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Old 05-09-2013, 06:57 AM   #1
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What Jeep Would Best Fit My Needs?

Whats up guys, totally new here as far as your forum and jeep ownership goes. I've had plenty of friends with jeeps and loved them all. My wife and I are currently buying a house which should be over with by the end of the month, with that being said she really wants a jeep and I second that notion Its not too often she says she wants another vehicle so I have to stick and run with this one.

My question for you guys would be what model really would suit me best for our needs? Would I be okay with getting by with a 4 cyl, should I look for a 6 cyl, etc etc. Quick background on where we live and what its primary funtions would be. We live in north florida and about 15 minutes from the beach. It would NOT be a daily driver but a weekend ride. We're big into camping and fishing and find ourselves doing both on weekends quite frequently, from car camping to primitive camping. We also spend alot of time at the beach. I am looking for something that will hold its own on the parts of the beach that state "4x4 only", where the sand is not packed and most normal vehicles cant go through. We will more than likely NEVER take it on some type of rocky and or hilly trail, but theres a few fairly flat trails here in the area that arent too bad I wouldnt mind cruising down. So far beach driving, and very casual off roading (once in a blue moon) what would best suit us? Could I get away with a 4 cyl or would that not work for the beach?

I appreciate everyones input on this

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Old 05-09-2013, 07:27 AM   #2
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How much do you plan to spend?

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Old 05-09-2013, 07:37 AM   #3
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I live at the beach and drive on it about every weekend, I know people with 4 cyl. Jeeps that wheel the beach all the time with no problems.
4 cyl. Jeeps are cheaper if that's what your budget fits.
But keep in mind that not to many people get a jeep, and keep it very long without wanting to mod it. And yes everyone says no they'll leave it stock.
So buy the best you can and stay within budget.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:39 AM   #4
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Florida is flat...no hills to fight.

But sand can bog you down if you sink into it.

I think youd be fine with a 4cyl on 10" tires.

Just keep in mind that it aint supposed to be a sports car.

Drive it like a Jeep...slow and easy.

WWII jeeps that won the war in terrain that we cant even contemplate....had 60hp (sixty...six-oh ) on skinny tires.

You'll be fine for a weekend buggy.

Have fun.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:48 AM   #5
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I've been shopping around on craigslist so I would like to buy something older and used, 5k ish. Being a car guy already I have all intentions of modding it thats for sure. It wont happen all at once but over a period of time.

As far as it not being a sports car I totally get that, I have a 2007 350z for those days lol. That as well has been slightly modded over the past year and a half, nothing crazy though.

So 5k being the initial investment, something that's up and running (dont mind having to put some time into tweeking it) and then whatever comes down the line as far as modding it goes.

A friend of mine had the 4.0l in her jeep and that thing drove through the sand with ease, so I was unsure how the other motors (2.5l) did, or if I should look for the 4.0
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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You should look for the 6 cyl. If you are already thinking mods. Most mods add a lot of weight to a jeep. A 4 cyl. Locked in low can handle it fine. Makes a nice buggy for sure. But if you are going to drive a lot on the streets to get to your wheel spot. Then not so good
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:10 AM   #7
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Is it realistic to find a 6 cyl in that price range to start?? I cant quite remember all the jeeps I have looked it but trust me... its been alot lol.

Any specific years to search for and or stay away from?
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:41 AM   #8
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Since you like camping, an 04-06 LJ would be ideal for you.
Much more room for gear.
However you're not going to get one for less than $10K, more likely $12-15K.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:49 AM   #9
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Yeah I dont want to finance a jeep really which is why I'm looking at early models that I can just pay cash for, unfortunately 10-15k is not something I can pay cash on right now hah
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:57 AM   #10
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I used an early CJ5 for camping/weekend wheelin trips for 16 years. I became so frustrated with the limited cargo room that in 2007 I sold my CJ5, and the LJ was the only rig on my list to replace it. Keep the LJ in mind for when you can swing it.

Since you're looking for something in the 5K range, look for 97-2000 TJs. Get one with the 4.0 AND a D44 rear.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:01 AM   #11
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Ahhh so you are referring to the cargo space, makes sense. Fortunately though we're pretty limited campers as far as supplies go. Very basic / bare bones. Fit everything (tent, bag, limited clothing, dry foods, first aid etc) in a hiking bag and thats about it. Car camping we might plurge and bring a cooler for food lol.

