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Old 09-23-2010, 02:04 AM   #1
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Guidance on buying a used Wrangler

I'm looking at buying a used wrangler for about $3,000, then fixing it up to make it a go-anywhere jeep. What are the "signs" I should look for that would mean I shouldn't buy?

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Old 09-23-2010, 02:15 AM   #2
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Check the underbody for off-road damage and heavy rust.

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Old 09-23-2010, 11:03 AM   #3
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Make sure the frame has no rust, or very little surface rust. The more rust on the jeep in general makes any future work a real PITA. For $3,000, you are probably going to be looking primarily at YJs, as I purchased my '97 TJ (first year TJ was made) a year ago for just over $6,000. Make sure 4WD engages (you would be surprised how many people don't check that), Check for leaking seals on the Diff, transfer case, transmission (pretty standard to check this), and any other normal items you would check for when purchasing used. Have fun!
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Old 09-23-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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count the cylinders, make sure there are six of them
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:26 PM   #5
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Thanks guys, this is a real help. Hopefully I'll have one of my own in the next couple months...
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:50 PM   #6
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Also take your time and thoroughly go over the vehicle with a magnifying glass. As with buying any used car, check for common problems, excessive wear, things that need fixed or replaced etc. You want to look at it short of disassembling the vehicle. If you have a good independent mechanic, ask to take the vehicle to be inspected. If the owner/lot doesn't let you, move on, they are hiding something. If something is broken [from a simple part that can be easily and cheaply replaced to high-dollar parts like a transfer case or rear end] ask yourself if you can either fix it yourself or have the funds to fix it. Unless you are looking to build a dedicated trail rig and replacing all major parts anyway, you might want to save up a little more to find a nicer vehicle that you can live with everyday. Just remember Jeeps get beaten up.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:48 PM   #7
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Check frame by rear shackles and steering box. Tap with metal object and listen for good metal ping and not a dull thud. My frame ends looked ok but found out later that both sides were rotted and packed with 10 inches of dirt. Once I cleaned out the dirt the side of frame rails turned into swish cheese. They had rusted from inside out. Easy fix!!!!!
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Find a good mechanic in your area, and have him or her look over it with you. Preferrably that mechanic is a jeep owner themselves, but familiarity with the Jeeps would be a huge step in the right direction. If the owner is unwilling to let you have another mechanic look at the jeep, that's probably a sign its got some issues.

Also, make sure it doesn't have the death wobble that tends to kick in around 40 mph; that can be a sign of plenty of fun to come in trying to fix said wobble.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:13 PM   #9
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Hi all, been reading through some old threads, but I have my own questions...

I only have about $4000 to spend. I can work on and upgrade over time, but not immidiately. I'll need it to run and drive safe immidiately, and cant afford anything major to break. Is this possible in that price range?

The backstory is my wife and I just leased a new car, and I kept my old Grand Cherokee. We dont really need 2 cars, and don't need the Grand Cherokee at all. I'd like to trade it in (kbb says $3100 for trade value, I expect I'd get about $2k in reality) and I could spend about $2000 cash...

Is this unrealistic? I dont need to have something perfect, it just needs to run and I need to know it will last if I put some work into it... Also I notice there are not a lot of listings right now... is this because it is summer? Do more hit the lots in the winter? Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucaBrasi View Post
Hi all, been reading through some old threads, but I have my own questions...

I only have about $4000 to spend. I can work on and upgrade over time, but not immidiately. I'll need it to run and drive safe immidiately, and cant afford anything major to break. Is this possible in that price range?

The backstory is my wife and I just leased a new car, and I kept my old Grand Cherokee. We dont really need 2 cars, and don't need the Grand Cherokee at all. I'd like to trade it in (kbb says $3100 for trade value, I expect I'd get about $2k in reality) and I could spend about $2000 cash...

Is this unrealistic? I dont need to have something perfect, it just needs to run and I need to know it will last if I put some work into it... Also I notice there are not a lot of listings right now... is this because it is summer? Do more hit the lots in the winter? Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.
Sounds like money is tight for mods on the new jeep or repairs.. so figure your looking at a $2500 to $3000 Jeep, then the rest for fixing up or some mods. I would look for a clean stock yj with a 6cly. you will find more 4cly in that price range but the 6 is nice to have, I would look for a 91 or newer, as the 6 has fuel injection starting in 91.
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Old 08-09-2011, 12:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucaBrasi View Post
Hi all, been reading through some old threads, but I have my own questions...

I only have about $4000 to spend. I can work on and upgrade over time, but not immidiately. I'll need it to run and drive safe immidiately, and cant afford anything major to break. Is this possible in that price range?

The backstory is my wife and I just leased a new car, and I kept my old Grand Cherokee. We dont really need 2 cars, and don't need the Grand Cherokee at all. I'd like to trade it in (kbb says $3100 for trade value, I expect I'd get about $2k in reality) and I could spend about $2000 cash...

Is this unrealistic? I dont need to have something perfect, it just needs to run and I need to know it will last if I put some work into it... Also I notice there are not a lot of listings right now... is this because it is summer? Do more hit the lots in the winter? Any thoughts or advice is appreciated.
2k for your trade might be tough to get, you would probably be better off selling it on your own and then buying.
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:17 PM   #12
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2k for your trade might be tough to get, you would probably be better off selling it on your own and then buying.
Well shopping for the new car this weekend they offered $1500 for it... I figure a used lot I might get a better offer, so it's why I guessed $2k.

Also I'll have some money and time for work and upgrades, but I dont want anything major to break rendering it useless. I would say my budget is $4-5k.

Are there any years that I should avoid? Or are they all pretty much the same? (keeping in mind it will obviously not be a late model)
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Old 08-11-2011, 09:36 AM   #13
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Bumping this 1 time to see as I still have a couple questions...

Are there any 'bad' years in terms of problems? I know all about what goes wrong on what Grand Cherokees. I know Wranglers are much more reliable, but are there any years to avoid?

Also, I am assuming right now is the worst time to try and buy one, as it's summer. Do more end up for sale when it gets cold?

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