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.
10-25-2012 07:49 AM
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.
10-25-2012 08:11 AM
I have had no problems with yj rear axles..as far as the cj,buy it..even if you have repairs to do you will have a much better jeep than these new ones at a fraction of the cost
10-27-2012 09:15 AM
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...
10-28-2012 03:40 AM
I have an 85 CJ7. Put the Ford 9 in it. Very easy axle to work on. It has the warn floating axle kit, love it, Detroit locker and disc brakes. Mates up well
10-28-2012 12:20 PM
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.
10-28-2012 10:11 PM
Thanks everyone. You've all been alot of help. I'm starting to feel more comfortable about buying my CJ. If you guys can think of anything else, feel free to post or message me.
10-28-2012 10:58 PM
Get one,You wont regret it.
10-30-2012 09:16 AM
The amc20 with 1pc axles is as strong as a Dana 44.There is no reason to swap the whole axle.Put 1pc "Brand Name" Moser axles in it and youll be fine.
Throw an MC2100 and an HEI ignition in and it will be fine
10-31-2012 04:36 AM
My1stniceJeep: thanks for the info. The seller has put in a MSD ignition.. but sadly that one isn't working out. Now I have my eye on a beautiful 1984' that's mostly stock so I can upgrade myself!
BrianCJ7: Well im not looking at the 85 anymore but an 84 is looking like it will be mine. Still a 7 so we're good. B)
Is there any difference between the 84 and 85 years??
Thanks for all your help guys. If anyone can think of anything else. Feel free to post or pm me!
10-31-2012 10:23 AM
Shouldn't be much difference if any, on a side note in 86 they started throwing Dana 44's on the back as they were running out of amc 20's when they were in the process of selling to Chrysler.
11-02-2012 09:19 PM
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.
11-04-2012 11:02 AM
I got really lucky in finding mine.Though it has an amc 20 rear and dana 35 front they both have arb selectable air lockers and mopar fuel injection.If you plan to wheel it try to find a FI one.
11-04-2012 03:38 PM
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.
Thanks everyone else as well
11-05-2012 05:19 PM
T176 is 1 of the strongest CJ tran besides the T18.The SR4 is the weakest The T4 T5 is the same trans except the T5 is a 5speed.
To the OP It would be very simple to ad a 4.0 complete motor or just the head and fuel injection for far less money than the Howell kit
Briancj7 Your CJ has a Dana30 front not a 35.The Dana 35 is found in the back of YJs