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Discussion Starter #1
my uncle just bought a 76 cj5 today for $950 which i thought was a pretty good deal and i caught the jeep bug. so i found a 72 cj5 on craigslist with a rebuilt 304, 33"s and it is in pretty good condition just needs a tranny rebuild. and it is $1100 so im going to check it out and hopefully get it this week. is there anything i should know about these though?
thanks for any help
 

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72-75 CJs have a U channel frame that is boxed only at the motor mounts. They have a tendency to crack behind the motor mounts and the rear, front spring hangers. It is easy to see by looking at the frame behind the front wheel. Often you will see a hack patch job. It is not the end of the world but needs to be properly addressed.

The other problem the 72s had out of the box is that the clutch linkage was a cable set up with a ball crushed to each end. The ball would tend to pull off under the pressure and then you had no clutch. Also, the bracket that the cable was attached to at the firewall would pull of the firewall also leaving you with no clutch. (I drove about a 100 miles through western Montana that way once until I could get to a dealer. Had to start in 1st gear then time it right to shift to next.) None of this is terminal and it has probably been replaced with a rod system, but you might check.

Rust will be the only other factor so check that out too.

The tranny should be a T15 bolted to a Dana 20 x-case and will only cost a few bucks to get it fixed up. I’ve seen used ones for $250. This Jeep comes with a Dana 44 rear end stock.

Aftermarket parts are more readily available for the 76 and up CJs and they have a boxed frame, but the 72-75s should cost less and can be fixed up to be good wheelers. Also, the 76 is kind of a mutt as some of parts that were available for the 77 & up CJs are not for the 76. Still $950 for a 76 CJ in my part of the world is a smoken good deal.

Good Hunting!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for all the info. i should be checking it out this week. and if all goes well ill be trying to find a tranny this week too.
yea i thought it was a pretty damn good deal too.
the body and paint on the 72 are alot better than the 76 my uncle bought
plus the v8 aint bad either.
 

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How tall of a guy are you? Im 6'1" and a cj5 is a little small inside for me... think about riding cramped all day in that thing. sit in your uncles first. just something to think bout :smokin:
 

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Okay...This is my .02...In a $10 post:

Stay away from the pre 76 CJ's. Aftermarket support is thin and the frames (as previously mentioned) are weak. There are just too many later model CJ's out there to choose from.

Actually...Stay away from the 76-77 CJ's too. They used the same heater assembly from 72-77. It's a different setup than the 78-86 ones, so the firewall is also different in that area. You also cannot buy aftermarket replacement cables for it. (I've read that a place called George's had some made...Never checked it out.) The fresh air intake grill is smaller. Most parts are also not available for it. You're stuck trying to locate a decent used one...Which is really tough. The one junkyard in my area that had a number of CJ's, has sent them all to the crushers...:mad3: Some replacement parts available on the aftermarket that say 'will fit 76-86 CJ's'...Don't fit without modification. Front fenders are an example, as you will need to cut the inner fender to clear where the old style shock mount is.

In 1983 Jeep went to the widetrack axles (except on the CJ5-it was the last year for that model). If you are even considering a lift more than 2.5", you should widen the trac.

The 'best CJ'? Like was previously posted, a CJ5 is a bit cozy. If you're over 6' and have a few extra pounds, and don't normally drive with the steering wheel in your chest...Stay away from them. Especially if it doesn't have a tilt column.

IMO, find a 1986 CJ7 with the 258, T176, Dana300, Dana 44 (not all had the 44 rear axle). Next best would be anything newer than 1983 with the same combo (it will have the AMC20 axle). All the weaknesses of the Dana30/AMC20 axles can be addressed with aftermarket parts. Until you decide you want to run 36" tires. And/Or wheel like a madman. Then the 30 will puke all over the trail.

Some background...I own a 1976 CJ5:


That's what it looked like in Dec 96 when I dragged it home. It was your basic $500 Jeep. I bought the CJ5, because I wanted a short wheelbase, 'compact', 'nimble' vehicle. And I like the way they look. It's not going to be a highway cruiser, although it will see plenty of time running local errands. With 4.56 gearing and $3.25 premium gas (I've got a Ford GT40 5.0L engine in it), I'll be lucky to get 12 mpg.


And...CJ's aren't noted for riding all that great. Leaf springs, front shackles, shortwheelbases,...All add up to 'bumpity, bumpity, bump'. Then you start adding lifts, tires, etc....

Here's what it looked like with the new steel body, but without the rollcage, rocksliders, bumper, and drivetrain :


Since 1996 I've dumped a ton of $$$ into it, made loads of mistakes, changed directions a few times, and just hopefully...It'll be on the road/trail within two years. Right now, it's getting ready for a trip to the exhaust shop:


Good Luck!
 

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The drivers compartment is tight, but notching the wheelwell isn't that tough. I mean, I did it:D

True, the aftermarket support isn't great, but if you have fab skills you should be able to make whatever you need.

