CJ5 / CJ7 vs FJ40

Andy G

Question...an FJ40 isn’t that much bigger than a CJ, is it? Just wondering because I hear about how great an FJ40 would be for overland use, then people say a CJ5 or 7 would be okay but too small...

I’ve owned a ‘66 FJ40 but I was single and lived on Kodiak Island, Alaska at the time - only 100 miles of roads, not much in the way of overlanding.

Considering the prices of an FJ40 vs a CJ5 or 7, I could buy multiple CJ’s for the price of one FJ.

I’m just randomly rambling right now... as always, would love to hear the thoughts of the peanut gallery about this!

Here’s a picture of my long gone ‘66 FJ40 on Kodiak.
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Al Swope

Founding Member
"Overland use?" is a can of worms...Old school truck, old school terms... Camping out of classic FJ or CJ would be a nearly identical experience. Questions about reliability, availability of parts, etc don't really matter for a vehicle that old. You have to want the experience. Either would be a perfect choice. That said, I'd go FJ!
I daily drive an FJ62, and love it. I owned 2 Jeeps that came with Pentastars, and five Pentastars when I was in Dubai. You couldn't get me into a newer Jeep with a cattle prod, but . . . . I have a thrashed '72 CJ5 that puts a smile on my face every time I drive it. Either truck is going to be an emotional choice based on how if makes you feel when you drive it. Forget practicality and look for the one that puts a smile on your face.

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Senior Staff
Founding Member
"Overland use?" is a can of worms...Old school truck, old school terms... Camping out of classic FJ or CJ would be a nearly identical experience. Questions about reliability, availability of parts, etc don't really matter for a vehicle that old. You have to want the experience. Either would be a perfect choice. That said, I'd go FJ!
^ This!

In the U.S. "Overland" implies plenty of highway miles to get places. As much as I'd love to own a 40 series, I would never try to convince myself that I would be happy driving long hours in it, and I'd be willing to bet the same about a CJ.


Founding Member
All depends on the type of experience you're going after and the level of comfort you're desiring.

If you're fine with a minimalist approach there's nothing to stop you from a CJ5. You'd basically be a dual-sport motorcylce with twice as many wheels, a roll cage, and ¼ the fuel mileage. I actually saw a CJ5 once with a set of panniers mounted in the back with a cooler in between them. The guy was even wearing his riding gear. He said he could no longer medically ride something with two wheels and a topless/doorless CJ5 was as close to the visceral experience of his bike as he could get.


I would try a later model FJ cruiser or a Nissan Xterra over a CJ or FJ40. You would have to restomod the dog doo out of those (cj/fj40) just to get them reliable enough and parts would be a nightmare
CJ7 is my next project, I was originally looking 1987 Isuzu Trooper a few yrs back but that's when I had my Dinoot Trailer but since I've completed this new trailer I felt that the Trooper wouldn't be enough pulling longer distances. This were the CJ7 came to mind & been looking @ the ones with hard top 258 ci Inline 6 w\auto trans. I'm willing to spend any were of 15,000 to 20,000 for one. I'm with Code Red you couldn't get me into a newer jeeps, no offence. Something like this is what I've been looking at (in the photo) as a well grounded platform for me.


It really just comes down to how much you want to spend. Both will give you the experience you’re looking for. I have a 1981 cj5 that I got stock and the only thing I did was lift it 2.5 inches and add 33x10.5 tires and with that I drove and camped out of it for 2 months straight, driving almost 5,000 miles and loved it. If you decide a CJ be sure it’s 76 or newer because the older ones aren’t very great on the highway. Mine having all stock steering drove straight as an arrow down the highway going 75.
I would agree that 76 or newer are better, not because the earlier ones don't drive great (my '72 above runs down the road straight and true at 75 mph as well), but because they started boxing the frames in '76.

I am going to need to replace mine due to cracks at all four corners due to metal fatigue. Patching, strapping, or welding in sections to box it are all other solutions, but I think I am going with a new one (set up for YJ springs) from Throttle Down Kustoms. I bought one from him on another project about 10 years ago, and the workmanship was fantastic.

