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Old 05-19-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
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First Wrangler Recommendation

Hey everyone, I am new here and am thinking about buying my first Wrangler. I am looking for advice from owners/experts on what I should be looking for.

A little about my situation:

I am 30 so this is not my first vehicle by any means. Just my first Jeep. My girl and I have no kids nor do we plan to so itís not going to be a family vehicle. She has her own car as well and no interest in Jeeps..lol So this will be strictly my ride.

Last year I bought a new Tacoma. I was driving 70+ miles a day 5-6 days a week for work so I needed a reliable vehicle. I am now working less than 2 miles from my house in a job I plan to stay in. I plan to sell my Tacoma (mostly to free up $500 per month) and buy something fairly inexpensive something outright with a little cash I have saved up.

I have always been drawn towards Wranglers but have always talked myself (or been talked) out of one due to alleged reliability issues and long work commutes. From much of what I have read, I understand that they are vehicles that are best suited to owners with some mechanical knowledge. As far as mechanical skills, I have never really attempted working on vehicles but am pretty good at picking things up and would like something I can start tinkering with.

I am looking for no frills but something that starts reliably and will at least get me 2 miles to work and back daily. I would like something in the $3000-4000 range that has the potential to upgrade if I choose to later on. Eventually it would be fun to lift it, get larger tires etc. I guess I just donít want a POS that isnít worth doing anything to. Honestly, if a few more thousand dollars is going to make all the difference and get me something much better then I might consider it. I just donít want to get into that state of mind where I keep talking myself a little higher and higher and soon am at 12k. This is meant to be an inexpensive (at least at first) replacement to what I have now.

Looking at craigslist in my area (Phoenix metro) I see a lot of YJís in $3000-4000 price range especially 89-93ís. Most have no A/C which is a big deal in Phoenix, but even that I am not as concerned with a 5 minute commute. TJs look like they start in the $6000ís and work their way up. Would I be that much better off looking for a lower end TJ with maybe higher mileage? What about 4 VS 6 cylinder? Overall, what are the most important things to look for in my situation/price range?

I appreciate any advice.

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Old 05-19-2011, 09:38 PM   #2
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Wrangler's are extremely reliable vehicles. The very fact that you are considering a 20 year old vehicle that is going to cost you $3-$4000 should tell you something. The reason people suggest you have some mechanical ability is because you are buying a 20 year old vehicle. Things will definitely go wrong and it's cheaper if you can fix it yourself. I would stay away from the 4's. Don't be afraid of high mileage 6's. If they were halfway maintained they will last forever.

Drive several and see what you like. Don't be afraid to look at a new one either. Rumor has it the 2012 will be released in early June and it will have a new and improved engine in it.

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Old 05-19-2011, 09:39 PM   #3
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My vote: YJ 4cyl 5sp 1993-1994.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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X2 on staying away from the 4cyl and trying to get a 6cyl.
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:57 PM   #5
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X2 on staying away from the 4cyl and trying to get a 6cyl.
For power or reliability reasons?
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:04 PM   #6
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Not sure about the difference in reliability, but the I6 is definitely bulletproof if maintained properly, dunno about the 4.

But yes, mainly for power reasons. You can go to bigger tires if you want, tow, just more HP.
Some others may chime in withmore reasons soon.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:08 PM   #7
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I bought an 88n I love it!! Had to do some work but its worth it. 4.2 inline 6. Love it! !!
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:23 PM   #8
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I have the 2.5 with a 5 speed. I love it, but I am not a speed demon either. My YJ does the speed limit and that is about it. Still a blast to drive...no AC, but I don't use it either, so it wasn't an issue.
Jeeps are fairly inexpensive to fix, and you will have to fix something if you get an older one. They are so worth every dime...
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:31 AM   #9
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X2 on staying away from the 4cyl and trying to get a 6cyl.
x3
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:32 AM   #10
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My vote: YJ 4cyl 5sp 1993-1994.
Your vote doesn't count
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:34 AM   #11
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Get a TJ, they have round head lights first of all, and that is what's most important hahaha. You'll be happier with one, less repairs, less to worry about because it's *newer*. With a 2 mile commute you could get a bike and be happy, but you're obviously going for the stylish appeal, get a TJ 6cyl you won't regret it.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:32 AM   #12
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Of course I am a little biased, but a 91-95 6 cyl. would be a great start. The OBD-I engine management is a very simple design, but you also get the advantages of fuel injection. The leaf spring suspension is very simple as well and can be made to work almost as well as the TJ's coils, for less money. You won't have to worry about not putting your gas cap on all the way and getting a check engine light, and you won't have to worry about adjusting the carb and fixing vacuum lines like the somewhat older Jeeps. They are a great Jeep to learn with.

