CUSTOM 4WD: Jeep CJ10
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK ALLEN
ONE TONNE STORY
Glen Story’s CJ10 ute shows us there is a great alternative to the often-used Japanese one-tonners
Vehicle: 1985 CJ10
Engine: 350 Chev stroked to 383
Front – 3.5 inch raised leaf with Dick Cepek shocks
Rear – 3 inch raised leaf with 2-in body blocks and adjustable Rancho shocks
Front – Standard disc
Rear - Standard drum
Rims: Eagle Alloy 8 X 15-in
Tyres: Goodyear Wrangler 35x 12.5 x 15-in
***END BREAKOUT BOX 1***
Manufactured in the early to mid 1980’s, the CJ-10 or J10 as they are affectionately referred to, where brought into Australia (as the only country for civilian versions) with grand hopes of knocking off the legendry 45 Series LandCruiser utes. The J10 copped a 9 slot grill as part tribute to the original WW11 Jeeps as compared to early civvies’ had a seven slot version.
The strong-as-an-Ox J10 had several advantages over the Japanese equivalents – Trac-Lock LSD, super strong rear Dana 60 diffs and front Dana 44, galvanised panels and rust proofing, easily removed doors, roof and windscreen (great for the Cockie on the land while out feral animal culling) and a longer wheel base that provided a smoother ride than the comparatively harsh Cruisers. The J10 also had a flexible chassis that compliments the load carrying leaf springs to provide great flex...for a 1 tonner – which is what ‘J10’ stands for, while the ‘C’ stands for ‘civilian’.
While the J10’s did sell well in regional Australia, at the time, their higher price and with America pulling the pin on the Australian project, meant the early demise of what may have been a legendry Aussie 4WD. This demise leaves people like Glen Story to uphold the J10 legacy.
IN THE BEGINNING
Glen first spotted ‘his’ J10 in the NSW country town of Orange. It sported the original 4.2L (258ci) AMC petrol engine (as compared to the standard Nissan…yep NISSAN 3.3L diesel variant that USA deemed fit for use in the Australia-only versions). With just shy of 150 thou’ on the clock it had certainly been well used as a farm-hack by its one-owner since 1985 – a perfect truck for a stainless steel tradie like Glen to start as a project…dented and banged about, but no rust.
Glen quickly flicked the heavy steel and timber tray for a much lighter, yet strong Tip Top version with under-tray rear slide out drawer. An LPG system helped reduce petrol bills, while a replacement home-made stainless bull bar replaced the heavy old 4-poster. Other than a change of rubber, Glen’s new pride and joy became his tool box on wheels and was used day-in day-out as his work truck.
COULDN'T HELP HIMSELF
Having been swept up in the Jeep fraternity with a few trips away with like minded Jeepers, Glen figured his J10 needed a bit more go-power and that the old banger was getting a little smoky. A 1983 Cherokee with 350 Chev and Borg Warner box was picked up, pulled apart and became the heart transplant donor that was to give Glen’s truck a new and much livelier lease on life. The manual Borg Warner was swapped with a TH700 auto box which was fitted with a Corvette shift kit, larger sundry gears and a manual torque converter lock up switch. An Advance Adaptors plate was used to connect a New Process 208 transfer case with the automatic gearbox. The NP 208 transfer offers 2.69:1 low range gearing and is a chain driven alloy cased box.
The 350 Chev was sent to Dave Brien Automotive for a complete overhaul and now boasts Dart heads, forged pistons, Launti rods, Scat crank, Jones cam, Yella Terra roller rockers, Edelbrook manifold, high volume sump and K&N filters. Dave also stroked the block, which now measures 383 cubes and pumps out 290kW – a far cry from the asthmatic AMC boat anchor that was forever seeing Glen the last in line.
A lover of LPG, Glen also installed a new Gas Research System with dual throttle body intake to his freshly-built engine, making it a LPG-only fuelled V8 Jeep. Twin 90 litre LPG tanks have been fitted under the tray.
