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Old 12-16-2009, 02:05 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Need advice on CJ purchase

Hey everyone!

I have been looking around to purchase a project Willys Jeep to work on with my dad. I'm graduating NYU in May, and would like to do something with him, and learn more about auto mechanics along the way. I've owned a 2001 TJ and now I have a 2door JK, needless to say I love Jeeps.

I have been looking around for cheap Willys that I can actually afford, that don't need tremendous amounts of internal work (as in the are already running) and am looking forward to hopefully turning a CJ5 into an M38 look-alike. (Military history is my passion.) I know there are several differences, but as far I have studied, the early CJs are very similar overall to the M38/M38a1.

I recently stumbled across a project CJ5 on craigslist. The asking price is $1000 at this point. The person's daughter is selling it because her father is having open-heart surgery and can't finish his initial restoration. I am heavily interested, but want to educate myself as best as possible before any commitments. Could you guys help me? The daughter says its running, but the battery is most-likely dead, and it has a flat tire (may just need air.) In the pictures I was sent, visible replacement parts can be seen so obviously someone was restoring it at one point it seems. There is no rust externally or any real body damage as well.

I asked more detailed questions concerning the function of the key components. But seeing as this is not the true owner, I don't know if she really knows much -- I plan on checking it in person soon.

What are some of the key things I should look out for? Are there things that should make this purchase a no-go? Basically, what would you ask yourself or do? I want all the advice I can get.

Here are the pictures I've been sent so far:

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Old 12-16-2009, 05:21 AM   #2

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I would take a magnet with you and see how much of the sides are bondo vs steel. Also check the frame over. If it does run, make sure it shifts smooth, make sure the 4wheel drive works etc. Looks like both the cargo area and floor pans have some surface rust so see how good or bad they are.

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Old 12-16-2009, 09:46 AM   #3
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1960? It sure looks all stock to me. Recent primer scares me, but it honestly looks good for something from that era. And the price is good.

Below are some pictures of my 1960 CJ. It's all stock, if you want to compare.

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Old 12-16-2009, 05:13 PM   #4
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$1000 is a steal if it not full of bondo,and the frame and drivetrain are good.
Take your time look it over, If you do not know bring somone that does.
Out here in VT parts jeeps go for $1000.
But I am starting to relize that maybe the cost of living out here is starting to get out of control.
I hope it works out for you. Let us know either way.
94' wrangler 4 cyl. 5 speed D30/8.8 ARB
82' scrambler 350 TBI/700r4 D30/Currie 9"
07' JK sahara
Whats the deal with the facebook crap?? ->->->->
Grown men should NOT be on Facebook.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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I am going to try to take a look at it in person this weekend. (It's an hour away from me -- I'll need to figure out how to get it towed to my house if I do decide to buy it.) It seems like most people have told me to look out for Bondo. I believe it to be 1957 or 1958, the original ad expired so now I forget the exact date, I'll need to ask in email. I guess I will also need to bring a battery, seeing as how it doesn't have one. I really wish that tire wasn't flat, it's a lot of work on my end just to see if it'll move.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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Okay so I just received another email from the seller:

"New wheel cylinders
New master cylinder
New bell crank
New brake shoes
New fuel pump
new fuel tank
motor runs
battery probably dead ... sitting a while
12 voltframe is rust free
all parts should be there
75-80% of body work has been completed.
My father said this project should go easily ... he started this jeep many years ago with his grandson (who lost interest as he was nearing the age of 17) ..."
It's looking good, but the only thing that I need to really look out for especially is what she means by "75-80% of body work has been completed." Hopefully that doesn't signify tons of holes being filled, but for a jeep of this age I'd imagine it'd need some patching up.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:30 AM   #7
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You are on the right track - for a running jeep with new brakes & no rust you are stealing this jeep.

The main place these things rust is the floor - you can see they are clean so you should be in really good shape.

Remember you wanted a project jeep & somethings are going to need to be fixed - for starters I see lots of cool wires - who knows what works & what doesn't. But that is the fun of it.

I say have a look & enjoy your new ride!
Midget Farmer

2000 TJ
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Old 02-13-2010, 04:54 AM   #8
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That is a great deal. they have a grand in it if they really did replace all of that. check the tank and all the other parts they should be shiny.

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