advice on cj5 purchase -
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-01-2002, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Post advice on cj5 purchase

I need a little advice here as I am going to look at a 81 cj5 after mechanics hours and I don't want to pass this Jeep up. Body is fine, two tops, brakes good, transmission fine, here's my concern: 4 cylinder motor with 103,000 actual miles. Owner says it's fine mechanically. I would really like to do a compression test but won't be able to. He wants $2300 but I can probably get him to $2000. Do I just role the dice on the motor and hope it keeps going? What's the average life of those engines? Is this a good deal even if the engine needs to be overhauled or even replaced? Thanks for any input you might give.

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-01-2002, 11:41 AM
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I would try to get him down lower. There will likely be $$$$ to be put into it that he hasn't told you and you will find later. The 4-cyl. in 1981 was the GM 151 c.i. motor and is a great running/reliable 4-banger (unless it has been swapped). If it has been maintained, it should last a while longer no problem.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-01-2002, 02:04 PM
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work him down in price ,, ALL cj5's I have ever seen have had hidden problems you dont figure out till later on if you want it that bad your gona buy it. and to ease you mind those 4 bangers are pretty simple and you probably want to rebuild it anyway so you dont end up on some trail somewhere and the engine go out. it is completely up to you but if the body suspension and everything else seem ok then go for it heck if the tops are in good shape thats hundreds of dollars right there. just remember that J>E>E>P> means Just Empty Every Pocket.... if you know anything about jeeps you will know that they are simple machines that we never stop making more complex to suit our personal needs hahahah a jeep is a passion not a luxury car so if there is a passion to buy this particular jeep then by all means go for it especialy if it has some nice modifications I paid 2100 for my 80 cj5 which has a ratty body but had some cool mods and an insane engine and I continue to work on it weekly wether its a mod or fixing a new problem I find good luck and keep us posted

If its broke I can fix it. if it isnt broke give me a minute!!!

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post #4 of 7 Old 07-02-2002, 02:01 AM
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Good points by 4W4 & s.a.h.
IMO, 104,000 miles still has a lot of life left (~70,000 miles before a $1000 simple rebuild). I'm not up on 4-bangers, but if you intend to do much hill/rock climbing or off-roading, then pass this one up. There's always another CJ with a V6, 6-cyl, or V8! But then again, you'll likely be faced with having to rebuild that engine as well. Can you do that sort of thing yourself?

My first impression on the details you provided were that $2000 is pretty good. I shelled out $2200 for my '71, but to be honest, I've been surprised as often as I have been disappointed (found out I've got overdrive and Levi Strauss edition seats! ).

Test drive it and let us know how it goes, that's the most important. Note ease of drive/shift. Get underneath and inspect for rust on frame, body mounts, floorboards, etc. If you have ice in your veins, do your best to chip away at the seller by convincing him/her that the asking price is unsubstantiated, and offer maybe $1450 and then immediately pull out your checkbook. Let the wheelin' and dealin' begin!!!
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-02-2002, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input! I am now the proud owner of a CJ5. I took a friend with me who is a pretty good shade-tree mechanic. Here's the lowdown: Starts and drives really well. Motor runs smooth, no smoke from the exhaust. Shifts well and the 4x4 light in the panel still works. Bearings repacked and new starter year and a half ago. Good tires and brakes. Soft top and hard top. Nice seats. Gave him $2000. Drove it home 80 plus miles, then gave my 4 year old son another half hour drive in the woods, no problems. This should be fun! Thanks Again!
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-02-2002, 12:49 PM
Lil Chris
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Question, is it a CJ5 or a CJ7? You say it has a hard top is why I ask. Its a rare thing for a CJ5 to have a hardtop, at least in my neck of the woods. Do post pics.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-03-2002, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
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Well done, Tod! Congratulations and I'm officially jealous (don't worry, I'm jealous about everyone'e Jeep--even my own! ). Enjoy the summer, and be sure to frequent this site for any info you may need.

Your next purchase ought to be a Haynes or Chilton's manual which is available at AutoZone or other parts store. Chapter 1 deals with routine maintenance which will be essential in keeping your new byoot running well.
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