Marn's '73 Wagoneer

Dr. Marneaus

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Marn's '73 Wagoneer and other stuff


I know I have posted this beast all over the damn interwebs (what can I say, I'm a post whore) but I figure I'd post it here for those of you who want to get caught up. My basic plan is to provide spark notes on what's been done so far, and just update as I move forward.

You can see full build at the link below...with some 4+ years and 1600+ posts.

There is also a somewhat detailed/catalogued build thread over on Expedition Portal.

A little bit about me....

I used to have a TJ. This was the first vehicle I actually enjoyed owning, and the first vehicle I worked on. Nothing special. 4cyl, budget boost and cherokee/rubi springs, 33's, no AC....but I took it all over the place and played on the rocks a decent amount.

Sold that, bought a 2005 dodge magnum R/T from my Ma. Much better for me at the time as i did alot of long drives, and it was hot as hell in Vegas.

It all started back in June of 2010....I had just graduated from UNLV (forgive me, Reno people), and wanted to get back into a jeep (sold my lifted TJ in 2008 IIRC). I wanted a jeep, I wanted an OLD jeep.

I only had 2 criteria, and they were as follows:

1. MUST be a CJ type jeep. Didnt care if it was a 5, 7, 8, whatever.

2. MUST be stick shift. Automatics are for losers.

So, with those being the ONLY two requirements, I went out shopping for a few months. Finally, I came home with this!!!



Wait wait wait...what?!

Yeah. I realized a few things.....

1. I'm 6'3 and after driving a few CJ's I realized a 5 was gonna suck....and that anything older and lifted aint gonna be a pleasure on the highway. Factor in that I wanted this for a camping rig, I noticed a CJ = 2 passengers and MAYBE 2 peoples worth of gear inside. This big ole bastid' feels like you're gliding down the highway on a 70mph couch....well, a rough ass couch on stiff springs but you get the idea. Plus tons o' room.

2. I decided I didnt really care about the stick shift. I was a bit bummed at first, but then after the first time wheeling on the rocks in the wag, I was sold on automatics for off road.

Anyway. I bought it. It was a daily driver at the time of purchase (buy the sellers live-in-nanny/babysitter type deal). He was a volkswagen guy. Bought this to take the wife and kid out to the desert. He removed the bumper and was about to rattle can the whole thing OD green (had already purchased the paint). Thank god I got to it in time!

The good:
Strong runner
Solid body/under side (one rust hole in fender)
Had the EXACT lift and tires I was planning to purchase, and they were less than a year old.

The Bad:
Leaked like a sieve
interior wasnt great(wasnt terrible)... but it still isnt
paint was blown out
missing some parts, and had been bubbatized to an extent.

Whatever. It'll all work out.

Anyway, thats the story of how I acquired this particular hooptie.

Now, the fun begins. And by fun, I mean constant head aches, major bank account drainage, nights laying awake, frustrating roadside repairs, and a trip to the hospital....These days the truck is fairly reliable and looks pretty decent.

Here's a current pic of me and the love of my life....oh, my fiance is in the pic too, but dont let that bother you.

So, let us begin with the work, shall we?
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Welcome. I gave you a welcome to Reno on Expedition Portal, but here's another.

You'll love the wheeling around here much better, so much to see and places to go in the desert and the Sierras never get old.


Dr. Marneaus

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Man this thing is awesome! Welcome to town better not talk to much about UNLV round here hahaha

Ha, yes. I have already figured that one out. I'm not some diehard UNLV fan or anything, but I did attend for several years. I have realized I probably should not wear any UNLV apparel though....

Dr. Marneaus

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Also, this is the first weekend I'll actually have time to do, I'll hopefully get this updated so you all can see a little more of what I've done.

Dr. Marneaus

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Premium Member
Okay, here is some more info on this truck of mentioned this is the spark notes version, the fulllll detailed stuff can be seen over on JF. Much of this spark notes version will be copy pasted from another site, as I wrote the summary version over there some time ago.

So, onto some mods, mostly in chronological order.

After purchasing it and doing minor stuff (getting it smogged was a $600 endeavor) like your standard tune up and all that, I started to get it ready for the trail. I put the bumper back on that the PO had removed.

Installed working mechanical gauges for everything so I could monitor my vital signs, and actually cleaned and refurbed my ammeter so I can keep an eye on the charging system and not have to rely on only a voltmeter.

