One of the more popular generations of the Jeep CJ series, the Jeep CJ-7 provides the same ruggedness and reliability of its legendary ancestor, the famed Willys Jeep of World War II. However, the CJ-7, as tough as it may seem, also has some flaws. Some of the common hiccups in CJ-7s include:
A usual problem of the CJ-7 and other Jeep CJ vehicles is that their design makes them highly vulnerable to rust. Lapping over one another, the steel panels of the CJ-7 are welded on one edge, leaving the other edge open and without paint in between to protect it from the elements. Eventually, moisture builds up between the two panels, leading to rust and deterioration of the affected piece.
A common telltale sign of a rusted CJ-7 panel is swelling on one or both pieces that overlap, as the rust is bigger than the steel it originated from. Normally, minor rusting can be remedied by sanding, grinding, and painting over the affected area, but a badly rusted piece is hardly worth the effort to fix because any attempt to repair the damage is only temporary.
CJ-7 Jeeps tend to jump out of gear, which is usually attributed to excessive end play in the main shaft gears and worn-out engagement dogs, shift forks, and detents. A common solution to this is to replace the gears and other worn components. There may also be cases when rebuilding the transmission will be necessary in order to fix the problem.
Some CJ-7 owners have also reported problems regarding the Jeep's steering and handling. These problems include pulling due to uneven tire pressures or improper front-end alignment; vibration due to loose lug nuts and steering gear and worn or damaged idler arms and ball joints; and stiffness due to lack of lubrication in the ball joints and steering linkages, as well as low power steering fluid levels. There have also been cases of loose play and the failure of the steering wheel to return to center, which are often due to worn wheel bearings, steering linkage, or bushings and a misaligned steering column or steering gears, respectively.