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Old 11-26-2011, 01:03 AM   #1
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How hard it it to get my TJ running...

Hi All...

I have one of the first TJs out, I think its a 1997. I bought it new, drove it for nearly a decade, then parked it in my mothers garage where it still sits. Its a Sahara, standard transmission, green with spice soft top and half doors. It never went off road, and was parked in descent condition.

Now I would like to get it running again. I have a BMW 335i convertible and here in RI, the taxes on cars just went sky high! On principle, I refuse to pay $1,600 annually just to own a car when the crappy roads are just going to damage it anyhow. The I realized I have a Jeep sitting around that I could be driving, and a daughter going to college in less than two years.

So, I am wondering what it might take to get my TJ going. I realize all the fluids need to be drained and replaced (transmission, differentials, radiator, brake lines). Probably replace the plugs. Its got injectors, so maybe clean them? What else should I be looking for?

Also, at first I enjoyed the half doors and soft top. Not now. I remember it was loud and the upper door glass slider upper door halfs leaked. That got old as I did. I want to replace the doors with full doors and get a hard top.

So, I have no idea what my TJ is worth, or what that would cost. If its $2,500 or about for the doors and hard top, is this vehicle worth putting that much money into? If not, I may just sell it.

I would appreciate any advice from you guys. I had a great time with my TJ before I retired it, which was probably why I hung on to it. But I doubt I'm up for going back to super loud and leaking.

Thanks...

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Old 11-26-2011, 01:27 AM   #2
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2500 for full doors and a hard top? That sounds steep like your buying brand new just go on craigslist and look around youll probably get them more for a grand or 1500. Put on a good hardtop seal kit and you wont have to worry about the leaking and it will be much quieter. Charge the battery put in plugs wires tune up the distributor change the fluids and clean the injectors I bet that thing will come to back to life easily. And I bet once you take it for a drive youll fall in love with it all over again. Jeeps have a way of making a really good impression on people and tend to be a very memorable vehicle.

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Old 11-26-2011, 01:36 AM   #3
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How much fuel was in it when you parked it?

Wouldn't at all surprise me if you simply charge the battery & throw five gallons of high-test fuel in it, and vrrroom.

Afterwards, I'd suggest a good tune up. Some plugs, wires, filters, oil, wiper blades, perhaps even drain diff, trans & tcase fluids and refill. While your at it, check the brakes & replace the brake fluid. Then do a coolant flush.

You might be due for a heater core & the heater box vents have been known to fail.

Regarding 'super loud and leaking", there are plenty of hardtops available on CL. Around here, a NICE top will bring $1000 to $1200, but a decent top can be bought for $500 if you take your time. Doors are actually more valuable, for nice ones, especially if they are a color match. Nice hard doors, $1000 for a set, crappy ones, $5-600.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:39 AM   #4
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2500 for full doors and a hard top? That sounds steep like your buying brand new just go on craigslist and look around youll probably get them more for a grand or 1500. Put on a good hardtop seal kit and you wont have to worry about the leaking and it will be much quieter. Charge the battery put in plugs wires tune up the distributor change the fluids and clean the injectors I bet that thing will come to back to life easily. And I bet once you take it for a drive youll fall in love with it all over again. Jeeps have a way of making a really good impression on people and tend to be a very memorable vehicle.
Thanks for the quick reply! I was just guessing about the cost of the top and doors. I did check Craig's List, no joy. I also just noticed another thread about tops. Can cloth tops be quiet?

If I recall correctly (I probably don't) I can drain the tranny with a drain plug, but how do I get the fluid out of the differentials? I'm worried that the fluid may have gummed up and now won't come out.

Plugs, wires, distributor and rotor I can do, are injectors hard to clean? Special tools needed?
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:42 AM   #5
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How much fuel was in it when you parked it?

Wouldn't at all surprise me if you simply charge the battery & throw five gallons of high-test fuel in it, and vrrroom.

.
.
.

You might be due for a heater core & the heater box vents have been known to fail.

Regarding 'super loud and leaking", there are plenty of hardtops available on CL. Around here, a NICE top will bring $1000 to $1200, but a decent top can be bought for $500 if you take your time. Doors are actually more valuable, for nice ones, especially if they are a color match. Nice hard doors, $1000 for a set, crappy ones, $5-600.
Will I damage the gears if I drive it to a place where I can work on it, before I change the tranny and diff fluids?
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:54 AM   #6
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Oh, my mistake, I searched Craig's List wrong, there are doors and tops available, even in the right color! Maybe I can get this done for $1,100 or so.