First actual mod: I went and picked up a Uniden CB. I like to be able to talk to fellow trucks in our group and on the trail, so this was literally the first mod I did. When I replaced the speaker for the stereo it was too deep to fit the stereo back in the slot on the dash so I slid the CB in there.

Antenna in a pretty standard spot.

One of the next things I had to take care of was not by choice. I was on my way to a halloween party and my radiator sprung a leak. I pulled into my buddy's driveway and he asked what was dripping. oh crap! Turned around and drove home.

The issue:


I had never had any actual overheating problems with the stock 40 year old radiator, but it ran warm sometimes. Living in vegas heat is definitely an issue. on more than one occasion I had pushed it up to about 240* in the 115* heat, which was not comfortable. The stock system used a 195* t-stat and normal operating temp was about 210*

I picked up an el-cheapo chinese all aluminum 4-row unit on ebay and went to work.

Not the prettiest welds, but looked like a quality unit. Here it is next to the old'n

it went in with ZERO issues. Fit was spot on.

I had to make new lines for the built-in transmission cooler because my old ones broke when being removed. Easy Peasy. This all got changed and cleaned up a little with the engine swap and tranny rebuild, totally new cooling lines are on my list.

Anyway, it has worked great for almost 2 years. I ended up doing a 185* t-stat and with the new rad in place the truck runs at about 190. If it's 115* outside and I'm pushing up hill, it'll creep up to about 205. Highest I've had it is a slight grade uphill through loose gravel in 4wd, for about 3 miles @10mph in the 110* heat, and it only touched 215*. All in all, great upgrade that made a noticeable difference.

Dr. Marneaus

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Well, that wasnt technically an expedition upgrade, but it increased reliability, which seems to be a big part of it.

After that I wheeled it abit on the rocks and whatnot, around the local desert, you know, the usual.



I started taking it on longer drives, 100 mile round trips (this is a 40 year old truck, i had to build up the trips!). One of my favorite rides is down to a local spot on the colorado river. several miles through soft gravel from a main road. THIS is the kinda stuff i live for.


Truck was driving well but developing some bottem end noise, as well as lifter noise, turned out to get louder and louder. My oil pressure at 65mph was only about 25 PSI, and at idle it was about 10psi, which is some scary stuff. I ended up driving out to Ventura Ca in a work truck and picked up an engine from a guy on IFSJA for about $200, it was a known good runner.

I'll spare the details but I picked up this:

cleaned it up, sealed it back up, and painted it into this:

pulled this out:

and dropped this in:


While doing that, i also rebuilt the transmission (I ended up needing a little help from a shop on that one...sigh)

re-sealed the t-case, redid all the drive line u joints, replaced the steering gear box, and installed a new B&M plate style transmission cooler.
Not bad for a kid who had never changed his own oil before, huh?

Again, idea was to increase reliability. Got the new engine in, new battery, and it was rnning on electronic ignition now vs the 73 engine that was points converted over to electronic.

Oil pressure is now 55 on the highway even with 110* temps!

Dr. Marneaus

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After that, I wheeled it a bit again, but nothing crazy, local trips, 100, 150 miles round trip.

Eventually my headlights started having issues. They'd be fine for 20 minutes, then flicker off. I'd hit the switch and they'd sometimes come back on, sometime stay off. I replaced the floor mounted dimmer, I replaced the actual switch, same issue. I eventually fiddled with the wiring harness some and got it to settle down.

A while passed and the problem came back. I pulled the front of the truck apart and cleaned/checked all the grounds, re-covered a few splices (FYI AMC used duct tape, from the factory, to cover the splices in the harness). Still no dice though.

I got fed up with the issues and searched around. I learned that as with the ammeter, all of the power for the lights is routed into the cab, and it ALL goes through the switch, and the back out the headlights. I was able to SMELL the switch after the lights had been on for 20 minutes. Time to right this wrong.

I went out and picked up some wire, some relays, and some fuse. I built a harness to bypass the power from the switch, through some relays, to the lights, this did a few things.

1. Removed the load from the in-cab switch.
2. increased the brightness of the lights.
3. allowed for a bulb upgrade
4. installed a fuse between the battery and the lights.

A lil wiring never hurt anybody:



instant upgrade to the lighting in terms of reliability and brightness, but it doesnt stop there!

I again went out and bought some stuff...H4 conversion stuff! The old sealed beam lights got better with the upgrade I did, due to the direct power from the charging system (rather than being routed from the switch).

