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Modded Jeep 6 12.77%
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:04 PM   #1
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Buying USED: Modded or stock? Why?

Hey guys. I've read all over the place that many people say its better to buy a Jeep stock than with modifications.

I was just looking for some clarification. For example... If you, with experience, put on a lift kit and realized after driving it a bit it was SOMEHOW done wrong, wouldn't you fix it? I can't imagine someone putting a kit on wrong and being able to drive much anywhere with it.

In other words.. what sort of potential dangers are there to buying a used rig that has been lifted?

Mind you I am taking into consideration axles and gear ratios. I won't as much as look back at a rig I found out doesn't have a rear Dana 44. If its geared lower, I can live with that as I can re-gear. ( I have yet to find one higher than 3:73 )

I can COMPLETELY understand this angle:

"I am going to buy a low-mile, one-owner, stock used Jeep so I can build it the way I want to! "

It makes perfect sense. If everyone had the means of doing this I'm sure most everyone would go this route.

HOWEVER.

Not everyone has those means or monies to spend. ( cough cough me )

I am on a budget. I want to spend no more than 12,000 TOTAL. W fees and whatnot.

It would be ideal for me to get a rig with a lift kit and oversized tires on it already... is it really that bad?

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:21 PM   #2
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It depends on what you want to do with the jeep. I always say buy stock and build it the way you want. Or don't build it. Stock jeeps are very capable on the trail. And a used stock jeep is less likely to have been abused offroad IMO. It sounds like you've done your homework. You can probably save money buying one with the PROPERLY done mods vs. modding it afterward. But it'll take you longer to find it. Get a stock one

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Old 11-10-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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It depends on what you want to do with the jeep. I always say buy stock and build it the way you want. Or don't build it. Stock jeeps are very capable on the trail. And a used stock jeep is less likely to have been abused offroad IMO.
It sounds like you've done your homework.
VERY MUCH SO! I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT USED TJS FOR ALMOST 3 MONTHS AND HANGING AROUND THE TJ FORUM TO LEARN ALL I CAN ( I DRIVE A YJ )


You can probably save money buying one with the PROPERLY done mods vs. modding it afterward.

HOW EXACTLY CAN I CHECK THIS ? IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE A LONG EXPLANATION BUT FOR EXAMPLE: I'M GOING AFTER WORK TO CHECKOUT A TJ WITH A LIFT. HOW DO I KNOW BY CHECKING IT OUT ON THE LOT THAT IT IS DONE PROPERLY. I'D ASSUME A TEST DRIVE TO CHECK FOR VIBES. WHILE DRIVING I CAN ALSO CHECK FOR STIFFNESS; THEY MAY NOT HAVE EVERYTHING TORQUED CORRECTLY... THATS ABOUT ALL I KNOW



But it'll take you longer to find it. Get a stock one
IT IS TAKING LONG! LOL. I'M WAITING ON BITES ON MY YJ SALE ALSO CHECKING MULTIPLE WEBSITES MULTIPLE TIMES DAILY TO FIND ONE JUST RIGHT. I JUST LACK THE MECHANICAL KNOWLEDGE WHEN A TJ WITH A LIFT IS IN MY FACE. THE COIL THING IS NEW TO ME
I guess some tips would be good for a novice to TJs for checking its right.
I know the general things...checking for rust, frame rust vs. surface rust, peeking under the carpets for rotting etc.

EDIT: I want the rig for a daily driver and for hitting up the trail. I don't want a rig with over 4.0" of suspension lift. Then we start with the long arm/short arm changes, right?
I want oversized tires- preferably 33s but I can deal with 31s I suppose!
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:40 PM   #4
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I'm the voice of the "stock jeeper" here. I'll let more knowledgeable members tell you what to look for regarding properly done lifts. My advice would be stay as close to stock as possible if it's your DD
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:55 PM   #5
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understood. However there will be lift, I say! I can deal with 2" skyjacker and a 1.25 body lift. or 3"bds idk something along those lines. but my word...there WILL BE LIFT!
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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Unless the jeep has some super special mod I always try to buy stock. As for somebody having an issue with a modded jeep and fixing it.. Perhaps their fix is to sell it to someone else. If you do find a modded jeep you must have ask tons of questions:
1. who did the work?
2. Why did you go with part zyz
3. do you have records for the parts repairs etc.
4. What is the last item you replaced/fixed

