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Old 05-10-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
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Best year Jeep

I currently have a 1987 Wrangler that has been converted to Chevy v-8, transmission, etc. Lift kit, big tires and such......got it just about like I want it. So, being nuts (I'm sure like most of you) I figured it's about time to sell it and start over. I'd like to buy a newer jeep that will drive better and be safer for the kids. It's certainly not a daily driver but would like a safer, more driver friendly model for several hundred mile vacations to the beach and such. I'm looking to spend up to $15,000 now and maybe $10,000 or so down the road adding Chevy motor and various other upgrades. My Jeep is for street only, little to no mud riding and no rock crawling.

Question is, how new should I go? Is a '98 generally the same technology as an 06? Should I save money on the front end and get one in good shape but with a 4 cylinder and a bunch of miles? Depending on what I spend on the Jeep itself, I'll likely upgrade the rims/tires and lift kit immediately, then do the motor and tranny once the stock ones give out.

Any input is appreciated!

Jason

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Old 05-10-2011, 11:55 PM   #2
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97-99 are different from 00-06.

If you want top of the line for 15k you can get a Rubicon, that's your best bet.

Do not get a 4cyl.

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Old 05-11-2011, 12:09 AM   #3
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Without a doubt, the '11s are the best ever.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:07 AM   #4
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id get an early tj 4 cyl if you're planning on replacing everything anyway.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:13 AM   #5
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Can you even drop a SBC into JK? There's so much electronics in it. I know people who put Hemi have to replace a lot of electroics _and_ find a compatible computer that can interface the cabin panel (cabin node).
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:15 AM   #6
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Without a doubt, the '11s are the best ever.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:25 AM   #7
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I'm sorry but all the driver babysitting systems in a JK would just be too much crap to bother with on a motor swap lol
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:39 AM   #8
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You've stirred up an ant hill with this question. As far as I'm concerned the last great compromise between "comfort" and ruggedness was the the late model YJ.

...take that for what's it's worth.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:48 AM   #9
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If you're looking for a V8 conversion, a YJ is the best bet due to OBDI....but you're coming from a YJ already.

There are two groups of TJs. There is the 1997-2002 and 2003-2006. It can be cumbersome to exchange certain parts between the different years.
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Old 05-11-2011, 02:50 AM   #10
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:32 AM   #11
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Thanks to all the replys. Can you modify a jeep 6 cyl to get enough horsepower to adequately power a lifted jeep with say 33 or 35" tires? (assuming gear ratios are changed if needed). I'd probably never tow anything substantial or do any trail riding.

I'd define adequate as enough power to easily drive 80 mph on interstate...,...none of this dropping to 50 going up hills crap.....,, and not sucking enough gas to fund an entire Arab country.

If so, modifying a 6 cyl stock motor may be a better option for me. Does any certain year handle better (suspension wise). I know going from my CJ to my YJ was a world of difference. I'm assuming I'll see a big difference going from the YJ to a TJ. Please tell me if I'm wrong, I may better stick with what I've got.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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Seems like an awful lot of work and money going into a mall crawler, but to each their own. Why would you want to spend all this time and money to build a poser? Are you going to show it at local car shows? Just seems odd to me...like better money could be spent elsewhere...
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:52 AM   #13
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2004
x2.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jaywalk73 View Post
I'd like to buy a newer jeep that will drive better and be safer for the kids. It's certainly not a daily driver but would like a safer, more driver friendly model for several hundred mile vacations to the beach and such. I'm looking to spend up to $15,000 now and maybe $10,000 or so down the road adding Chevy motor and various other upgrades.
Jason
Jason,

My personal preference would be for a 2 door Unlimited (04-06 Model Year). It comes with a little more room for the back seat, and more trunk space behind the rear seat. That extra space has been great while driving on long trips for camping and vacations. Coming from a YJ, I can say that the TJ Unlimited suspension seems like a smoother ride, but that could just be the extended wheelbase.
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
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best year for a jeep? why that would be 1945.

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Old 05-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitchness
You've stirred up an ant hill with this question. As far as I'm concerned the last great compromise between "comfort" and ruggedness was the the late model YJ.

