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post #1 of 37 Old 03-07-2010, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tooele,
Posts: 26
Noobiee! please read

Hey guys,

This is my first post as you guys can see and i would like to give a little background and ask for some help.

Im a juinor in highschool and I jsut recently had the opputunity to take over the old 1980 CJ7. I grew up in this jeep and love it more then anything. Its been sitting in our driveway since my brother passed about 7 years ago and now that i have my license and our family being tight on money, its my new vehical and i couldnt be happier. theres a lot of work that needs to be done, ever thing from a new/rebuit engine to a new a paintjob. and i have a lot to learn so be gentle with me, but between my father and the community i think ill get by

well enough about that. Now with some questions.

1. currently it is lifted with a 2.3in lift, My father says it cant be lifted any higher due to the transmission. anyone have more information on this?

2. I dont even know where to begin with this whole project. Winter is slowly turning into Spring and this may be my dads last summer so it will be kind of a Father/ son project. Any tips?

Ive been reading threads all day and finally worked up the courage to post.



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post #2 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 12:56 AM
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1984 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: valdosta
Posts: 69
welcome. what are your plans for the jeep.
specs. moter/ trans / transfercass / front and rear axles / is there a lot of rust or none at all. get your self a photo bucket account and post up some pics.
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post #3 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 01:31 AM
Hylke's Avatar
1978 CJ7 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Zoetermeer, Netherlands
Posts: 178
Do you have some pictures of the jeep? How does the engine run? Are the trans and t-case still in working order? If so, you might want to leave them be for now and take on the stuff that really needs to be done. Especially since you're tight on money.
And what's the ultimate goal here? A complete restoration to build the most beautiful jeep or rebuilding it to drive?

As for painting: what are you able to do yourself? You could take on the 50 dollar paint job with a roller.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 01:31 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Phoenix AZ.
Posts: 31
Welcome, were you begin depends on were you want to go, complete tear down and rebuild? or fix and improve as you use? and how much can you afford?
The lift question involves more than just the transmission, but the short answer is yes it can be lifted higher. Lifting changes steering geometry, driveline angles and lengths, and handling characteristics, all of which can be corrected. Is your desire to lift, bigger tires? or just for the cool factor? nothing wrong with that, it's your Jeep it should be what you want, I ask because you should be able to clear 33"s with a 2.5" lift much more tire and you will want to consider regearing as performance will suffer.
The best way to start would be to decide what you have, drive train, etc.,what you want to do with it, rocks, mud, general use, how much you can afford, and what areas need the most attention. Then post specific questions along with as much info as possible.
If some people are less than helpful or are too critical, don't let bother you, we all start at the begining. But most of the guy's here are very cool.
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post #5 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 01:40 AM
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: California
Posts: 321
post pics and your budget, just give us the link to the pics on ur photobucket and we'll no click it for you(post them)
do the hardest stuff first. id do the engine if its shot.then work on the drive train. paint and tires would be last on the list for me, unless the tires are rotted or extremely worn.

4.0, 5sp, bfg33's, 3 1/2 lift
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post #6 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 06:30 AM
Mike Romain
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1986 CJ7 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Off the Grid in Chester Grant
Posts: 18,089
I run 33" tires with a 2.5" lift and off road pretty hard some times with no issues. I am the white CJ7 in the photo albums in my sig line link. Most of the jeeps wheeling with me have the same size of lift or are even just plain stock.

I would start by being sure all the fluids are clean and full and then I would do a tune up to it if it hasn't been done before. The gas filter would be the first part I changed and I would carry a spare one of those expecting the sediment that gathered in the tank from sitting to plug up one for sure and likely two even.

I would inspect the distributor cap and rotor and if worn, I would change them. I test spark plug wires at night and I spray mist them with water while it is running. If I get a wicked light show, I need new ones, no sparks and they are likely ok still. The engine runs best on plain sparkplugs, it does not like fancy platinums at all, they foul over fast. I use Champion plugs.

The engines are pretty tough. I would run a compression check on it before thinking about tearing into it. If it has close to 150 psi and they are all even, you should be good for a lot more miles.

