The right timing / Barn find 86 CJ7 - guide me...


New member
Bought my 86 CJ7 off of CL. Found it at 930pm and drive it home at midnight with old tags, a misfire and dog hair infested interior. Within one hour the guy had 30 text and calls wanting to see the jeep the next morning but, nobody was smart enough to say can I come by right now! The guy needed money, the price was well under market.

So far I have purchased an HEI and resealed the intake/exhaust manifold and valve cover. Changed the fluids and gave it a tune up. Added new full exhaust and had a shop make new seat covers after I repaired the broken seat frames.

I’m wanting to buy new carpet and restore the dash pad and console.

The only rust is on the rear lower rockers and the frame mounts in that area. The pan looks solid!

I’m thinking about repairing the rust, new paint and add new stripe package.

Should I leave it stock height and keep the stock tire size? What simple mods can I do that maintain original look but add esthetics and performance?


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Staff member
Should I leave it stock height and keep the stock tire size? What simple mods can I do that maintain original look but add esthetics and performance?

Congrats to you! Personally, I would leave it stock height or close to it. If the only rust is on the rocker panels, I might clear the cancer, patch it up and throw on some rocker guards. That would give it nice look and performance.

Jaybird 11

Nice! I'd figure out what gears it has first. If you want to put a bigger tire under it you may want to do a gear swap first. High gears and tall tires will make it a dog to drive.

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Congrats on the find. It looks clean in the pictures besides the rust. I agree with Wayoflife , clean the rust and add a set of rocker guards.

Phoenix graphics will have your decal kit that you are looking for. Do you know what series it is.

For the ride height, it all depends on what your end use is. If you want to keep it a classic driver around town, keep the stock height and tire size. If you want to do moderate trail use and drive it around town, you can do a 2.5” spring lift and put 33s on it. If the rear axle shafts are still two piece, it would also be a good idea to upgrade to a one piece for the rear shafts. Definitely check into your gears, 3.73s are likely, or possibly less. 4:10s are rare.

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New member
Thanks for the comments! It’s fun to share the passion and stories of “ the ones that didn’t get away!”

I think I’ll keep it bone stock and polish up the patena. I’ll add pics as I tinker along.

I Bought a JKU Rubicon new in 2015, as time went on I added aftermarket gears, axles, driveshafts etc after . Lots of other unmentioned 500.00 bills I have bolted on over the last 2 Year’s. I just crawled out from under it removing the front driveshaft I installed a few weeks ago, chasing a vibration! I don’t want to go down this path with the CJ and it would be hard to molest this one.


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New member
A few 86 CJ questions...

The engine is a 4.2
Is the auto transmission most likely a TF999?
Dana 30 front?
AMC20 rear?
Transfer case?
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