I'll definitely keep that year range in mind when I'm looking. If I could find a 6 cyl in my budget I would love to do that!
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:52 AM   #12
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I have seen some really good deals on YJs and early TJs around St. Augustine and Daytona areas. Personally I would look for a 4.0. For what you are wanting it for, you really don't have to have the D44 although if you found one with it in your price range go ahead and snatch it up.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:18 AM   #13
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You need to drive several. I know you say you have friends with Jeeps, but you might want to search for a local Jeep club and go hang out with them.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #14
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You need to drive several. I know you say you have friends with Jeeps, but you might want to search for a local Jeep club and go hang out with them.
I wonder how welcoming they are to new comers and people who don't have jeeps?? Never really looked to be honest!
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #15
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I would get a 6 cyl. A 4 banger would probably be fine but like others said driving around town might get a bit slow and annoying. 6cyl just gives you the power especailly when modding. You could get a decent TJ (97-06 mostly stock) in that price range, maybe even one with a few mods already done. You could even get a pretty nice YJ for that if you look around. I have a TJ and for cargo space it lacks but I just bought a hitch rack and I was good to go. I put my tent and lighter camping gear on it and my coolers inside the jeep, I drive 4 hours to Moab like this and it works fine. Mine is not my daily driver, I only use it for trails, camping, hunting.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:00 PM   #16
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A 4 cyl is adequate. Barely. And if you're looking for a bargain you'll have to stick with one of those.

Your budget is going to be an issue. Wranglers hold their resale value very well. Dropping only about $5K on a Wrangler means you're going to have to deal with issues relating to age or lack of maintenance or both. As long as you go into it knowing that you're going to have to drop some money into it over the next year, you should be able to find something.

Living in FL that close to the beach means rust, and lots of it, when it comes to a Jeep in your price range. Check the frame, the body tub (especially in the rear), and pretty much everywhere before you buy so you don't end up with a basket case.

One alternative to consider is to step away from the Wrangler and get into a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee. While 4x4 models may be scarce in FL, you should be able to find something in a lot better shape for $5K. Sure, it's not an open top vehicle but it will go just about anywhere a stock Wrangler would and it gives you plenty of cargo space for whatever camping gear you want to take. If you're set on an open top Wrangler do that. But a XJ/ZJ/WJ (Cherokee, first gen Grand Cherokee, second gen Grand Cherokee) are really good alternatives if you don't need that open top.
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:36 PM   #17
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I wonder how welcoming they are to new comers and people who don't have jeeps?? Never really looked to be honest!
Close to Pcola?
White Sands Jeep Club was very friendly to my son when he was stationed there...
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:01 PM   #18
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I was aware of rust and did consider that when I began my searches. It seems to be rare but I've noticed here and there small gems pop up. I'm a very patient person and I also don't mind having to drive for a deal. I've been browsing multiple states Craigslist ads to see what's out there.

Space is not so much a concern of mine, but it's definitely something that I will now take into account. We do have our minds set on the open top so a wrangler is something were going to be hopefully getting.

I'm going to do some more research into the 6cyls as it seems like everything for sale is the 4cyls. Not too worried about going slow o the highways, I'm about 10 - 15 miles from the beach and its all regular roads, 55mph speed limits anyways lol. I just don't want to get into a 4 cyl and have an issue with weight down the road as far as putting mods on it. I have no idea what I would put on (for the sake of argument assume I find something stock) but I'm definitely not naive to the fact that I would mod it some way.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:54 PM   #19
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I was aware of rust and did consider that when I began my searches. It seems to be rare but I've noticed here and there small gems pop up. I'm a very patient person and I also don't mind having to drive for a deal. I've been browsing multiple states Craigslist ads to see what's out there.

Space is not so much a concern of mine, but it's definitely something that I will now take into account. We do have our minds set on the open top so a wrangler is something were going to be hopefully getting.

I'm going to do some more research into the 6cyls as it seems like everything for sale is the 4cyls. Not too worried about going slow o the highways, I'm about 10 - 15 miles from the beach and its all regular roads, 55mph speed limits anyways lol. I just don't want to get into a 4 cyl and have an issue with weight down the road as far as putting mods on it. I have no idea what I would put on (for the sake of argument assume I find something stock) but I'm definitely not naive to the fact that I would mod it some way.
Yeah, if you want an open top get one. The (grand) cherokee idea is an option to some people and I didn't want you to miss it if was an option for you.

