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Unread 09-10-2012, 02:30 PM   #1
swilliford
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1976 CJ5 
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Sour Lake, TX
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Newbie Here!

Hello Everyone,

I am new to the boards and will hopefully be buying my first jeep this week. Looking for some opinions on the jeep I am looking at. I have found a 76' CJ-5 that appears to be in pretty good shape and running for $3000.



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Unread 09-10-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
mopar346
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Welcome to the forum, you have come to the right place for CJ knowledge and ...................ummmm, opinions. We definitely have those but all in good fun. From the initial look I'd say it's probably worth 3k, but more pictures and info will help establish a value. Rust is one of the biggest issues with these things, check for previous repair areas in the floors, rockers, rear body corners and ESPECIALLY the frame around the spring hangers worse in the rear. Go over it with a fine tooth comb from underneath and every conceiveable top side angle.The more detail you can give us about running gear would be helpful as well (engine, trans, axles, gears) including any upgrades (distributor, lockers, etc).

Again, welcome read a lot and feel free to add what you can.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
swilliford
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Thanks Mopar346! I know the jeep has the original 258 inline six and the manual 4 speed tranny. The seller says he just installed a new HEI distributor and had the jeep tuned up. The jeep has some body rust that I can see in the photo but the frame is what I really want to see. Thanks for detailing all of the areas to look at, my plans are to do a restoration on the jeep but would like to start out with at least a solid frame and running gear.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 03:13 PM   #4
Manhattan
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Is this your first CJ? Have you driven or sat in a CJ5? Are you over 5'8"? Ya see where this is going? I LOVE CJ5s - the quintessential CJ. But, they're small. At 6'1" (with long legs), I don't fit.

As Mopar364 pointed out, it's all about rust with these old Jeeps. A little body rust is one thing. But if the tub is rotten where it mounts to the frame, the ribs, etc. I'd run from it. If the frame is rusted... run. Buying an old CJ (well, a CJ) is unlike a newer car where you'd be focused on the main systems, e.g. engine, trans, etc. In a CJ, these are pretty cheap to fix, almost free to replace (that rear axle is worth about $100 - hub to hub). I'd rather buy a rust free(ish) CJ with a cracked block, grenaded transmission and bent axles than a rusted (core rust, not sides of body) but running CJ. But, as Mopar364 also eluded - opinions may vary. Ask someone who's not afraid of a body swap and loves to rewire... and he'll disagree with me 100%.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
Dudman5703
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Theres always a way around height in these things.
Low backs made me fit.
Don't be so dead set on just looking and getting this one. Make sure you look and sleep on your decision.
Often they forget to add that the frames rusting through, or something along those lines. Or at least thats my experience.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 04:19 PM   #6
swilliford
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Thanks for all the input guys, I will be headed out to look at it in about 30 minutes and will definitley be giving it a good going over (as well as sit in it, I am 6"2 270 LOL) so I will let ya'll know what I find.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
bigirons79CJ5
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6'2" and 270. Gonna be tight squeeze, even if it has a tilt wheel. I'm 5'11" and 190 and my CJ 5 is just right for me with Corbeau seats, but there are times when I wish I would've bought A CJ7 for the extra legroom and storage.
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Unread 09-10-2012, 04:53 PM   #8
Dadamsnv
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Welcome to the forum! and I agree with everyone so far. I'll also add: don't jump on the first cj you find, they are out there and they aren't hard to find. Around here you can expect to pay $3500 for something that runs and rolls with minor rust, but every once in a while, I see a very nicely restored CJ that is fully rebuilt or even lifted and trail ready for $4500 to $5500. If you are patient, you eventually find some fantastic deals!

About leg room. I'm 5'11" and 215 lbs, and I have the corbeau baja RS seat in my 77CJ5, and I just barely fit in it. Its tight but still comfy. It is only a matter of time until I notch my wheel wells for an extra couple inches of room.
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Unread 09-11-2012, 07:05 AM   #9
swilliford
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OK Guys, here are the details. First, the jeep does have quite a bit of body rust on the front fenders, one rocker panel, one back fender, and the passenger side floor pan is pretty much gone. All of the body mounts look good except for one, and its not that bad, should be an easy fix. The bed is in pretty good condition and it does not appear to be to bad under the roll bar mounts. On the positive side, the frame and spring hangers and gas tank are in great shape with very little rust anywhere to be found (kind of surprising after seeing the tub). The windshield frame, dash, and front grill are in really good condition with no extra holes in the dash (maybe all have been replaced in the past?). It is boxed in forward of the rear end so it seems to match the tub in model year.
The jeep does have the original 258 inline six with a brand new HEI distributor, cranked immediatley and idled real nice with no hiccups for 10 minutes. I saw signs that it may have had some leaks in the past, but had no drips after the 10 minutes of idleing. Has the original 4 speed transmission (T18?) with the Dana 20 transfer case. All drive lines and axles looked good and it appears the tie rods have been replaced in the not to distant past. I tried all of the gears and all shifted smoothly and bumped the jeep forward in and out of 4 wheel drive but I could not drive it around for the following reason: The guy selling the jeep (he is young 21-22?) wanted to start restoring the jeep a couple of months ago and decided to start with the transmission skid pan?? Anyway, he snapped off 3 of the bolts taking it off and did not block up the transmission before he removed it!!! so of course everything is tilted back with no support under the tranny. Should be able to bolt the skid pan back on with the remaining bolts to load it up and move it if needed.
Now on to the fit!! LOL, it is actually not to bad, the seats are in fair condition and I had more room then I thought I would have when looking at the jeep, not a lot mind you, but not bad.
All in all I liked most of what I saw. I am a former welder and still do metal work at the house with TIG, MIG, and Stick so the body work doesnt scare me all that much (easy to say that now I am sure haha). I am sure I missed some things being new to jeeps but the seller was real friendly and tried to make sure I saw everything that he knew was wrong with the jeep, pointing out several things I might have missed. So anyway, the upshot of it is he agreed to $2500 and I will give him a final answer today if I want the jeep. So what does everyone think?
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Unread 09-11-2012, 11:14 AM   #10
Dadamsnv
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The frame being solid is awesome! And you, being a welder, can handle any frame repairs (if there is something you missed) or body repairs pretty easily. As far as worth, it sounds like that jeep would fetch $2500 at the low end to $3000 at the high end around where I live without a top. If it had a soft top in decent shape, add $200. So as far as what kind of deal it is, around here anyway, its pretty fair considering there is no Warn 8274.

