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Old 03-20-2012, 11:31 PM   #1
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Looking to buy a TJ - problem areas?

Looking to buy my first jeep this weekend- -looking at a pretty plain 2003 TJ with hardtop, manual trans, and inline 4.0 6 cyl. Looks bone stock and clean from the pictures, hoping that it was never off-roaded (so I can be the one that off-roads it) Dealer claims 85,000 miles.

Besides making sure everything works, what problem areas should I be looking for? Do the frames or bodies rust in a certain area I should pay attention to? Any leaks, mechanical issues that these machines are known for?

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Old 03-21-2012, 06:03 AM   #2
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Depending where you live check frame. TJ's have a tendancy to rot around lower rear control arm bracketfor axle. Water/ mud gets into the larger round hole in frame but because of frame design it has no real way of getting out. It took me months to finally find one that had no rot. Good luck.

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Old 03-21-2012, 06:15 AM   #3
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Check under the carpet at the floor boards and make sure you have the plugs and little/none rust
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ny97tj View Post
Depending where you live check frame. TJ's have a tendancy to rot around lower rear control arm bracketfor axle. Water/ mud gets into the larger round hole in frame but because of frame design it has no real way of getting out. It took me months to finally find one that had no rot. Good luck.
This is a PA vehicle - PA-DOT pre-coats the roads with liquid calcium or magnesium before they expect a snow, and if you drive on the road when this crap is wet, you can feel your vehicle rusting around you. The stuff is nasty, probably takes more vehicles off the road in the long run than the snow and ice on the roads they're trying to prevent. Rust can be an issue.

"... rot around lower rear control arm bracket for axle." I'm assuming you're talking about an area about even with the firewall, maybe front a little on the frame?
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:30 PM   #5
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yes more the rear axle one is where ive seen the most rot. Tends to enter thru the big hole just before the hump in the frame to make room for rear axle. Gunk tends to settle at the low points of frame and rots from inside out. Check the frame throughly then go from there with the rest of the jeep. Mine had a frame that was in great condition but had to replace a fender a hood due to accident the PO hadcprior to me purchasing.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Also, common rust/rot on the frame where the t-case skid bolts up. Even check to make sure all 6 bolts are present. If not, a captive nut in the frame could have rotted off.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:34 PM   #7
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Check the diffs for leaks
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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Also check all the skid plates for damage from any heavy offroading
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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can't put snow chains on an 03 Sahara if you're interested.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
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can't put snow chains on an 03 Sahara if you're interested.
How come?
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:01 PM   #11
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jeeps commonly seap fluid out the difs and have rear main seal leaks. The passenger side floor pan tends to rust first too, at least in my case. Thats all i can think of right now, other than that check all the mounts, bushings, joints etc
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:00 PM   #12
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Check to see if you have good overdraft protection.

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