As far as the 4 cyl goes, it's not really hugely inadequate. The biggest thing is that if you step up in tire size you will want to change the gears in the axles to compensate. Also, extra weight will slow you down so plan ahead before you start throwing on big heavy winches, bumpers, and racks full of cargo.
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:24 PM   #20
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I really appreciate all the insight from everyone. I'll definitely be taking it all into consideration during my searches. Any recommendations on gears for the 4cyl?
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:50 PM   #21
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I really appreciate all the insight from everyone. I'll definitely be taking it all into consideration during my searches. Any recommendations on gears for the 4cyl?
I think they usually come with something like 4.10s from the factory. What you replace them with depends entirely on what tires you go with and how much extra weight you pile on.
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:15 PM   #22
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If you know from the start that you are going to. Mod it, make your first mod a 6 cyl. And save yourself some money.
Price ring and pinion gears for that rig before you buy. Then add that to your budget, you should come out right spending that money on a 6
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:08 PM   #23
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If you do end up looking at 4cyl jeeps i would get a 2.5 instead of a 2.4. the 2.5 has less hp but creates more torque at lower rpm's than a 2.4. I also hear that they are very reliable. How could it not be, it is basically the same as the amc 2.5. They switched to the 2.4 in 2003, so any year before that if going 4 cyl. Just my .02
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:15 PM   #24
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The one you need is the one you lay in bed at night and cant sleep because you can see yourself in it, it speaks to you and becomes something more than the sum of it's parts when you first meet it.


Buy that one.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:28 PM   #25
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Everybody is going to defend what they own. I've never heard of anyone who had a six and wished they had a four, but I've heard many people groan about wishing they had a 6 or wondering what it would take to swap a four for a six.
Buy a four and you may or may not be happy. Buy a six and you most likely will be happy.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:30 AM   #26
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All great insight. I reached out to a few of my friends here and 3 of them own 4cyls. One of them built his jeep from the ground up, says he loves his and that hes getting 19 mpg. He of course daily's his where as I wouldnt.

One idea we've tossed around is buying a roller and just swapping it with a 4.8. Im not sure how that would fit into my budget, I'm sure I'd be going over but it is something my friend and I have discussed. Im not sure though at this time though that I want to put that much work into a jeep right away haha
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:41 AM   #27
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My first tj was a 4cyl it was like a tank go anywhere but after having a couple 6cyl I would never look at a 4 cyl agin .
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:01 AM   #28
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i'd second the 4 cyl for the first time. In FL, hitting no bumps, besides 2.5L gave you better fuel economy if you are camping freqently. Remove the rear seats, and go topless, there should be plenty of room to pile up gears.

Of course, it's a different story in Moab. 6 cyl no question asked.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:10 PM   #29
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Of course, it's a different story in Moab. 6 cyl no question asked.


2.5 - AX5 - 231J - 4:88s - 33"s. I run Moab quite a bit and stay on the tougher trails, I dont try to keep up with buggies of course, but I also like walking up climbs where the 4.0 guys are just spinning. The 2.5 has plenty of power for serious off-roading / crawling, it comes down to driving style to fill the gaps.

If you believe that 'powering out' of any given situation is the only way to go, then a 2.5 is not for you, if you like the more technical side of off-roading, then a 2.5 will give you precisely what you need.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:54 PM   #30
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2.5 - AX5 - 231J - 4:88s - 33"s. I run Moab quite a bit and stay on the tougher trails, I dont try to keep up with buggies of course, but I also like walking up climbs where the 4.0 guys are just spinning. The 2.5 has plenty of power for serious off-roading / crawling, it comes down to driving style to fill the gaps.

If you believe that 'powering out' of any given situation is the only way to go, then a 2.5 is not for you, if you like the more technical side of off-roading, then a 2.5 will give you precisely what you need.
My yj was set up very similar and had no problem handling moab many times.

I will agree that a 6 would have been nice at times.

My thought is why not keep an eye open for an older cj7? there are times some really nice ones pop up within your price range (in my area anyhow). If its just going to be a 3rd vehicle why not a classic jeep that will get the same job done?

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