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Old 06-04-2014, 09:28 PM   #1
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Am I Being too Picky?

Can you be too picky when buying a vehicle? This would be my first owned vehicle, and a Wrangler TJ at that, but I have a lot of criterion.

My Criterion:
  • DANA44 Rear-Axle
  • 4.0L I6 Engine
  • Soft Top - Willing to accept a hard top, as I can trade/buy a Soft Top.
  • Half Doors - I'd prefer to not have to buy these, but I am willing to accept Full Doors.
  • Preferred Color: Yellow (favorite), Blue, Red, or White
  • Mostly Stock - I'd like to make the modifications myself, after I'm acquainted with the Jeep.
  • Model Year - Probably 2001-2002.
  • Price - No more than $8500-$9000 (USD).
  • Fair Condition - I plan to renew interior surfaces.
  • Manual Transmission - I still need to learn to drive stick. Hah.
  • Mileage - Under 200,000 mi.

I think that is about it.

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Old 06-04-2014, 09:38 PM   #2
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You can never be too picky when buying a vehicle.
You have to be happy with what you are buying, remember all the money you're spending.

Best advise I can offer is to take your time, and dont let anyone hard sell you. If it doesnt feel right, be prepared to walk away.

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Old 06-04-2014, 11:20 PM   #3
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You'll know the right Jeep when you see it. Wait for the gut feeling and don't be scared to walk away. You'll prolly have the hardest time with d44 rear criteria, but I could be wrong.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:06 AM   #4
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after reading your wish list I'd say you are not being too picky at all in fact you are smart to take the time to identify what you want. good luck, don't settle for less.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:57 AM   #5
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Definitely not, but finding one that meets those specs locally might take awhile. If you're willing to travel you're more than likely to find one sooner.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:21 AM   #6
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I wouldn't worry about the half doors. They are inexpensive and readily available. I doubt you will have a difficult time finding a rig with those specs given your budget.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:25 AM   #7
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Research what your looking for, 01-02 with a D-44 means your looking for a Rubicon, and the price will be higher, if it has a D-44 and it isnt a rubi then someone has put that axle in and it usually is a ways down the modification trail.

The easier way to do this is to buy a TJ and then source the rear D-44 to put in it, this has several advantages, the TJ D-44 isn't a lot better than the D-35c, the tubes are much the same and just how much stronger it is is very debatable, other D-44s and 8.8s are much stronger than the Rubi or TJ 44s or the 35c.

Here is some fast & light reading that will help - Used Dana 44 Axles for Jeeps - JP Magazine
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:36 AM   #8
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I wouldn't say sourcing D44 is an easier route to go, especially for one unacquainted with wrenching on a Jeep. I'll leave axle debating for another day.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O_M_Jeep View Post
Research what your looking for, 01-02 with a D-44 means your looking for a Rubicon, and the price will be higher, if it has a D-44 and it isnt a rubi then someone has put that axle in and it usually is a ways down the modification trail.

The easier way to do this is to buy a TJ and then source the rear D-44 to put in it, this has several advantages, the TJ D-44 isn't a lot better than the D-35c, the tubes are much the same and just how much stronger it is is very debatable, other D-44s and 8.8s are much stronger than the Rubi or TJ 44s or the 35c.

Here is some fast & light reading that will help - Used Dana 44 Axles for Jeeps - JP Magazine
What are you talking about? No such thing as an 01-02 Rubicon. Plenty of Sport and Sahara models came stock with the D44 rear.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O_M_Jeep View Post
Research what your looking for, 01-02 with a D-44 means your looking for a Rubicon, and the price will be higher, if it has a D-44...

The easier way to do this is to buy a TJ and then source the rear D-44 to put in it, this has several advantages, the TJ D-44 isn't a lot better than the D-35c, the tubes are much the same and just how much stronger it is is very debatable, other D-44s and 8.8s are much stronger than the Rubi or TJ 44s or the 35c.
...
Rubicons first arrived in 2003. The TJ D44 uses the same tubes and axle shafts as the D30 which is very different than the D35.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:06 AM   #11
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2002 Jeep Wrangler 4.0L w/lift

Been posted for about a month & the price is OBO
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:25 AM   #12
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not too picky, but may want to prioritize your needs - if the 35c is a deal-breaker, that's a top priority... likewise with color, trans, doors, etc.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:01 AM   #13
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Good list, but I wouldn't get hung up on the half doors (kind of like your feelings on the hardtop). The full full doors are worth more and more sought after. It would be easy to trade off your full doors for a set of half doors (plus make a few $'s). If you were in my area, I'd do it today.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:15 AM   #14
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I saw nothing even remotely "picky" in your criteria. (Criterion is singular, heh, heh, heh...)

