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Old 03-24-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 73
robrat is on a distinguished road
Quest to buy a 2003 TJ

Got off work at noon, got a late start, drove 2-1/2 hours to check out 2 TJ's. Got to the first one - "we sold it this morning"

Looked at my directions from that dealer to the other, and got lost. Called dealer - "we close at 4:30, and you're at least a 1/2 hour away." Thanks for looking out for a guy who called ahead, drove 3 hours to see your vehicle.

So, I went and checked it out anyway. Wasn't able to start it up or drive it, just walk around it. Its a hardtop, 4.0 I-6, 5 speed with 88,000 miles. Has a set of KC lites bolted on at the lower corners of the windshield (torx sockets on the screws were stripped out). Frame and body are rust free, which is wonderful considering the first one I test drove looked like it was rusting apart at the transfer case skid plate. No dents on the trans skidplate. Minor dents and some scratches, its not immaculate paint wise, but I can live with it. Engine rear seal, and input shafts of both diffs are damp, like every one I've looked at so far.

It had some major scratches at the left rear corner of the body, where it meets the hardtop- -is it common to scratch the body there when installing and removing the hard-top? The hardtop was also chipped slightly in this corner.

Door Handles - surface rust. They seemed tight. I'm assuming that the paint rubs off, and these rust from not using them?

Door hinges - the nuts were missing from the bottom of the doors, so I assume the doors had been removed. The paint was flaked off at the hinges. Is hinge wear common? Are there replacement bushings? is there bushings or something that will get lost when the doors are removed?

It had a lift kit - the transfer case skidplate was spaced down 1" using pieces of 1"x1-1/2" rectangular tubing, about 2" long. The front springs had a 2" neoprene spacer, and the front anti-sway bar had a link that could be removed so they could be disconnected. Tires were new - 275R75-16's.

So I''m thinking that this machine was fairly well cared for, but off roaded. It has the mods that I would probably do also - 2" lift, bigger tires, and remove the hard top occasionally.

The one troubling issue was that the coolant was not visable in the radiator- -I saw fins when i took the cap off. Are head gaskets an issue with the I-6? When do water pumps go bad?

Pro - price is right, no rust

Con - un-motivated salesman, Is there an engine issue? Was it beat hard?
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