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Old 10-05-2008, 06:08 PM   #1
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Question TJ Question... need help!

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?


Thanks guys!

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Old 10-05-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ScottyWantsWrangler View Post
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?


Thanks guys!
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'....

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Old 10-06-2008, 12:39 PM   #3
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Rich P, I live in Connecticut. I will definetly look in NJ for a well priced wrangler. So for 5K I should be able to get a very dependable keep?
So should I assume that for 5K I will be able to find a dependable, in good shape, wrangler that I could count on for atleast a few years. The jeep that you got your wife could you post pics so I could get an idea of what I'm looking at. I'm trying to get an idea of what I could expect for the amount of money I can spend. My biggest fear is spending the money and getting a piece of junk.
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:54 PM   #4
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Rich P, I live in Connecticut. I will definetly look in NJ for a well priced wrangler. So for 5K I should be able to get a very dependable keep?
So should I assume that for 5K I will be able to find a dependable, in good shape, wrangler that I could count on for atleast a few years. The jeep that you got your wife could you post pics so I could get an idea of what I'm looking at. I'm trying to get an idea of what I could expect for the amount of money I can spend. My biggest fear is spending the money and getting a piece of junk.
It's kind of funny, I picked up one of my 97's in Connecticut for $3000 and that was like 4 years ago, it needed a new top and seat covers but otherwise was in good shape. Oh, it had a bent front bumper but I replaced that with a Warn TJ bumper. Stay away from ones from NY state, they use some kind of nasty road salt up there that just eats them out from the bottom up.
Look on Craigs list, you may have to drive to look it over, I drove to the CT one, 4 hours one way, paid cash and drove home with his plates on it till he could get the BoS out of the safety deposit, I did have him fill out and sign a BoS from the Conn state web site that I printed out.

I'd look at this one and offer $4k. got a 4.0, not a fan of abs though.
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/cto/825469874.html
If I had the money I'd buy this one in a heartbeat, love that color
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/cto/867564283.html
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