CJ7 options - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-13-2021, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
Picknasty
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CJ7 options

I am a first time CJ7 buyer. I used to have a 92 YJ in high school and college, now I知 in a spot where I can get back behind the wheel.

I壇 like some input on some options I知 mulling over. I have two CJs I知 looking hard at right now. 1.) 1981 CJ7 renegade pretty much factory with four banger, frame is immaculate and body tub is as well. 2.) 1980 CJ7 258, new transmission rebuild on 4 speed manual, D300, new front and rear brakes, new dash and gauges, slight dusting of rust on the under body tub, some pitting rust in one spot on front frame.

I知 leaning towards the four banger with great frame and body and then plan to use as a second vehicle for a year or two, then drop a 304 or similar v8 and enjoy more power.

Thoughts? I appreciate the input.

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post #2 of 19 Old 09-13-2021, 02:57 PM
RiverandSand
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The 81 CJ, 4 banger should be an iron duke GM motor, the T4/5 4 spd or 5 spd are lightweight car transmissions, won't take much HPs if you go bigger. The transfer case should be D300. Axles on both CJs should be D30 in front and AMC 20 in the rear.
The 80 CJ is a 6 cyl AMC built motor, trans could be a T176/77 which is a medium duty 4spd or the T4 lightweight car trans. T176/77 was an option for both years. If the rust is only superficial and not through it could be a good choice if you plan to upgrade at some point.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-13-2021, 07:42 PM
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Agree with riverandsand. But what are your long term goals for the Jeep? Keep as stock as possible and just cruise around in it? Then might be better going with the 4cyl. If you are planning, slightly, larger tires, occasional trip to the trail, etc etc then it might be worth looking into the 6cyl.

Both rigs sound to be solid and in decent shape given their age so it痴 all up to what your plans for it are.


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post #4 of 19 Old 09-13-2021, 07:54 PM
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An engine swap will be more than $5000, there is a lot that needs to be done and it takes some time. That means your CJ will be off the road, it may even be a project that you never finish (a lot start, not that many finish).

As said you will find on a 4 pot that the transmission may not be up to more power and the axle ratios are not ideal. So take the $5000 and add $2000.

The 6 pot is a much better Jeep to own, the 258 is a low end torque, long stroke engine that suits the CJ. If you want more power then the recipes are fairly simple and you can do it yourself on the driveway in a couple of weekends. Rebuild the engine, better cam, better induction and modern fuel and spark, $2000.

If the rust on the 6 pot is just a light dusting, then scrub it back and paint it. Takes a weekend to do it right. In fact I am surprised you have found 2 1980 Jeeps without significant rust, they were not painted under the roll bar mount (they painted it after the rill bar was in) or behind the windshield hinges and these areas nearly always show rot.

The important part is making sure your purchase does not have hidden rot in tub and frame.
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BagusJeep lives in Bali with far too many 4x4s:
1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
1980 Land Rover Series III 109" troop carrier - ROVER
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 01:20 PM
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If it was me, and had the $$'s, I would buy both of them, as they are diamonds in the rough for sure in that good of condition. Are they priced right, or do they want your first born for each one?

Per BagusJeep - In fact I am surprised you have found 2 1980 Jeeps without significant rust
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 04:35 PM
Matt1981CJ7
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Didn't the 4-bangers come with 4.10 gears?

If so, I might lean towards that one, if a V8 engine swap is inevitable with either Jeep. You could run larger tires without any gearing changes. Of course, you'll probably have to consider a heavier duty transmission in addition to the V8, if you go that route.

Matt


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post #7 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 05:56 PM
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Yes to what Matt said, the 4 bangers had higher gear ratios. Check the axle markings as the 6 might have a 2.73 which would be worse and around $800+ to change.

I swapped from a 258 to a '98 OBDII 4.0 for about $2k. $500 for the engine + wire harness, PCM, fuel pump, adapters, etc. Bolted right up though so I don't know what you'd have to do for modification. I've done 80 up the interstate with 3.31 gears and 33s.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt1981CJ7 View Post
Didn't the 4-bangers come with 4.10 gears?

Matt
Mine originally had the 4 cyl, the gears are 3.54 which match the stamp on the rearend housing. Which are perfect gears for the SBC in it now. I'm sure you could've ordered taller gears from AMC.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuner-9R View Post
Yes to what Matt said, the 4 bangers had higher gear ratios. Check the axle markings as the 6 might have a 2.73 which would be worse and around $800+ to change.

I swapped from a 258 to a '98 OBDII 4.0 for about $2k. $500 for the engine + wire harness, PCM, fuel pump, adapters, etc. Bolted right up though so I don't know what you'd have to do for modification. I've done 80 up the interstate with 3.31 gears and 33s.
Unless someone change the axles, 80 6 cylinder Cj's came with 3.07 standard and 3.54 optional. 2.73 and 3.31 came in 81 and later models.
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 10:27 PM
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if the aim is to get behind the wheel and enjoy for a year or two, IMHO the 6 cylinder is the one to enjoy.

