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Unread 05-21-2010, 08:59 PM   #1
Ken4444
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Your opinions on this 1985 CJ-7?

I drove to see this 1985 CJ-7 today and would like to get your thoughts. I'm really on the fence about buying it or not. Photos are below.

To summarize, it's a CJ. It seems to have all of the expected issues. So in that regard you get what you pay for.

The good:

- The frame has some run spots, but they're minor compared to other frames I've seen. The frame is generally in good shape as far as I can tell. (rear shackle mount photo below)
- The 258 and T5 were rebuilt about 10K miles ago and owner has receipts for the work.
- Engine starts and runs well
- Fairly new Besttop
- new oil pump
- 33 BFGs have plenty of tread and are worn evenly.
- New parts: radiator, alternator, engine control module (?) on top the fender well, other parts new.
- Brakes work OK.
- Exhaust system looks fairly new.
- Has current registration and inspection.
- Drove stable at 60 MPH.
- Seats and console are OK.
- 4wd works
- one owner last 13 years or so. Jeep has seen low use during this time.

The bad:

- Paint is chalky
- fuel and volt gauges not working
- Heater core totally bypassed: metal tubes sticking out of the firewall
- valve cover new (metal), but leaks oil.
- somewhat new radiator, but it rubs on the underside of the hood on one side
- mess of wires behind dash.
- Some disconnected wires around top area of engine.
- Shifter doesn't mate to the transmission squarely. It has a lot of play in it. The stud sticking out of the top of the trans doesn't have play though.
- New windshield frame, but it's already showing some rust.
- dime spots of body rust in usual places (rocker panels, windshield hinges)
- tires are too large/wide 33x12.5 (personal preference, I know)
- 4" lift is too high for my taste. I'd want to take it back to 2.5"
- Original paint color was white. I can see some overspray from the last paint job.
- small stuff: Turn indicator lever is broken off at end. Transmission shifter missing the shift pattern medallion.




















The Jeep is listed at $6200 but I think he will take $5400. I would probably offer $4900 and go to $5000 if I decided to buy. Keep in mind I'm in Texas and I think the CJ prices are on the high side here.

That's all! What do you think?

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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:17 PM   #2
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I'm no judge on the price but I don't see anything terribly wrong. That's a much, much better platform than what I started with. The good news is that you can drive it right now. I can't tell from your post if a CJ is something that you really want, and if it's not then you're wasting your money. But if it is, then make your offer. You gotta be comfortable with it.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:18 PM   #3
klarendonkid
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if you have the money and time, go for it.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
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Price seems steep to me. It is a solid start tho. Like you said its a CJ so it comes down to how much are u gonna have to spend to get it to where you want it?
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:20 PM   #5
nedmoore
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Ken, it looks pretty damn clean for an 85. Any pics of the interior?
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:34 PM   #6
Ken4444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nedmoore View Post
Ken, it looks pretty damn clean for an 85. Any pics of the interior?
Thanks for the replies.

I didn't get any interior pics. The biggest problem, other than the dash wiring, is the black painted floor. I'd probably want to strip that off. But underneath the floor mats the sheet metal looks OK.

As far as the Jeep being what I want? Great question. I want a white CJ-7 with a T5. Having a 258 is preferable to the 4 banger. I'd prefer a later CJ, so being a 1985 is great. The top is in good shape. As one reply pointed out I can drive the Jeep home without worrying about it being a death trap. That's important because I can start having fun with it on day 1.

Other than the usual enexpected repairs/problems, my main worry is the dime-sized rust spots in the body. I don't think there is any quick fix for those. I suppose the only real fix is to replace those panels which would pretty much mean a new paint job.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
DCHCJ7
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At $5500 i would have bought it.

