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What to look for in a CJ7?

982 Views 7 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  **DONOTDELETE**
On tuesday I'm gonna go look at a CJ7 of unknown age parked at a service station near hear. I need a few tips on what to look foor. It has a good looking hard top and doors, 54,000mi, 4-speed, single stick t-case, dealer installed plow, locking hubs, most of the floor and the typical CJ corner and rocker rust. I know that CJ frames are known for being soft and cracking. But where? Any drive train probs to avoid? Any tips and tricks are appreciated. Thanks.

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There are so many here better qualifiied to answer than me but I'll try to get started. I like to look at every inch of the frame. I wear my "mechanic clothes" and crawl all over the vehicle I'm looking at. Take your time. Don't be distracted by the things you like about the vehicle look for things you won't. Frame I have seen crack are near the spring mounts for the front springs. Also look for braces around the front and rear spring hangers. Try to get an idea of where it came from originally. Check all the body mounts. If its been bumped a bit the rear body mounts usually show it. Hopefully some of the more experienced guys will help me out here.

Don't believe the mileage. If it a CJ-7 it's at least 14 years old.
With that mileage that's less than 4k per year.
154,000 sounds more likely. But in the end the mileage doesn't matter that much, it the condition that determines how much work you have to do, and they all need work.
If it still has the carpet in it try and get a look underneath.
I thought I had an almost perfect tub in my 82 only to find holes in the foot wells and rust under where the roll bar mounts. Didn't see it from the underside. The carpet holds the water and then you get rust. It can all be fixed but you want to know what you're getting into before you buy it.

If it was mainly used as a plow the mileage is more believable..... and less meaningful, as plowing can REALLY beat on a frame and drivetrain..... so take a real good look at the frame, especially around the spring hangers. Poke at it with a sharp awl to find soft rust spots, and scrape away rust and crud to look for the cracks.


This administration is headed by someone who redefines what the meaning of "is", is, and what the meaning of "alone" is. Do you think they care AT ALL about the specific verbiage of the Constitution or Bill of Rights?
One thing that caught my eye is 4 speed. If it is from the early 80s, that 4 speed may be an SR4, probably the worst trans ever to
appear in a CJ, bearing problems due to ball bearings. 4WD Hardware has a good ID section in their catalog, you may want to
consult that. It could also be a T-176 if it is from the 80s, good trans, or a T-4, not so good but a heck of a lot better than the SR4.
If it is from the late 70s, you lucked out and found a T18. And, look for cracked frame near the spring mounts, VERY common.

Get active or get locked out, the choice is yours.
I think it may be pre 80 due to the fact it has the old style door handles not the paddle style on some of my former friends newer CJ's. Where can I look on the tranny for some kind of ID markings? Is it posibe the trans is a 3 speed? I just glanced at this truck on sunday for about 5 min and I'm gonna look it over better tomorrow when some one is there that I can talk to. Thanks for all the help so far guys, keep them ideas coming.

If it is a pre 80 CJ its very likely its a 3 speed unless like he sadi you lucked out. The three speed from pre 80s is a T-150. It is okay not great. Let us know what you found out.

In addition to checking around the spring hangers, check out the rear crossmember, check around the skidplate, and look at the wiring. Any time a vehicle has any accessories added, the chances that the wiring gets hacked is greatly increased. My jeep did a lot of snow plowing in its early days as well. The frame was severely rotted from about the center of the rear springs on back to the rear crossmember. All that had to be rebuilt. For whatever reason (exposure to salt???) it was pretty bad right around the skid plate as well. If it was snow plowing for 54k, expect to put a new clutch in relatively soon...and the brakes are probably shot as well. Check for smooth operation of the tranny no matter what make it is...if the operator jammed it into the opposite direction gear while rolling and/or plowing, it can be hard on the best tranny. Another thing to look at is the condition of the front axle/suspension/steering. Snowplows add a lot of front end weight, which can be really hard on the springs, axle, steering components, etc. Check around the steering box for cracks, rust, broken bolts, etc...especially if it's power steering.

Trying to come up with a witty line to end all of my posts...
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