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post #1 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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JK to CJ?

I'm posting this here because I want to get some thoughts from people that have owned both.

First, I absolutely LOVE my JK and not sure I want to part with it. But I had a thought in my head recently of buying an '86 CJ7. I'd sell my JK and drive the CJ7 as a DD until the beginning of summer. Then I'd put the CJ7 in the garage, take the wife's EX35 as a DD, and buy her a Hemi Grand Cherokee Limited.

I'd keep the top off of the CJ7 and drive it on nice days and weekends in North GA on the Forest Roads.

It's all just in the thinking stage and I'm researching CJ's now. What to look for when buying one used. The one I'm looking at has 65k original miles and a 6cyl and hasn't been molested.

Thoughts?


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post #2 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:23 AM
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Once you've owned a CJ or two, you never buy another one. Can't say the same for other Jeeps! CJs, ride like crap, frames crack easily, rusts like crazy. Look for a cheap TJ or YJ IMO.

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post #3 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:45 AM
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I agree with Prope, if you have no experience with a CJ7 you should drive one first. SWB Jeep have come a long way in the last 24 years. CJs are very crude vehicles by comparison to your JK. Restore a CJ as I have and you'll learn why AMC went out of business. Prope pointed out a lot of the issues common to them but the list can be long and expensive to fix. Probably the most important thing to remember is that they NEWEST CJ is now 24 years old. Most of them still around have been thrashed mercilessly, cut up to become buggies, hacked, jerry-rigged, used as snow plows (run if that's the case). OTOH, there's maybe nothing as cool or fun as a CJ.

Biggest issue is rust, if you live in an area with salted roads in winter forget it. Texas & other SW States CJs are usually in good shape rust wise. Frames are weak and crack, the clutch linkage is a joke, the AMC 20 rear axle is prone to spinning axle shafts in the drums (one piece axles are a good first mod) and like a JK front axle, the 20's tubes are pretty weak. Trans & x-fer cases are usually pretty good, early ones are better.

In a moment of utter madness I dragged one home back in '02, a '76 CJ5 that I found in a local barn. I could have saved about $15k if I'd just taken it straight to the wrecking yard, but NO, I decided to restore it. For six months about every waking moment was spent bringing the POS back to life. Once it was done I suppose it was worth the effort, if not the money. It only comes out from May through Oct, top down fun for sure.


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post #4 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:46 AM
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post #5 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:48 AM
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Good luck! I wouldn't go that route with the CJ myself.

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post #6 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 07:55 AM
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Good advice above.

From what i've seen, a good CJ costs nearly as much as a late 90's TJ and a bad CJ will cost you as much as a new JK to refurb.

I think this thing is finally coming together. Still Needed: drive shafts, frame mount rails...then done son! For a while...
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post #7 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Good advice, thanks. Keep it coming.

The idea is just to get through the winter driving the CJ as a DD (12 miles to work each way). After that it will mainly be a weekend driver. No serious off-road stuff, just forest roads.

Eventually I'd like to do a frame off restoration. I'd look for a good base platform that isn't molested. I've done frame up restorations on a few cars and several motorcycles.


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post #8 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:14 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoK66 View Post

Gorgeous! Red is the first color I'm looking for.

I checked out some TJ's but more than I want to have in a weekend driver. Prices are around 8k to 9k. I'm looking in the 5k to 6k range.


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post #9 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:16 AM
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I should add: You think Jeep stands for just empty every pocket owning a JK or TJ or YJ... just wait till you own a CJ and truly hemorrhage money on it for stupid shit. Haha!

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post #10 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:18 AM
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You'd be worse off in the CJ for the winter than you would be in the JK in my opinion. You get that CJ out of control on the ice and you've got an iron horse out of control. Do the same in your JK and you've got technology on your side.

I know you are probably worried about tearing up your JK more than safety, but I don't think it is a worthwhile move.

If you want to try something different go back to a TJ. They are a blast to work on and work with and you'll learn a ton of things that you normally wouldn't have to mess with on a JK. Slip Yoke Eliminators, drive shafts at nearly no lift, metal fenders that bend and and the paint cracks, plenty of torque (LOL), ect.

I will buy another TJ at some point. Preferably an LJ and build a REAL LCG rig. You have to get crazy to go LCG on a TJ/LJ.

Best of luck with your project!

