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Unread 03-20-2015, 06:58 PM   #1
tdashrom
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Thinking about restoring a CJ

Just like the title says, I'm thinking about taking on a summer project of restoring a CJ. My brother and I want to work on something together while I'm back from school and I thought this would be a fun project. I just have some questions from current owners/people who have already restored them.

I have done next to no work on cars before, so this would be a learning experience. I'm studying mechanical engineering in school so this is kinda up the alley of what I would be learning later on or maybe want to do after school. Is it a difficult vehicle to work on? I definitely want to learn how everything works along the way but I'm worried if it's a difficult thing to repair.

My other question has to do with cost. I don't have an unlimited supply of money and from what I can see on Craigslist I should be able to pick up a CJ for around $1500. How much should I expect to spend fixing it up? If it's gonna be an extra couple thousand I might have to wait until I have a job with more income.

I really want to do this over the summer, but if it's not reasonable then I'd rather find that out beforehand. Thanks for any information!

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Unread 03-20-2015, 07:07 PM   #2
kovic
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I have not restored, but have been thinking about it/ waiting for the funds for 8 years to restore my daily Cj5. its a pit man, it will likely cost way more than a couple thousand, especially if you are looking to only spend 1500 on one. Really depends on what you get, what shape its in, and to what extent you want to restore it. People waste upwards of 15, 20, 30k or more restoring jeeps.

If you take your time, learn to do all the work yourself, that will lower the cost.

Biggest tip I can give when looking for a jeep, find a rust free/close to rust free one! Everything will be much much easier.

kov
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Unread 03-20-2015, 07:18 PM   #3
SCSEAJAYSEVEN
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Restoring an old CJ is exactly like herding a dozen cats from point A to point B.

Every time you think you have all of them lined up, something else jumps out of line. If you focus on one thing, then the other 11 things go haywire.

Patience and a whole lot of $, you will get there. Most of the time you need more patience...

GOOD LUCK!!!

Oh, and a lot of
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Unread 03-20-2015, 07:41 PM   #4
Newbjeep
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I think of it as quick sand (and I'm not restoring mine) every time I fix something 3 other things start leaking or falling off and breaking. I bought mine and told my wife it was ready to wheel now a little over 10k later and iv gone wheeling three times and iv owned it for 2 or so years
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:00 PM   #5
jmtw
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If you're going to restore one, then best to buy two. One that's, preferably, rust-free (or close) but needs an engine, or whatever and one that's wrecked or rusty for a donor. Some parts are cheap. Some are ridiculous. Parts stores may stock engine parts, etc, but that's about it. Which means buying online, which takes time and usually shipping fees, and you hope it's the right one.
FWIW, working at getting rusted parts off and still have them usable can be tough.
With that said, I bought two. One that ran good but had rust, and a rust-free body. Sounds easy, right? Just stick the good body on the other frame and go. Easier said than done. Especially when rust is involved.
I've had to cut or twist off lots of bolts. CJ's like the torx head bolts. Nice to look at, but it it's rusty, and you can't get to the threads to wire brush/WD-40 them, then it's cut them off, or just notch off some of each side and make it a bolt (and that doesn't work all the time).
I know folks who do '34 Fords etc and they will spend 50K and up and NEVER get back what they have in it. Something to remember when you're buying stuff.
It's very satisfying to get one done, though.
Best to start off with one that needs little and use it. By using, you'll eventually have to fix it and learn how to work on it and when you're good, go for restoration.
Just my thoughts.
Good luck
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:11 PM   #6
Rebel442
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Do you have 5 years and $15,000?

Do you have a garage full of tools, would you like one?

Do you have a wife and kids, would you like to spend less time with them?

Do you dream about obsessively spending you days in junk yards and your nights on JeepForum?

If you can answer yes to all of these then CONGARULATIONS a CJ restoration is right for you!


