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Old 02-14-2017, 05:15 AM   #1
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Is the TJ a good jeep or are the newer ones better?

I'm sure asking this in a TJ forum I might get some biased answers, but the last jeep I owned was a CJ. My fiancé has a 97 TJ and most recently we found a small frame problem, and now it seems like a bad power steering leak. The jeep was really clean when she bought it a year ago. Doing some donuts in a snowy parking lot probably made the section of frame where the trailing arm connects break through. Oh well. So now we have to decide to fix it up, or get another Jeep. I personally like this year and model. It reminds me a lot of my old CJ, we have a 3" lift and 31" tires, which are fairly new. So my question is are we better off repairing a TJ or looking for a jeep that might be better in terms of year and model?
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:51 AM   #2
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The newer ones are more refined, ride better etc. However they are more complicated, and expensive.

You can do a lot of repairs for the price of a monthly payment....

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Old 02-14-2017, 07:58 AM   #3
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Car payments are the devil!
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input, we have discussed another jeep would most likely cost us around 10-16K and if we put a couple into this one it would be just fine. I just wanted some input from the TJ crowd if it's worth it. Based on the information this site gave us already in the tech forum, we will have to be satisfied with the 2.5 engine. She just wont drive it much on the highway.

I have a good friend that owns a body shop and his opinion on the newer jeeps is the frames aren't as strong and the axle's aren't either. But then again I never hear a body shop owner say anything good about jeeps.
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Old 02-14-2017, 02:40 PM   #5
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Just in case you haven't seen these...

Safe-T-Cap Kits - autorust.com
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:10 PM   #6
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Just in case you haven't seen these...

Safe-T-Cap Kits - autorust.com
Just posted some photos from the weekend doing this:

Quadratec Employee: "New" TJ Build

I'll have a writeup posted soon too. These guys make some GREAT products for frame repair.

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Old 02-14-2017, 07:05 PM   #7
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Wow thanks for that post link were you repaired the frame. It's been snowing and it's freezing here so I just dropped off our keep to a mechanic friend to see why the power steering is spraying fluid all over the engine. Then we'll tackle the Frame. That AutoRust co isn't too far from here. This forum is great!
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:04 PM   #8
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From what I've learned, 1998-99 are supposed to be the best years for the TJ, considering reliability of the 4.0 engine, trans, TC, axles, etc. The TJ Unlimited will yield you more cargo and rear passenger space, but the transmission may not be as robust as the earlier models (your mileage may vary). The first generation JK will give you more doors and refinement, but a higher cost and less desirable 3.8L motor for its size. The newer JK with the 3.6L Pentastar motor regains the lost HPs, but increases your cost. It's a beast and several generations beyond your venerable CJ in terms of performance and comfort features.

I've weighed my options and believe I picked a great Jeep, but often look lustily at a built JK on 40's. Then I return to reality and know I've got an excellent foundation for a trail rig and daily driver at 1/3 the cost.
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:44 AM   #9
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old jeepers call the TJ's the last of the real jeeps.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:02 AM   #10
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I wouldn't trade my "99" for a new one.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:26 AM   #11
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Speaking from experience, I'd buy another TJ before another 2007-11 JK. The engine/transmission combination in the early JK's was less than impressive. 2012+ JK's are nice rides.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tooonz View Post
Wow thanks for that post link were you repaired the frame. It's been snowing and it's freezing here so I just dropped off our keep to a mechanic friend to see why the power steering is spraying fluid all over the engine. Then we'll tackle the Frame. That AutoRust co isn't too far from here. This forum is great!
Absolutely! Auto Rust has saved countless Jeeps from the scrapper. It's great to see them producing such high quality, made in the USA frame repair products.

Search for AUTO RUST | Quadratec

Good luck with everything! Make sure to post up some photos / start a build if you have not already done so!

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Old 02-15-2017, 10:52 AM   #13
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we tow our TJ and have thought about getting a newer one for reliability issues, but the late models have issues also and are much harder to repair. even if we decide to get newer one, we will keep the TJ. I have 2 now and am going to sell one, and its hard to do that. I like them both, but alas, one has to go.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:58 AM   #14
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Until a diesel engine is offered in a JK, I am sticking with my TJ.
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:17 PM   #15
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Until a diesel engine is offered in a JK, I am sticking with my TJ.
Introducing Cummins' Crate Engine Program: Cummins Repowerâ„¢



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Old 02-15-2017, 12:24 PM   #16
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old jeepers call the YJ's the last of the real jeeps.
fify

I love both my YJ, and my TJ, but real Jeeps have leaf springs
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:36 PM   #17
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Ah, I might just keep my TJ forever with that option!
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:39 PM   #18
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less than impressive, but what?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZrat View Post
Speaking from experience, I'd buy another TJ before another 2007-11 JK. The engine/transmission combination in the early JK's was less than impressive. 2012+ JK's are nice rides.

I agree that the TJ motor is a very nice inline 6. But it to call the early JK less than impressive really is an insult to the TJ.

