This is the 6th
CJ-7 I've owned. After selling the second to last CJ (83 CJ-7) to
get money for a wedding, I had Jeep withdraws. Shortly after the
wedding, and after buying a new house with my wife, I had
to have a Jeep again. I decided this time around, I want an '86
for it is the last of the CJs. Also half of them had factory Dana
44 rears. After looking for 6 months, I came across a respectable
white 82 CJ-7. It had a full floater Dana 44 rear, Howell Injected
258, NV4500 and Lock-Rites F&R. I was tempted to buy it, but
it wasn't an '86. The seller was moving to Texas, and he had
to sell it. He was asking for more than what I was willing to spend...
but because it had a NV4500 and D44 rear, I was tempted. After thinking
a while, I decided not to buy it. The owner was leaving the next
day, with no buyers. He really dropped his price to less than what
I was willing to spend. So, I toyed with him and offered him even
less. To my amazement, he took my offer. So, I owned a white 82
CJ-7. I owned it for a few months... wheeled it, washed it, liked
it. It still wasn't an '86, so I didn't love it.
A friend of mine moved to Colorado from Florida and loved my Jeep.
I offered to sell it to him. He took my ride. He is now the proud
owner of an 82 CJ-7 Laredo and swapped
a '95 LT-1 in. My quest for the "perfect" Jeep continued.
I expanded my searches to Kansas, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico.
To make a long
story short, I have been seeing this ad in www.TraderOnline.com
for more than a month. It listed an 86 CJ-7, had no picture, very
brief description, but did say it had a rear Dana 44. After looking
and looking with no luck, I decided to e-mail the person selling
it for a picture and more information. Turns out it was a Renegade
model, owned by a woman, rarely off-roaded, bone stock, had cruise
control, hard top, soft top, bikini top. She send me pictures
and I was pretty hooked. She did mention it leaked and ran like
shit (not exactly that, but I sensed it from her). I didn't mind,
since I was going to swap the engine out, and get 4.10's and lockers
(new seals too). So, within a couple days, my wife and I decided
to do an 8 hour drive to (near) Albuquerque, New Mexico and check
My first impression was, I didn't like the color. However, she cleaned
it so well, I was impressed. She was a lady-turned biker, and probably
needed money to pay for her new Harley. Half of me didn't want it,
but the price was about right, and it was rust free, and better
than most rust buckets I have seen, asking for a thou or two more.
I decided to bite the bullet and buy it.
We arrived home the next day (drove down Friday afternoon, got there
at night, saw the Jeep Saturday morning, bought it, towed it home
and arrived home Saturday night).
I decided to get a good sleep before looking it over Sunday morning.
The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I never had a cruise
control in a Jeep, and this was the nicest thing to have! Drives
to the trails are now easy... just set the cruise and go.
The motor had
to go! It ran like shit. Stalled at every stop, and took forever
to start. But, I had to get it to run good to get emission passed
(failed once). I decided to rebuild the carb as a first step. Uh-oh!
As I was rebuilding the carb, there were a few pieces in the carb
missing, and the linkage used to control the choke was made out
of coat-hanger wire. After replacing the missing parts and getting
a new linkage, I put it all back together and she started up the
very first time! Oh woo! After setting the timing a little, she
purred like a kitten! Even though she has 118,000 miles on her,
I could have sworn it was a new motor. She has so much power and
she does not die at stops anymore. I passed emissions with flying
colors. I had so much power, that I decided to wait on the V-8 swap
until the engine really needs to be replaced.
The following spring, I got a GM Dana 44 front and had it narrowed
to CJ widetrack width. I got ARBs front and rear and 4.10's. Then
my SOA project begun.
I've owned the
Jeep for almost 4 years now, and think this is the best of the 6
Jeeps I've owned. I still plan on doing a Chevy 350 swap soon, maybe
this winter (2003). I still think the color is not great, even though
the paint is great and shiny, I will wait. When the right time comes,
I might paint it red... as red as red can be, and paint the hardtop
grey. But that's another write-up.