You listed only very basic stuff. You could list a lot more before ever being considered picky.

Had you stated that you would only consider looking at a particular special edition or only ones with Currie steering and Poison Spyder fenders, or one with a Chevy small block V8 retrofitted, THAT would have been picky.

Don't compromise if you know what you want. Your list looks to be a good one. It is not a combination of traits that would be considered uncommon, so it *is* out there somewhere. Stick to your guns and get what you want. You may have to wait a bit to find "your" jeep, but you will be happier in the long run.

Make sure to post some pics when you finally get it.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #15
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You should be able to find a TJ that meets that criteria in time. There seems to never be a shortage of TJs so one will come along and your "pickyness" is completely acceptable when trying to find your Jeep.

Only thing that might be a little tough is finding the Dana 44 rear axle. Best chance would be finding a Sahara with a towing package since a Rubicon(depending on the milage) may be a little out of your price range.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SurfKaster View Post
2002 Jeep Wrangler 4.0L w/lift

Been posted for about a month & the price is OBO
That's actually a really nice looking Jeep! Shiny! Confused where the spare is but really nice. If I didn't love my current TJ (never going to happen) I would offer $9500 cash and see if I could get a bite
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:46 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by PineappleOranges View Post
Can you be too picky when buying a vehicle? This would be my first owned vehicle, and a Wrangler TJ at that, but I have a lot of criterion.





My Criterion:
  • DANA44 Rear-Axle
  • 4.0L I6 Engine
  • Soft Top - Willing to accept a hard top, as I can trade/buy a Soft Top.
  • Half Doors - I'd prefer to not have to buy these, but I am willing to accept Full Doors.
  • Preferred Color: Yellow (favorite), Blue, Red, or White
  • Mostly Stock - I'd like to make the modifications myself, after I'm acquainted with the Jeep.
  • Model Year - Probably 2001-2002.
  • Price - No more than $8500-$9000 (USD). No More than $4500 lol
  • Fair GOOD Condition - I plan to renew interior surfaces.
  • Manual Transmission - I still need to learn to drive stick. Hah.
  • Mileage - Under 200,000 140,000 mi.
I think that is about it.
The bold blue was my list......I was much pickier than you (throw in no/minimal frame rot AND no rear main seal leak).... and I found it within 2 months, but I would have waited longer.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:52 AM   #18
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With you living in Florida where it gets really hot, I would not buy a 2001. 2000 and 2001 model years came with a faulty cylinder head that's prone to cracking if the motor overheats. By 2002, Jeep fixed the problem.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:46 PM   #19
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Owning a Jeep as always been my dream vehicle, so when I finally ad the money I spent 6 months looking. I was picky about color mostly and wanted one in good shape. I also wanted to buy one with a hard top because I planed on buying the soft top I wanted and having both.

Don't regret it and I got exactly what I wanted, good luck on your search
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:14 PM   #20
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With you living in Florida where it gets really hot, I would not buy a 2001. 2000 and 2001 model years came with a faulty cylinder head that's prone to cracking if the motor overheats. By 2002, Jeep fixed the problem.
Where would I find additional information on this issue? At least in my opinion, Florida doesn't get that hot, but then again I think 72 is really cold.

I appreciate all the opinions and advice. I was beginning to think I was being too specific in what I wanted. Now I know that I was only at the tip of the iceberg!

My reason for 2001-2002 was because someone said this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by flatlander757 View Post
If you want a soft top and plan on actually modding your Jeep then IMO 2001-2002 are the best. If you want a hard top then back to I think 99 is also good.


Here's why:

2001 was the first year for the sailcloth top... not the stupid thin crap in the 2000 and earlier Jeeps.

01-02 still have the EVAP stuff under the hood... if you ever want to stretch or do flush tail lights then it gets in the way because on 03+ it is in the RR fender area... big pain with a fuel cell too.

01-02 have the best transmissions IMO both auto and manual... the NV3550 is great and was started in 99 or 00 IIRC but 04 or 05+ you get the NSG370 6 speed which I don't like. NV3550 is stronger. The 32RH is also better... it's simpler and isn't integrated into the PCM aside from TCC lockup unlike the 42RLE... which is the biggest POS you can get. It's weak, has a HORRIBLE OD ratio, is NOT easy to swap for something else because the PCM requires it's inputs and outputs, and because of the OD ratio you need to gear deeper than normal for tire sizes... IE 4.88s on 33s is BARELY enough... unless you have a Rubicon you can't go to 5.13s.

03+ has a different tub... and if you have to install rocker guards on one it kinda sucks because one of the bolts will go through the tub inside a big "bubble" near the seatbelt mechanism... you need to drill a big round access hole just to put the nut on the backside of it. 02 and earlier and easy.

