AMC DJ-5 - Your article on DJ jeeps brought back some great old memories. In 1995 I bought an old AMC DJ5 from the job corps camp in Astoria, Oregon. I modified it to haul my camping gear & supplies and built a bed on the passenger side.
I headed out from Seattle, Washington in May 1995 and drove that little jeep to the Panama Canal. I avoided the inter-american highway for most of the trip and criss-crossed every country in Central America. The trip took six weeks one way.
On the second day in Mexico the brain box went out. As luck would have it I had a used one in the tool box (the only spare part I brought). I plugged it in and off I went.
The only other problem on the whole trip was a broken rear shock mount. (the roads were horrible) and I got the transmission really hot in Guatamala. I saw a little hut with a "taller mechanico" sign. There was a young boy in there doing oil changes. He never heard of changing transmission fluid. I got out my tools, picked up some fluid from a store across the street and showed him how to do it.
The jeep picture was taken in Guadalahara, Mexico
Update, I am sending some more pics from the trip. The first pic was taken on the day we left Belize city headed across country to Tikal, Quatamala. (did the tourist thing at the zoo).The second pic was taken in a fig plantation in Honduras. Pic three was taken somewhere on the road in Costa Rica. We put our food on the intake manifold in the morning when we started out, By lunch it was hot so we could stop anywhere and eat. The last pic was taken as we entered Panama. I wish I had taken more pictures of the jeep along the way. It almost floated downstream in Quatamala when we forded at a collapsed bridge. An enterprising guy was sitting in a big old mercedes truck on the opposite bank waiting to tow people out for a price. He was dissappointed when I caught rocks and waded the old jeep across the rapids and onto shore.
Jay Stanfield in Cleburne, Texas... age 66, retired from the aircraft industry and living on 30 acres in the country.. I bought the DJ5G early in 2008 from an abandoned deer lease for $200. It started life as a "Postal Jeep" but I changed it all from right hand drive to left hand drive so I wouldn't have to drive on the wrong side of the road any more. The right/left conversion is very straight forward and uses almost all factory parts. I installed a CJ5 steering gear box, cut the instrument panel in half, swaped it end for end, and welded it back. All of the wiring was exteded 30" to reach the new location of the gages. The brakes and gas pedal were swaped side per side as were the brake and fuel line. Even the wiper motor and linkage swaped sides. A doner DJ was purchased for $150 and furnished all the glass and another seat plus lots of spare parts. The body was striped by hand and repainted "Pale Buckskin" from the local auto supply. Wal-Mart roll-in bed liner was used in the floor after 3/4" foam board insulated the inner firewall. The engine is the Audi 4 cylinder overhead cam 85 Hp with a chrysler 3 speed automatic. It starts instanty and runs great. It is geared very low and just what I need for around the pastures.