This was a few months later, but we'll put it here because we're on the topic.

I picked up a set of india made h4 lenses and bulbs, which were a direct swap. My upgraded wiring harness would be more than enough to handle the increased lighting.

new vs. old.

I swapped out the crappy bulbs they came with for silverstars, and went to town.

Incredible difference.

Hands down one of the best mods thus far. Overall cost including the harness i built and the lenses/bulbs was about $100.00

So at this point, I've only upgraded the stock lighting, but the difference was incredible. As I said, there was a good period of time between the harness and the H4 conversion, and i took several long trips but we'll touch on those shortly.

P.S. sorry some of those pictures suck.

Dr. Marneaus

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Well after the engine swap all went well until emissions testing time, and I couldnt get the thing dialed in to pass the sniffer. I tried to rebuild my carb but the shop that tuned it for me the previous year stripped one of the jets and over tightened it. I tried my darndest to get it out but it was messed up and jammed in there too tight, i trashed my carb in the process. It was an Edelbrock 1403 (500 CFM performer).

I picked up a new unit on CL still in the box for $200 (musta fallen off the back of a truck, I didnt ask). Put it on the truck, and it just missed the sniffer by a hair. I dropped it off at my new mechanic and paid them for an hour of labor to get it to slide by the sniffer, which it did with zero issue. They probably just bumped up the idle.

Well, truck was running well, but I still had a few known issues. I had what i assumed to be fuel percolation problems, as in the extreme heat the truck would surge a bit on the highway, but it never vapor locked. I installed a 1" phenolic spacer to try and isolate the carb from the heat. I also have had issues with my fuel system venting. I never mentioned it but one of the PO's used the truck for towing, and had installed an auxiliary fuel tank, with a valve switch and a small electric pump to prime the mechanical pump when the tanks were switched over. Sweet bonus right? Thats expeditiony!

Well turns out the most recent previous owner had vapor locking issues but before moving the dang fuel line away from the exhaust manifolds, he went and chopped out the OEM tank, and removed all the lines for the vapor canister, removed the lines to the e-pump, and welded shut the filler tube so it ended after the aux tank. son of a b! So this whole time i'm running off of an AUX tank that was like 19 gallons (great range at 10-12mpg haha). worked. It wouldnt vent correctly, and i had already done a bunch of work because the dang filler neck was a bunch of pipe and 90* fittings so it was a major PITA to fill at the pump, and not to mention there was no breather tube attached so the damn tank was venting into the interior of my truck. you about got choked out just sitting in it. I fixed all that crap in the first few weeks of owning it though. All that crap is covered in my build thread.

So, as I said, things were running well enough that I decided it was time to see what the old girl could do. Camping time! :REOutCampFire03:

I loaded her up, fueled up on a 98* day in September of last year, and hit the highway headed north. The Destination was Ely, NV, about 250 miles north of vegas, at about 7,600' elevation. I didnt really know what I was in for. Driving down the highway with a full tank of gas the truck started to stink. I discovered I was pouring fuel out the filler cap. The tank would heat up because the exhaust was dumped right before it, and the road was probably 115*. It was pouring out as I drove down the road. I pulled over, removed my gas cap to let the pressure out, put it back on, and carried on. Truck was surging like crazy so I pulled over again. I removed the cap and it literally shot gas out like a hose. Crap.

Well, easy remedy here. drove without the gas cap for the next 100 miles until we gained elevation and got to cooler climes. After relieving the pressure it drove fine, except for the random corners where i would slosh like a gallon of gas out the side.


So, in my true (dumb) fashion, even though I was having LARGE problems withing the first 20 miles, I pressed on, and we made it up to Ely, through the mountains, without further issue. However, had i known the rest of the things that would happen, I'd have stayed home.

I coasted into town on what I assume was my last gallon of gas, and filled up with 85 octane mountain gas. (bad bad bad idea...but little did i know) then headed off to our campground at Ward Charcoal Ovens (15 miles outside of town). it was well into the night at this point, so we set up camp and crashed.

View of the surrounding area:

Well, our friends from Vegas spent the first night in Rachel checking out Area 51, so my girl and I headed off into the wilderness to check out some local ghost towns we knew about.


Where you see the jeep in those two pictures was where it died, by the way :Mechanic:

Truck would not start back up. Mind you i've swapped an engine at this point, but have almost no experience troubleshooting, especially with carbs. I've never had a car that had ever broken down before.

