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Old 02-26-2014, 12:15 AM   #1
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The search for my first Wrangler!

Hey all, I'm looking for my first Jeep. I've had trucks in the past, but am looking for something a little more rugged for camping/fun on trails. I'd prefer to spend under $10k, and I think I've decided on a TJ. I've also thought about a YJ to save some money, but don't know if I want to spend the cash to do upgrades; because with one that has higher mileage I would look for something stock. I found a 95' with 230k miles, but apparently it was towed a lot and the engine was rebuilt around 150k miles. It was only $4,200. I also found a 2004 with 100k miles for a little over $10k. It has a lift and 33's already, and the guy said he's done minimal offroading. Lastly, I came across a 99' with tons of upgrades done, but I don't know anything about how it has been treated. I'll post the links also, if anyone could give me their thoughts that would be awesome! Keep in mind I would use it to drive about 6 miles a day to work, but mostly for a weekend warrior. I don't have tons of experience working on cars but have never ran across a problem I couldn't solve. Mostly replacing alternators, belts, starters, wiring, etc.

1995 Jeep Wrangler

2004 Jeep TJ / Wrangler / X

1999 Jeep Wrangler

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Old 02-26-2014, 01:02 AM   #2
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I like the 2004 TJ.make sure and ask if he had done gears to change for the 33' tires. That should have Dana 35 rear and 30 in front. The gears on it now is 3.07 from factory. You would need 4.56 or 4.88. So entisapate spending $1200 on new gears. You will not like driving it with 3.07 gears on 33' tires. It also look like they put the full size 33'tire on rear factory tire mount. Eventually its going to sag and warp the tail gate from weight of spair tire. So you would eventually need new spair tire carrier / rear bumper. So offer then less $800 to $1000 from asking price. I have the same 2004 TJ X model. Great jeep and good year built.

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Old 02-26-2014, 07:07 AM   #3
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I like the 2004 TJ.make sure and ask if he had done gears to change for the 33' tires. That should have Dana 35 rear and 30 in front. The gears on it now is 3.07 from factory. You would need 4.56 or 4.88. So entisapate spending $1200 on new gears. You will not like driving it with 3.07 gears on 33' tires. It also look like they put the full size 33'tire on rear factory tire mount. Eventually its going to sag and warp the tail gate from weight of spair tire. So you would eventually need new spair tire carrier / rear bumper. So offer then less $800 to $1000 from asking price. I have the same 2004 TJ X model. Great jeep and good year built.
I agree. The 2004 TJ would be a better buy even with the extra money that goes in. YJs have notorious transmission problems, specifically the manual, and with that kind of milage I feel like it's a money pit waiting to happen. Avoid Jeeps with alot of mods like that 99. Unless they can prove with paperwork who did the installations or if they obviously know how to work on a car don't trust them. My vote would definitely be the TJ.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:30 AM   #4
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Good luck on your search, you picked out some nice Jeeps. I have to agree on the 04 (too bad its not an LJ) it's close to stock, in nice shape, and low miles. You don't have to regear a TJ to run 33s my daughter has been doing it for years and hers runs great. Unless your adding huge tires and a lot of weight regearing isnt necessary unless you want the low ratio for offroading. The other two one is older and been rebuilt with high miles and the other has been built for show/offroad. Personally the BEST part about owning a Jeep is the FUN you get to have building it YOUR WAY! Post pics of the beauty you decide on.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:45 AM   #5
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Oh my word I LOVE that 1999 you have there man. I would tell the guy you only have $10,000 and have cash and I bet you might be able to get that deal. I just picked up this 2000 Wrangler for $6000 and they were asking $8000. I had cash in my hand and money talks!
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:59 AM   #6
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If your going to get a yj you want one that has the 4.2 the trans is probably fine on those and YJs are super easy to work on and are cheaper to work on too cheaper to mod and they are a little tighter than the tj IMO. Not saying the tj is bad. My girlfriend has one and it's fun to mess around in but I don't like driving it on the street because of the amount of body roll compared to my YJ which has a small lift and hardly any body roll but the tj is smaller than the yj which is an advantage off road
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:05 AM   #7
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I'd keep looking. Of the three the I like the YJ best & if I were you I'd get a TJ. The 04 looks like he just added an over sized BL to fit 33s, which would be the 1st thing I removed. Personally I wouldn't touch the 99.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:08 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the input! I think I might take a look at the 04' this weekend. I'll also ask about who did all the work on the 99', just out of curiosity. I'm going to keep looking on Craigslist, but so far I think the 04' looks the best.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:16 AM   #9
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As far as mileage goes, if I were to look at a relatively stock looking Wrangler with, say, 150,000 miles on it, what would be your first thoughts? I don't want to have to change out a clutch or something else significant right off the top, would you guys recommend a mileage to stay below? Obviously there are so many other factors, but where has everyone else started having things need to be replaced?
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:46 AM   #10
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As far as mileage goes, if I were to look at a relatively stock looking Wrangler with, say, 150,000 miles on it, what would be your first thoughts? I don't want to have to change out a clutch or something else significant right off the top, would you guys recommend a mileage to stay below? Obviously there are so many other factors, but where has everyone else started having things need to be replaced?
I'd be with the majority here and vote for the 04 myself. Anything highly modified can be a crapshoot if you don't know how it was done. With the YJ, yes, those are definitely cheaper to work on and mod, but that's also a considerably older Jeep. There's a possibility you may have to constantly work on it, especially with those miles. The 04 TJ looks mostly stock and middle of the line - not overly built, not bone stock. And at 10,300 OBO you have the potential to get it under $10K.

