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Score the Best of What the Factory Offered
The ultimate factory CJ-7 has got to be the late-’86 model. Since it has a Dana 44 rear axle and the Dana 300 transfer case, you’re half way to a great drivetrain. You might even be able to find one for sale where the owner is ignorant of the significance of this model. A used car dealer could potentially have an ’86 CJ-7 and price it lower than an ’87 Wrangler simply because it is older. Same goes for J10 and J20 pickups. If you can find a J20 with an offset rear Dana 60 you’ll be way better off than with the Dana 44 in the J10. Deals like these are entirely possible because not every seller knows what they have unless they bought the Jeep new, and even then some still don’t know.

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