Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Re: Am I getting myself in trouble ???
Welcome to the board, Bob!
In Quebec rust is likely a significant problem. The '72 CJs had C-channel frame rails, which don't rust as badly as the later box-section frames. Still, they do rust. Inspect the entire length of both frame rails, paying special attention to the low spots. Also inspect the crossmembers closely, again at the low points especially. And look closely at the rearmost crossmember where it's riveted to the long rails. Look for rust dust around the rivet heads.
Then look closely at the body mounts. Water collects between the rubber donut and the horizontal surface of the frame, and promotes rust. It can be hard to see because it's hidden by the rubber, so take an icepick and poke around.
While you're rolling around under there look at the body stiffeners. They are C-channels or S-channels with the flanges spot welded to the bottom of the tub. They collect muddy water in the bottom of the C and rust through, besides trapping water and rusting where they are spot welded to the tub.
Once you're satisfied that the underside is sound, inspect the body. If it has new, shiny paint, it's a bad sign. Open the hood and look at the area between the wheelwells and the firewall. There's a double thickness of steel in that area that promotes rust.
Open the doors and look closely at the C-channel that runs vertically in the hinge area. It's another area of double thickness steel that rusts out. Then look at the rear fenderwells where they are spot welded to the sides of the tubs.
Really, you should inspect every seam in the sheetmetal. Jeep bodies are relatively crude structures made up of flat sheets with the edges bent over and spot welded to the next piece. They are painted after all the welding is done, so there is no paint between the pieces. As soon as the paint film at the outside of the joint breaks down, rust starts to work between the pieces.
All rust damage can be repaired, although a badly rusted body might as well be replaced. And a badly rusted frame too, for that matter. It's possible to do rust repair and then pretty well rust proof the area, but it's difficult, time-consuming work. Astoundingly expensive to have done in a professional shop.
And if the seller says "I just had all the rust repaired, and it's fine." don't even think about buying it. Unless it was done right it won't last a year. And it almost certainly wasn't done right.
The mechanicals are the common technology of the era. They are simple, easy to fix, and parts are readily available, at least in the States. Getting parts into Canada is apparently a minor hassle, but there are several Canadians on the board who can give you specifics on that.
One area of special concern is the wiring harness. I don't know much about it specifically, but I think it's a pretty crude affair with only a few fused circuits, fuses in strange places, funky looms, odd connectors, and so on.
As for reliability, a CJ IS a high-maintenance vehicle as compared to other vehicles of its era, and particularly when compared to a modern vehicle. A '72 will have points and condensor ignition which will need to be replaced every 15K miles or so, along with the spark plugs. Figure 3K mile oil and filter replacements, and so on.
It's pretty similar to what you would have to do with any vehicle built in the early '70s, but a far cry from the upkeep of a new one.