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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 12:29 AM
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Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

Hi.. I'm debating bringing my CJ7 back into use as my primary vehicle, but also toying with the idea of a more modern SUV as my main vehicle.

Would appreciate your thoughts on the relative safety of CJ7s, and also what if any vehicle you'd consider a just-as-safe-or-safer shortish wheelbase SUV with decent ground clearance? (Not really for much offroading exactly, but...)

Thoughts include sticking with the CJ7... or maybe a used Land Rover Defender 90 or Discovery. Tempted by some newer types like the Nissan XTerra, though not fully convinced as they kinda sorta don't look that substantial when situated next to a Jeep.

I'd love to hear your observations on the relative safety or lack thereof of CJ7s and the aforementioned other SUVs (or others I didn't mention). Here are a few points that I've been pondering:

- I'd like to hear views of how well CJs and others do hold up in rollovers, though I'm not overly scared of rollovers as I've driven the Jeep a very long time and it works well with a sense of equilibrium in regular use.

- I've seen a couple of very expensive SUVs that had been in lowish-speed rollovers and the cabs were flattened - that worries me - what happens with cheaper new SUVs???

- I like my CJs wheelbase height as a defensive measure in traffic.

- I am not convinced about whatever materials or lack thereof they make a lot of vehicles out of these days - nor am I convinced that crumple zones are that much more than a marketing ploy (open to being influenced to think one way or the other on this, of course)...

Thanks for your observations.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 12:58 AM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

I'm not sure how helful I can be but I'll throw in my 2 cents. I guess I'll make a pro and cons list of keeping your CJ over another SUV...

1. You already own it, so no vehicle payments. If you repair it yourself then you'll save on mechanic bills as well.
2. Easier to repair yourself than a modern SUV
3. Depending on the year, as I understand it, later model CJ-7's had a collapsable steering column for safety.
4. It has a sturdy frame, assuming its not rusted out completely, which in a high speed accident would hold up better than some unibody vehicles.
5. Has a roll bar, and if you wanted you could put a full roll cage in, including a front hoop and spreader bars to connect the front hoop to the main roll bar. You could then connect that to the frame of the Jeep and you will be greatly protected in a rollover at any speed assuming you are wearing your seatbelt correctly.
6. It looks darned cool.

1. May get poor gas mileage.
2. May require A LOT of maintanence.
3. Higher, narrower stance makes it slightly more tipsy than other SUV's.
4. Doesn't have air bags or anything remotely similar. I don't count the dash pad as a safety device if you still have the dash pad.
5. Doesn't have anywhere near as much of the bodywork to take the brunt of the force in the case of an impact. I know you said you don't believe in crumple zones much, but I assure you they exist and they do have an affect on how badly the crash affects the occupants.
6. Not as much storage room as other SUV's.

If it were me and I had the money, I would buy a newer vehicle to use as my daily driver. I'm looking at getting a Cherokee as my next vehicle because they have more space inside, are just as capable of being lifted, and the newer ones are a lot safer than my CJ-5, at least in my opinion. But you are wanting a short wheelbase SUV, so why not look at a '97 or newer Jeep Wrangler. I'd consider that leaps and bounds safer than a CJ-7.

With the concern of a roll over, I've seen photo's of CJ's without full roll cages as previosly mentioned where the driver died. Then there are people like H8Monday who roll 6 times down some rocks and walk away a little dazed because of the added protection of the full roll cage. The newer SUV's are designed to withstand a roll over so that the occupants can survive.

As to the materials they use to make vehicles today, they are built to withstand a wreck, but not built to last. For the most part, vehicles are still made of steel like your CJ. Some are moving to a dent-free, scratch resistant plastic which although not steel are pretty sturdy. Many members (including myself) on this board have CJ's with fiberglass bodies. They hold up to the abuse just as good if not better than steel would in similar situations.

