I'd go with a TJ, mainly for the headlights and interior mods mentioned earlier. The inline 6 is known to be one of the most dependable and long lasting engines around. There is a place called webejeeping, website is
and he is located in north alabama, which means you are most likely not anywhere near here, but he sells only used jeeps and 4x4. Try finding someone like this in your area, even if you have to drive an hour or so.
I didn't buy from him, but I did test drive a 86 CJ-7 and hated it, and then a 98 TJ and loved it. I found a TJ elsewhere I liked better, but the guy at the used jeep place was very helpful and knowledgeable.
Big differences in the YJ and TJ are:
The dash and center consoles are different.
The wheel wells are different. This means that some aftermarket fender flares may or may not fit with or without cutting your jeep. Just something to think about, considering all factory fender flares fade.
I wrote a paper about this, here are the highlights:
The YJ Jeep was the next step in Jeep history. A total of 632,231 were produced from 1987 to 1995. This was the first Jeep to bare the name Wrangler.
The main difference in appearance was the rectangular headlights.
Most of its inspiration came from the Jeep Cherokee, not the CJ’s. The YJ provided less ground clearance and more comfort. This new style prompted some Jeep purists to interpret the YJ as a “yuppie Jeep" upon the model's introduction.
The YJ eventually improved upon the I6 engine with a fuel injected 180*horsepower 4.0*liter I6 variant.
The roll cage was extended in 1992 to allow for rear shoulder belts, and anti-lock brakes were added as an option in 1993.
An automatic transmission option for 4-cylinder Wranglers came in 1994 along with a center, high mounted third brake light.
The TJ is the Jeep of today. It started production in 1997, and will end in 2006.
Improvements in on-road capability are due to the Quadra-Coil suspension.
Improvements in off-road capability are due to improved ground clearance and more aggressive approach and departure angles.
Dual air bags were introduced and round head lights returned.
The I6 engine was improved to a 4.0 liter, with 180 horse power.
Hope this helps and doesn't make you fall asleep reading it