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Old 08-25-2010, 08:57 AM   #1
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Holes in Front Bumper - Was this a tow-behind?

Hello! I am new to the forum and am looking to buy a used Jeep Wrangler to use as a toy. I have found a surprisingly clean '97 with only 68,xxx miles on it. The jeep is completely un-molested and the only thing I can see wrong with it is that there is a tear in the drivers seat.

It is four hours away from me so I can't go see it until Saturday. I have a concern about it though. Look at the picture below - there are a lot of holes in the front bumper. What is this from? Something tells me that this thing has been towed behind an RV all of its life. Does the odometer clock miles when being towed? All of the drivetrain is turning while being towed, right? So it is just like driving it??

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Old 08-25-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
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Shouldn't have that many holes I wouldn't think for a tow bar unless they were super bad at mounting it.

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Old 08-25-2010, 09:07 AM   #3
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if it were towed behind an RV for a long period of time don't you think the front end would be severely rock chipped from road debris or was it repainted?
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:09 AM   #4
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Maybe it's an aftermarket replacement?
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:12 AM   #5
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Those are the normal holes in a stock bumper. The rubber bumper pads that are mounted infront of the tow hooks are not there and the licence plate normally is mounted in the center. The odometer is electronic so miles are not recorded unless the vehicle is running.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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Has the same number of holes as my '03.

Looks VERY nice!!!

Before you drive 4-hours, have the seller give you the VIN and spend the $20 on a full carfax history report.

Pay close attention to flood damage or salvage title.

THOUSANDS of vehicles flooded in the Houston area (on several different occasions)

I doubt this is one of them, but it never hurts to be safe and do the research.

As for being towed, I agree with above. The are no rock-chipe, the front turn signal lenses are in great shape. There is no scraping on the bumper. I doubt it was towed for long, if at all.

Soft top LOOKS to be in better than average condition. Nice shine to the paint, but given the tire-polish on the Michelin's it looks to have been prepped for its close-up.

Like I said...it looks great. Numbers sound great!!!! Run that VIN report.

Let us know how it works out.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:22 AM   #7
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hood fits funky
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:25 AM   #8
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Wow. This is one active forum! Thanks for all the responses. So the holes are normal...that makes me feel better. Of course now he has a second guy that wants to buy it. Just my luck.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:26 AM   #9
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hood fits funky
On closer inspection that might explain why the front end looks so damn good, it looks new! Maybe the Jeep was written off in a front end accident! Is it just me or does the paint look to be a different shade on the windshield hinges? (might be lighting)
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:46 AM   #10
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"I have another buyer" is a common trick to get you to hurry up and buy.

Take your time.

Do your homework.

If someone else gets it, thats ok.

Always better to miss out on a good deal than to succeed in getting a bad deal.

Be patient. Be thorough.

I doubt the front end has been damaged too much. The fender flares have just enough hazing to make them look about right for original equipment (assuming it has been garaged). Either way, the flares have not been replaced lately. The history report tells all.

Do "Sports" come with steps? I thought that was a "Sahara" thing. I'm still learning too.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:52 AM   #11
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Something looks funky here....that is a stock bumper for sure with stock holes although the two rubber bumpers are missing. The hood concerns me with the poor fit and clearly the front paint is remarkably clean for a '97. The front lenses, plastics, bumper, license plate (wrong location) all look exceptionally nice for a 13 yr old rig.
Do a carfax first and if you go to see it get underneath and really look at what has be replaced up front or everywhere for that matter.
And as already stated, if it was pulled behing an RV, those miles would not be on the odometer.
It may be just fine.....1've got an all original '98 with like mileage and it is every bit as clean so it is possible... but do your homework or take someone with you that knows Wranglers. Let us know what you find.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:04 AM   #12
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Probably an after market replacement like someone already stated.
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Old 08-25-2010, 10:58 AM   #13
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Carfax is a great place to start, but remember, it'll only show up on a Carfax report IF IT WAS REPORTED to that agency. Don't look at Carfax as gospel, that's all I'm saying.

If you're still in doubt about whether the vehicle has been repaired, take it to a reputable bodyshop. Trust me, they'll know what to look for. ANY repairs are easy to spot by the trained, experienced eye.
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:12 AM   #14
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Carfax is a great place to start, but remember, it'll only show up on a Carfax report IF IT WAS REPORTED to that agency. Don't look at Carfax as gospel, that's all I'm saying.

If you're still in doubt about whether the vehicle has been repaired, take it to a reputable bodyshop. Trust me, they'll know what to look for. ANY repairs are easy to spot by the trained, experienced eye.
quoting this for emphasis (for instance my Jeep came back on carfax as "clean, never wrecked, etc." I can guarantee that it has at least been repainted, and that at one time the hood was torqued in an odd manner. wreck? I dunno, but its not OEM paint.

where in Tx is it?
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Old 08-25-2010, 12:13 PM   #15
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Alright kids. First of all the 97's had the plate right where it is. Second the 97's had no rubber bumpers. Third some export models had all kinds of plastic cladding on the front to be gentler when you hit a pedestrian. There was a guy on here from New Zealand and his holes were all in use. Thus endeth the lesson.
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:46 PM   #16
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Alright kids. First of all the 97's had the plate right where it is. Second the 97's had no rubber bumpers. Third some export models had all kinds of plastic cladding on the front to be gentler when you hit a pedestrian. There was a guy on here from New Zealand and his holes were all in use. Thus endeth the lesson.
I think the bumper wasn't even in question at this point. I'm thinking the question is whether the Jeep has been wrecked due to the hood not fitting well.

