My first Jeep, a 1983 CJ7!

CaptainBuilt

Well-known member
My father in law has had this 1983 CJ7 since 1993. The last 7-8 years it's been sitting up. I have been joking all these years saying he should give it to me for Christmas.

Well, this year, he did.

I am a proud owner of a free 1983 Jeep CJ7.

I work on a boat, and I was not in town for the gifting, so my wife subbed in for me.





It comes with a hard top also.

I literally know nothing about Jeeps. A couple years ago I tried getting it going, and it would spray gas out of the carb. The engine was replaced 5 years ago and never driven. I'm guessing the timing is off, or spark plug wires in the wrong location?

It's a 12 hour drive to go pick this Jeep up, so it may be a couple months before I get to it.

What would be the first mods after cleaning everything up and getting it going?

Thanks!
 

zgfiredude

Active member
I had an 83 CJ7 and loved it! I really wish I still had it, but it was a lifetime ago......baseline ALL fluids, tranny, diffs, t-case, rad, oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid....ALL of them. Then look at rubber: tires, hoses, brake lines, fuel lines, steering, bushings, etc. Once you do the fluids, then drain and check the gas tank, there will likely be unknown evils inside, bad gas, varnish, goo, rust, water, etc. Might be wise to simply replace the tank. Don't try and start it without disconnecting the fuel supply and trying from a separate fuel supply. The carb will need rebuilt, fuel lines replaced, fuel filters replaced.

Think it through first. Don't let the excitement of firing it up too soon create problems that you then have to deal with.
 

shays4me

Adventurer
You don't know much about Jeeps.......but you will! I've had mine in every piece it comes in. You'll need a good manual, like the tsm from Jeep. If you look around on line you should be able to download it and there's an 81-86 parts manual as well. These books will be invaluable tools to do any repairs or to find parts, many of which are still in the Jeep factory parts system. I would say even if you have to buy a hard copy it will be the best money you've ever spent on that old Jeep. There are a ton of modified CJ7's out there, but the ones bringing real cash are all factory and unmolested.
 

CaptainBuilt

Well-known member
new tires.
looks like it needs flares too. lots of after market choices for flares.
I had an 83 CJ7 and loved it! I really wish I still had it, but it was a lifetime ago......baseline ALL fluids, tranny, diffs, t-case, rad, oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid....ALL of them. Then look at rubber: tires, hoses, brake lines, fuel lines, steering, bushings, etc. Once you do the fluids, then drain and check the gas tank, there will likely be unknown evils inside, bad gas, varnish, goo, rust, water, etc. Might be wise to simply replace the tank. Don't try and start it without disconnecting the fuel supply and trying from a separate fuel supply. The carb will need rebuilt, fuel lines replaced, fuel filters replaced.

Think it through first. Don't let the excitement of firing it up too soon create problems that you then have to deal with.
You don't know much about Jeeps.......but you will! I've had mine in every piece it comes in. You'll need a good manual, like the tsm from Jeep. If you look around on line you should be able to download it and there's an 81-86 parts manual as well. These books will be invaluable tools to do any repairs or to find parts, many of which are still in the Jeep factory parts system. I would say even if you have to buy a hard copy it will be the best money you've ever spent on that old Jeep. There are a ton of modified CJ7's out there, but the ones bringing real cash are all factory and unmolested.
Thanks for the replies!

I'm for sure gonna go through it. I plan on checking EVERYTHING and changing every fluid. New tires, fender flares, light bulbs, etc.....

I have been hunting manuals for it already.

I honestly don't plan on doing anything crazy to it. Depending on how bad the paint is, I may not even paint it. I just really wanna get it going and fix things as they break.

Maybe a disk brake conversion, and lockers. Since I live in the mountains, I plan on hitting some trails and just riding around town. My wife grew up driving this Jeep and she is PUMPED about us getting it.

She will probably drive it more than me to be honest.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies!

I'm for sure gonna go through it. I plan on checking EVERYTHING and changing every fluid. New tires, fender flares, light bulbs, etc.....

I have been hunting manuals for it already.

I honestly don't plan on doing anything crazy to it. Depending on how bad the paint is, I may not even paint it. I just really wanna get it going and fix things as they break.

Maybe a disk brake conversion, and lockers. Since I live in the mountains, I plan on hitting some trails and just riding around town. My wife grew up driving this Jeep and she is PUMPED about us getting it.

She will probably drive it more than me to be honest.
Old CJs had fairly weak axlesand lockers add considerable stress if you need to use them. If you do go that route research the heck out of it. There are axle upgrades that are simple and affordable, but do them when you add those lockers.

And after 3 Rubicons, I swear by lockers. They are more useful, valuable than a winch. Just be sure the rest of the axle is ready.

On disc brakes, you already have front discs right? Rear discs are not really an upgrade, the factory drums brakes are more than adequate given the speeds a CJ7 travels unless you are towing. And the factory parking brake on those factory drum brakes is light years more powerful than the miniature parking brakes that come with disc brakes....something you will want when stopping on a mountain trail.