Despite how it looks, there really isn't much for emissions on it. things like that charcoal canister down on the drivers side firewall is needed, it is the gas tank and carb float bowl vent and gas tanks and float bowls 'like' to be vented.

Before you tear any parts off, you should ask about their use, we know about most of them and how needed they are.

Other than that, enjoy and drive safe! Jeeps are serious little bucking broncos so never drive without your seatbelt! Even in the driveway, the gas pedal could stick under the floor mat, spinning you around and tossing you out head first through the passenger side door breaking your neck in 2 places. Been there, done that.

86/00 CJ7 Laredo, 33x9.5 BFG AT's, 'glass nose to tail in '00, 'New' frame,wires and plumbing in '09. Carter BBD Carbed 4.0 HO in '10.
89 YJ Renegade. BBD Carbed 4.0 HO. Locked front and rear with 33x9.5 BFG AT's
Some Canadian Bush Jeep Runs and Build Photos: (10 new albums added Sept 16/10)
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post #7 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 07:20 AM
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Louisville, Ky.
Posts: 2,075

Like other have said, get a Photbucket acct. take as many pics as you can as it sits. take pics from close up, far away, inside, outside, top, bottom, etc.

come up with an idea of what your end result will be...crawler, daily driver, dual purpose, lifted or not, tire size, etc.

with pics and those pieces of info, we'll be able to better point you in the right direction.

get a dry erase board or at least a big legal pad to organize to To-Do lists.

Keep ALL reciepts, and if you want to be as anal as i am, make a spreadsheet...helps me a ton to see the big picture!

whatever you do, getting it running first and make it pretty last. you cant drive a freshly painted rig if the engine doesn't run!

Dont get frustrated. Just remind yourself what "JEEP" stands for and keep planning...


Good Luck!

Torque is the measure of force that gets the cap off your beer.

Mike D.
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post #8 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 09:46 AM
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,180
WOW! Junior in High School!
I can barely remember those days, I'm an 'Old Fart'!

Welcome, and you have found a GREAT RESOURCE for your Jeep.
This is probably the most knowledgeable forum for basic Jeep stuff, and they are VERY kind to 'Newbies' here.

The best advise I can give you is to start at SCRATCH...
Don't ASSUME anything,

Change the OIL!
Look at the oil, make sure there isn't any water in it, or green color like antifreeze.

When you put the new oil filter on, make sure you check the flange where the oil filter seals up, make sure the old gasket didn't stick to the flange.

Put a little fresh oil on the new gasket before you install the oil filter. This will keep it from sticking down, and it keeps the gasket from 'Balling Up' when you install.

New filter goes on HAND TIGHT, don't use a wrench on it!
Just screw it on with your hands!

Get yourself a $20 Haynes manual at the local discount parts store and READ IT!
Good 'Restroom' reading, and you can't help but learn something!

Find out where to check the transmission, transfer case, axles ect. for lube.
If the lube is 'Milky' looking, time to change.

Take 'Auto Shop' if it's offered at your school.
If not, join a local car club, those guys will teach you how to do things like wheel bearings, changing brakes, ect.

Remember, the ONLY way to learn this stuff is 'Hands On',
So OFFER to help work on someone elses vehicles!
They will show you the 'Correct' way to do things so you know how to do that stuff when yours needs work.

There aren't many 'Old Mechanics' that know how to work on this obsolete junk anymore, so you will have to learn from the 'Vintage' car guys...
They are usually the most laid back and best teachers anyway...

If there is a CJ jeep club around, JOIN IT or just hang out with those guys...

If you have any specific questions, ask here, and we will be able to set you on the right path.

Three things you need to know about old Jeeps,

1. They aren't 'Hot Rods' and never will be.
They have the handling characteristics of a dying mule,
They have the engine/drive train from a tractor,
They are NOT race cars and you can't make them into race cars without spending megabucks and changing EVERYTHING...

2. They are INHERENTLY DANGEROUS on the highway.
You don't have traction control, anti-lock brakes, low center of gravity, or any of the things that make modern cars MUCH safer to drive...
They weren't built to go around corners at high speeds,
(They were built to go places that would make the average mountain goat hesitate!)

Get yourself a good set of seat belts, and USE THEM!

