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Unread 01-15-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
bryce1974
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Newbie wanting help on engine and transmission choices for a cj7!

Hi, i'm trying to redo my cj7 and was wondering first about the engine and transmission. Iv'e heard alot about jeep trannys going out at 30,000 miles quite alot on the newer wranglers thats why I decided on the cj7. I got a really good deal on a cj7 because the engine and transmisson were blown. I'm going to use it as my primary vehical and don't mind the noise and uncomfort of it.

So 2 things are important to me: Reliability and being able to drive 75 on the highway. So I need some expert advice on my engine and transmission options. But I don't want conversions I just want to choose from the factory choices for the cj7. Which transmissions are reliable and which ones are not? Same for the engine.

I tried researching on the net, but didn't find much from the reliability stand point. I would like input on both good and bad ones and some input on reliability of auto vs. clutch. I will be doing a combination of highway driving to work, and light off roading, so i don't need a hard core transmission that only goes 35mph.

Oh and side question, what is the top speed of the cj7? I know I asked alot but I really need and appreciate the help. Thanks in advance.

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Unread 01-15-2010, 04:29 PM   #2
No_Bs
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For reliability I would say a 258 for sure, they are easy to find, have decent power, and near bullet proof. To be honest, unless you have a very finely tuned suspension, your probably gonna want to keep it under 65, these jeeps have a tendency to wonder at speed. Best trans for general street/light offroad would probably have to be the T176/177. The only overdrive trans would be the T5, which is a hit or miss. I've seen some handle hard offroading ok, and seen some blow up on the street. I prefer manual, but that's just me.
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Unread 01-15-2010, 04:41 PM   #3
SlikRic
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x2 on the 258/T176 combo I have that in my 80 CJ7, axles geared @3.08 and I can run 85 and still have pedal left. I don't do any rock climbing so the gearing is fine for trails and mud. I hope this helps
Good Luck
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Unread 01-15-2010, 04:45 PM   #4
bryce1974
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Ok thanks for the great advice. Oh by the way the guy I bought it from said it had a 232 engine, but he wasnt sure of the tranny. More great advice will be appreciated, I would like more opinions on the matter and why 232 isnt as good as 258.

Are those the only factory cj7 trannys that are reliable? Any good auto's. I actually do prefer clutch but if the auto is more reliable, I would go for that. Oh and what would be a benefit of over drive? Thanks!
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Unread 01-15-2010, 05:01 PM   #5
Boxcar
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I agree on the motor. The 258 is by far the best all around user friendly Jeep power plant. But not on the tranny choice mentioned. The T-18 is by far a better choice in Transmitions. wether you get the 6 to one or the 4 to one there is no compaering the two.And theay were a factory set up in both the cj5 and cj7. For autos the turbo 400 d-20 was also a factory option and a fairly bullet proof set up . early t-5s are adequite but I wouldn't go there. If your Jeep is stock it will drive fine at 70 mph . The problem is that most cj"s aren't stock. If you don't know what you are doing you can realy screw up the drivabillity of a cj with a poorly exicuted lift or poor maintanance.....1974 cj5 401,T-18,twin stick terra low d-20,44s,33s, lockers (detroit),10 point cage,warn 8274,
mallory unilight, 4" skyjacker lift, hooker headers (in frame) I don't have all day so I will cut the list short.... I do this for a living.......... What year 7 did you buy and what was the origanal drive train? As far as top speed Depends on your gears and guts...
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Unread 01-15-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
bryce1974
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Ok the 258 as the engine is settled unless more people disagree. And we have a t-176, t-18, and th400 on the good list for trannys. I will pass on the t-5, is the t-4 a bad choice as well? What are transmissions to definetly stay away from?

