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Old 03-25-2013, 12:13 PM   #1
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YJs for occasional 6 hour interstate drives?

Hey guys,

This is my first post here! I have decided to buy a cheap Wrangler because:
1) How awesome is an off-road vehicle that you can drive with no top or doors?!
2) I want to become more familiar with auto repair and maintenance, and not worry about messing up my current car doing it (2007 BMW 335i coupe).
3) I potentially want to use for my short commute to work, as well as my 6 hour drive to visit my parents once every month or two, so I can keep miles and wear off of my Bimmer.

I really shouldn't spend more than $5,000, so I think that I will be in the market for a '91-95 YJ with a 4.0. When budgeting an additional $2k for any mandatory repairs, and a few initial mods, $5,000 is the most I can spend on the Jeep itself. People here in Atlanta on Craigslist think their Jeeps are made of gold (tend to be WAY above KBB, even with very few mods), but I think I can probably swing those specs for that price.

Can you guys give me an honest opinion on how a YJ will serve for occasionally driving 6 hours each way to visit my parents? I don't mind inconveniences like plugging my ears with canalphones to help block out the sound of a flapping softtop, etc. I am mainly concerned about if a YJ is reasonably safe/reliable on interstates crusing around 65-70 mph for longer drives.

Of course, I'm open to any other advice regarding looking for an older Jeep, if you have any. Thanks!

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Old 03-25-2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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If things like the top are in good shape, and the tires aren't too aggressive you should not need earplugs. As for being safe at highway speeds they are. Mine has 31's for the tires and a 2 inch lift kit and it rolls at 75mph rock steady. High winds make it an interesting ride and you need to slow down as cross winds will push it easily and headwinds are just too much for my 2.5 anyways. If you are not looking for a crazy off road machine, I would do what I did and that is to spend a little more up front on one that is in great shape and unmodified than to buy a beater.

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Old 03-25-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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A decent jeep will always be more than KBB.

5000 is a good price for a decent YJ.

I would go for a 95 with the 4.0 and 5 speed. Not lifted to high (or with shackles)
Test drive it at highway speed before you buy anything.

And the biggest issue (more so for your area) is RUST
Check the frame
Check under thr floor mats
Fixing rust is a pain and headache.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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I've done several 8 hour+ trips to Florida & back @ 65+. (6 & manual)

Not the best highway vehicle, but it didn't seem to mind.

& I concur w/ Speedy's advice above. Wait for a clean, rust free purchase.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:59 PM   #5
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I have a 4 cyl 5 speed that goes along good at highway speeds (will do 70 all day). I much prefer the long distance drives in my Lexus but hey, if you have to get somewhere, it will get the job done. Doing that drive 6x per year will be fine.
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Old 03-25-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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You should be able to find something decent in your price range. As others have said I would try to look for one that doesn't have alot of mods on it as of yet. Some may say that I'm a heartless vulture but when I look at CL I will search words like "need money" "lost job" or "having baby" "buying house". I found mine under a "need money" the guy needed cash for, according to him, an operation for his mother. Got mine for $2,000 he was asking $2500. Yes I sleep fine at night, also have a YJ in the garage.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy4x4
A decent jeep will always be more than KBB.

5000 is a good price for a decent YJ.

I would go for a 95 with the 4.0 and 5 speed. Not lifted to high (or with shackles)
Test drive it at highway speed before you buy anything.

And the biggest issue (more so for your area) is RUST
Check the frame
Check under thr floor mats
Fixing rust is a pain and headache.
X2 the 95 has a galvinized frame.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfinglbi23 View Post
I have a 4 cyl 5 speed that goes along good at highway speeds (will do 70 all day). I much prefer the long distance drives in my Lexus but hey, if you have to get somewhere, it will get the job done. Doing that drive 6x per year will be fine.
Hey Surfinglbi23, what tires and gears are you running?
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:58 PM   #9
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Only thing I can add is, take your time finding one. The more Jeeps you look at & read about, the more you learn.

I ckecked CL 4 or more times everyday. Took me 4 months to find mine. That's about 4 months longer than I've ever looked for a vehicle.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by CHL View Post
Only thing I can add is, take your time finding one. The more Jeeps you look at & read about, the more you learn.

I ckecked CL 4 or more times everyday. Took me 4 months to find mine. That's about 4 months longer than I've ever looked for a vehicle.

Good luck.
x2
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:07 PM   #11
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Hey guys, thanks for the advice! It is all very helpful. Yes, I definitely plan to take my time looking for a Jeep. There are several out there that are close to what I am looking for, but haven't hit one yet where I automatically thought "that's the one".

I agree with spending more on an unmodified Jeep upfront, and letting the mods come later. However, right now I do want to install Corbeau seats (including heaters....a must have in vehicles for me nowadays), street legal Schroth 5 points, and a harness bar (I know they are inconvenient, but I do value safety first).

