Advice on 1984 CJ-7 -

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post #1 of 17 Old 11-17-2014, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on 1984 CJ-7

Well, I am potentially looking into getting an 84 CJ-7. I originally wanted a CJ-7 for my first car, but long story short ended up with a 66 Mustang. Well, after a string of Mustangs and one Scout II I am wanting a CJ. Thats the backstory.

Now to today. I found a reasonable 1984 CJ-5 with a t-5 and 258 engine with new 8.8 rear end 3.55 gears 33" bfg tires. I really like this Jeep exactly how it looks, but it has no AC and 5th gear dosen't engage, reverse works. The owner has been driving the Jeep around just not using 5th gear. Which concerns me. I am going to assume that the tranny will need a full rebuild, is that a safe assumption?

Being an 1984 it has a 6th digit on the odometer, reading 160,XXX. It has a rebuilt engine and had a rebuilt transmission before blowing 5th gear.

Here is the ad:

Whats y'alls opinion?

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post #2 of 17 Old 11-17-2014, 07:31 PM
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Why isn't he disclosing that it doesn't have 5th gear in the ad, I wonder?

Seems plenty high on price to me. Yes, the trans can always be fixed, but without knowing what it'd take, unless he knocks the price down to at least $5000 (to fix the a/c and trans), I'd look elsewhere.

You're gonna hate making payments on a Jeep that you can't drive while the transmission is out and getting repaired, in my opinion.

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post #3 of 17 Old 11-17-2014, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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The fact that 5th gear problem is not disclosed in the ad makes me wonder. He says that 5th gear just went out 2 weeks ago, the Jeep has been for sale for a month. I am wondering if he was trying to unload it before the tranny went. The good news is that I shouldn't have to make payments on the Jeep. Ultimately I will be selling my Mustang to finance the Jeep. Which will make the CJ-7 my daily driver.

My hope would be to either get a rebuilt unit I can swap in a weekend or pay a shop to just get it done. I don't know that I want to try and rebuild the T-5 myself in my daily for the first time.

I felt like the price was abnormally high even for a well functioning Jeep given that it has over 160,XXX miles on it!
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-17-2014, 09:34 PM
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Tires look like they might be 32's, not sure if 8.8's can be had with 3.31 gears? If not an 8.8 Likely an AMC 20 with one piece axles. with 3.31 gears and that size tire 5th was probably pretty useless anyway. Lift look pretty good at least the shackles aren't 10 inches long! $7k would be a good starting ask around here if everything worked.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 12:47 AM
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Speaking as a rust belter, if that body is as nice as it looks, I'd be a playah at 5k. Maybe more. can hook you up w/an HD tranny.
Personally I'd rather wrestle a tranny (Hey! watch it now this is a family forum!) than grind rust away and spend a fortune on patch panels.
As far as not disclosing every wart in the ad, he's trying to get some calls, but eventually came clean. But do go over it closely.
Perhaps he was trying to get the trans builder to warranty his work in the meantime???
These are the CJs us New Englanders fly out West just to score a clean body.
In the end, it sure is a nice looking CJ. Congrats if you do take the plunge.

I've also learned that sometimes... when people don't agree with you .... its best to hold them down and kidney punch them till they agree with you
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 08:19 AM
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Looks like a pretty solid and clean CJ to me.

Transmissions can be fixed.It sounds like a synchro problem of sorts. Like the others said, check for rust everywhere on the body and frame. I bought mine from southern Az and it had a crap ton of rust everywhere, so you still need to check. 5-7 would be the fair range to me.

Drive it and see how it runs, make sure 4wd works, find out if the engine has ever been gone through. See if all the emissions stuff still on there and watch/listen to it run. Look for excessive oil leaks that could indicate blowby. If you had a compression tester, you could see if he'd let you do it. Ask him about emissions and if it has passed; I think you can also find out from the emissions plate as well(someone can correct me).. When I was buying mine in AZ, I found a couple that the guys could not get theirs to pass emissions, so they were dumping it.

However; here is my disclaimer... be prepared to still spend money on this Jeep. Either something is going to be wrong that you (or even the seller) doesn't know about, or you will want to upgrade something at some point. A good rule of thumb I learned a while ago is be prepared to spend at least same amount in fixes/upgrades of what you payed when buying a used car.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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I completely understand about spending money on these cars. I have only ever owned classics or older cars because as a student that's my budget. I am very mechanically inclined, done 3 complete engine rebuilds, and tons of general maintance. I am just hoping that being a Jeep it won't be nearly as temperamental as a muscle car. Is that a fair assumption?

The owner says the engine was rebuilt at the same time as the transmission. This has me MAJORLY worried, if the same person rebuilt the motor as rebuilt the transmission. The transmission has already failed what does that say about the engine? I will ask about doing a compression check, almost left that detail out.

I haven't even driven the Jeep yet, hoping to get to look at it Friday.

