Truck Norris

My 1986 J-10

Truck Norris

In the early winter months of 2010, I found this Jeep J-10 pickup. It's in remarkably good shape for a 24 year old truck. Then again, it only had 52,000 miles on it when I bought it. The previous owner told me the original owner only used it to tow a camper once in a while. So it ended up sitting in a garage for most of its life.

box1 box2 I am never one who can just leave well enough alone. So naturally, I started customizing this truck shortly after I bought it. Since this truck will be used as a truck, I decided I neede to have some things with me. A few basic tools, some jumper cables, straps for securing loads in the bed, etc. Trouble is, this is a regular cab truck so there's not much room in the cab for all this stuff. So I went ahead and put a truck box in the truck.

Because full size trucks these days are bigger than they used to be, I ended up using a truck box designed for a compact pickup. It's just a touch small for my truck but it fits and it holds what I want to keep with me. There's plenty of room under it to fit 4x8 sheets of plywood when I feel like doing some construction.

Shortly after I bought the truck, I decided to try out the cassette player. It worked fine for a while but then catastrophe struck. It ate a cassette. And not just any cassette. It was my original copy of the Miami Vice soundtrack. I was devistated. Well, not really. I have a copy on CD.

So after that, I put serious effort into finding an inexpensive CD player and some better speakers. I don't have any pictures of the installation but I'll get them sooner or later.

After getting the CD player installed, I decided to install a CB radio. 10-4 good buddy, a CB. I know. It's passe. But it's actually useful when you have a couple of Jeeps on the trail. It's a lot easier to talk to each other when you're in the middle of nowhere with spotty cell phone coverage. And it doesn't cost any minutes to use them whenever you want. Besides, listening to the truckers on the highway can be entertaining.

Once the CB was up and running, I decided to get rid of the very loud glasspack mufflers the previous owner had installed. In their place, I installed a quiet Flowmaster muffler. It has a distinct tone without being so overly loud. The noise level in the truck dropped dramatically on the highway and I can really hear the CD player without having to turn it up to eleven.

tfi One of the common upgrades for AMC engines is an ignition upgrade. From the factory, Jeep used a Motorcraft Duraspark ignition system. While that was fine for the 70's, better systems have been developed and an upgrade was in order. There is a common upgrade done to older Ford Duraspark ignitions to convert them to use the TFI ignition. It uses off the shelf parts and can be knocked out in just a couple of hours without any real difficulty. I've done a writeup of the procedure along with several pictures.

bling Once I got the truck moving, I decided to work on getting it to stop reliably. The brakes were in need of some attention so that's what I did next. Since the hubs are attached to the rotors, I decided to do quite a bit of maintenance on top of just a brake pad replacement.

Once I finished the disc brake replacement, I found a new job in another state and packed up everything to head back to my home town of Cedar Rapids, IA. But from there, the projects continued. I've made progress making this truck my own.

after After I settled into the new house, I ran across a great deal on some axles from a J20. I decided to plan a full set of upgrades that integrated this new set of axles. I wanted to lift the truck a little, add bigger tires and, of course, change gears to compensate. And while I was doing the gears I might as well add some lockers. With the long term plan of adding an overdrive automatic, I chose some gears that weren't so highway friendly. And, of course, while I was building the axles I might as well upgrade the brakes. The axle swap went without too many problems.

bling bling Now that I've gotten the axles in I have started on doing a combination of upgrades. The first, of course, was an upgrade from the Dodge TF727 three speed automatic to a GM 700R4 four speed automatic. And since I had to rebuild the transmission kick down linkage anyway, I decided to upgrade to throttle body fuel injection at the same time.

I have several projects in store for this truck. Some maintenance items. Others are for added utility. All of them are intended to make this a better truck.

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