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Unread 11-12-2010, 09:28 AM   #1
ShaggieSAM
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1983 CJ7 
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Resto: My current `83 CJ-7 or buy/resto a `70 CJ5?

As a Newb to the forum I assume to post this question here in this forum/thread, Mods please move as needed with my apologize.

Restoration project:

So, I own an `83 CJ-7 which is in need of a frame up restoration. I don't think the tub is salvagable without extensive financial investment. I think we all know what a stock `83 has on it and the only thing great about it is the I-6 258 and the Dana 300 T-case. The rest of the drivetrain is crap.

I have the option of selling the CJ7 and getting a `70 CJ5. There weren't many options back then, so if you know what that is I won't list it out, unless you need me to. This CJ5 is in better shape than my CJ7!

The basic general question is, which one should I decide to restore and why? I'm looking for comparative responses as to why you think I should go with either one.

Here are a few of my considerations regarding the decision.

a.) I am NOT looking for an off road weekend rock crawling ride.
b.) I like/appreciate the older models, something older than me!
c.) Would like to choose the cheaper restoration project!
d.) Would like a quality show resto, not professional shows, just local area club shows.
e.) Here is a big one, the least maintenance after the restoration!


Thanks for any help, suggestions, tips, and opinions!

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Unread 11-12-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
colojeepguy
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I vote for the CJ5, but I might be biased...
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Unread 11-12-2010, 05:04 PM   #3
FamillyCJ7
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I'd vote for the CJ7 as I've had both CJ5's and CJ7's and I prefer the CJ7's.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 05:07 PM   #4
Green73CJ5
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Biased as well. The old CJ's are just cool. Take a look at the link in my signature below for pics of mine. Will give you a good idea of how a decent resto can turn out. Not a professional show car, but great for club shows, and fun to drive around. Gets a lot of looks and a lot of comments everywhere I go. There are just not a lot of these out there, so everyone wants to check it out. As you stated above, this is also not a rock crawler, but set up to be pretty capable in just about any terrain. Good luck and I look forward to seeing pics of the progress of whatever build you decide on.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 05:45 PM   #5
ShaggieSAM
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I was hoping to get more of a technical response and rationale rather than a vote.

@Green: It's beautiful for sure and I love the paint. I saw it in the CJ gallery and instantly thought that I would like to steal that paint color!

I got in touch with the friend again today who owns the `70 model. He gave me a bit of info about it. For one, its in great shape. Two, the engine has less than 5k mi rebuild on a replacement 225 Buick V6, so not the original. This of course, makes my resto less expensive. Its not as stock as I thought. He also mentioned that he has a D44 front axle that is in Pennsylvania of all places (we are in Virginia) which will be used as a front end replacement with disc brakes. The downside would be that the front end will be wider than the rear which the rear D44 has spacers on the wheels to accommodate chains for the tires. The body is in "great shape" and only has 1 small rust spot about the size of a deck of cards and the frame is in great shape. I have seen it before but it was early this past spring and my memory is vague. He has it at a shop right now as he just moved into a different home and was having trouble starting it up, turns out the gas tank is full of ..............hmmmm, what word did he use? Anyway, its running now.

@ Green: He told me the steering is like driving a tractor, is this true? Did you do any steering mods? We are talking about a different model CJ5 you and me. AMC took over the Jeeps in `72, so things changed quite a bit, for example, you have a V8, which I am envious of!
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Unread 11-12-2010, 05:53 PM   #6
FamillyCJ7
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I love older CJ's as well. My CJ5 was a 1980. I'd love to have the money to restore my CJ2A. I would have to see pictures of both before I could make my decision.

And I love the way the odd fire Buick V6 sounds!
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Unread 11-12-2010, 06:00 PM   #7
ShaggieSAM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamillyCJ7 View Post
I would have to see pictures of both before I could make my decision.
Well, could grant one of those photos at your request. Here is the `83 CJ-7 that I own. This photo does not depict the worsened shape that it is in now. This photo is after the first restoration finished in `99.

Jeepin.com » mattneuman.jpg
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Unread 11-12-2010, 06:06 PM   #8
FamillyCJ7
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That looks great, it can't be THAT bad right now unless it's been wrecked or something. Could you get a current picture of it?
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Unread 11-12-2010, 06:28 PM   #9
only in a jeep cj
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THE CJ-7 and heres why.
As a driver: the 82 to 86 CJs offer the best refinements in the CJ line. Sure, the transmissions aren't the strongest, but they have swaybars, wider rear frame, more spring choices, roll bars, hardtop and hard doors, wider axles and more stability, automatics if you want that, more comforts, etc.
The pre 76 CJs have shorter / narrower springs, lots of body roll / usally no sway bar, mainly soft top only, low back seat, lap belt only (if any), and so on. They drive like a farm tractor compared to the later CJs

Cost to restore: Your body is shot, YJ tubs are easy to find and easy to convert. Parts are way easier to find for the 76 on CJ. 1971 back was the short nose and limited engine choices.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the older Jeeps, but IF I had to pick one, It would be ANY post 82 CJ.
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1975 CJ-6 304 T15 Dana20 30/44 3.73
1983 CJ-8 258 T5 300 30/44 3.31 Looking for full or half hardtop buy or trade
1986 CJ-7 Laredo 4.6 stroker T5 300 30/44 3.31
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Unread 11-12-2010, 06:45 PM   #10
ShaggieSAM
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@ family: I suppose I could, but that would have to wait til tomorrow of course as it is dark outside. I'm not sure what good it would do. The tub is definitely shot and needs replacing, whatever the approach.