The 4 pot needs to be kept light and prefers smaller tyres, not as bad as the isuzu diesel version (oh boy is it slooow) but there has to be some compelling reason to want one over a 6 cylinder.

BagusJeep lives in Bali with far too many 4x4s:
1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
1980 Land Rover Series III 109" troop carrier - ROVER
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I pulled the trigger and will be picking up the 4 banger this weekend. The plan is to have the CJ as a second vehicle for a drive to work when I want to, strictly asphalt and occasional runs to the hunting camp.

The end goal has always been to do a V8 swap, that meant that regardless of what I picked up it would require new transmission and other components. I just wanted a really solid platform to start from and not have to worry about replacing the frame or body tub components. I'm mulling around different engine options now, getting my ducks in a row and probably drop in the V8 in a year or two. Given the largest tires I'll run at any point are 33s, I know I could have gotten away with the 258 but I had the 4.0L HO in my 92 YJ and I always wanted a little more *** behind the gas. I've seen a bunch of different options discussed but it seems like I can pick up a junkyard AMC 304 and have it machined and rebuilt to something in the range of 300-350hp, maybe drop in a Holley Sniper Kit. I don't want to put more hp than that under the hood.

What do you guys recommend on lift kits? The jeep has fresh 31s on now and i'll be keeping them for a while but again, the eventual goal is 33s after the engine swap. I'm thinking of the OME YJ spring conversion, it'd give me 2.5" on the springs and that should be enough to clear the 33s.
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post #12 of 19 Old 09-14-2021, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picknasty View Post
Well, I pulled the trigger and will be picking up the 4 banger this weekend. The plan is to have the CJ as a second vehicle for a drive to work when I want to, strictly asphalt and occasional runs to the hunting camp.

The end goal has always been to do a V8 swap, that meant that regardless of what I picked up it would require new transmission and other components. I just wanted a really solid platform to start from and not have to worry about replacing the frame or body tub components. I'm mulling around different engine options now, getting my ducks in a row and probably drop in the V8 in a year or two. Given the largest tires I'll run at any point are 33s, I know I could have gotten away with the 258 but I had the 4.0L HO in my 92 YJ and I always wanted a little more *** behind the gas. I've seen a bunch of different options discussed but it seems like I can pick up a junkyard AMC 304 and have it machined and rebuilt to something in the range of 300-350hp, maybe drop in a Holley Sniper Kit. I don't want to put more hp than that under the hood.

What do you guys recommend on lift kits? The jeep has fresh 31s on now and i'll be keeping them for a while but again, the eventual goal is 33s after the engine swap. I'm thinking of the OME YJ spring conversion, it'd give me 2.5" on the springs and that should be enough to clear the 33s.
Maybe a lot better spending your time enjoying the Jeep rather than fighting and repairing rust problems. I cringe every time I see a post of someone with a rusted out frame. We normally don't see that here since our roads don't get salted as they do in some mainland states. As far as a 2.5" lift clearing 33's, remember that a Wrangler spring conversion normally has soft deflection rates. I ran 33's on my CJ-5 with Skyjacker 2" soft rides and I know that it's not a sufficient amount of lift. Watch your rear fender rear corners.
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-15-2021, 12:10 AM
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The largest tyre you can reliably get into the rear wheel box is of 31" diameter, some stuff slightly larger, some never flex their suspension so have never found out. Also actual tyre diameters are different to the nominal tyre diameter. A BFG M/T 33 x12.5 x 15 is 32.5" when new, 31.5" worn out.

It is the horizontal width, not the vertical height that is the problem, if you get my drift. Simply adding 2" to vertical space does not address the problem which is the horizontal width and what happens on flex.

EMU is a good bit of change so if this is part of your V8 350hp upgrade, I suggest you go taller.

The AMC V8 does not actually produce a good useable and reliable 350 hp in a trail rig, but it does have a lot of torque low down. A lot of figures are bandied about and PowerNation on Yutube did an episode on the AMC V8 that is nice watching.
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BagusJeep lives in Bali with far too many 4x4s:
1981 CJ7 258ci - Bagusjeep
1984 CJ7 258ci - Puthijeep
1981 J20 258ci - Gladys
1951 Willys CJ3A/MB/M38 - Little Willy
1995 Cherokee 4.0 - CHEROKEE
1980 Land Rover Series III 109" troop carrier - ROVER
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-15-2021, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
Picknasty
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Haha, I saw that power nation episode and that’s where I got the idea to go with a 304 built up to get those numbers. An AMC built up to specs would be a little cheaper than some of the other options out there and should be pretty reliable for the rather mild life this jeep will live. I think that with a Holley sniper kit would be a pretty good setup as a near daily driver.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-15-2021, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
Picknasty
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Maybe something in the 3-4inch range may be more appropriate. I know switching to YJ springs will give me a better ride than anything in the CJ range. Perhaps a super lift or skyjacker kit would fit the bill?
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