||08-09-2010 12:06 PM
Boom's CJ-7 Project
Thanks for reading my thread! A little background about me. This is actually my third CJ-7. My first one was a dark blue 1983 CJ-7 with a 258 & T5. I owned it for 2 years and loved every minute of it! It was a learning experience! My second Jeep was 1984 with a 258 & T999. Unfortunately, I was not able to hold on to that one very long to drive it. These Jeeps were purchased over 15 years ago while in my 20's. A lot has changed in my life since then.... Wife, kids, job, house, hairline, waistline, etc... I know some of you guys can relate! I really enjoyed those Jeeps and always hoped to someday own another.
Fast forward to last November. My father mentioned that he saw a Jeep for sale in the 'newspaper classifieds'. To be half honest, I didn't realize anyone still actually paid to post an ad in the newspaper and I really didn't believe anyone still read them. However, my father is and always will be 'old school'. As it turned out, so was the seller. The ad was for a 1985 CJ-7 with a bad transmission. $3000 OBO. At this point in my life, I really didn't have time for a Jeep project, but my dad kept on me to call. I finally called on it and the woman on the other end said her husband was out of town on a hunting trip and would not be back for a couple of days. I asked her about the Jeep and she said it had an automatic transmission and it went out. That was all she knew about it. I thanked her and ended the call. I wasn't impressed and went about my weekend. On Sunday, my dad called and wanted to know if I had called on the Jeep. I told him about my conversation. He then went on to tell me that he also called about it. He sounded pretty excited. Apparently, the 'old man' is better at extracting information than I am. :-) He found out from the woman that this Jeep had a recently rebuilt 304 V8 engine and that the transmission was also rebuilt with less than 10k miles on both. She said it wouldn't shift out of park one day and her husband had it towed back home into the garage where it has been sitting for over 2 years. We made plans to go look at it.
The owner was very nice. He explained that this Jeep was the first thing that he and his wife bought as a couple back in 1998. It had been 'refurbished' at that time. He ended having the 258 swapped for a rebuilt 304 and also had installed a Holly TBI, Hooker headers, Edelbrock manifold and cam, and Flex-lite electric fans. The body looked pretty good with not an ounce of rust or rot anywhere to be found. The tailgate and tire rack were bent up. The fenders were both dented up and there were a few blemishes on the tub, but overall it was pretty a pretty clean 1985 CJ-7 Laredo. I decided to offer $1500 for it. I liked what I saw, but wasn't ready to commit to the project. He, of course, turned it down. We shook hands and left. A few hours later, my father called and felt that I should make another offer. He told me that the problem with the transmission is probably related to the linkage. I decided to sleep on it. The next day I called back and offered $2000. However, the owner was out and about and did not own a cell phone. I would have to wait until the end of the day to hear back. When he finally did return my call, he accepted my offer of $2000.
Once I paid and had the Jeep towed to my father's house, he began the process of checking out the linkage. 3 hours and $25 worth of Jeep parts later, we had a running Jeep with a working transmission!! It was a great moment! It was actually a little more dramatic because when I initially put it in reverse, nothing happened. I shifted back to Park and then to Drive, and still nothing. I looked at my dad and we were both bummed. Turns out, the transfer case was in neutral! Once I put it in 2H and shifted into Reverse, the Jeep began to move! I drove it around the block and it seemed to shift fine. Success!
Since that day, I have worked on the Jeep in my spare time. I have learned so much from this forum. JeepHammer and the usual suspects have taught me volumes. I appreciate you guys very much. Thank you. Watching the restore threads has inspired me and I really love the sense of community in this forum.
Here are pictures of the Jeep the day after I bought it and the weeks that followed. Good times. :-)