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Old 11-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
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Might switch from a YJ to a CJ5

I recently came across a 77 Cj5 with a 304 V8. It's got a 4 inch Skyjacker lift kit and about 87K miles on the 304. I don't know much about a CJ5 so I wanted to ask and see what I need to look at in the Jeep other than the obvious. Where do these things rust mostly and is the 304 a good reliable engine? Also what axles came under these things? It doesn't have a Tail gate so does it have a fiberglass tub is did some CJ5s come that way? any info will be helpful. Going back to look at the Rig on Thursday. Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-06-2012, 10:16 PM   #2
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Well, first of all its prolly gonna drive like crap compared to your YJ. They are shorter and narrower. The glass tub isnt factory which means the stock one rotted out.

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Old 11-06-2012, 10:27 PM   #3
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That was fast. lol. It looks ok and the guy claims "Rust Free" So I was right, since it doesn't have a Tail Gate, it's a fiberglass tub?
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:43 AM   #4
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Assuming it is stock it will have a narrow track axles. They are about 10" narrower than your YJ axles. I still run nt's on my cj with spacers and compared to my TJ is much less stable on and off road. You get moved around a bit riding the grooves in the road since the jeep is narrower. Probably still has the 3.54 gears installed.

The 304 is a pretty good engine. Has a good amount of torque. Im betting it has a T-150 3 speed behind it which doesn't have overdrive. I hated mine because it really wasnt geared right for the trails or the hwy but they are very good from dependability.

Now if I had to guess the steering is all loose and will be difficult to drive. As IBB already said it is short and skinny...it will not be as easy or as fun to drive.

If you are set on a CJ you might look at some CJ7's. Or maybe converting your YJ to look like a CJ.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:58 AM   #5
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It is a nice "other" vehicle to own, but I wouldn't want one as a daily driver. I traded my 1972 CJ5 last spring along with my wife's TJ for a JK...I kept my YJs. I only drove mine in the summer for playing around and for off roading trips. If you are tall, it's gonna be a pain in the back to drive, literally. There isn't much room in them. I loved mine, but it was time to change things up.

The 304, as Dempsey said, is a good engine, but with a 3 speed...your gonna want more. Mine had a 304 with a T15 3 speed from factory, and it was plenty of power, but can be a handful to drive.

Everything that IBB and Dempsey has said is on target...but it will be your decision...I miss mine, and may get another down the road, but it wasn't something I needed right now. Good luck!
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:19 AM   #6
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don't remember which years but a lot of the cj5's didn't have a tailgate
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:59 AM   #7
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Standard axles would be an amc 20 in the rear, a Dana 30 up front.
The 304 would've been mated to a t150 or the elusive bada$$ t18. The t18 has a granny first and is a 4 speed. The 150 is strong enough to put behind a 360 on 39's but the gearing is terrible.
Rust on the frame will accumulate on the tub mounts, the rear two cross members and inside the frame on primarily the rear half. Turn a couple of bolts, I would recommend turning the rear body mount bolts, the rear spring perch bolts and the transfer case skid bolts.
The 304 is a strong enough motor, I would see if it has the motor craft 2100 Carb, which is a two barrel best suited for amc v8's and would also be factory.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:04 AM   #8
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The transfer case should be a Dana 20 which offers a lame 2:1 low gear, but is very reliable.
With that many miles and depending on the age of the suspension I would plan on replacing the shocks.
Another place to check for rust outside of the floor pans is anywhere there is a seam, tub to rocker panel...etc...
If it doesn't have a tail gate it could be that the p.o. welded it shut.
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:48 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I'm just looking at it because it's got more lift and a bigger engine and tires than my YJ
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone. I'm just looking at it because it's got more lift and a bigger engine and tires than my YJ
Who can blame ya for wanting more lift, engine and tires!

Coming from a guy with a V8 powered CJ I think a YJ is a awesome building platform. The frames are better than cj's, parts are plentiful and all kinds of aftermarket stuff is out there at good prices.

I am running a OME YJ lift on my cj and love it. Rides pretty darn good.

People ask me getting into jeeping about a good jeep to buy and build off of. I always say a '91-'95 4.0 YJ.

Just some things to consider.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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It's got the T18 Trans I'm going to try and take a test drive soon and see how everything feels and works.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:39 PM   #12
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It's got the T18 Trans I'm going to try and take a test drive soon and see how everything feels and works.
Keep us posted. Those are rare....if it's factory. Either way cool.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:55 PM   #13
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No idea. There are a lot of things that aren't factory on this jeep. The guy said after a day of wheeling you have to tighten up the steering box... That is a little unsettling for me.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:58 AM   #14
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No idea. There are a lot of things that aren't factory on this jeep. The guy said after a day of wheeling you have to tighten up the steering box... That is a little unsettling for me.
The steering box area on the frame gets a lot of abuse on all jeeps. The cj mount isn't very strong. I switched mine over to a MORE which has more bolts and also added a brace. Made a huge difference.

I welded my old brace to the frame to help tighten up.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dempsey

The steering box area on the frame gets a lot of abuse on all jeeps. The cj mount isn't very strong. I switched mine over to a MORE which has more bolts and also added a brace. Made a huge difference.

I welded my old brace to the frame to help tighten up.
I replaced mine with rugged ridge for the same reason. They also have a tendency to crack and break.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:22 PM   #16
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I decided not to get the jeep.. As much as I like it, the college budget not does not agree.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:28 PM   #17
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I would stick with the yj because cjs tend to roll easier because of their short and narrow wheelbase. Yjs are wider and more fuel efficient

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