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Old 05-26-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
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GOT THE JEEP FEVER, buying my first Wrangler!

Ok guys, I have been on the forum regularly for the past 2 months and all I do in my spare time is read jeep forums and look for deals on TJs. I don't know what's come over me but i gotta say, i love jeeps and will have one soon enough. i am torn between buying stock and building it up myself (Navy Machinist by trade so I'm really experienced with rust and very "mechanically inclined) or just saving up and searching for a deal, buying exactly what i want, already done just the way i like it. like I said, I'm on here every day and have come to truly enjoy the forum, experience, and all around jeeper camaraderie and in the same spirit, value you all's opinion greatly. Also, even though I feel i know a ton more about jeeps and how to deal with the issues and using imagination to inspire cool mod more than a lot of actual jeep owners, i feel as if I need to seek out advice on buying a jeep, like, is there something out there I'm not thinking about or considering while looking at jeeps for sale, any insight to getting a great deal on a solid jeep would be awesome, thanks!!! ~Darrell

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Old 05-26-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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I think buying a stock one is best option. You can be more assured there isnt anything done wrong on it and building it yourself gives you more pride in it and its fun too! Gives alot of good stories and lets you really learn how the jeep works. But yes the jeep fever has overcome many of us. And theyve overcome our wallets too, J.E.E.P. - Just. Empty. Every. Pocket.
Haha but welcome to the forum and soon to be Jeep owner! Keep us posted on your finds

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Old 05-26-2013, 08:14 PM   #3
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Yeah what he said....IMO buy it as close to "stock" as you can get and build it your way....and not to be a wet blanket, but if you truly plan on doing a lot of Mods/ building it pretty extreme save your money and get the most "basic" stripped Jeep you can find.

Doesn't make sense (IMO) to buy a Rubi when you know you will be swapping gears and maybe axles as well....Welcome to the Forum!! Good Luck!!
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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I think buying a stock one is best option. You can be more assured there isnt anything done wrong on it and building it yourself gives you more pride in it and its fun too! Gives alot of good stories and lets you really learn how the jeep works. But yes the jeep fever has overcome many of us. And theyve overcome our wallets too, J.E.E.P. - Just. Empty. Every. Pocket.
Haha but welcome to the forum and soon to be Jeep owner! Keep us posted on your finds
I will post as soon as i become "one of you" lol... i have come across a lot of jeep owners who didn't look it over well before they bought and ended up dealing with a lot of rust issues. Is that common or can I get one in a dry place (common sense taking over) and a bit safer? I've also heard summer os a terrible time to buy so i guess I should wait, I need to save up the money to begin with since I refuse to finance anything (the borrower is slave to the lender) so it might be Christmas until i'm a serious buyer but want to do all by homework and KNOW what I'm doing when the time comes.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:15 PM   #5
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Welcome My suggestion is to find an unmodified Wrangler with an I6. Chances of finding one already built exactly the way you want it will be remote. Also most people think they should be able to recoup all the money they spent on mods when they sell, not to mention a stocker is less likely to have been beat on.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:19 PM   #6
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you make a damn good point... whenever i see nerf bars for example, or a stock jeep, the first thing that comes to mind is " wee, at least i know they haven't been off road". kind of defeats the purpose of owning a jeep but to each their own i guess. thanks for they replies so far, keep 'em coming!
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:26 PM   #7
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@thgr8alex, you have a sweet jeep Brother! pretty close to what mine will look like in the end. Once I get intimate with my jeep (that i don't have yet...lol) and set it up just the way I want it, i plan on saving for a bad @$$ 50K plus rig for straight Krawling but baby steps right...
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Old 05-26-2013, 10:13 PM   #8
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The first TJ I bought last year was pretty much stock. I have built it the way I wanted and I know Most of the issues I have left to deal with. TJ # 2 was purchased ( I wasn't there) as a replacement for the first one which my daughter drove while we built it. It has a lift already installed ( soon to be replaced ) and various other mods that will be removed. It was all about looks to her, so now I get to start over and build it right. I didn't have to pay any more for all the mods done to the second jeep but still it has a piss poor job done on most of the mechanical work done to it. I would buy stock and build it your way.

