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Old 01-22-2014, 12:05 PM
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rjs5689 is on a distinguished road
Considering a Wrangler

Hey everyone, I wanted to make a post introducing myself and explaining a bit about what I’m considering. I’ve been a car enthusiast for my entire (short) life. I’ve owned three very different vehicles. I started with a MKV GTI (which I went to town modifying). I moved north and sold the GTI for a Subaru Legacy GT SpecB (also very modified). After I moved back to NY, I decided it was time to switch cars for something small, light, fun and very trackable. I now own an NC Miata, which rides on custom coilovers and has some other work done as well. It makes a great daily/commuter car and is a warrior out on the track. I throw snow tires on in the winter time; coupled with the mechanical LSD I’ve never really had any trouble in the snow (unless it gets really deep—there’s only so much you can do with 3-4” ground clearance). I’ve thought about retiring it for the winter and picking up some sort of beater.

The two strong contenders for me are: returning to a Subaru and picking up a non-turbo, manual Roo. No model preference, just a non-turbo model because they’re more reliable and less maintenance hungry. I’d also be way too tempted to go crazy modding another turbo car. The more serious contender is a TJ Wrangler. I’ve found there’s a good number of Miata owners who also drive Wranglers. It must be because both vehicles are affordable, reliable, small, fun and easy to work on cars. I think I’d look out for a TJ Wrangler with the 4.0 I6 and a 5-speed. The Wrangler, like the Miata, seems to be a lifestyle vehicle. I’ve always found that to be awesome. Lifestyle vehicles are typically very fun (if it fits your lifestyle) and often have a great community of followers, which is also pretty important to me. I’m involved with my local Subaru and Miata car clubs and enjoy spending time with other owners. Beyond that, well, I’m kind of clueless about Wranglers, their options and what sorts of problems/issues to look out for.

I believe there were several differential options available for the TJ? Are some better than others or worth avoiding? What sorts of issues should I be looking out for with the I6? Does the 5mt have any serious problems? I’ve heard rust is a Jeep’s biggest problem; is there truth to this? Jeep seems to have a myriad of 4WD systems. Which ones would be available on the TJ Wrangler? Any other areas I should be concerned with? I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the Wrangler so I can make an educated, well-researched purchase.

The Jeep would serve as a second vehicle for me. I don’t intend to go off-road crazy with it but, let’s be honest, I like to tinker and have fun; it’ll probably see some light modification if budget allows. I’d like to keep it under about $8,000 and would plan to buy sometime mid/late summer. Is there a better time to buy a Wrangler? It seems like it’s a very popular choice year-round.

On a side note, I recently advised my father to look at a WK2 Grand Cherokee Overland V8 to replace his Escalade. He loved the GC and purchased it. He’s still thanking me for the recommendation. I’ve had some seat time in it as well and must admit the new GC is a very impressive vehicle. Unfortunately my budget for a second car is nowhere near what it would take to buy a WK2 the way I’d want it.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:23 PM   #2
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cosmokramer is on a distinguished road
Welcome. You will find a lot of info here. Read the the stickies. The quick and dirty is yes it is a lifestyle and most fall in love with it. The 4.0 is proven and strong option. The 5 speed is tried and true, and since it has been around for a long time many prefer it over the 6 speed.

If you don't plan on crazy off roading you won't need a rubicon which stock comes with gearing and axles for heavy off road use. You will usually pay a premium for a rubi, so just know you won't need that.

Rust can be a problem, but not as bad as older generations like the the YJ, if for no other reason because they are newer. Make sure the frame isn't rusted out which can be a huge issue if you have it, and then make sure there aren't any rusted out holes in the body. Other than that you can sand and take care of the rest.

Wranglers sell well almost any time of the year, but like any other car, especially convertibles, they can cost more during the summer when people really have an itch to go with the top down.

From what I understand, jeeps are the most modded vehicle around, so aftermarket support and availability is really great. If it's not the most modded, it has to be close. If you like modding and making it your own, you won't be disappointed.

For your budget of $8k, you should be able to get a tj, at least in my experience, but prices are also very regional. It maybe an older one, but don't worry so much about the mileage. The 4.0 is a high mileage engine if well taken care of.

Good luck. Ask lots of questions, you won't be disappointed if you get the right Jeep.

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Old 01-22-2014, 12:55 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2012
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bcsatch is on a distinguished road
Currently own my second jeep. Bought a 1999 TJ 2.5L new in '99. Had it for 5 years and traded it for a Tahoe (IDIOT). Bought my recent rig last October, 2005 Willy's 4.0L. Buy a JEEP, cars blow. Will never be without one again.
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