Hi everyone, I'm new here and wanted to say hi to all. I do not own a Jeep and haven't as of yet but my wife and I want to get one (looking for a late 70's to early 80's CJ). I can see loads of reading to be done here and lots of talent to ask questions to. My first one would be if there is anything in particular that I should look for or look out for in the years I'm thinking of?
Thanks in advance and look forward to the forum!
How good are you at fixing and maintaining vehicles? Any Jeep of that age will require a modicum of mechanical and electrical knowledge or you will spend a lot of time with the mechanics for small items such as failure to start etc.
Be realistic about how much it will cost to rebuild or fix to make it a decent driving clean machine. If you spend a little bit more on a solid rust free vehicle with reasonable paint that runs well you will have a good basis. Wrecks can absorb many hours and $$$$s.
Also decide what you want. Mods to a Jeep are not cheap and you do not get that money back on resale. However they are also very personal to the owner so you have a choice:
Time warp original (my favourite)
Modified close to what you want
Modified but a lot you want to change
There are some mods which are desirable but I would not pay anything extra for them. One piece axles on the AMC20, Dana 44 axles, ignition upgrades are just a few.
As to precise model they all have a following but the 4 cylnder models are not highly desired whilst original high spec V8s are. Anything with a different engine is worth less unless very well executed.
Welcome aboard!! If I were you, I would consider and establish some of the basics:
What transmission might you want?(automatic, or manual 3, 4, or 5 speed)
Do you need a stronger transmission (for hard offroading) or just a standard duty one?
Engine? (inline 4, inline 6, or V8)
What kind of top and doors do you require? (Jeep with no top, soft top, hard top, soft doors, steel doors, etc)
AC or no AC?
How willing are you to put up with a rusty tub? (floor pan and other body areas)
Do you require largeer tires or smaller tires?
Suspension lift or not? What height?
Do you have sufficient knowledge to be your own mechanic, or are you willing to pay someone else to service the CJ?
Do you have a budget for repairs in the near term and long term? (consider parts, tools, fluids)
Are you willing to live with poor gas mileage?
As the previous poster mentioned, what will you be doing with the Jeep? Wheeling it? Daily driver? something else?
Or do you have (or need) an alternate vehicle to drive when the CJ isn't running?
What color do you want?
How long are you willing to wait to find the CJ you really want?
Do you want to spend $10K for a CJ in great shape, or $2K for one that needs all kinds of work all around?
Understand the common problems with old CJs such as rusty frames, bodies, leaking fluids, carburetor problems, fuel problems, electrical problems, etc, and be prepared to test/check these things when you check out a potential candidate in person. Also be on the lookout for all kinds of hacks and half-a**ed repairs thrust upon an old CJ by all of the previous owners.
You will want to give your own priority to things such as color, top, engine, transmission, etc. You have to balance that against what's available at the time you're ready to buy. For example, you may find the perfect engine, transmission, and color combination but it doesn't come with the top you want, such as a hard top. In that case you have to track down a hard top and have the money left to pay for it.
The more you learn about CJs, you more you'll see that certain years had certain engine and transmission combinations.
Regardless of what you buy, be prepared to keep pumping money into it. You will read this from many, many people, but until you experience it, it's hard to understand.
Jeep = Just empty every pocket
Again, welcome to Jeepforum!
"I give you a republic, if you can keep it." - Benjamin Franklin
Welcome to the fun, a lot of knowledgeable folks on here. As mentioned by Ken, make you a list of what you require in a Jeep, knowing that you will probably have to give up a few. The key is not giving up too many and not the expensive ones. For instance mechanical issues are easy fixes and one at a time can be done in week ends as the budget allows, rust is terminal and takes weeks/months/years to tackle and can be expense. Set the budget as mention and anything you give up needs to come out of the purchase price so the end product maintains some simulance to the budget you intended. When you do make repairs/upgrades plan them ahead and build to the level you want the first time, do the research and don't take any one person's word for anything, regardless how much you trust them (don't ask, I still a little sore about it). I posted my list once but here it is again:
Rust free - this was a deal breaker for many, but we found the right one
Standard trans - check but it was a T-4
Original V8 - settled for a well done 360 swap
Good color - steel blue
35 or larger - 35s
Full roll cage - nope, but had all the bars made before we brought it home, just got to get it assembled
Ready to drive - not exactly see the next line
$4500 - yea right, upped the budget to $6500, paid 5k with a bad trans, $1000 for that fix, now $1000 in a 435
It's been a month or more, so I have forgotten some of it. We drove well over 2500 miles and looked at 20 or so CJ before we purchased this one. Most we illiminated in less than a minute due to rust, regardless how many times I told them it was a deal breaker, they would still let us drive 5 hours for obvious junk. We did in the end get what I believe to be the right one, it was only 6 hours from the house.
Anyway, your list my vary, good luck, don't be in a hurry.
Careful your character's showing
If mostly highway I suggest you look very hard at any potential purchase as to tyre size and axle gearing.
A stock one will let you cruise all day at 55mph at around 2,400rpm, maximising economy and giving reasonable acceleration. If it has been retyred you need to carefully look at whether this has been fundamentally changed and whether you can live with it.
Up to 31" tyres there is a small penalty on gas mileage but they drive OK and you can use stock suspension. Beyond that and you need to think about what you are using it for.
I would suggest sticking with '76 and up as they are easier to find parts for. And easier yet are CJ7s vs CJ5s. Don't get me wrong, I love my 5, just saying..... '83 and up have 3" wider axles than '82 and down nice extra bonus for street ability.
My 2 cents.
Oh and welcome to the madness!
With a great Jeep comes an empty wallet.
i would suggest getting one with a good frame, good tub, and the motor you want that runs reliably. that will be a good starting point. dont settle, their are TONS out there even though they are so rare.
the best thing about the 82+ is the wide tracks, bad thing is the weak trannies
82 and older had the good trannies, but had narrow tracks.
axles are MUCH easier to swap than a tranny so if i were you i would get one with a good tranny like the t176 and narrows and swap in a set of wides.
'01 TJ 4.7/NV3550, 2" lift, 35's, locked.
'79 CJ7 stock, 304
'98 XJ sold
'79 CJ7 sold
'82 CJ7 parted
'89 MJ sold
SSG David Mejias, SSG Eric Vick, SGT William Bowling, SGT Robert McDowell
Thanks, and ALL 2 cents are greatly appreciated, Ive been reading the forum for 2 days and haven't scratched the surface!
That sounds about right. Don't feel like you need to be in a hurry to get a CJ. The more you learn before you buy, then the greater the chance you'll be happy in the long term after you do buy.
Another factor that you might consider is how road-worthy a CJ you want. In other words, do you want one you can drive home on day 1, or do you want one that's going to require repairs before it can be driven (or before it's safe to drive).
Personally, that was a big consideration for me. I wanted a CJ that I could drive home on day one, and be reasonably sure that I could drive it around town without problems. Of course there are no guarantees
"I give you a republic, if you can keep it." - Benjamin Franklin