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Old 02-23-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
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97 wrangler

I've been looking for a new wrangler for a few weeks. I have found some decent prospects on craigslist but I was curious about something. I would say that 60% of them (at least in my area) were 1997 models. Is this just a coincidence and/or are there any known problems to look out for when test driving/kicking the tires?

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Old 02-24-2012, 07:56 AM   #2
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Mine is a 97 and it is great. I think the 97 is one of the best year models and I don't think you have anything to worry about. It is just like buying any used vehicle, make sure you inspect for leaks and if any after market mods have been done make sure they have been done right.

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Old 02-24-2012, 08:11 AM   #3
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97 was the first year of the TJ, I believe. I generally avoid first year models because the auto companies don't always work all the bugs out until year 2 or 3. That said, the TJ platform has been proven at this point so I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by denisbaldwin View Post
97 was the first year of the TJ, I believe. I generally avoid first year models because the auto companies don't always work all the bugs out until year 2 or 3. That said, the TJ platform has been proven at this point so I wouldn't worry about it.
This is very true and there are differences from the 97 model to the 98+ that were probably done for that reason. And while I can only think of the cowl vent panel off the top of my head as the one big difference I have seen things in catalogs excepting early 97s. That being said, ANY vehicle that is 10+ years old is going to have issues from age alone and we all know we can completely rebuild a Jeep from the ground up so if it's a Jeep you like and seems to be in decent condition I say go for it!
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #5
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I have a 97 4.0 and it has been an extremely dependable vehicle. As far as staying away from a first year model, I wouldn't worry too much about it with the TJ. There were a few things that were removed or updated on following following models, but as far as I know it wasn't anything substantial until 2000; when they switched the manual transmission.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:11 AM   #6
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My first Wrangler was a '97 and I bought it brand new, I think it's one of the best years out there. Too bad it was stolen, I greatly preferred how it was made when compared to my current '04 that replaced it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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talking about a 14-15 year old rig,most of the "bugs"should have been taken care of by p owners. just look for the obvous like oil leaks,strange noises,etc. small issues might give you leverage on getting a better price.good luck
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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thanks everyone! I believe I will buy this tomorrow if it's still available. There are multiple people driving to look at it and I'm just hoping to be the first guy out!
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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ours is a '97
great Jeep
Ours came with a rear Dana 44 too
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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I am all about first years, I seem to stumble on to them.That said I wouldnt trade my 97 for a later model one, they seem to have a bunch of issues that the earlier ones do not.
Mini-cats, 4 O2 sensors,OPDA issues, noiser trannies.... just seems they got more complicated as the got newer and the QC went down hill. Also I have noticed alot of the guys that seem to have overheating issues also seem to have the mini-cats, maybe they are heating the motor up more? I would love an LJ for my kids but I dont want to risk it, this one has been too good to me!
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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I miss the hell out of my '97.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #12
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The smartest people on earth drive 97 TJ'S.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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I can agree with that
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:03 PM   #14
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I have a 98, and its great. No problems what so ever.

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Old 02-24-2012, 10:56 PM   #15
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I love my 97. I've had it for three years now Just hit 150000 still running strong.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:16 AM   #16
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97 tj with 166000 still going strong and no leaks...lol
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:42 AM   #17
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97 4.0 with 125K and love it!! just replaced the front pinion seal which was leaking just a tad but no other issues in the 2.5 years I've had it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:25 PM   #18
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I have a 97 4.0 and it has been an extremely dependable vehicle. As far as staying away from a first year model, I wouldn't worry too much about it with the TJ. There were a few things that were removed or updated on following following models, but as far as I know it wasn't anything substantial until 2000; when they switched the manual transmission.
when thay switched to the manual trannys? , mine is a 1997 with the ax-15, tranny np231 t-case, 4.0 with a 117k miles, and i love it, i would have no reason to trade for a newer one, my sister has 2001 tj , i drove on and offroad, its great too, but uassualy the only bigg diff your going to see with a newer model is price,
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:34 PM   #19
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My 97 is great. A few things I have found is that it is a late model 97 (6-11-97) to be exact. Have found some things that require parts from a 98. No problems outside of that. And, it even does Circus Tricks!

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Old 02-25-2012, 03:54 PM   #20
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My 97 is great. A few things I have found is that it is a late model 97 (6-11-97) to be exact. Have found some things that require parts from a 98.
My early '97 (mfg. date of 3/96) came with a '95 YJ TPS (throttle positiion sensor). A '97 TPS wouldn't fit.
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:59 PM   #21
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when thay switched to the manual trannys? , mine is a 1997 with the ax-15, tranny np231 t-case, 4.0 with a 117k miles, and i love it, i would have no reason to trade for a newer one, my sister has 2001 tj , i drove on and offroad, its great too, but uassualy the only bigg diff your going to see with a newer model is price,

Yeah, they scrapped the ax-15 in favor of the new venture 3550 some time in 2000.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:05 PM   #22
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My early '97 (mfg. date of 3/96) came with a '95 YJ TPS (throttle positiion sensor). A '97 TPS wouldn't fit.
I just went out and looked, mine was manufactured in 10/96. I never thought about looking at that before.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:10 PM   #23
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Only thing i didn't care for in the earlier years was a distributor. Other then that, a jeeps a jeep. Several friends have the 97...they love em..couple of em are over 200k miles.

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