70’s Terra Jet 453E page1

March 3 2017

Going to build a Keeper :

This is #2.. of the 3 Terra Jets I had.  # 1 was sold over a year ago..  Number 2  & 1 came together as a deal.


Number 2 is the one up front on the trailer..   And other than missing it’s body.. it’s very complete and almost in working condition..  ( if the motor ran ).


It would have looked like this one above.. except it was blue.  However it looked like the one below when I rescued it.

There was shreds of the body still clinging to the tub.  Just the head lights left !  I always figured this was the good one of the three..  it rolls , shifts and steers.  And it has the better driveline.   The third Terra Jet  that I picked up from a different person gives me a body for this one.. a great running Honda 20 hp motor, and a lot of good parts.   # 2  here has been sitting in the wings waiting ( two years) for it’s TIME.   Now is the time..   so lets get going:

The first step is always…  bring the project into the shop ..   It’s not quite spring yet .. so I have a bit of time before all the spring stuff happens.. and then I would be too busy to do this project.  I want to note here that I intend to use the best of the two Jets I have..   Whether it be the tubs , transmissions..  or any of the parts.   TJ number two is a 1976 model, with a few extra features that are nice to have.   The third TJ is a 1973, with the body, lots of good parts,  and a good tub / frame with the bottom cut out.

Let’s Start:

But where to begin..  I pulled the wheels off..  and put the TJ up on stands.  Then I got down and had a good look under the TJ..   well I found five cracks and holes..  and the underside looks like it was in WW II ..   So we could be looking at a new bottom, and I’ve done that before..    looks like the frame is welded into this one too..  So..  I need to compare this tub to the one outside #3 TJ..  the bottom is already cut out.. And it’s all in pieces.  This is what number three looks like..

And the tub looks better…  But I still have to take the 76 apart.. I need the transmission no mater which tub I use.   And taking things apart  on something old and rusty is never easy.

The rear axle is the most fun!  It is through the transmission with a long key..  and after all these years ..refuses to let go.  We did get the hubs off with a torch, a puller and a lot of banging.  And so far all the aluminum bearing holders are in great shape.    Now I’ve seen others doing this and cracking the transmission case…  so I’m trying a different way..   by pushing on the transmission final drive where the axle passes through.

I’m using a pipe that slides over the axle and presses on the transmission.  And using the axle nut / washer to pull the axle out.  This is proving to be very difficult.  Finally I had enough and took a big hammer to the axle..  and it came out.  All is good..  So we removed the steering and the front axles … and flipped the tub over to see EXACTLY how bad things were.

VERY BAD..   There was two fiberglass patches.. and a few places where I could just poke a hole with my finger..   Plus it’s bent up bad..  So I’m thinking the tub from the 73 jet is looking better and better…  And the fact that it’s all apart and the bottom cut out is a time saver.  looking like I will have a Frankenstein Terra Jet..   73 and 76 parts.  and Honda power.. new bottom..   yahoo.  Here’s a quick video with a look at the better tub..

Transmission :

I took the time last night to clean the grime off the transmission we just removed.  It had a bit of oil showing on the dipstick.  Also functioned as it should.. So I figured all is good.  Well maybe not !

Once cleaned I discovered that it had been welded to repair some cracks.  so the big question here is dose it leak ?  I will finish cleaning it good and fill the oil up and see.    It’s now 3/4 full of oil..  and no leaks..  The axle seals look like new..  and lots of form-a-gasket was used.   so I’m not taking it apart..  It’s good.  On to other stuff…

The Tub:

I finished stripping all important stuff from the 76 tub.  Even cut the frame out..  And it all got dragged outside.   The tub from the 73 TJ got brought in and flipped over..  And its’ great..


Someone even painted the bottom of the frame !   BONUS !  Plus the metal is in way better condition..   A few patches are needed..

Which you can see in the above photo..  They did not know how to remove the steering and the chain tensioner..  so they cut holes !  Geeze..  oh well I can fix those..  it’s just more welding..

And time for a new page .. Rebuilding the tub