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Old 02-08-2011, 08:06 AM   #1
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Buying son a Wrangler

My 15 (almost 16) year old son wants a Wrangler badly. He loves the look of a lifted "mean" looking jeep. I want to help him with the journey. He will not take this Jeep off road but still wants the look. As I am sure you can all imagine I am trying to find the "happy medium" for him. (i.e. lifted but not to high, over size tires but not to big...)

We are the type of family that reads and researches before we purchase and this site is wonderful for that info we seek. I believe we have narrowed our search to a 97' though 06' Wrangler, however the 97-2000 is more likely in our price range. I also believe that the Sport or the Sahara are the models that seem to raise to the top for us.

All that being said here are my questions;

Where is the best place to find these for sale?

Can any of you more seasoned Jeep owners give any advise on models, upgrades....?

Do you believe I am heading in the right direction with the limited info I have provided?

Thank you all in advance for dealing with such basic questions, I know your information is going to be extremely helpful. You are welcome to e-mail me directly if you like at rpennell@phybus.com.

Thanks again,

RPX

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Old 02-08-2011, 08:20 AM   #2
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I think that you are on the right track. I realize that as a teen he wants his Jeep to look "Bad". I would try to stay as close to stock as possible to avoid problems that might arise by the PO's mods. This will also give him an incentive to "earn" upgrades. Giving him the opportunity to make modifications himself will give him not only an education but a sense of pride and a desire to take better care of it. Of course there are all the usual precautions such as checking the floor wells and frame for rust. Take it out and test the 4WD and run highway speeds to see if there are any handling concerns.
The best places to find his Jeep would be CraigsList and AutoTrader. You might even consider an older Rubi that has more stock upgrades.

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Old 02-08-2011, 08:51 AM   #3
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I am going to make a shameless plug here but you can buy him my Jeep.

Cars for Sale: 2004 Jeep Wrangler 4x4 in RIGBY, ID 83442: Sport Utility Details - 292833736 - AutoTrader.com
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:03 AM   #4
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Being 22 myself and not that far from the mentality of you son, I would recommend a wrangler for several reasons, as i would be weary as well. A kid with a jeep isn't gonna be out trying to race anyone else at the red light, but hey still still may be out driving over their head. Buying you kid a lifted 4x4 might make them the cool kid at school but lets face the facts. they are going to drive to fast or go off road. And since a wrangler isn't fast someone is gonna have to pull them out. Take the choice, buy him an old pos domestic, let him ruin it, then get him a good 2nd vehicle after he has learned.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:09 AM   #5
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Alright, strait from the mouth of a 16 year old:

I bought my 97 Sport lifted with 33's and have that 'bad' look. I do take her offroad. If I could do it all over again I would have bought it stock and done all the work myself. To answer your questions:

Craigslist is the best place to find used Wrangler (keep it local, in person only)

I'd say a good combo for a moderate mods would be a 2" BB with 32's. Not too pricey but still a cool look.

You seem to be asking all the right questions and you want to be an informed consumer. Which is awesome. If you find some local adds post them up and the peanut gallery will chime in on them