But thanks for the lesson!! What do we KIDS owe you?
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:09 PM   #17
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Tree-fity!! He wanted me to give him tree-fity! Sorry it just seemed that all these supposed defects were being brought up to demonstrate that the Jeep had been repaired, it may have but that bumper is bone stock 97 issue. Sorry for the tone I was pissed at some dumbass on another forum when I typed that. I know I know never type angry....
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:10 PM   #18
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Oh and my the way Cavediver, every Marine is one of my kids if you catch my meaning, 0000/8404 Corpsman.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #19
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Tree-fity!! He wanted me to give him tree-fity! Sorry it just seemed that all these supposed defects were being brought up to demonstrate that the Jeep had been repaired, it may have but that bumper is bone stock 97 issue. Sorry for the tone I was pissed at some dumbass on another forum when I typed that. I know I know never type angry....
Hahaha.....I was just playing with you. I wasn't offended. And I'll get my check for Tree-fitty in the mail...
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:21 PM   #20
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Do "Sports" come with steps? I thought that was a "Sahara" thing. I'm still learning too.
Some sports came with side steps. My '02 came with em, and they look exactly like the ones in the picture.
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:24 PM   #21
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The jeep is the only 'true' tow behind vehicle because it has (according to something I read in the manual years ago) the ONLY 'double neutral' shift pattern. Throw the transmission in neutral and the 4 wd in neutral and only your driveshafts and axles turn, none of the transmission (drive train) will be turning.
As mentioned, yes, get someone that KNOWS jeeps to look at the front end-wear marks, new bolt marks, etc. just in case it WAS damaged and repaired. AND yes, there IS a lot of 'high water' vehicles on the market illegally...I had a 2000 sahara and found out too late-water in the rear axle, bearings replaced 3 times, transmission had water damage but we didn't know it for couple of years...and I BOUGHT IT FROM A DEALER...who claimed no knowledge of anything yet it only had 800 miles on it?
Carfax showed nothing-it wasn't until we LOOKED IT UP ON THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT COMPUTER that all the repairs (bearings, heater fan switch, etc.) suddenly showed multiple replacements. So get friendly with your local dealer service department, bring them the VIN number. Doesn't matter WHERE in the US it was serviced, if a Jeep dealer had anything to do with it-IT HAS TO BE IN THE US DATABASE!
Good luck-you have a chance it is a real gem!
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:31 PM   #22
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My 97 sport had those same steps on it when I bought it...
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:10 PM   #23
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I'm the original poster. I just got off the phone with the inspector I hired to go look at it (it is in Dallas). He said has has had body work in the past - probably a fender bender as the hood and right front fender have been replaced but nothing major. Everything worked mechanically. The only problem is that the sway bar was disconnected and it sounds like it needs to be replaced. How hard is this to do?
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:10 PM   #24
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Sweet ride, then.

Personally, I dont sweat the fender-benders.

Heck, I had folks bounce off all four sides of my suburban and it runs like a champ even with 210k mikes.

So it sounds like you have a 4-hour trip ahead of you to go see it in person.

Cool thing is.....that means a 4-hour ride home in it if you choose to buy it at some point.

Gratz!!!!
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:42 PM   #25
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[QUOTE=NHrubicon;741733]The jeep is the only 'true' tow behind vehicle because it has (according to something I read in the manual years ago) the ONLY 'double neutral' shift pattern. Throw the transmission in neutral and the 4 wd in neutral and only your driveshafts and axles turn, none of the transmission (drive train) will be turning.

What are you saying? The owners manual for my 03 Rubicon says: "To tow put transfer case in neutral and auto trans in park or manual trans in gear."
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:49 PM   #26
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The jeep is the only 'true' tow behind vehicle because it has (according to something I read in the manual years ago) the ONLY 'double neutral' shift pattern. Throw the transmission in neutral and the 4 wd in neutral and only your driveshafts and axles turn, none of the transmission (drive train) will be turning.
What are you saying? The owners manual for my 03 Rubicon says: "To tow put transfer case in neutral and auto trans in park or manual trans in gear."
Agreed. Together with the transfer case needing to be in neutral, the transmission must be either in gear or in Park to flat tow a TJ. Having the transmission in gear (manual) or in Park (automatic) prevents its bearings from burning since the transfer case (because it is in neutral) is no longer spinning the transmission's internal oil pump. Not having the transmission in gear or Park would allow it to spin from parasitic shaft drag when it isn't being lubricated.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:27 PM   #27
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I bought the jeep this weekend. New thread started here:

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/my-n...res-60184.html

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