Now that that's out of the way, I've been wanting to buy a Jeep for months now--6 to be exact. I have read almost everything in the forums from rust problems to how to roll the soft top. I hope I could get opinions since I am close to buying my first but thinking about a couple of things.
I'm looking at an '03 that has 50k miles. Looks good and drives great, looks well maintained but I may be wrong therefore I don't know how to price that. Now for the couple of things.
I've read threads about rust and how it is normal. But how do you know how much is too much? This one has some surface rust on the axels, drive shaft and the usuals. I'm worried though about some rust from the tub bubbling from underneath the paint. Is it something that you get done and forget about? Or is it an indication of something far worse? Its in the lower back of the tub and another on the hood (not door) hinges. Also the screws that hold the driver seats are rusted, looks surface but on such a small thing I'm thinking its all it needs.
Another question is, I am really not a car savvy guy. I would probably learn some great things when I eventually buy one, and do simple stuff like change oil, but reading about boring holes and sawing off panels and welding metal to get to problem spots intimidates me. Can I own, maintain and love for years a Jeep with minimal mechanical knowledge?
All opinions are appreciated. And thank you for reading my book.
when in doubt, post pics!
Rust on the frame/axles/items of the sort, take a screwdriver, scratch the rust with it, does it scratch right down to metal? if so its surface and not much of a worry, can clean and put on your choice of rust prevention (plenty of threads on this to read up on). do you just keep scraping away more rust putting a pit or worse, hole in the frame? thats not that good, that rot and a sign to turn and walk away less you have a shit load more dollars than "cents".
I have no idea how to weld either, boring holes etc etc, not a MUST. go slow, one thing at a time. remember a hole in your metal vehicle isn't much different than a hole in a 2X4. go slow read how to do your project, get help from buddies or us here. we're happy to post up some pictures of our projects and there is a write up for pretty much everything LOL.
and rust ON the tub, the bubbling under the paint you were talking about, is not a good sign but again will depend on how deep the rust is on if it just needs sanded and repainted or if you are going to be patching in a panel.
jeep pricing is a very iffy thing, wranglers tend to hold their value and depending on how easy it is to find them. When I was jeep shopping I kept an eye on prices within 200 miles of me, turns out the same jeep a couple hours down the road literally went for about half the price as the locals.
As far as maintenance goes.. Wranglers are tanks, very simple body and frame design, about the only complicated part comes in the form of its suspension and steering, which is only complicated because its beefy. Great vehicles to learn on
i had the bubbling paint on the front fenders and on the bottom of the tub under the gas cap area. hubby used a grinding/sanding wheel and cleaned it up. mine didn't go very deep on the fenders. we bought duplicolor paint from a local mom and pop auto store and the fenders look as good as new. we haven't tackled the bottom of the tub yet because i ran out of paint. we'll be doing that soon.
my jeep came from Washington state but was traded at a small dealership in Pa so the under carriage is rusty we're going to clean that up and rattle can undercoat that before winternsets in.
if there is a jeep club in your area usually you can find someone to go with you to look at the jeep with a more expert eye. or check on the forums to see if you can find someone local that can help.
good luck with your search and purchase.
I factored you guys' advise plus my gut feeling and passed on this one. I think there will be others, and one that'll be mine. Will continue searching and researching, hopefully get one before winter but no rush for now.
In the mean time, I'll just do what I've been doing the past 3 months or so.. Reading up on projects, problems, solutions and anything in between in these forums.