Reasons to buy a CJ8

Glonk

New member
City
Houston
State
TX
#1
Howdy,
I am getting a loan from my father to buy a new car. I want an older manual so we are looking at getting a 2-door jeep wrangler. We are looking for something that is relatively cheap yet will not have many issues down the road, especially expensive issues. Of course any old vehicles will have issues and need repairs but hopefully something as common and cheap as a jeep should be relatively cheap to repair.
I am hoping to convince my father to loan me the money to buy a 1981 CJ-8(manual) w/103,500 miles for $19,980 over a 2006 2-door wrangler w/67,000 miles for $16,999 (also manual). The fact that it is so old (39 years) and has 100,000 miles he is reluctant to spend the extra $2,000. Both vehicles look to be in great condition and barring any mechanical problems in either I cannot get him to budge off the wrangler. The wrangler is a great jeep and admittedly the 5th gear does give it a little bit of an advantage on freeways yet he wanted me to get a truck but I want a jeep, hence the shopping for a jeep. I thought that a jeep with a truck bed would be a perfect compromise but apparently not. The hurdles I am trying to get over are the availability of replacement parts, and the question of how well will an vehicle with 100,000 miles hold up. Any advice or ammunition y'all can give me to help sway him would be great.
 

CJ7Pilot

18436572
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Yuba City
State
CA
#3
Honestly, a Jeep CJ makes a great second or third car. It's a hobby, and you have to work at it, and spend money on it.

Some of us here use our Scramblers as daily drivers... but not as our only drivers.

It sounds like your dad wants you to have dependable transportation from the get-go, so I think the '06 Wrangler is probably a better choice (for now).

At least he's on board with you having a Jeep! :thumbsup:
 
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Glonk

New member
City
Houston
State
TX
#4
Honestly, a Jeep CJ makes a great second or third car. It's a hobby, and you have to work at it, and spend money on it.

Some of here use our Scramblers as daily drivers... but not as our only drivers.

It sounds like your dad wants you to have dependable transportation from the get-go, so I think the '06 Wrangler is probably a better choice (for now).

At least he's on board with you having a Jeep! :thumbsup:
Are they not reliable vehicles, or do they often need lengthy repairs that require time in the shop?
 

Scramblin Man

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Woodway
State
Tx
#6
IMO be happy with the Wrngler, it will be much more reliable and comfortable to drive. A 40 year old 110 k mileage AMC Jeep is going to give problems over time. Anyone who says different is full of it. Save some money over time and purchase a second vehicle - Scrambler. That is a double win.
 

ag4ever

Average Nut
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Richmond
State
TX
#7
Finding a shop to work on a “daily driver” cj will be difficult. Any shop willing to really work on such an old vehicle won’t be in any hurry to get it fixed. You can get almost any shop to work on an ‘06 Jeep.

If you get the CJ to a well repaired state, it can be reliable, but not as reliable as the ‘06.

Really, it boils down to how upset will you be if your Jeep is not available to drive for a week for minor repairs.

Most of the parts are still available from parts houses, but some are not. If the one you are looking at has the 5 speed it is a ticking time bomb. It may last forever, or grenade after 50 highway miles.

IMO, I would get the ‘06 as a daily.
 

Chamba

Active member
City
Vero Beach
State
FL
#8
Are they not reliable vehicles, or do they often need lengthy repairs that require time in the shop?
They are reliable: for a 39 year old car. I remember when they were new, and they were just as reliable as almost any car at that time.

However, cars today- any cars today- are more reliable than cars were 40 years ago. Ignoring the fact that cars today are all designed by computer and look like bars of soap, they are the best they have ever been.

You can make your scrambler as reliable as a new car by putting the entire drive train from a new car in it, but as had been said, this is not generally the realm of a young bloke wanting daily transport.

In your price range, look for an 05-06 Jeep LJ with the 5 or 6 speed manual. These have the same wheel base as a Scrambler and their limited number will likely translate into a good investment down the track.

