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Buying My First Jeep! HELP!!!

663 Views 15 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Sycho15
I'm looking at two Jeeps: an '88 Wrangler w/ a 4cyl. and 120,000 and an '85 CJ-7 w/ a 6 cyl. and 160,000 (The engine was rebuilt). Which do y'all think is a better machine for daily driving and offroading. Both need new tops. The CJ emergency brake doesn't work. Does anyone know if this is difficult to repair or have repaired? Please give your suggestions and comments! How about the 4cyl. is it a good engine? I've heard good things about the 6cyl. (I'm partial to the CJ, 'cause I've always liked round eyed Jeeps better).


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Unless the cj is ten times more $$$$$ buy it!
Well it anyway.
If from what you described is accurate and not too much difference in most parts (body/overall condition) the cj is a better piece and w/ a fresh 6cyl you'll be way happier than w/ the 4.

85'CJ7 258 4" runnin33's
I am partial to the CJ. I have been told the YJ are not built as strong I don't know for sure I have only owned the CJ that to me is the only jeep because it is the one I remember when I was a kid. David
1980 CJ-7 258 auto

I have an 88 Yj with a 4 cyl. It is great off road and around town. On the highway it cruises at 70 no problem until you hit a hill. I have been real happy with my jeep but i have heard the CJ is built alittle stronger but tend to rust out faster.

What I have notice with the four cly jeep is that they are back with a weak transmission and if upgrading from four to six or eight, complete running gear must be change. While the six has a transmission that can hold the power of the v8. although a lot of cj came with the amc20 rear the four came with the 35 which I believe is weaker that the amc20. Beside round headlight are cool looking /wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif

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I'll vote for the CJ. I'd bet the emergency brake problem is a rusted cable, no problem to fix.

Check for the T-176 transmission, the shift lever should come out at the top of the main case. If the
shift lever comes out of behind the main case, it's the lighter duty T-4. I'm running the T-176 behind a
Chevy tuned port 305.

What are the asking prices? Get pictures of everything and post them here we can help more if we can
see them.

T-176 good ........................................... T-4 not as good

BTW - Great Jeeps are built not bought.
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Makes a difference, how much money. Only good thing about the wrangler being a four is that is has the right gears to run big tires after you do a
motor swap. I am a CJ fan,
but they both have their bad points. The carb on the cj you are looking at sucks. It is a Carter bbd. My best advice without knowing what you are
looking at spending is wait. Research jeeps a while, learn good points and bad of models and years, You might even find a nice Cj that someone has already put a fiberglass body on. Jeep's true meaning is Just Empty Every Pocket, Know going in when you buy a jeep that it is a never ending

The biggest difference between the CJ and the YJ (besides the headlights) is the suspension. The CJ sits higher and has more flex/articulation so it is better for driving offroad. The YJ is lower and stiffer which allows it handle better on pavement. My auto insurance company won't insure anybody under 40 on a CJ because of the CJ's reputation for poor handling. If you don't go too big on the tires, the 4 cyl. should be OK. I have 235s on my 95 4 cyl. and it drives fine. I don't think the 4's last as long as the 6's, the 6's are pretty tough. The problem with the 85 6 cyl. is the carburater and the smog equipment, some people have a hard time getting them to run right. You should expect to get about 13 mpg on the 6 and 18 mpg on the 4. If it's mainly going to be street driven with mild offroad, I'd go with the YJ if you can live with square headlights. If you want to build a rock crawler, get the CJ.

Take your time when shopping for a Jeep. Do a lot of research.

Just a farmer
Update: Vehical Specifics

Wow, thanks for all the help. I'm going to drive the Wrangler tomarrow afternoon and check it out some more. But here is some more info:

1985 CJ-7
6 cyl. w/ 169,000 ( rebuilt several years ago. Has a newly replaced Valve Cover)
Manual Trans.
Broken Emergency Brake
Badly needs a new Soft-top and soft doors.
Needs a driver's side seat-belt
Needs a rear-view mirror.
Missing a gauge to the far left. We don't know exactly what went their. :)
The Gas gauge and Temp. gauge sort-of work.
Seats are in great shape.
Tires are in great shape.
Newish battery.
Chrome double tube bumber.
Chrome windshield henges.
Chrome Nerf bars.
Chrome grill cover.
Bikini Top
The body has some visible rust underneith the paint, just above each nerf bar. But is in otherwise great shape.
Asking $2800.

