How Good is a CJ5 on snow -
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post #1 of 26 Old 09-15-2013, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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1983 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Grand Rapids
Posts: 953
How Good is a CJ5 on snow

Hey guys,

I have a little dilemma. I have had my 1983 CJ5 for around 6 years, and for the first time I am going to have to use it as my daily during the winter here in Michigan. Winters are harsh and can sometimes get 2 feet.

I am worried about how it will handle on the snow/ice, I drive on the highway to work and back every day, about 40 minutes worth.

It is stock, all terrains, 258 4 speed.

I am worried because there was one time I had to stop fast on a wet road and the jeep just started spinning in circles

-I have no hard top, the one I bought on Ebay turned out to need a lot of work so I had to bite the bullet on that.

-It is rusty, not sure if it will survive, may just spray everything down with oil underneath.

-The brakes pull, could be the reason I spun in circles on a wet road.

So really My options are get the brakes all redone, or sell it and try to find something a little better in the snow at highway speed.

I would hate to sell it, but I need to be practical

Anyways, what do you guys suggest.

If I sold it I would maaaaaaaye get 2500-3000 for if Im lucky, because it is rusty.



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post #2 of 26 Old 09-15-2013, 11:34 PM
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1986 CJ7 
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Location: Muskegon
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I live in Michigan as well. Having had a 5 in the past, with a 350, I can tell you it wouldn't be my first choice.... that said, I drove mine for years. I had to pretty much keep it in 4 hi, but it was doable.
My biggest complaint would be heat, or the lack of. Even that is fixable.

Dave in Muskegon
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post #3 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 05:09 AM
1982 CJ5 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SoCal
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The short wheelbase along with most of the weight being toward the front can make it dicey...make sure you have good winter tires on it..carry tire chains and use them if it gets too slick or you may end up in a ditch.
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post #4 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 06:23 AM
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1983 CJ7 
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Location: North Andover, MA.
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If I absolutely had to drive it as a DD, I'd be looking for a set of Nokian snow tires and not use the 4WD unless absolutely necessary. Had a friend who crossed up doing ~ 40 mph in 4WD. When he hit a dry patch,it grabbed and the truck flipped.

X2 on oil the unders, assuming they use salt on the roads there....might need to supplement with an electric heater!!
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post #5 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 07:33 AM
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1977 CJ7 
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It's not the snow... it's the ICE!

In your situation I'd park it for the winter and try to find something else. It's not my first choice for a winter daily driver unless we're talking rural back roads with low speeds.

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

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post #6 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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1983 CJ5 
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Location: Grand Rapids
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^^ thanks for the responses, The last 6 winters I have parked it. But I sold my old truck because we needed the money, I cannot afford to keep this and get another vehicle (just graduated college) . So my only options are sell it and buy something else, or try to make it work.

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post #7 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 09:38 AM
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Get a set of chains, carry a tow strap, jumper cables and some food/water.
No car is worth a c'it on ICE if your tires can't grip it.
Heavy snow fall, that soft top won't last long.
Look into an engine block heater........

Have'n you along, is like loose'n 2 good men
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post #8 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 09:54 AM
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1985 CJ7 
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Location: Gunnison area
Posts: 129
"How Good is a CJ5 on snow?"

At slow speeds it will do fine in snow. But should you find yourself suddenly on a patch of ice, think of a turtle upside down on it's back sliding across a frozen pond. That's about how much control you would have.

258 cu. inch six, Team Rush ignition upgrade, T5, Dana 300, Superwinch lockouts, Black Diamond 3" suspension lift, greasable shackles, poly bushings, JKS quick discos, 32x11.50x15 Cooper STT's, American Racing 23 15x8 alloys, Uniden Pro 520XL CB radio, 2' adjustable tip Firestick antenna, Viair 460 onboard air system

Last edited by CrustySprings; 09-16-2013 at 10:06 AM.
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 10:42 AM
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1985 CJ7 
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Location: Fort Worth
Posts: 744
i had a cj5 when i lived in upstate NY (saratoga springs) back in 74. Used sand bags in the rear of the jeep for added traction & that seemed to work pretty good.
as been said, it's ice you have to be careful off + you can't just shift into/out of 4wd at a moments notice. I usually drove in 2wd and just took it easy as i would have in any car...
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 01:09 PM
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1981 CJ5 
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I've used my CJ5 as my DD for 4 or so years, all year.