As far as the transmission being unsupported... When the transmission is unsupported in the rear, only the motor mounts and the shifters whacking on the tub hold up the motor/tranny/tcase assembly. This means your motor mounts are likely destroyed if not severely weakened. I would NOT DRIVE IT until you replaced those, even the slightest front end collision could send your motor straight into the radiator.

Food for thought

1. Make sure he still has the skid plate so you don't have to buy one
2. if 3 bolts broke off of the skid plate, guess how many more you'll break before you get done restoring/fixing everything
3. if it looks like oil used to leak there and it doesn't anymore, that could mean its out of oil. Like my tcase for example. When I bought my jeep, the tcase was completely dry, and i had no idea. Check the tcase and tranny fluid if you can!
4. I drove mine home when I bought it; however, Now that I've replaced all my u-joints, my roached rear axles, my front axle's rusted ring and pinion and all her bearings and seals, my Dana 20 innerds, and spent well over $1000 on drivetrain parts I finally consider it SAFE to drive.
5. If you want to lift it way up and run 35s and wheel the heck out of it, you might consider a CJ7 for stability reasons. If you want to lift a 5 like that, you will be considering stretching and widening the axles out and whatnot, which would would be less needed in a 7.
6. if your lift is for show and tell, then the 5 is cool.

These are issues I've run into with mine. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just giving you stuff to think about.

Good luck and happy hunting!
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Unread 09-11-2012, 11:17 AM   #11
Dadamsnv
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On second review of the pic, it looks like the skid is still on there???

and the front bumper consists of square tubing welded to the frame :/
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Unread 09-11-2012, 12:24 PM   #12
swilliford
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Thanks Dadamsnv! He still has the skid, its laying in the back of the jeep. In the picture you are actually seeing the tranny/t-case. I did check the fluids and the engine oil appeared fairly new, it wasnt pristine like he had just put it in there but it wasnt close to being burnt either. The oil stick read like it had a quart to much but I am pretty sure its because of the engine tilt. Agree on the motor mounts completley, they are in a bind. The jeep will come home on my 20 foot trailer and all fluids and filters will be replaced (as well as skid pan!) before its driven anywhere. Yeah, the bumper is pretty unimaginative
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Unread 09-11-2012, 12:28 PM   #13
Dadamsnv
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swilliford View Post
Thanks Dadamsnv! He still has the skid, its laying in the back of the jeep. In the picture you are actually seeing the tranny/t-case. I did check the fluids and the engine oil appeared fairly new, it wasnt pristine like he had just put it in there but it wasnt close to being burnt either. The oil stick read like it had a quart to much but I am pretty sure its because of the engine tilt. Agree on the motor mounts completley, they are in a bind. The jeep will come home on my 20 foot trailer and all fluids and filters will be replaced (as well as skid pan!) before its driven anywhere. Yeah, the bumper is pretty unimaginative
Sounds like you have your heart set on this one eh?
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Unread 09-11-2012, 01:17 PM   #14
swilliford
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LOL! is it obvious? I have been looking for about 3 months and this one is as close to what I have been looking for as any I have found. The last one I found was in much better shape tub wise (1970 CJ5) but the dude had stuck an auto trans in it???? I know, I know some people like that but I just cannot buy an old CJ5 and not have a manual tranny!!! The truth of the matter is I could afford to pay a little more money for one in better shape but this is going to be a project with my 2 boys (11 & 9). I lost my Dad last year 66 years young and this was always somthing we were going to do together and never got the chance I really want the oppurtunity to do somthing like this with my boys and I really believe the more there is to it the more they will enjoy it when its complete! I will not be getting crazy with it, not really looking to go rock crawling or anything like that, mostly mud here in SE Texas anyway. Just a nice clean restoration with maybe a little lift and nice size tires to cruise the deer lease and the beach.....
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Unread 09-11-2012, 01:47 PM   #15
Dadamsnv
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Sounds like you know what's up! I'm sorry to hear about your dad man but your kids and you will put a smile on his face while he watches the progress

I wish my pops and I had done a jeep when I was younger. We may still get the chance yet! Good luck on your build! Make a thread and I'll be there!
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