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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Original 1973 CJ-5: Value?

Hello - I'm brand new to the forum. I'm interested in your thoughts on the value of a 1973 CJ-5 I am considering purchasing. ALL original, no changes I can see have been made to it. Great condition, no rust except a slight bit on a few hinges. 16,000 Original miles, one-owner car. 304-V8. I believe it has the "original Meyer" plow set-up as well, though I didn't realize that was an option. Please let me know your thoughts on a fair price for just the vehicle (excluding plow set-up, etc). Within the last year, all leaf springs, shocks, and a full top were replaced new. Runs/drives great. Thanks; Can't wait to explore this forum if I end up purchasing!

Last edited by pkclarkspur; 07-01-2009 at 01:29 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 02:37 PM
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Welcome to the board! That sounds like a great Jeep, and I'd take the plow too if I could get it.

Something to consider is that the CJs went through a major re-design for '76, and were not changed much from then to the end of the run. The earlier editions had a shorter hood, the windshield sat closer to vertical and was squared off instead of narrowing at the top, and the frame was completely different, having parallel C-channel rails instead of the boxed rails, wider in back like the later ones. Earlier CJ5s had the brake master cylinder under the frame, a goofy steering linkage setup, the gas tank under the seat, and a closed-knuckle front axle, but some of those features might have been gone by '73. Some parts for pre-76 CJs are getting hard to find, while almost everything is still available for the newer versions. Look in some off-road catalogs - many times you'll see parts for '76 and newer, but not for pre-'76.

The good thing about the early ones is that they are blacksmith simple. Practically every mechanical part can be swapped for something else without a whole lot of work. Also the shorter hood is an advantage off road, giving you a better view of the trail. The short wheelbase does make it a dicey creature for snowplow duty, but you just have to be careful.

The '73 will probably have a Dana 18 transfer case with a tall 2WD/4WD shift lever and a short Hi-Range/Neutral/Low Range lever, and a Dana 44 rear axle, both of which are desireable, IMO. They're also lighter than the later series, which is an advantage.

You should do a very thorough search for rust and fatigue cracks. Plowing snow puts a terrific load on the front axle, springs and frame. And rust can hide a lot of places, some being hard to see and very hard to repair.

I really don't know what it might be worth. There aren't very many changing hands any more so there's little to compare it to. In the condition you describe I would guess it to be worth $3K to $4K, but that's just a guess. The real worth is what you're willing to pay. If you have moderate mechanical skills and plan to keep it a while, it could be a very nice Jeep for you.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-30-2009, 11:21 PM
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Welcome to the madness that is 'Jeep Fever'...

I kind of specialize in the 'Orphan Years' of CJ, that would be '72-'75....

*IF*... It's still 'Factory',

Axles are what is called NARROW TRACK.

You will have a Dana 30 front axle with drum brakes.
The front axle will have Warn 'Lock-O-Matic' hubs that are often broken...
When working correctly, they will freewheel forward, but once the internal cage cracks (and they ALL do at some point) you will loose that ability.
(Common Warn Premium and Mile Maker premium lockouts will fit right on if your factory hubs are junk.)

You will have a Dana 44 Rear Axle with drum breaks and one piece 'Step' axles.
VERY strong rear differential.
(With some select parts, you can build the little Dana 44 to be nearly as strong as a Dana 60.)

Your axles will be hung on the early, NARROW springs.
Springs will be about 1-7/8" wide instead of later '76 and up springs.
Your springs are TOO SHORT (between 'Eyes') to swap in something like later CJ or YJ springs without moving the front axle backwards, and the back axle forwards,
Or adding 'Frame' to both ends.

You WILL NOT have a sway bar.
If you decide to add a sway bar, it will be VERY difficult to find spring/shock mounting plates that have the sway bar stud installed.

You WILL have a narrow (Skinny) steering column,
You will have a key switch in the dash, not the column.

You will have 'Flip Latches' instead of screw in handles to lock the windshield 'UP'.

You will have a Dana 20 Transfer case.
(Single shifter made of flat metal stock instead of round bar like the shifter or later Dana 300 Transfer cases)
Shift pattern will be, From TOP or all the way forward,
4 Wheel HIGH,
2 Wheel HIGH,
(no detent for 2 wheel low, but it's there between Nutral &),
4 Wheel Low will be all the way back towards the tail gate.

