After a long search I'm now a CJ owner! Here's the post I made after first looking at the CJ:
I'll post 3 new photos plus re-post the images from the above post. After the photos I'll give the whole story below:
1985 CJ7, T5 transmission, 258. I don't even know what the axles and transfer case are, but based on my limited knowledge, the rear pumpkin looks like a Dana 30.
33 x 12.5 x 15 tires. The PO claims it has a 4" lift. The rear bumper sticker indicates it could be a Rough Country lift.
This is my first CJ or Jeep of any kind. After wanting one back in the mid 80's, my parents said I needed a 4 door vehicle. So no CJ, but it's been in the back of my mind for 25 years.
I found this CJ on Craigslist after abour 5 years of on and off searching around. This one is appealing because it's got the 258, the T5, and it's white. The frame is in great shape. The PO had the Jeep for about 13 years and drove it little and no wheeling. THe history before that is basically unknown.
There is some body rust.
After some discussion with the PO, we agreed on $5500, down from the original $6200 price. I'm usually a good sleeper but I literally had some sleepless nights thinking about buying this thing and pondering the good and bad. It is, afterall, a CJ.
I live in the west side of Houston, Texas, and the CJ was located in Baytown, TX, about 50 miles on the other side of Houston.
We arrived at the PO's house and did the deal. He handed over the keys and asked me about what I was going to do with it.
While the Jeep test drove OK, my fear was the 50 mile drive back to the other side of Houston. Luckily (I guess), it 95% of it was down Interstate 10.
I test drove the Jeep earlier and briefly had it up to about 55 MPH and it seemed stable. No death wobble. The steering wasn't loose or flakey, but I did have to work a bit harder to keep it on the road than my Jetta, which drives beautifully. The brakes required some pressure to make a hard stop, but they work well enough to have passed the state safety inspection.
So after making the purchase and saying goodbye, I loaded up a toolbox of general tools, strapped on my seatbelt, and headed home.
Within minutes I was on the freeway in light to moderate traffic. I had her up to 50 and then 55 MPH fairly easily, feeling really happy to have the 5th gear to keep the RPMs down. I was moving along with the slower vehicles just fine, but had no acceleration in 5th gear. I figure the 33" tires and 25 year age might factor in there.
About 1/3 of the way home, I started feeling hot air which seemed odd since the heater core is not connected to the engine. Ultimately I figured out that it was hot air (probably from the exhaust system), coming in the shift boot which was torn. I pushed it down and that helped a little.
The ride was, as you can imagine, bouncy. Houston has no shortage of uneven roads and freeways. Eventually I learned not to extend and lock my arms while holding on the wheel; instead, I kept my arms bent to avoid transferring more motion to my body.
Ultimately the drive home was fine. No problems.
When I rolled into the driveway my youngest son wanted to ride around the block. That's when I realized the headlights wouldn't turn back on and rembered the PO saying that the floor headlight switch was flakey. No problem, it's a CJ.
I can fix it.
Anyhow, in the past couple of days (in anticipation of purchasing the CJ) I have been lining up parts for various repair projects: Team Rush parts, shift lever boot, clip/shim to properly attach the shift lever, new valve cover gasket and RTV, plugs, oil, clay bar and cutting glaze compound to work over the chalky paint job, rust converter, and friday I'll have smaller wheels and tires installed. (31x10.5's BFG AT on 15x8 wheels, same style as you see in the photos). The owner threw in a tow bar and a good looking Goodyear 235/75R15 on a white wagon wheel for a spare.
(Anyone want to buy a good set of 33's and wheels in Houston? Plenty of tread left)
The Jeep needs more than that. The fuel gauge doesn't work, headlights are flakey, engine compartment needs a lot of cleanup, engine probably needs to be nuttered, radio doesn't work, factory temp gauge doesn't work, heater core is disconnected, turn indicator lever knob is broken, blinkers are too fast, interior floor painted with black paint, fan control knob missing, probably needs new shocks, and I'm sure there will be dozens more. I was pondering dropping in a more interesting muffler but after the drive home I think I will hold off for later. With a metal floor and nothing else, the exhaust is loud enough.
But even with the problems, the thing is solid; great frame, passed safety inspection, minimal body rust, great seats and top, and drives fine enough to far to be a semi-daily driver for my 7 mile trip to work each day.
That's all for now. I will be sure to document all my work with plenty of photos.