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Old 02-08-2011, 09:10 AM   #6
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I would have to agree, look for a stock configuration with low miles. Make sure it is in good safe conditon, check for frame rust or under carriage damage. Read up on the dredded Death Wobble. The following link is a great read for a first time purchaser of a Jeep.
Jeep Buying Forum FAQ: All Potential Buyers Start Here - JeepForum.com
Then let your son do his own build to his liking on the TJ. It will allow him to learn more about the Jeep. Take pride in his ride as a piece of what he accomplished, not what Daddy bought him. Let him earn the cash and invest his money into the work in progress, in the long run it will mean more to him.
Jeeps with in the model years you are looking at are a dime a dozen, but finding a good clean, non-abused TJ will take more looking, tire kicking, and time. But, they are out there. Don't get discouraged, don't limit yourself to one or two colors, don't limit yourself to only a hardtop or soft top, keep your options open. TJs are like a big trasformer toy...you start with the basic and build and configure from there. The aftermarket is only limited by your wallet and credit card limits. But, Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon can make the trip a little easier on the budget.
This is one time where research, investigation, and time can be your friend.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:12 AM   #7
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being 19 myself, and having wrecked my dads 00 sport he had had for every one of its 118k miles, i can see both sides of view. a wrangler isnt the best first vehicle for a kid, let alone a lifted one that has an even greater chance of rollover...and if you buy it for him, he wont respect it as he would had he bought it himself. it all comes down to his driving habits and his level of responsibility.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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One last word of advise, look for a 6 cylinder and stay away from the 4. I will get bashed for saying this, but...you can always drive a 6 cylinder slow and increase the power as needed. With the 4 cylinder, you can drive it slow...................
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:14 AM   #9
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being 19 myself, and having wrecked my dads 00 sport he had had for every one of its 118k miles, i can see both sides of view. a wrangler isnt the best first vehicle for a kid, let alone a lifted one that has an even greater chance of rollover...and if you buy it for him, he wont respect it as he would had he bought it himself. it all comes down to his driving habits and his level of responsibility.
This.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:15 AM   #10
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although, i can drive like a little old lady with my parents in the car/jeep and drive like an ahole when they arent with me...
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:16 AM   #11
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I'm 16 and got a wrangler a few months ago. I got a close to stock 2000 TJ sport 4.0l 5spd. The cost of it was $8000 and my dad agreed to pay for half because he gave my brother his old car. The only upgrades it had on it was a 2" budget boost and 31" BFG all terrains but those needed replacing. Since I was spending all of my money on car payments my dad agreed to pay for new tires and got 4 new 31x10.50r15 BFGs.

I like the fact of buying a vehicle stock because you never know how well they installed the stuff and how hard they wheeled it. I've been saving up my money slowly and buying some small stuff but now I'm saving up for a lift. It's good because it gives me a responsibility so I don't go out and blow all of my money on useless crap.

Another reason is because the wrangler is no speed demon. I rarely ever speed in mine because when I do, it scares the poo out of me. Wranglers are also very good in snow while in 4h and going slow. I have pulled several cars out of snowbanks, one of them was a Chevy Suburban. With all of this said, I thank Jeep for making such a great all around vehicle.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:23 AM   #12
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not go offroad LMAO really?
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:31 AM   #13
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I myself am only 20. I bought my Wrangler myself with my money, all by myself. I bought it stock so I can make it my own. My first car was a Cherokee, only 2 years younger than myself (1992). I would also recommend not getting a Wrangler for a first car, but that is my personal opinion. A used car or truck that he can beat up and get used to would be a good start. Wranglers are great but from what it sounds he wants, he will want a lift. Going from a Cherokee which was much lower to the ground than my Wrangler was a big jump, let alone going from no driving experience to a lift. Wranglers are a rare breed, and aren't necessarily the best ride for a beginner. If you do choose the wrangler, start stock. Let him earn the rest.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:35 AM   #14
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x2 on cherokee, while i have no experience of my own with um, they are much cheaper than a wrangler

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Old 02-08-2011, 09:39 AM   #15
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x2 on cherokee, while i have no experience of my own with um, they are much cheaper than a wrangler
I do miss my Cherokee, it had the I-6 which I still have, but it was a whole different type of animal. Also, cheaper to lift with the leafs.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:41 AM   #16
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also look for a dana 44 in the rear if your looking to install a lift and big tires. Lot less hassle and prob less money in upgrades in the long run
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:43 AM   #17
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also look for a dana 44 in the rear if your looking to install a lift and big tires. Lot less hassle and prob less money in upgrades in the long run
OP said his son doesnt want to take it offroad (blasphemy), so he should be fine with d35
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:47 AM   #18
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You might be better off with a stock YJ, '91-up. Harder to find them stock, but they will be cheaper. Less $ to crash in.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
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although, i can drive like a little old lady with my parents in the car/jeep and drive like an ahole when they arent with me...
I agree with him I'm 22 and did the same when I was your sons age and still do now! We all drive fast and get into accidents at first. I think buying a wrangler for his first car would be great cause it will last , but anything can happen! Would be best you get him a nice little beater car so he can beat up on and not care about. Buy the wrangler when he Is a little mature and has a couple of years of driving under his belt. Also I think it's important that not all wranglers come with ABS and for a first time driver I think abs will be great they are also high and will take sometime to get use to parking and all the good stuff. Something small at first is always best! I started off with a 90 ford temp haha but seriously let's be honest he will b happy with any car. It's a car that will give him that freedom he never had so he will enjoy it as I'm sure we all did in our first car. Like him I've always wanted a wrangler and a eclipse and a couple years last after working hard I brought both cars and own them both now. Save the wrangler for a graduation gift. Good luck tho on whatever you decided!
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:56 AM   #20
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at LEAST make him pay for gas. thatll teach him to go easy on the gas
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:02 AM   #21
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OP said his son doesnt want to take it offroad (blasphemy), so he should be fine with d35
He should still look into a 44 i mean either way that jeep is going to see a trail, whether he likes it or not!
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:09 AM   #22
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Both my sons (20 and 17) drive a TJ and enjoy them very much, even with the current gas prices.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:10 AM   #23
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Forgot to mention we found both on www.cars.com at local dealers but there are also plenty of individual owners with listings also. Good Luck
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:11 AM   #24
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I wouldnt say that he wont appreciate it as much if his dad buys him a car and helps him mod it. My parents bought me my first car (95 Grand Cherokee Ltd) when i got my license and I took care of it like I had paid for it myself. Granted i drove it faster than i prob should have, but that was going to happen even if i had bought it myself. Buying a kid a car has some pretty nice perks for the parents as well. I made a lot of runs to the grocery store as well as many other errands for my parents and they didnt need to drive me to school, sports, friends houses etc.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:12 AM   #25
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Just an opinion:
Get an automatic. Youthful exuberance (showboating or tantrums) combines with a tendency to "pop the clutch" can prove expensive on the drive train.

