My Unforgetable 1979 Jeep CJ5

by Charlie
(Pennsylvania)



I used to own a 1979 Jeep CJ5. It was given to me by my Uncle when I turned 16 way back in 1996.

It was green with some rust spots. There was a OEM roll-bar, which was one loop behind the seats with a back support on each side, not like today's nearly full cages! There was no hardtop, only a soft top with some duct-tape patches. I think the back had a tailgate, but it was welded shut.

My CJ had a 4.0 inline 6 engine, 3 speed manual transmission( T-150), and Dana 20 transfer case. There was no lift kit, although I believe the leaf springs where not stock and made the Jeep ride a pinch higher than stock. In the end I crammed 33 inch tires under there, I had to do a little bit of fender trimming as I recall. The front axle had Warn hub lockers, I believe the rear was an AMC 20.

I used it for some highway driving and a little off-roading. My experience was very positive.

The Jeep was a great first vehicle for a guy like me that was interested in learning to work on my own vehicle. I recall buying a Chilton manual to help me learn. Everything was pretty straightforward and most repairs could be done using simple standard gauge hand-tools. Parts were very available back then, and I soon figured out that most parts could be replaced with stuff from Chevys and Fords and sometimes Dodges if I couldn't find a Jeep replacement.

Eventually I totaled the Jeep and it got parted out. Even though the Jeep was gone, the things I learned stayed with me. I got into J-series trucks and eventually Wranglers, but the experience of that first CJ is what started it all.


Larry's Comment: Thanks for the great story Charlie. You made a terrific point about things you learned from owning and working on your CJ. I can certainly identify, because I have learned something (not always good) from every vehicle I have experienced.

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