I rolled it back down the hill to level ground and was getting kinda panicky. My girl didnt care, she would reather break down in the middle of nowhere than on a road.

For some reason my carb was bone dry. Not a drop of gas getting to it. I cranked and cranked but could not get it primed. Eventually I got the smart idea of feeding gas into the carb by hand, and it fired. I then used a hose and a bottle to fill the bowls, removed my standard fuel filter and put in a glass one with a servicable filter element (bad bad bad idea, btw....all this foreshadowing!) and had my girl fire the truck up. Started right up and as it was running i connected the fuel line and had her bring up the RPM's and the mechanical pump got enough suction going finally to prime the lines, and it ran fine all the way back to the campsite....


Finished our evening and the last day we were headed out of town, but decided to stop off and go for a trail ride beforehand, now that there were two jeeps. I pulled up a hill into a parking lot, and shut off all on its own. had to roll it flat to get fuel into it again. I decided 'screw it, i've got 250 miles between me and home, i'm hitting the road'

Rolled into town, it died at the pump again, filled her up with that lovely 85 octane again, and couldnt barely get it started. It was acting flooded. Had to hold the throttle open, it would fire, dump a crap load of black smoke out the pipe, then run mostly okay. I figured now or never, and started bombing up the road with our friends behind us. I almost made it up to the 7600' peak of the mountain headed out of town, pouring smoke everywhere, truck sounded like crap, stunk to the high heavens, and as we were starting to descende the mountain headed south, it killed out on the highway doing 65mph. . Stopping a 5000 lb truck on 4 drums with now power brakes or steering at this point, headed downhill, was not a fun experience. I pulled over, popped the hood, and let her sit. I went off and took a bathroom break in the woods, hung out for 20 or 30 minutes, and fired it up like it was flooded. Got started, and boy if I didn't keep that pedal to the floor for the next 150 miles to Alamo, NV.

It killed out at the gas station there as I was coasting in. Filled up, got it fired, and bombed the last 100 miles back into vegas. Ran 100% fine as soon as we got home. I let it sit and a few days late couldnt get it more than 100 yards down the road without it flooding and bucking and surging. I ended up breaking down the carb and found out that my dang servicable fuel filter had worked loose and was just letting all kinds of crap through into the carb. Great. Ya big dummy!


Brand new carb was full of rust and the needles were all grimed up.

Cleaned it out, but a real filter back on it, put a filter back by the tank too, and hoped that would do it.

nope. still acting up. It turns out it REALLY didnt like that crap tastic 85 octane. I drained the tank, put in a bunch of 91, and never had that issue again. Live and learn I guess. But on the bright side, i can break down and rebuild an edelbrock in about 30 minutes now, and i know my way around the adjustments, and get how they work!

So, as you can guess, all of these issues lead to some further modifications a little bit down the road.

All in all, it was a successful first trip. The jeep and I made it back just fine, despite it's best efforts to ensure otherwise, literally from the first leg of the trip.

More to come.

Dr. Marneaus

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Me and the truck:

Come spring time I decided I was bored, and had some money sitting around, so it was time to have some fun and make some progress.

I decided to do a round of 'winter time boredom' mods. Some would increase reliability, some would be fun others would be practical, others were just straight up necessary. The list was as follows:

Cleanup the rear cargo space
Install some AUX lights.
H4 Conversion (already covered, the wiring had been done since Ely, just still running the sealed beams)
Brake system refurb (the booster had gone out and already been replaced)
Get a full-er size spare tire (had a old arse 29" in the back floating around)
Redo the trailer harness to a 4 pin (including removing the old defunct trailer brake)
clean up all the under hood wiring i had done
new tail lenses/reverse light lenses
install my 700w inverter

So, lets get started!

Rear cargo space:

The old rubber mat was long since ruined, and the vinyl side panels were in tact...but rough. Bottom of the fold and tumble seat was surface rusty. Just needed to be cleaned up.


I held my breath and pulled the matt, bracing for what I'd find. Luckily it wasnt bad, a few small holes through the floor and only a lil surface rust.

Ground it all down, painted it with rust converter, welded shut the bolt holes in the floor, and prepped it for a new finish

I then picked up some lulan to make new side panels. cut them to shape and tested the fit:


ran the wires and mounted my inverter before i applied the finish. Its just a harbor freight unit, 700w 1400w max. I have had it for years, in my old wrangler, and in the back of the magnum. works great for making margaritas when camping!

