For what it is worth......I have an '04 TJ. 151K+ miles on it. Problems or repairs I have made.....there have been some but not bad.
Water pump, clutch, heater blower motor, heater resistor, rear u-joints, power steering line, catalytic converters, o2 sensor.
For further edification.....IMO I caused the issues with the 3 Cats needing replaced and probably the o2 sensor by running premium in it. I wasn't aware that TJ's don't like the higher octane and that it actually causes more problems.
There are a few year specific things I have heard, but not a lot, and NOTHING to reject one year over another from any issues.
The roll bar padding size changed some, speakers were changed/ moved but all the Tjs are pretty much the same.
If it were me I would probably look for a LJ, with the coil rail...think that is '02 and after but not sure, with Dana 44 and 3.73s. It may be a little closer to $15k, if the miles are good.
Once you get to the point of having a little more specific questions may post in TJ thread..probably get more responses.
Pic of my '04.
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