Interesting to see some say that they think the 2.5L is fine at highway speeds. Maybe I need to test drive one....I had kinda ruled it out thinking that only the 4.0L would be sufficient for highway driving. I still would probably prefer a 4.0....but I do hear the 2.5's are easier to work on as they offer more room in the engine compartment. I already own a fast car....no need for this one to be a speed demon too.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:15 PM   #12
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if you don't have huge tires either engine does fine. and there is still a lot of room inside a 4.0 engine compartment too.. no problems working on either one, everything is pretty accessible.
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:17 AM   #13
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Rust Rust Rust!!! Check for Rust. I bought my YJ 93 in Austin Texas (no rust here) however the jeep came from somewhere else. I didn't know to check for rust, the Jeep had been painted recently so it looked really nice (interior as well). I looked under the jeep (at the suspension) and it was clean and freshly painted.

Had I done some reading about the YJ's I would have known to check closely at the rear frame where the rear shackles attach. This is a prime place for rust, and after I bought the jeep (couple months after) I noticed that the jerk weeds had used bondo to cover the rusted frame. Once I knocked the bullsh*t bondo out you could see through the frame!!! Here is the link: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f8/rust...ts-160518.html

Also Rust SUCKS. I have never sheered off so many bolts, and worked soooo hard at something like rusted parts.

I paid $5000 for the jeep 167K miles. I have since put in just over $6000. But it is really starting to look good
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaE92 View Post
Hey guys, thanks for the advice! It is all very helpful. Yes, I definitely plan to take my time looking for a Jeep. There are several out there that are close to what I am looking for, but haven't hit one yet where I automatically thought "that's the one". When I first saw & drove mine, I knew "this is the one".

I agree with spending more on an unmodified Jeep upfront, and letting the mods come later. However, right now I do want to install Corbeau seats (including heaters....a must have in vehicles for me nowadays), street legal Schroth 5 points, and a harness bar (I know they are inconvenient, but I do value safety first). Two days ago, I just installed the Corbeau Baja Ultra seat, adapter, seat bracket with sliders & Corbeaus 2 inch 4 point harness for my drivers seat. Man, I really like the seat & harness. The seat is super comfortable & when I strap in, I know I aint going no where . I can't reach the cigarette lighter now, but I need to quit anyway.
Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:35 AM   #15
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i love my 2.5l with the 5 speed My speedo is busted atm so i dont know how fast it goes but i have no problem with my 30" tires on the high way for 8+ hours every other weekend over two passes the thing holds speed at 70-75 i test drove the 4.0 and personally didnt like it as much plus i found one rust free and only paid 3000 cash the guy wanted 6000 but just shows cash talks so just find one you love thats not modded
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:30 AM   #16
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The 2.5L is ok with power but larger tires eat up power in a hurry!

Gearing is the only real solution the the 2.5L

A lot of people complain about the 2.5l and its get up and go. I have found with mine that you just need to keep your rpm range higher if you accelerating.

But if you ever want bigger than 31's and decent acceleration (keep up on hills and on ramps) you need the torque of the 4.0L

If you get a 2.5l and want bigger its better to either trade for the 4.0l or if you want to swap engines swapping in a 4.0 is much easier than swapping in a V8
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:35 AM   #17
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Again guys, thanks for the replies! I will definitely be VERY careful to look for rust (thanks for the link brabb!). CHL, thanks for the input about the seats too!

I know this is a YJ forum, however I found a '97 Sahara 4.0L on CL with 140k miles for $6,900. This is definitely above what I was planning on spending, but may consider it (especially if I can talk the guy down at all). It looks great in the pics! Does this look like a good deal (if there is no rust and other problems involved)?

1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara "Brand new top"
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:27 AM   #18
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I'm running 4.10 gears (have tried 3 different setups) and have 235/75-15 tires. They are real close to 30" tires. Works fine for what I need.

I used to have a 2000 Sahara for 5 years as a spare car so I knew first hand that the 4.0 is no magic powerhouse. I save the worry for my faster cars. Heck, even my Lexus will absolutely smoke any Wrangler and that thing is no rocket.

Try a 2.5 before ruling it out. They are dirt cheap. Mine was $2,000 with some nice upgrades.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #19
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In stock or near stock form, you should be fine. Once you get SOA and big tires and whatnot, you'll want to be on the freeway less and less. Mine, with swampers and the spring over lift, is not the kind of thing you'd want to fight traffic in.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:45 AM   #20
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I have a 95 4 cyl with a 5 speed. Definitely don't overlook the 4 cyl. I drive on the highway at 70-75 all the time, and it's a little hilly here in Colorado. Steep hills might slow me down to 60, but nothing really worse than that.
I am running stock gears (4.10 on the 4cyl) and my tires measure about 30". I have made a few 4 - 5 hour trips and am going to be making an 11 hour trip in May.