If I get a factory hard top with the defroster and wiper, how do I make those work? I don't recall that my TJ came with switches to control those...
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:47 AM   #7
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Would u be willing to ship the sliding windows to me?
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:54 AM   #8
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Would u be willing to ship the sliding windows to me?
I might keep them and the half doors for the summer, but maybe, I just don't know what the final plan is yet.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:55 AM   #9
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It just occurred to me that the AC is from 1997, and I am wondering if it can be serviced? Didn't the government ban the coolant that the older AC systems use? You know, the coolant that actually worked well?
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:56 AM   #10
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I might keep them and the half doors for the summer, but maybe, I just don't know what the final plan is yet.
That's fine. Prob getting some for Xmas.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:06 AM   #11
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Where the hell do you live where they charge that much to own a car? I have 7 vehicles registered and spend no where near that.
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:50 AM   #12
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If I recall correctly (I probably don't) I can drain the tranny with a drain plug, but how do I get the fluid out of the differentials? I'm worried that the fluid may have gummed up and now won't come out.
1st off, i'd remove the FILL plugs from the tranny, trans case, and diffs for several reasons
1 stick your finger in there and check the condition of the fluids and that they are not low. they may be good enough to get to where you want to work on it.
2 always remove the fill plugs on anything before removing the drain ones-be a bummer to drain your whatever only to find out you can't remove the fill flug for what ever reason(need tool, froze and needs pen fluid or bigger hammer( )

for the diffs, make sure the fill plugs come out then to drain take the covers off(clean/inspect the innards) and either get a gasket or use RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanizing)
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:46 AM   #13
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It just occurred to me that the AC is from 1997, and I am wondering if it can be serviced? Didn't the government ban the coolant that the older AC systems use? You know, the coolant that actually worked well?
R-12 (the old freon) was pretty much phased out in 1994. Your TJ will be R-134A.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:41 AM   #14
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Thanks for the tips guys.

I live in Rhode Island, a corrupt little state where the politicians have sold our soles to get reelected, and we now have a 7.5 BILLION dollar shortfall, plus lots of other expenses the state can't meet. So their solution (that solves nothing) was to cut aid to cities and towns and then allow the cities and towns to jack car taxes up through the roof.

My bet is that the will find people are doing what I am doing. Getting rid of their expensive cars and getting much less expensive ones, which will result in a reduced revenue overall but no reduction in costs to the government.

I looked at trading my car for a RAV 4, and I still might, but I think the taxes would still be higher than I want to pay, especially with the 7% sales tax on the new car.

So ya know what, I'll drive my 15 year old Jeep. If it holds up for a few years then that's a few grand saved in taxes. Better to spend it on the Jeep than on taxes.
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:27 PM   #15
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Question: If you owned a 300k house in RI how much would your property taxes be? Also, what rate do you guys pay for state income tax?

In Wi, you can expect to pay about 6.5 percent state income tax, and that house would cost you about 5 to 6k per year depending on where you live. Yet, register your car and it cost about 80 bucks. No tags for most trailers either.

Sounds like RI is whacking you for property taxes on cars based on car value.

As to the jeep, I agree with most others. Charge battery, change oil, and see if it starts. I would them flush all fluids.

Probably cheaper to sell jeep and than buy another with the options you want. But what fun would thy be?
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:32 PM   #16
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if me, i would do things one at a time.

1st would be fuel stabilizer and fill to the top with fresh gas, let it sit and do its thing while I
...drained the oil and pay'd particular attention to how it looks as it came out. Most oils will seperate over time and the nasty stuff will be at the bottom followed buy what looks to be clean pure oil. The pan is sure to have sediment and I wouldnt want to crank it and pull all that up into the oil pump and passages. If its super nasty dropping the oil pan and getting the sludge out would be next. That involves gaskets and RTV to put it back so you could go the cheaper route and use a throttle body/carb cleaner/brake parts cleaner sprayed through the drain plug hole to help loosen up and flush the nasty out. Only problem is it brakes down oil and you cant ensure that it will all drain out so you'd have to let it dry out before adding oil. Once its ready I'd use a synthetic oil that claims to remove sludge, maybe for 500-750 miles then change oil and filter again.

next (or while that was going on) I'd flip over the the electrical side and look for any mouse eaten wires/nests etc. Just so you dont fry something when you put a new battery in.

plug and wires at a later date but for now I'd just be checking for things that are not normal.

Throttle body cleaner to the intake helps remove the varnish on the intake passages and valves. (and opening it up ensures there's no mud daubers nests or other critters making a condo out of it that will going to the engine)

so...once I had fuel right, oil right, intake right I'd do a battery and put juice to it, not starting it but checking all the things that take power. My first time cranking I'd take the wire off of the coil and just crank...its better to hear something wrong while cranking at 150rpm's than it firing and hitting 1000 rpm.

if it fired and idles and good oil pressure i'd then turn to the brakes and drivetrain fluids. All of that is sealed up pretty good so changing to fresh fluids would be my only concern.

Oh yea...then find a big hill and put her in 4lo!

so many other things you could do of piece of mind, but i realized i am rambling!
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Old 11-26-2011, 02:59 PM   #17
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As you can see, a wide range of opinions. I think a key difference is that you know how the car was put away as compared to some random jeep you just bought.

I got my brothers 1995 z28 running last year after he passed away. Sat around for 7 years without even being started. Has only 31k miles on it.

Sat on a lift in a protected garage the entire time.

