85 Jeep CJ7

What we have here is a 1985 Jeep CJ7 Renegade. It was my first car, and I’ve had it for nearly 30 years at the time of this posting. When it was purchased, used, it was in excellent condition. It was Red from the factory, and a dream vehicle for a teenage boy.

Prior to getting my license, it was used by my dad and some of his employees, and was subsequently wrecked. During the repair it was painted blue, as you see today. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of it in it’s original state.

As a 16 year old, I got the keys and proceeded to do what all young and dumb kids do. I made a ton of pretty poor decisions and ended up tearing the jeep up. Over the years, it went from being a beautiful and luxurious rig (hey, it had AC), to more of a war wagon. I ended up stripping the creature comforts out as I thought they were unnecessary, and built it into something I, at the time, considered rugged.

That’s not to say all of my changes and modifications were a bad idea. It is definitely not what I want it to be, but it’s not all bad. Over the years, I swapped out the rear 2 piece axles for stronger one piece axles, then upgraded again and now have 4.88 gears and lunchbox lockers front and rear. Obviously it’s been lifted, and the pro comp suspension has not had any issues. The tire selection, BFG All Terrains, was the best choice I think I’ve ever made with regard to tires. They wear like iron, and they slip when they need to which has thus far kept me from breaking things and kept me out of serious trouble.

I’ve also eliminated the computer and swapped out the ignition and carburetor. Those changes have significantly improved the drive-ability. Before that, I simply wasn’t able to get the motor to idle. I blame the old computer and carb more than the ignition, but moving to the 1 wire hei ignition was a no brainer after I went through the computer delete. I had done the “nutter bypass” and it worked, but I just feel that it runs better with the HEI ignition.

So, here we are. I’m now working on fixing my mistakes, and trying to turn this into something that’s a pleasure to drive again. That means I’ll be going through it front to back and back to front. I’ll be fixing, upgrading, and enhancing things as I can. Things like the AC will definitely be coming back. Things like the carpet will not.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the journey as I try to document this as best as I can.

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-Jimmy