Fat 150A fuse and fuse holder for it, running through 4AWG wire. This all got cleaned up later, FYI, so dont crucify me based on my wiring!

Dr. Marneaus

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Went out and got a gallon of Al's Liner and went to town.


If you are going to do Al's liner, and are not going to spray it in, mix it 1/2 of the kit at a time, i was dump. The pot life is only about 20-25 minutes on this stuff, i only got 2 coats done before it was impossible to roll anymore. I still need to get another kit and redo the whole area about 2x as thick.

Anyway, the product was great other than the short potlife, the color matched my interior almost perfectly, and the texture was great (i didnt add any crumb rubber or sand)




With that, i wanted some way to secure my tool box, and spare tire. Decided to build a cargo deck. Picked up some 3/4" plywood and a 2x4 and some carpet. The edge closest to the seat rests on the wheel well humps, and i built some "legs" for the opposite end that stay attached to the side panels.




the rear is held in by the angle of the tailgate, and the front is held in with 2 bolts and wing nuts that come up from inside the wheel wells.

I ended up picking up a brand new 32" bighorn on a jeep rim for $75 bucks, so, i figured for the time being a 32" spare would suffice. Yes, i did cut a corner there, but I couldn't find any used or cheap 33x10.50 tires, and sorry but I wasnt about to spend 225+ on a tire that will never be mounted on the truck.

anyway, everything fits nicely, the tire, my little box of fluids, a cheapo took kit for the trail, and my trail box. plus, its all out of sight and securely held in place under the cover. future plans for this area include some form of a cargo net to keep any heavy objects from killing me in an emergency stop or accident (lol, emergency braking in this thing still wouldn't cause any items to fly forward...even with the refreshed brakes haha).

So, thats the inverter/cargo area.

Had a little boo-boo somewhere along the line. just did a trail repair and kept working. If only I knew the booboo that would result from this round of mods... (i REALLY like foreshadowing...but does it still count as foreshadowing if I say its foreshadowing?)

Dr. Marneaus

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Okay, next step in the winter projects was to update the fuel system. and by update, i actually mean revert to stock.

I had the original tank in my back yard from the PO. I just needed new line, a new filler neck, and a new tube to go to the tank from the filler neck.

I essentially needed everything between the fender panel, and the tank.

dropped the old AUX tank, which i still have waiting for a potential reinstallation at a later date.

the old 'plumbers special' filler neck next to an OEM unit from a member on IFSJA

somebody had cut off one of the 3 mounting points for the OEM 'coffin' style tank. So, i welded it back on (luckily it was still attached to the tank)

got the old tank up and in with relative ease. Added a new sock filter to the pickup, reconnected all the lines, and just needed to address the filler.

I made this awesome thingy out of foil and took it to an exhaust shop to have them bend me a filler connector pipe deal.


Also picked up a foot of 1.75" fuel filler hose, this stuff is spendy at $14 per linear foot. Had to go to Nevada House of Hose.

Eventually got everything in and mounted:



Added an OEM locking gas cap from the 70's and ran new line up to the carb. viola!

The old tank was nice and clean inside, so i just rocked it. Its a bit dented, but thats all. Eventually I sprung a leak at a vent tube in the front (a few months later) and it would seep gas when the tank was full. a little tank sealing putty stopped that up right quick.

That got the fuel system back to OEM status, with the exception of hard nylon lines to the carb. I addressed that a bit later, and just installed a rubber line in the mean time.

Dr. Marneaus

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Now, for the last big thing of the winter projects, and something that stalled me.


I pulled my wheels and drums for the first time ever since owning the truck (yes, i did the transfer case rebuild and t case work and engine swap all without ever picking a single tire up off the ground.

My drums were making noise, figured i had over heated them at some point. YUUUUPPP

So, if im doing new shoes, might as well do new hardware. If im doing new hardware, might as well do new wheel cylinders. If i'm doing new wheel cylinders, might as well do a new master cylinder since i need to bleed it anyway.

judging by the level and condition of the fluid...probably a good move.

So, removed my crappy old non functional trailer brake, got all the new parts, and went to town over a few evenings. Remember, the booster was already new.



I had done drum brakes with help from a friend a few years before on my TJ, but never really did much on my own. I didnt have any of the super expensive brake tools, and was trying to get the darn thing done. This was when disaster struck.