On miles, it basically depends on the year of the vehicle, how it's been maintained and driven, location, etc. I've seen vehicles that were 4 or 5 years old with low miles, that've been driven hard and not maintained, and I've seen vehicles that are 10+ years old or with high miles, that were well taken care of. Average miles/year is about 15,000 - so a 10-year old vehicle would have in the vicinity of around 150K, give or take.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:26 PM   #11
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No on Garys Jeeps .....wasn't impressed by the inventory or the gut feeling on the dealership....otherwise some great suggestions...... like the NH one. Figure in rebuilding the motor at some point and you're way ahead.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:09 AM   #12
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Thanks again for all the feedback! Does anyone have some more suggestions on what to watch out for on Saturday when I check out the 04'?
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:58 AM   #13
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Thanks again for all the feedback! Does anyone have some more suggestions on what to watch out for on Saturday when I check out the 04'?
Crawl up under car to check the drive train. See if there are old battle scars on the skid plates to get an idea of the Jeeps offroad history. Also look at the tranny and look for signs of it being pulled out, for Instance, check for a torn shift boot.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:36 PM   #14
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Check this one out...might be worth the flight across the country to save over $3K TJ For Sale: Downstate New York
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:41 PM   #15
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Check this one out...might be worth the flight across the country to save over $3K TJ For Sale: Downstate New York
He needs to look at that Jeep. That is a really clean Jeep!
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:45 PM   #16
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Thanks again for all the feedback! Does anyone have some more suggestions on what to watch out for on Saturday when I check out the 04'?
Honestly, if the engine looks pretty maintained and the skid plates don't look too beat up, that should be a pretty clean buy. However, I would definitely knock down that price. Personally I think it's a little high but that Jeep is pretty clean and the minor mods look nice.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:47 PM   #17
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Check this one out...might be worth the flight across the country to save over $3K TJ For Sale: Downstate New York
That is a clean Jeep. My only concern would be the mileage. How long will the transmission last before it goes out? Other than that, what would I be looking at to do a lift? I would want to be thorough on all the mods.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:54 PM   #18
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That is a clean Jeep. My only concern would be the mileage. How long will the transmission last before it goes out? Other than that, what would I be looking at to do a lift? I would want to be thorough on all the mods.
The manual transmissions as long as they have had regular fluid changes are pretty much indestructible for several hundred thousand miles. If it has less than 200000 miles than it likely has alot more life in it. The automatic transmissions are what you have to worry about with high milage.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:02 PM   #19
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That's good to know! I was a little concerned looking at those with higher mileage. I also saw this one, a little closer to home for me.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/4351894572.html
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:04 PM   #20
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That 04 in New York looks like a really good deal, though....I'm getting tempted haha.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:11 PM   #21
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That 04 in New York looks like a really good deal, though....I'm getting tempted haha.
If New York isn't too much of a hike that one would be a better pick. Cheaper and it looks like you could make it more personalized.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:11 PM   #22
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That's good to know! I was a little concerned looking at those with higher mileage. I also saw this one, a little closer to home for me.

http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/cto/4351894572.html
Personally i think the other two are better looking
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:24 PM   #23
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Thank you everyone for talking so highly of my jeep here in New York. I have never taken it off road, the skid plates are un scratched, and everything is good in on and under it. I changed the fluids to royal purple full synthetic less than 20k ago. If you are all talking so highly of it maybe I should ask for more? No seriously I have it listed for $7k but I really want $6,500.

