Twister - Jo's Jeep J10 Replica Build

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Well-Known Member
Mega-Post time. 10 months worth of updates!!

March 2019

So…A LOT has happened since I last posted. Life got in the way a few times, but for the most part the truck is making some significant progress.

Starting just after getting the lightbar repainted, she went to her first car show. My son’s school hosts an annual car show to help raise money for the school. I ended up not placing in any of the categories, despite being one of the coolest vehicles there. I’m not biased or anything…


Right after that, I finally got the alert I was waiting for on eBay. The Panasonic e330 with the correct faceplate, in working condition no less, popped up for sale. I immediately purchased it, and a few days later I now have the last of the screen accurate interior electronics.


Some time passed and I eventually got tired of running the carburetor. It was giving me nothing but issues during the colder mornings and no matter what I did, always seems to suffer from vapor lock. I tried spacers, clothes pins, wrapping the lines, etc… nothing seemed to work. So I pulled the trigger on the Sniper EFI. Had it installed in the better part of the afternoon. Since it was put in, it has run like a dream. The only issue I had after the install was with the in line fuel pump. That is something I will not be keeping.


April 2019

Fast forward a bit, work begins on the body. My buddy came over and started on the tailgate, which at the time seemed like the biggest issue. More to come on that statement later in the post.


A couple of months go by, and a fuel pump later, something seemed off with Jo. I was playing with the timing one day to dial her in for the summer heat and out of nowhere it just died. I set the timing back, wouldn’t fire. I set the timing 180 degrees off, fires right up but dies with throttle. I disconnect the vacuum advance, plug the hole, fire it up again. It now runs and revs. Very odd. I reconnect the vac advance, give it throttle and it dies immediately. I basically come to the conclusion that the timing chain jumped a few teeth. I leave the vac advance disconnected and just decide to send it until it dies.

In the mean-time, I started looking at options for drivetrain replacement. I figured I would need to rebuild at some point anyway, so why not just do it all while Im in there. I toyed with an LS swap, a Cummins swap, a 401 swap, full electric, etc… Eventually I settled on just rebuilding the existing 360. Sure it will cost more, but in the long run I loved how the 360 sounded, and I wanted to keep her mostly original. The came the choice I needed to make on the transmission. My inner elitist said accuracy was key and I needed to swap to an automatic transmission to be screen accurate. I like the manual, but it gets in the way of all the dash mounted components and would not work out in the long run. Anyway, after MANY posts on the FSJ Facebook page, a generous member ended up bringing me a complete 360/727 auto drivetrain. It came with EVERYTHING. Wiring harness, cruise control, all of the trans linkages, a new radiator, it was amazing.


I figured this was a fantastic score. I had everything I needed to begin the process of rebuilding the drivetrain while still being able to drive the truck. I almost immediately began tearing everything down.



I made some calls to machine shops within a 50 mile radius trying to get quotes on getting work done to the block and crank. The block was in ok condition, but there was oil sludge in the pan and valve covers. It needed to be rebuilt. By the time I got the machine work done, and did a full rebuild, the motor alone was going to run me over $6k. I started looking at remanufactured motors just to price it out. BJs Offroad offers remanufactured short blocks through S&J at a slight discount. With a more aggressive cam, the oiling mod done, and paint, it came out to be around $2980 to my doorstep after the core was refunded. The price for the short block work was comparable, but the key was that it came with a warranty. The internal struggle was real, the motor sat in my cart at BJ’s for a good while before I finally pulled the trigger. And pull the trigger I did…I spent a good portion of my budget getting a bunch of other goodies from them as well. More on that later.

Up until this point I had to commute for work. Around March of last year, I finally got to start working from home full time. This meant that I could start to get some serious work done without having to worry about being able to drive to work the next day. If I didn’t finish something over the weekend, it could just sit.

In my down time, I figured I would work on a way of reproducing the A/C vents. Since there is really not a supplier that sells these, you basically have to wait until you find used ones in decent shape. I had one perfect one, and 3 broken ones. Between the 4, I had everything I needed to flex my modeling skills to get these made up and printed.

This is what one looks like in good shape.


I started by modeling the linkage that connects all the blades together, simple enough, and a straightforward design. I think I only had one version of this, since the first one printed so well.


Next up were the vent blades themselves. These were a little bit of a pain to model, since I really did not have any experience doing this before. I went through a few versions before finally ending up with this.


The inner vent body wasn’t as bad. Ended up doing at least 4 different models before I got it right.


Lastly, there was the outer body of the vent. I hated this one with a passion… but persistence paid off after only 3 redesigns.