Seriously though any and all vehicle restorations are a huge undertaking, you will have more it to then its worth. You gotta love it to make it work.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:17 PM   #7
WindKnot
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Read my thread below. Anticipate spending more money than you have. There is easily over $14K in mine, but I really don't want to count. To be fair, I could've cut some corners and spent less. But not much less.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:20 PM   #8
STJP
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Rebel is correct. If you buy a $1500 to restore, plan on 10 times that for a restoration or restomod.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:34 PM   #9
Newbjeep
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You guys aren't giving op the other side we all love our cjs more then anything and I wouldn't change it if I could. And what about the feeling the first time you take it for a spin after a major fix
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:51 PM   #10
ratjaw
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If you're going to restore one and have never done it I suggest you buy one in the best possible condition to start with. Remember, the last CJ rolled off the assembly line 29 years ago. They're all old, and they all rust. They never stop getting old, and they never stop rusting.

All that said, we're all here because we love them. I can't really explain the appeal, and it might well be different for everybody, but there is something about them that keeps us up late at night working on them. Good luck and remember, if you decide to jump in you can come here for answers, advice, and consolation.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:51 PM   #11
tdashrom
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Damn if it's gonna cost that much I might have have to wait until after I graduate and get a real job
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:54 PM   #12
ratjaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdashrom View Post
Damn if it's gonna cost that much I might have have to wait until after I graduate and get a real job
The more you can do yourself the less you'll have to spend. Check out the link to my build thread to see some of what you might encounter and some of the ways to overcome those problems without breaking the bank.

Also, read up on the other build threads for more perspective and more ideas.
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Unread 03-20-2015, 09:15 PM   #13
mb_24
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The other side of it is how far do you want to take the restoration? If you want it Concours level, then you're going to be putting a ton of money and time.

But if you're willing to have a rig with some warts, and one that isn't perfect. Then you might not have to put in 10x. And you won't faint every time you take it out and someone gets too close or a branch scrapes it.

But it's still going to cost. So be patient. Read the forum to find out what to look for. Don't fall in love too quickly. Be willing to walk away. Prioritize what's critical vs what you wants. Do all the critical and do a percentage of want.

And have another vehicle as a daily driver. Then it'll last longer. I drive mine 5000 miles a year. It's the best 5000 miles of the year. The other 20k I drive isn't neRly as enjoyable.

1985 CJ-7 Renegade, Sebring Red, 258 + 5-speed
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Unread 03-20-2015, 10:21 PM   #14
tchimmerroks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdashrom View Post
Just like the title says, I'm thinking about taking on a summer project of restoring a CJ. My brother and I want to work on something together while I'm back from school and I thought this would be a fun project. I just have some questions from current owners/people who have already restored them.

I have done next to no work on cars before, so this would be a learning experience. I'm studying mechanical engineering in school so this is kinda up the alley of what I would be learning later on or maybe want to do after school. Is it a difficult vehicle to work on? I definitely want to learn how everything works along the way but I'm worried if it's a difficult thing to repair.

My other question has to do with cost. I don't have an unlimited supply of money and from what I can see on Craigslist I should be able to pick up a CJ for around $1500. How much should I expect to spend fixing it up? If it's gonna be an extra couple thousand I might have to wait until I have a job with more income.

I really want to do this over the summer, but if it's not reasonable then I'd rather find that out beforehand. Thanks for any information!
I agree w/all the replies, your total investment can vary greatly depending on the condition of the Jeep you acquire, your ability/willingness to do most, or all the labor, your access to tools/equipment, and your goal of what you want the finished product to be. I too highly recommend acquiring a "sunbelt" Jeep, rather than a "rustbelt" Jeep. This is where it pays to be very selective. In the last 5 years, I've purchased two, sunbelt CJs. One from southern California, and the other from southwest Texas. The Cali Jeep has almost zero rust, the TX Jeep has very, very little. Each took me about one and a half years to complete, but that was without any body work. With moderate, to extensive body work, each would probably have taken me 3-4 years. Good luck
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Unread 03-20-2015, 10:44 PM   #15
HackFabrication
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Oh boy.... Let me edit your original post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdashrom View Post
I have done next to no work on cars before, so this would be a learning experience.

I don't have an unlimited supply of money

I should be able to pick up a CJ for around $1500.

If it's gonna be an extra couple thousand I might have to wait until I have a job with more income.

I really want to do this over the summer

Don't.


You want a fun project to work on? Get yourself an old Honda motorcycle and 'restore' it. When you run out of time, tools, talent, tokens, and tenacity: It will take up less room in the garage. Or at the curb.
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