One thing I highly recommend: take 46" on 1/2" pvc pipe, two 2" Ts, and two 2"-1/2" adapters. Assemble them as such:
Click image for larger version

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It serves well to eliminate the flopping of the softtop. $5 of pvc will definitely help your sanity on long highway drives.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:02 AM   #21
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That is a good idea. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:08 AM   #22
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That is a good idea. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.
If you want any more info, let me know. I got the idea from someone else on this forum.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:13 AM   #23
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Unless you specifically want a YJ, I would think you could find a 97 or 98 TJ for around 5k. I paid(granted I'm not down south by you) $4900 for a 97 Sahara last year. If money allows I would say it's definitely worth a drive to get the right Wrangler for you. DJ
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:30 PM   #24
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Used Wrangler's

In the past I have bought a lot of car's, truck's, rv's and boats. no matter what year I always Look for Clean Bone Stock Unit' and when I find one with a Christmas list of Modifications If I even make a offer on it It will be a whole lot less than I would pay for a clean stock Model. Simply most of those Modifications are backyard Hatchet jobs and the main reason the owner wants to get rid of it is because they have renderd it undrivable and expect to get the money they spent back.
Having said that doesnt mean I havent Invested Way more money in a project than i would expect to get back. Right now I an working on a 91 Wrangler Yj . as of today I have already Exceeded more money than I could ever get Back. But then I had these two guys follow me home when I was driving a 70 and1/2 Camero and walk up in my driveway and pay me 25,000 dls. for it." who knows."
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:39 PM   #25
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Again guys, thanks for the replies! I will definitely be VERY careful to look for rust (thanks for the link brabb!). CHL, thanks for the input about the seats too!

I know this is a YJ forum, however I found a '97 Sahara 4.0L on CL with 140k miles for $6,900. This is definitely above what I was planning on spending, but may consider it (especially if I can talk the guy down at all). It looks great in the pics! Does this look like a good deal (if there is no rust and other problems involved)?

1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara "Brand new top"



In Southern Ca. that's about average asking price for a private sale for that year modle.
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Old 03-26-2013, 03:07 PM   #26
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Around here, time of year matters a lot. Jeeps in the spring and summer go fast ... wait till after Thanksgiving, there are more available and prices are much lower ... I kept track, on eBay last year there were about 30% more inventory in late fall/early winter.
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:29 AM   #27
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Hey guys, I've been looking for a few weeks now for a Wrangler. I've found that most on CL, AutoTrader, etc in the GA/AL area want on average $5,500 for a 4-cyl YJ, $6,500 for a 6-cyl YJ, and $6,000-6,500 for a 4-cyl TJ. But most do NOT have A/C! I have to have this in a heat index of 114 on a 6 hr drive to see my parents.

Here are a couple that stuck out to me, and I'd like your thoughts:

95 wrangler trade..
I test drove this 95 4-cyl, and it was in great mechanical shape especially for 136k miles. No rust. He traded his soft top and half doors for a hard top and full doors, and just never got around to painting them, and is tired of the Jeep. Would probably re-trade for a soft top and half doors. He is asking $4,000, but said it could be mine for $3,800.

94 jeep wrangler
Haven't seen this Sahara yet, but $5,000 just seemed low for a 4.0L. Owner told me it has 140,000 miles, no rust, and "no problems". It is lifted though with a bumper and winch....doesn't look like it has other mods though. Should I just not even look at this one because it's lifted?

Both have A/C (which I'm finding is hard to come by unless you want to drop another $1k on a kit). Also, both would need the hoods/cowl covers re-painted, but I have no problem with just doing a cheap MAACO job that would last a couple of years.

1997 Jeep Wrangler (price reduced)
This 4-cyl TJ is for $5,200 OBO, but does NOT have A/C, and 172k miles. The owner can't let me take a look at it until Saturday, and won't talk price yet (I know he will come down at least a little), but he does insist that the price is right for a TJ without A/C. He was able to give me a very detailed description, and it seems like it was well taken care of.

How am I doing so far? Any thoughts would be helpful! Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2013, 06:45 AM   #28
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I would jump all over that 95!! That a good deal for the year with ac also. Take it to maco and get the 300 paint job and your good!
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:33 AM   #29
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Thanks airboatingbx! Also, I forgot to mention, the '95 doesn't have A/C, but the owner knows someone who has the kit for $200 (compressor is new), plus I figure another $100 to charge the system. So, it would really be $4,100 w/ A/C, which I figure still isn't a bad deal.

Anyone else have thoughts?
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Old 04-11-2013, 07:38 AM   #30
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they are GREAT for that. If you feel like its a bumpy ride, let a couple pounds of air out of the tires.

I've taken mine on several 6 hour runs down to Indiana from MI and also a 9 hour over to Appleton Wisconsin. The I6 is a great engine, lasts forever if taken care of. Upwords of 300,000 miles for sure.

If you can get a 1994 or a 1995 you'll save some headache. Not dissin the other years but they fixed a lot of bugs throughout the early YJ years as well as getting rid of the carb and going fuel injected.

"The 4.0 is one of AMC's best-known engines. It was one of four AMC engines kept in production when Chrysler bought AMC in 1987. Chrysler engineers continued to refine the engine to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness. The last in the line of the AMC inline sixes, the 4.0 is regarded as one of the best 4x4 off-road engines. A Motor Trend long-term test of a 1997 Cherokee XJ noted "this long-lived OHV powerplant has a reputation for getting people where they need to go" as well as "much love expressed by owners for the torquey 4.0-liter/190-horsepower inline six. The engine is known for longevity and to go more than 300,000 miles (482,803 km) without rebuilding."

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