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Check this one out...might be worth the flight across the country to save over $3K TJ For Sale: Downstate New York
. It sure is worth a flight

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He needs to look at that Jeep. That is a really clean Jeep!
thank you so much

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The manual transmissions as long as they have had regular fluid changes are pretty much indestructible for several hundred thousand miles. If it has less than 200000 miles than it likely has alot more life in it. The automatic transmissions are what you have to worry about with high milage.
the transmission is in great shape
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:57 PM   #24
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Hey all, I'm looking for my first Jeep. I've had trucks in the past, but am looking for something a little more rugged for camping/fun on trails. I'd prefer to spend under $10k, and I think I've decided on a TJ. I've also thought about a YJ to save some money, but don't know if I want to spend the cash to do upgrades; because with one that has higher mileage I would look for something stock. I found a 95' with 230k miles, but apparently it was towed a lot and the engine was rebuilt around 150k miles. It was only $4,200. I also found a 2004 with 100k miles for a little over $10k. It has a lift and 33's already, and the guy said he's done minimal offroading. Lastly, I came across a 99' with tons of upgrades done, but I don't know anything about how it has been treated. I'll post the links also, if anyone could give me their thoughts that would be awesome! Keep in mind I would use it to drive about 6 miles a day to work, but mostly for a weekend warrior. I don't have tons of experience working on cars but have never ran across a problem I couldn't solve. Mostly replacing alternators, belts, starters, wiring, etc. 1995 Jeep Wrangler 2004 Jeep TJ / Wrangler / X 1999 Jeep Wrangler
I don't like the one with 38" tires. It won't be a great DD. I don't know enough about crossover steering to buy something with it. He didn't say he regeared it. It's skyjackered out so he probably beat the snot out of it. It has been cleaned up recently. The 2004 is too much money for something with a body lift and 100k miles just to fit tires. It looks clean id hash him down on price at least a grand. Wouldn't pay more then 9 The YJ I'm 50/50 on I wouldn't buy something rebuilt. It's cheap though. I'd probably pass.

Edit: the plastic fake diamond plate on the rocker panel on the 04 is peeling I have a burning hatred for glue on accessories
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Old 02-27-2014, 03:58 PM   #25
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Thank you everyone for talking so highly of my jeep here in New York. I have never taken it off road, the skid plates are un scratched, and everything is good in on and under it. I changed the fluids to royal purple full synthetic less than 20k ago. If you are all talking so highly of it maybe I should ask for more? No seriously I have it listed for $7k but I really want $6,500.

Austen

. It sure is worth a flight

thank you so much

the transmission is in great shape
Sounds like someone may need to consider booking a flight...
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:02 PM   #26
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If wasn't clear across the country I would jump on it with no questions asked. I'm just a little unsettled with making the commitment to buy a car without actually seeing it in person. Anyone have any thoughts that could persuade me to go for it? Getting time off work wouldn't be an issue, the biggest things are what I mentioned above and reconciling to myself that I have to drive across the country to find the right car.
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Old 02-27-2014, 05:24 PM   #27
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If wasn't clear across the country I would jump on it with no questions asked. I'm just a little unsettled with making the commitment to buy a car without actually seeing it in person. Anyone have any thoughts that could persuade me to go for it? Getting time off work wouldn't be an issue, the biggest things are what I mentioned above and reconciling to myself that I have to drive across the country to find the right car.
Buy one get another free?
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:23 PM   #28
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If wasn't clear across the country I would jump on it with no questions asked. I'm just a little unsettled with making the commitment to buy a car without actually seeing it in person. Anyone have any thoughts that could persuade me to go for it? Getting time off work wouldn't be an issue, the biggest things are what I mentioned above and reconciling to myself that I have to drive across the country to find the right car.
Young, I wouldn't have much issues going the distance for the TJ. I bought our 05 LJ without seeing it. I talked to the owner a half a dozen times and my gut told me he was straight up. I'd PM him and just talk. The only thing that shakes me a little is the price....damn great price. Ask for pics underneath, but the real test will be the phone call. You can tell a lot about a person if you just listen to what they are saying. My opinion.....seems like a straight up kid to me. Can always have it shipped to you. Either way....keep us updated.....love these Jeep soap opera transactions.
PS...you don't have to drive cross country for a Jeep.......just a TJ and you'll be flying not driving.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:29 PM   #29
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I don't think you can beat him up on the price....he's done that himself, but hold out for the chance to drive the fire truck from the rear like Kramer did.
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Old 02-27-2014, 08:42 PM   #30
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I've actually already talked to Austen, he seems like an honest and straight forward guy. I'm going to have the 04 around here taken in for a pre-buyer inspection since it's still a few hours away, then have my dad take a look at it since he only lives a few minutes away. After that, I'll see what we can come up with. If that doesn't work out, I'm going to seriously consider Austen's Jeep.

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