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Old 11-17-2012, 11:53 AM   #1
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Sort of newbie with a few purchase questions

I owned a 98 TJ back in 2004. I started dating a woman with a 4 year old and we got serious so I traded in my beloved jeep for a "family" vehicle. Fast forward to today and the itch is killing me. I've been putting off picking up another car payment but I cant resist the call of a Jeep. Anyway, I found one locally. Its a 2000, auto, with 113,110 miles. Its red, hard top and pretty much plain vanilla stock set up. I found another one thats a 2003 black, soft top manual with 87,000 miles.

Now, I've never owned a manual car. I've only tried driving a manual I'd say twice in my 38 years of life. Would it be smarter to get the red manual for $7,995 or the black manual for $10,995?

I know, I should've learned to drive a stick when I was a kid but there werent any in my family. There still aren't come to think of it! Everyone has an automatic. I've also never had a red vehicle. Always black cars. Sorry for the long post. Also, the red jeep is sold by a mom and pop dealership the black at one of the major dealerships in St. Louis.

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Old 11-17-2012, 12:30 PM   #2
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The more I look at the red one the more I'm liking the color! Just wondering if the miles are too high. It is a 12 year old jeep although. I may take the 30min drive to see it.

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Old 11-17-2012, 12:46 PM   #3
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Do you have any links? Would like to see pictures and info to compare. Helps us get a better idea of what we can recommend to you.

Do you plan on doing a lot of offroading? Many offroaders prefer an auto trans. Some people swear by manual no matter what. I have heard many times that "the only real Jeep is a manual". It all comes down to personal preference. Manuals are fun, but can be a pain in a traffic jam. Auto is easier to wheel with (offroad).

And don't feel bad. I still only sort of know how to drive a manual. By the time I was old enough to drive, no one I knew had a manual anymore. Well, besides a guy with a BMW. But I wasn't allowed to touch it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:57 PM   #4
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Go for the red one and save some money for mods.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:02 PM   #6
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those questions really have to do with personal preference & finances. personally, i like black vehicles. others would say otherwise.

i would check out both. see which one is in better shape & which one was taken care of better. my last TJ (white 97) had high miles, but was in very good shape & drove great.

are they both 6 cyl? or the 4 cyl? either way, i've read that both engines are bulletproof. i have only had one 4 cyl. (my 1st jeep) all others were 4.0L. my last 97 TJ was sold with 179k miles & still going strong.


edit. just say they are both 4 cyl.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:06 PM   #7
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I think a lot depends on your planned use. If it is going to be strickly a mall crawler with very little off road, then you can probably make a decision based on what you like as far as auto or stick, and color. The 113,000 miles wouldn't scare me. But if you are going to be doing mods and more off roading, you might want to check and see what differentials they have and think about trying to buy something with a 6 cylinder and a Dana 44 under the back of it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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Both of those have the 2.5L 4 cylinder engine, as opposed to the 4.0L 6 cylinder. If you plan on going with larger tires and a lift, you'll be happier with a 4.0. If you're just going to leave it stock and use it as a street vehicle, the 2.5L would be fine.

I see a lot of rust just on the rear bumper of the black one. Since it looks like you're in Missouri, it is vital that any Jeep you look at be as rust-free as possible. Surface rust can be cleaned up and undercoated, but anything that's penetrating the tub or frame means you should walk away from that Jeep (unless you have the means to cut out the cancer and patch it up). Bring a screwdriver and crawl under the Jeep. Poke the frame hard all over and make sure the screwdriver doesn't penetrate.

Based on your plans for your Jeep, you may also want to look for stronger axles. Your desired lift + tire size will determine which axle you should have. You'll likely want the D35 rear at least, but shoot for a D44 rear if you plan on getting tires over 31".

