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Unread 09-28-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
NN11325
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CJ7 to CJ5 conversion?

I am new to this forum and the Jeep world. Looking to buy my first Jeep (after having procrastinated for a decade). Just looking for a weekend fun Jeep, not an everyday car, and I have looked at a few restored CJ5 and CJ7. Here's my question to the Forum: I came across this very clean CJ5. Test drove it, current owner has owned it since it was restored (off frame) about ten years ago. Clean title, etc. However, when I pulled the title search, the vehicle comes up as a CJ7 from both sources I used. The current owner's title also says CJ7, but this clearly looks like a CJ5. CJ5 doors, no space behind back seat, etc. Is it possibly that the person who restored it converted it from a CJ7 to a CJ5? Never seen that before. If so, would that change value of vehicle in any way? Any thoughts much appreciated!

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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
walkerhoundvm
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Something's been swapped - maybe just the windshield? There are a few spots you can find the VIN - above the windshield wiper motor, the firewall just near the brake master cylinder, and somewhere on the passenger side of the frame.

I'd be skeptical about what you're looking at - it's a sketchy proposition. Figure it out for sure before you spend any money. Post some pics if you can!
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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
hp_lovecraft
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The most likely scenerio is its the wrong title. I've seen it a few times. Sometimes its a simply mixup, especially at junkyards, and lots when "Jeeps all look the same". Sometimes its because the original vehicle lacked a clean title (stolen, junked, or just missing), so the owner, or previous owner did a "title swap". Perhaps buying a ruined, beyond repair CJ7, and used that for the CJ5.

Where are you getting the VIN? If its from the windshield? Then I'd guess it was swapped the windshield frame from a CJ7 donor, and nobody bothered to swap the VIN correctly. Thats pretty common. THere should also be a VIN plate in the engine compartment, near the wire harness? Though thats often removed during restorations. I think the VIN is also stamped into the frame? (Passenger side, above rear wheel well).

But this begs the question: This CJ5 no longer has a "clean title". States differ on the process at this point. My state would not require a title at all, but others are very strict. You might be able to go through the state police, and have a new one assigned, or get the original VIN off the frame? Check with the state regs first
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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:20 PM   #4
NN11325
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Thanks for your replies. Appreciate it, since I am not a mechanic! The VIN is from the owner's title. I used instaVIN and VinAudit to check the title history. Both of these come back with a CJ7 Laredo.

As I mentioned, the current owner purchased it just after it had been restored in 2001. He has had the car since.

I will try to post a couple of pictures of the Jeep.
cj5_1.jpg

cj5_2.jpg

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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
superj
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Call the title place downtown and tell them your thinking of buying a jeep but someone put the wrong number in the model line. I bet they just say they'll fix it when you change the title. The city had done that for me when the title had the wrong model on it with BMWs I have bought in the past
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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:31 PM   #6
hp_lovecraft
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With a glass body, it seems more likely that the windshield is also not original.
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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:35 PM   #7
NN11325
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All good suggestions. Thanks! My concern is also that should I at some point wish to sell this Jeep, I would have to answer all of these questions to potential buyers (unless I can have it changed when I change the title). Should I be concerned about this particular issue? If so, how much would you say it could negatively impact the value of the Jeep?

We're in the "horse trading" stage now on selling price, so that is why I ask.

Thanks!
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Unread 09-28-2013, 12:42 PM   #8
NN11325
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Yes, it is a glass body. I think pretty much everything was replaced back in 2000/2001, including the engine. It has a 305 now.
cj5_3.jpg

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Unread 09-28-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
CSP
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Someone had a CJ7 that they pulled the VIN from and attached to that tub I would bet. You can see the tag that should be attached to the windshield frame riveted to the firewall just above the master cylinder.

There's definitely something fishy going on as someone wouldn't shorten the frame, driveline, fuel lines, brake lines, etc. just to use a CJ5 body on a CJ7 frame. They could get a CJ7 fiberglass tub a helluva lot easier.