The first winter was a bit hairy. I learned that when on snow, one brake would lock up with the lightest touch.... not good, so I fixed that. THe heater was also not enough, ESPECIALLY for the defrosters. I upgraded the blower, and replaced the core, and all the seals. Now it actually heats up like an oven.

I've also found it usefull to be able to switch back and forth to 2wd and 4wd, while driving, as conditions present themselves. So after the first snow, I'll leave the front axle engaged, and I installed a Dana300 Twin-stick. (much easier to switch back and forth).

I also installed tow-hooks on every corner, carry a huge tow-strap, (along with set of tools, and basic emergency kit), and have an extra jug of washer fluid.

I've never really had a problem in the snow, even last year during the "blizzard of the century". THe governor shut the roads down, but I still had to work. The roads were not even plowed, but I found if I built enough speed, I could push through it.

Ice, however, is another story. 4wd sucks on ice, as does 30 year old brakes. I can tell you that my frame is warped because 2 winters ago I slid right through an intersection, into a guard-rail at about 20mph.
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post #11 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 03:12 PM
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1978 CJ5 
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Location: Albany~town, Oregon
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I've done well on Santiam and Tombstone passes here in Oregon (minding my speed and steering) with those KM 2's, those and the LaGrande tire chains I scored from a comrade in the bus industy, cut 'em down to fit the 32's and they make great ballast for the hiney end.

The parts shop that stocks part for Skylab II will not have parts for our year/model of Jeep
We cannot accurately judge the trajectory of a speeding critter (cat, dog, sasquatch)
Record heat waves and floods only occur when we visit that area
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post #12 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well, Sounds like it is possible, but risky. I would absolutely hate to sell my jeep, because where I am at in life right now, I would most likely never be able to get another one/it would be a very long time.

I am going to call around to see how much to have the brakes changed, because it does pull to one side when I brake hard (would change them myself but I have no jack)

I will look into chains (they are expensive ) Do I need only rear wheels chained, or all of them?

The heater works great in the jeep so I think I should be good, but we will see.

I looked up engine block heaters , they all have outlet plugs, that wont help me as my jeep is in the apartment complex parking lot, no outlet.

I will oil up the undercarriage, and put some tow rope in the back along with my tool box.

Any other ideas to make this thing winter worthy?

thanks guys?

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post #13 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 04:07 PM
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1983 CJ7 
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besides the fact that I had to actually fold my windshield down in the winter to allow the engine to deice it and then start my 20 mile drive to school in the snow on back roads. Me being 16 was fine and dandy but I think I looked like the michelan man because for me it wasnt that the jeep couldnt do the snow very well, it was the driver battling the cold weather and hoping not to get swiped by an out of control motorist. I drove a 60 willys for 2.5 years daily rain or shine. I kept the underneith and body doused, I MEAN COVERED in penetrating oil to battle the salt and it still looks good for the original body and frame. The floor was rotted when I got it which made for an interesting drive as slush would freeze my feet. As for the jeep with the small 4cyl, short wheel base it did okay. 4 wheel drum brakes also made for controlled stopping challenging. You have a little better features than I did.
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post #14 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 05:33 PM
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Oil it up, fix the brakes, ride out!!

If I could live and drive in snow and a karmann Ghia, you can do it in a badass jeep. (Cj5s are badass, in general)

I don't feel like working on anything at this time so i sold my yj.
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post #15 of 26 Old 09-16-2013, 05:51 PM
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1966 CJ5 
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i drove my old 1966 scout and swb 1990 geo tracker in northern minnesota winters. lifted and locked in the rear. both did fine.
i'm currently getting my 1966 cj5a built up and plan on it being a dd, again, here in northern minnesota. it too is locked in the rear, but no lift.
never had a wreck, spun off the road, got myself stuck, etc. and that is with 22 winters here and counting!

honestly, it's so much more about how you drive than what you drive. i drive based on the conditions of both the weather and the road. i don't get stupid or in a hurry. give myself plenty of time to brake. don't tailgate. down shift the tranny before braking. do my slowing down before turning and never accelerate in a turn. etc.
i drive like i want to live forever and that includes being alert for drivers who don't share my ambition about that.

1966 CJ5A, mods are coming
1966 Wagoneer, bone stock
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