This is the final product of about a week of modeling and printing.

New video by Nathan Stevic

Ill have to figure out how to print in ABS since the PLA will most likely not hold up to Florida summers.

May 2019

Another fuel pump bites the dust. These inline pumps that come with the Sniper master kits are huge piles of junk.


The first one developed this obnoxiously loud whining noise when running, so loud that you could hear it over the sound of the engine running, and even while driving.

Take a listen here -> New video by Nathan Stevic

I was able to get that one replaced under warranty fairly quick, but soon after the replacement was installed, same thing. It still works, but Ill need to replace it soon. I had kept hearing good things about surge tanks, specifically the RobMC ones that the Jeep guys seem to like so much. So after some research, I ended up placing the order. Couple weeks later, this guy arrives.


Basically the way it works is that you can keep the existing mechanical fuel pump mounted on the block to feed the surge tank. I’ll also re-install the old low pressure in-line electrical pump as a backup. Once the tank is full, the high pressure fuel pump inside of it will feed the fuel injection at the correct pressure. All you have to do is find a place in the engine bay to mount it. Ill have to install this at a later date.

July 2019

Since my A/C didn’t work, and the heater is fairly useless in Florida, I deciding to rip out all of the factory stuff to make room under the hood. Didn’t really take any pictures of this process.

November 2019

I FINALLY FOUND A PAINT/BODY GUY!! For the better part of a year I have been trying to find someone that will work with me on doing body work and painting Jo. In the very beginning I had looked at a local MAACO shop that was highly reviewed. I know what you are thinking, cheap paint jobs. BUT, after reading all the reviews and talking with the guy, he does not do cheap. After looking everything over, he quote me $6k if I brought him the bare body ready to be worked on. At the time that was over half my budget and I kept searching. During that car show I had taken Jo to, one of the classic car paint guys had come over and given me his card. I had filed it away and didn’t think twice about it. One day, when I had some time, I ran down there. Guy has a shop in his back yard and all he does is classic vehicles. After he looked it over, he gave me a quote of $10k, if I did all the prep work… At this point I was seriously entertaining just doing the whole damn thing myself. Fast forward to now, I had made acquaintances with a guy that owns a Jurassic Park Jeep replica locally and we got to talking about his paint. He found a local guy that also paints stuff in his back yard as a side business. Catch is, he only does movie cars and vehicles he finds interesting. This is the JP Jeep in question.


I went out to see it in person and the paint is flawless. He said the process was hassle free and he just paid as he went. At that point, I made an appointment to go meet the painter. Turns out, he has a J2000 in the backyard, pretty much the same truck. We went over everything and he agreed to do the entire truck, bodywork and all for $5k. It was a hell of a deal.

Not too much longer after that, Jo’s electrical system had had enough. Wires were constantly melting, fuses blowing, battery not charging, lights not working…. It was time. I pulled her in the driveway and shut her off for the last time.

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Well-Known Member
I began the tear down that weekend. I managed to get all of the bolt ons and the bulk of the interior out in practically no time at all.




A couple of weekends later, my buddy Lee came over and we got the front clip and bed off. I managed to capture a time lapse video on this one.

Front clip and bed removal ->

By the end of Saturday, we were left with this. Just looking at it…I think it would be kinda cool to drive it around like this.



The next day he came back over and we got the drivetrain out.

Drivetrain removal ->

Garage is getting really full.


About a week later, the paint guy came and picked up the bed to work on. Since this needed the most work of the entire truck, he wanted to get a head start on it.


It didn’t take long for him to message me. Upon arriving at his place he found that two of the wheels on the cart I made had busted. Other than that though, the bed arrived safe and sound.




Well-Known Member
A couple of days later, the pictures of the bed started rolling in.



He slowly unfolds the years of damage, ****** fixes, and layers of paint and bondo.













Well-Known Member
December 2019

Now that the bed is out of the way, on to the remanufactured motor. After pulling the trigger on the motor from BJs, it arrived right at the beginning of December.


I got it uncrated and up on the stand to start inspecting it closer. Turns out the paint job was crap, lots of areas were missed and there was overspray on parts of it.










I ended up going back to them and showing them the pictures. They agreed that it was less than ideal and ended up sending me a full can of paint to take care of the problem areas.

Next I had to move on to the core return block. I ended up using the one that came out of Jo since it was already assembled. Once I got the timing cover off, I soon had my explanation for the timing being off so much. The chain was incredibly lose…


Boxed up and ready to head back.