Just my .02

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Old 05-26-2013, 11:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by darcong View Post
@thgr8alex, you have a sweet jeep Brother! pretty close to what mine will look like in the end. Once I get intimate with my jeep (that i don't have yet...lol) and set it up just the way I want it, i plan on saving for a bad @$$ 50K plus rig for straight Krawling but baby steps right...
Hahah thanks man, i actually bought it with a few things done already but i soon found out things that needed replaced or fixed hahah so its basically all me now which makes me like it even more. Hence my suggestion on finding a stock one(you wont find things that need replaced, only upgraded to your liking haha). Ive already got a few things in line for the next few weeks. I will be monstalining the interior (have the boxes waiting in my room), replacing my slightly incorrect size and not so great skyjacker shocks with a nice set of bilstien 5100s (will hopefully purchase soon), a new exhuast system(mines stock and rusted, leaning toward flowmaster 40), and some maintenance things like spark plugs and oil. These things sure will occupy your time!!!-in a good way
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:07 PM   #10
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Thanks mud... that seems to be the consensus. I will most likely buy one stock and build her up. What are the "make sure you look for this" and "make sure it has that" out there that you all wish you would have done on your first TJ?
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:39 AM   #11
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The do's and dont's are highly subjective. Dana 44 seems to be a sought after rear end. Mine has the 35 daughters has the 44. Mine is built like a tank with the super 35 upgrade so i'm not worried. I lke the I6 better than the I4 motor, a little more power is always nice. We have one hard and one soft top I like both for diffrent reasons.

Regardless of what you get research before you do any mods and ask questions. The guys here are incredible and always eager to help. Good luck with the search it's half the fun.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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@thgr8alex, you have a sweet jeep Brother! pretty close to what mine will look like in the end.....
Ha! There is no end! Lol
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:13 AM   #13
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ha! There is no end! Lol
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:23 PM   #14
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what i don't want to happen is to buy a jeep and then go wheeling and have another jeeper say "oh, you shouldn't have bought that year or that _____ fill in the blank, that tranny sucks, the A/C goes out in "those" all the time, or you should have made sure it had ____" last thing i want is to buy one and someone tell me I made a bad decision and that i will need to dump a bunch of money into it to fix a common issue that i could have avoided otherwise... thoughts?
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:58 PM   #15
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There's a lot to do (6-8grand, or more) worth of stuff to do before even considering an axle swap on a Rubicon. Plus, many people WILL want your rubicon axles if you do decide to ditch them (they are not cheap).

I was overwhelmed with keeping track of trim options/what people built their jeeps up with, so I narrowed my search to 2005/2006 Rubicons and couldn't be happier with that as a platform to work from. You should also consider buying in CA/AZ/NM/Desert if you want to avoid rust issues all together.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:30 PM   #16
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Personally if your going to build a krawler i would just buy an 05 LJ not a rubi (because i would want the longer wheel base for big ass tires) for real cheap that has high miledge. I would tear the whole engine apart bore it out to a monster 4.6 with some 10.5 to 1 compression pistons have the head send out and rebuild new valves longer stoke everything. Ditch the axles and all the junk. Buy a full floating 14 Bolt for the rear for like $150 add a disk break conversion kit for like $200. And you can get them with 4.88 or 5.13 gears in them already so you dont ave to regear. See if you can find maybe dana 60 (most people like the kingpins) but its a dana 60 so even if you put 40's on that you will be fine. drop the cash and get some fox 2.0 shocks and do like a 6 inch lift (maybe more) depending on how twisty you wanna get then some armor and your ready to rock. your also going to need longer custom shafts to accomdate the different size u-joint on the transfer case and each of your axles. but if it was up to me and you wanted to do a legit crawler that is what i would do and as long as you have time, patience, skill, and get the jeep for cheap. it wont be even close to 50grand if you do all that i swear. and you will have a blast taking the engine apart and rebuilding everything. it may take you 6 months to build the whole thing to how you want to do it but the right rig sitting on 40s or 42's even can pretty much get over anything. theres also alot of other things you have to do but thats how i would do it if i had to do mine all over again and it definatly would NOT be your daily driver.

Heres a link to maybe get you motivated from a guy on this forum doing pretty much everything i typed. except he bought a TJ and extended the body. maybe it will help you get an idea of what you want to turn your rig into.
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/addi...-225049-6.html

Good luck and happy jeepin
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:45 PM   #17
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There's a lot to do (6-8grand, or more) worth of stuff to do before even considering an axle swap on a Rubicon. Plus, many people WILL want your rubicon axles if you do decide to ditch them (they are not cheap).

I was overwhelmed with keeping track of trim options/what people built their jeeps up with, so I narrowed my search to 2005/2006 Rubicons and couldn't be happier with that as a platform to work from. You should also consider buying in CA/AZ/NM/Desert if you want to avoid rust issues all together.
thanks! like you, i like the 2005-06 for two main reasons, 1. they are the last years of the TJ so would have less mile, rust, abuse, etc than older TJs and wouldn't go newer because of that crappy 3.8L engine they threw in the 07-11 JKs plus they just look weird to me and feel weird behind the wheel. when I think Jeep I think TJ (or CJ). 2. it's the 4.0L/6 speed manual tranny combo i like. I drove my friends '06 4.0L stick and immediately fell in love. a rubicon would be a plus and most likely what i will get for my daily driver, it has all the goodies standard and can get away with most trails and mods until you go bigger than 35" rubber.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:47 PM   #18
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If you come across a jeep that is lifted and its a good deal you should think about it. Changing it is not that bad. Just have the basis your looking for like the right lift is huge.

