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Old 01-23-2014, 11:56 AM   #1
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help a future jeep owner

Hi everyone, I need advice on a simple plain jane Jeep purchase for my daughter. She is coming home from the Air Force in March (can't wait) and wants to join the ranks of you guys. Is there a basic buyers guide of choosing, what to avoid, certain years, engines, etc., etc.? The Jeep will be her daily driver, and I'm looking for the basics such as 4 cyl., automatic, locking hubs, manual shift t-case. There are so many choices, just looking for guidance.
I want to surprise her with my help in choosing but am very lost. Thanks

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:11 PM   #2
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If you want a 4 cyl dont get an auto, if you have to have an auto get a six cyl.
Locking hubs went out with the old CJ (pre 1986).The only auto shift transfer case in the basic jeep (not cherokee or Grand Cherokee) was Quadra Trac but that went out with the CJ also.Avoid highly modified Jeeps they probably have been abused.Search thoroughly for any signs of rust avoid rusty ones. Let your budget be your guide. Good Luck

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Old 01-23-2014, 12:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by beansdad View Post
Hi everyone, I need advice on a simple plain jane Jeep purchase for my daughter. She is coming home from the Air Force in March (can't wait) and wants to join the ranks of you guys. Is there a basic buyers guide of choosing, what to avoid, certain years, engines, etc., etc.? The Jeep will be her daily driver, and I'm looking for the basics such as 4 cyl., automatic, locking hubs, manual shift t-case. There are so many choices, just looking for guidance.
I want to surprise her with my help in choosing but am very lost. Thanks
Honestly, how much are you looking to spend?
That really is the first and most important question.
Also, is she coming home to stay or, is she just coming home on leave?
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:34 PM   #4
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Honestly, how much are you looking to spend?
That really is the first and most important question.
Also, is she coming home to stay or, is she just coming home on leave?
I agree. How much you want to spend and what you want the Jeep to do are the most important questions. I recommend getting smart on Jeep basics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Wrangler
I know there are more and better sites but this is an ok place to start

Consider the looks - some people don't like the square headlight YJs, some don't like the JK 4door, etc. Consider if your daughter needs off reading capability and what kind? - rocks, beach, trails, etc? How much room /how many doors does she need? Need to tow? Consider the comfort factor - coils on the TJs (96-2006) and JKs (2007- present) tend to be softer ride on the road than the leaf spring setups on CJs (41-86) and YJ (87-95). However, leaf springs are a lot easier and cheaper to lift, mod and repair and are rock solid on and off the road. Consider the top type - hard top/ soft top? Both? Good luck and ask away.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:49 PM   #5
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It'll probably cost more, but the 6 cylinder doesn't end up using much more gas from what I understand, and it's tougher and lasts longer. Depends on where you live too. Weather counts too. I'm in New England and I made sure to get full doors for the cold. When it's too hot out, I unbolt them and lift them right off. Same can be said for finding a hardtop jeep or soft top. If you find one that comes with both that would be ideal haha. Oh and green TJs are the best! No specific reason, except mine is green . Watch out for rotted frames!!

CJs (a long time ago-1987)
YJs (87-95)
TJs (97-2006) (no 96 jeep model)
JK (2007-present)
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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Shoot for a 97 and up TJ and stay away from the 4cyl if you want an automatic. Not sure they even came that way. Coil springs, nice soft ride. 97- mid 2000 the motor had a distributor, mid 2000 they switched to distributor less ignition and ran coil packs. Pretty maintenance free.
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:29 PM   #7
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Honestly, how much are you looking to spend?
That really is the first and most important question.
Also, is she coming home to stay or, is she just coming home on leave?
I haven't really given cost a thought yet, however, once we nail down a specific year and eqpt. package, that will dictate the price and selection. She will be coming home for a while and will be working at the local base which is 50 miles away. I plan to get a Jeep from the southern states, OK, AR, TX, don't want to play the rust game right off the bat, ( I bought my truck used from a guy in Oklahoma 12 yrs ago, and its still in top shape, rust wise).
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:30 AM   #8
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Since you're in snow country, make sure and get Limitted Slip Differential. It will save your arse in the ice.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:12 AM   #9
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Since you're in snow country, make sure and get Limitted Slip Differential. It will save your arse in the ice.
depending on years they won't have a LSD. And I disagree. They will also help you spin out. 4wd with no LSD is fine on ice.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:13 PM   #10
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Can you help us out a little on your budget? It will really help to narrow down some options for you.
Under 5K
5-10K
10-15K
15-20K
20-above
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:38 PM   #11
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depending on years they won't have a LSD. And I disagree. They will also help you spin out. 4wd with no LSD is fine on ice.
LSD definately won't contribute to spinning out. It'll keep both tires spinning relatively the same speed rather than letting one slip and rev up causing a vector.


To avoid spin-outs, these are the best to worst...
front wheel drive (best)
4 X 4
All wheel drive
Rear wheel w/LSD
Rear wheel drive open
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:26 AM   #12
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I would look for a low mileage 2003, or 2004 TJ, with the automatic, and 4.0 engine.
These two years, have the least problems!
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Old 01-25-2014, 12:29 PM   #13
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I would look for a low mileage 2003, or 2004 TJ, with the automatic, and 4.0 engine.
These two years, have the least problems!

Nice to know, and my max price is around $15K
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:47 AM   #14
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You should be able to do fine with around $10K. One thing I would recommend because you are also in the winter region, is to buy a 2003 or newer.
I may be wrong, but I believe I read somewhere that Jeep applied a coating on the frame in 2003.
I bought a 2000 that the frame looked pretty good on and now a year later she's looking pretty tough under there.
Try to buy fairly soon though as the prices start getting higher when the weather turns better.

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