January 2020

Time to kick it in to gear on the cab. I need to have it ready for the paint guy by the end of January. So the first weekend was spent pulling out all of the glass. It went surprisingly well and I did not end up breaking anything.


This past weekend was spent starting panel repairs. First up are the floor pans. Whoever did this repair… it turned out to be a tin sheet riveted to the floor and covered in resin. There was tar sandwiched between the body and the plate. I suppose it worked since the rot didn’t spread. But it needs to go.






This week I’m working on getting the floor cut out, then welding in the new panels. Then moving on to the firewall to get all of those holes welding up.

So there we are, almost a year’s worth of updates in a single post.

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New Member
Holy smokes! Me too!

I'm glad the Jeep is getting a proper make over. That floor plan repair... Yikes! And that engine look good, except for that paint job... Seems they got real lazy.

Looking forward to more updates!! I'm just finishing up my JP Jeep also and should be done this spring.


Well-Known Member
January 2020

Well this sucks, I don’t have any pictures of the floor pan repairs, so you are just going to have to take my word for it.

I do have the hole I cut in the floor, well one side anyway


I also decided to seal up the firewall where the old heat and A/C passed through. Since I am using the vintage air system, I wont need these holes.


My Stage 2 700R4 with a K case arrived from Novak!! This will give me the much needed overdrive for cruising at highway speeds.


Coincidentally, I was able to sell my complete manual setup. Got it on a pallet and shipped out.


February 2020

Cab is off now, if you look closely, you can see part of the floor pan repair. Surprisingly the cab was WAY lighter than the bed.



The paint guy sent me a picture of him getting the bed straitened out.


Also ended up selling my old block. Getting it on a pallet, you can see the boxed up pallet for the trans swap in the background.


Frame is all naked, waiting on a repaint and some suspension work.


Also settled on a color, had to ride up in 30 degree weather for 90 mins to look at the color samples against the bed. Final color choice is Chrysler Sunshine Yellow.


Snagged a blurry picture of the bed repairs while I was there. Tailgate now sits flush with either side.


Started working on correcting the paint job on the block. Its all about the details!


While I was waiting for the paint to dry on the block. I decided to take off the front shocks, there was easily 2.5” of compression. It looks like they reused the stock height shocks when they did the SOA conversion. On the plus side, my front springs went right back to their curved self instead of being flattened out.

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Well-Known Member
March 2020

First picture of the painted bed! Although, as you will see later, looks can be deceiving…


Started working on relocating the makeshift swaybar end links. They had them mounted to the lower shock mount. The plan is to flip the spring plates to the correct orientation and have a stock setup. As you can see here, the bolt needs to be cut to even get the damn things out.


Also removed this dangerous bit. Going to have to convert to a crossover steer setup.


More pictures from the painter, another angle of the bed and one of the hood. Pictures are deceiving….



And here we have what I will call “D Day”. At first glance, everything looks ok. But as you start going around and looking at all the areas, you will see what a **** job it is. I seriously lost all confidence in the painter at this point. The pictures literally speak for themselves. After bringing this up to him, I was assured everything would be fixed at the end after final assembly.













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April 2020

On to replacing the shock towers. I ordered the set from BJs, but when installing them, they did not line up with the existing bolt holes. I ended up having to file out the hole to get the bolt in.



Managed to get the plates flipped around. Debating if I really need to weld up the opening, the u joints don’t move at all when torqued down.


May 2020

Got the valve covers on.


“D Day” part 2 – Cab was delivered. Even more of a **** show. It looks like almost no prep work went into it. I guess he couldn’t be bothered with removing a foam piece prior to painting… granted some of this wont be visible, but he didn’t know that. Seriously, how hard is it to do a good job?!?












Anyway…on to progress. Cab is back on the truck. I couldn’t find any pictures of the repainted frame, I had degreased it, pressure washed it, then did 3 coats of black tractor paint. Came out nice.




Well-Known Member
Got the bed back on as well. I had removed that 3” lift block that I showed a long time ago. Ride height looks way better and the truck no longer rakes forward.


Cleaned up the steering shaft. I was almost tempted to clear coat it and keep it this way. At this point I was still looking for the lower shaft from a XJ.


Literally a solid day of sandblasting on these, then another day to paint, and another to cure. The spots you see are just dust and dirt that blew on after curing.



Started working on replacing the door pins. I noticed I was missing one of these spacers. Made up a new one out of plexi. Ugh…that second shot’s paintwork….



And here she is on first assembly. A lot of this will be coming back off for one reason or another though. But she needs to be together for the paint guy.


Rebuilding the hood latch.