This will give you an insight into the owners understanding of the Jeep. was it built by him/her or visa.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:18 PM   #7
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I bought my jeep with 55k miles on it and with a 4 inch suspension lift and 33's already on it, because honestly, I didn't have the money to buy it stock and mod it myself. I was scared in making this choice because I wasn't sure if the owner had abused it or anything, but looks like I got really lucky because i've had the jeep for a year now and love it, it runs great.
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Old 11-10-2010, 06:55 PM   #8
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i, perso, would look for a stock, just because of the abuse.(doesnt mean it hasnt been) but chances sre on ur side. you can find an older tj for $5/ 6k. then if your budget is $12k, you have plenty for mods and left over.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:34 PM   #9
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I was scared to buy a modified Jeep,myself.Primarily because IMHO,nobody is going to shell-out the megabucks required to upgrade everything UNLESS they plan to do something off-road,which leads to abuse,worn-out components,etc.I looked long and hard for a clean,stock,non-beaten Jeep that I could accept and be happy with.I started out wanting to spend around $7500.00.Everything I saw in that range was not for me.I wound up spending $12,500.00 to get what I wanted,which was a clean,nice,non-beaten Jeep.I am very happy with what I scored,but quickly realized that what I had planned to do with it is VERY EXPENSIVE,and I can't afford it.I thought I wanted a 4" lift,35" tires,and such.Then I joined this forum and 2 others,and found out fast that all the necessary parts required,such as gear and axle changes,new tires and wheels,SYE,CV driveshaft,etc.,etc. would wind up costing more than the initial purchase price.After this reality check,combined with the fact that this is my DD,I have decided to stay mostly stock and work my way up to bigger and better 1 step at a time.My advice is to do the same,unless your budget is way larger than mine,and stay away from somebody else's problems/mistakes,unless you know the seller personally.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:05 PM   #10
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OK story time . My nephew bought a 2005 last saturday One owner 21,000 miles . It has custom bumpers custom wheels and a 2-1/2 inch lift . It has a hard top and soft top also and AC. It is so clean it may be better then new . Now the best part he got all the original parts and bought it for $13,500.00

Yes it is modified but I would bet it has never seen dirt

BOTTOM LINE YOU GOT TO LOOK AT IT

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Old 11-10-2010, 08:09 PM   #11
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At 49 years old I have owned and modified over 50 different vehicles. Personally, I like projects, working with my hands, and the task of deciding how I want my vehicles to look and perform. So, I am a "buy it stock and modify it to suit your needs" type of person. Eventually, I think I am going to install the Old Man Emu 2 1/2" lift kit, as well as some other mods including the front and rear bumpers, but I am in no hurry. You can see a lot of different jeeps right here to help you formulate your own plan. What ever you decide, take your time and enjoy the ride.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:40 PM   #12
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I purchased mine already lifted with wheels and tires with a couple other lift essentials and thats all. It was already the way I wanted it and it was done professionally at a local off road shop. I still have lots of things to customize, add and tinker with so Im pleased. I for sure got a better deal buying it already modified but still gotta consider what your wants and needs are and of course budget. Def shop around, there are so many jeeps out there, youll find what you want.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:48 PM   #13
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I bought a 05 with 4" RCD lift and TRXUS 33's. It also had hard and soft tops with 48k miles. I bought it on Sunday, and took it back on Monday. Been there ever since. They had to send it out to a specialty shop to have the lift removed and reinstalled from step one. I could have done it, but they shouldn't have sold it without checking it out. I got compliments the whole day it was in my possession. I bought it like that because it was a good price for a low mileage Jeep with all those mods, and it would have taken me a year to get it like that paying cash for parts. At least its getting fixed for free, but if I had bought it from Joe Shmoe on the street, I would have had to do it myself or pay someone to fix it if I couldn't.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:33 PM   #14
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I bought mine stock. I went and test drove a really nice looking solar yellow 4 inch lift 33s everything I wanted. But it was done by the wrong people who didnt know much of what they were doing. The guy even installed a new trackbar to help it drive straight but it drove like crap pulling all over the road. I bought my 03 wrangler sport completely stock one owner with 113xxx drives like a beauty for $9000. So with $3500 in your pocket still, Im sure you could do everything you want with it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:06 PM   #15
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Those who say buy stock never modified are insane! They will tell you to stay away from other peoples problems and mistakes. What stock vehicles don't have problems and the owners never made a mistake with them? Why, that is amazing! Obviously, these people are not thinking logically. Why pay more for a stock stripped down Jeep that probably has numerous problems? I have found that most highly modified vehicles are super hard to sell. I dig that! Why spend more for less? All you have to do is go over the vehicle prior to buying it. Take it for a drive. I found a guy on Ebay unable to sell his 1980 CJ7. He has spent a fortune on it. He rebuilt the 360 cu in. engine . He put front and back Ford 9 inch axles on it with disc all around. He had custom seats with 4 point harness. All sheetmetal work was done professionally no rivets. He welded everythings. This guy knew how to weld. He did a suspension lift not a silly looking body lift. He put a custom cage in it. He had 38 inch super swampers on it. The body was mint. The interior was rhinolined. He was asking $5500 for it. He got no offers. I offered him $3500. He took my offer. He even dropped it off at my house. He was located 150 miles away from me. A similar stripped down CJ7 sold in Chicago at that time for $7K without a top or doors. My CJ7 even with the oversized tires can peel out. I got the front end to lift about 8 inch off the ground once. Now that is power! Hard to beat with a stripped down worn out stock CJ7.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:27 PM   #16
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I got this cheap. Yes, it needed minor repairs, all used vehicle need repairs. Stock vehicle are no exception to the rule. Their owners abuse them too.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:25 AM   #17
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Yeah I need to find a happy medium I suppose. I know a mom and pop dealership that specializes in Wranglers. They offer Skyjacker 2" lifts installed in their shop for $400 total and they just add it onto the price of the vehicle. This is advantageous in the fact that I can get the lift , professionally installed, before I roll out of the lot! This way I can get the upgrade instantly and not have to justify costs to my lady friend!