The heater situation is easily fixed by yanking it out and putting in a Mojave or the like.

Hard tops are difficult to find, especially in good condition. You can swap the windshield frame to a later model and stick a 76 on up hard top.

I believe from 72-79 a T 18 4 speed option was available. I have the close ratio 4:1 first gear and it's great. There is also a 6.32 first.

Good luck,
 

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I prefer the CJ7's over the 5's although I am building a 5 right now. Most likely it will be used more by my girlfriend as I am a bit too big for the 5 to be comfortable.

If nothing else the 5 you are looking at will be a good start. You can always run with it for a while and if you are like a lot of us you will end up with a second Jeep in the garage later on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for all the great info. but this one is in great condition no rust. it is a little wider already (it might just be the whels though) it will probably stay with 33"s as a max tire size. its just going to be for some of the really tight trails around here and hunting.
and yeah i know how small they are... i took my uncles for a little trip through the woods last night. all i would need to do is modify the seat mounting a little to lower it down and move it back a few inches.

also my uncle wanted to know if anybody has tried fitting a cj5 into a toyhauler trailer?
 

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toy hauler: easily done if your toy hauler is big enough and will handle the weight. Your camper dealer can tell you all you need to know but it will have to be a big one....Most are only good for atv's
 

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Discussion Starter #10
i think his could handle it. it can handle 4 honda foremans and then all of our hunting crap loaded in with them. im just not sure if its long enough. its going to be pretty close.
 

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I love my 72. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

That said, the frames are WEAK and flex like mad (cracks will happen if wheeled before reinforcing them). Steering box support and cage tie-ins will help alot.
You'll probably want to toss the linkage clutch crap for hydro, nothing like the jeep taking off on you when you least expect it.
The 304 is a great motor for power, but crap for mileage.
Power steering and electronic ignition will be in your future if not already on the jeep.

I'm 6' and fit in mine with no problem. It's all about slipping in, once I'm in I feel like I have plenty of room and I run the stock (huge biotch) steering wheel. Most other people I let in the drivers seat say it's a tight entrance...but they don't know the 'technique'
 

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Discussion Starter #12
for me getting into them is no problem.. but its the fact that my eyes are above the window.. lol nothin that cant be modified though.
 

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Congratulations on the score!

My first jeep was a 72 CJ5, AMC 304, powder blue with a white top (yes, I said white, can you believe it!). I got a speeding ticket in it not long after I bought it, 55 in a 35 zone. Went before the judge, he asked what I drove, told him a jeep, he said that he had never know a jeep to go that fast and threw out the ticket. (Your honor, can you say V8?) Some days you just get lucky.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
well i went and checked it out tonight. it needs a little more work than i thought but i talked the guy down to 850. :smokin: so im going to pick it up tomorrow.
so heres the little list of what it needs
seats and mounts, tranny rebuild, some diamond plate on the rocker panels (they were a little beat up) possibly a new hood. and rhino line the interior
other than that it was great looking.
the 304 was rebuilt, the tires have pretty good tread still, no cracks in the frame :smokin: has a full cage inside it, rear seat is in great condition.

i should have this beast on the trails in a week or 2
 

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It's a good price for the condition it's in, even if something else comes apart soon. I paid $400 for mine and it's getting a complete rebuild.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
so i should be picking it up around 5 today. now onto a few question.
#1 how hard is the tranny to rebuild? and do i need special tools to do it? #2 should i just buy a used tranny? and are there any other trannies that are just a bolt in swap? and has anybody made custom mounts for their seats? pics would be great
 

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Manual trannies are not hard to rebuild although I have not done a T15. If you want to get on the trail fast, check the junk yards, otherwise no time the present to learn.
 

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Most of the difficulty in rebuilding any trans is the labor it takes to remove it. Especially on a 4wd vehicle. I took my T18 into a local shop that specializes in manual transmissions. They charged me $150 + parts to totally rebuild the trans. That also included installing the Jeep mainshaft so I could bolt it to my Dana20 Tcase.

If you've got to do the trans, there's probably a good chance that the clutch needs to be replaced. Unless it was done when the motor was pulled for the rebuild....

Good luck and welcome to the Jeep fraternity!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
removing trannies and installing them is no problem for me. plus this one is already out. do i need any special tools to rebuild the tranny though? and what all is involved in rebuilding it?
and it already has a newer clutch in it
 

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Discussion Starter #20
well i finally picked the fawker up today and ordered some parts for it (mirrors, the windshield fold down mounts, bikini top, and diamond plate rockers and rear corners) and will begin working on it tomorrow. and heres whats planned for then
going to bedline the interior, piant the cage (the wonderful color rust just aint cutting it), get new bolts and bolt the dash back in, work on the dent in the hood, and primer a few spots.
 
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