 
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Welcome to the club. My first was. A 77 cj7. I loved it. Doors didn’t lock soft top only. Didn’t know beans about Jeep’s or any 4 whl drive. But the cj7 took me on some of the best adventures of my life. Now 5 Jeep’s later. I have a gladiator parked outside. Oh and need I mention it was a golden eagle with the Levi seat package white in color. Jeep wave✋
 

Somecallmetimm

Adventurer
Congratulations!!! What a wonderful gift! All good advice so far. May I suggest that once it's up and running, drive it as is for a while and learn it's abilities before making big changes. Whatever you end up doing with it, enjoy!
 

givemethewillys

Jonathan Chouinard
Welcome to the jeep club! I own a 1957/1970 cj5, but I've always loved the cj7's. Does your new jeep have the 258, or the 304? If the v8, it's commonly swapped with a 360. If the straight 6, it's pretty bulletproof. Both are good engines, although the 304 is gutless for a v8.

As others said, the AMC 20 rear axle will be your weakest link. I wouldn't worry too much about it though unless you put bigger tires on it.

My biggest advice, though, is to drive it as soon as possible, and don't undertake any big projects such as a "restoration" until you know exactly what you want and even then do it in small manageable chunks. Too many people are much better at taking stuff apart than they are rebuilding, myself included.
 

CaptainBuilt

Well-known member
I'm in Western NC, and the Jeep is in Louisiana. I haven't had a chance to get down there and pick it up yet.

If my memory serves me it's either a 4 or 6 cyl. Not a v8, I'm sure on that one.

My plan once I have it in my possession, is to get it running, and drive it lol. I have a lot going on right now, and can't invest the time (or $$$) to spend too much on it.

My wife and I just want it to fart around with. Maybe in the future I'll do more to it. But I will post once I have it and first test drive!
 

Softshackleguy

New member
Still have my 83 cj7 with the 4.2L D35 front axle, AMC 20 rear axle, T4 transmission mated to the Dana 300 transfer case. Has the nutter bypass so all the unnecessary electronics have been stripped and vacuum hoses capped. Good ol' basic carb/engine operation. Has a manual choke. Has a Holley 2 barrel carb but needs a smaller one. Bought the famous Motorcraft 2150 carb (many number version) but have not fitted it. Very common carb and lots to read about.

Axles - The AMC20 rear is the weak link. In 1986, last year of production, AMC ran out of AMC20 axles so they used the Dana 44 axles for the rest. Finding a 86 with the D44 is awesome! Common to swap but sounds like you won't be doing that. Also, if you work on the AMC20, they say it surpasses the D44 because the ring gear is larger than the D44. You'd need to add the 1 piece axle, truss it, etc. beef it up. In 1982, CJ7 switched to wide trac axles, giving it a wider stance. You have wide trac.

leaf springs - If you plan to upgrade these, look into YJ leaf spring conversion. They are wide and provide a better ride. Not much is needed to convert, just the new mounts.

tub and flares - Found out I have the YJ tub conversion which is a bummer. But you have the original. Easy way to spot that is the rear flares. Round = CJ7.

wheels - You ahave the original wagon wheels. Nice. There are same aftermarket styles but originals have soft corners for the D holes. I also see the interior dash. Un-ripped, good condition ones were/are hard to find!

Inspect for rust/rot - CJ use the box frame chassis and are known to rot from inside out. Very common in the center where the skid plate mounts, rear section, and front near the shock mounts. Wise to check the condition.

Like the other post says, unmolested and original are the gems. When I started, I loved all the modifications, saved images of what I liked, but now it's all about original this and original that (other than the cleaned up engine bay). Timeless classics.
 
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shays4me

Adventurer
Still have my 83 cj7 with the 4.2L D35 front axle
All accurate except you have a dana 30 front axle. The dana 35 was a c clip axle used in the back of the yj wrangler. They started life as an amc 15 axle and then dana got the design from amc. The dana 35 had a bad reputation for spitting the axle and wheel out when you add bigger tires. I see that the new wrangler is using a dana 35 again. I thought Jeep had left that long behind when they put the dana 44 in the back of the jk standard, but I suppose every pound counts for mileage. I hope it’s a better version. now for future sport and Sahara owners!
 

billiebob

Well-known member
My father in law has had this 1983 CJ7 since 1993. The last 7-8 years it's been sitting up. I have been joking all these years saying he should give it to me for Christmas.

Well, this year, he did.

I am a proud owner of a free 1983 Jeep CJ7.

I work on a boat, and I was not in town for the gifting, so my wife subbed in for me.





It comes with a hard top also.

I literally know nothing about Jeeps. A couple years ago I tried getting it going, and it would spray gas out of the carb. The engine was replaced 5 years ago and never driven. I'm guessing the timing is off, or spark plug wires in the wrong location?

It's a 12 hour drive to go pick this Jeep up, so it may be a couple months before I get to it.

What would be the first mods after cleaning everything up and getting it going?

Thanks!
I think you have "inherited" an awesome vehicle. I'd concentrate on rebuilding and restoring. No mods you do will add value. Stock, single family owned, low miler will be worth far more than lifted with big tires. Plus the CJ is incredibly capable stock. Drive it, enjoy it, keep it well maintained and keep it stock.

These guys know how to live
 

CaptainBuilt

Well-known member
All good advice here. Thanks!

I'm still waiting on bringing the Jeep home. It should be soon, I hope. I'm selling a van and having issues with it at the mechanic. Not with the van, with the mechanic lol. I have to get that van sold before I do anything else.

I may sell the box truck I just bought too. I will have to wait and see on that one. But, I have to get this van out of my life before I can drag the Jeep home.


I don't plan on lifting it or putting big tires on it. Lockers will happen, and a winch.
 
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