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CJ7 yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Jeeps' started by Detroitdan, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Got rid of my 1 ton dually, which was too darned big for driveways anyway. Been wanting to replace it with a K5 Blazer for my route, however I havent been able to find a good one. Came across a pretty decent CJ7, it's got the 4.2 six, a five speed, (which I like). Ad says it's got a Dana 44 rear and a front locker. No plow, but I figured I'd just buy an old POS off one of the junks around. I'd rather have a nice new plow, but it would cost more than the whole Jeep, and I don't do all that much plowing anyway.

    So, am I crazy? Will a CJ handle plowing a small route? about 15-20 driveways, couple very small lots, and a good portion of the route is tough driveways, steep hills and several dirt/gravel. I know the smaller plow is going to be annoying, but the maneuverability should make up for it. I'm not real enthused about plowing with a stickshift either, but I should be able to survive the little plowing I do, about 4-5 hours a storm.

    I know I want the biggest plow it can handle. I've seen some tiny little toys on Wranglers and I really don't want something small. I can always add wings if I need to, but the height would be an issue too. I don't want to go ten feet and have snow coming over the top.

    So I'd like to hear experiences and recommendations on plows for the CJ, things to look out for, etc. I've owned CJs and Wranglers before, so I think I've got a handle on their strengths and weaknesses. just never plowed with one.
     
  2. kimber750

    kimber750 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,652

    First off I am a bit bias because I love the CJ's. I have never put a plow on any of mine but have seen plenty with plows. Have you looked over the Jeep very closely? To find a CJ cheap in good shape doesn't happen very often. Very well known for the frame rusting out, especially at the rear leaf hanger. I would think a CJ would be great for driveways since it is so maneuverable.
     
  3. CS-LAWNSERVICE

    CS-LAWNSERVICE Member
    Messages: 79



    I will second check the frame at the rear hangers they rust thru on about half of them it seems
     
  4. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    I have not used a CJ but I've plowed with Wranglers. I use a Fisher 7 1/2 RD ( now called HD same plow new name) for 24 years. I put a snow deflector on the plow and air shocks and #300 counter weight (I now have a bumper that plugs into my rear receiver hitch that weighs ~#400) I mount the plow controller ON the stickshift (can shift and work the plow at the same time, dont have to go looking for the controller IE hand held)
     
  5. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Plowmeister, I've admired your Jeeps for years. I really like the controller idea. I would much prefer to get a TJ, I love the way they ride and handle, but I'm not likely to find a good one with a 4.0 in my price range. I wouldn't mind driving a 4 cyl, but I don't want one in a plow rig. CJ7s I really just like for the cool factor, love the way they look.. And I've found a couple actually in my price range, one in my town, (the one with a 5 speed) another with a plow that looks beautiful in pictures, but the guy says it has some rust issues. What CJ doesn't? But can't tell if it's doable or just a total project, and it's pretty far for me to go look at. I think it would actually be worth something if it wasn't a plow rig, I've never seen one before, it's a special edition called a Jamboree, says jamboree down the side of the hood where it would normally say renegade.
    I at least feel like a CJ would hold it's value to some degree, as long as I didn't destroy it plowing. The closer one with the axle upgrades would probably make a better plow rig, but I need to come up with the money for a plow. And if I go the Blazer route I already have a plow for it..
    idk, maybe I should be looking for a TJ. I really need something with a backseat because I haul my kids everywhere, and the family cage makes me feel a lot safer, not to mention Tjs are more stable. If I do get a CJ a family cage will definitely be on the short list.
    Ahhh I dont know what to do!
     
  6. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    So now I'm also looking at TJs. I know they dont have the strongest axles, the first CJ I mentioned is probably a lot beefier, but a modern fuel injected engine would have to be so much more reliable. Always hated dealing with those old Jeep carbs. Found a few 4 cyl TJs at a good price, just needing the usual stuff for inspection. Or a couple 4.0 Tjs needing work, but with tons of miles and more money. Makes me want to go toward a 4 cyl, especially since I also need a DD that's reasonable on gas. Just worried about plowing with it. Afraid it might be a stupid direction to go in.
    Got to do something soon, winters almost here and I have no plow truck. Only going to put a speedcaster on my 82 as a backup, it's far to big to do residentials with. And I need something to drive-sold my diesel Suburban, now not only is the money burning a hole, the 454 is killing me in gas. Was never supposed to be a DD, just a work/play truck
     
  7. dt5150

    dt5150 Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 142

    the 5 speed in the cj you're looking at is a t5 (if it's stock). the t5 and the t4 are quite possibly 2 of the weakest transmissions ever built. i've blown up 3 of them, 2 t5's and a t4, over the years doing not much more than every day driving. i don't think that t5 would live very long if used in a plowing rig. the dana 44 rear is nice though, those were stock (sometimes) only on 86 cj's. most of em got the amc 20 rear end.

    where in nh are ya? i'm in laconia.
     
  8. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    looked at and drove the 86 today, runs great and feels really strong, new clutch, motor and tranny, but too much rot for me to deal with right now, and nearly 200k on it. Definitely worth saving, but I want a pusher not a project right now. I'm really leaning toward a TJ instead, I can't deal with the rot issues CJs have, and I'm not prepared to do a tub swap. Problem is pretty much all the TJs in my price range are 4 cylinders, and like Isaid I've driven them, got no problem with the power output for a DD, but I'm really afraid it won't be stout enough for pushing snow, especially if we get heavy wet stuff. I wish somebody would tell me that 4 cylinders are great and I'll be very happy with one, but I'm not hearing it.

    dt5150, I'm right by the New England Dragway.
     