Biggest problem was old fuel. Brother took care of car very well, but got put away when diagnosed with cancer.

If I recall, car would not start. Drained tank, filled with new fuel, and started right up.

Changed all fluids of course.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:53 PM   #18
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That's what I wanted to say, drain the fuel tank. Put fresh fuel in.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:50 PM   #19
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Question: If you owned a 300k house in RI how much would your property taxes be? Also, what rate do you guys pay for state income tax?

.
.
.

Sounds like RI is whacking you for property taxes on cars based on car value.
Well my house is worth about 350K and my annual property taxes on it are about $4,000. But this varies tremendously from town to town. Where I live, its actually not too bad. But when car taxes on one car is over a third of what I am paying for the house, well that's just nuts. Yes, they tax the cars based upon value. They raised the rates and everyone in the whole state is pissed. In Warwick they are having demonstrations. People with ancient cars who were paying nothing now are being hit for hundreds.

Our state sales tax is 7%. We have income tax too. Gotta get out of this state.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:56 PM   #20
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More great suggestions, thanks! I think I'll siphon the gas out and replace it. Then I'll go through it as Kebz suggested, in that order. All the tires are flat too.

I'm just wondering about the wisdom of using a 15 year old Jeep as the daily driver. How many of you guys have 15 year old TJs and if you do, how frequently do you end up on the side of the road?

Thanks again!
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #21
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I'm just wondering about the wisdom of using a 15 year old Jeep as the daily driver. How many of you guys have 15 year old TJs and if you do, how frequently do you end up on the side of the road?

Thanks again!
Dude, MAN UP!

Have no fear driving my 92 YJ or my 91 Toyota pickup, and it's got 300K on the odo. If you have a reasonable expectation that the minimum preventative maintainence is current, and you've got some fuel, and some decent tires, then DRIVE. And if you don't wanna do that, then sell me that TJ.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:41 PM   #22
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Mines a 99 with 161000+ that I daily drive, like anything else it will have lil issues, but even newer stuff has issues. You won't get stranded.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:01 PM   #23
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not quite 15 (98) that's my DD. did die in the driveway once-cam sensor, and had to replace wheel cyl's but have had it just over a yr now and that's the only probs i have had-fewer than most newer/less mileage vehicles i have owned.
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:46 PM   #24
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How hard it it to get my TJ running...

I have a 98 TJ, 160+K. I drive it every day, winter and summer, and the only problem I have ever had was a marginal battery which I replaced with a yellow top. Around here (CO mountains), at least 1 in 10 vehicles is an XJ, YJ, or a TJ. A lot have many more miles than mine and they are all driven daily. If you give the common sense maintenance they need I think they will run forever. One guy that I know has 260K on his TJ and his only complaint is the engine is starting to lose power :-)

One thing I would add for dependability is replace all hoses and drive belt. They are show stoppers if they break or spring a leak. It is very cheap insurance and if your jeep has been sitting for 10 plus years the rubber is probably hard as a rock.

Best of luck getting it going!
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:00 PM   #25
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More great suggestions, thanks! I think I'll siphon the gas out and replace it. Then I'll go through it as Kebz suggested, in that order. All the tires are flat too.

I'm just wondering about the wisdom of using a 15 year old Jeep as the daily driver. How many of you guys have 15 year old TJs and if you do, how frequently do you end up on the side of the road?

Thanks again!
97 4.0 manual here, bought it new and it's been my daily driver ever since. 143,000 miles on it, I've replaced the water pump, radiator, catalytic converter, o2 sensors (and of course plugs, wires, etc.) over the years.

I did have a problem with the manual transmisson early on that Chrysler fixed under warranty, and replaced a rear diff due to a faulty install of the tranny at the dealer, but those are one-off unsual problems.

It needs a new exhaust manifold, as it has cracked, which is ineviteable with this model, but overall I have been very pleased with it and had less trouble with it than any other car I have owned.

I have no problems with it as a daily driver. (Now, where's that knock on wood smilie?)
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:45 PM   #26
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Okay, sounds like its worth a try. That's all normal stuff you guys mentioned. I have a pair of old tires that have never been used sitting in the attic. I can sure do hoses, belts, fluids, wires, plugs, all easy stuff.

I didn't manage to get down to it today as planned, hopefully tomorrow. I went to a Toyota dealer and was thinking I would trade the BMW for a RAV4, but they were $2,000 under what i wanted for the trade, so no deal! Poor me, I get to keep the BMW while I get the TJ in shape.
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:39 PM   #27
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It needs a new exhaust manifold, as it has cracked, which is ineviteable with this model...
Yeah this happened to me at some point years ago when I was driving it. I had an AAA warranty and so they paid to fix it. Did this design issue ever get resolved?
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:28 PM   #28
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As far as I know, no one has ever figured it out :-( I have 160K on my manifold, go figure... Borla claims to have solved the problem but I'm not going to hold my breath. Why spend that kinda money for a stock lookalike? Now if someone would come up with a tuned equal length header for a TJ, I'd be standing in line (LOL)

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