Being the self acclaimed ‘King of Stainless’, Glen manufactured all his own engine and gearbox mounts as well as a new gearbox cross member out of...you guessed it stainless steel. Once the engine was fitted, a set of Genie extractors followed by a 3-inch Glen-built stainless exhaust system was added to provide that beautiful deep growl that only a V8 can do – and doesn’t Glen just love that noise!
Glen modified the inlet and outlets of a LandCruiser radiator and added an engine fan to the motor and dual thermo fans to ensure his Chev keeps its cool even during the hard-going in low range off road use. Metropolitan Driveshafts lengthened the front and shortened the rear tail shafts to suit the new driveline, which stills sends drive via the front Dana 44’s and rear Dana 60’s.
Glen fitted 3.5inch raised leaf springs to the front and three inch raised leaves together with two inch stainless steel (because he can) body blocks to the rear. He’s had the second leaf in the pack lengthened to form a secondary Military wrap at the shackles for added strength. The front end sports Dick Cepek long travel shocks, while the rear is fitted with adjustable Rancho 9000 long travel versions. The added height and flex has meant Glen needed to lengthen the brake hoses and diff breathers. A set of sway bar disconnects have also been included to allow a little more suspension flex when off road.
Keen to not only look the part, but allow the improved suspension to do its job both on road and off, the J10 sports a set of Goodyear Wrangler 35x12.5x15 mud tyres, wrapt around alloy Eagle 8x15 inch rims. A set of Glen-built stainless wheel arch flares help stop the aggressive muddies from flicking too much of the goo up onto the paintwork – which has been completely redone after the many farmer-inspired dents had ben removed.
The stainless steel bull bar has been removed in place of a steel ARB unit courtesy of a Jeep Wrangler. Glen cut n’ shut n’ repainted it to end up with what looks like a J10 bar straight out of the box – it looks that good!
Two forward-facing rectangular IPF spotties show Glen the way home, while el’ Cheapo units act as under body rock lights for while he’s out playing with fellow Jeepers. Twin batteries (both fitted under the tray) act as starter and secondary for the fridge while out camping and for ‘smoko’ time at work – every tradie needs a fridge to keep their sambos and drinks cool!
Inside the office of Glens work truck, there’s plenty of reupholstering and splashes of stainless to ensure double takes from most onlookers – “geez, she looks brand new and pretty flash mate!” are pretty commonly spoken words. Testament to the hard work and long hours spent on the Jeep are the many trophies from regular Jeep Jamborees around Australia.
A full set of VDO gauges have been installed to keep check on that growling V8 engine and a GME UHF radio for letting all his mates know how far in front he is…seeing as he’s pumping out so much more power than that old 6 cylinder jobbie.
TO THE FUTURE
Glen is wrapt with his pride and joy J10 and wouldn’t swap it for a dozen LandCruiser or Nissan utes. His only plans are to extend the dual under bonnet air intakes into dual stainless steel snorkels, bolt on an electric winch and perhaps a diff lock or two with lower ratio diff gears to help slow the action down in low range.
When Overlander caught up with Glen, his son Jack was at times peddling the wheels of the big J10. When Jack was a little tacker, he’d helped with the engine swap and spent many hours learning all things mechanical, so had earned the right to stick a set of ‘P’ plates on the truck. Wow, what a truck to learn on and good on ya’ Jack. We’re right behind you son and hopefully you’ll help keep the Jeep dream alive – just be careful on those harder 4WD tracks…you don’t want to scratch your inheritance!
Even though it’s a work truck and is used daily, the J10 is kept in immaculate condition and is a credit to the time and effort spent on restoring and maintaining a 4WD that unfortunately never made it big in Australia. If you do get the chance to chat with Glen about J10’s, you’ll soon learn of the passion he’s developed with the breed. It’s that passion, handed down through generations (like Jack), that will ultimately keep the Jeep legend alive and a one tonne ‘story’ that’s worth listening too!