You need a plan though. Tire size, lift size, what are your state laws if any, throwing on a bumper you want after that is no big deal.

Also if your going to go pretty big then what about axle swaps? If you find a jeep with a ford 8.8 already then why not get that. I don't like offroading with c clip rear ends. To much hassle.



If you can for a mild build get a rubicon.
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:49 PM   #19
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does anyone have a 1997-2004 with the 5 speed? if so, how do you like it compared to the 6 speed? what is top speed for the 5 and 6 speeds?
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Old 05-27-2013, 01:53 PM   #20
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I plan on putting a 4" lift running 35s on a rubicon, will the stock rear end gears be sufficient? plus, what is the difference (besides the price) between a short arm and long arm lift?
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:02 PM   #21
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If you come across a jeep that is lifted and its a good deal you should think about it. Changing it is not that bad. Just have the basis your looking for like the right lift is huge.

You need a plan though. Tire size, lift size, what are your state laws if any, throwing on a bumper you want after that is no big deal.

Also if your going to go pretty big then what about axle swaps? If you find a jeep with a ford 8.8 already then why not get that. I don't like offroading with c clip rear ends. To much hassle.



If you can for a mild build get a rubicon.
thanks for the advice! what is a "c clip rear end"?
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #22
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Personally if your going to build a krawler i would just buy an 05 LJ not a rubi (because i would want the longer wheel base for big ass tires) for real cheap that has high miledge. I would tear the whole engine apart bore it out to a monster 4.6 with some 10.5 to 1 compression pistons have the head send out and rebuild new valves longer stoke everything. Ditch the axles and all the junk. Buy a full floating 14 Bolt for the rear for like $150 add a disk break conversion kit for like $200. And you can get them with 4.88 or 5.13 gears in them already so you dont ave to regear. See if you can find maybe dana 60 (most people like the kingpins) but its a dana 60 so even if you put 40's on that you will be fine. drop the cash and get some fox 2.0 shocks and do like a 6 inch lift (maybe more) depending on how twisty you wanna get then some armor and your ready to rock. your also going to need longer custom shafts to accomdate the different size u-joint on the transfer case and each of your axles. but if it was up to me and you wanted to do a legit crawler that is what i would do and as long as you have time, patience, skill, and get the jeep for cheap. it wont be even close to 50grand if you do all that i swear. and you will have a blast taking the engine apart and rebuilding everything. it may take you 6 months to build the whole thing to how you want to do it but the right rig sitting on 40s or 42's even can pretty much get over anything. theres also alot of other things you have to do but thats how i would do it if i had to do mine all over again and it definatly would NOT be your daily driver.

Heres a link to maybe get you motivated from a guy on this forum doing pretty much everything i typed. except he bought a TJ and extended the body. maybe it will help you get an idea of what you want to turn your rig into.
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/addi...-225049-6.html

Good luck and happy jeepin
awesome! thanks man, i will have to check out the link. for my crawler, i definitely will be getting an LJ... i'm gonna try to load a pic of my dream rig...
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Old 05-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #23
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does anyone have a 1997-2004 with the 5 speed? if so, how do you like it compared to the 6 speed? what is top speed for the 5 and 6 speeds?
Limited at 90. 6 Speed has lower first, the rest are similar. In the 5 speed you would likely want to regear at 33", in the 6 speed you'd be fine.
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Old 05-27-2013, 03:13 PM   #24
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For two reasons I agree with the others to try to find one as stock/unmodified as possible. First, a lot of clueless people install junk they know nothing about & they either buy the cheapest part they can or they screw up how it gets installed. Second, you will know everything you install like the back of your hand so future repairs or modifications will be a lot easier.

Also, having had two TJs, I started with a 5-speed but later converted it to an automatic. When that TJ was stolen three years ago, I made sure my replacement was an automatic too. For around town, a manual is fine but on more difficult or hardcore trails, an automatic works better. Not to mention an automatic gives 2-3X greater low-end torque due to the magic of its torque converter. Some extra-steep climbs on waterfalls (dry) were impossible with my 35" tires, 4.88 axle gearing, & 5-speed manual transmission. The only way I could get up them was with the use of a winch. After converting to the automatic, those same climbs were then doable from the extra engine torque/better low-end crawling ability without the use of my winch. So if it were me and if you plan to really get into hardcore offroading, I'd get one with an automatic... though, I know, some people think manuals are the only way to go.

If you want to really build up your Jeep with big tires, lockers, etc., make sure to hold out for one with a Dana 44 rear axle which is an optional extra-cost much stronger axle. The basic standard Dana 35c rear axle is not strong enough for a locker & big tires. Most used Jeeps with the more desirable Dana 44 rear axle cost no more than one with the standard Dana 35 since most Jeep owners don't know the difference.

Enjoy, what you're getting into is a LOT of fun... not to mention the great camaraderie between Jeepers. And you can keep doing it even once you get old... as I am.

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