@ only in a jeep: thanks for your input!

I would like to put larger tires on my CJ7 which of course would require little work but would require changing the gear ratio. I want a V8 so badly but they are even harder to find. Converting to a Chevy 350 (ideally) would be expensive as I would have to replace the entire drivetrain save the D300 T-case. A V8 conversion would rip the splines of everything in the D20 rear, its crap! I don't have the skill or tools, much less a garage so I would have to pay for every conversion.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
FamillyCJ7
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How large of a tire? If this is going to be a street Jeep regearing and upgrading to 1-piece axles should be fine especially if you stick with the 258. Even with a mild V8 the AMC20 can hold up depending on how you are on the skinny pedal. You could throw a D44 under the rear. You can get plenty of power out of the 258 and it's a torque monster.

You think upgrading a newer CJ is expensive, the older CJ will be much more expensive. Parts harder to find, ect.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 07:07 PM   #12
ShaggieSAM
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At least 33" but would like 35" as they look damn good on a mildly lifted CJ7. I like the size ratio, any bigger looks too big IMO.

I have considered a D44 for the rear, a chevy 350 small block (no mods, just basic), and a dodge sync NV4500 tranny which will mate to the D300 t-case with an adapter. I think this would be an ideal setup but sound really expensive. I don't own or have any welding experience so modifications to the chassis to accommodate the tranny would be difficult and/or expensive. I know there are chevy 350 motor mounts available that bolt into the current motor mounts if I am not mistaken.

How much money do you think all of that would cost, + labor?
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Unread 11-12-2010, 07:09 PM   #13
Green73CJ5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaggieSAM View Post
I was hoping to get more of a technical response and rationale rather than a vote.

@Green: It's beautiful for sure and I love the paint. I saw it in the CJ gallery and instantly thought that I would like to steal that paint color!

I got in touch with the friend again today who owns the `70 model. He gave me a bit of info about it. For one, its in great shape. Two, the engine has less than 5k mi rebuild on a replacement 225 Buick V6, so not the original. This of course, makes my resto less expensive. Its not as stock as I thought. He also mentioned that he has a D44 front axle that is in Pennsylvania of all places (we are in Virginia) which will be used as a front end replacement with disc brakes. The downside would be that the front end will be wider than the rear which the rear D44 has spacers on the wheels to accommodate chains for the tires. The body is in "great shape" and only has 1 small rust spot about the size of a deck of cards and the frame is in great shape. I have seen it before but it was early this past spring and my memory is vague. He has it at a shop right now as he just moved into a different home and was having trouble starting it up, turns out the gas tank is full of ..............hmmmm, what word did he use? Anyway, its running now.

@ Green: He told me the steering is like driving a tractor, is this true? Did you do any steering mods? We are talking about a different model CJ5 you and me. AMC took over the Jeeps in `72, so things changed quite a bit, for example, you have a V8, which I am envious of!
Steering will take some getting used to. I am going to upgrade to HD steering shaft and tie rods, but the manual steering will also take some effort. After I drive it for a while, I get used to it. It's more an issue when I go back and forth between teh Jeep and my other new cars. I have looked at power steering or a high steer option, but not sure I need either all that badly, and it's not used for a ton of offroading.

A newer Jeep will definitely be easier to find parts for. Stuff is available for older models, but very limited in options. The newer ones seem to have a ton of different things you can do to them. But if you are mainly looking to stay with a stock look, you will have no problems. If you want to get a lot of armor, interior mods, cages, racks, etc., the older ones are tough to find that stuff for. If you want engine upgrades, suspension, tires, etc., no problem.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 07:17 PM   #14
FamillyCJ7
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I'm running 33's on my AMC20, sticking with the 258 but doing a 4.0L headswap, Offenhauser Intake, TBI fuel injection, FI cam, 6-1 headers. Should put me over 200hp with everything tuned right.

You can buy bolt on V8 mounts. The adapters are going to cost a pretty penny. It depends on how much you can do yourself. You can find great deals on Craigslist and eBay. You just need to set down and put a budget together. Then once you have a budget people can give better recommendations.

I think you'd be fine running 35's with the 258 which would save a LOT of money. You'd need the right gearing. You could prob find a D44 for a good price if you don't want to risk upgrading the 20. I know people who have 35's on their CJ7 with the AMC20 and mild built V8 and they off road with that setup.
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Unread 11-12-2010, 07:20 PM   #15
Eaglekeeper
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Not sure if it's a option for you, but I'd seriously consider buying the CJ5 and using it as a daily driver and doing a full resto on the 7. Best of both worlds. Take your time on the 7 and 2 or 3 years later you'll have a real beauty you can be proud of.
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86 CJ7, 258 Engine, T-177, Dana 300.
[url]http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f8/let-games-begin-new-build-86-cj7-1046943/[/url]

A ton more pics here.
[URL="http://s1038.photobucket.com/albums/a462/E9Eaglekeeper/"]http://s1038.photobucket.com/albums/a462/E9Eaglekeeper/[/URL]
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