To answer your question it is a 1982 and I bought it from the original owner that didn't know anything about mechanics, but it is all stock no lifts or anything. He said it was a 232 for the engine and he didn't know about the transmission, but its a clutch, I think axles are dana 30 and amc 20, I guess standard carbs and im not sure about the transfer case or differentials. Hope this helps.
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Unread 01-15-2010, 05:34 PM   #7
jeepskate
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The big question here is what year did you buy? There's two 'generations' if you will, 1976-1979 and 1980-1986. While you can most certainly swap parts back & forth between them, you have to do a little finagling to deal with the different t-case setups and get the skid plate/crossmember mounted up. The T-18 is an excellent trans, however it is basically a 3 speed since 1st gear is a crawl gear and of little to no use on the street...you definitely won't use it in everyday driving. If you have an 80-86, it's not a direct bolt up to the t-case. The 232 is basically the predecessor to the 258...I don't recall that it was ever used in the CJ-7 and am eating dinner right now so I'm not going to go look it up...you can check out www.jeeptech.com to see what was used when and common swaps & fixes. The 258 is bulletproof and with some carb & ignition tweaks can make a nice daily driver powerplant. Reliabilty is going to be up to YOU...it's an old, used vehicle, so you're going to have to build in any reliability.
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'83 Scrambler: time & money pit under construction with parts from CJ's,YJ's,TJ's,FSJ's,GM,Ford,IH,Honda,Toyota and a whole lotta aftermarket & custom stuff.
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Unread 01-15-2010, 05:42 PM   #8
jeepskate
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T-4 is basically a T-5 without the overdrive. For your use, while it's not the most durable trans, the T-5 is probably the best choice since it has overdrive. It's fine as a street trans if you aren't abusive and take proper care of it. TF999 would be your choice for an auto, that was the stock unit for your year. The TH400 was only used with q-trac (full-time 4WD) pre-'80 so it would require adapting to your Dana 300 t-case or you'd have to get one out of an older FSJ that's mated to a Dana 20 t-case (which then gets you into fitting it up to your later model frame). You're going to need to spend some time and money on the suspension & steering at those speeds.
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'86 CJ-7 Laredo: 4.2,T-999,D300,D30/D44,'94 YJ tub, full cage, Shrockworks rockers, OYR corners, AC,cruise,restored seats,3 tops,2.5" Superlift,F-T shackle reversal, RS9000x's,35" Dunlop Mud Rovers.
'83 Scrambler: time & money pit under construction with parts from CJ's,YJ's,TJ's,FSJ's,GM,Ford,IH,Honda,Toyota and a whole lotta aftermarket & custom stuff.
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Unread 01-15-2010, 05:49 PM   #9
Johnyakimo1855
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The 258 with a 4.0 HO head swap and MPFI Kit, These are moderately straightforward to install and once installed you just forget about them. It improves cold starts and HP as well as just overall dependability and performance. T176/Dana 300 driveline. My .02 cents worth...
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Unread 01-15-2010, 06:10 PM   #10
Boxcar
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Wrong again as I mentioned earlyer the t-18 is available in both 6-1 or 4-1 1st gear Most cj5s came with the later wich maks it a 4 spd it was also mated to the d-300 in the 80s as an option which is what your jeep most likely has in it. Now
I am not just ringing the t18s chimes But you must realize THIS IS THE MOST utilized transmition ever used in light trucks VERRY available- Used in every thig Fords Jeeps Corn Binders And yes even some chevys. It will work in an 82. Your jeep is pas side drop so you need eather a d-20/ or a d-300 transfer case. By the way it has a 258 if it is stock .... the t-176 is an ok tranny .You will not find as many out there on say craigs list or ebay becaus thay are not as universal. The TH-400 you can find in most Wagoneers from say 72-76 STAY AWAY FROM THE QUADRATRACS. If you do opt for the T-18 You will pay more for the 6-1 and it will more than likely be a Ford tranny . You will need to use a conversion carrier bearing and a Ford 11" clutch disc to mate this to your engine. You may also need a mid year (76-80's) Bellhousing. Look on the Novac web site thay will provide you with all the info you need to inst. a T-18 into your Jeep......Boxcar
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Unread 01-15-2010, 06:17 PM   #11
Boxcar
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I forgot to mention the venerable T-15 three speed . It was a factory set up in most cj5s and cj7s equiped with v-8s great reliable tranny. Not very exciting to most Jeepers and very cheap. You should be able to find a good one mated to a d-20 for a couple of hundred bucks.. As far as reliability I don't think anyone will argue that this isn't one of the most reliable trannys Jeep ever used.....Boxcar
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Unread 01-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #12
jeepskate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
Wrong again
Again? When was I wrong the first time?

