spacing aligns with selected gear for Torqueflite 727 (PRND12).
Cruise Control: All Cruise control componentry, wiring, control boxes and actuator are present in the jeep. The switch on the column is NOS. However, the system is not operational. Testing these requires a special tool which is hard to come by. The problem with the system is either the control box or actuator as all other components can be tested without the special tool. I will continue searching for NOS components and will include them in the sale if found.
Steering wheel: Sport, Rally type with stainless ribs and oblong holes. Rare-fat, black rubber rim type with black horn button. Jeep horn button is clear and in good shape.
Jeep 360: The motor was built approximately 7 years ago and is driven less than 4K per year. It runs consistent and strong. All machine work and assembly was completed by Vilas Motor Works of Bryan, Texas, and receipts will be provided with the Jeep. Bore was .020 over. Rods and mains each .010 under. New pistons, rings, lifters, valves, rockers, cam, balancer, push rods and gaskets. Edelbrock performer intake with Edelbrock 650 carb, Edelbrock water pump and Edelbrock fuel pump. Mallory HEI Ignition. Finished in AMC blue with powder-coated original valve covers. I like the Chrome air cleaner, but will provide and original air cleaner at the buyer's request. I will also provide a stock 2-barrel intake manifold at the buyer's request.
TorqueFlite 727 three-speed transmission serviced and in good working order. Deep cast pan with drain valve and silicon gasket. Transmission oil cooler up front.
New Process 208 Command Trac transfer case. Stock Jeep flag shifter on the left side/floor of the trans tunnel. Stock Jeep Locking hubs up front. 4WD indicator light in dash works appropriately.
Dana 44 axle front and rear axle is an AMC model 20 with 3.31 gear ratio. Brakes were last serviced about 2 years ago but have very little mileage on the pads.
Suspension and Steering: Original, low mileage, stock height leaf springs and shocks are used and provide a soft ride. Saginaw power steering box in good operating order. Steering is tight and responsive for a full-size jeep.
Keys and Documentation: Two sets of keys will be provided, an original set and a NOS set that is uncut. Trust your favorite locksmith to make them. Owner's manual and other documentation will also be provided.
Final Thoughts: I've spent many years restoring this truck to the vehicle you see today. I performed the work in stages and only had the truck off the road for a short period of time. This allowed me to sort out the mechanical and electrical details where you will often find issue or problems with newly-restored vehicles. This truck has been sorted, tested and is ready for you, it's next owner.
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