Your first 'Big Dollar' purchase should be a 'Halo' roll bar addition over the driver!
Nothing like having something between the rocks/dirt/pavement and your HEAD!

You should also carry a FIRE EXTINGUISHER!
These old vehicles burn down EVERY DAY, and at least 5 pound fire extinguisher will keep your vehicle from being one of those 'Poor Guy Had To Watch Is Jeep Burn To The Ground' guys we all talk about every year...

You should go out and buy a good pair of SAFETY GLASSES right now!
Something tight around the nose, and have side protection!

Mud, rust, battery acid, cleaning chemicals, ect. WILL get in your eyes while you are working on this vehicle (or any vehicle)
You can't get new eyes, so take care of the ones you have!
JeepHammer is offline  
post #9 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 11:27 AM
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Morgan Hill, CA
Posts: 297
Welcome! I'm sorry to hear about your brother, but maybe you can take this opportunity to make your Jeep a tribute to him and your dad.

As far as where to start, it really depends on the condition of the vehicle. Most Jeeps seem to have some sort of electrical problems so that might be a good spot to start.

How's the body?

Another good place to begin might be all of the standard service items, you know, oil change, fluids in the drivetrain, coolant, etc. This will get you looking around over and under your Jeep and help you find other things that might be in need of work. I guess what I'm saying is that doing just the basic work will help you get more familiar with your rig.

There are a ton of great posts and posters here, Jeephammer, John Strenk, and Mike Romain are three that come quickly to mind. They have a lot of experience and offer good, useable advice.

Learn to search the forum. I wish I could help you out there, but it seems to be a little bit of a black art getting good meaningful results but at least you can get some sort of info with a bit of sifting.

OH yeah, should have said it first. Fill out your profile. Let us know what you have, then we can all be of better assistance.

Best wishes to you and your family!


"Bad things happen to you because you're a dumba$$"
Red Foreman
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post #10 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 03:15 PM
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lucdog's Avatar
1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 8,781
Welcome to jeepforum, I have a question for you, were the heck is Tootle? (state) List for us what kind of Transmisson, transfer case, and engine in your jeep, or just fill out your profile. Sorry about your brother. "this may be my dads last summer " My #1 tip would be, you can't spend enough time with your dad! I feel for ya dan. I lost my 17yo son in "97".


1957 WILLYS pickup,
1973 J 4000,
1978 CJ7 DD.
1979 CJ7 360, TH400/Quadratrac.
1979 J20
1980 CJ5 trail Jeep.
1983 CJ7
1989 YJ the CJ to YJ.
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post #11 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 03:45 PM
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Morgan Hill, CA
Posts: 297
Originally Posted by lucdog View Post
My #1 tip would be, you can't spend enough time with your dad!

X2 X2!!!


"Bad things happen to you because you're a dumba$$"
Red Foreman
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post #12 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Phoenix AZ.
Posts: 31
I have one additional piece of advice for you before you attempt to starter'up. I believe any engine that has sat for an extended period of time should be pre-oiled before it is turned over. Pre-oiling is relatively easy and can prevent some pretty serious damage to the engine.
It would be best to change the oil and filter first, but even old oil is better than no oil. You will need a tool to do the job, either homemade or purchased, I posted a link to one on E Bay. If you decide to make one pattern it after the base of the distributor where it engages the oil pump, minus the gear teeth, when you pull the distributor you'll understand better.
You will also need a drill to drive the tool.
Next you will need to remove the distributor, before removing it use a marker and mark the position of the rotor to the housing and the housing to the engine,unplug the wiring harness and remove the hold down bolt, then you can remove the distributor. The rotor will move when you pull it, pay attention to how far it moves because when you reinstall it will move the opposite way the same amount, this is because the drive gear is spiral cut or helical. So when you reinstall you will need to 'lead' the rotor so it rotates to your mark.
Once the dist. is out ,you can look down inside the engine and see the oil pump drive shaft, engage the slotted end of the priming tool with the pump drive shaft and rotate it clockwise. It may prime right away or it could take up to a minute or so, you should be able to tell when it picks up prime, it will 'stiffen' noticeably, continue to prime for a few minutes to make sure you get complete circulation.
Now you can reinstall the dist. which is sometimes a little frustrating, just be patient in addition to the marks you made lining up the oil pump drive slot must line up, use a long screw driver to adjust it's position. Tighten the hold down clamp, and plug in the harness.
Sorry for the novel, it's really not as bad as it reads, and I've seen usable engines ruined from lack of oil on start-up, so I thought I would mention it.
One other thing I didn't mention earlier, before you start clean the area around the base of the dist. so you don't get all that crap in the engine.