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post #11 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:20 AM
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Agree with all 100% ...I grew up with a CJ and a Scout (would love to still have the Scout). I'm looking forward to sometime down the road having a TJ or YJ to build up and play with. Cheers.

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post #12 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 08:35 AM
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For many years I was CJ7 all the way. Loved them (still have one).
After buying a JK in April, I like the CJ7 as a friend and love the JK
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post #13 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:28 AM
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Let me preface this by saying i love CJ's. I've had several and even a YJ i turned into a CJ. they're a blast to own...


That being said, the thought of daily driving a CJ makes my back hurt, my toes cold, and my head ache. they're fun once in a while but i think you're going to hate life.

i LIKE the idea of selling the JK for a trail rig and tow vehicle (wk and WJ tow awesome) and havng a DD... but i don't think i could DD a CJ... and i've DD'd a TJ on 38.5" boggers lol.


IF you want to do this, and IF you want something more reliable. I'd buy a 6 cyl YJ with a good frame and tub and do a CJ front clip swap. it's super easy, almost everything bolts up, etc. AND you get fuel injection, a better heater, more reliable, better frame, better tub (if it's post 91 i believe), wider springs, more modern steering box, etc etc etc.

here's my YJ when i was 3/4 of the way done with the swap:



it was the easiest swap i've ever done. The other nice thing about a YJ is you can make CJ hard tops and doors fit and they're SUPER cheap. I paid 40 bucks for that CJ top and i bought CJ full hard doors for 100 bucks!


Plus i nice CJ will run ya 5,000-8000 for something worth having. a nice clean YJ can be had in the 2500 dollar territory

31 jeeps in... still have issues

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post #14 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prope View Post
Once you've owned a CJ or two, you never buy another one. Can't say the same for other Jeeps! CJs, ride like crap, frames crack easily, rusts like crazy. Look for a cheap TJ or YJ IMO.
+1. I had a 78 with the 304v8. Loved it, but it breaks...every weekend something seemed to need repair.
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post #15 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:35 AM
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Tough decision.
I have a 91 YJ and in the summer given the choice i always drive it over the JK. I dont care about the rough ride or the wind or any of that it just has such a good nostalgic feel that the JK doesnt.
I love rolling around in my JK on 37's with no top and no doors. But honestly my YJ completely stock and falling apart is more fun.....

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post #16 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:41 AM
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Tough decision.
I have a 91 YJ and in the summer given the choice i always drive it over the JK. I dont care about the rough ride or the wind or any of that it just has such a good nostalgic feel that the JK doesnt.
I love rolling around in my JK on 37's with no top and no doors. But honestly my YJ completely stock and falling apart is more fun.....
and you think the YJ is falling apart, try something 10-20 years older! its way worse

31 jeeps in... still have issues
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post #17 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:50 AM
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I like the idea of a CJ7 nose on a YJ frame! CJ Frames are absolutely junk.....

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post #18 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:56 AM
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I like my CJ5.... no smog laws to contend with.
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post #19 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 09:56 AM
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I like the idea of a CJ7 nose on a YJ frame! CJ Frames are absolutely junk.....

RK
i drilled a few holes in each fender to bolt the YJ fender flares to them (those are YJ flares that came with my YJ)

and the rad core support had to have a little piece of steel added to reinforce it since the CJ grill is further in... other than that everything pretty much just bolts up. Oh, i used the aftermarket rad that was in my YJ so i had to trim the inside of the grill to get it to fit between the headlights. All super minor stuff. i had it done in a weekend, and without really working hard on it.

that YJ was a little different. it had a 4.3/700r4 in it so everything was in the wrong place anyway but i can't imagine it'd be much different with the 4.0... and with the 2.5 you have about a foot of room lol

31 jeeps in... still have issues
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post #20 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 10:14 AM
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and you think the YJ is falling apart, try something 10-20 years older! its way worse
Yeah i can imagine.
But i meant my YJ is being ripped apart lol it has no real use it used to be the farm jeep but now that all the animals are gone its really just a toy so it gets heavily abused

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post #21 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 10:47 AM
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I had a CJ5 on 35s and now have a JK on 37s... I'll never go back to a CJ unless I'm using it as the start of a trail buggy. Your comparing apples to oranges between the two.
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post #22 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMike View Post
What to look for when buying one used. The one I'm looking at has 65k original miles and a 6cyl and hasn't been molested.

