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Old 08-22-2012, 01:58 PM   #1
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Interested in some opinions....

from the jeep experts. (and I need some posts so I can get to 15 to reply to the classifieds for my upcoming parts needs)
I am looking to move into my first real jeep and wanted to see what some of you on this board thought.

My goal is to find a basic around town driver that can occasionally pull perhaps a small trailer. (for Lowes runs, etc) I don’t need much power or speed so a 4 cyl will likely work for me.

This weekend I am going to look at a 1997 Wrangler SE with a 4 cyl & 5 speed, factory A/C and 87k miles. It is said to be in good shape overall with only a small tear on the driver’s seat. They lost the zip up windows but I see that they can be bought here and on auction sites pretty cheap. I would want to do a manual tranny to auto swap right away.

Here are the basic questions:
1) How reliable are the 4 cyl motors? (assuming well cared for, etc)

2) Do the zip up windows keep the occupants dry in hard rains? I come from a world of lot of British sports cars in my youth and I am just not up to getting drenched on my way to work. I am getting too old for that.

3) where are the typical rust spots to check?

4) any other gotchas that I need to check?

There seems to be ample ways to modify jeeps. Add to that the top comes off and they are a lot of fun drive. I am an accomplished mechanic who has done it all. From restoring a Jag E-type to a complete factory conversion of a Porsche Targa to cabriolet, I am not afraid of most anything vehicular. I have owned 56 cars so far including one postal jeep and tinkering around in the garage is a great way to spend time.

I find these boards to be a great source of expertise and value any input or advice you all can provide....

Thanks
Chris

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Old 08-22-2012, 02:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgrec
from the jeep experts. (and I need some posts so I can get to 15 to reply to the classifieds for my upcoming parts needs)
I am looking to move into my first real jeep and wanted to see what some of you on this board thought.

My goal is to find a basic around town driver that can occasionally pull perhaps a small trailer. (for Lowes runs, etc) I don’t need much power or speed so a 4 cyl will likely work for me.

This weekend I am going to look at a 1997 Wrangler SE with a 4 cyl & 5 speed, factory A/C and 87k miles. It is said to be in good shape overall with only a small tear on the driver’s seat. They lost the zip up windows but I see that they can be bought here and on auction sites pretty cheap. I would want to do a manual tranny to auto swap right away.

Here are the basic questions:
1) How reliable are the 4 cyl motors? (assuming well cared for, etc)

2) Do the zip up windows keep the occupants dry in hard rains? I come from a world of lot of British sports cars in my youth and I am just not up to getting drenched on my way to work. I am getting too old for that.

3) where are the typical rust spots to check?

4) any other gotchas that I need to check?

There seems to be ample ways to modify jeeps. Add to that the top comes off and they are a lot of fun drive. I am an accomplished mechanic who has done it all. From restoring a Jag E-type to a complete factory conversion of a Porsche Targa to cabriolet, I am not afraid of most anything vehicular. I have owned 56 cars so far including one postal jeep and tinkering around in the garage is a great way to spend time.

I find these boards to be a great source of expertise and value any input or advice you all can provide....

Thanks
Chris
Hmmm,, Yes the jeep stays nice and dry in even the most torrential of rains.

I'd stay away from any rust, lots of jeeps are for sale from rust free areas. But if you must, use a ball- peen all along the frame rails.. Some have rotted out just behind the axles..

Are you sure you want a 4 cyl, the I-6 will get nearly the same mpg and the I-6 if maintained properly is good for at least 200,000 miles. I've had both, and will never get a 4 again.. That's all I can think of.. Good luck !!

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Old 08-22-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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if you are not in a hurry a 4 banger will get you there too, but you cannot tow anything. It has a hard enough struggle just to keep the TJ moving
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:05 PM   #4
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Go with the 4.0L. Luckily I drove a friends 4cyl with 33's before I bought a jeep. There was no way I was gonna buy a 4cyl. 5th gear was useless.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:46 PM   #5
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Agree with the others, the one thing worse than a 4 banger is one with an auto trans, and what's worse than that is to try and pull something with it. Look for the 6.
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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If you really want an automatic transmission, but a jeep with it already in it. It makes sense to spend all the time and money to swap an auto in when you can just buy a jeep with it already in there. I agree with the others that you should look for a TJ with the 4.0 six cylinder.
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:12 PM   #7
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While I would prefer an automatic, they seem to be much harder to find. The main reason I was thinking about the 2.5 is that the guy who has one is interested in trading it plus cash for my BMW.....I had no idea the 4 cyl was so underpowered.
Thanks for all the advice.

Chris
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:32 PM   #8
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It's like the difference between an Alpine and a Tiger..
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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It's like the difference between an Alpine and a Tiger..
Yeah but an alpine is perfectly fine for a cruiser. Much like a regular Z3 vs my M roadster...They work fine for just driving but you need the big engine to really get on it.

It would be nice to pull a small trailer to get my eventual barn find project car home however. And while a 4 might be good for cruising, I need a 6 for a trailer. If the 4 cyl is the wrong tool for the job, then a 6 it is...

Chris
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgrec View Post
YIt would be nice to pull a small trailer to get my eventual barn find project car home however. And while a 4 might be good for cruising, I need a 6 for a trailer. If the 4 cyl is the wrong tool for the job, then a 6 it is...

Chris
If you're thinking about pulling a car trailer, you might not want a Wrangler. Gross Trailer Weight Rating for a TJ with the 4.0 is 2000 pounds, and with the 4 cyl it's only 1000.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:35 PM   #11
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wow, that's not much. A basic car trailer is 2100 lbs itself. I may just have to rent a truck when I rent the car trailer, once I find an old sports car to buy. One thing I cant compromise on is the convertible. Not a lot of options for convertible trucks besides Jeep. At least affordable ones....
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:34 AM   #12
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wow, that's not much. A basic car trailer is 2100 lbs itself. I may just have to rent a truck when I rent the car trailer, once I find an old sports car to buy. One thing I cant compromise on is the convertible. Not a lot of options for convertible trucks besides Jeep. At least affordable ones....
Renting a truck probably would be a good option. Wranglers aren't really very good vehicles to tow with. I tow my 600 lb boat trailer with mine (only when I have to) and it doesn't even really feel good with that. Too short of wheelbase and not enough weight.
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:05 PM   #13
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The only bad engine/transmission combination is the 2.5L engine and automatic. I am a big fan of automatics in Jeeps but not when the engine is the 2.5. Hold out for the 4.0L six cylinder engine which works well with an automatic. The mpg will be very similar anyway.
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Old 08-25-2012, 07:59 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for the tips. Looks like I'll wait for an auto 4.0 6 cyl. Of course that means I have to sell my car first or find someone with one who wants to trade theirs & cash for my M roadster.....

Thanks again,
Chris

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