Your dad is right: do not get a Scrambler- or any 40 year old car- as your first and only car. This will end in tears. Scramblers will be there when you're ready. Take your time.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#9
Somebody has to play the other hand, might as well be me. The only reliable car is a new one under warranty. Even then- the chances of a breakdown are 50/50. Either it runs or breaks. I’ve put new transmissions in cars with 2000 miles on the odometer. I’ve put new engines in trucks that were 6 months old. I’ve also serviced 250,000 mile engines and transmissions that ran just fine. Everything has the potential for failure. So, with that in mind- which vehicle has the most complicated systems? Which vehicle could the average guy with minimal training fix easier? Which would cost less to fix? I’d much rather work on a older vehicle than dive into a never-ending wormhole of some of these newer systems. Is the 05/06 Wrangler a good vehicle? Sure. But- a lot of the parts for a Scrambler are being reproduced by the aftermarket, and their cost is usually less than the Wrangler parts. Here’s the deciding factor, in my opinion. Can you find someone local to work on the Scrambler, or are you willing to learn to do it yourself? Or will you want to be able to drop it anywhere for repairs.

And yes- the Scrambler will probably appreciate in value if you take good care of it. I’d get the Scrambler, if the one you’re looking at is in good shape. It WILL put a smile on your face every time you drive it.

Heres a good determining question. If you buy the Wrangler and it breaks down, how will you feel? Then ask the same question about the Scrambler. I know my answer- if I made the “reliable” choice and then it left me stranded, I would be really ticked. But if I bought the choice that made me happy, and it broke down, I’d be upset but I’d still be happy with my choice.

Then again, no one has ever accused me of being practical or overly mature...
 
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designerRob

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Allen Park
State
MI
#10
Howdy,
I am getting a loan from my father to buy a new car. I want an older manual so we are looking at getting a 2-door jeep wrangler. We are looking for something that is relatively cheap yet will not have many issues down the road, especially expensive issues. Of course any old vehicles will have issues and need repairs but hopefully something as common and cheap as a jeep should be relatively cheap to repair.
I am hoping to convince my father to loan me the money to buy a 1981 CJ-8(manual) w/103,500 miles for $19,980 over a 2006 2-door wrangler w/67,000 miles for $16,999 (also manual). The fact that it is so old (39 years) and has 100,000 miles he is reluctant to spend the extra $2,000. Both vehicles look to be in great condition and barring any mechanical problems in either I cannot get him to budge off the wrangler. The wrangler is a great jeep and admittedly the 5th gear does give it a little bit of an advantage on freeways yet he wanted me to get a truck but I want a jeep, hence the shopping for a jeep. I thought that a jeep with a truck bed would be a perfect compromise but apparently not. The hurdles I am trying to get over are the availability of replacement parts, and the question of how well will an vehicle with 100,000 miles hold up. Any advice or ammunition y'all can give me to help sway him would be great.
First off, it sounds like you've thought this through. My opinion is I would not recommend a CJ as an only vehicle. I think you can find a very reliable CJ to drive but it's still 40 years old and will not be trouble free. And in 40 years many hands have probably touched this Jeep and who knows what they did right or wrong. Even if your CJ has had a frame off resto you don't really know if everything was done correctly or not (unless you bought it from Randy or Raymond here on the forum). So, if you and your dad can work on this Jeep yourselves and feel comfortable doing so then I would say, get it as a second vehicle or at least have a backup that you can borrow when the CJ needs some love. Good luck and be sure to inspect these Jeeps VERY well no matter which you decide on!

Let us know what you end up with and some pics would be great too. :bacon::wave::popcorn:
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#11
In choosing a first vehicle, the question of holding value is so far down on the list of things to consider that it's not even in the ballpark of what you need to worry about with this decision.

Are they not reliable vehicles, or do they often need lengthy repairs that require time in the shop?
Being fully blunt, if you're asking this question this way, you aren't anywhere close to where you could even consider having a 1980s Scrambler as your daily driver/only vehicle. Your dad is right. Enjoy the Wrangler, learn to work on your own vehicle and get a Scrambler as a second Jeep down the road.

Can it be done? Yes. If you're talking about putting your daily driver Scrambler in the shop *when* things go wrong, you can't even think about daily driving a Scrambler IMO.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#12
Heres a good determining question. If you buy the Wrangler and it breaks down, how will you feel? Then ask the same question about the Scrambler. I know my answer- if I made the “reliable” choice and then it left me stranded, I would be really ticked. But if I bought the choice that made me happy, and it broke down, I’d be upset but I’d still be happy with my choice.
This assumes that your fun choice wouldn't have broken down six times in that span. Rather dubious way to make this call IMO for a kid looking for a daily driver that he's going to rely on to get to work, etc.
 