Please. use the proper tools. specialty tools exist for a reason. I had wised up and was wearing safety glasses and thick gloves for the 4th and final wheel, after having had close calls and actually having to redo several wheels a few times because of forgetting or rushing.

I was sitting here working on it, all safety geared up, with my girlfriend sitting behind me talking. I like a true idiot, was almost done, and was using a pair of PLIERS to stretch and attach the final spring at the top of the shoes.

This was the setup when everything went bad.

I stretched the spring, lost my grip on the pliers, and slipped. I was literally using all my weight to pull on the spring, so i went flying with pretty great force. Oh well, that had happened a few times before, and once i kinda scratched my arm on the fender but it didnt even bleed.

Well thats because the other 3 fenders didnt have this freaking meat hook installed on them by a sloppy PO with a sawzall.

Do you notice the hair and a little bit of red on there?

K, paused for a sec, i'm getting sick to my stomach thinking about this event haha.

Well, my arm connected with it at great speed with great force. I fell to the groun looked at my arm and screamed out a sring of obscenities, followed by 'WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW' the rest got blurry for a bit, my girl ran for a towel , i ran inside put my arm under the sink while resting on my knees. started staring at it, fiured i didnt need to go to the hospital, after all, then when i stood up and almost passed out and had to lay down with my feet up, I figured it might be good to get a doctors opinion.

Well, 16 stitches and a tetanus shot later I am pretty glad I went.

I'm posting links rather than pictures, look at them if you want. and use them as a warning not to be an idiot like I was. This could have been even worse, I got lucky, and I learned a hell of a lesson about using the right tools.


Think I should go to a doctor?

getting cleaned by the dr.

close it up! My favorite part was when they jabbed a needle into the open wound about 12 times before it started going numb.

all done! The jerk didnt even shave my arm, had fun pulling hair out of it for a few weeks.

a few days later

When I finally removed the stiches:

For those of you who dont want to click the links, here it is tonight, 6 months after it happened. I'm pretty sure I'll have that reminder for the rest of my life. But hey, chicks dig scars, right?

For the record, i hurt myself alot.

Anyway, the brakes sat like that, unfinished, for a few weeks until i got the guts to go out and finish it. I bought a 13 dollar brake tool set from harbor freight, and with a set of brake pliers i put that dang spring on in literally 5 seconds, while being 100% safely out of the way.

Please, use the right tools!

I also picked up a body lift, 1", but never got around to installint it. I have rubbing issues in the back on some off camber stuff, and this should give me the little boost I need.

Lastly, i went back to the exhaust shop, and had them install a flowmaster and a new tail pipe so i could have my rear window down without getting choked out, and without overheating my gas tank.

I buttoned everything up, and was done with this round of mods. whats left to do other than test em out?

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
So, with a wonderfully functional jeep I took the next step in testing, we set up another 'long' trip to try and force out any more potential issues, though none were EXPECTED.

This time I went more prepared. With much better knowledge of carbs, and I had done extensive fiddling with timing and carb adjustments, learned how to read a vaccum gauge, studied on the effects of elevation on fuel mixture, so on and so forth.

I added a u-joint and ratchet extension, timing light, and vacuum gauge to my on-board tool arsenal. I actually kept them in the front seat for this trip because I had a notion of what might (and did) happen. The truck was running fine at las vegas elevation, and it ran fine on our trip up to 6500' but that was only an overall elevation gain of about 3500' from where I am in vegas.

The plan was to head out for a weekend in Death Valley, at Thorndike Campground. This was in May I think, maybe it was March, I dunno. This trip involved leaving Vegas and descending into Death Valley, we ended up bottoming out at 185' below sea level and topping out at the campground, which is at 7400'+ We would be gaining that 7000' difference within 20 miles of road, significantly less distance as the crow flies, so I knew i'd be in for some interesting carb-related antics. Unfortunately my Edelbrock performer doesnt have automatic altitude compensation like the stock motorcraft 2bbl's did (oh the troubles of having a factory 4bbl).

Anyway, enough about that!

One issue I had is that i REALLY dont like storing fuel internally, and this trip was going to require some distances without gas stations, and I always like to have extra fuel just in case. Not to mention, i knew we were going to have alot of stuff in the truck, and the back seat was going to be occupied. I picked up a reciever cargo carrier (vegasjeepguy gave me a deal on it) and got it mounted up to the back of the truck and tested the fit. As always, it was loose and wobbly. I ended up wrapping the hitch with 10mil pipe tape before sliding it into the receiver to make it a tight fit. The thing didnt wobble at all on the whole trip.


