The Jeep CJ-7 featured a longer wheelbase than the CJ-5 and lacked the noticeable curvature of the doors previously seen on the CJ-5. The other main difference to the CJ-5 was to the chassis which hitherto consisted of two parallel longitudinal main c-section rails. To help improve vehicle handling and stability the rear section of the chassis stepped out to allow the road springs and dampers to be mounted closer to the outside of the body. It was introduced in 1976 and 379,299 were built during 11 years of production.
The CJ-7 featured an optional new automatic all-wheel drive system called Quadra-Trac, as well as a part-time two-speed transfer case; an automatic transmission was also an option. Other features included an optional molded hardtop, and steel doors. The CJ-7 was also available in Renegade and an upgraded Laredo model. Noticeable by their different body decals, the Laredo model featured nicer seats, steering wheel tilt, and a chrome package that included the bumpers, front grill, and mirrors. An optional Trak-Lok differential was available for the rear. Rear axle ratio typically 3.54, but later went up to 2.73.
The reports of the CJ7 were different in each type of engine: the 2.4-liter diesel was mated to the short 4.10 axle (in both Renegade and Laredo), while the 4.2 and 2.5 straight sixes used 3.73 and AMC V8 304-powered models (produced 1976-1981, which became part of the Golden Eagle version) used 3.55.
From 1976 to 1980 was mounted a Dana 20 transfer case, Dana 30 front axle (27- or 31-spline), and an 29-spline AMC 20 rear axle, while in recent years, Laredo package added tachometer, chrome bumpers, tow/recovery hooks and interior, comfortable leather seats, and clock. In 1980, the Laredo was first fitted with an AMC model 20 rearend until mid year 1986 when it was equipt with a dana 44 and all 1980 and newer cj7s came with the Dana 300 transfer case; parts for the 300 are still in production and the case is sought after by lovers of off-road due to its durability and upgradability.
During its 11 years, the CJ-7 had various equipment packages:
Renegade 1976-1986 (2.4D L6-2.5-4.2-5.0 AMC 304 V8)
Golden Eagle 1976-1979 (5.0 AMC 304 V8)
Laredo 1982-1986 (2.4D-4.2 l6)
Jamboree Edition (Limited Edition 2500 models which were built for the 30th anniversary 2.5 and 4.2)
A diesel-powered version was made in the Ohio factory for export only. The engines were provided by General Motors, the owners of Isuzu Motor Cars. Production of this diesel version is believed to have been only between 1980 and 1982. This model had the Isuzu C240 engine, T176 transmission, Dana 300 transfer case although there are reports of some being produced with the Dana 20. Typically they had 4.1 ratio, narrow track axles.
The CJ-7 continues to be used in the sport of mud racing, with either the stock body or a fiberglass replica. It is also a favorite for rock crawling.
150 cu in (2.5 L) AMC I4
151 cu in (2.5 L) GM Iron Duke I4
232 cu in (3.8 L) AMC I6
258 cu in (4.2 L) AMC I6 99.4 PS (73 kW; 98 hp), 261 N·m (193 lb·ft)
304 cu in (5.0 L) AMC V8 127 PS (93 kW; 125 hp), 296 N·m (218 lb·ft)
145 cu in (2.4 L) Isuzu Diesel C240
Warner T-18 (4-speed married to the dana 20 1976-1979) (adapters exist to marry it to a dana 300 but it was not an option)
Borg-Warner T-4 (4-speed married to dana 300)
Borg-Warner T-5 (5-speed married to dana 300)
Tremec T-150 (3-speed Manual transmission married to dana 20 1976-1979)
Tremec T-176 (4-speed manual married to dana 300)
Borg-Warner SR-4 (4-speed married to dana 300)
GM TH-400 (3-speed married to BW QuadraTrac #1339)
Chrysler TF-999 (3-speed automatic transmission - 4.2L married to dana 300)
Chrysler TF-904 (3-speed automatic transmission - 2.5L married to dana 300)
Dana 20 (1976–79)
Dana 300 (1980–86)
Borg-Warner QuadraTrac #1339 (1976–1979)
Dana 30 Front narrow track (1976–1981)
Dana 30 Front wide track track (1982–1986)
2-Piece AMC 20 Narrow track Rear (1976–1981)
2-Piece AMC 20 Narrow track offset pumpkin Rear (1976–1979) For QuadraTrac #1339 equipt jeeps only
2-Piece AMC 20 Wide track Rear (1982–1986)
Dana 44 Wide track Rear (mid year 1986)
Source: Wikipedia, 2012