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Old 03-21-2011, 05:48 PM   #1
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Thinking of buying a TJ what should i look for?

I was want to spend around 12K and for the money it looks like I will be getting something around 04 or 05 with anywhere between 80 and 100K on it, must be the I6 engine. My question is this what should I look for or not look for in a used jeep. It will be my daily driver and not be used off road often, we do get quite a bit of snow here in PA. My thought is 4wd for the winter and convertable for the summer...the best of both worlds.

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Old 03-21-2011, 07:15 PM   #2
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A couple of things I check are: the skid plates; gas tank and tranny skid, deep gouges and dents are a possible sign of abuse. Any obvious fluid leaks underneath, also chunks of mud underneath. The paint: notice any obvious paint repair such as overspray on the trim, it could be a minor fender bender or more extensive body work. One tell tell sign is mismatched headlights (could simply mean a bad light was replaced or it had a frontal crash), bumps or runs in the paint (can't be to picky, Jeeps are notorious for dirt in the paint and orange peel from the factory), different shades of color from the door or fender... I also check the oil, owners manual for service records, listen to the engine and drive it with the radio off and listen for abnormal noises, loose steering, make sure the 4wd works in HI and LO. Lastly, the cleanliness of the interior will tell you how the previous owner took care of it.
I could go on and on but that should give you a base line to start with without going into to too much detail.

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Old 03-21-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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all the above are great. I would suggest pulling up carpet to peek under it in the the driver and passenger side floorboard. The previous owner of my jeep took out drain plugs and tossed them i guess the floor board had rust and carpet kept getting wet and it stinky.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:34 PM   #4
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Golly, 80-100,000 on '04-'05's, are they really driven that much? I have a 2001 Sahara 6cyl auto with 59,000 miles on it and I thought I drove it quite a bit, both on/off road from new.
Good luck on your search, but don't be impatient and end up with a money pit.l
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:46 PM   #5
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If it was me, Id look for a Rubicon. If not, a Sport Model with A/C and the Dana 44 rear. And if you don't want A/C, then look for one with the Dana 44 rear.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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What is the difference in the models...sport, Sahara, Rubicon, se
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
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What is the difference in the models...sport, Sahara, Rubicon, se
For the most part the X,Sport and SE had difference options available like sound bars, dana 44, and a few other small things. The difference between those 3 and the rubi and the front and rear axles are d44 with lockers.

I'd look for a rubi as well for that price. If not, make sure the jeep has an I6 and a Dana 44 in the rear.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:45 PM   #8
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Not sure what you mean when you say lockers
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:59 PM   #9
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If you never intend to off road then a rubi is over kill. And if you do you'll want to build up the rig based what type of wheeling you want to do and what your budget is. I have an '05 LJ. I like the extra room for hauling 'stuff' and have started to build it for some off road work. It has the D44 rear axle and I added a 3" lift recently. Eventually bigger tires (say 33") and then I can think about gearing and lockers.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:39 PM   #10
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Welcome to the Wrangler forum and good luck hunting down your Jeep. I got my 05 Sport for $13000.00 with 24,000 miles on her back in '09. I like the full doors, not half doors. JMHO. Soft top of course.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:49 PM   #11
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I see 06 x models sell for $15k with 14k miles so Theres alot out there in your range
Id look for a sport or an X
for 12k you could maybe find an early rubi
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:54 PM   #12
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I know Im going to get slammed but if you plan on modifying the jeep go with the sport model 4.0l with dana 44 in the rear. It is a good base model to start with the rubicon you pay for a lot of good options if left stock or mildly built. If you upgrade the rubicon you will be taking off a lot of items that increased the purchase price. Look for rust in the floor boards and around the rear corners. Check to see if it has been lifted and any abnormal tire wear. Also when you drive it does it drive you. If you have a hard time driving it you can spend lot's of money trying to fix things done by the previous owner. I am a firm believer unless you know who built it buy it stock and do it yourself so you know what you have.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:55 PM   #13
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Like he said, look for a TJ with a V6, A/C (if you choose) with the Dana 44 rear end and your good to go.
If you have the little bit bigger budget a Rubicon is the way to go. The re-sale is always there. But you could find a X model pretty cheap with low miles.

If I could do it over again, I would get a Unlimited Rubicon TJ, w/ automatic.
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Old 03-21-2011, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bma1977 View Post
Not sure what you mean when you say lockers
Lockers lock the front and rear axle, putting 100% traction so you can crawl over rocks, ect.
Read this:
Jeep Lockers - Locker Lowdown
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:41 PM   #15
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My favorite trick is to check for VIN stickers on all of the body panels (hood, front fenders, rear fenders, front doors, rear door). My TJ had all original panels so that gave me a good idea that it wasn't in any serious accidents. When I pulled my front and rear bumpers several weeks ago, I also realized that they had the original VIN stickers too. Also, make sure to run an Autocheck or Carfax... It sucks to pay for it but it's well worth it.

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Old 03-22-2011, 09:30 AM   #16
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How is a stock Jeep on gas with an I6, specs say 16 city 10 hwy. Is that close? How many miles can you put on an I6 before you have problems?
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:20 AM   #17
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Other way around lol... I think stock is around 15-19 I average around 14-15. If it's got bigger tires and not geared plan on less. The I6 is a bulletproof engine but still be wary of any higher mileage vehicle

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:35 PM   #18
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a TJ with low miles, the year YOU want, the color you want, 4.0L engine, either manual or auto (your preference). I always look for rust. Dana 44 rear.

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