The only downfall is that they sort of- pick and choose where the wheels go. Some of them have 31's and 33's but are not necessarily lifted. Some have smaller tires. If I could just convince them to put 31's on a JEep I like then add the lift kit...

They also sell accessories. jerry cans, rough country heavy duty steering stabilizers, safari doors, front and rear rock crawler bumpers with d rings, 6" pocket flares, chrome grill inserts ( YUCK! ) and tube doors.

Essentially you can pick the Jeep and tell them what to add on it. I need to email them about tires though... it seems to be the only missing link.

Last night I test drove my first TJ with a lift
It was a 2003 Sahara with what I believe to be a 4.0 or 4.5" suspension lift on 33s. I almost creamed in my pants I didn't know what to do!

The ride was so smooth. It had the feeling of a Jeep but it was SO much smoother than my YJ!

I didn't know what to do with myself. The Jeep was out of my price range but it was right up my Jeep alley!

With all this in consideration. I think I could go with a 2.5 lift kit with 1.25 body lift. Or some sort of collaboration of the bunch. If the lift was truely 4" I don't think I need 4". It was a lot higher than I thought it would be.

Link to pics of the Jeep I drove


The dealer said he thought it was 6" but idk about that..

either way it was AWESOME! I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands around my own TJ
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:54 AM   #18
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is the poll new? I just voted and so far am the only one to have voted...lol


I chose stock....do the build yourself, so you know whats going into it and also that the work is done correct, and exactly how you like.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:14 AM   #19
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is the poll new? I just voted and so far am the only one to have voted...lol


I chose stock....do the build yourself, so you know whats going into it and also that the work is done correct, and exactly how you like.

It must be new I didn't do it though! lol

The forum gods set it up. Good idea too. My noggin' didn't think of it
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:48 AM   #20
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Bought mine with lift and tires. But done many other things myself. It was exactly what I was looking for. Basically got the lift and tires for free. Definitely saved me time and money.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:11 AM   #21
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See thats what I'm thinking. If I can get a rig with a lift and bigger tires off the bat it helps me financially. I wouldn't be able to get a rig stock and then quickly get shocks and lift and wheels and tires. If I get a rig with that installed I can focus on changing other things.

I do have the boundaries of axles though. I won't buy a rig unless it has rear 44 and geared to at least 3:73

I think the wrangler dealer that offers to put the lift on as part of the overall cost is my best bet. That way I can ensure I get it and not have to shell out cash money up front for the lift and tires + a 3,000 mile warranty.

I'm waiting for a response from that dealer to see if 2" Skyjacker is as high as they go. Also if they can put 31's on the Jeep of my choice by yankin' them off of another one. I think its plausible but we'll see.

