I am probably going to purchase a 2003 Sport tomorrow, if everything checks out.
One thing, though. The seller is not a real Jeeper and has no experience driving on 33" tires. It "drives funny" on the Interstate at speed.
It currently has a pretty spent set of 33x12.5x15 BFG MTs. They look great but seem to only have about 1/4" left in the center lugs. So tires will be what I get as soon as I get this nice rig home.
As far as the "drives funny" comment, he said it drifts or wanders a bit, I think slowly, not violently, certainly not anything like the Death Wobble.
He thinks it is the big tires.
So, will the 12.5" 33s do that when the lugs are really worn down?
It also has a Rancho suspension lift, which looks like a 3" based on how the tires fit into the wells. I do not know the actual height, nor do I know the specific gear used. I do not know whether the unnecessary drop pittman arm is in place, either. I have a few photos of the undercarriage, however.
Could the 12.5" width be causing this, especially if the tread is so worn down? Again, I have not yet driven it, but his description seems pretty clear.
If it is not the tires, could it be something wonky with the lift?
Finally, I do not need 33" tires for anything I do off road. I would be pretty happy with 32" ones. This rig has Mickey Thompson Classic Locks (or so it seems from photos) that fit these 12.5" wide tires. Can an 11.5" tire ride on that wide of a rim? I will purchase a new set of 5 and would prefer the gains of the slightly smaller, lighter tires over the .5" gain in height on the trail.
So again, questions numbered so you can reply to them specifically:
1. Could wandering steering be due to the 33x12.5x15" very worn meats?
2. Could moderate wandering be a steering/lift issue?
3. Can the fake beadlock MT rims that fit a 12.5" tire also work with an 11.5" one?
Again, I have photos if you need them to make an assessment.
Thanks for your replies!