What exactly are your plans for your future Wrangler? We can give more advice based off of that as well.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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I don't plan on lifting it. I would probably take the stock tires off and go another size up. I can't remember what my last jeep had. I want to say 31" tires. As far as usage just an everyday vehicle. No off roading.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:32 PM   #10
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In that case, you won't have to worry about much other than the typical "how well does it run?" and "does it have rust?" questions. I wouldn't worry about the mileage on the 2000 red TJ. It's only been driven an average of less than 10k miles per year. That's good. I say, go ahead and check out the red one. It's got a hardtop, which you can either sell on craigslist or keep. Softtops are cheaper and easier to find than a hardtop, so you can always get one later if you want one. You should be able to work the price down a bit. Make comments to the salesman, such as, "It isn't the 6 cylinder though... I could find a 6 cylinder for less than what you're asking for this." Find out what axles it has and make sure to complain, "Ah, the D44 is way better though..." If you point out the negatives to the salesman (even though they're not negatives for you) and seem indecisive, they're more likely to adjust the price to convince you to buy it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:02 PM   #11
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Well I made the drive to check out the red TJ. Got down on my hands and knees to peak under and there was lots of rust. Parts of the frame were rusted through. On both sides by the way. There was a little rust patch on the gas tank. The axels had no rust at all. It was just along the frame.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:35 PM   #12
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:05 PM   #13
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i was just down that way on my way to farmington, mo. i remember seeing at least 20 wranglers for sale in between st louis and farmington. take a weekend trip and stop when one looks interesting!
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #14
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Try and find a 4.0 they are such a better driveline and hold value way better.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:09 PM   #15
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If you are not in a hurry, keep looking. There are good deals out there, you just have to be patient. I just bought 2000 v6 with 80k miles for $8300 from a big dealership. It was listed at $10995. I test drove it, negotiated, and made a point of telling them that this Jeep was going to be a weekend vehicle.

Even though it was a 12 yr old vehicle, and extremely clean and well taken care of, I nitpicked it a little bit. When they didn't get to a price I liked, I walked and continued looking at other Jeeps. Over the next week and a half the dealership called me numerous times and finally got to a price that I liked.

Remember, its your money! Its their job to get your money and your job to keep as much of it as possible. Nitpick and start with a reasonable low offer....the worst a dealership can say is NO... good luck
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:32 PM   #16
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If you are not in a hurry, keep looking. There are good deals out there, you just have to be patient. I just bought 2000 v6 with 80k miles for $8300 from a big dealership. It was listed at $10995. I test drove it, negotiated, and made a point of telling them that this Jeep was going to be a weekend vehicle.

Even though it was a 12 yr old vehicle, and extremely clean and well taken care of, I nitpicked it a little bit. When they didn't get to a price I liked, I walked and continued looking at other Jeeps. Over the next week and a half the dealership called me numerous times and finally got to a price that I liked.

Remember, its your money! Its their job to get your money and your job to keep as much of it as possible. Nitpick and start with a reasonable low offer....the worst a dealership can say is NO... good luck
Wow, thats awesome. What things should I nitpick at? I havent owned a Jeep since 2006 so I'm a bit rusty on buying cars.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:34 PM   #17
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4.0 sort of like this? Going to go check it out tomorrow while they are closed so I can take my time and really look around it.

2001 Jeep Wrangler 2dr Sport Sienna Pearl 2 Dr. Wagon. A Jeep Wrangler at Suntrup Hyundai St. Louis MO
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:53 PM   #18
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if you're not in a hurry, that's when you will find the best deal. i bought my 99 with 40k miles & a long list of mods that i was going to do anyway (more than i was looking to do) for a great price. i tried talking the guy down, but he only came down $500 b/c he knew what he had & what he could get.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:38 PM   #19
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I'm not in a major rush at all. My Honda runs fine. I really like the 98 with 120,000 miles. I can negotiate the $6500. Its a manual and I'm thinking it would be good to learn how to drive a manual on. Plus I can pay it off pretty quick. Like within the next year!
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:59 PM   #20
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4.0 sort of like this? Going to go check it out tomorrow while they are closed so I can take my time and really look around it.

