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Unread 11-24-2013, 07:22 AM   #1
techanic
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2
Old Jeep advice please!

I decided months ago I wanted to buy an older Jeep. I've been reading, learning and thinking about it and watching the ads for many weeks.

I want a Jeep as a utility vehicle, to use around the acreage and to take on weekend jaunts. I specifically wanted an older Jeep (70s/80s) because I want a simple vehicle that doesn't have a lot of technology.

I had kind of decided on a CJ7 as I'm kinda tall. But an ad appeared for a late 70s CJ5 that sounded like a dream come true. "rebuild from the ground up" it claimed and while I would not call what this Jeep got a "restoration" as that has a specific meaning, it was clear this guy took the thing apart and put it back together with mostly new parts.

He was asking a fair price even. I was all set - until I drove it.

Now, here is where I need advice. This was the first Jeep I have driven. I'm a pretty good shadetree mechanic and I know cars. I did not expect this thing to be refined in any way but I certainly wasn't expecting what I found.

First and foremost, this thing did not want to go straight at any speed. There was a boatload of play in the steering. The guy said he had replaced tie rods, bushings etc, but frankly the steering was so bad I would not be comfortable taking this thing on the highway.

Now again, I was not expecting this to drive like a late model car. I've been driving since the 70s and I've driven some crap cars.

Here is my question. Is this to be expected in a well-maintained 78 CJ5? This again is my first drive. I live in the boonies and finding a suitable Jeep for sale within 50 miles is a challenge. Does this thing need a steering gearbox? Or do I need an attitude adjustment?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have to offer!

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Unread 11-25-2013, 07:22 AM   #2
gazzo
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1984 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Fremantle, Western Australia
Posts: 1,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by techanic
I decided months ago I wanted to buy an older Jeep. I've been reading, learning and thinking about it and watching the ads for many weeks.

I want a Jeep as a utility vehicle, to use around the acreage and to take on weekend jaunts. I specifically wanted an older Jeep (70s/80s) because I want a simple vehicle that doesn't have a lot of technology.

I had kind of decided on a CJ7 as I'm kinda tall. But an ad appeared for a late 70s CJ5 that sounded like a dream come true. "rebuild from the ground up" it claimed and while I would not call what this Jeep got a "restoration" as that has a specific meaning, it was clear this guy took the thing apart and put it back together with mostly new parts.

He was asking a fair price even. I was all set - until I drove it.

Now, here is where I need advice. This was the first Jeep I have driven. I'm a pretty good shadetree mechanic and I know cars. I did not expect this thing to be refined in any way but I certainly wasn't expecting what I found.

First and foremost, this thing did not want to go straight at any speed. There was a boatload of play in the steering. The guy said he had replaced tie rods, bushings etc, but frankly the steering was so bad I would not be comfortable taking this thing on the highway.

Now again, I was not expecting this to drive like a late model car. I've been driving since the 70s and I've driven some crap cars.

Here is my question. Is this to be expected in a well-maintained 78 CJ5? This again is my first drive. I live in the boonies and finding a suitable Jeep for sale within 50 miles is a challenge. Does this thing need a steering gearbox? Or do I need an attitude adjustment?

Thanks in advance for any advice you may have to offer!
Sounds like a normal CJ to me but there are many good threads from some very knowledgable folks over where I hang out on the CJ forum which will get you going straight and safe down the highway.
Get on there and repost what you've asked here and you'll get inundated with helpful advice.
Welcome to CJ life sentence. You'll live like we all do.
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Unread 11-25-2013, 07:27 AM   #3
WDNewman
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Central Mississippi, Mississippi
Posts: 1,036
CJ5's are notoriously wobbly, but should not do what this one is doing. The problem with buying a modified or in this case "restored" jeep is that the quality of parts as well as the expertise of the installer are unknown values. If either is questionable, you probably will end up doing it all over again.
Generally, CJ7s are preferred over CJ5s. If you want to get rid of carbs and go with fuel injection yet keep the ease of repair in the pre-air bag vehicles, go with a YJ. If you want even more reliability and good highway ride, move to the TJ. No rust should be noted on any of them. If they are rusty, pass. There shouldn't be rust on a Texas jeep. You should look for a completely unmodified unit. Modifications are shunned for the same reasons that restorations are shunned.
No matter your decision go to the following to start your search here:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f165/...t-here-523324/

It is easier by far to learn in advance than to repair.

You are looking to buy a jeep for exactly the same reasons I bought one: To work around the farm and to drive into town two or three times a week. I have no modifications because I don't need any. The land around me is very much like the land around Dallas, so I don't need any expensive rock climbing lifts or 35" tires. To do any rock climbing I would have to import the rocks. I have reached the age where I don't need to look cool to the kids anymore, so having to climb a ladder to reach the steering wheel is not a deal either. I have pulled out the factory carpet, cleaned the floor pan down to the (unrusted) paint, put in a new timing chain (154,000 miles), got new seats, and polished it as best as the chipped paint will allow. Soon I will put new springs in it, as it needs them. It is completely stock and in 4-WD low will go anywhere I want to go and some places I don't. Cruise speed is about 60 MPH with the 2.5 liter four cylinder.
But ya' know. In the summer when the top is off the wife and I still get waves and people come over to talk to us. It just makes people happy.
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Unread 11-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #4
techanic
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2
Thanks to both of you, I'm going to pass on this one and keep thinking about what I want to buy. I'm actually taking a second look at the YJ now, maybe that would be better for me.
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Unread 11-26-2013, 02:43 PM   #5
222Doc
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2012 JK Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Lake Havasu City, AZ
Posts: 4,967
a Jeep that is say a 50 years old today, new never wobbled or pulled. Its wear and the lack of care. I have had a 47/66/ and 12. they handle well enough when things are right and tight. its not like they were a horse and buggy. the brakes were the worst of it back then before disk brakes. its a short wheel base on some of them my 47 could swap ends faster than a h......

You are looking for a 100% cj? its going to cost you more than you think. But for a fair price i see them all the time out here inAZ in ok to great condition.
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Unread 11-27-2013, 07:39 AM   #6
WDNewman
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Central Mississippi, Mississippi
Posts: 1,036
Quote:
Originally Posted by techanic View Post
Thanks to both of you, I'm going to pass on this one and keep thinking about what I want to buy. I'm actually taking a second look at the YJ now, maybe that would be better for me.
YJ's are, as someone said, "the red-headed stepchild of the Jeep world". In that model you get the last of the leaf springs and the first of the fuel injections. You get an upshift light. You can get the famous low-output 2.5 litre engine or the dam fine 4.0. You can get an automatic, but don't unless you have to. Extra cool with half doors. I know you live in the South, and so do I, and it gets hot here. BUT…. real men don't have air conditioned jeeps. When it gets hot take off the windows. When it gets really hot, take off the doors. Real men don't use coil springs. Real men learn how to take off and throw away track bars.
Love the YJ. Owning one is like joining an exclusive club where other people laugh at you for joining but you don't care.
Keep us posted on your search.
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