Ever had the hood on your car flip up into your windshield on the freeway? Its’s terrifying. A couple of weeks ago we bought a 1977 Jeep CJ5, and on the way home we were having engine trouble. At one of the many stops on the way home, I forgot to latch the hood back down. As soon as we hit 50 miles an hour on the freeway it flipped up hard and slammed into the windshield frame, damaging the hood pretty severely. Everything else luckily survived but let’s get that hood replaced.
Removing the hood isn’t terribly hard, there are three half inch bolts on each of the two hinges that hold it in place. Ours have several layers of paint on them, making it hard to use a socket. A half inch box wrench was able to flake the paint off enough to get on there, and let me pull them all out fairly easily. Once those six bolts are removed, the only other thing that could be holding the hood on is the hood latch, so be sure to release it. Now, getting the hood off would have been a lot easier with another person, but as I was alone I just carefully slid it forward until I was able to get enough leverage to pick it up and move it out of the way.
Now, on our Jeep CJ5 the bottom of the hinges were a bit rough with rust, so I hit them both with some sandpaper to smooth out the mating surface before putting the new hood in place. I could have done more, but sometime in the future this will be coming back off as we want to cover the entire Jeep in Raptor liner and we will take care of all of the surface issues then. Once that was done I blew off all of the rust with our air compressor, and moved on to putting the new hood in place.
We ordered the Crown Automotive J5761180 Steel Hood from Quadratec, and while the packaging was extremely crappy the hood actually appeared to make it to us in one piece. It was delivered by a freight truck, and when that happens you need to make the driver wait and unbox it right in front of them, because if there is any damage it needs to be claimed before the driver leaves. As the hood looked good, we could get right into putting it on the Jeep.
Again, this would be a lot easier with another person. What I did was to place a broom over the engine bay, and then just slid it into place. Now, before you do this make sure to install all of the hardware onto the hood. Both of the hood latches are a real pain to get attached as the holes on the backside barely had room for my fingers. This would have been a lot easier before I mounted the hood, but that is hindsight for you.
If you notice, the bottom right edge of the hood is not lining up quite right, it either got a little banged out of shape when it was shipped, or it just came from the factory not quite right. I needed to pull it out about a half an inch, but before I could do that I needed to get it in place enough to reattach the hinges. After a careful bit of movement back and forth and side to side, I managed to get it into place and attach all six of the half inch bolts.
Once it was securely in place, I propped the hood up with a broom handle, and then grabbed the side that I needed to pull out with both hands … and pulled it pretty hard a couple of times. I set the hood back down to check what it looked like, and the body lines matched the hood lines, I had gotten it just right. Once that was done I loosened the bolts again so that I could push the hood all of the way back into place, and then tightened them all down one more time.
With all of that done, I discovered a new issue, the hood latch was not lined up with the holes in the hood. After looking at it for a minute, I decided that the latch oles on the hood were bent forward a bit, so I just needed to pound on the underside of the hood with a rubber mallet to get it into place. It actually worked, and I was able to close the hood. Now it was time to attach the hardware, and I discovered the errors of my ways.
I am not going to make you watch all of this mess. As I mentioned before, my fingers barely fit into the holes they left in the underside of the hood to attach these bolts, but with a lot of perseverance I was able to get them in there and installed. Seriously though, just do it before you mount the hood, it will be so much easier. Once the latches were on there though, I only had one more thing to do, install new rubber hood grommets. This was by far the easiest part of this process. The old ones were completely rotten, and just tore in half when I removed them. The other ones were much nicer, and by using a flat headed screwdriver I was able to squeeze the attachment nipples into the holes. And with that, the hood had been replaced. I can tell you right now that I will never forget to latch the hood again. I never want to experience that level of terror on the freeway again or pay the expense of replacing it.