Quote:
as I mentioned earlyer the t-18 is available in both 6-1 or 4-1 1st gear Most cj5s came with the later wich maks it a 4 spd it was also mated to the d-300 in the 80s as an option which is what your jeep most likely has in it.
The T-18 by every account was not used past 1979 in the CJ and was never mated to the Dana 300...you'll have to provide a source for this one. It's certainly *not* most likely what he has, the T-4 or T-176/177 is. The only T-18/D-300 combos I've ever seen or heard of were either Scouts for the single year that they used a Dana 20 compatible Dana 300 or they were Ford T-18's that were adapted to the Dana 300.
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'86 CJ-7 Laredo: 4.2,T-999,D300,D30/D44,'94 YJ tub, full cage, Shrockworks rockers, OYR corners, AC,cruise,restored seats,3 tops,2.5" Superlift,F-T shackle reversal, RS9000x's,35" Dunlop Mud Rovers.
'83 Scrambler: time & money pit under construction with parts from CJ's,YJ's,TJ's,FSJ's,GM,Ford,IH,Honda,Toyota and a whole lotta aftermarket & custom stuff.
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Unread 01-15-2010, 06:42 PM   #13
jeepskate
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar View Post
I forgot to mention the venerable T-15 three speed . It was a factory set up in most cj5s and cj7s equiped with v-8s great reliable tranny. Not very exciting to most Jeepers and very cheap. You should be able to find a good one mated to a d-20 for a couple of hundred bucks.. As far as reliability I don't think anyone will argue that this isn't one of the most reliable trannys Jeep ever used.....Boxcar
That would be a T-150, used as the stock tranny up until '79 (the T-18 was an option *then* not in the 80's). SR4, T4, T5, T176/177, TF999 are the 80's offerings.
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'86 CJ-7 Laredo: 4.2,T-999,D300,D30/D44,'94 YJ tub, full cage, Shrockworks rockers, OYR corners, AC,cruise,restored seats,3 tops,2.5" Superlift,F-T shackle reversal, RS9000x's,35" Dunlop Mud Rovers.
'83 Scrambler: time & money pit under construction with parts from CJ's,YJ's,TJ's,FSJ's,GM,Ford,IH,Honda,Toyota and a whole lotta aftermarket & custom stuff.
http://www.jeepskate.net
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Unread 01-15-2010, 07:17 PM   #14
jeepskate
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Bryce. also need to ask what your skill level is (mechanics, fabrication). I have my own ideas based upon what you've posted, but I've been wrong before...
I try to tailor my advice to the audience. What I would recommend to a newbie is not what I would recommend to a seasoned wrench monkey and vice versa.
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'86 CJ-7 Laredo: 4.2,T-999,D300,D30/D44,'94 YJ tub, full cage, Shrockworks rockers, OYR corners, AC,cruise,restored seats,3 tops,2.5" Superlift,F-T shackle reversal, RS9000x's,35" Dunlop Mud Rovers.
'83 Scrambler: time & money pit under construction with parts from CJ's,YJ's,TJ's,FSJ's,GM,Ford,IH,Honda,Toyota and a whole lotta aftermarket & custom stuff.
http://www.jeepskate.net
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Unread 01-16-2010, 01:06 AM   #15
bryce1974
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Well mechanics skill is beginner as you might have guest, what advice would you give an expert on this matter, maybe something I have ruled out or havent thought of that might be a better option.
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