I loaded up my truck with all the crap for me, my girlfriend, and her sister, vegasjeepguy loaded up his jeep and trailer, then PhotoJared up there piled a bunch of stuff into our vehicles as well for him and his fiance (this was pre-lift on his chero) and we hit the road.

So, we had 4 people, and 5 peoples worth of stuff in the back. All in complete comfort! I was smart and took the girl's in my truck...or wait...was that smart?


As we started climbing back up out of death valley towards the campground, my truck was pinging pretty bad. I pushed on for a few miles and stayed off the throttle as much as possible and things smoothed out. Eventually, however, the truck started surging like it did in the past, and I was getting nervous. We had come a few hundred miles already and were within 20 miles of our goal. Again, i tried to go slower and stay off the skinny pedal.

The truck would start surging, and i'd pull over and let it idle for a minute, then i'd drive for another 10 minutes, and it would surge again. pull over, let it idle, drive. I probably stopped 3 or 4 times on the way up to the campsite within the last 15 miles.


At this point the truck wasnt doing well, i could drive a mile or so and would have to stop. I advanced my timing a bit to try and make up for the altitude, but that wasn't really my issue.

I was crawling up the dirt road to the campsite, and the truck just stopped moving. idled like crap, pressed the gas it would just sputter and not drive. I shut it down, rolled backwards into a spot off the road, and waited. We were literally 1/4th mile from the campsite and I was dead in the water!

I let her cool down for about 15 minutes, and fired it back up, then drove up to the campsite with no issues other than running a little bit rough.

we made it!

We set up camp and proceeded to enjoy the evening.


View from the campsite


So, after we were finished camping, we packed it all in and I started her up for the return trip. We made it down the hill and I paused to dial back my timing to around 14* where the truck ran best under normal conditions. Photojared and Vegasjeepguy are pretty used to this's all too common when traveling or wheeling with the beast.

As we started to climb back out of death valley on the opposite side, the truck started pinging REALLY bad the second we hit an incline. I hopped out, rolled it back to about 10*, then drove back to Pahrump without issue.

The girls were beat, but again, this is why I love the waggy. Sleeping like babies!

So we were coming back from Pahrump on the last 50 miles of the trip and as I was climbing up the pass to get back into vegas, the truck started acting up, surging and losing power. I kept off the throttle and we barely made it over the top, at about 30mph in a 75 zone. soon as we were headed downhill everything returned to normal.

Sooooooo. another successful trip that taught me a few things. I had made the drive to pahrump several times and never had this issue before, and I had gone to similar elevations without problems as well. The best I could figure was that it was more about the length of the trip, than anything else. I didn't have problems like the trip to Ely, this was different, and I was running decent gas. After searching and reading and talking to a bunch of FSJ'ers I came to the conclusion that it was simply a heat issue. The higher temps for a 4.5 hour drive just allowed to carb to soak up too much heat, my gas was likely warm as well, the mechanical fuel pump was warm, the fuel filter was hot, the steel lines were hot. Everything was just too hot, and percolation occurred.

However, we'll still count this trip as a success because the truck didnt leave me stranded, and this seemed to be the only problem that needed to be addressed as a result of the trip!

Lets also note that while it's given me some trouble, the truck has still never left me stranded to where I needed to call for help. It's not stuck or broken down until you need to be towed out! :safari-rig:

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
I had already done a few things to mitigate the fuel surging and running issues issue, number one being a 1" phenolic spacer under the carb to try to avoid too much heat getting to the carb.

number two being re-routing some fuel lines.

number 3 being replacing the tank with the OEM unit (away from the exhaust) and hooking up the vent lines correctly to the vapor canister and whatnot.

Unfortunately, in 73 they didnt come rigged for a fuel return line from the filter at the carb, which keeps fuel cooler by allowing it to constantly circulate. That may or may not get installed eventually, if/when i drop the tank again (I'd have to install a fitting in the tank, thats the only real issue).

So, one supposedly major contributor is the fact that these old 360's have a mechanical fuel pump mounted on the motor. This not only requires you to run lines close to the motor, but also the pump itself gets warm. ALSO, a mechanical pump is a puller, not a pusher. It sucks the fuel from the tank and then only has to push the fuel about 2' up to the carb. This applies a vacuum to the fuel, lowering the pressure ever so slightly, but also decreases the boiling point, and allows the fuel to heat up faster. Plus you have the issue of hard starts when the truck is warm because you need to crank the engine to prim the carb after fuel may have boiled off from sitting.