Hopefully this is the last time I take her to the paint guy.


Time to get started on that dashboard. This would turn out to be a 3 day journey of wire wheel, sand blasting, hand sanding, priming sanding, painting.


Welded in some new mounts for the dual post radio.


Obligatory test fit…


My Bulltear order arrives…finally. But sadly, it is incomplete, they forgot half the order.


Wasting no time getting the timing cover painted and installed. Getting ready to put the new Flowkooler pump in. New fuel pump and motor mounts installed. Little did I know, something important was missing in this picture….


Moving right along now, Sniper Hyperspark distributor installed, brackets, balancer and main pulley.


Milodon pan in…I debated for a very long time whether I would spend the money on this thing vs. refinishing one of the two I had. I will say, I’m glad I did now.


Dash paint is going on. I opted to go with a Satin black.


In between coats, I test fit the Doug Thorley headers. Clearance was less than optimal on the driver side…



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Well-Known Member
On top of the clearance issue, the locking header bolts I bought from BJs don’t fit the headers. Ill have to use washers on the final install.


June 2020

Opted to go with heat resistant tape on the oil pan since the header is going to be so close.


So the truck is back from the painter. He addressed most of the issues and created a new one. In the second picture you can see what looks like a rough texture on the doors. Im guessing its overspray. He said all I must do is take a sponge soaked in warm water to it and it will come right off. Less than ideal, but I am done dealing with this guy.



Vintage Air Gen IV unit going in…this is pretty much the only spot it could go without taking up leg room, hitting the wiper arms, and allowing room for bends in the lines.



So I found this bulkhead coupler online. On paper it looked good, but once you get the crimped ends on, they stick out WAY too far on the inside firewall to allow for an unkinked bend. I ended up ditching it.


So back to the Thorely headers. I ended up having to bang the **** out of the driver side pipe to get good clearance on the pipe. Since banging it voids the warranty, I figured I would wrap the headers while I was at it.



Almost time to drop her in…


Novak adapt spacer, flywheel and collar in. Sadly I could not find a picture with the 700R4 mounted before dropping it in the truck.


Due to clearance issues with the engine hoist and hood of the truck, I ended up having to take the headers off. PITA.


I ended up having to move the trans crossmember to the back set of holes, other than that, she fits like a glove.


So I was on the FSJ Facebook page one night and I saw a post about the oil slinger and its correct orientation. Turns out, the block I had, they put it in backwards. So naturally I installed it in the same orientation I found it. Well…I had to open everything back up and fix it. Its stupid things like this that set you back.


Back to the steering. So to fix the previous owner’s attempt at a cheap lift, I opted to pick up a Reid Racing knuckle conversion so that I could go to a proper crossover steer setup.






Well-Known Member
Let me preface this next part with the fact that a Stage 2 700R4 plus the parts needed for the conversion cost a whopping $3500 from Novak. The conversion parts alone were $1212.21 of that. This is the inspection cover they send you… it being plastic doesn’t bother me, but the fact that it is nowhere close to fitting the opening does. For as much as you pay for this damn thing, there should have been a custom cover. I do hear though, that a 700r4 inspection cover from a truck will fit. eBay has those suckers at over $100 though.



Yes, this is the actual gap that is left. It does not come close to even filling the space.


Obviously this ear needs to be trimmed off…


August 2020

Back to the engine bay, huge mess of A/C and coolant lines going in.


The new method for running through the firewall. This gave me the clearance and flexibility to run the lines correctly.


Finished running the A/C lines. Just need to get vacuum on it to test for leaks.



Gen IV poking out from under the dash.


September, October, November 2020

Wiring begins…I opted to go with 0-gauge welding cable for all the battery and grounds. The stuff is super easy to work with.


Interior is a rats nest right now.



This is the start of a custom fuse/relay block that will sit on top of it. I separated switched power from direct power. This will run into the various relays and fuse in the box that will power the Sniper, Light bar, brush guard, and any other accessories I add in.


This is the Sniper mount that I fabbed up, fuse box is on the side. You can also see the RobMC surge tank setup in the middle.



So I made this custom plate for the wires to run through the firewall. While it works, I’m debating on cleaning up the factory bulkhead connector and re-pinning it. It should work for now, but I don’t think it looks good at all.


Got the transmission cooler mounted up, just need to run the lines.


Started to cut the hole for the Cargo Lamp switch to mount. Still need to file it out a bit more before drilling the holes for the screws.


Bilstein 5125s all the way around and new brake hard and soft lines.


Hood padding waiting to be installed


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