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Cj5 304 v8 or cj7 258 i6

Which cj should I buy?

2754 Views 54 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  KrasnoyarDJn
I have been looking for a cj to buy the last few months and need assistance deciding between two being sold near me.
Usage for the jeep will be low, weekend driver probably minimal highway use. I will be offroading occasionally, maybe 15 times a year, nothing too crazy abuse wise. I wheel at uwahrie national forest and it's pretty tame.
Down the road I will probably sell and get another jeep so I want to keep resale in mind and keep it as close to original as possible. The fun for me is turning crap into a head turner, bang it around on some trails, and do it again.


#1 1979 cj-7: $4,000 obo
258 inline 6
Pros:
Boxed frame
Power steering
Has a few new parts under the hood
Still has most of the original parts (which I like)
Cons:
Body is shot. I can weld and have a buddy who can paint so not the end of the world and really dont mind the extra work over the winter.
Amc 20 rear axle
Needs new rims/tires

#2 1973 CJ-5 $5,000 obo
304 v8

Pros:
Pretty much a new tub
Paint is in darn good condition
Motor looks clean to the point where it was definitely refreshed or rebuilt. (Current owner is unsure, po did the motor work.
Frame is painted
Danna 44 rear with 3.73 gearing
Decent rims/tires
Cons:
No power steering
Needs a new t15 transmission or rebuild(2nd pops out)
Original dash controls and the blower motor for heat are gone (I don't care about that honestly but not sure it it would hurt resale later)
C chanel frame

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The 304 CJ5 is more unusual these days but the buy-in feels a bit tall. But with your stated interest it might be the most interesting. If the CJ7 were 304 I wouldn’t be vacillating/ however, the CJ7 will probably be less headaches
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The 304 CJ5 is more unusual these days but the buy-in feels a bit tall. But with your stated interest it might be the most interesting. If the CJ7 were 304 I wouldn’t be vacillating/ however, the CJ7 will probably be less headaches
Agreed, I'd feel more comfortable paying 4k for the cj5.
My biggest worry about the cj5 is honestly the motor.
The motor looks nice and pretty but what was actually done to the inside (if anything). Hack job or good work?

The cj7 looks original so you know what your are getting.

And for whatever reason I've always been partial to i6 over v8. But that said I just want to start with the most reliable yet strong platform that will best suit my needs.

Why does the cj7 look like less of a headache to you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are you big and/or tall? If so, you might want to go with the CJ-7 for entry & exit ease and comfort. I know being 6'5" and 300+, there's no way I can fit comfortably into a CJ-5... especially, not an older one with the bus driver steering wheel and fixed column.
Good point, I am 5' 10" small build so that does not play a big factor in the decision.
 

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Good point, I am 5' 10" small build so that does not play a big factor in the decision.
You're concerned with resale though? The CJ7 will appeal to larger market. Nice ones certainly seem demand more money than a similar CJ5.

I do like the power for the choke zip tied to the fuel line on it too. That's fun. :ROFLMAO:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You're concerned with resale though? The CJ7 will appeal to larger market. Nice ones certainly seem demand more money than a similar CJ5.

I do like the power for the choke zip tied to the fuel line on it too. That's fun. :ROFLMAO:
I have noticed resale is higher for the cj7, but the v8 motors seems to be in higher demand than the i6, just due to the "wow factor" it seems.

Lol I didn't notice that. Fun=dangerous=jeep 😅
 

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CJ parts, and repairs to any of it, can be expensive, so, based on that statement alone, buy the jeep with the most “goodies” for the least money and the least amount of repairs, that meets your needs/desires on how you plan to use the jeep.. The 1972-1975 “mid” body model has a C channel frame where 1976 to 1979 are boxed and stronger than the C channel. When looking at a C channel CJ, check the frame at the rear spring hanger on the front springs for cracks in the frame. This is a common spot for problems and many jeeps have been poorly patched. Repairing a bad patch can be an expense too. Even if the frame isn’t cracked or patched at this spot the frame may be bent. The front of the jeep may show a tattle tail sign of the bent frame as the hood/fenders will appear to be bent up slightly. Also, if you look at the sides of the tub in front of the door opening down low you will see that the tub metal will be “pooched” out a little, kind of like a bubble. This is from the frame pushing up, and the problem seems to be exacerbated by the weight of the AMC 304 and crazy driving. Many who own C channel CJs box the frame. There have been several articles on the process published over the years. I owned a 1972 CJ5 with the AMC 304 and experienced these issues but would not hesitate to buy another C channel framed CJ, if the price was right.
 

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1978 Jeep Cj5 OEM AMC 304
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Cj5 would be my choice- I’m biased though ;)
 
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Going through now what is already done to the CJ5 I will tell right now it is worth far more than a $1,000. One of the days folks are going to realize the scarcity of 304 powered intermediates and will pay for them.

You haven't mentioned anything hard to fix on the 73. The blower motor is available and easy to install. It goes in from the inside and is a 30-minute job. No folks the Blazer motor upgrade won't work on this Jeep. PS upgrade is harder but doable. Transmissions are available.

Go with scarcity and class and not commonality.
 