AMC oil pump priming tool 360 390 401 amx javelin jeep : eBay Motors (item 200379518035 end time Mar-30-10 08:53:42 PDT)
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post #13 of 37 Old 03-08-2010, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tooele,
Posts: 26
First id like to thank all who have repiled and said there sorrys but i may be young but ive learned to take whatever life gives you.

As for auto shop im enrolled and im great with cars and everything.

Pics will be up as soon as there is a break in the weather here. Ive got the original service shop manuel

Alright so it seems to get the most help is to put up some specs.

258 2.5L straight 6
T-176 Tranmission
Model 300 tansfercase
Twin stick shift for transfer case
32x11.5 BFGoodrich all terrain tires sitting on some american racing wheels
Solid rear axle
tuff country 2.5" lift.
Dana 30 front
Dana 20 rear

Plans? Im looking to get it running realiable then we'll work on all the goodies. well id like to make it a daily driver w/ some balls. defintly need to replace lap belts with 3 points. Ive lost too many friends from crap seatbelts so your preachin to the choir. Im fully aware of the dangers with jeeps but wouldnt want to drive anythign else.I love off roading and what we call around here " jeepin' ". I live in tooele, Utah so theres plently of fun desert trails. I have a lot of little odds and ends that need to be put on, everythign from euro taillight gaurds to KC lights.

How is it now? some things are practically new besides sitting in my driveway, meaning not too much actual time on the road . the engine runs but needs a new radiator. cylinder heads are shot but it runs. Power steering pump may need replacing. Body isnt too bad. A few rust spots here and there. Doors need new weather stripping and i need a new back hatch window. Tires and wheels are in good shape.

I plan on the paint job being rolled on my self. I dont need anything fancy.

I want to definatly start with important things. BUt my buget right now is quite small, I just want to get it running first, ya dig?lol

again pics will be up ASAP and thank you all again. You will be a part of my Cjs history.

Tayla Danja

Last edited by Taylorettel; 03-09-2010 at 06:29 PM.
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post #14 of 37 Old 03-09-2010, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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1980 CJ7 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tooele,
Posts: 26
Good news.

Me and my best friend took it out for a spin today. first time its been started in a long time
Started up with the help of some starting fuild. blew white smoke out for a bit at first but went away when it warmed up, Assuming its because the jeep has been sitting.

Power steering pump will the be the first part. lol
other then that it was great. First time ever driving it and a stick shift too!
So happy words cant even explain
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post #15 of 37 Old 03-10-2010, 07:10 AM
Running On Empty...
1973 CJ5 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: South West Indiana
Posts: 11,180
I can't stress changing fluids, including putting some good gas in the tank enough!

Jeeps leak, draw moisture sitting still, and the lubricated parts are the expensive and hard to replace parts!

Until you know the vehicle is reliable, buy a tow strap and take your cell phone along!
Don't get too far from home!

Keep a note pad in the vehicle so you can write down all the little things you run into...
I have a nasty habit of forgetting this or that and continuing to have the 'Issue' because I'm just too lazy to write it down and correct it later...
Don't follow my lead!

Anti-freeze/Coolant turns acidic over time,
You need to flush and refill the cooling system,
This would be a good time to change hoses & belts since they have been sitting so long...

Engine, axles, transmission/transfer case all draw moisture setting still.
If you don't want to change the fluids yourself,
Take it to the 'Quick Lube' and get those done.

The heat expansion & contraction carries moist air in,
And cooler air makes them shed the moisture in your lubricants,
Water contamination is a big deal, so PLEASE get the lube changed so you start off on the right foot!

The next step would be to check wheel bearings for grease.
Check the brakes for wear and bad fluid and adjustment...

Once those issues are covered, you are ready to have 'Gilt Free' fun in that Jeep!
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