Buying CJ5 Advice Needed -
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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Buying CJ5 Advice Needed

Hi Guys,

I'm a newbie here but not new to Jeeps. Eons ago (20 years) I owned a CJ5 and loved it! Most recently I've owned a 99 Cherokee and currently I own a 05 Grand Cherokee. I love the classic cars and of course that includes the older jeeps. I also have a 71 Chevelle but find I'm not driving it in the summer as much and would get more use out of a CJ5.

So I'm looking to buy a CJ5 and from what I have researched I've narrowed it down to a 78-79 year model. Correct me please if I'm wrong but I read that from 78 on they were a little wider? Not sure if I'm correct on that but there was some important reason that I focused on it being at least a 78 on up year model.

I do like the CJ5's shorter wheel base also so I've ruled out the CJ7's.

I'd like it to be a summer cruiser but also use it for crawling around on Northern Michigan sand dunes.

Is there anything specific I should look for as far as things like;

What is the best engine in your opinion?
How much "lift" is good and how much is too much?
Any peticular suspension I should look for?
Is original better than fiberglass? Or does it matter?

I think I'm basically looking for something that has been restored. I've seen some gorgeous CJ5's out there for sale but really want to know what I'm looking at before taking the plunge. I'm also wondering is there a certain price range I can expect to pay for a restored CJ5? I don't need one with a ton of mods but one that runs excellent, looks nice and serves it's purpose. When I envision one it looks sort of like this. (Note this is NOT mine and I don't know the seller, just posting it to give you an example of what I'm looking for). Does the price of this one seem reasonable? I want a winch on mine as well. Other stuff like roll bar lights, etc., I could add myself if I had to have them.

Thanks in advance for any advice you all might have.

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post #2 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 10:37 AM
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ok best engine option in my opinion is the 304 with the 258 running a very close second
as far as lift goes I believe up to 4" is fine. much over that youll be looking at stability issues
type of suspension: just look at it and make sure its done right with lift springs. not 8 inch long shackles or a hack job spring over
type of tub is a highly debated topic. I feel like glass would be your best bet, basically because it doesn't rust.
price around here for a very nice 5 runs between 6-9k with the top end being jeeps with nice tops and doors and a decent amount of add ons.
as far as what to look for, its gotta be rust. if you find one with a glass tub pay close attention to the frame and body mounts
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 11:48 AM
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number one would be the frame, rust especially in front of rear wheel and the hanger are.
none came with automatic.
fiberglass, Im always worrty about fiberglass tubs, they are good idea but if body got that bad then everything else was too, a rust bucket
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies! Definitely will watch for rust.

Am I on the right track thinking that from 1978 on they had wider interiors? I swear I read that some where but not sure. Is there a certain year you all prefer as far as the older CJ5's go?
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-15-2013, 12:08 PM
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1981 CJ7 
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As far as being wider there is no truth to that, but 78 and newer came standard with front disc brakes which is a big plus in my book.

08 WK bone stock
00 WJ daily driver
99 TJ mostly stock 97 TJ cheap jeep
81 CJ7 very little stock
60 CJ5 tore down
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-28-2013, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much! Are the older CJ5's the only ones that have that short wheel base or do any of the others have that besides of course the CJ7 (ie; wranglers, YJ's, etc.,) Or are they also longer wheel based like the CJ5's?
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-06-2013, 09:31 AM
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Lot of CJ-5 stuff here... might be able to find your answers on that site. CJ-5 is a good choice: I think it was the best Jeep ever built. Been thinking about picking up a frame and starting a build of my own.

2002 Wrangler "X".

An educated, armed populace cannot be enslaved.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-25-2013, 09:46 AM
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