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faultymechanics 01-24-2013 12:03 PM

New to the CJ
Hey guys so I am new to Cj's and based on what this ad says it seems like this is a good buy. I would use it as a DD and occasionally drive it home to CT from Vermont on the Highway. The guy who owns it says it is an offroad jeep and doesn't handle amazing on the road but I see nothing which would prevent me from easily going 70 in it. Here is the ad please tell me what you think, I am sure I am missing something.


lifted cj trade for sled package - $6000 (concord vt)

bc3_Jeep 01-24-2013 12:17 PM

Check for rust EVERYWHERE........ these things have issues with frame rot. Did he do the engine upgrade or was it already done????? Make sure engine mounts are adequate.

CJ5s are notorious for very little clearance between steering wheel and seat. If you are a taller/bigger person you MAY not fit. there are also instances where people have cut out the wheel well (see rust issues) to accommodate.

If there are "custom drive shafts"...are they homemade????? What about the axle gearing??? If they are too high..... no way you will reach 70.....

Also..... is there any "Death Wobble" due to improper alignments or wear in lift components.......

If I were looking for a RELIABLE DD...... a 30 year old CJ5 would NOT be very high on my list and I have OWNED one....

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 12:23 PM

Alright I will inquire about all of that thanks. I actually am not a big guy so that is okay. I mean I don't drive my car that much, mostly in the summer. Like I said I need it to get me home for that 4 hour drive maybe 6 times a year. Other than that it is in Vermont for the winter for plenty of fun in the snow. And in CT for the summer where I drive it around town....furthest distance is about 20 minutes usually. Maybe a road trip to Mass. He said it is: "hard to handle"

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 12:49 PM

Alright here are the details. The driveshafts are tom woods custom drive shafts...he said the gears are what is inside the front and rear axle housing but I asked for the ratios. He did the motor swap with his boss at his shop and there is no rust, it is a fiberglass body. Whatcha think? Thanks again I don't wanna screw myself over.

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 01:24 PM

3.73 gear in axles, that is pretty low....ratio should allow me to go 70, no?

bc3_Jeep 01-24-2013 01:30 PM

ratio is good...... I would fear "hard to handle" coming from someone WANTING to sell you a vehicle.

Have you driven it yourself???? This handling issue could be "death Wobble" and THAT can kill you at speed...... and will not go away without modifications that can run 1000s if you cannot do it yourself.

You should take someone with you who knows what they are talking about.

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 01:36 PM

Yeah I will definitely be taking it for a test drive. Another slight issue is the fact that it has no heat. Is that a big deal to put in?

Goofyjumper 01-24-2013 02:18 PM

Looking at the picture, it is a Pre-'71 CJ. This means it has a VERY short wheelbase at 80.5" and the narrow frame. These older jeeps are re-known for the frame cracking if they have been off-roaded a bunch and you will need to check the frame for rust being that it is a northeast jeep. Dana 20 transfer cases leak gear oil like it is going out of style.

$6000 is also a very high price for a jeep this old. I wouldn't spend over 3k for an early CJ unless it was in mint condition.

I bought my '74 CJ-5 last year in running condition for $2500 and I think I over paid for it.

idiot magnet 01-24-2013 02:56 PM

35's and 3.73's are not ideal with a 4 spd transmission and your gas mileage is going to suck.
Have someone that knows something about CJ's go with you. Tons of hidden areas too look out for especially northeast winter driven Jeeps. I wouldn't pay 6K for a CJ5 from that picture on his ad.
I'd buy a fuel injected YJ before I bought that Jeep especially if you are doing any highway driving.
That wheelbase with those tires won't be fun to drive and you won't have a rollbar to protect any passengers in the back. Will you be driving with kids in the back?

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 04:02 PM

Alright, well to respond to your questions I will not have kids in the back though maybe the occasional friend (I'm 20, too young for kids right now). I would like them to be safe though if possible haha.

It seems like an old cj5 may be a bad idea so I have looked into this 1985 CJ7, what do you guys think?

1985 cj7 - $6500 (Torrington)

That one has a gear ratio of 4.10. Also it has never seen salt and is never driven in the winter. I feel like this one may be a better bet on the highway for those occasional trips. I believe the CJ-7 has a wider wheelbase? Let me know what you guys think!

Thanks again for the quick replies and help, I really appreciate it!

bc3_Jeep 01-24-2013 04:12 PM

Exact same set of issues with a longer wheel base....... I concur with the YJ comment.... unless you are dead set on a CJ....... this is STILL kind of expensive....

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 04:15 PM

Well am I still not going to be able to go 65 on the highway

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 04:17 PM

Oh also this may help you understand my situation more. I am trading my car for theirs so it isn't a cash thing where i could just get a YJ instead.

bc3_Jeep 01-24-2013 04:21 PM

Money is money..... whether as an asset (car) or in cash......still not a good deal.... if it is too expensive....