I'm not sure what kind of response you were hoping to hear, but if I had the funds to purchase a different, newer vehicle I would. I'd keep the CJ as a primarily off-road vehicle and build it accordingly. Now take everything I've stated with a grain of salt because most of it is my opinion even if it seems like I'm stating facts. Others on this board will definately chip in with their 2 cents as well. Good luck with your decision.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 04:17 AM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

If you can swing the cosst of a D90 get one, V8, aluminium tub, solid axles, coil sprung. Those things are sweet. You are better off with a newer vehicle because they have crumple zones, airbags, better structual integrity and you wont have to work on it all the time. But I would keep the Cj7 as my daily driver and just add a couple of things like fuel injection and some comfortable seats and a 4 inch lift and 33's and new gears and lockers and some yj half doors and well you guys know the rest.... [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 04:59 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

Didn't they stop making the CJ becuse it was considered unsafe?

Just a thought... [img]images/graemlins/tongue.gif[/img]
post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 05:13 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

I believe they still are making CJ's... even the CJ3b. They just don't do it in this country.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 05:14 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

I have seen a few in accidents, and I have no reservations about driving one anywhere.

In the first pic, my brother was stopped when he was rearended by an Escort at 55 mph. It flipped the '79 CJ-5 onto the nonexistent top, and he wasn't wearing a seat belt. The Jeep was fine, but the windhshield frame broke his shoulder, collar bone, and ribs. If he had been wearing one and had a full cage or at least front hoop, he would have been fine. They had to turn off the Jeep, and it was back on the road when he recovered. He still drives it. It had 2.5" OME lift and 31" Rikens.

The second is a friend that ran over a Subaru, killing the driver (it was the Subaru driver's fault). The engine and front half of the '74 CJ-5 (weaker frame) shifted 2' to one side, snapping at the bellhousing. He was also not wearing a seat belt, but was fine. He collapsed the steering wheel around the column, and his dog was thrown through the soft top (he was also fine). The Jeep/Subaru mess landed on it's side about 50' from the collision area, and they hit at 90 degree angles, both doing about 45 mph. He had 2.5" lift, 2" body lift, and 33" Swampers. The driver of the CJ was fine, only minor cuts and a few bruises. I was impressed with how the Jeep took the hit, the rear tub was slavaged and even the rear of the frame was grafted into another jeep.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 05:16 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

I don't think they are unsafe. I think if you forget what you are driving, and expect them to react like a sports car, then they are unsafe. I am always a lot more attentive, and leave a little extra space while driving my CJ.- Although I wouldn't want just anyone driving it much -Like my wife. [img]images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img]
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 10:59 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

Thanks everybody for your thoughts (and also the pix). These comments are helpful. Still ruminating on the different options - including getting a second SUV as my main one (maybe the D90). As to keeping the CJ as my main vehicle, now I'm wondering about the relative cost and best bets in beefing up the roll protection. It has a factory hardtop now, but I haven't heard that they're of much lasting help. Would consider some roll protection at the front though I don't want to change the Jeep's look a lot or obstruct the view. Something to think about - I know on another thread the relative effects of mods like that on insurance are discussed too.

post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2003, 11:07 PM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

KCMF wrote:
>Although I wouldn't want just anyone driving it much -Like my wife.<

... my husband
... ex boyfriends ('cept one dear guy who took care of my Jeep for a year)
... valet attendants

However, much finesse has to be used due to gender issues. [img]images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

[As to safety the only time I really felt unsafe in the CJ was in a high wind crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with a U-Haul. Aggh.]
post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-21-2003, 12:04 AM
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Re: Your thoughts on CJ7 safety vs. other SUVs?

I think overall Jeeps are as safe as anything out there. You can't whoop a frame for lateral strength. Like has been mentioned, they ain't no sportscar, so drive accordingly!

This is my brothers CJ after being hit last month. Not too bad for a full roll and 270* spin. He was ejected [img]images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] during the roll(still don't know if he had his belt on...he's very anal about putting it on), but is recovering nicely. As Jeepn said, watch the windshield frame during a roll (usually the cause of injury). A full cage or at least a front hoop will keep it off your head or out of your lap.

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