Keep it original or modernize? -
View Poll Results: Keep it original or modernize it?
Keep it original 26 45.61%
Modernize it 31 54.39%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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1984 CJ7 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Highland
Posts: 503
Keep it original or modernize?

I see a couple schools of thought for those of us with a CJ's. Keep it original or modernize it. Which camp are you in? With a glass body and a 5.3, you can see which camp I fall in.

'84 CJ7, '07 5.3 LMG Chevy, D300, 4L60e, 33's, 4.10, rear Detroit Locker, FG Tub, HOK Tangelo Pearl
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post #2 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 02:05 PM
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1984 CJ7 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: norfolk
Posts: 3,437
I'm into stock. Or restored. I wheel mine so I put a 2.5 inch lift and 33 s on mine. I didnt have a.c. so I went with a brand new unit from jeep air versus a factory one. I think it was the safer bet for not having it break. I wanted a factory red but the painter wouldnt do it and I wouldnt be happy with black fot all the visible scratches. So I went with like a 2014 jeep wrangler granite crystal metallic color . But to long story short I fall into the keep it original crowd. One of my reasons is the design team or whatever it would be called does a good job. They've got the color , the wheels. the interior in harmony. I love cjs just the way they came but you got a sneak arb locker in the front and rear.
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1984 jeep cj7, 258 I6, rebuilt T176,rebuilt Dana 300, amc 20 , dana 30, 4.10's Trac-lok in rear , 4.10's detroit soft locker in dana 30, 2.5 inch bds suspension lift, 1 inch polyurethan body mount lift. Line ex. weber carburetor. factory tach. factory clock ,oem replacement speedomter cluster, and oil pressure gauge, factory volt gauge.
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post #3 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 02:10 PM
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1987 MJ Comanche 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: New Market, MD
Posts: 565
My preference is “mostly “ stock. Not all modifications are bad. A 2” to 4” lift and 31-32” tires don’t bother me.
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87 Comanche, 4.0, AX15 (formerly BA10/5), D44
84 CJ7, 4.0 (93 XJ) AX15 (Formerly T5)
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post #4 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 03:18 PM
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1974 CJ6 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 4,488
Depends on the shape that it is in when you get it. If it is a rusted out basketcase that go to town on modernization/modification. If it is in excellent shape, then don't cut it up. That being said, we kin of shot ourselves in the foot when dad bought his '7. 30 some thousand original miles and only a spot of rust in the lower cowl. Could have been an easy cleanup and flip, he did drive it stock for quite a few years before the wheeling bug bit him and we began to modify it. Could have likely flipped it and bought a basketcase and been even or money ahead.

80 CJ-5, 74 CJ-6, 56 CJ-5
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post #5 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 04:41 PM
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1984 CJ7 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Doylestown, PA
Posts: 8,738
I think original looks are going to be a win win but not necessarily some of the outdated components that need updated to more modern version won't hurt. Some of the stock OEM parts can be replaced as long as they are better then the originals but that can be a challenge with Jeep CJ parts since most replacement parts that are available are worse and not better. I respect any person who can build a Jeep or car and use aftermarket parts and you wouldn't know it from original.
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1984 CJ-7 Renegade
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post #6 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 05:08 PM
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1974 CJ5 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Easley
Posts: 2,348
Our 74 has the Spartan interior of the original CJ5 which is a plus. If you can call it an upgrade I replaced the 232 with a 258. Replaced the non stock High back seats with original in appearance low back seats. Replaced the ammeter with a volt meter, swapped the oil gauge with a mechanical gauge, and added a temperature gauge that reads in degrees instead of H and C. Rebuilt the front suspension with new parts and springs and have had new rear springs ready to go, but no lift. Put in a new after market wiring harness So far. I've kept the four wheel drum brakes, man power steering and points distributer. Most folks not familiar with a CJ wouldn't notice the changes. My next major project is the replace the tub with a glass tub. Hope it isn't noticeable either.
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post #7 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 05:30 PM
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1978 CJ5 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Renton
Posts: 3,804
My current one ended up getting modified. It was rusted out in all the usual places, didn’t seem like a candidate for restoration. I’d like to get another one that I keep totally stock and restore back to original.
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post #8 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 05:32 PM
Nor Cal CJ5
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Posts: 92
I'm a stock original kind of CJ guy. That said, I did throw a Petronics Flamethrower distributor on a few years back. In the midst of a good size engine maintenance project right now. The stock V8 has never let me down in the last 40 years but needs some love (only 57K original miles). I don't need anything more than what the CJ provided new. Planing on all new brakes (original drum) and suspension/steering restoration soon. Restored the interior 25 years ago, but it's time to do it again soon.