No Jeep yet, just trying to find the right one... Dad has a JK, it doesn't feel like a Jeep!
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 09:33 AM
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Not necessarily a fair assumption about Jeeps. Just Empty Every Pocket is a true statement. It is similar to any other 30 year old car; however, if you take it offroad, you are adding to the wear and tear, and the potential for breaking something. Jeeps can be reliable, but also tempermental. Built right, they can take a lot of abuse, but that also means regular maintenance. If you wanted a decent top/doors, air conditioning system, rebuilt transmission, other misc maintenance things I could see you spending 2-3K easy right from the start.

A wet/dry compression test is a good one, and having an infrared thermometer to shoot the block/head/radiator/ radiator tubes/water pump, etc.. to test for good cooling and even heat. I was also thinking..checking the Ujoints/tie rod ends, driveshaft slip joint play are a couple more things to look at. If you press in the middle of the driveline in any direction, the slip joint shouldn't really bow out or deflect. I am not sure if by "no A/C" you mean it doesn't have one at all from factory, or this one has all the equipment but doesn't work. It wasn't a standard option; you can put one in, and has a decent setup for this.

The drive test will let you hear any weird noises, see 4wd working, steering play, driveline issues, etc...

I would be curious as to how long ago the 5th gear stopped working, and by stopped working what that means. Does it pop out of gear, not go into gear, grind, etc... And, why he didn't take it back to the shop who did the work and have them fix it....unless it was done by himself, a neighbor, cash-only backyard deal, or a long time ago.

Well it is good you are asking a lot of questions. Most of the guys in here are very knowledgable, and you can spend a week or two straight reading everything you could want to know, and more, about stock Jeeps to wild ones.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 12:20 PM
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Trust me on this... I'm in Arizona too, "Arizona Jeep" does NOT necessarily mean "rust free". (Look at my build in my signature if you have the time. THAT is an AZ Jeep from PHX too!)

$7K is about right for a CJ, IF it's mostly rust free and running. A/C? Fairly rare on a CJ and most likely they're dealer add ons. For that price, a hardtop would be nice. It certainly had better have a good softtop with no holes, no cracks and with doors at that price. If not, he's WAY too high, especially with not 5th gear.

Make sure 4WD works; the gear ratios MUST match in both axles. Take one of those "mechanic's mirrors" with you so you can look inside the valve cover from the oil filler. There shouldn't be any sludge if the story is true.. Magnets help find Bondo on Jeeps just like any other car. If it's not attracting a magnet, it's either not steel or deep Bondo.

Look under the dash for cut/mismatched wires. Those aren't a good sign.

Remember, there are PLENTY of Jeeps in Phoenix; you only want to buy ONE Jeep. He HAS to sell THAT Jeep. YOU have the advantage. $7K is a start, and should fall some. $6K is more realistic with 5th out. Assuming it's truly rust free. Check anywhere the frame attaches to suspension parts and ANYWHERE THERE'S BED LINER! Look for frame cracks around shock absorber mounts and around the steering gear. Look for more rust at the bottom of the roll bars too.

There are MANY aftermarket parts on that Jeep including the steering wheel and the seats. Nothing wrong with that, but it's certainly NOT a "restoration".

I'd rather be lost on the trails than found at home!

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so to clarify a little for everyone

-It has no AC, no compressor or dash unit or anything. Which for me is not the end of the world because my current car is my first one with AC. Arizona Mobile Air does make an affordable kit, so I can add AC if the heat becomes unbearable.

-The owner says he was just driving one day and went to shift into 5th gear and it acted like it was in neutral. The shop he took it to said that the shift fork had bent or broke? Either way, they must have told him it was safe to drive because he still drives it everyday.

-The Jeep does come with a soft top, matching metal doors, and a bikini top.

-Does anyone know how to easily check for matching gear ratios? He says the gears were changed but that it was done by the previous owner.

-The owner claims there is no rust and no frame cracks, but I will THOROUGHLY check from rust, cracks, and bondo!

-I found out after another chat with the owner that the Jeep does have fuel injection. I am hoping it is the MOPAR kit because the intake manifold looks VERY similar to the one pictured in the kit. If not, does anyone have experience with "junk yard" throttle bodies? I would guess it will either be name brand or a cobbled together mess. Again, all of this work was done by the previous over.

-If I purchase the Jeep, I will try to get my hands on the original owners number to talk with him about the transmission. Maby it does have some warentee and the current owner doesn't care to ask.

hutch1200: Thank you for the link to that gave me a great idea of pricing to just get a new transmission and not have to mess with the one in the Jeep. I will keep that link bookmarked!

-The other thing I like about owning a CJ (besides the obvious) is that if I decide its too finiky or too much work for me, I can sell it in a year and only loose a very small amount. I have no depreciation to contend with. There is also always someone looking for a good running CJ, which is how I keep my cars. This idea makes me less hesitant about owning a Jeep.

-This owner did nearly nothing to the Jeep from what I can tell from talking to him. He drove it and changed the oil thats about it.
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by WindKnot View Post

There are MANY aftermarket parts on that Jeep including the steering wheel and the seats. Nothing wrong with that, but it's certainly NOT a "restoration".

Great to see that someone else understands what restoration means. I work on ag machinery for my fulltime job and see a lot of tractors called "restored" me, if it didn't come from the factory that way, it really can't be called "restored".