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i would go with the cj5. a buddy had one back in my army days in the 90s and that cj5 with a 304 and those glass packs made for a fun day of riding tank trails through the woods at fort benning. that thing always started and never got stuck.

and i had a cj5. i had the 4.2 though, which was fine. the cj5 smaller body made the jeep able to go through one thing none of my wranglers could go through the same way. it could go straight on through a drainage ditch across the street from my house where the wranglers would dig the bumpers and get stuck so you would have to go through at an angle instead.

that cj5 would just drop in and climb out the other side with no trouble.

that ditch was our test for jeeps to see how well they did. some jeeps couldn't go through, even at an angle because of how deep the ditch was
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
CJ parts, and repairs to any of it, can be expensive, so, based on that statement alone, buy the jeep with the most “goodies” for the least money and the least amount of repairs, that meets your needs/desires on how you plan to use the jeep.. The 1972-1975 “mid” body model has a C channel frame where 1976 to 1979 are boxed and stronger than the C channel. When looking at a C channel CJ, check the frame at the rear spring hanger on the front springs for cracks in the frame. This is a common spot for problems and many jeeps have been poorly patched. Repairing a bad patch can be an expense too. Even if the frame isn’t cracked or patched at this spot the frame may be bent. The front of the jeep may show a tattle tail sign of the bent frame as the hood/fenders will appear to be bent up slightly. Also, if you look at the sides of the tub in front of the door opening down low you will see that the tub metal will be “pooched” out a little, kind of like a bubble. This is from the frame pushing up, and the problem seems to be exacerbated by the weight of the AMC 304 and crazy driving. Many who own C channel CJs box the frame. There have been several articles on the process published over the years. I owned a 1972 CJ5 with the AMC 304 and experienced these issues but would not hesitate to buy another C channel framed CJ, if the price was right.
That's good Information thank you. I knew about looking for cracks at the hangers but did not know to investigate further. Frame is painted which I personally don't like because it's easier to hide things. But I will inspect the frame closely and be sure to look for any other signs.

I would definitely be boxing the frame, I'm by no means a professional welder but I can lay a nice bead and believe I could comfortably and safely box the frame myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Going through now what is already done to the CJ5 I will tell right now it is worth far more than a $1,000. One of the days folks are going to realize the scarcity of 304 powered intermediates and will pay for them.

You haven't mentioned anything hard to fix on the 73. The blower motor is available and easy to install. It goes in from the inside and is a 30-minute job. No folks the Blazer motor upgrade won't work on this Jeep. PS upgrade is harder but doable. Transmissions are available.

Go with scarcity and class and not commonality.
I believe you are correct, to me the inline 6 is more desirable just because of the history and the durability.
But people seem to fawn over the v8s, and that should only Increase as emission controls clamp down further and v8s are no longer allowed to be manufactured.

Nothing to difficult to fix, transmission should be a easy fix, I'm betting it's just synchros. If not t15 can be had for a nice price. I will look into blower motor kits, like I said I'd never use it but I'm sure it would add to resale down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i would go with the cj5. a buddy had one back in my army days in the 90s and that cj5 with a 304 and those glass packs made for a fun day of riding tank trails through the woods at fort benning. that thing always started and never got stuck.

and i had a cj5. i had the 4.2 though, which was fine. the cj5 smaller body made the jeep able to go through one thing none of my wranglers could go through the same way. it could go straight on through a drainage ditch across the street from my house where the wranglers would dig the bumpers and get stuck so you would have to go through at an angle instead.

that cj5 would just drop in and climb out the other side with no trouble.

that ditch was our test for jeeps to see how well they did. some jeeps couldn't go through, even at an angle because of how deep the ditch was
Since you have experience with both motors would you mind giving the pros and cons of any between the two?
Do you think the i6 was better driving around the city or the v8?
V8 or i6 for slow crawling trails or ditches😉.
 

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I believe you are correct, to me the inline 6 is more desirable just because of the history and the durability.
But people seem to fawn over the v8s, and that should only Increase as emission controls clamp down further and v8s are no longer allowed to be manufactured.

Nothing to difficult to fix, transmission should be a easy fix, I'm betting it's just synchros. If not t15 can be had for a nice price. I will look into blower motor kits, like I said I'd never use it but I'm sure it would add to resale down the road.
For what it is worth I wouldn't pay extra for a 304. I like the 258. My buddy's son has a 77 with a 360 and we went/raced up a mountain together. The only rule was once in third gear we stayed there. I left him behind with a little extra torque and a lot better gear ratio. The 304 equipped intermediate is more desirable mainly because there were less of them. Intermediates are the best of both worlds with the early CJ tub and lack of comfort, but with later CJ power.
 

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other than my buddy having that engine and us running the heck out of it, i don't have lots of experience on it. i just know he had it and the jeep was a blast. whether it is still running, or even around, i have no idea. i have read they aren't long lasting and parts are expensive but if it was just for a jeep i had as a play truck, i would go with the 304.

all of my actual working and owning jeep experience is on a 2.5, 4.2, or 4.0. and all of those are solid dependable engines.

i actually had a stroker in my 87 yj and looked for a 304 to put in it, since they would have swapped easily. it was so hard to find one that i gave up and put a 302/c6 in. i think if i would have found a 304 and been able to put that in though, i would have kept the jeep a lot longer. the 302/c6 swap took so much time that i got burned out and sold the jeep once i got it running. the 304 would have been plug and play though.


i like the v8 sound and have fun modifying them so for your use, i would still go with the cj5. even if just for the rarity of it
 
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