Thoughts?
In the 80's CJs, AMC hadn't quite perfected computerized controls for everything. So, most things were controlled by plastic vacuum lines. These vacuum lines became brittle with heat and time, so by now most of them will disintegrate if you look at them funny. Plan on spending a LOT of time tracking down vacuum leaks and replacing with rubber vacuum line. This was especially true of the GM 151ci 4 pot that AMC used (the only 258 I had was a Clifford fuelie conversion, but I would imagine it would be similar).

That was really my only complaint about the CJs. There was a lot to like about them, especially if it's going to be primarily a pleasure cruiser as you suggest. I liked the raw simplicity of them, I loved the interior, and I loved the top-off experience... yes, somehow it's better than a TJ or a JK. Can't really pin that one down. For reference, I have had all 4, '86 CJ-7, '84 CJ-7, '92 YJ Sahara, '03 TJ X and the current '07 JK Sahara.

If you are looking for a simple CJ purchase that you don't have to put much thought into, look for one that is as close to stock as possible. Know that you will have to do some basic maintenance and will be tracking down vacuum leaks but otherwise stick with the 258 and you'll be fine for your stated purpose. Just don't plan on morphing it into anything other than boulevard cruiser/dusty trail goer, otherwise you will have a "project" on your hands. Also, remember that '86 was the last year for the AMC CJ, and the company was in it's death throes, so maybe not the best year from a build quality standpoint.

If you are looking for a "project", I really like the 2k2's idea of a YJ front clip conversion. Or, build up an early TJ (probably best basis for an off-roader).

But that's just like, my opinion, man.
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post #23 of 40 Old 11-18-2010, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
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Gorgeous! Red is the first color I'm looking for.
Thanks. That's actually the original color, Firecracker red, only my painter shot clear over it which is why the shine. I wanted it because it had the old Willys style tailgate, unusual post '75. I should have just bought the tailgate. It was painted some kind of metallic maroon, had about a 500 pounsds on bondo on the left side where it had rolled, the cage was made of well pipe, it had Pontiac seats in front, the engine qas from a '75 and completley worn out from age & no air cleaner, rear pinion bearings were so worn out you could shake the thing like a maraca, the rear shaft u - joints were completely gone and the shaft was twisted 45 degrees, etc., etc. I rebuilt the rear end, swapped in a fresh Jasper 232, replaced the driveshafts, clutch, just about everyting hanging on the engine, rewired it with a Painless harness, replaced all the little bits in the interior. The suspension got tossed for a little Skyjacker 2.5" kit. Those wheels had been on it and all we needed to do was get some nice BFG ATs for it. Hundreds of other little things were needed, heim clutch linkage, all new lights, brakes incl. front disk conversion, it just went on & on.

Then it got stripped back out and went to the body man. He stripped it to the metal, hogged out all the bondo, replaced the lower cowl / side panel on the drivers side, replaced the fenders, windshield frame and found me an AMC NOS grill. It had more holes in it than a brick of swiss cheeze. He welded all those up. We knew it had originally been that red and he went a step further by shooting over it in clear.

When it was done we couldn't actually believe what we had. This is what it looked like to begin with, about two months into the resto. At that point it had a top, the rear end was OH'd and a bunch of other stuff that made it safe to drive. NEVER AGAIN will I do one that started off this bad...NEVER!

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post #24 of 40 Old 11-20-2010, 09:12 AM
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i had 2 YJs, a 94 and a 93 and loved them both. The 94 was a 4.0 I6 (which would be the motor you want. theres another I6 that was made before it but to my understanding the 4.0 is better) and it was fucking awesome. had a rebuilt rear end (my stepdad did it and it was before i had any clue of what was down there) and a new tranny. the motor had like 87k miles on it when i got it (it was a 94 i got in 03). it was in amazing shape. id still have it today if my dumb teenage ass hadnt pulled out in front of an f150.

then i got a 93 4 cyl. loved the jeep, hated the 4 cyl. if i was going 65 it was downhill.

i dont have much experience with CJs, ive always wanted one as a toy, but i really enjoyed my YJs. and like it was mentioned earlier, many CJ parts will fit the YJ and save you $$$. I know id still have the 94 if i could.

you just have to be willing to accept square head lights (unless you do the conversion).

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post #25 of 40 Old 11-20-2010, 11:46 AM
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I'd do another YJ in a heartbeat and while I think CJ's look cool, all of the previous posters have mentioned EVERY downfall that I've ever heard about em.

Do a YJ if you're bent on making a change, and have fun with it.

My $.02



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