02 and earlier has a bit of space underneath the rear seat... IIRC you can't even fit your hand under the rear seat of an 03+... you can put a handy storage drawer on the 02 and earlier Jeeps.



00+ have the distributorless system on the 4.0s... so the 01-02 has that covered.


The only thing I like on the 03+ over the 02s and earlier is the interior dash and switches... I hate the headlight switch on the earlier ones and the dash switches under the radio and whatnot. The seats are nice too. But that is all subjective and my personal opinion. All the other stuff is worth it to sacrifice the interior... If I knew what I know now I would have bought an 01 or 02 TJ for my build.
The NV3550 changes in 2005 to the NSG370, according to: https://sites.google.com/site/jeepchanges/

Perhaps, I'll change my range to 2001-2004.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:28 PM   #21
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Really no problem with the NSG 370 except the first year of it with the TSB on the reverse. But both transmissions are very reliable.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:56 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by PineappleOranges View Post
Where would I find additional information on this issue? At least in my opinion, Florida doesn't get that hot, but then again I think 72 is really cold...
CLICK HERE

Trust me, don't get a 2000 or a 2001 if you live in an area where your Jeep might overheat, unless you plan on replacing the head.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Border Dave View Post
CLICK HERE

Trust me, don't get a 2000 or a 2001 if you live in an area where your Jeep might overheat, unless you plan on replacing the head.
Thanks for the 'heads' up. I'll take this under advisement. Perhaps, I can use this to my advantage if I do purchase a 2001, if it doesn't have a TUPY head and get $500+ off.
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Old 06-06-2014, 02:57 AM   #24
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I don't think you are being picky, but I would be willing to compromise depending on what you find. Like it was stated above, prioritize you list. My list was similar, but my biggies were the 4.0, 5 speed and a/c (daily driver in Texas). The color didn't matter too much to me as long as I liked it (the condition the one I got was so good the color didn't bother me, it's silver). The one thing I wished I had paid more attention to was the gear ratio. I've never lifted a vehicle with larger tires, and ended up with the dreaded 3.07 gears. The d35 doesn't bother me too much for my needs, but I'm finding it may be more worthwhile to upgrade the axle than regear it.
Just keep your eyes open, and pay attention to how long an ad has been listed. Mine was listed at $2,000 over my budget, but I was able to negotiate it to where I only had to stretch it a little because it had been listed for a while. Eventually your Jeep will choose you.
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Old 06-06-2014, 04:08 AM   #25
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I've began prioritizing and have already sent out several inquiries, via email. For 2001-2002, I'm also asking about whether the 0331 cylinder head has ever been replaced.

I'm actually starting to not mind the color Black as much too. My fear of it is that it will be hotter inside. Those green Sahara seats are growing on me too.

It seems I was worrying too much about it being soft top, and half door. Obtain the TJ, and then worry about trading/buying those.
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Old 06-06-2014, 05:59 AM   #26
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I dont think your being too picky, but its going to take a loooong time to find whats just right. I was the same way (gave in to the weaker axle though) and found what was right for me. It also took 2 years of staring at craigslist too lol so as long as your patient something will pop up. Good luck on your buy!!
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:05 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by PineappleOranges View Post
Can you be too picky when buying a vehicle?
Its only too picky depending on the number of possible candidates you can find to evaluate for purchase. If your list results in zero vehicles, then you might need to relax on some items.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:58 AM   #28
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...........Only thing that might be a little tough is finding the Dana 44 rear axle. Best chance would be finding a Sahara with a towing package since a Rubicon(depending on the milage) may be a little out of your price range.


Just to clarify for the O.P.: the factory never offered a Towing Package or Tow Group on any TJ. And there are likely to be as many TJ Sports with the D44 as there are Saharas w/ the D44, if you are narrowing your search to model years 2001-2002.

After model year 2002, all TJ Saharas came with the D44 rear axle, and of course all Rubicons did also.

The 4.0L with the 5-speed manual and Dana 44 rear axle, imo, make the best TJ's regardless of the other stuff. Happy TJ hunting.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:59 AM   #29
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After model year 2002, all TJ Saharas came with the D44 rear axle,, and of course all Rubicons did also.
You sure about that? Only standard issue that I'm aware of is the Rubi, unlimited, & Rocky Mt Edition. Maybe Willys too, but not 100%
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:09 AM   #30
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After model year 2002, all TJ Saharas came with the D44 rear axle, and of course all Rubicons did also.
.
Now that you have said that, I think i can recall an older thread where it was mentioned, probably by Jerry. Good fix

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