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Old 10-13-2009, 06:55 PM   #1
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New to the JEEP scene. A few quick questions

Hi, I have some questions. I have been involved with offroad motorcycles, quads and currently own a Rhino and dual sport motorcycle.My wife and I have been considering moving up from the Rhino to a Jeep. We love the outdoors and trails (curently ride at Big Bear or local desserts) and the thought of joining a Jeep club sounds kinda cool. My question is what type of Jeep is best for a (somewhat) beginner? I would like to stay around 10K for the initial purchase and add on from there. (I know how easy it is to spend money on these things) I am seeing a big supply of Wranglers on auto trader. Is there any special years that are better or worse? I assume 6 cylinder, but am not sure if auto trans or manual 5 sp is best for? Any info you can provide would be much appreciated. Thanks for your time.

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Old 10-13-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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Definately go with the 6cyl (4.0), as for tranny that up to your preference, but sometimes auto is nice for any mild rock crawling, but manual is nice as well.

For years I would say look at 2000-2004, you should be able to find some good buys in there. Look for some of the Sahara models I believe they came with the optioned D44 in the rear with 3.73 gears as well. This makes for upgrades easier down the road. You can also look at the rear axle ID tag or stamp to determine as well.

Big Bear nice wheeling area out there, one of my Jeepin friends lives out there and wheels there alot. I'll see if he knows any clubs in the area.

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Old 10-13-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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Chris's advice sounds good. Welcome to WF. We have quite a few members here in your area. An auto trans would be the way to go for wheeling the desert/mountain rocks.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:24 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum, whatever you decide, you're gonna love having a Jeep and being a part of the family.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:34 PM   #5
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One big thing would be to stick with a '97 to 2006 which is when the Wrangler TJ was in production. '97 is when the Wrangler left the leaf springs behind and went to much easier to modify/lift and better riding all coil spring suspension. There's nothing wrong with one even as old as a '97 either, mine is a '97 with 182,000 miles on it and it's still running great with no engine problems... and it doesn't use any more oil today than it did when I bought it brand-new 5/96.

Enjoy, those year Wranglers are great and fun/easy to work on. Also, try to find one that has the stronger Dana 44 rear axle which was an upgrade option for all Wranglers with the 4.0L engine (the 2.5L being a four-banger). The base-level Dana 35c rear axle isn't strong enough for big tires, a locker, etc. but the Dana 44 is.

You can look at the rear axle from the rear and easily tell what it is. The weaker Dana 35c has a perfectly oval shaped differential cover at the rear with a black plastic snap-in lubricant fill hole plug in the middle of the differential cover. The stronger Dana 44 has more of a stop-sign shaped differential cover with a threaded steel bolt plugging the differential's lubricant fill hole. Enjoy, Wranglers are fun. Especially with the top and doors off!
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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I had an 8K budget, so before buying our first TJ earlier this year, I spent alot of time on this site reading and learning...the consistent advice I went away with was "get the 4.0 with auto, Dana 44's, 3.73 and do your home work on how the Wrangler was used.
I followed that advice, mixed in a bit of patience, and we ended up with a super clean, low mileage '98 with those upgrades plus the 19 Gallon tank, both tops, A/C, new tires etc.etc...we could not be happier with our Wrangler. That was some great advice and I would offer the same for your consideration.
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:00 PM   #7
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Good advice above, go TJ, 4.0 and for ME an auto. what you settle on will give you the fever and well..............good luck
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:12 PM   #8
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haha i know im just repeating what everyone else is saying but go with a 98+ wrangler. and for me PERSONALLY, id go manual, theyre pretty damn fun. bit of an asshole on very steep inclines but otherwise great. i have a '98 with 170,000 miles. bought for 4k and spent about...1500 on fixing it up, runs almost perfect (needs a lil work still) :P
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Old 10-22-2009, 04:20 PM   #9
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The Wrangler X model was the only one that did not have the dana 44 available. All others had it as an option except the rubicon of course.

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hapakid88 View Post
haha i know im just repeating what everyone else is saying but go with a 98+ wrangler. and for me PERSONALLY, id go manual, theyre pretty damn fun. bit of an asshole on very steep inclines but otherwise great. i have a '98 with 170,000 miles. bought for 4k and spent about...1500 on fixing it up, runs almost perfect (needs a lil work still) :P
I agree with the years between "97-06"! easiest Jeeps to work on and the best ride! Mine is a 98 and I couldnt be happier with it. It has only 60K miles on it and runs like a dream! I would look for one with the D44 in it, like everyone says. Im about to swap out the diff's gearing to 4.10's front and back, because its sluggish on the highway with 32's under it. I prefer manual tranny's, but just a personal preference. If I had the time to mud more... I might prefer an auto, cause shiftin gets old when your stuck!!!

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