Back in the day, the Willys CJ or "civilian jeeps" were the first civilian versions of the famous Willys Military Jeeps from World War 2. Due to the constant screening of war films and propaganda during those times, the popularity of these vehicles increased and soon there was a huge public clamor for civilian versions of the jeep. The civilian jeeps had a number of different models but the one that most people are probably familiar with would be the Jeep CJ5. More than 603,303 CJ5s were produced from1954 up to 1983 making it one very popular vehicle at the time.
As the Jeep brand bounced from one owner to another, the specifications for the CJ5 continued to vary. But it retained its iconic look and feel as a tough and rugged off-road vehicle, which is much appreciated by 4x4 enthusiasts who continue to use the CJ5 today. CJ5 parts differed depending on the year that the vehicle was produced and which company manufactured it at the time. As such, it is important for Jeep CJ5 owners to get parts that are compatible with their ride. For example, the tops of the 1955 to 1975 model will not fit the redesigned CJ5 from 1976 up to 1983. Fortunately, retailers and aftermarket suppliers are aware of the differences and have made products for the different variants of the CJ5
The Jeep CJ line produced a lot of different variations of the original "jeep" that ended with the CJ10. It was later replaced with the Jeep Wrangler in 1987 under Chrysler. Nevertheless, the Jeep CJ5 has retained its popularity throughout its three decade run. Its enduring popularity has influenced later Jeep designs, and much of it can be seen in the Wrangler which has replaced it. Spanning seven different variants and three corporate parents, the CJ5 has proven itself to one be tough and classic ride.
|1959 Jeep CJ5|
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The Jeep CJ5 is one of the classic
civilian jeeps still being sold in the used cars market. Because of its great functionality and utility, many enthusiasts still want a piece of this vehicle. However, current and prospective owners should be aware that like the other older CJ models, the Jeep CJ5 has its fair share of problems.
The stock Jeep CJ5 pitman arm is made out of ductile cast iron and is most likely to bend if hard wheeling with larger tires is applied. Owners should periodically inspect the pitman arm nut to ensure that it is tight. This can help prevent the splines from stripping out.
The pitman arm is also prone to bending under heavy load. In order to retain the flat-type arm, owners could carry a replacement component and a pitman arm puller with them while out on a drive. They could also look for a thicker arm from a '70s GM vehicle in the junkyard. Jeep CJ5 owners should also check heavy-duty replacements offered in the market today.
The axleshafts are not bad overall and their design allows these to be easily rebuilt. However, one of the Jeep CJ5's weaknesses is that it uses two-piece shafts that are weaker compared to a one-piece axle shaft. Having larger tires and driving on rough terrain can strain the components, which can then lead to breakage.
The original production lubricant used in T4 and T5 manual transmission-equipped Jeep CJ5 had been found inadequate in providing lubrication to protect the transmission's first gear. All Jeep dealers had been advised to replace the defect at no charge to the owner. Extreme cases of neglecting this problem include the transmission failing to operate due to lack of lubrication. This failure could occur without prior warning and may cause an accident. All owners who have not had their Jeep CJ5s serviced must avoid driving at highway speeds. Lastly, those who drive the models with 5-speed transmission must not use the fifth gear.
Both the five- and six-bolt external-body locking hubs were held with bolts that could work loose with even just the moderate wheeling. Frequent inspection and usage of lock washers are not enough to make sure that Jeep CJ5 owners will not suffer a catastrophic failure due to loosening bolts. Instead, replace the bolts with studs in order to equally distribute the load and help prevent the hubs from loosening. Using lock washers under the studs and even doubling the nuts installed will provide increased reliability and longevity.
The name "CJ" in the Jeep CJ5 is said to stand for "Civilian Jeep," because back in 1945 (when the first of the CJ series was launched) the jeep usually refers to military vehicles. However, this bit is still being argued over by many enthusiasts. In fact, nobody really knows where the brand name "Jeep" came from either.
The Jeep CJ5 came about in the year 1954 as a civilian version of the US military's M-38A1, which came out in 1952. It stayed in production for almost 30 years, longer than any other Jeep model. The Jeep CJ5 was then taken out of production beginning 1983.
The Jeep CJ5 was actually produced by two companies-the Kaiser Company and the American Motors Corporation. The first one to build it was the Kaiser Company, who gave it the name Kaiser Jeep, and continued selling it from 1954 to 1969. By 1970, the company was sold to the American Motors Corporation (AMC), who then continued making the CJ5 until 1983.
The semi-circular cutout on the hood of early Jeep CJ5 models was intended for a snorkel attachment in an event that the vehicle had to run in waist-high water. This is a feature that the CJ5 and the military-spec M38A-a US military vehicle used during the Korean War-had in common.
The Jeep CJ5 became the benchmark for functionality and utility throughout its 28-year production. Even though many of its critics referred to the inherent safety limitations of its small, 81-inch wheelbase, the initial intent of the vehicle's design was really for utility. This means that the vehicle can still drive in tight, inhospitable conditions such as narrow trails with undercarriage-busting rocks and unstable surfaces.
When reading from the VIN number of a Jeep CJ5, one can already know the following details: the vehicle's year, plant and transmission, model, body type, gross vehicle weight, and engine. There are different VIN sequences from the 1971 to 1974, 1975 to 1980, and 1981 to 1986 models, however. One can find the CJ5's VIN number on the driver's side firewall near the brake master cylinder, the driver's side dashboard, or the inside body panel near the parking brake lever.