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 04:25 PM

Well technically speaking by the book my car is valued at 6k. Also I asked what he felt was rough about the handling and he said: "It almost wanders because of the big tires you have to pay attention when driving it if you hit a pothole or something." Now I obviously will pay attention but is that something being wrong or just the jeep itself?

He also said the previous owner took it on the highway frequently for work or something. ALso comes with 33" tires so those would definitely help out a bunch on handling I would presume. It also has a Turbo 350 Trans in it. I figure that could handle daily driving and if I really wanted to beat on it I would convert it to stick anyways.

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 05:22 PM

I just wanna know if I will be able to take it on the highway with its current modifications. What have you guys experienced with it on the highway?

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 05:42 PM

It has a 6 inch lift, do I need to worry about wind going 65 mph? That is what I am afraid of, driving normally and still dying.

Goofyjumper 01-24-2013 08:41 PM

Going 65 on a highway with an old CJ with 35's or even 33's and 6 inches of lift will be a white knuckle ride. If you are really considering this trade then I would go there and drive it on the highway so that you know exactly how it will feel. Even stock, these CJ's didn't handle that great at highway speeds.

The Turbo 350 is a great transmission and will do fine on the highway, it is the suspension and steering components that you will have issues with. What you will see is that a little bit of play in the front shackles will translate into a lot of wander on the road.

Does this jeep have the old manual steering or has it been upgraded to power steering? With large tires the manual steering can be hard to control and the old steering boxes develop a lot of slop in them over time. (Which will also affect you on the highway.)

I hate to steer you away from a CJ. I absolutely love mine, but it's not my daily driver, I don't rely on it at all, and I literally have put 1,500 hours into it in restoration work and modernization parts.... not to mention LOTS of money.

faultymechanics 01-24-2013 09:34 PM

Well I believe he said it had power steering, I will ask tomorrow. I think I will trade and then over the summer I will work on making it a bit safer for the highway. I know it's doable I just can't do it right now. I don't need the car in Vermont anyways so it will probably sit this winter out. Any advise on how to make it a safer highway ride? I'm very happy that the owner put in racing seats and harnesses cause that adds a large amount of safety when lacking air bags.

TiltMaster 01-25-2013 06:32 AM

Too much money for what it is and you're committing to it as your DD. Too many red flags for me. A CJ like that would make a good 2nd or 3rd vehicle but I think after that first 4 hour drive in the winter you'll be kicking yourself.

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 08:35 AM

Why if it has a hard top and hard doors what about the winter will make it suck?

MTJeepTJ 01-25-2013 09:40 AM

CJ's are great, that being said I restored a 74' CJ5 for my father and it has stock suspension and little 29" stock sized tires and 65mph is a handful. But the jeep CJ is one of the most fun to drive of any Jeep. I would go test drive it and see how it feels to you. If you like it, get it!

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 10:27 AM

Well I think what my plan is right now is to go forward with the trade assuming I like it. Also I can't drive for two months after Jan 30th for reasons unrelated to driving (stupid laws), so I will leave it at home in CT. Then this summer I will enjoy it as is around town and when the time comes to come back up to VT I will lower it (current owner said change the spring this a hard thing to do?) and put the smaller tires on. The owner said I should get a reverse shackle kit for the leaf springs, is this a good idea?

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 11:05 AM

Was also told occasionally when it rains hard some water may trickle down the firewall. Is this normal for them, seems like it is. He said the windshield seal is a bit cracked so I figure that needs to be replaced but that should be just the price of the rubber right?

MTJeepTJ 01-25-2013 02:03 PM

It is a piece of rubber under the window i believe and its easy to replace when the top is off. And the spring hangers he was talking about are those long ass lift shackles on the ends of the springs. I highly recommend taking them off and getting some closer to stock length. I have done a shackle reversal and didnt really care for it very much. The theory behind reversing the shackles is that the tire moves backwards and up and supposedly makes it ride better and stuff. But all it did for me was cause problems. Long lift shackles screw up front end caster angles and make jeeps drive like crap. I would take them off and go with the 33" tires and that jeep will drive great in my opinion.

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 02:35 PM

How much are the stock ones? Is what's on it sellable? Can I revert the shackles and do an SOA for a safer lift with the 37s?

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 02:54 PM

He said I can just take the spring hangers off and ill be fine.

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 03:27 PM

Needs a respray on the hood, previous owner just did a flat black. I figure that along with changing the shackles or hangers or whatever and the windshield seal are easy fixes. From there I have a very cleanly modded cj7. Hang onto it and baby it and it will appreciate value nicely.

MTJeepTJ 01-25-2013 05:40 PM

A spring over will not help stability. Even with the lift shackles removed. Those are lift leafs on there i see in that photo. With a spring over and those leaves it will be very tall, probably 7-8" lift. Just letting you know.

faultymechanics 01-25-2013 06:29 PM

Yeah he said 2" body lift or something. I will just return the shackles to stock and then just leave it, im sure it's enough. Should be a fun ride though. I just wanna feel high up. I like that and am going from a sports car.

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