Early JK specs:
Power (SAE net) 205 hp (153 kW) @ 5,200 rpm (53.9 hp/L)
Torque (SAE net) 240 lb.-ft. (325 N•m) @ 4,000 rpm

All that is more impressive than this

TJ 4.0 Inline Specs:
Horsepower (net) 180@4750
Torque (net) 220@4000

I like them both.

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Old 02-15-2017, 01:06 PM   #19
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After seeing the Cummins swap into the TJ on Dirt Every Day, and that article I discussed this diesel swap with my better half. Whenever the 4.0 in my TJ decides to crap out, which will hopefully be a while since it only has 70k on it, this is the route we are taking.
My WJ is back on the road after a full front end refresh, and the TJ gets to enjoy weekends only at the moment.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:32 PM   #20
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On topic though.

Having driven both back and forth to work, 20ish miles each way, my pick would be the JKU for all the time, and TJ for weekends or a day or two a week driving. I love my TJ and will not get rid of it, but it is no where near as nice to drive as the JKU. It is hard in my head though to compare a TJ with short wheelbase that is not as refined, to a JKU with long wheelbase and that is refined to be more mainstream commuter friendly.

My compromise was get an older Grand Cherokee to use all the time so I could avoid a car payment. Easier to get the kid and all the sports crap around in, and I can take people in it. The 2003 WJ cost me 2k, has the selectable 4wd and 4.0. I have put like 500 in it for front end stuff and various whatever I can't recall maintenance stuff. They are dirt cheap around here for 4wd models, and no rust.
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:55 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew H View Post
I agree that the TJ motor is a very nice inline 6. But it to call the early JK less than impressive really is an insult to the TJ.

Early JK specs:
Power (SAE net) 205 hp (153 kW) @ 5,200 rpm (53.9 hp/L)
Torque (SAE net) 240 lb.-ft. (325 N•m) @ 4,000 rpm

All that is more impressive than this

TJ 4.0 Inline Specs:
Horsepower (net) 180@4750
Torque (net) 220@4000

I like them both.

Here's what you are forgetting:

TJ Curb Weight- 3,200 lbs.
JKU Curb Weight - 4,411 lbs.

The fact that probably 90% of JK's sold are 4 doors is why the 3.8 doesn't feel like enough motor.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob80x View Post
Here's what you are forgetting:

TJ Curb Weight- 3,200 lbs.
JKU Curb Weight - 4,411 lbs.

The fact that probably 90% of JK's sold are 4 doors is why the 3.8 doesn't feel like enough motor.

Cool, thanks for pointing that out. It works OK for me for now.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:54 AM   #23
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Having had most models, other than a YJ (just can't go with those headlights) I have to vote for the TJ or in my case LJ. The TJ and LJ's I've had are easier to work on imo. I've got a 14 JKU and while the comfort and power are nice, I really miss the last 2 LJ's. The CJ's I've had were fun back in the 70's but still don't compare to LJ's.
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:22 AM   #24
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I did the full length safe-t-caps. Now I wish they would make one from where these stop back to the bumper.
Frame repair... i'm going to do it right
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:31 PM   #25
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I did the full length safe-t-caps. Now I wish they would make one from where these stop back to the bumper.
Frame repair... i'm going to do it right
Send them a message! They are a great company and will should look into it if requested.

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Old 02-16-2017, 12:47 PM   #26
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TJ's look cooler. end of story
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Old 02-16-2017, 01:41 PM   #27
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Talking TJ stands for True Jeep

I love my 05 TJ 6 speed manual and 6cyl 4L works great for me and half the price of a JK. My next Jeep could be the JL depending on what they look like in the end and it gives me about 3-5 years before I would look for a used one. :-)
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Old 02-16-2017, 04:04 PM   #28
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I have owned every year YJ and TJ and one 07 JK....

I take that JK ANYDAY over all the others.. Out of the box it is a ton better than the Yj. The Tj is close but you would ahve to get like a rubicon to be at the level stock for stock with the JK..

I had the 6 speed and really did not care for it. Wife had the auto 08... And I would take it over the 07.....

But they seem to hold value and never seen them for sale cheaper than 10k... even theough they are 10 years old at this point..

My next rig will be a 2016 used 2 door auto and if I can find it a rubicon.. I have zero reason to get the 4 door or I would..
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Old 02-16-2017, 05:21 PM   #29
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I'd go with a newer JK. Personally I don't trust older vehicles for out of town trips so my Tj stays fairly close to home.
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:45 PM   #30
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yup

I started with a rusted out 99TJ and if you have the time and skills you will end up with a much better vehicle. I had the 3 speed auto and that went out on me. I swapped a AW4 from a cherokee to get a 4th gear. I can now cruise down the highway at 70 @1800 rpm. I have made some improvement in power to the engine and before headers I was getting 24mpg. I will put my ride quality against any JK. Plus the Jk are way to big, when the trails get tight they will not make it. Might scratch something.

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