I'm going to chronicle the rebuilding of my 82 J-10 Pioneer on YouTube and Instagram.
Some of you know me, some of you don't, I haven't been active on IFSJA since ~2009, which is also the last time I was active with FSJs. Sad, but the choices I made kept me from loving my J-10.
The story on this truck is that I fell in love with J-10s because of the movie Twister, then spent years tracking down a nice specimen. I found one on here, and bought one from an IFSJA member that lived in Arizona. I flew out with my father and we drove it back home across the country, Arizona to New Hampshire. What a trip that was!
I daily drove it on and off (not during the winter) from 2005 to 2009. I had no mechanical knowledge, so I had to learn as I went while getting advice from my father and board members. It ran well enough, and was a lot of fun. I had big plans for the truck back then, but no money to do any of it. I wanted an all-in-one daily driver/toy, but no clear path to obtaining that. After years of wanting more from the truck without being able to afford any of it, I fell out of love with DDing it. Furthermore, I realized I couldn't spend tens of thousands on fun upgrades as I had planned. The transmission let go, but I had it rebuilt. Then someone hit the nose of the truck while it was parked at work, but did not take responsibility. Then the transmission let go again. I considered selling the truck several times, but my father always begged me to keep it, and, now that he is gone, the trip home that we took together has forever woven immense sentimental value into this truck.
I eventually moved on to a newer Grand Cherokee, got a more expensive apartment, and lost interest in the J-10 (as well as the numerous others I had collected by that point). It got parked on my parent's property and forgotten about for nearly 10 years. Funny, I also took 10 years off from hockey, and hockey is the one thing I have loved since I was a child; I guess sometimes you just need a break from obsession.
Anyway, here I am, 10 years later, finally with a little coin to spend on the truck, a desire to do things more thoroughly, and occasionally the free time to work on it. I am going to update my YouTube channel and Instagram as regularly as I work on it. The videos will most likely bore you to tears, but I'll try to keep good progress pictures going on Instagram.
The goal for this build is to do everything as cheaply, but as thoroughly as possible. I don't want to cut any corners, so I will learn how to do as much of it myself as possible. But, if something costs a lot in order to do it right then the truck will just have to wait until I can afford it. Also, I want to keep the truck true to its FSJ heritage while modernizing what I can. I am pulling quite a bit of inspiration from the 'Icon Wagoneer' build as far as interior ideas, simplifying the engine bay, etc.
The short term plan is as follows
-Get the truck running
-Solve the transmission issue
- Gut, clean, and refinish the interior (the girlfriend said the only thing she requires it to have is a CLEAN and comfortable interior).
-Make several fixes/repairs (such as ammeter bypass, all new weather-stripping, attempt to seal all leaks, etc)
-Do a head-to-toe assessment, new fluids, new lines, etc.
-Touch up as many rust spots as I can
-Get it 'safe' to drive
-Register it, insure it, drive it... take it for ice cream. Take it 1 hour north for camping trips. "Sunday cruiser". Help my mother with dump runs. Also, make it capable enough to tackle light trails with ease.
Current desired (realistic) time-frame is to have it registered by next spring. If I push myself I could have it ready for fall, but the truck will be in the garage over the winter so there is really no reason to rush.
From there I have upgrades to make
-Hydro boost breaks
-New wiring harnesses
-Swap in J-20 axles. I want to rebuild the axles myself, I think it will be a fun project, and do the rear disc conversion.
-New wheels and tires
-New bedsides, fenders, etc.
Considering costs and my skills+knowledge this might be 5-10 years into the future by the time I get to this point.
From there I have to decide if I want to convert to a 360/T-18a. I have a complete 83 J-20 donor truck that would make doing the swap easy, but I'm still undecided on the V-8 swap (or even the 360). It might be smarter at that point to put in some modern engine from 2030? Who knows.
Someday I'd love to do a frame-off restoration, but first I need to buy a house, have a kid, and not go broke in the process. I want to upgrade the truck slowly, piece-by-piece so that I can continue to drive and enjoy it as-is.