I currently own a YJ and its slowly letting me down and im tired of fixing it so im giving up and looking for a TJ. I want a Manual and a 6cyl. I live in Iowa so not a huge selection to work with. Im looking for input from you guys. What to look for, what to stay away from, eventually I want a lift all the goodies. Do I buy a Jeep with all that installed since I dont have the facilities to put on a lift.
Red '95 YJ
For the most part the TJ's are good jeep. Like anything, how well it was taken care of will play a part when looking for a used one. There is really not a bad year so to speak. The 97-99's had a bad exhaust manifold that gets a crack in it and will need replaced, The radiators go south usually after 100k miles. The 2000 and up added a rail style spark plug thing, also had the beefier nv3550 5spd. Look for one with the dana 44 rear axle has a metal drain plug vs the dana 35. as for getting one built vs stock.. depends on price and how well the mods where done. I am sure others will chime in. Oh and putting a basic lift on can be done in the driveway. More complex one will need a garage.
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The NV3550 will hold up to bigger tires? My tranny lost 5th gear. Only a rubicon comes with dana 44s right? and when did they start putting the lockers in? As for the lift, they are not cheap but they dont retain value so that would be somthing to look for installed. Any good ways to tell how they have been taken care of?
Red '95 YJ
From what I have been told (not first hand experiance but soon to find out) the NV3550 will handle up to 35" tires without a problem. As for the which Jeep has the Dana 44, it seems to me that they are in quite a few Jeeps. I bought a few parts of a guy that wrecked a 94 YJ, it has a Dana 44 in it and I am seriously thinking about swapping my 35 with it.
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Only the rubicons came with lockers. Some regular TJs have 44s. Simply look for the metal plug in the rear diff. If its rubber, run away.
I'd check the underneath for scratches, oil, etc. If you decide on the rig, let say you're gonna buy it, this is it... do one last test, take out one or two spark plugs. See what color the tip is, any build up, any melting.. etc. This can show how well this rig is with combustion and usually the internal condition in and around the combustion chamber. Black black black powdery tip = carbon build up = rich > bad mpg / oily tip = maybe bad piston rings so its burning some oil / white powder = burning coolant = usually bad head gasket / melted = lean lean mix.
i agree with trip but go ahead and find one with the 44 if not sooner or later you will be hunting a rearend if going with bigger tires but for on the street any jeep is fine its cheaper if you can find one already lifted with aftermarket rims and tires all extras are very expensive and you usually do not get any more for it when you sell it
Just my outlook, but if you are fairly happy with what you have now but just want newer/more reliable, go for a 2000 to 2002 with a 2.5 to 4 inch lift with the wheels and tires.
Everything else, you can do on the cheap yourself (or with a buddy's help) via ebay or the junk yards (winch's, tops, etc). You may even find some good armor and bumpers that way too.
Then, you can plan on the next steps and do it when funding is there.
If you find one more built up, the problem you will have will be how to find out if it's got some flaw that the owner is trying to push down the road so they can start fresh. It'll be hard to find a runner that's scratched up (like they are supposed to be) vs on that wasn't done right in the first place or has had inadequate repairs.
You'll be happier with one that has the "base" requirements there (engine, tranny, whatever), so go there first and work your way out.