by Imad Ali
Vehicle: 1979 Jeep CJ-7
I am (or should I say "used to be" since the jeep's parked now, awaiting a rebuild) the primary driver of my brother Salman Ali's champagne colored CJ-7. I am also the one who does most of the mechanical work on it. In fact, I have the dubious distinction of spending the most time wrenching on various things. Usually things that so-called mechanics didn't put together properly in the first place.
When one of Salman's friends called me to help extricate his Jeep from some sand, I had no idea that less than a month later I'd be taking delivery of it to drive it all over the countryside even before it had been paid for. One drive in the big CJ was all it took to convince me. It was, after all, a Land Cruiser in CJ-7's clothing, right down to the instrument cluster and side view mirrors!
The Jeep was bought in 1997, and in September 1999, what started off as a month long paint job, ended up being a half-year long complete rebuilt, which saw the Jeep being stripped right down to the frame, and virtually every moving part was replaced. The only "old" part left at the end of the rebuilt was the frame, the body and the axle tubes.
Engine: Toyota B, 3.0L 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated, indirect injection diesel.
Gearbox: Toyota Landcruiser, 5 speed, H-55.
Transfer case: Toyota Landcruiser, dual range with special 2 wheel drive low range option.
Front Axle: Toyota Landcruiser, closed knuckle, 4.11:1 R/P ratio, free wheel hubs.
Rear Axle: Toyota Landcruiser, 3/4 floating, C-Clip, 4.11:1 R/P ratio.
Brakes: Dual circuit with power assist, discs with 4-piston calipers up front, 11"× 2.75" drums out back
Tires: Bridgestone 31×10R15 Desert Duelers.
Wheels: Mangel 5-spoke offset alloy rims.
Suspension: Rancho RS 9000's 5-stage shock absorbers. Currie 2" lift greasable shackles, polyurethane bushings.
Steering: Saginaw power-assisted steering, 3.5 turns lock-to-lock. Momo steering wheel.
Lighting: Bosch off-road headlamps fitted with Sylvania Cool Blue 60/55W H4 bulbs; Hella 500 (100W) driving lights. Rear off-road lights 2×55W Hella lamps. Fully illuminated cabin, footwell, engine bay and under carriage.
Sound system: Pioneer head unit with cassette and radio, 7 band equalizer, Pioneer 3-way custom mounted 120W speakers
Other specs: Warn 8274 winch (8000 lbs load rated), custom built bumper and roll bar, K&N Filter Charger, Xenon 5" polyurethane fender flares, airconditioning, customized interior with front racing seats and rear bench seats, half doors, custom made full-top and bikini top.
One thing that's not mentioned above is that this is one hell of a tough jeep for standing up to the beating that has been dished out to it. It is a daily driver, used for ferrying people and groceries around town when not being flogged off road. It has been driven for hours on tracks so rough that the chrome plating on the shock absorber shafts was tempered blueish green by the friction between the shaft and seal. This was 4 years ago and same shocks are still doing a great job. Metal fatigue even caused a spring plate to crack in half but that still didn't stop the jeep. This Jeep is a testament to the quality of late Dawood's workmanship. It has held together remarkably well with probably less than half as many visits to the mechanic than the average jeep. Everything he fabricated 4 years ago is still rock solid today.
Posted in Founder Members, February 24, 2004, by Imad Ali