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Unread Yesterday, 12:43 PM   #1
vsanzbajo
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1986 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 13
How reliable are stock CJs in your opinion?

Like the questions says I want to know your opinion about stock Jeep CJ's with the 4.2 L engine. I know once you get into mods and all upgrades reliability might suffer, if not done properly. My question is more about stock CJ's. Any years are more reliable than others?
I always thought my CJ's were extremely reliable , but many people think otherwise. I think the main problem on CJs are the mods that people do that are not done properly, and that leads to unreliable Jeeps. I use my 86 CJ as a daily driver and it is my only car. People think that I am crazy to drive such and old car and specially a Jeep. I do not agree.
Let me know what you think and what are the weakest points on our CJ's.
Thanks in advance.

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Unread Yesterday, 01:05 PM   #2
CSP
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A lack of attention and maintenance is going to end up being more of a factor than modifications.

Considering the newest CJ is 28 years old, there's no way to tell if a stock CJ is any more reliable than one that's been highly modified, yet cared for and taken care of throughout its life.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:18 PM   #3
only in a jeep cj
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1986 CJ7 
 
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Location: Mobile, Alabama
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For what it's worth, I daily drove my 86 CJ for 17 years and its in my garage now. I've been driving a CJ8 for the last 6 and I drove a CJ 6 daily for 1.5 years.
Other cars I've had during that time were an Amc Eagle, an old Pontiac, an F150, and a Honda accord. None of those I still have, the CJs I do.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:30 PM   #4
SAVRICH
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1985 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Posts: 75
I think they're fine. My brother drove a stock cj7 all through high school and still runs perfect today. I currently drive an 85 and it's my only vehicle. With maintenance and common knowledge about slowing down rust, they're reliable. I mean yeah if you buy a 6 owner pos out of a farm field then it'll probably break on you.

By far the best thing I've run into is that practically everything can be replaced! Unlike my friends, I don't need to plug in a hypertech to tell me what's wrong with my jeep. Nor do I need to take it to a shop because of computer problems
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Unread Yesterday, 01:36 PM   #5
coxhaus
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1979 CJ7 
 
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Location: Cloudcroft, New Mexico
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CJ Jeeps are long lasting vehicles with the right maintenance. They may require more maintenance than a rice burner and leak around the edges but are worth it to me. It just amazes me when I go off-road and do all the rough stuff and then just drive back on the pavement as if nothing had happened.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:36 PM   #6
JeepHammer
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1973 CJ5 
 
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Location: South West Indiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsanzbajo View Post
Like the questions says I want to know your opinion about stock Jeep CJ's with the 4.2 L engine.

I know once you get into mods and all upgrades reliability might suffer, if not done properly.
My question is more about stock CJ's. Any years are more reliable than others?

I always thought my CJ's were extremely reliable , but many people think otherwise.

I think the main problem on CJs are the mods that people do that are not done properly, and that leads to unreliable Jeeps.

I use my 86 CJ as a daily driver and it is my only car.
People think that I am crazy to drive such and old car and specially a Jeep. I do not agree.

Let me know what you think and what are the weakest points on our CJ's.
Thanks in advance.
CSP is pretty much correct.

Reliable, YES, When maintained.
Lots of maintenance, and some of the upgrades make for a lot less maintenance, which increases reliability.

Quality replacement parts increase reliability.
Since the newest CJ was made in '86, you are looking at a LOT of replacements parts in the past 28 years.
The quality of 'Discount' replacement parts has steadily gone down in the past 28 years, and often times I see a 'Discount' part causing more problems than it's worth.

Another factor is finding a mechanic that has reasonable experience with these types of vehicles.
Bad or inexperienced mechanics make for poor repairs and decreased reliability.
It's getting harder and harder to find an 'Old School' mechanic that can work on breaker points ignitions. and now you can add the first generation electronic ignitions.
Things like carb rebuilds are becoming a thing of the past since fuel injection creeped into everything in the 80's...

Then you have parts issues.
Many parts for older vehicles simply aren't made anymore, you have to use 'Knock-Offs' or find the best 'Used' part for your rebuild.
Take drive chains for early Q-Track transfer cases for example,
Or the issues we have with ignition modules, they are all made 'Overseas' and the quality is lacking...
Your best bet is the aftermarket 'Upgrades' in these cases since there simply aren't any 'Factory' quality parts available.

Another instance is with U Joints, you have do dig around on the internet in most cases to find actual Spicer U Joints, and as many of us have found out the hard way, the 'Discount' store brands don't last long.
And that is just to bring your vehicle back to factory quality....

Your '86 probably doesn't suffer from it, since most had D-44 rear differentials,
But the two piece axles in CJs were a pain in the butt! Common failure points and the ONLY way to fix that issue is the aftermarket/upgrade parts.

Simple is usually reliable, provided you have the correct maintenance.
These vehicles are simple, they CAN BE reliable, and to increase the reliability using some 'Upgrades' or higher quality parts will help.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:43 PM   #7
cwig12
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1983 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
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When I got my CJ it was stock and I fixed a couple problems it was having mainly due to age. It ran just fine after that, it even started in -25 degree weather during the winter and the 4wd worked great. I've done the Team rush upgrade and threw on a Weber 38 Carb since then and love it even more. I'm trying to stay close to stock with a few modern upgrades. Just take care of it with regular maintenance and you should be fine staying stock. If it makes it any better, my dad's 98' TJ has had more problems than my 83' CJ7. By the way it's been my DD and my only vehicle for over a year now, so far it's been reliable. I love it.

Edit: I found a local trucking company that has Spicer U Joints in stock and even installs them for you without charging you extra.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:56 PM   #8
kovic
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1983 CJ5 
 
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I drive my 1983 CJ5 Daily. I put at least 50 miles on it a day highway. Everything is pretty much stock. Few mods to the engine, ignition, carb etc. Had to work hard on getting it to run properly but I got it down. Nothing else has been messed with...Ive never had to wheels off..... and Ive owned it for 7 years. I know it could use a new gear box, little loose. Body is rusty, so when it rains my feet get a slight bath.

But, its the most dependable vehicle ive ever owned, in terms of how long its gone with no major issues...

I would trust it cross country. I just need to throw a new tub on it.

Its all how you take care of it, fluids etc paying attention to new noises and so on.

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Unread Yesterday, 03:23 PM   #9
RenoF250
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1985 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Foresthill, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSP View Post
A lack of attention and maintenance is going to end up being more of a factor than modifications.

Considering the newest CJ is 28 years old, there's no way to tell if a stock CJ is any more reliable than one that's been highly modified, yet cared for and taken care of throughout its life.
I agree maintenance is key. CJs require a bit more because they are old and 4WD but if it is done I think they are reliable aside from the T5 which I think is junk. They only other problem I have run into is body and frame cracks. I crawl around under mine quite often to inspect it look for loose bolts etc.
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Unread Yesterday, 04:15 PM   #10
JeffreyCharles
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1976 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vallejo, CA
Posts: 571
Mine is near stock - it has 31's on it, and the PO put in power steering - but other than that. I drive it about 50 miles each weekday and rarely have issues. Like others, I pay attention to it, look it over regularly, buy quality replacement parts and thanks to a proper high school education way too many years ago, know how to do all the work myself. All of that equals a pretty reliable vehicle.

In his "Jeep Bible" Granville King had a great chapter called "The 200,000 Mile Jeep" which outlines the approach to getting there. It's all about the maintenance.
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