Re: Which cj7 to buy?
The 86 would be my pick.
The noise in the rear of the AMC 20 could be a number of things from a spun 2-piece axle to a worn out pinion bearing...any of which will require some cash. The AMC20 will require 1 piece axleshafts to handle 35s..about $300 or so. Then you are still stuck with the thin walled 20 axle tubes which are prone to bending or spinning under hard use.
A Dana 44 is a strong axle with good one piece axleshafts. It can handle 35s with proper gearing. That would only leave you with the front Dana30 to swap out eventually. A lot of folks run 35 on their Dana30s...they just break stuff more frequently and carry spare axleshafts and u-joints. In other words, you could get by with it and 35s for awhile.
Bondo always make me a little wary..how much bondo is there? What all is it hiding...some cancerous rust or just dents? How bad is the surface rust and is it really just "surface rust" If so, sand it and paint it yourself for about $200 with a little home shop compressor.
Bikini tops run $30, while a new Bestop supertop is closer to $500.
86 also has a "cool factor" in my book...the last of the CJs.
I don't know about the body work...my just stays banged up [img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif[/img].
I think you make up your price difference with the top and D44. Of course, i would dicker with him some more. $3700 seems a little high with the body damage...at least in my neck of the woods.