So a couple of minor changes ok, but it's original for me.
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post #9 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 06:20 PM
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1985 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 149
I say keep it stock on the outside, wheels, rollbar, paint etc. Under the hood is a different story, if you need to replace parts some very nice upgrades are available
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1985 CJ7
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post #10 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 06:21 PM
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2011 JK Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Washington State
Posts: 9,127
Stock looks, but modern components.

To expand, I like a Jeep that looks like it originally did, but better.

A lift is fine. Bigger tires ok. A better carb, no computers, and better cooling system? Great!

Angry eyes grill? Out. Goofy looking LEDs? Pass. 20" black wheels? No thanks.

Stock Laredo or Rene stripes? Right on! Punisher decal or swamper bogger graphics draped at an angle across the hood and fender? Not. Ever.


Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement
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post #11 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 06:54 PM
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1980 CJ5 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 929
I selected to "modernize it" as some of y'all have seen from my build thread. However, I do have to say that I am in both camps as I want it to look stock but be more modern underneath... kinda like a "sleeper". Now, that is to a point because for example, I am planning on using a carburetor instead of FI because I like old school. You know, in thinking about it, I think I may have selected the wrong choice... I am old school... carburetor, leaf springs and no electronics!

1980 CJ-5
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I thought I was wrong once... but I was mistaken.
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post #12 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 07:27 PM
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1978 CJ5 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Beach City
Posts: 6,780
I was trying to keep mine stock looking, I love the stock look, but I'm also a utilitarian with my vehicles - they earn their keep. So, EFI V8, winch, modern stereo, bumpers with receivers front and rear, recovery points, family style roll cage for safer seat belts, lift for tire clearance, larger tires for underbelly clearance.... plus, it is built to be rust proof as much as possible. I do live in the Rust Belt.
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1978 CJ5 5.0HO/T177/D300, '86 D30/D44 WT axles, 'glass body, 31x10.5 BFG A/T, TDK galv'd frame - DD and weekend toy

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post #13 of 49 Old 03-24-2020, 08:44 PM
John Strenk
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1976 CJ5 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shalersville Ohio
Posts: 20,205
I to like it stock on the outside but improve it underneath.
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I drive a Prius to save money and buy more Jeep Parts....
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post #14 of 49 Old 03-25-2020, 05:57 AM
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1979 CJ7 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Chalfont, PA
Posts: 120
I love the looks of a CJ and the no-frills concept, but they were cheap POSs! Def deserve an upgrade after 40+ years. I had a 3 speed in my first CJ and it sucked. My current one came with a T150 as well and I quickly swapped it for a T176. It's a much better transmission, but still want overdrive. My 304 was hurting so I put a 401 in. Also got tired of playing with a carburetor and went to EFI. The Heep runs so much better on fuel injection. CJs are so narrow, wider and larger tires and wider axles are a safety thing. Also, the brakes are mediocre stock. Jeeps really don't need a radio, but if you're gonna have one, at least put a modern one in. FM radio sucks anyway today. I put a Retro Sound in. It's a cheaply made POS, but at least it connects to my phone with bluetooth. I put newer model LED headlights in and they made a total difference! Once again, safety. I wouldn't modify the body on a CJ, don't like carved up fenders, but get it for a true trail rig. My first CJ had a bench seat in the front. Used to slide around on that thing! Don't know how the factor buckets were, but aftermarket bucket seats were a must. I put heaters in my current seats and they are fantastic on a cool night! The wiring on my current CJ was trashed, so a Painless kit was a must. Either way, I love the CJ for what it is, but we have made progress in cars in 40 years and can bring the Jeep up to current times! I have no desire to buy a new Jeep.
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post #15 of 49 Old 03-25-2020, 08:09 AM
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1985 CJ7 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Lehigh Valley
Posts: 307
As long as you don't change the suspension to coil springs and add angry eyes, it's all good! I don't fully understand the high horsepower builds either as these things will never be safe at speed, but I kind of get it. I had a warmed up 360 in my 84', it did add to the fun factor, but also added to the pucker factor. Upgraded steering and suspension components are a must for any CJ.

1985 CJ7- 4.5" BDS/Fiberglass Tub/33s/Many Mods
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