Well, sounds like there is a good solution to this!

Delivered to my door in less than 2 days! Thank you, Summit Racing! (shameless plug for a great company with great service!)

Holley red baby! 20' of braided stainless steel 3/8" fuel line! Aluminum fittings! Mechanical pump block off for chevy style pumps! Relay plug/wire kit. Oh and a High Life....yum!

Advantages to an electric pump:

Electric pumps are pushers. Mounted as close to the tank as possible, it will push (read: pressurize....i'm not talking about anything above a few PSI) cool fuel from the tank all the way up to the carb.
Primes the carb when I turn the key, not when I start the engine.
Its loud as hell so I can tell its running, and I can hear what it's doing (may not be an advantage but why focus on the bad?)
Allows avoidance of the heat of the engine by circumventing the mechanical pump and allowing you to route the lines where ever the heck you want.

So the old lines ran along the frame, crossed over to the engine at the front just behind the power steering pump, up through the fuel pump, then across the top of the timing cover over the valve covers, then around the back of the carb (right on top of the intake manifold). hot hot hot!

So, i mounted the pump up out of the way on the rear crossmember, just behind the tank. this is about 24" away from the fitting for the fuel pickup on the top of the tank. The closer you can get it, the better. Technically you're supposed to try and mount the electric pump below the lowest point of the tank, in the event that it loses prime it will always have gravity to feed it. Well, that doesnt work on a 4wd like this, because the gas tank itself is one of the lowest points on the truck, im not about to put my fuel pump lower and in harms way.

I could have placed it at the front of the tank, a little lower, but this put it further away from the tank, thus increasing the risk of losing prime, but there wasn't really anywhere I could fit this holley up there.

Also looked at mounting it on the outside of the frame, up under my rockers. just didnt sound smart to me to have fuel lines and wiring for a pump running along the outside of my an area constantly wacked by bushes and branches and potentially rocks and other hard items.

So, up above the rear axle it went.


i ran the braided line along the same route through the frame as the original lines, but insted of going up to the front of the motor, i pulled it up the firewall, next to the tranny hump, mounted it along the top of the firewall near the cowl to cross over the engine, and then finally broke away from the firewall for about 18" to reach the carb.


now that I was running a rear fuel filter as well i wasnt as worried about the servicable filter in the front, plus i know how to work them now to make sure they aren't loose haha. I wanted a filter that I could visually inspect, and see if fuel was moving through. Its nice to have a window into your fuel system sometimes.

After installing and wiring the pump I also tried to clean up my other accessory wiring a bit, installed some circuit breakers rather than running to the battery, and also ran everything that was crossing the firewall in split loom (you can see it in this pic running off towards the carb). I need to cover or enclose the circuit breakers eventually. I've seen some neat stuff done with little pelican cases that are water tight, and may get there eventually.

Dr. Marneaus

Active member
Premium Member
Well, to break away from the boring reliability mods and whatnot, I spent the weekend cleaning, prepping, inspecting, and painting my new popup.

I'll spare the boring details, but absolutely everything works, and everything is in great shape, especially for a 32 year old trailer.

Again, sparing details, but the plan is to make this a standard trail camping rig. Not ever going to try and make it do what a lil M416 or M101 can do, but thats not the point. If i can make it down crappy gravel roads, be pulled through soft sand or gravel, and go pup and down some steepish inclines, it'll be 100% perfect for what I want.

The only thing it 'needs' is lift at this point, and I'm in the planning stages for a 5 lug solid axle swap and will probably run something like 28's or maybe smaller. depends on ride height and everything.

But anyway, here is m new home away from home, for now, its strictly reserved for use on roads and graded dirt roads, but it'll be nice after a day of wheeling to come back to a stove, heat, a couch and an actual bed! I'll be taking it on its maiden voyage (for me) in 4 weeks when we head back up to Ely, NV.

driving over to VegasJeepGuy's house to clean it....need drop hitch ASAP.



redid the weather stripping or trim or whatever it is


then started painting:

laid on some wood grain where the original green stripes were (it had been painted black by the original owner, then the 2nd owner that i bought it from painted it back to white and blue)

Finished product:


Tomorrow I'll get back to the saga of the mods and trips, but we;re getting pretty dang caught up.