Join Date: Apr 2001
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Re: (Buying) What 2 look for in a FSJ?
Whoa there friend... reign in those horses - your question is way general and even inaccurate ...you need to be a little more patient so someone can actually take time to figure how to tell you what you want (because that is what you did ask) without being rude and still get the details straight.
Further, the only posts you made to KJ bbs were KJ bashes... so grow up and play nice.
Guess if thinking to use it as a tow vehicle... best is to look for V8 and low gears (given). What you need to look for is one that is spotless showroom condition with low miles, tow package and complete mechanical re-furbish. But if that is out of price range, find a non-running parts jobber and fix it yourself. But it you do not have that much time to invest in a tow vehicle project - <font color="red"> you need to look for one that will fit your intended use. </font color>
Cherokee production started in 1974 as 2dr, 4dr later years. Anything earlier of this platform is Wagoneer (4dr).
Cherokee Chief was available as 2dr starting 1976. This package included the wider J truck axles (about 5" wider than std Cherokee/Wagoneer).
The Buick 350 was available in 1971. The AMC 258 and the AMC 360 were available for all the model years you mention. The AMC 304 was only like 1971 or so. The AMC 401 was 1974-1978.
The GM TH-400 auto trans was available for all model years you mention. Early models had adaptor to fit std GM trans case to engine while 1973 to end used trans case unique to AMC engines.
The T-15 and T-18 were manual trans for model years you mention. I think there were some differences with nomenclature and gear ratios in T-18 through years but I can't remember for sure.
The D-20 t/c was available for model years you mention behind manual trans. Up to 1973 it was available behind TH-400. BW1339 (Quadra-Trac w/low range) was behind autos from 1973 to 1979. (QT w/o bolt on low range unit was BW1305) History has taught that when combined with V8 power and heavy use, the drive chain is QT cases will stretch and wear more quickly. Something to consider when maintaining your new tow vehicle.
Front axle - Wagoneers used D30 for 1971-1973. Open knuckle D44 front started in 1974 for Wagoneers and Cherokee. I think disc brake started in 1976.
Rear axle was D44 for all model years you mention.
Gears low as 4.88 were available in light duty J trucks... but I do not know what gear options were for SJ. Most I have checked were 3.54.
For rust - Typical Jeep body on frame rust rules apply. Also check rear most body mounts. If those are gone, likely the tailgate hinge area and tailgate are also gone. Framerail where fuel tank skid plate is common for rust on later SJ.
(please take years with plus/minus attitude as we all know Jeep would mix parts in production years according to what inventory was on hand and/or introduce new models late in production cycle of current model year)