2001 Jeep Wrangler 2dr Sport Sienna Pearl 2 Dr. Wagon. A Jeep Wrangler at Suntrup Hyundai St. Louis MO
That's funny. I drive past that jeep every day. At least for as long as its been on the lot. It looks clean. The only reason I didn't stop was because of the half doors. I prefer the full for our colder weather here. Had both and that's just my personal preference so any jeep I look at will have full doors and hopefully a hardtop. If I were you, I'd be searching Craigslist. That's where the good deals (steals) are. I'm your competition on Craigslist though, ha! That's where I found mine.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:04 PM   #21
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That's funny. I drive past that jeep every day. At least for as long as its been on the lot. It looks clean. The only reason I didn't stop was because of the half doors. I prefer the full for our colder weather here. Had both and that's just my personal preference so any jeep I look at will have full doors and hopefully a hardtop. If I were you, I'd be searching Craigslist. That's where the good deals (steals) are. I'm your competition on Craigslist though, ha! That's where I found mine.
Lol, I looked on Craigs too. Thats where I saw the red 2000 one. It was over in Granite City, IL. Price was nice but the rust underneath made me nervous. The seller has been emailing me for the last two hours dropping the price each time. He's down to 4500. I'm going to go back over tomorrow and take pics of the rust.

I'm going to go see the other one tomorrow.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:12 PM   #22
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Love the Sienna Pearl color.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:13 PM   #23
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Get good pics of the rust and share them here. Bring a screwdriver so you can poke around and see just how far the rust extends. If you can actually see holes in the frame, that means it needs a lot of work underneath to patch it up... If you have the tools and know-how to do it yourself, it might not be so bad. But I imagine the cost of having the frame repaired by a shop would not be cheap. Maybe someone with experience can pop in here and comment on that. You can always ask to take the Jeep to a shop you trust to get an estimate. Keep the cost in mind and use it as a bargaining chip during negotiations.

Or just hold out and wait for a better one to come along. I personally wanted a rust-free Jeep because any time you cut into the frame, it creates weak points that can buckle or fail during a collision. Our LJ lived in the desert so we didn't have to worry about rust at all. Consider price vs repair cost, time required to repair the frame, whether you want to put work into your new Jeep right away (which you should, if the rust is as extensive as it sounds). And, if you get really cold winters where you are, you might want to hold out for full doors and a hardtop, or at least full doors.

The price is high on the 2001, but the mileage is low. Definitely worth checking out.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:31 PM   #24
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That's a pretty good price for our area on the red jeep with the full doors, a/c and hard top. IF the rust is non existent. If it's rusty, pass. Don't buy someone else's problem. You can sell the top and doors for $1500 and have a $3000 jeep for driving on nice days! I'll buy the top from you!
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:57 PM   #25
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i definitely agree with craigslist. that is where i found my last 2 jeeps.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:38 PM   #26
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I will check out the three I like tomorrow and post pics here. Part of me wants to get a stick and just learn. ANother side of me wants to just get an automatic. Rust scares me here in Missouri.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:26 AM   #27
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Then definitely steer clear of that rusty bucket you saw earlier. Be patient and don't rush the process. My husband and I perused Jeeps for sale for maybe five months before we found one we just had to have. We waited for the right opportunity. Hold out for a rust-free rig that's the price you want to pay. Don't hesitate to walk away if you're at all doubtful that it's The One.
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:31 AM   #28
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IMO, the 2.5 is a better motor than the 2.4.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:30 AM   #29
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Take a good flashlight with you. I probably spent 20 minutes under my jeep before I even opened the doors. The salesman probably thought I was crazy lol. I bought my 1997 4.0 5 speed for $6000 "out the door". With only 104,000 miles. I learned to drive a stick shift by purchasing a 1999 Trans am. Before that I had never driven a stick shift. Now I don't want any more automatics. Manuals are cheaper to fix if ever needed and can get better gas mileage depending on how you drive it. Another think is the 2.5 jeeps have a transmission that are known for 5th gear to go out. The 4.0 has a better transmission.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:18 AM   #30
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Another think is the 2.5 jeeps have a transmission that are known for 5th gear to go out. The 4.0 has a better transmission.
Which transmission is that? I have an AX-5, with 148,000 miles and still have 5th gear. 2nd is a bear to go into on a cold morning though.

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