RMNP CJ-8

Active member
CJ-8.com Member
City
Loveland
State
CO
#13
Speaking from similar experience, my first car was a 79' CJ-5.
While it was a while ago, it was an older car at the time and constantly needed work. It gave me a lot of good memories and a lot of fun.

That being said, it wasn't long before I sold it for a newer more reliable vehicle. I was able to by a new 94' jeep wrangler to get me through college and work, and eventually out to Colorado when I got married and moved from the Midwest. I loved having a new Jeep that was reliable and could take me on long road trips without the fear of being stranded due to a breakdown. I was able to use my money to have fun with friends and dates and school instead of repairs. That Jeep made me realize I don't think I could ever be without one.

Fast forward to today. I was recently able to get my 84' Scrambler which is a dream Jeep for me and the kind of Jeep I wish I could have had as my first car but could never afford. It is a weekend driver for fun and I have the money to do the work it needs. I never regretted getting a newer Jeep when it was my only car.

Get the newer Jeep and enjoy it for all that it is. You will have time for the classic when you are able to have a 2nd car and you will appreciate it even more.
 
City
Bridgman
State
MI
#14
Howdy,
I am getting a loan from my father to buy a new car. I want an older manual so we are looking at getting a 2-door jeep wrangler. We are looking for something that is relatively cheap yet will not have many issues down the road, especially expensive issues. Of course any old vehicles will have issues and need repairs but hopefully something as common and cheap as a jeep should be relatively cheap to repair.
I am hoping to convince my father to loan me the money to buy a 1981 CJ-8(manual) w/103,500 miles for $19,980 over a 2006 2-door wrangler w/67,000 miles for $16,999 (also manual). The fact that it is so old (39 years) and has 100,000 miles he is reluctant to spend the extra $2,000. Both vehicles look to be in great condition and barring any mechanical problems in either I cannot get him to budge off the wrangler. The wrangler is a great jeep and admittedly the 5th gear does give it a little bit of an advantage on freeways yet he wanted me to get a truck but I want a jeep, hence the shopping for a jeep. I thought that a jeep with a truck bed would be a perfect compromise but apparently not. The hurdles I am trying to get over are the availability of replacement parts, and the question of how well will an vehicle with 100,000 miles hold up. Any advice or ammunition y'all can give me to help sway him would be great.
I think I have to agree with everyone here my Jeep scrambler was my daily driver 30 years ago. I still have it however it is not a daily driver. Now that being said I've sandblasted it new shocks brakes rotors calipers heater core radiator just about everything can be replaced in a weekend. Keep in mind that this is also carbureted and can make them a little finicky but properly cleaned and taken care of I believe it can be reliable. The ride is rough the interior is sparse and you will smell like exhaust and gas most likely. But back when I was young girls liked that. I think your best chance of getting the scrambler is to promise your father that you will learn how to repair cars and not be one of these lazy kids that doesn't want to work for his fun. Work hard play hard and always keep your word. By the way you have a very generous father.
Best
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#15
This assumes that your fun choice wouldn't have broken down six times in that span. Rather dubious way to make this call IMO for a kid looking for a daily driver that he's going to rely on to get to work, etc.
Maybe I’m coming from a different place. My first car was a 53 Ford, totally cool but I spent time every weekend fixing something. I learned a lot in a short time. Then I was blessed and got a new 78 Mustang ll King Cobra for graduation- and within a year had wrecked it twice, racked up lots of tickets, and sold it to keep out of trouble. At that point, I got into off-roading. Figured I could get as crazy as I wanted in the dirt. But- every vehicle I bought was my only vehicle, every vehicle needed constant work, and every vehicle taught me more about turning wrenches. I learned how to do brakes on my lunch hour, how to swap an engine in a weekend, and how to be mechanically adept. Friendships were forged, skills were learned, and a love of older vehicles grew stronger. Yes, there were times where I had to bum rides, times that were discouraging, but that’s part of life and learning to be resilient and prepared. And having the desire and responsibility of keeping a cool vehicle running kept me from making a lot of bad decisions- kept me away from drugs, even kept me from smoking. ( A pack of smokes or saving for new wheels?) As years passed I eventually bought several new or newer vehicles, only to regret it and sell them shortly after. I have had over 200 vehicles pass through my hands in the last 40 years. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
Long story short- buying a vehicle that I knew I would have to work on, to keep running- it made me who I am today. Is it for everyone? Heck no. But in my opinion life would be pretty boring if we always took the “safe” choice.
 
