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Legomyjeep 03-21-2013 10:33 PM

Any tips buying a CJ to work on?
So, I bought an 09 JK two mths ago. I'm seriously in love and addicted.

My 9 year old seems to have adopted my addiction. Being a 9yr old boy, he has an enormous fascination with turn its reached into old WWII vehicles. So, I started showing him CJ's. He has fallen! So, we have a plan to buy an old one, it doesn't need to run, but buy one and begin working on it together. He's thrilled at the idea he will restore/build it with his own two hands. Obviously, we have plenty of time for this project, 7 yrs, lol. Also that lends time for funding a little at a time. But I love that by the time he drives it, he will know every nook and cranny, every inch, every part of his CJ.

So my question is, what specifically do I need to be looking for when buying this CJ? Tips, suggestions?

2JeepsThatRun 03-21-2013 11:06 PM

If he's a tall kid look for a Cj 7 my dad and I bought a 5 since he had one in the 70s and me being 6'2 barely fit with the full cage running to the frame. It is even a squeeze for people 5'11. You can modify the seat by cutting the bracket to fit around the wheel well but a 7 will fit a tall person better. Also check if it is a narrow trac or wide trac. Ours is a narrow because that's what my dad had. The wide is better IMO ours you can feel trying to lift a tire if you turn too fast which really isn't that fast. These are our two jeeps.

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faultymechanics 03-22-2013 12:52 AM

I'm also gonna say that unless you wanna weld with him try and find a rust free one to start with. Also have a plan for keeping it safe and dry and away from moisture so over those 7 years it doesn't rust out. I recommend por-15 or your preferred product and undercoating the tub and spraying the whole frame. Also rhino line the inside so if it rains you are set. Since you have time make sure to find exactly what you/he want, maybe a cj-8 is more your/his style. Also id almost say get one without a motor and swap something cool in. 1980 300d mercedes turbo diesel has some power and good mileage respectively. Or swap a chevy 350, sky is the limit.

Tuxedopark 03-22-2013 12:15 PM

Certainly we are all entitled to our opinions, but I have had more looks and questions about my stock 1966 CJ-5 Tuxedo Park than I can count. It might be very difficult to find a CJ without a rust issue, so I would be more concerned about the frame and drive train. Fenders and the tub are easily replaceable with fiberglass or metal aftermarket parts. The motor can be swapped out with a small block V8, easy to find. I purchased my 66 in 1971 and have been able to maintain the 225 Dauntless Buick V6, the original motor. I did have to go with a fiberglass tub and fenders. The Michigan winter road salt did its job on the body but the frame was still solid. It is a CJ-5 and Iím 6í, 180lbs and have no trouble fitting in the driverís seat. I do agree if you exceed 200lbs and if you are over 6í a CJ-5 may not be the ticket. It is not a daily driver and I flat tow it to events. But it sure is a lot of fun around town and off road.

johnbo 03-22-2013 12:42 PM

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I built a CJ8. It was a blast. Would say try to find onw with a decent frame. Everything else can be replaced. The foundation should be solid. Just me opinion, I got lucky the one I bought was good. This is what it looks like now.

Legomyjeep 03-22-2013 12:59 PM

These are great suggestions! Thank you so much! I will def take my time finding the right one. As for rust...I gues it depends on where its at and how progressed its been allowed to go, surface okay, deep into joints and crevices, ill consider the availability of replacement. So far my son is interested in an authentic look with a few mods. I've been very interested in welding since for my jeep I have all these custom ideas and that could get expensive, lol. But time will tell. Please any more info or suggestions, keep em comin. I've got a lot to learn, lol.

gcaughron 03-22-2013 02:59 PM

My suggestion is to find a wide track CJ-7. They are much more stable at highway speeds than the older ones. My personal preference is a 6cylinder automatic. All the widetrack CJ-7's had the dana 300 transfer case which is a very reliable case and a great place to start. Look for frame rust. CJ's are notorious for frame rot if not kept clean and most that you will find that are cheap will have some form of rot in the frame. Don't be scared of the model 20 rear axle. Since you are doing a rebuild this is a cheap but solid axle to start with. Lots of people claim the dana 44 in the '86 models to be superior but in my opinion a well built m20 can and will hold up as well as the d44. The widetrack dana 30 front axles have the five bolt lock out hubs that some claim to be weak. This is easily remedied and there is plenty of information on the net to guide you to a cheap and easy fix. Best of luck and it sounds like good times spent with your son. My son turns 10 this May and we are going to pick up an '82 CJ-7 and build it like the one I courted his mother in back in the day. I will post some pics when we get started.

duffer 03-22-2013 09:00 PM

I think the number one consideration is what you want for the finished product and what the use will be. That will determine what is a suitable starting point.

Number two consideration: always better to buy one that someone else lost their butt on than to put your money into it-just stay away from bubba.

And last, before buying one that is rusted out, check the prices and work that will be required to put any aftermarket tub on it. Still likey worth looking for a decent tub or a Jeep with an aftermarket tub already in place (ie, item 2).

I have no problem with road manners and narrow track as long as there isn't a Detroit Locker in the back (or front). It is all in how you engineer them. The only thing I have that is wide track is the JK.

Personally, I would be looking for a flatty (2A, 3A, or 3B). GPW's and MB's are neat, but you pay several times more for parts than what the same CJ parts cost and, for the most part, they are not as heavy duty as the civies (D23 axle and T84 trans both rather weak, and the frames always break). If you are going for stock, the extra 15 ponies in the 3B is worthwhile-depending on how you feel about that tall grill. On the plus side for the 3B is that if you do go the engine swap route, a lot more fits under that tall hood.

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