...take that for what's it's worth.
True but I Like my Tj but wouldn't mind buying a newer JK. Kidding!! I would go with a nice Tj rubicon
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Old 05-11-2011, 04:34 PM   #17
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True but I Like my Tj but wouldn't mind buying a newer JK. Kidding!! I would go with a nice Tj rubicon
you sure you don't mean LJ Rubicon, but since he's going for a mall crawler I'd just say LJ and forget about the rubicon
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #18
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you sure you don't mean LJ Rubicon, but since he's going for a mall crawler I'd just say LJ and forget about the rubicon
That works.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:52 PM   #19
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The 4.0L can handle 33 and 35 inch tires if its geared properly.
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Old 05-11-2011, 07:57 PM   #20
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The 4.0L can handle 33 and 35 inch tires if its geared properly.
So can the 4cyl for that matter. Gear them properly and the 4cyl works fine. Fit an Atlas TC and you're good to go. I know a couple local crawlers who are running 4cyls in their TJs and they're offroad killers. Granted, they're geared to the moon, but they work.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:07 PM   #21
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Heh Heh-so can the 3.8L V6--

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Old 05-11-2011, 08:11 PM   #22
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Best year for Jeeps is the 2006, since it was the last year of the real Jeeps. Everything after that was offered with a Plymouth voyager mini van engine and a power sliding rear door. JK, well at least on 1/2 of that statement.

Best Jeep ever would be the 2006 Unlimited Rubicon.
Seems a little overkill for what you are after though.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:37 PM   #23
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Heh Heh-so can the 3.8L V6--

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I agree.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:59 PM   #24
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If I was going to get a daily driver that I'd be hauling my kids to school in 5 days a week, I'd get a JK Unlimited for the safety features and back doors. For your purposes, I'd go with an LJ. Probably don't need a Rubicon unless you want lockers and a low-range transfer case. You won't be going 80 though - I find 70 is more than fast enough in my Rubi LJ. Maybe it's a little more doable in a non-Rubi with taller gearing, but it still isn't comfortable like a BMW at those speeds... if you find down the road that the stock 4.0 isn't enough for what you're doing with tires and such, you can always swap in a stroker or a V8 (5.2 and 5.9 being the easiest swaps).
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:09 PM   #25
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I appreciate all the replys to this post....I figured I was stirring up a hornets nest with that question. I've researched the 4.0 6 cyl. and I think I've decided that it produces plenty of power.....especially if I put on some aftermarket goodys....now my question has changed. Does anyone know if a Wrangler with a 6 cyl and automatic is basically the same from '98 to '06. I've found a few cosmetic differences but can't find any real difference in terms of running gear or such. I will likely do a good bit of upgrades and am just wondering if there is any benefit to a newer one when I can find a '98 - '00 with low miles and wayyy less money. I don't want a Rubicon, an LJ or a new one ('07 or newer.)
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:46 PM   #26
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I appreciate all the replys to this post....I figured I was stirring up a hornets nest with that question. I've researched the 4.0 6 cyl. and I think I've decided that it produces plenty of power.....especially if I put on some aftermarket goodys....now my question has changed. Does anyone know if a Wrangler with a 6 cyl and automatic is basically the same from '98 to '06. I've found a few cosmetic differences but can't find any real difference in terms of running gear or such. I will likely do a good bit of upgrades and am just wondering if there is any benefit to a newer one when I can find a '98 - '00 with low miles and wayyy less money. I don't want a Rubicon, an LJ or a new one ('07 or newer.)
Enigine wise.. Just to start, Im sure more people will add to this the transmision is different in the 97-02's then the 03-06's and the 2000-06 does not have a distributor where as the 99's and earlier do. that is all I can think of off the top of my head right now..

Question, What engine upgrades are you talking about? There isn't anything you can really do to improve it other then make sure your axle gearing matches up with your tire size.. I guess if you wanted to storke it witch is popular enough or drop a ripp supercharger in it that would do it but aren't on the cheap end..
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:44 PM   #27
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on the engine upgrades......I was thinking a cold air intake, headers with a more open exhaust and a chip would give me about 40 extra HP, hopefully more........that, combined with correcting the gear ratio due to larger tires, would at least get me back to pre-big tire power. Am I wrong?
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:03 PM   #28
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LMAO......about that..... yeha..... not likely
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:14 PM   #29
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on the engine upgrades......I was thinking a cold air intake, headers with a more open exhaust and a chip would give me about 40 extra HP, hopefully more........that, combined with correcting the gear ratio due to larger tires, would at least get me back to pre-big tire power. Am I wrong?
Ah...the eternal optimist. Don't plan on getting much if any increase in hp or gas mileage with an intake, headers, or chip. And the only way you'll see an increase of 40 hp is with a 40 hp shot of nitrous. Sorry to be the one to break it to you. Honestly, the best way to get more "power" from your Jeep is to gear it properly. Do a search here on the forum for cold air intakes to get an education on modding the intake side of the 4.0L...
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:20 PM   #30
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AKA dont mod the intake unless you do water fording, then a snorkel would be good

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