Originally Posted by HP_Lovecraft
I love Jeeps, especially CJs.
In the last 25 or so years, I've always owned one or another as a project. For the last couple years I've had a CJ-5 as my daily driver.
On a positive side, Jeep CJs are insanely easy to work on. A very modular design, nothing hidden or streamlined. On a negative, the newer Jeep CJs are 30 years old, and probobly had a very hard life.
As such MAKE SURE you crawl under any jeep you look at. The 76+ CJs had box frames that were notorious for cracking and rotting, especially from the wheels back. They make replacement frame sections, and whole frames as well, but its not a small, or cheap project.
Expect rust, even with a recent restoration. Jeeps originally were not galvanized, and the shape of the body means that water pools everywhere.
For $4000 as a budget? That includes the project vehicle and all the later parts? That should get you a good Jeep. $3000-4000 is the average price for a running CJ in good shape. Then usually 2000-3000 for running but rusty, then 1000-2000 for rusty with problems, and under 1000 for parts vehicle.
I had a similar project. I paid $1400 for my current project. Frame and body were good, though nothing electrical worked. Brakes were shot. Fuel system was shot, along with all the wheel bearings (likely in the water at some point), steering components, wiring, etc. I spent another $1000 to get it road legal, and then another $500 is odd stuff.
Now I drive it everywhere. My wife hates it since it only seats 4, and I have a family of 6. OK, not the best purchase, but its my midlife crisis car. I like Jeeps, nor Corvettes.