Susanne's CJ7 is a consistently great ride. We added a Howell TBI system and it now runs like it should have from the factory. But its a Jeep, so there are still a million things we think about doing to it. Next on the list will be an SM 420, 4:1 gears for the transfer case, and a narrow track rear axle. . . . .

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Edit: Please don't take this the wrong way. It's all in good fun. I'm not trying to start an internet war or dump on anybody's ride. By all means, drive what makes you smile. That's my point above. But, forgive me, Pentastar's and I have had a difficult relationship.

I haven't driven the PUG/8-speed, but I never had a problem with how the old Pentastar drove. I loved it. The power was great. It's the quality that I had a problem with.

Every single person I knew in Dubai that regularly drove a Penta-Jesus in the desert had to replace the engine after 18 months. Every single one. Snorkels helped, but did not cure the problem. Manual transmissions went through throwout bearings in about six months unless you lifted them. A 2.5" lift would get the bellhousing up enough from the sand that the throwout bearing would survive, but over there, a lift would void the warranty (which was critical the way they went through motors), and absolutely guarantee a front driveshaft failure within six months. The dash lighting up like a Christmas tree soon became a weekly occurrence.

We were in a large 4WD club, and I personally know of 20-30 pentastar's replaced under warranty. It was a running joke that our club used to meet in the desert on Friday mornings to drive, and the Jeep drivers met again in the service department of the Jeep dealership every Saturday morning to weep. It was funny because it was true.

Susanne and I went through three engines before I gave up and went Toyota. She just kept letting the dealer replace them because it drove sooooooo good. And it did. Her stock 2013 2-door JK sport would run circles around my 70-series.

Meanwhile the Toyota's, Nissan's, Chevy's, Mitsubishi's, and even Kia's just kept on driving without a hiccup. They didn't drive as good, but they drove every time you needed them to. Ironically Ford Raptors were very capable, but limited to low level rides because the airbags were too sensitive to do the advanced rides without blowing.

No doubt that what we were doing was hard on the vehicles, borderline abuse, but there were many times more Jeep problems than all other brands combined. Like five or six to one. And in four years out there driving every weekend, I never saw a Toyota break a factory part unless he hit something. I never saw a single engine replaced that wasn't a Pentastar.
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Senior Staff
That's interesting, assuming these were all JK's?

I'll be interested to see how my long term experience is with the PUG.
All the problem ones were JK's. We moved back before the JL rolled out.

There were a couple old TJ's that did fine (but suffered from a lack of HP). And a few old Cherokees that had overheating problems, but they were all pretty old and heavily modified. Nothing you could blame on Jeep.

I wouldn't be surprised if the PUG treats you fine. I've never heard of similar problems with the old Pentastar anywhere but the dunes. I think the problems were probably specific to the way we were using them. People in the UAE that didn't drive them in the desert, didn't have problems.

Susanne still swoons a little when she sees one, and may end up buying one before its all over. I just got a bad taste in my mouth after paying for the last one.
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Al Swope

Founding Member
You have a good perspective. In the past 40 years, not only tech and ride comfort have vastly improved but also the highway system. I have a SOA YJ that I like to camp out of, but it requires route planning to avoid 70 mph roads for any significant distance. Sometimes, on the way home from a good trip, I do wish for AC, a auto tranny and carpet to cut the noise, lol
My first Jeep was a Ford GPW with a CJ2A body on it. No doors, a strip of cloth for a roof. Loud a 40MPH - insanely loud above that, but it would only go over 55 on a steep downhill run. I'd drive something like that again, but it would need to be on a trailer to get out to places I want to explore.
- No time to fart around on the back roads trying to get out to where its charm can be appreciated.

Once I retire and start forgetting what day it is, any of those listed above would be good options.
Well my answer should be predictable. But read here for a sort of general philosophy of traveling in either.

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Absolutely the best description of this conundrum I have read or heard. Reality... If you are a typical USA working stiff, you only need this type of vehicle as an experience... not a day to day driver. I don't mean that bad in any way, I just mean that where ever you are, whatever you do, you need to drive what works for you in that circumstance. Hence my change from my soft top Jeep to a (relative) comfy Tundra. Is what it is. Make my living and hopefully someday I have the scratch to have a beat up, loud, absolutely capable jeep, FJ... whatever... I have not decided yet :)
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