- Paint is chalky
I would try a cut polish and then throw some wax on it, you would be surprised.
- fuel and volt gauges not working
Fix for this on here somewhere, mine does not work either
- Heater core totally bypassed: metal tubes sticking out of the firewall
Heater cores are cheap and east to change, hoses about 15 bucks and your back in business
- valve cover new (metal), but leaks oil.
See what is wrong, could just need tightening or a new seal, but this is minor
- somewhat new radiator, but it rubs on the underside of the hood on one side
Rubbed in a bad way like going to go through or just a shiny mark?
- mess of wires behind dash.
It is a CJ, i think they came from the factory like that LOL, Wiring is easy and very easy on these, take your time and make sure everything is connected somewhere.
- Some disconnected wires around top area of engine.
could be anything, i would just pick up a Haynes manual and trace them back, you never know they may have been replaced or are from old lights or something
- Shifter doesn't mate to the transmission squarely. It has a lot of play in it. The stud sticking out of the top of the trans doesn't have play though.
10 dollar fix and you can get the isolator and clip just about anywhere online
- New windshield frame, but it's already showing some rust.
If it is just surface, clean it and paint it
- dime spots of body rust in usual places (rocker panels, windshield hinges)
Welcome to a CJ, easy fixes if you know what your doing and would not require a complete paint job
- tires are too large/wide 33x12.5 (personal preference, I know)
- 4" lift is too high for my taste. I'd want to take it back to 2.5"
Top two, i hear you, sell the parts you have an buy new ones, still worth the price
- Original paint color was white. I can see some overspray from the last paint job.
Bound to happen, probably a Maaco paint job
- small stuff: Turn indicator lever is broken off at end. Transmission shifter missing the shift pattern medallion.
This are little things

All in all, from what you are saying it is worth it i think, If the engine and trans were rebuilt like you were told, i would check to see if there was any warranty on them, and confirm with the shop that rebuilt it if they will honor the warranty. If not you may be able to get him down some more, but that would worry me. I think with what you listed, if the interior is in decent shape it is a good deal, wish mine had a rebuilt motor and trans, got to figure that is good for at least 2k ish.
You mention the floor is black, if you think about putting some sort of truck roll-on, or spay in bed liner, you can get these tinted
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Unread 05-21-2010, 09:53 PM   #8
Ken4444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCHCJ7 View Post
At $5500 i would have bought it.

- Paint is chalky
I would try a cut polish and then throw some wax on it, you would be surprised.

Yeah, I figured for $40 in supplies and a few hours of work, i can get it looking respectable again. I don't mind doing that kind of work.

- valve cover new (metal), but leaks oil.
See what is wrong, could just need tightening or a new seal, but this is minor

My worry is that the head is warped. That might be something to consider when looking into the warranty of the rebuilt engine.

- somewhat new radiator, but it rubs on the underside of the hood on one side
Rubbed in a bad way like going to go through or just a shiny mark?

Just a shiny area. Being a novice here, this seems like a sloppy install job that should be easy to correct, but I know enough not to assume anything.

- tires are too large/wide 33x12.5 (personal preference, I know)
- 4" lift is too high for my taste. I'd want to take it back to 2.5"
Top two, i hear you, sell the parts you have an buy new ones, still worth the price

Yep, craigslist, or maybe the local family-run 4x4 shop.

You mention the floor is black, if you think about putting some sort of truck roll-on, or spay in bed liner, you can get these tinted[/COLOR]
I believe the current owner referred to it as something he got from Wal Mart. It doesn't have the texture of bedliner or Herculiner. It looked more like thin black paint. Anyhow, it's a cosmetic issue and it would be a fun first project to pull all of the seats and interior fixtures and strip and repaint the floor.

One other thing i failed to mention was the existence of chome-colored metal pieces fitted to the bottom of the rocker panels. I think they're glued on. They're not diamondplate, but look more like aluminum. The big fear is they're hiding some rust. I guess a complete rocker panel replacement would fix this.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:02 PM   #9
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Is the floor painted black or does it already have a black-colored liner material in it? If it is a liner material that is a plus.

