I'd like to buy a Wrangler. I'd really love a new JK but I don't think I can afford that yet.
In the mean time, I hope I can pick up a TJ with less than 80k miles for less than $12k. Does that sound reasonable?
I've never owned a Wrangler and I don't know anybody who owns a Wrangler. So, I have some questions.
First, I think I'd like a hard top for those cold Colorado winters. The defroster on the back window would be nice. I can still remove the hard top in the summer, right? Can I replace the hard top with a rag top or vice-versa? Or if I have a hard top, am I stuck with a hard top?
I understand that the new JK is the first model with power windows and locks. Is this true?
I understand the radio in TJ's prior to 2003 are easier to upgrade because of the rectangular dash bezel instead of a rounded dash bezel. Is this true? Has anyone succeeded in installing a newer JK radio with CD/MP3 and Aux-in in the older TJ? Are the cutouts the same size?
A couple questions about the back seat -- did any of the TJ's have head rests in the back seat? I don't like the idea of an adult riding in the back without a head rest. Seems like a lot of potential for a neck injury in the event of an accident. Does the back seat flip up like on the newer JK for more trunk space?
Do all of the TJ's have airbags? Driver and passenger?
I guess that's about it. I'm sorry if these are too novice. Thanks for your patience!
You can switch back between hard and soft tops
All TJ"s and both driver and passenger airbags
The rear seat does not have head rests. It does fold forward and if need can be taken out
Not sure on the radio
you can get aftermarket power windows if your into that sort of thing
CJ.XJ.CJ. TJ. TJ.ZJ. TJ.TJ. ZJ.ZJ.YJ. XJ
I really don't think there is any room for head rests in the back seat if adults are back there!! LOL
I have an 02 TJ with driver/passenger air bags. Don't know when they started them though.
You can get an extremely nice TJ for around 12G....you can actually get a very nice TJ and have a few thousands for mods and upgrades.
You can interchange hardtops and soft tops as long as you have the hardware. I prefer the hardtop because they are much quieter on the highway and actually feels like it's a permanent enclosure. It takes at least 2 people to remove and put on unless you have a hoist for it. Soft tops are much more convenient though when it comes to a sudden rain storm or the sun goes down and it gets pretty cool.
Just my two pennies......good luck
At some point during jeep ownership, you will BUST A NUT!!!
Mines '97 w/ airbags on both sides.
Either bezel (round or rectangular) has install kits available, the rectangular ones look better w/ an aftermarket stereo, though (humble opinion).
And you'd be better off getting a nice aftermarket unit vs. trying to retrofit a JK headunit ... if I understood you correctly.
Soft tops do a surprising job of keeping heat in, esp. with the screaming heaters these things have, but they're loud at speed.
You don't want power windows in a Jeep....KISS
1) Absolutely a reasonable price, look into 2003-2005 and I think you'll come across something you like. Make sure it's a Sport, X, Sahara, or Rubicon (Rubicon is the ultimate choice) with a 4.0L. With that money there is no reason to skimp.
2) You can remove the hardtop, it takes two people because the hardtop is awkward. Removal is a few bolts and lift up. You can also get a soft top, with a typical Craigslist price running about $250. Look around junkyards and you can score some deals!
3) Yes. You won't even miss 'em on the TJ. There are aftermarket kits for power locks and windows, but honestly, it's not a huge concern, at least for me.
4) Yea, they're somewhat easier to upgrade on the 97-2002, however, there is a simple adapter available for the 2003+ that places like Crutchfield provides, so it's not a big deal. No idea about the JK in a TJ, but aftermarket radios have more functions, so wouldn't worry about it or bother.
5) No headrests in any model, however, Bestop makes the TrailMax II backseats that have an integrated headrest (you're welcome Geoff). The backseat does flip up and out of the way just like the JK, and backseat removal is even easier.
6) I believe all of the TJ's do have passenger and driver airbags. From 99+ they integrated a Passenger Airbag disarm in the console.
Bought my 2000 Sahara in Aug 09 with both tops, 62000 miles, in your price range. Switching tops isn't hard, but finding instructions for what goes and what stays when you switch tops isn't always obvious, IMHO. Of course, when in doubt, ask the good people here (thanks again).