They recently got a bone stock 2003 that they modded up. 4" suspension lift,33's 6" flares. Now they sell that and its prepped to go!
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:17 AM   #22
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I agree with you Phrankoff that is one nice Tj. His price is a bit too high. If it had a hard top I would consider it for about 10K. If I were you I would search Craigslist for one. The funny thing is when you are looking for one, they are hard to find cheap. When you aren't looking they seem to be everywhere cheap. With so many people out of work it won't be long before you find one for a good price. The secondary auto market is saturated with cars. Happy hunting!
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:20 AM   #23
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if you buy stock, you know what your getting.

if you buy modded, you don't know what your getting. the installed components could suck, cause problems, and you could have a mess on your hands. lots of jeep's i've seen used weren't setup properly, drove like absolute crap and got shuffled around from owner to owner because noone had the smarts to figure out wtf was wrong, and then fix it. Driveline vibes, death wobble, bottoming out shocks, no bumpstop extensions, too little caster, hack job brackets, crap springs, crap shocks, etc all come to mind. just because its modded doesn't mean it was done right.

if you buy modded, you really want to find something that has been done right, by someone that knows wtf they're doing. control arms, caster, steering, brakes, driveshaft angles, brake lines, track bars, bumpstops, tire clearance and more being accounted for. those rigs aren't cheap because the owner knows the difference.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:24 AM   #24
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I agree with you Phrankoff that is one nice Tj. His price is a bit too high. If it had a hard top I would consider it for about 10K. If I were you I would search Craigslist for one. The funny thing is when you are looking for one, they are hard to find cheap. When you aren't looking they seem to be everywhere cheap. With so many people out of work it won't be long before you find one for a good price. The secondary auto market is saturated with cars. Happy hunting!

Ya the guy told me he priced it aggressively. I thought it was a bit high for the mileage. I don't see him coming down too much on it though. If he sold that for 10,000 I would SNAG IT REAL QUICK!

The pictures don't do it justice- it is in awesome shape. HE told me he got a death wobble driving it 4 days after he got it. Had to replace the control arm I believe he said. It drove fine although I only went around 50mph highest
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:26 AM   #25
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I got my jeep stock and have done all the lift and work myself. It really comes down to personal preference. For me I like doing all the lift and work on it so I understand how to fix it, before I have to know on the trail. I like the confidence of knowing how my jeep works in the driveway so when something doesn't work on the trail I know how to fix it. but then again it all boils down to what you want in the end. so happy hunting
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:26 AM   #26
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My worry also about buying a built jeep. The seller can tell you what he thinks you wanna hear. He coulda wheel'd the sh!t out of the jeep, and it be ragged to hell because he didn't care about regular mantainence. Some people feel that if it starts every morning, there must not be anything wrong with it ... obviously you can get a good feel for that by taking it for a test drive, and maybe even getting it checked out by a mechanic you trust.

But I wouldn't want the headache of having to fix someone else problem down the road.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:37 AM   #27
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True. I looked at the underside of her and she was clean! skidplate had nothing but dirt/dust on it smooth as can be. the axle was insanely clean. It was a very clean rig. My guess is it was installed properly and made to look like an overroad rig. It sure showed no signs of ever being taken off road. biggest complaint was minor paint chippings where the fender flare met the body. Also the entry guards were missing and it showed some wear and tear. Everything underneath was clean. There was some apparent "wetness" around the muffler body. The rear axle, D44, also showed some moisture/wet properties around the underside. Possible leak? IDK much about that subject

I looked in every crevice I could. Minor surface rust around the shock mounts. IT was a clean diddy.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:57 AM   #28
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My worry also about buying a built jeep. The seller can tell you what he thinks you wanna hear. He coulda wheel'd the sh!t out of the jeep, and it be ragged to hell because he didn't care about regular mantainence. Some people feel that if it starts every morning, there must not be anything wrong with it ... obviously you can get a good feel for that by taking it for a test drive, and maybe even getting it checked out by a mechanic you trust.

But I wouldn't want the headache of having to fix someone else problem down the road.
Lol, most of the wheeling vids on youtube are stock jeeps. Whoever thinks if you buy a stock Jeep you're getting one that hasn't been abused is dead wrong. Like someone said already, all used vehicles have problems, and they could have all been abused or neglected. If you have the know how to fix someones elses f'up, and you can get a good deal on a modded Jeep, I say go for it. The only regret I have with mine is I ain't driving it because I made them fix it, and I didn't get it back yet. If they would have come down on the price as much as its costing them right now, I would have fixed it myself.

Edit: Also, I am 44 and I abuse the heck outta every vehicle I own, so buying from an old person is not always the best either. I would rather have an abused beefy aftermarket vehicle than an abused stock vehicle.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:26 AM   #29
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My vote ,mods are ok like lift rims and tires make sure theres a SYE if over 3.5" lift theres not really a lot to look at suspension wise if you look over each piece you can tell if their bent or twisted or not right.Drive it and drive it for as long as you can and at all speeds up to 60 or 70 mph.If theres some thing wrong a jeep will tell you by how she drives,death wobble worn bushings etc.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:43 AM   #30
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I bought stock, because I didn't have the money to mod and probably won't have it before ol' Theo kicks the bucket.

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