  9. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    The 4 cyl has lower gears so the power at the rear end is about the same. I know of 4 people that plow with 4 cyl and say they are great (i've never plowed with one)

    As for high milage I sold my 91 TJ with 250K on it, I plowed every year with it. My current Jeeps have 140K

    If you dont beet on it the D35 works fine.
     
  10. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    that's what I'm talking about. I'm narrowing it down, I definitely am going to go with a TJ, I've found a couple 4.0s but with big miles, around 200k. One 5 speed and one auto. How are the autos for plowing? Obviously be so much easier than clutching, but I wouldn't necessarily shy away from a stick. IIRC the autos usually came with 3'07 gears, which would be a negative.

    I remember hearing somewhere that the 4 cyls always had 4.10s, which is good, and I've always found them to have an acceptable amount of power. I guess the most important thing is to find one that's solid. But I still need to have enough left to buy a plow.
     
  11. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    I have two 2000 TJs one auto and one stick.

    I HATE the auto for one thing when you shift into revers there is a 2 second wait before it engages. also the auto stick is low, requires you to bend to get to the shift lever (I actually extended the lever by about 3 inches).

    I mount my controllers on the shifters, When working the controller on the auto its very easy to shift into nutril inadvertently. Never had that problem with the manual trany
     
  12. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    I used an CJ5 back in the day with a 3 speed. It was a good truck, loved the three speed for tight work. I have a TJ 4.2L 5speed I'm setting up now, with the 4.2 in it, it's major torquey. Added air shocks in the front and some weight in the ass. I'm glad Plowmeister talked me out of my shortbed pickup truck Idea. The Jeep is much more fun in the nice weather
     
  13. dt5150

    dt5150 Senior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 142

    how much are you looking to spend? a local dealer up here always has one or two tj's with plows on their lot. http://www.youngsautosales.com/

    there's a handful on craigslist too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2011
  14. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    not looking to spend $17,000. I could buy a duramax with that kind of money. I hate used car lots, they buy everything at auction for dirt cheap and have outrageous ideas about what it's worth. I can find a TJ and put a used plow on it for under 6 grand total. But I might buy a YJ if I find a solid one. I've been living on Craigslist for weeks, emailing dozens of people about Wranglers, and almost nobody is responding. Drives me nuts how they list something, usually without a phone number, then dont even check their email for responses. Or dont take the ad down when its sold.
     
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    I chased them for about 6 months. Everything was either lifted, 4 cyl with way too many miles on it, rotted to the core, over priced, etc. hang in there. I hear you about dealers but if the offer is right.

    This is very interesting. Remember these suckers hold their price.

    http://www.youngsautosales.com/vehicle.asp?ID=7627
     
  16. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Well, I just brought home my third TJ Wrangler. Bought a 98 Sport 4.0 automatic, hardtop and hard doors, budget boost lift with 32/11.50 BFG ATs, More miles on it than I care to mention, but it runs and drives very well. Doesn't have a lot of balls, I'm going to blame that on the 3.07 gears they put behind automatics, coupled with 32 inch tires. If I end up keeping it long term I'll swap in some 3.73 or 4.10s. Frame rot has already been repaired, body is solid and it's a very pretty color, kind of a dark red. Bit concerned about putting a plow on it though; it's got some stupid off-road Tera flex swaybar disconnect torsion bar system on it that looks like it will interfere with where the plow needs to bolt up. SO I'll probably have to take it off and try to source stock parts. I could give a darn about disconnecting my swaybar links.

    Found a nearly new Fisher but it was sold almost instantly. Now found a Sno-Way ST80, not really enthused about it. Good price, but it's just so wimpy looking. I'm already dumping my commercial accounts and hard stuff, keeping a few easy driveways, but I don't know what the Sno Way can handle. Even their website says it's just for doing your own driveway and a couple neighbors. I'd be doing about 12-15 driveways.

    "It followed me home, can I keep it?"

    anothertj.jpg

    anothertj1.jpg
     
  17. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    The snoway is a pretty tough plow but unless you are changing the tires and wheels back to the standard configuration you need a 7'6" blade.

    The curtis mount system is superb on the wranglers. Check my facebook page for pictures.

    Make sure the manufacturer still supports mounts before buying a plow.
     
  18. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I need to get fender flares to cover those tires, so I thought maybe I'd put some stock ones on for winter so I dont have to do the flares right away. But I dont know, these BFGs have a lot of tread, and while they are a little wide I'm sure they'll do ok for what little plowing I plan on doing. I definitely want the widest plow I can get, but I'm also going to have to go with whatever I can find the cheapest. Wonder how hard it would be to put wings on a 6'8"? The trailer in the picture is 6'4" inside the rails, and I didn't have any room to spare.

    I looked at Curtis a few years back, really didn't like them at all. But if one came along that was the right application and price I would buy it. I may be opinionated, but I dont think the snow knows the difference.
     
  19. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,551

    the cabin air scoop is on backwords. Nice Jeep

    you going to trailer the jeep between jobs? why do you care how wide the plow is?

    Lift it (the plow) over the railing to transport.
     
  20. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I just want the plow wider than the Jeep. right now it's about 6'2" wide at the front tires. a 6'8" plow when angles would be narrower than the Jeep, and even when not angled I'd be driving in the snow as soon as I turn the wheels. Been my experience the wider the plow, the better. It won't be trailered, I only put it on there to get it home. I only mentioned the width of the trailer as a reference; I just measured it the other day, and I was surprised this Jeep barely fit.

    If you mean the scoop in the picture, it's not over the cowl vents for cabin air, it's a gay stick-on hood scoop on the hood. Not even painted to match. That's coming off as soon as I figure out how to do it without wrecking the paint. Probably heat it up with a hair dryer and try to ease it off gently.