Just put a Kenwood head and put 6.5" Kenwoods in the soundbar and they sound awesome. Put the speakers in first and they sounded good, but they sound fantastic with the better head pushing them. Don't really need power windows or locks, it's so narrow, I just reach across .
Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
- manual transmission
- air conditioning
- cruise control
- hard top
- less than 70k miles
Is there anything else I should look for?
Someone suggested the X, Sahara, or Rubicon trim packages. I don't really care for the Sahara graphics though. Someone else suggested the 4.0L engine. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
p.s. This forum is great
Sounds awesome, and easily manageable for under 12k. The mileage might be slightly tougher since people do love to hold onto these cars. But check out cars.com, autotrader.com, craigslist.com, and ebay and you'll find a great deal I'm sure.
Here's the packages in order of preference
SE - Base 4cyl. model, with most everything being an option so it varies
X - Base 6cyl. model, a step between SE/Sport with most extras as options
Sport - 6cyl. model with some more standard features, typically a/c, and really most of what the X comes with
Sahara - 6cyl. model with "Sahara" off-road package, usually a D44 axle and some extras, but it's more a cosmetic thing
Rubicon - 6cyl SUPREME with upgraded suspension, D44, 16" wheels, well-suited to go off-road, but can be overkill in some cases
The Unlimited and Unlimited Rubicon are extended wheel-base versions that come with the D44 axle, but you do pay a premium, and not all modifications will be compatible (most are though)
What I would look for is a 1999-2002 4.0L if you're looking to save some money and put some $$$ towards your own modifications. If you're going to be doing some rock crawling, then a D44 axle should be a definite. X's and Sport's do sometimes come with 'em, but it's a hit or miss search. Just look underneath the rear at the "pumpkin" and see if the fill cap is metal or rubber. Metal is the D44. The reason I wouldn't pick a 97 or 98 is just that 99 had an interior revision and the HVAC controls are a little cleaner. If you're like me and do mostly sand or light-mudding, then a D35 will get you through the day. Don't believe ALL the hype. Just don't plan on lifting it higher then 33" tires.
Manual transmission-wise, make sure to test it out on the roads and the highway before purchase. Both the ax15 and the nv3350 are solid transmissions, but they shift like truck transmissions, so just recognize some bumps and grinds at first are common, but you adjust to it.
Your final debate will be on door/roof styles. Do you want a hardtop/softop or hard doors/half doors/or soft doors? Honestly, it's a preference thing, but realize that in the winter the soft top can get cold, the zippers can become detached, and the top will need to be replaced every 5 years (a $200 job). But in the summer, the hardtop can't be folded down to avoid the weather if that's your concern. Honestly, your best bet is to pick up a hardtop, and then resell it because they're worth a ton of money, and finding a replacement softop complete is about $250 to $300 with some hunting.
Cosmetically, look for rust on the frame. Rust on the body. Damage, bending, repairs, etc. Drive it on the road. Drive it on the highway to check for severe shaking or vibration (a sign of frame damage). Don't worry about scuffs, fading, paint chipping since they're all just battle wounds and easily fixable. If you find one with faded fenders (the grey pieces on the sides), it's a $5 rattle can job to get it back looking fresh. Same with the hardtops.
The reason most of us are so nice about helping is simply a selfish part of us that just wants to talk and talk about our cars.
It's funny though. When I had my Cougar, I hated seeing others with Cougars. When I had my Mustang, I hated seeing other Mustangs on the road. Now that I have my Jeep, I notice and appreciate every single Jeep on the road, and gotta get my on.
I just got my 99 TJ back in Sept 09 for right around your price range w/ hard and soft top. In some parts of the country because of the cash for clunkers program they are hard to find... good luck and welcome to the forum.
I lived in Littleton for years and had a 2003 Sahara.... Whatever you do, go with a 4.0L and not the 2.5L! With the mountain altitiude the 2.5L wouldn't have enough power to jerk a sick whore off a pisspot! (You lose about 2% HP for every 1,000 feet in altitude).