You will have a 3 speed transmission.
Reverse will be 'Left Upper'
(where you would expect 1st to be in a 'Normal' manual trans)
If it's still a factory trans.

You will have a 304 CID AMC V-8 engine.

You will have a Delco Remy breaker points distributor/ignition.

You will have a Prestolite (37Amp) or Motorola (42Amp) Alternator and they are interchangeable.
You will have an EXTERNAL voltage regulator.

You will have a Motorcraft 2100 Carb.
You will have the large, 'DOWNWARD' facing fuel pump.

If you have a hard top, you hit the jackpot!
Hardtops that fit correctly for the 'Orphan' Jeeps are VERY hard to find.

The frame is usually rusted out in the rear, or it's cracked on the inside just in front of the front axle on the passenger side.

I haven't seen a fan shroud for any '72 to '75 CJ, but I understand the factory actually produced one... Just never seen it.

The fan WILL NOT have a fan clutch.

Some common upgrades that will make the little Jeep more reliable.

Get yourself some decent seat belts!
The factory belts are 35 years old and MUST be replaced in my opinion!

Find someplace that can put a 'Halo' bar around the driver and passengers, and some front 'Down Bars' to the frame of the vehicle around the dash somewhere.

Buy a FIRE EXTINGUISHER (at least 5 pounds of dry chemical) and a comprehensive FIRST AID KIT!

Lots of guys run out and buy tires, or lights or something,
But SAFETY should be your FIRST PRIORITY!

Delco Remy CS 130 alternator.
Internally regulated, very strong charge even at idle, and it will fit right in your stock bracket with no alterations.
Wiring is three wires, two of which are already in place.

This is also very easy, just not as easy as the alternator...

Just find a Jeep axle with disc brakes, and strip off everything from the steering knuckles out,
It will all bolt right on your axle,
Then all you have to do is replace the master cylinder with one from the same year as the brake donor...

Again, Warn Premium or Mile Maker Premium lockouts (around $100 a set when you buy them off the internet)
Are MUCH stronger and more reliable than the factory Warn 'Lock-O-Matic' lockouts are.

If you intend to get 'Serious',
Then consider a front axle change to a narrowed D-44 out of a FSJ (Full Size Jeep),
Or even a Dana 30/44 hybrid from a Scout II.

The FSJ front has to be narrowed, but you can do a 'Standard' narrow size, and use 'Off The Shelf' axles to reduce costs,
And you can build the heavy Dana 44 to be as strong as a ball joint D-60...

The Scout II front end is a Hybrid,
Dana 44 center section, with small axle shafts like the Jeep Dana 30, and with small Dana 30 Steering knuckles.
With chromolly shafts and a good locker, it's MUCH stronger than a Dana 30,
And it comes the correct width to install in a CJ with nothing more than out-boarding the frame spring mounts.

Ignition Upgrade is VERY easy, and you have several options when it comes to upgrades,
Since all GM vehicles used the same Delco Remy distributor head design in Camaro and every other 'Muscle Car' for years, there are TONS of aftermarket support products for that distirbutor.

The current, factory distributor, Upgraded to electronic ignition, will suit you VERY well....

You can use the distributor from a later model AMC V-8 Jeep engine and putting together a very strong electronic ignition...

Try this link for what I did with mine,
Junk Yard Genius.com Kornfield Kruser Ignition Upgrade Page
Later upgrades to the same ignition,
Junk Yard Genius.com Dual Ignition Upgrade Page
Junk Yard Genius.com Dual Ignition Upgrade Page 2

The MC2100 carb is a pretty good carb for off roading, and if you decide to change,
I would change for fuel injection...
No real reason to change carbs since the MC 2100 does a good job for a carb...

Transmissions are another story,
The current 3 speed will do some pretty strange things if you drive it hard with the V-8 in front of it...

Find yourself a SM465, T-18 or T-19, or a NP435 4 speed,
Something with a 'Granny Low' if you intend on serious trails or 'Crawling'...

Dana 20 transfer case is just fine for trails and for highway use. Very strong, very reliable, and the best part,
You already have one!

If you 'Upgrade' go directly to something like an Atlas II, and skip over a Dana 300 if you are 'Serious'...
By the time you buy a Dana 300, get the super low crawl gears, get the case machined and everything installed,
You could have purchased an Atlas II and had 5 times the transfer case.

