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Thread: BEST YEAR FOR THE CJ?

  1. #41

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    This is one of those questions that if you asked 100 people, you would get 90 different answers...

    Having had Jeeps from war production Willys to late CJ's, I have to agree with the guys on the '86.

    It needed a D-44 up front, instead of the D-30.

    But finally got a D-44 back in the rear,
    The Dana 300 Transfer case is the best thing you can get next to an Atlas II,
    The 258 I-6 is a very reliable engine.
    Like the guys say, The ignition from '78 on through '86 was much better than the previous versions.

    My wish list is for a D-44 in the front,
    A V-6 or V-8 engine,
    Diesel engine would be nice!
    Doing without that stupid Carter BBD carb and emissions 'computer' would have made a good improvement!
    (Nothing like fuel injection!)

    I'd say an '86 with 4.0L head with fuel injection and a front D-44, and maybe a T-18 trans would make a CJ just about as good as anyone could ask for!

    Anyone have an EDUCATED opinion on what the toughest 5 speed manual would be?
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  2. #42
    Registered Boomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junk Yard Genius View Post
    Anyone have an EDUCATED opinion on what the toughest 5 speed manual would be?
    As far as I know the ONLY 5 speed to come in a CJ from the factory was the T-5. So being as there is only one choice, the argument is pretty much moot.

    Now as far as the toughest 5 speed that can be swapped into a CJ with any degree of practicality, I would say that honor would go to the Clark 5 speed. This is a true medium duty truck 5 speed. Very stout. Very big. Very heavy. Not a huge amount of aftermarket support.

    The NV4500 would be next and probably the best overall choice for a tough, durable 5 speed. It likely drives more nicely than a Clark, is a bit smaller, lighter, more adaptable, and and enjoys widespread aftermarket support.

    Then the NV3550.
    1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler.

  3. #43
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    What ever year you decide on, try to find one that is not only in good shape but also has the most "goodies" on it for the money. All these aftermarket parts are expensive. Of course, the right "goodies" depends upon your individual use and taste.

    I bought my 1978 CJ5 because it was in good shape and the guy I bought it from spent $9K on it during the last 12 months he owned it. (1994 dollars) I've told the story too many times before on the boards so I won't boar everyone with it again but shape and price may be more important that the year. Even with that, I change out the AMC 304 motor with a 1978 AMC 401 from a Wagoneer, the T150 tranny with a 1977 CJ T18A, the Dana 20 x-case with a 1980 Scout Dana 300, and the AMC 20 rear end with a 1973 Commando Dana 44. The hunt was half of the fun.


  4. #44
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    Default best year

    My son and I have had a 78 cj5 since the early 90's and it's been going with very few problems. Axles replaced and general upkeep. So a couple of votes for the 78.
    78 CJ5, 232 3 sp, RED, lift with 31's.
    05 TJ, 258, auto, Orange, lift with 31's.




  5. #45
    Registered Jeeper80's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RenegadeT;7182766]
    6bolt premium hub lockouts were used on the fronts 76-maybe 79, then it was the cheesy 5 bolt

    QUOTE]

    The 6 bolt hubs were used through 80. 81 and up got the 5 bolt ones.
    Jeeper80

  6. #46

    Default I would have to say

    I would have to say that I really do like the 86 jeep cj-7.
    I sold mine about 5 years ago. Mistake. but it wasn't the
    1986 cj that I wanted.
    spec's: 1986 jeep cj-7 renegade
    258 6cyl.
    auto tranny, dana 300 transfer,
    30front axle, 20 rear axle 2:73 ratio
    black, with orange renegade decals
    garnet red denim interior
    hard top, and a soft top (still in the box)
    bone stock and original....

    it looked great, had 42,000 miles no snow, no mudd, no rain and it was a dog! I had to sell it because i wanted to lift it, put big tires on it, fuel injection, better axle gear ratio (maybe 3:54)... but I didn't have the heart to strip a original jeep cj-7 that was untouched, unmolested, mint... so I sold it! I was the second owner of that jeep.

    The only reason I would say that I liked the 1986 jeep cj-7 is that almost everything that came with it had the bugs worked out of it, other then the amc 20 rear axle, and bbd carb. but you could get it equipped with: dana 300 t-case, t-5 borg/warner tranny, dana 44 rear axle, ac, delay wiper, 20 gallon gas tank, aluminum rims, better hard top then most years, the frame was better then most other years. There just was a lot of things going right with the 1986 cj! And I know a lot of the stuff list above you could get in earlier cj's. I think they could have done 10 more years of the cj body style and add things like, longer wheel base, v-8 engine, new axle options, bigger tires... but thats how the rubicon came about! still waiting on that v-8 engine to come back.

    but if i could go back to 1986 I would have ordered a: laredo with ac, hard top, soft top, 258 6 cyl, t-5/300 combo, delay wipers, aluminum rims, 20 gallon gas tank, dana 44 rear, with 3:07, or 3:73 gear ratio.
    -77' Jeep cj7, 360/t-18/dana20/hp d60's arb's 4.88/
    39.5 tsl's
    -85' Jeep cj8 ,*(project justed started)*

  7. #47
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    Default

    Any year CJ is a good one to have, but my vote goes for the 78-79' CJ's due to the fact that in 78', disc front brakes became standard equipment, the transmissions were stronger and you could still get a V8 if you so desired. As has been mentioned they also had the stronger 6 bolt front hubs and the rear drums were 11x2. 80-81' were also good if you got the T176 tranny and a D300 transfer case, and the V8 was still an option.

  8. #48
    Registered Andy W's Avatar
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    The best year is a kludge.

    76 Title and Body and 304 V-8 (pre-cat emissions on the 304)
    70-71 pre-emission heads (will these fit?)
    77-79 thick discs and 6-bolt hubs, 11 inch drums (years might be wrong for the 11" drums)
    77-79 T-18, Dana 20 (Bronco gears and Tera Low available too)
    82-86 Wide Track (86 Dana 44 if you must, otherwise 1-piece AMC 20) with factory 4.10 gears from a 4-banger donor.
    80-82 304 ignition setup or HEI or TFI.
    84 CJ-8 Project,99 XJ

  9. #49
    Registered Jay5.9L's Avatar
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    I love my 86.... D44 stock, tf999 stock, D300 stock. Plus the never CJs will have on the average less rust due to time and the frames got stronger though the years.
    1986 CJ-7, SOA, '97 4.0L, tera 4:1, 4.56, lockers, 10" stretch, etc......

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by CJ-7-401 View Post
    Unfortunately one year doesn't have all the best goodies, which are in my opinion:

    Engine: 401-V8 (1974-1979) in FSJ only
    Carb: MC2100 (2bbl) (1971-1981)
    Trans: T-18A w/ 6.32 wide ratio (1977-1979)
    Transfer Case: D300 (1980-86)
    Front Diff: D30 Widetrack (1982-1986)
    Rear Diff: D44 (Late 1986)

    Frame: Boxed (1976-1978)
    Front Brakes: Disc (Mid 1977 - 1986)

    I've tried to assemble the best combo of the above. Need a T-18A though.
    My 76 is not boxed in the rear foot or so, my wife's is... I guess I might have a leftover or hers got boxed in along the way.

    cb

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