Thinking about a 72 to 75 CJ5 for my next project - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-26-2018, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
mickri
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Thinking about a 72 to 75 CJ5 for my next project

Been lurking here and other jeep forums for awhile. A couple of years back I was considering either resurrecting an old MG Midget or a CJ5. The midget won out. That project will be done hopefully early next year. The midget is getting a Toyota 3TC with a 5 speed swapped into it. Not a hard swap but not looking for another swap project.

So I am starting to look for a CJ5. Because I live California I don't want anything to do with a smog car. That means 1975 or older. I think that I have narrowed my search to a 72 to 75 CJ5 with a 258/4speed. I plan to keep it fairly stock with maybe a 2 to 3 inch suspension lift. Slightly oversize tires and rims. Nothing radical. The CJ5 will not be a daily driver. My DD is a 94 Dodge diesel. Budget is $5,000 max and ideally around $3,000 give or take.

So what problem areas should I be looking out for in a 72 to 75 CJ5 258? Got a lot to learn here.

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-27-2018, 09:07 AM
bob4703
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As in all Jeeps you should be on the lookout for rust--body and frame. If you find an original CA CJ5 you will be better off. OEM engine may be a 232 as a 258 was an option. Don't think they came with an optional 4 speed. I have a 3 speed and the low range TC is just as useful as a "grannie low" 4 speed.

Don't be quick to upgrade to disc brakes as the 11" drums are more than adequate to stop a stock or near stock drive train. I have friend who also has a 74 and he regrets doing a 2 1/2" lift because his wife has a hard time getting in. Plan on changing the springs all around as they will be tired or in the case of one of mine broken and new ones will give you some ride height increase too.

The original wagon wheel rims are 8" so if they are wide enough for any tire you can fit under a Jeep without major mods. It probably will come with a 3.73 gear which will easily handle a 31 or 32" tire.

The 73-75 (intermediate) Jeeps have a cool factor in that they share the spartan cab as the earlier CJ5s, but also have a longer frame which allows the AMC power trains. 72s have an unboxed frame (or so I've been told) which are weaker than the 73+ models.

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post #3 of 24 Old 08-27-2018, 09:59 AM
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If you plan on keeping the stock engine, I would try to find a 258 instead of a 232 (as bob mentioned they were both available). I know a 4 speed T18 was offered from 72-75, but I know if it only came with certain engines or not. It was a 4:1 1st gear gear instead of the 6.32:1 "granny gear" like the Ford (and newer Jeep) versions.

The intermediates have some oddities over the newer CJs (in fact, my '77 shares some intermediate parts), but like bob said, they are a nice combination of the early bare bones CJs and the newer, "modern" drivetrains of the later CJs.

Also, if you can find one, an intermediate CJ6 is really cool. CJ8 Scrambler wheelbase, but with CJ5 doors and less overhang behind the rear axle (same overhang as a CJ5 or 7, no not quite a long or as truck like as a Scrambler),.