That also goes right along with the people that consider replacing rings and bearings in an engine, a "major overhaul", simply because it was "a lot of work and cost a lot of money". lol

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post #12 of 17 Old 11-18-2014, 09:50 PM
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Since you have had older rides and done some wrenchin........these are no different,if anything,stuff is easier to get to and work on and as with any Jeep/ can get under it and work without a jack or jack stands with the tires on the ground........I have always prefered truck type rides due to that one simple thing.....I can get under it and work on it......especially on the side of the road.

Jeep...the first vehicle on the trip we are bringing the tub!

It is gunna cost more and take longer than you thought...plan ahead!
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-19-2014, 01:23 PM
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Keep in mind that the T5 used in CJs is known to have issues. Just one of the problems with that year.

Looks decent enough though I think the price is a bit high, especially with the jacked trans.

RED Friday. Remember Everyone Deployed
45 MB, 67 Commando, 85 CJ, 08 JKU, 11 JKU
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-20-2014, 05:29 AM
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The obvious first...

1. Since the rear is a Ford 8.8",
Do the front & rear gear sets match anymore?
Can't do 4WD with mismatched gear sets and you are looking at about $500 to get a gear set changed correctly.

2. 5th gear is over drive, you still have the 4th gear, which is 1:1, or direct drive.
T5 parts are common, or if you have it professionally done, consider a stronger transmission since you intend to keep this Jeep and not flip it.

3. If 4wd works, transfer, axles and all, and it runs/drives good,
The broken 5th gear is good for you to bargin with.
Running/driveability is a huge issue. The trans is minor in what could be wrong, people have spent thousands trying to get a screwed up suspension working & steering correctly again,
Or a screwed up engine/drive train working correctly again.

I would have a close look at those front/rear gear sets since the rear axle has been changed.
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-22-2014, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Well I went and looked at the Jeep today, and I have a sad report. The owner was well... very immature. He admitted multiple times to mistreating the Jeep and even showed me a video of him doing donuts in a dirt lot saying how bad a** the Jeep was! He also said he wheeled it so hard he bent the rear AMC 20 axle so bad it was beyond repair.

-There were many more problems than I had originally anticipated. Well the transmission is beyond screwed. You cannot even tell where the gears are at, it is a guessing game at best. 5th gear is like neutral and reverse sounds like a meat grinder. When you push it hard in 3rd gear when you let off the transmission rattles and makes insane noise. Punch line is the tranny will need a total overhaul, most likely complete replacement.

-Even though the clutch was replaced less than 6 months ago, it appears to slip. It is also so far out of adjustment that you can feel it grabbing when stopped. Punch line is the clutch will need repair or replacement along with transmission.

-The rear 8.8 is a 3.55 and the front had been changed to a 3.55. The original AMC 20 was bent beyond repair. The AMC 20 had one piece axle shafts, ARB air locker, disc brake conversion, and been completely rebuilt. However, the shop that did the installation of the 8.8 did not narrow the axle so it is about 2 inches wider than the front. The axle is not new and came from an 96 explorer and was not rebuilt. Seems solid enough, but is still used.

-The engine seems very healthy, and has lots of power despite being in such poor repair. The throttle blades on the Howell fuel injection system did not open past 25% due to a fuel fitting interfering with the linkage. The engine needed a tune up so bad it was pathetic. It lopped and misfired worse than a cammed muscle car. With the amount of corrosion and mud in the cap and rotor I am surprised the Jeep even ran! Fan belts squeaked, power steering was low on fluid, alternator had mud in the connector and the voltage gauge on the dash was going crazy. Speaks to the amount of abuse the 258 will tolerate.

- The wiring was my next issue, it was well.. a rats nest. Most of the gauges were all over the map. All of the dash lights were different brightnesses, the headlights kinda worked, one tail light worked, and the radio was shorted out. Literally, shorted from mud behind and on top of it. The winch had controls inside the cab but was bound up from being wound up incorrectly.

-Despite all of these problems and abuse, it drove amazing! The Jeep tracked very straight down the road at 50 mph and was very composed over bumps and cracks in the road.

-The tub and frame were in very good shape with not a spot of rust and no cracks. It looked to be coated in POR15 to me. The interior looked to be coated in POR15 as well. The tub was painted in a slate color from a 2005 Rubicon and was done very well. I could not find any bondo, and despite all of the pin stripping on the body, no dents and no cracks in the paint! The top was in usable shape free of rips but was beginning to show its age.

- I didn't get time to check 4wd and to be honest at this point I was so confused and dissapointed that I didn't really care I had seen enough.

Alright, so here is my question, I have the ability to get this Jeep back into a propper state of affairs. However, I am not going to be buying a project at the price of a finished restoration. What would be a reasonable price in your opinion. Basically the Tub and seats are the only part that wont have to be touched. Everything else will need to be serviced or repaired. It will need a new transmission immediately, and FULL tune up immediately.

Thank you for all your advice! I am trying to make a wise decision and the more I learn about this particular Jeep the harder it becomes!

No Jeep yet, just trying to find the right one... Dad has a JK, it doesn't feel like a Jeep!
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