1994 Jeep Wrangler
This might be a good start. (Jeeps are friggin expensive in Phoenix, might be worth a drive to So. Cal. to save some money)
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:16 AM   #13
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1994 Jeep Wrangler
This might be a good start. (Jeeps are friggin expensive in Phoenix, might be worth a drive to So. Cal. to save some money)
Yeah was looking at that one on craigslist the other day. Why is Phoenix so overpriced? For the most part it seems people are asking considerably higher than say Kelly Blue Book value. Would I be better off trying to find one at a dealership (although I am guessing finding a vehicle this age at a dealership may be hard)?

Thanks for all the input everyone I really appreciate it. I think I'm sold on the 6 Cyl will just have to decide YJ or TJ. Round headlights are cooler for sure..just not sure if that and the year or two age difference is worth the seeming considerably large step up in price...I also like the idea of simpler DIY repairs/upgrades if I decide to try to learn myself.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:40 AM   #14
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Also Im not sure where you got that the wrangler is not reliable info, but that is simply not true.. Looking at there history and the experience I've had around them, I would consider it at the very top of most reliable vehlicles made to date.. Especially if you end up with the I6.. Bulletproof.. Proper maintaince and you can clear 300k easy..
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:58 AM   #15
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Also let me add this is what not to do to your Jeep 1995 jeep wrangler rio

Things like this are very disturbing to see.. If you must see, Please hide any children near you so as to not subject them to this cruel usage of a YJ
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Old 05-20-2011, 04:42 AM   #16
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The AMC 242 ( 4.0L I6) is bulletproof and simple. I suggest you go for the 4.0L for a several reasons.

The transmissions they put behind them (the AX5 in particular) is a total hunk of garbage. It's not a matter of if it will fail, it's a matter of when. Some get lucky, most don't.

The 2.5L is gutless on the highway. Most people will say it will go 65 MPH, but they forget to mention the part about getting to 65. You have to keep your foot mashed to the floor, you can't be going up hill, and it can't be windy. Good luck passing cars too.

You will get probably the same, if not better gas mileage out of the 4.0L. Also, I don't think you could get AC on the base package for YJs. I could be wrong on that one. I wouldn't want to run AC on a 2.5L anyways...

Finally, the 4.0L is just flat out more reliable. The 2.5L is a reliable engine, but you just don't see them make it past 200,000 like you do with the 4.0L.

I say all this because I just moved from a 2.5L YJ to a 4.0L TJ. I will never go back to the 2.5L. It's was a great little wrangler, but what a difference those two extra cylinders make.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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Also let me add this is what not to do to your Jeep 1995 jeep wrangler rio

Things like this are very disturbing to see.. If you must see, Please hide any children near you so as to not subject them to this cruel usage of a YJ
Haha I had actually clicled on that one when it came on craislgist and quickly clicked away Hideous..lol
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:13 AM   #18
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The AMC 242 ( 4.0L I6) is bulletproof and simple. I suggest you go for the 4.0L for a several reasons.

The transmissions they put behind them (the AX5 in particular) is a total hunk of garbage. It's not a matter of if it will fail, it's a matter of when. Some get lucky, most don't.

The 2.5L is gutless on the highway. Most people will say it will go 65 MPH, but they forget to mention the part about getting to 65. You have to keep your foot mashed to the floor, you can't be going up hill, and it can't be windy. Good luck passing cars too.

You will get probably the same, if not better gas mileage out of the 4.0L. Also, I don't think you could get AC on the base package for YJs. I could be wrong on that one. I wouldn't want to run AC on a 2.5L anyways...

Finally, the 4.0L is just flat out more reliable. The 2.5L is a reliable engine, but you just don't see them make it past 200,000 like you do with the 4.0L.

I say all this because I just moved from a 2.5L YJ to a 4.0L TJ. I will never go back to the 2.5L. It's was a great little wrangler, but what a difference those two extra cylinders make.
Very good info! Thanks. I think I am sold on the 4.0L Just hope I can find one in my price rance.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:17 AM   #19
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Yak. Nothing a wheel and tire change won't fix. Rock crawler? Lol, don't think so. Beside it being a 2.5 ( regeared?) $4000 tops.

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