Yes, this could potentially cause issues for you in the future.
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Unread 09-28-2013, 04:39 PM   #10
jp360cj
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Does the vin on the tub match the title? Also, not all of them came with the vin by the wiper motor. That didn't start until around 80 or so
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Unread 09-28-2013, 05:36 PM   #11
roadhog304
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Unless you can get the owner to straighten out the title problem before you hand over any cash I would walk away from it. Have you asked him about it? I agree it is a nice Jeep but not worth the possible headache's that might occur if you were to get pulled over, in an accident, insurance reasons, or if you sold it.
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Unread 09-28-2013, 07:04 PM   #12
CJ7-Tim
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CJ title swapping is not uncommon. If the owner can prove ownership of the Jeep for a few years, as in it isn't stolen, what is the worry ?

Obviously somebody put together a pile of Jeep parts, and used a title from a CJ-7 what wasn't worth fixing. You can be sure the DMV and the Cops won't be able to tell the difference between a CJ-7 and a CJ-5. The only possible issue is if you have to meet smog testing requirements where you register the Jeep.

My CJ has no VIN at all on the windshield, and my XJ has the wrong color description on its title.
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Unread 09-28-2013, 07:30 PM   #13
WindKnot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
CJ title swapping is not uncommon. If the owner can prove ownership of the Jeep for a few years, as in it isn't stolen, what is the worry ?

Obviously somebody put together a pile of Jeep parts, and used a title from a CJ-7 what wasn't worth fixing. You can be sure the DMV and the Cops won't be able to tell the difference between a CJ-7 and a CJ-5. The only possible issue is if you have to meet smog testing requirements where you register the Jeep.

My CJ has no VIN at all on the windshield, and my XJ has the wrong color description on its title.
WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! There's nothing obvious about anything. And to assume a cop can't tell the difference between a CJ7 & a CJ5 is reckless. That Jeep would be impounded here until things were straightened out. It could very well be harmless and sloppy, or it could be covering up a stolen CJ5.

Right now you don't even know what year it really is. At this point, hold off until the present owner straightens out the issue. It's HIS responsibility. If it truly is a homebuilt restoration, there are processes for the states to issue a new VIN. Right now THERE IS NO CLEAR TITLE ON THAT JEEP!

If it is a back yard build the VIN will reflect that and it won't be worth as much. That should be cleared up before you buy it or offer money for it
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Unread 09-28-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
jennkent5454
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Originally Posted by WindKnot View Post
[B][I]
Right now you don't even know what year it really is. At this point, hold off until the present owner straightens out the issue. It's HIS responsibility. If it truly is a homebuilt restoration, there are processes for the states to issue a new VIN. Right now THERE IS NO CLEAR TITLE ON THAT JEEP!
X2, let the PO figure it out, so you dont have to.
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Unread 09-28-2013, 08:07 PM   #15
NN11325
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Thanks to all for your advice. This forum is great, and everyone's input has been really helpful. My gut feeling on this Jeep went from good to bad when I learned about the title issue.

For some additional background, the current owner has been completely upfront about this. He is a seasonal resident and lives in Illinois, but the Jeep is listed for sale here locally. The Jeep has just been his weekend toy for when he spends time her at his seasonal home. I was able to speak with the owner a couple of days ago. He has owned it since 2001. He purchased it from a person in Indiana who spent a couple of years rebuilding it. In other words, the car was already rebuilt when the current owner purchased it. When he registered it in IL in 2001, it was registered as a CJ7. I have a copy of that title. I called the DMV in IL, and they confirmed that the car was registered to this person in 2001 and title has been renewed every year since.

The current owner was not able to offer any explanation about why the title says CJ7 but the car looks like a CJ5. He is aware of this fact, but does not know the history of the car prior to when he purchased it. I am afraid this is a dead end for me, so now I am considering either walking away from it or possibly taking a chance on it if the seller adjusts the price accordingly (given the potential title problems I may encounter).

Thanks again for all suggestions and advice. Much appreciated!
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