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1980 Jeep CJ-7

  • 4.2 Liter (258) AMC
  • Automatic


I'm planning to take my 1980 CJ-7 on a 1,200-mile road trip towing a small U-Haul trailer. The Jeep is in good running shape, but aside from the radiator most of the parts under the hood are original.


Does anyone have recommendations on components to have checked (and possibly replaced) before such a long trip in an older vehicle? I'm planning on changing belts, hoses and oil and installing a new water pump, but any additional tips would be appreciated.

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It seems the most obvious item to check would be the transmission. – Nathan L Dec 4 '13 at 20:27
The older a vehicles parts are the greater the chance of one of them failing is. Have you checked out the cost of hiring a 'parcel van' for this trip? – Allan Osborne Dec 4 '13 at 21:58
If it doesn't have one already, consider an auxiliary transmission cooler. – mikes Dec 4 '13 at 22:03
I've looked into them but they're prohibitively expensive. @mikes I will look into the transmission cooler, thanks! – Marcatectura Dec 5 '13 at 6:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Safety First

Check the condition of your tires and brakes before the trip. They will be working overtime pulling a trailer. Check brake pads and rotors and/or shoes and drums, and consider a brake fluid flush, which should be done every couple of years regardless. Check tire pressure regularly during the trip. Also check the wiring for the trailer lights to make sure all is in working order.

Everything Else

You've got a good list going, but you haven't mentioned the automatic transmission. You might consider a transmission fluid flush. You're changing the water pump, so that's a good opportunity to do a coolant flush as well. Make sure to refill with coolant in the proper coolant/water ratio, and check the coolant level periodically for a while as sometimes it takes a while to work the last few air bubbles out of the coolant system after the system has been drained.

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Auto or manual it is allways wise when towing a heavy load (particularly when going uphill) to engage a lower gear

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