I'd suggest no lift, just get beefy Mud Terrain tires for the "look"

If ya absolutely gotta get a lift, dont go more than about 2"

Short wheel base vehicles are tricky enough. The higher the CG the easier to flip em. even on smooth, hard, level surfaces. Turn the wheel and hit the break at the wrong time....you dont spin.

Let him drive it for a while. Tell him that if he can keep from tearing it up for a year, you'll work WITH him to install a lift for his 17th B-day...TOGETHER. Then perhaps other chick-bait for his 18th.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:38 AM   #26
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the one thing i would say... if you dont want him to off road...You may want to take the linkage for the transfer case off the Jeep... just my $.02
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:56 AM   #27
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A kid with a jeep isn't gonna be out trying to race anyone else at the red light...
Really? Where did you grow up...Pleasantville? I buried the speedometer on a 85 Delta 88 *cough* on a closed track *cough cough* when I was in high school. That thing would have been lucky to put down 90 HP at the rear wheel. Steering had absolutely no feel at all in it...it was like those arcade games where you can sit there and free-spin the wheel. My best friend had a Dodge Ram with an even weaker engine...he tried in that thing to make high speed runs. Same thing in his mom's 80's Chrysler minivan (luckily the tire blew out after he slowed back down )

Doesn't matter how weak the thing is, kids are gonna 'see what its got'.

Anyway back on topic: definitely go for stock. If the kid wants the big tires and lift, he can pay for them himself. He's getting a nice vehicle given to him...the least he can do is modify it himself.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:06 PM   #28
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A kid with a jeep isn't gonna be out trying to race anyone else at the red light
one question. wanna race?
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:13 PM   #29
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I think that you are on the right track. I realize that as a teen he wants his Jeep to look "Bad". I would try to stay as close to stock as possible to avoid problems that might arise by the PO's mods. This will also give him an incentive to "earn" upgrades. Giving him the opportunity to make modifications himself will give him not only an education but a sense of pride and a desire to take better care of it. Of course there are all the usual precautions such as checking the floor wells and frame for rust. Take it out and test the 4WD and run highway speeds to see if there are any handling concerns.
The best places to find his Jeep would be CraigsList and AutoTrader. You might even consider an older Rubi that has more stock upgrades.
Very well put, and RPX this maybe the only useful post on this thread so far. My son is 6 and when the time comes that is exactly how I would handle the situation.
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:15 PM   #30
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Just an aside I might mention - my youngest son at 17 decided his "old" cherokee had 4WD and could go ANYWHERE. Well, it did, even when it couldn't get out by itself. We nearly drowned, crushed, shortened, and lengthened that vehicle too many times, and one four wheelin' episode on private property almost got the pants sued off him.

Youthful "yessirs" and "what I do with my friends my parents won't know" are two very real thoughts... until you get a call from the popo one morning...

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