Originally Posted by ScottyWantsWrangler
Hey guys new to the forums.
I have decided that I want to purchase a wrangler this spring. I am looking anywhere from a 97-2000. Unfortunately I am only looking to spend about 5k. Should I even bother? I am looking for something reliable that will last me and be in good shape, but that I could also add some extras to as I go.
Is it worth buying one for 5k or would it be more problems for me than anything?
Prices are regional, the price differences between NJ and PA are as much as 50% with NJ being cheaper, so it depends on your area. You knowledge also comes into play, I can go over a Jeep in about 20 minutes and usually make a decision, I also bring a creeper when I go look at one, I'm more concerned with the frame and underbody, that tells a pretty big story, the test drive also tells another.
Last year, Oct/Nov I bought a 97ZJ Limited for the wife to replace an oldsmobile cutlass she had. I drove it, listened to the owner, carefully, he mentioned poor mileage, I noted that the gauge never got anywhere near 210 so I knew it was staying in cold loop and running rich, the back D35 made a racket so I knew a new set of gears was in order, drivers door sagged. I bought it anyway for $3k and sunk $600 in the rear, gears, LSD/carrier and a $6 thermostat, $15 door hinge and bushing kit off Ebay that took a half hour to install.
I had never owned a ZJ before but I read up on the problems on a grand cherokee forum for a week or two. No, I'm not a mechanic, I'm a network and system engineer with my own business, but I do pretty much all my own work on all my jeeps [6 of them]. If you know whats wrong with it you can use that to talk the price down. When I bought my sons 97TJ 5 years ago it made a horrible racket on right turns, I knew it from a broken sway bar connector that I eyeballed on my inspection, the sales guy did not have a clue to I mentioned bad ball joints, bent front axle, shot axle ujoints, etc, by the time I was done scaring the crap out of him I had him down from $5500 to $3000
One of the advantages of finding a TJ on a tuner lot
If it's a cheap fix you can blow it out of proportion and keep your mouth shut or they will fix it after you leave to 'think about it'....