Hello everyone, I was hoping to get some advice from the CJ experts. I’ve been around Jeeps since I was kid and finally have the means to start my own project. I was looking at picking up a CJ7. I’ve found one in my area and was hoping to get some opinions on the value. I know this question is asked a lot, but I just want to make sure that I’m not making a mistake by paying too much for my first CJ.
Here are the details.
The Jeep is an ’85 Laredo with a 258 and 5spd.
The engine was rebuilt recently and runs great. According to the seller it was bored out .60 during the rebuild. Transmission was smooth and didn’t make any unusual noises. The seller also added a new aluminum radiator recently. The speedometer worked, but the temp and fuels gauges on the speedo did not. There were aftermarket temp and oil pressure gauges in the dash that worked fine. The turn signals worked, as did most of the switches and lights. The dash was also in descent shape. The Jeep also has a new Bestop soft top. The exterior body is in pretty good shape but could use a paint job. There were a few small rust bubbles. The frame is solid and appears to be free of any rot.
The seller recently hit a tree on an offroad trip and bashed in the passenger side fender, hood ( near the latch ), bent the bumper and tie rod. ( the right tire now has quite a bit of toe in ) The steering column is toast. The key doesn’t start or stop the engine. There is a lever to start it and you have stall it to stop the engine. The tilt column is broken and held up with duct tape. The floorboards were recently replaced, but the owner didn’t cut out the rust and just placed the new panels over the old in and welded it up. Fiberglass was used to finish it up. The rear area was also replaced, but with a flat piece of steel that bows when pushed. Although, aside from some surface rust, the panel in good shape. From underneath you can see how much rust is actually there. Most of the floor supports are completely rotted out and the body mounts behind the door are gone. The front mounts are pretty good and the back mounts are fair. The Jeep needs new breaks and exhaust. It does have hard doors, but the frames around the window are rusted out completely and both doors are missing handles, interior panels etc. The Jeep has power steering, but it’s not working. It also needs 4 new tires as the belts are showing through. The right front tire is really bad due to the bent tie rod.
That’s about it. I’m really tempted by the solid frame and rebuilt engine, but don’t I’m not sure about the floors. Looks like they may need to be replaced again to get rid of the original rusted panels and add in the new floor supports and mounts. I’m also a bit concerned about what other damage may have been done when he hit the tree…
The seller is asking $2,800 for the Jeep and I’m wondering if that sounds like a fair price considering the condition. I really appreciate your input since this is my first CJ, I’m not sure what it is considered normal for the age and what is a sign I should walk away.
I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and am willing to learn to weld as it sounds like this Jeep will need it. I’ve seen so many of the projects on here and can’t wait to add one of my own to the list.
Thanks for taking the time to read my longwinded post.
Here's a picture showing the damage to the front:
Last edited by Scott99XJ; 02-10-2013 at 02:43 PM..
Reason: Adding in a picture
Thanks for the quick response skizriz. I offered him $2,000 last week when I looked at it, which he rejected, but decided to get a second opinion after thinking about it longer. Glad i did.
I will say that the floor does feel solid and looks good from the inside. It's just when you look underneath that it gets scary. The current owner does drive it daily, but is trying
to sell it to get something a little more practical and economical.
Yeah, I didn't drive it due to the bent tie rod, but I did ride with him on the drive and it was unnerving with the front end dancing around. Couldn't get over 40mph since it was shaking so bad. I thought $2k was fair for a running jeep, but wasn't sure how much work was involved in replacing the body mounts and floor supports. The steering column and ignition were interesting. The wrecked front end was sad as well.
I thought about buying it just to drive it for a while , but all the rust underneath would need to be addressed at some point despite how it looked from the inside. The frame did look good though and that engine ran great.
In California I would say that's not a bad price if it ran and passed smog but you do have to think that if the tires are that shot, your lookin at another grand right off the bat + fender, hood, tierod, etc.
Minimum you'd be looking at another $1,500 go get it in decent shape, so you're probably better off spending 4 grand and getting me that doesn't need immediate attention.
Yeah, I was kinda thinking the same thing. That didn't seem like a bad price for a running jeep, but the cost of new tires and fixing the wrecked front end out it over the edge. I was expecting to replace the floors as that seems very common, but all the other issues piled up fast...
its not a bad price because the hood, fender and bumper, about 100-200 if you look around, the floor boards no big deal, just sloppy work, column is really a easy fix, the igintion is a rod that turn by the key and hits a box at foot of column.
its not a bad deal, depending on how bad you want a jeep. not a good deal either. but you could swap that hood fender, bumper and fix the column in a weekend and then it would be a good deal
I have to agree with the other guys regarding it being priced too high. I picked up my 79 CJ7 a little over a year ago, and we finalized the negotiation at $2,800. And keep in mind, I'm located here in the mountains of Colorado where CJ's are highly prized and that results in a sellers market. I got it from the 2nd owner who had it since 1983 and he took very good care of it until he got too old to really want to mess with it himself, and that was a year before he listed it for sale. Anyway, compared to the one shown above, mine was perfect.
In truth all it "needed" after I bought it was a paint job. He rebuilt the 304 somewhere along the line and the records he kept showed it with 40K miles on the motor when I purchased it. It had very, very little rust on it. The worst spot was right behind the front fenders. Where it was engineered to catch sand and mud. That didn't bother me since it was getting tube fenders right away. The other area was surface rust on the floor pans. He may have babied it but he never once pulled the carpet to clean beneath it and as we all know, dirt + a notoriously leaky vehicle equals ....mud. Like I said it was all surface with zero real cancer. Long story I know, but the moral is if you keep looking for the right one for you and you refuse to settle on a CJ that isn't worth what they're asking. - especially looking forward to where you plan to take it ( meaning the mods & improvements you plan to make) your patience will be rewarded. I've made a ton of changes on mine already but that paint job I mentioned is finally coming to fruition. Luck to ya!
[FONT="Trebuchet MS"]Wayne [/FONT]
[B]Living the dream at 8,500ft. elevation in beautiful Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado. [/B]
I know you wanted a project Jeep...but I agree with what others have said. The $2800 dollar price tag is way high for a Jeep with that many issues. You really need to figure out what you realistically can afford to spend to get your Jeep the way you want it...then double it (because the parts you don't even know you need yet will attempt to take over your bank account!). Add that to the purchase price and you'd be surprised how nice a CJ you could afford.
So having said that...if you have the space, time, patience, motivation, and funds then jump in with both feet and get ya a project Jeep to rebuild. The satisfaction you'll get from bringing back a 30 year old vehicle to life is well worth the effort. But if you'd rather be out wheelin' and crusin' sooner than later you might want to think hard about purchasing a Jeep in that condition.