And now for the Wrangler (I'll know more tommarrow) :
88' Wrangler
4cyl. w/ 120,000 miles
Manual Trans.
Metal Half Doors.
Sounds like it needs a muffler, but the sound comes from under the hood. (?)
Needs a new set of Tires. (The CJ has bigger and nicer Chrome Wheels, these are smaller and plain black, but they look kinda neat)
Needs a rearview mirror.
Interior and seats are fine.
I haven't seen the top yet, I bet it needs one though.
It was in a wreck and had the driver's side rear damaged. It was repaired by reshaping the body and welding something to the frame. (I don't exactly know). All work was professionally done. It doesn't look too bad. I'm pretty sure I could cover it up with an Aluminum Corner piece from 4WD Hardware and it would look fine. The body doesn't have any visible rust otherwise.
Asking About $2000.



(i've always wanted a jeep.)
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BTW, the easiest way to ID a T176 without crawling underneath is to look for a straight stick with the shifter boot being a one-piece job the serves as a boot for the t-case as well. Acording to my memory, all the others have a curve in the stick and/or separate boots.


'80 CJ7
'84 CJ7
'76 Scout
NRA Life
Join the NRA!!
Re: Update: Vehical Specifics

The CJ sounds like a really good deal. Considering how you described the Wrangler, I would have real sounds like it needs a LOT of work. The empty hole to the left of the stearing column is for the clock....not a big deal.

John......southern CA
84CJ7, 3"lift, 32"BFG, 4.10's, ARB Locker, Solid Axle's, Durabak
Re: Update: Vehical Specifics

I'm more than a little concerned about your evaluation of the Jeeps. You seem to be too much
impressed with the shiny stuff (bumper, nerfs, wheels, etc.) and too concerned about the trivial things
(broken mirror, missing seat belt, broken parking brake cable, etc.). Look for oil leaks, on the Jeep and
where it has been parked. Listen for every little noise. I'm betting the exhaust sound you are hearing is
the manifold to exhaust pipe and it hasn't been fixed because the bolts may be seized. If you're not
mechanically inclined, take it to somebody who is and let them have a look. Otherwise, make sure you
have enough left over to buy some comfortable hiking boots.

I see a lot of Jeeps abandoned on the side of the road and mine was among them a few times in the
first years that I owned it. I not only looked mine over well, but also bought it from a friend who had to
continue seeing me every day at work and was afraid not to tell me everything he knew was wrong with
it. Now, with a little work, it has been dependable for several years.

I think the wait and research advice you were given is excellent. You'll do a lot better if you know what
you are looking for. Of course if there is a hot little honey involved, that really likes Jeeps, then neither
one of these two is gonna set you back as much as some women have cost me.

BTW - I think the missing gauge is the clock on the left side of the steering wheel, should be a tach on
the right side, these were optional. Speedometer in center with fuel and temp gauge, voltmeter to right
and oil pressure to far right.
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Re: Update: Vehical Specifics

The 2800 for the 85 is about right they run from 2500-4000 but 2000 for the 88, that is a 3500-6000 jeep there must be something wrong with it. And since it was wreck maybe a bent frame. The transmission in the 88 is a very weak and costly transmission to repair.

Re: Update: Vehical Specifics

I agree the price on the Wrangler seems pretty low. It may be a really good deal, or have more damage then you think. On a wrecked vehicle like that, I would check whether or not it has a salvage title. The tranny on an 88 4 cyl.should be an AX5, which is OK for a 4 cyl. The 88 6 cyl. had the weak BA 10/5.

Re: Update: Vehical Specifics

I just wanted to clear one thing up- the YJ frame is much stronger than the CJ frame. It is fully boxed. Thats why when you are looking for a CJ to buy the first thing you check to see if it was abused is the frame by the front spring hangers- this place cracks first.
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