77 CJ-7- AMC 360, Edelbrock cam, MC2100, Fenderwells, CJ T18/D20, Chevy D44/EB 9" rear, Trutrac f/r, 4.11, SOA, 1.25 lift shackles, 35x12.50 BFG KM2s, Shackle Reversal
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-27-2018, 10:09 AM
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Yup. The close ratio T-18 with 4.02 first gear was an option on 72-75 CJ-5s. A friend bought a 74 and it had a frame crack in the area where the entry body mount is located so look over the frame closely.
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-27-2018, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips on what to look for. There are currently 3 CJ5's with 258's and 4 speeds for sale on Craigslist within 250 miles of me. Asking prices are from $4000 to $5000. One has a hardtop. The most expensive one looks to be somewhat tricked out with both suspension and body lifts and lots of other mod's. And taxi cab yellow paint. Yuk. Not what I am looking for.
A pretty much stock CJ with 31" or so tires is what I want based on my very limited current knowledge. I live in the foothills of the Sierras with lots of forest service roads to explore not far from me. It also might see some use on my daughter and son-in-law's cattle ranch. That's 180 miles from me.
Sounds like the frame is the biggest thing to watch out for. I am in no hurry. Have to finish the midget first. Just want to be prepared in case something decent turns up.
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post #6 of 24 Old 09-08-2018, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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I have also been looking at ads for CJ5's for sale with the v6 225 odd fire engine. Sounds like the transmission is a weak link. Anything in particular to look out for with the 225 odd fire engine?
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post #7 of 24 Old 09-09-2018, 04:18 AM
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Well, the T14 is not as reliable as the T86 for sure, and the T86 less than many others (and was only used in Jeeps for a very short period of time). The biggest advantage in my opinion of finding a 225 is you can mate an SM420 to the bell housing without any adapters, then your t/c adapter is minimal (helping maintain the length of the rear drive shaft). The odd-fire is good engine; in stock form has acceptable HP for moderate jeeping, and low rpm torque to pull you over pretty much any thing. The engine is known to have some issues with the oil passages, so key is keeping everything in good order with routine maintenance. There is ok aftermarket support for the engine if you want to increase performance (headers, intake, 4barrel, cams, etc). Being an odd fire, the ignition system has fewer options, but there is HEI and even a TBI option (I have no experience with the TBI). Plus, the "uniqueness" of the 225 is a plus - I rarely run into another Jeeper with the same engine (they are not unicorns or anything, but certainly less common). I've had CJ5s with the 134, SBC, and the 225 - the 225 has been my favorite. It's what I currently have, with the SM420 to D20 to D44 with 3.73 and 33" - more get up and go than my TJ (though not as fast on the top end). So, my "vote": find a CJ5 with a 225, or go with the intermediate with a 258 (not 232).
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-09-2018, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Looked on craigslist this morning and there are currently six 225's and five 258's for sale within a reasonable drive from me in the $3500 to $5000 price range. Most had lots of suspension mod's/body lifts or were in need of serious restoration. Not what I am looking for. I am hoping to find a fairly stock CJ5 that has not been abused. I will find it.
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post #9 of 24 Old 09-10-2018, 05:23 AM
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One thing I would add is to expect electrical gremlins. Usually small things like battery slowly draining over a couple days or some lights not working. Many of the electrical problems are caused by bad grounds from 40+ years of corrosion. Or 40+ years of previous owners’ handiwork.
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-10-2018, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob4703 View Post
72s have an unboxed frame (or so I've been told) which are weaker than the 73+ models.
Not true. The boxing in the engine bay area started even prior to the intermediates. Any intermediate (72-75) is boxed in the engine bay area. Visually there's no way to tell the difference from one year to anther in that range.

For the OP, watch the frame rail just behind the fixed spring hanger for the front springs. They are prone to crack there.

The '75s were the first to get a real fusebox. Inline fuses were used in prior years.

Be aware that the springs in any pre-76 are shorter and narrower than '76 and up.
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post #11 of 24 Old 09-10-2018, 10:30 AM
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The intermediates can sometimes be frustrating to find parts for especially body. You will see ads for up to 72 and then from 76 on. I own a 1973 so i can attest to this.
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post #12 of 24 Old 09-11-2018, 11:13 AM
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Only advice I can give is stay away from 77'. It was a odd year and has a few one offs.
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post #13 of 24 Old 09-11-2018, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for more things to look out for. Because I live California with its draconian smog laws I will be buying a 1975 or older CJ5. Wiring seems to always be a problem on older cars. I have completely rewired a car in the past. So I know what that involves.
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post #14 of 24 Old 12-05-2018, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Ran across this jeep on CL. https://santamaria.craigslist.org/ct...756548191.html. Don't know anything other than what's in the ad. My guess is that he couldn't figure out the electronics to make it run. Not much to go on. What should I be on the look out for? Potential problems?
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post #15 of 24 Old 12-05-2018, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickri View Post
I have also been looking at ads for CJ5's for sale with the v6 225 odd fire engine. Sounds like the transmission is a weak link. Anything in particular to look out for with the 225 odd fire engine?
The 225 only came in pre 72 CJ's. The rigs are a bit more compact interior wise and there are some added issues such as Ross steering and smaller brakes. These can be addressed but you should be aware of them.


The Buick 225 is the best (IMHO) powerplant offered in a CJ. Small package, great fuel economy, stupid torque, and good HP to boot. They can be upgraded with a stock HEI. 4BBL manifolds are still available as well as fender headers.



The T14A transmission is a weak point and must be babied to keep it intact. Replacement gears are virtually non existent. The T86 is pretty robust but parts have pretty much evaporated as well.



Early models ran a BOP bellhousing with an adapter. Later ones used a single cast BH. With the adapter removed, the early models can accommodate an SM series transmission or be adapted to a Ford T18.



The clutch used a cable which is notoriously bad (used through the 72 model as well). Most V6 CJ's have had the cable removed and been modified to a mechanical linkage.


Renegade models didn't have a tailgate. Might be an issue for you.


Check the frame for cracking around the spring hangers as well and the rear body mounts.


Early models came with a 10 gal saddle tank. 70 and 71 models came with saddle or rear tank. Early models can have a rear tank installed and the later ones can have the saddle tank installed under the drivers seat.

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