For what it's worth...I had a mid-80's F150 that was factory white. I found that Krylon had an off-the-shelf rattle can that was so close you couldn't see a difference. Whenever I dinged it up, I shot a little rattle can. After a few weeks I would polish it with the rest of the truck... came out great. Your rust sounds like spot fixes and you may be able to use a rattle can!

Plenty of guys around that will buy your 4" lift. You can recoup some of the money you spend on a 2.5" lift. Same goes with the tires. May be some guys willing to trade tires or lifts.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:05 PM   #10
Ken4444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCHCJ7 View Post
At $5500 i would have bought it.
$5500 I think is reasonable given that the typical beat-up, non-road worthy Texas "hunting rig" goes for around $3000.

If he was selling it for $3000 I'd buy it tomorrow because I'd have $2K left over to make improvements right away. But in this market $3000 is not realistic.

I didn't bring up the topic of price with the owner (the original ad stated $6200), but he started telling me about some of the other offers he's had, so I was able to get an idea of what he was willing to take.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:10 PM   #11
Ken4444
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skerr View Post
Is the floor painted black or does it already have a black-colored liner material in it? If it is a liner material that is a plus.
It looked more like black paint, rolled in a few years ago and then worn down over the years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skerr View Post
For what it's worth...I had a mid-80's F150 that was factory white. I found that Krylon had an off-the-shelf rattle can that was so close you couldn't see a difference. Whenever I dinged it up, I shot a little rattle can. After a few weeks I would polish it with the rest of the truck... came out great. Your rust sounds like spot fixes and you may be able to use a rattle can!
.
I'm not opposed to going that route. Repainting the windshield frame would be a good place to test. I've seen some good rattlecan jobs before and given the low price, I suppose it can be a good value if you take the time to go slow and prepare the surface correctly before painting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skerr View Post
Plenty of guys around that will buy your 4" lift. You can recoup some of the money you spend on a 2.5" lift. Same goes with the tires. May be some guys willing to trade tires or lifts.
Yeah i see tires/wheels all the time on Craigslist. I can even envision swapping this set for a set that's s size smaller. No cash needed if I can find the person who wants to upgrade from 31's to 33's.

On the lift, I failed to look at the pitman arm. with a 4" lift, I'm assuming they used a dropped arm that would have to be replaced with a standard arm if a 2.5" the lift was installed.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:13 PM   #12
BlkCJ7Laredo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken4444 View Post
One other thing i failed to mention was the existence of chome-colored metal pieces fitted to the bottom of the rocker panels. I think they're glued on. They're not diamondplate, but look more like aluminum. The big fear is they're hiding some rust. I guess a complete rocker panel replacement would fix this.
Those are the factory rocker mouldings. I got flamed to hell and back for sending the ones off mine to the scrap yard along with the badly rusted out old body tub. If you buy this you better keep em, someone here will want them!

Otherwise.. It's a pretty solid looking Jeep! Gotta love Texas, it looks to be better shape than the majority of '85 CJ's looked up this way in 1990!
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken4444 View Post
... On the lift, I failed to look at the pitman arm. with a 4" lift, I'm assuming they used a dropped arm that would have to be replaced with a standard arm if a 2.5" the lift was installed.
That is easy to fix and inexpensive. Although nickles and dimes add up PDQ! Again, a good swap option, or somebody on JF is going to want it.
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:41 PM   #14
nedmoore
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Ken, see you PM
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Unread 05-21-2010, 10:59 PM   #15
kakai81
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$5500 is a bit steep. I bought mine about a year ago, in Texas, and paid $3000. The PO was happy to get that. At the time my jeep was almost identical to this one. The rebuilt engine and tranny are the only exception, but I don't see paying extra for something the PO did for their own benefit.

Having said that, if you're happy with whatever price you pay for it, then it's a good deal. I tell people all the time. If you pay $1 for a Ferrari, and hate it, you got ripped off. If you pay $20,000 for a busted jeep, but love it, you got a good deal.
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