If I were an 'Occasional' trail rider and mostly highway, I would use a stock Dana 300 if something happened to my Dana 20, but personally, it's not worth the money unless you are going crawling, and then the Atlas is the 'Better Deal'

Love that rear Dana 44 axle, and it's REALLY hard to beat a Dana 44 in anything!
If you want to build for a 'Crawler' later, then look for Dana 60 or heavy Ford 9".
Everyone makes something for either and it all mostly works.

Feel free to ask for any help I might be able to provide,
I have a lot of experience with the Orphan years,
And I have a lot of experience with modifying/upgrading things so they work better/more efficiently.

So Many Cats, So Few Recipes...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 01:25 AM
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Maybe it would help if you told us what they want for the jeep.

1978 CJ5, AMC 401, CJ T18, Scout D300, 2 1/2" Lift, Locked Front/Back
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 01:54 AM
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Hard top and plow, no rust, would be worth $3,000 to me.

Soft top, no rust and plow, $2,000.

No top, no rust and plow, about the same $2,000

Rusted out like mine, NO TOP, NO PLOW, and not running...
$500 just like I paid for mine...

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 10:57 AM
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I picked up my '72 with a hardtop and plow in running condition for $800. It is a bit on the rusty side, needs floor pans and some work on the tool bin. Runs great but no brakes when I bought it.

Cymru Am Byth
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 10:26 PM
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my cj 5 75 76

paid 3500$ but it was a built chevy 350 and all fiberglass with 2 inch body lift and 9 leaf springs SOA

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-01-2009, 11:25 PM
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paid $3500 in june of '99


frame had been blasted/painted

freshly rebuilt motor (same shop that we used for machine work when i went to school in Keene)

completely new brakes/lines

all new front end parts (tie rod ends, ball joints,bushings)

fiber body w/tilt up front end

i HAD to have it )


PO, for reasons i cannot explain, put a USED wiring harness from a '73 in it (though he did run all wiring through passenger compartment, so there is nothing under the jeep to speak of)

trans/case is original T-15/D 20....now w/ 230000 miles....soon if money allows

the original d44 lasted me about 10000 miles....now has a different oldie in it

GROUND GROUNDS GROUNDS!! nuff said....lotsa chasing )

used besttop in fair condition....now junk....trophy deer mount took the money for new one <sigh> maybe next year


just try to take her from me! coolest vehicle ive ever owned! uncomfortable as hell (i'm 6'3"), but i absolutly love it....hope i never have to sell

i felt at the time it was a fair price, hindsight says i should've tried to talk him down to 2500-2800 or so....but what the heck, he wanted 4500....

wheel her a bit every summer, but have yet to really hammer her, (see trans/case) but she was tested in an "unplanned" (read that as; no driver, slipped over "e-brake"---a brick) backwards trip over four foot retaining wall, over some rocks and such, then halfway down my neighbors' hay field back in '01----no damage other than a dent in rear bumper.

my .02 submitted

'74 CJ5232 ci,Dana 30 & 44,basically a stock rig with fiber body
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2009, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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I got it!

Well, guys, I took the plunge. Though it sounds like I paid more than it might technically be 'worth', I'm SO pleased with the vehicle. I ended up doing 4600 for the vehicle and plow. Towed it (with plow, etc) on a U-Haul car dolley half way across the state of Colorado back home to Castle Rock yesterday. I just love this thing. It has 16,400 original miles. Literally 100% of this jeep is like it left the dealership in 1973. It was a one-family vehicle that lived most of it's life in Estes Park, near Rocky Mountain national park. The family drove it a bit each year, plowed some with it on the drive-way, and was maintained very well. New leaf springs, shocks, tires, and full top within the last year. I was blown away by how well it starts, runs, shifts, and the interior looks almost brand new; except for the carpet. I will post pics once I get a chance and figure out how to do so on this site.

Thanks for all the info; what a great forum this is! Have a great 4th everyone.

Last edited by pkclarkspur; 07-03-2009 at 05:06 PM.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-04-2009, 06:53 AM
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Woo hoo! I think you did just fine. Welcome to the club!

EVERYTHING's easy for the guy who doesn't have to do it.
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