Last edited:
City
Bridgman
State
MI
#16
Maybe I’m coming from a different place. My first car was a 53 Ford, totally cool but I spent time every weekend fixing something. I learned a lot in a short time. Then I was blessed and got a 78 Mustang ll King Cobra for graduation- and within a year had wrecked it twice, racked up lots of tickets, and sold it to keep out of trouble. At that point, I got into off-roading. Figured I could get as crazy as I wanted in the dirt. But- every vehicle I bought was my only vehicle, every vehicle needed constant work, and every vehicle taught me more about turning wrenches. I learned how to do brakes on my lunch hour, how to swap an engine in a weekend, and how to be mechanically adept. Friendships were forged, skills were learned, and a love of older vehicles grew stronger. Yes, there were times where I had to bum rides, times that were discouraging, but that’s part of life and learning to be resilient and prepared. As years passed I eventually bought several new or newer vehicles, only to regret it and sell them shortly after. I have had over 200 vehicles pass through my hands in the last 40 years. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
Long story short- buying a vehicle that I knew I would have to work on, to keep running- it made me who I am today. Is it for everyone? Heck no. But I’m my opinion life would be pretty boring if we always took the “safe” choice.
Well said. Could not agree more.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#17
Maybe I’m coming from a different place. My first car was a 53 Ford, totally cool but I spent time every weekend fixing something.
Exactly why I made my comment about his question "...do they often need lengthy repairs that require time in the shop?"

He's talking about having to take it to the shop, not having to spend "time every weekend fixing something." That's precisely what I picked up on, the difference from you or I who would have phrased that "...have to work on it all the time?"

I may be reading too much in, but the specific choice of wording seemed critically important and is what I was reacting to. If he's taking it to a shop vs. fixing it himself (knowing that this is his only vehicle and fixing it could mean in the middle of the work/school week or being without a vehicle), that's a HUGE difference.
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#18
Exactly why I made my comment about his question "...do they often need lengthy repairs that require time in the shop?"

He's talking about having to take it to the shop, not having to spend "time every weekend fixing something." That's precisely what I picked up on, the difference from you or I who would have phrased that "...have to work on it all the time?"

I may be reading too much in, but the specific choice of wording seemed critically important and is what I was reacting to. If he's taking it to a shop vs. fixing it himself (knowing that this is his only vehicle and fixing it could mean in the middle of the work/school week or being without a vehicle), that's a HUGE difference.
Eric, you are right. We all tend to see things through our own “filters”. 👍🏻
 

Randyzzz

Blown Budget
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Redmond
State
OR
#19
But back when I was young girls liked that.

Work hard play hard and always keep your word. By the way you have a very generous father.
True, true, and true.

Nothing beats a girl getting giddy when you light the tires.
A man’s word is his most valuable possession.
And, never stop appreciating your parents.
 

spankrjs

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Biloxi
State
MS
#20
I'm like Randyzzz, I came up hard LOL :thumbsup:

My first car was a total POS 1978 CJ-7. I couldn't even drive a standard when I bought it, my mom had to drive it home for me, with a bad front wheel hub :crazy:

I had to learn how to fix it myself, and had to pay for it myself. My dad helped me some, my godfather was a mechanic at my families business, he helped me more than I can say/ever repay :bow:

I had friend's with reliable cars, and I could borrow my moms car to get to work (when I was in high school). Still, it sucked when the Jeep broke down, and waiting for parts. I never really "missed out" on any important life stuff due to the Jeep being broke down.

While in high school, I learned a lot. The Jeep became reliable, I even left home to go off to college in it. This Jeep was stolen from me when I was home from college. So, I did what any smart person would do, bought another 1978 CJ7. I recovered my stolen Jeep a few weeks later, swapped parts off it to my "new" CJ7, and had a reliable Jeep that saw me through college graduation and the first 6 months after college into my current career.

Having a POS Jeep as a first car was good for me. Besides learning how to fix Jeeps, it taught me many other lessons (budgeting, hard work, heart break and tears, success, seeing something through to the end, etc etc). I also made many good friends/memories working on my POS Jeeps. :thumbsup:

Anyway, I can't tell you what to do. What I did was probably "stupid/crazy", but it worked out for me :twocents::wave: I think :crazy::crazy:
 
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