Terry's Jeep




1986 Jeep CJ7


Terry Irwin

Major Features:
First Mods
Paint & Body
You've heard the saying, "You've come a long way baby." The same can be said for Terry's Jeep. Terry purchased the Jeep new when he was stationed in Bitburg, Germany while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He only had it for 7 months before his enlistment was up so the Jeep came back to the U.S. with him.

First Things First

The first thing Terry did was put on 31x10.50-15 tires. Then it was a 2 1/2" Rancho lift kit. From there a spring-over-axle conversion with Old Man Emu springs were installed and a reverse shackle on the front. A ladder bar was added to the rear to eliminate spring wrap. The front axle was replaced with a high pinion Dana 44, 4.88 gears, chrome moly axle shafts, high steer conversion, larger 12" disc brakes and a rock ram steering system. The rear axle was replaced with a Curry high pinion 9" with 4.88 gears and a Detroit locker to keep both tires digging and a disc brake conversion for added stopping power. Terry couldn't locate good chrome diff cover, so he had the stock one ceramic coated. An on-board air system using an A/C compressor and storage tank was added so he could air up tires before hitting the blacktop. The rig's suspension is dampened Bilstein shocks and Poly Bump Stops limit upward travel. Front sway bar disconnects were added via homemade pieces.

After many different tire and wheel combinations Terry finally ended up with 37x12.50x17 Goodyear Wrangler MTR's and stuffed those on some Ultra 17x8 aluminum wheels. He opted for the 8" rim over the 10" because the 8" protects the tire bead much better.


In 1987 Terry did a heart transplant and installed a 304 V8 in place of the stock I6 engine. The 304 is bored .030 with an RV cam and upgraded timing chain. Terry later added 1.6:1 full roller rockers with Chevy hardened push rods and guide plates. This really increased the vacuum and throttle response.

Then in 2005 he did it again. He yarded out the tired carbureted 304 and replaced it with a 5.2 liter Magnum V8 from a 1995 Dodge Dakota along with the 4 speed automatic transmission. The Dakota's factory wiring harness was carefully added to the original CJ7 harness to make for a factory looking install. Now there is plenty of go with multi-port fuel injection along with better fuel economy from the overdrive transmission. Keep up the good work Terry!

Terry finds the automatic to be superior at four wheeling than a manual tranny. The only drawback is going downhill where he finds he has to brake a lot more! One of the more recent additions to the Jeep was a Twin-Stick. This allows Terry to shift the transfer case into 2-wheel low range and makes shifting out of 4-wheel into 2-wheel much easier.

Paint & Body

Terry does all of his own fabricating. The tube bumpers front and rear and nerf bars are just a few examples of his handy work. He also built the roll cage that ties to the frame via frame mounts. You can never be too safe.

He also does all of his own body work and paint which explains the fiberglass scooped hood with flames. All of the remaining body panels are factory. All of the factory hinges on his Jeep have been replaced with stainless steel along with other small items to help dress up the rig. The stock taillights were removed and flush mount lights installed in their place both for easier cleaning, plus they look cool! A recessed gas filler with a door was added to clean up the back side and it also helps with filling the custom 22 gallon tank all the way.

The Jeep came factory with a hard top and Terry makes good use of it on his winter runs. A sun roof was added for extra ventilation. A Best Top Super Top is installed for the few summer months he can use it. A bikini top and half doors are put to use for those long weekend wheeling trips.

Terry has added new flat fenders that he built himself and in the process he continued the flames from the hood down the fenders.

Terry wanted to show off the undercarriage of his Jeep on Aardvark Hill in the Little Naches River District in Washington State. It was awful quiet inside the Jeep for a few seconds until the front settled back on the ground. The picture doesn't show you just how steep the hill was. Nearly had to repaint the flames! LOL.


For those rare situations that need a winch, Terry uses the tried and true Warn 8274 with power-in and power-out. That is when he can find it under all the snow! He sometimes wished he had a lower profile winch because they are easily made adaptable for front or rear installations using receiver mounts. The Warn 8274 isn't what you would call portable.


Terry would like to remind us what Jeep really stands for:

Even if his pockets are empty, I think he has one fine Jeep to show for it.