Hey, Beastmaster told me to post this here instead...
I'm on the verge of buying a used TJ: 2000 SE with the 2.5L, 5-speed, and about 50k miles. I just test drove it the other day, and everything seems good. Just wondering about the drive-ability. My previous Jeep was an 07 JK, and coming from that, this one seems a bit wobbly in the steering. Is this how older Jeeps drive? It has a small-ish lift and bigger tires.
Also in terms of the clutch feel, do jeep clutches have more play in them? I feel as if the engage point is very wide and not that precise. (My previous car is a Volkswagon golf, also manual) Is the clutch on Jeeps different than that of other manuals? Is this done for better performance off-road? -or- is the clutch just worn out? I'm used to driving newer cars, this is my first time getting into older-model cars.
One more question: there is a little bit of rust on the undercarriage, but no damage or signs of offroad use. Is this a deal-breaker? Otherwise it seems pretty untouched.
I cant speak to the manual operation because I went back to auto when I got my jeep.
But as for being wobbly, when I test drove my first prospective tj I was really put off on them because I felt like I was driving an indiana jones car. The whole thing wobbled and leaned and the body rolled. But then I test drove one from a used certified jeep dealership - lifted on 33's - and there was virtually no wobble.
Now, my jeep is much more squirrely than any of my other cars have been, probably due to the short wheel base and some other things. But IMO, if its been lifted correctly there shouldnt really be much wobble at all.
And do you do much highway driving? I have a hard time keeping my 6 cylinder up to speed sometimes, ive heard its pretty challenging with the 2.5 at freeway speeds. But someone else that has one will probably chime in on that.
I just got my Jeep about a month ago, My 1st ever , 2000 2.5L 5 Speed . Yes it's a little more squirley than anything I've driven I guess, but I attribute that to the short wheelbase. I love driving this thing ,wish I had done it a long time ago .
As for the clutch I feel the same way about it as you, it's been a number of years since I had driven a stick , but I don't remember there being so much play in it, another thing I think is attributed to Jeep, but since it's my 1st I really cant say. I hope you enjoy yours as much as I have been enjoying mine . I'm really enjoying getting ideas from all of you on what mods to do .
I have an 01 manual tj that is my daily driver... Has a 3" suspension lift with 32/11.5 tires. The steering is looser than any other vehicle I've driven. It was uncontrollable at higher speeds. I had an alignment done and it fixed the issue. Depending on the wobble, the factory trac bar might just need replaced.
My clutch is super loose and not consistent, but I've had it checked out and it's fine, just different than my old VW bug.
Try and find a good mechanic locally to give it a once over, the rust shouldn't be an issue, it would just need addressed at some point.
It really depends on what you get in to... In SC our mud is half sand and will wreck your brakes. Just make sure your rig is set up for the location... Some areas here disconnects are needed to even get on the trails.
If you're careful about it and don't push your rig before you know it's capabilities, you shouldn't have an issue with breaking much...
TJs tend to roll and wallow a little more compared to a sporty car because they have a higher center of gravity, and the stock suspension's springs are a little softer to give a smoother ride. Don't want to scare off any potential new customers because the test drive is harsher than in their Honda Civic. I still have to warn my wife occassionally not to drive our Jeep like our Miata. Even though I ordered the "Sport Offroad Suspension" on my 00' Sport, it still rolled and wallowed. It rolled and wallowed a lot more than my current 01' Sport, but then the spring rate on it's 4" lift is much higher, and the ride is accordingly stiffer. Transitioning from the 00' to the lifted '01 was an experience for my wife. At first, the xxtched and complained about the xxmn lift and 33" tires, but once she got used to it, she loves it. When my youngest daughter (she's 26) drove the 01' with the lift and 33s, she said "it made her feel invincible." Yeah, she was a little over enthusiastic, but it made the wife think a little more. A Jeep drives like a Jeep, they tend to feel more like a bigger truck or small bus, in spite of the short wheel base. It's all what you're used to, once you get used to driving a Jeep, it's no big deal. Just don't try to drive it like a sported up Miata...
The salesman warned me about the clutch on the Jeep before I took the test drive...and it does have a bit of play, but not nearly as much as he suggested. I've driven manual from day one, so maybe I've had more experience with the range of play in different vehicles.
I wouldn't worry about that...you get used to the vagrancies of your own vehicle quickly...
“Ours is a world where people don't know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it.”
― Don Marquis