I'm getting ready to buy my first Jeep.. I'm looking at a nice 1985 CJ7. For all you experts out there... Is there anything I need to look for specifically that is relative to a CJ7? Not the usual stuff like rust and everything. For example... The YJ's have a weak rear axle that is usually in need of replacement once the tire size is bigger that 35.
Drive line wise, if it has not been done, upgrade to 1pc rear shafts in the model 20. As for tire size the stock axles,(with the upgraded shafts) I would not run over a 35 on them.. and even with that size have upgraded shafts. the yj stock rear blows due to wheel spin under load. I have seen the blow with stock tires.. the rest of the things on a CJ will just be due to age.. check the all the rubber lines for wear.
CJ.XJ.CJ. TJ. TJ.ZJ. TJ.TJ. ZJ.ZJ.YJ. XJ
The stock model 20 rear is the main problem with that era cj... if you're gonna spend some $$$... you can get a built 9" or D44... I ran a 20 successfully with a warn floating hub kit, axles, welded tubes to the center & a lock-right... thrashed the poor thing and it held up well... the rear hubs were great for flat towing too...
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Not a lot of people would think of this but one of the biggest pains on a cj is dealing with the bolts breaking off in the frame, or the nuts inside the frame breaking their welds and free spinning. A couple of bolts you may want to check are the rear leaf spring perch bolts and the trans case skid bolts. Another common problem that you don't see unless carefully inspecting is rust on the cross members. In particular the rear cross member and the one that runs above the rear axle. Both are thin metal and body mount points. Which reminds me, check the body mounts. Change the oil for the guy to check for no antifreeze in the oil, that'll save a costly repair down the line. Other equipment that was optional was the power brake system. Its fairly easy to convert but if you can find one already equipped it'll save you some hassle.
Pay special attention to the shifting whether a 4 or 5 speed. The T-176 and T-5 both are both considered a weaker tranny than the earlier and later CJ's. Also, don't buy a 4 banger. You will thank me later.
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BrianCJ7: The one i'm looking at has a carburetor but no that should be fine with me for a while. It will be beginner to intermediate wheelin at first. I was looking at the howell FI swap too. Mopar is probably better. though.
Thanks YellowSnow, the one im looking at is a 5 speed. No need a 4banger like you said too.