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Old 09-03-2011, 09:50 PM   #1
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wanna help a newb decide? '98 vs '99... details inside

first, if you're reading this and have any advice... thank you! i think my choice largely comes down to personal preference (which is hardest actually), but I need to choose between two that i have looked at, and could use some help. my priorities (in order) are safety, reliability, performance, convenience.

1 - '99 wrangler 98K, 6 cyl 4.0 liter engine, soft top and half doors (zip in window), body and chassis look really good, no lift, standard tires (all 5 match), drives well but there's a noise when the wheel is turned all the way to the left or right. i think the sellers will have this checked out (and either fixed or reduce the price) before turning it over.

PROS - smooth ride, great shape, good power, has side steps, well maintained, less than 100k
CONS - the steering noise is questionable, i really don't like the half doors and zip out window (not being able to just roll down the window while driving is kind of a big deal... is that weird?)

2 - '98 wrangler 119K, 4 cyl 2.5 liter engine, soft top, full hard doors, body and chassis are really nice, 2.5" lift and 31" Cepek tires (the fifth tire doesn't match), drives well (especially for the lift), but less power because of the smaller engine and bigger tires.
PROS - I like the lift and the big tires. not planning on taking it way off road, but i drive a rugged dirt road to work... although i suspect the no lift/stock tires will do just fine on that road too. 3 vaulted lock boxes. full doors with roll down windows
CONS - the power on hills is questionable, and i do take the highway regularly. i guess it leaks steering fluid, but i was told it's very slow and if it's checked and topped off at each oil change it won't be an issue (normal or red flag??), almost 120K. the engine is noticeably louder - not like there's something wrong with it, but maybe it's just the extra work of the lift and tires on a smaller engine? no sidestep.

i will end up paying around the same for either.
i have been leaning toward the '98 (2.5, 4cyl, 2.5" lift, 31" tires)
ANY opinion you might have will help.
Thank you!!

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Old 09-03-2011, 10:01 PM   #2
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My opinion. 99 is newer with less miles and a better engine. Both have slight problems. The soft doors are no biggie.

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Old 09-03-2011, 10:06 PM   #3
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I'd say your 1st coice, the '99, for 2 reasons. 1. It has the 4.0. Nuff said. 2. It is pretty much bone stock, so you can upgrade it how you see fit. You won't have to deal with the PO's shortcomings and shortcuts on upgrades. Just my opinion. Good luck with the decision.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:11 PM   #4
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i would say go with the 99. for the same reasons hobbit said. you will be happier with the 4.0 if you do any highway driving. i have a 2.5 with 33''s and i try to stay away from the highway as much as i can. that being said, i would def. get the owner to fix the noise its making. also you can probably get someone to trade those doors for some you like better. i have both full soft and hard doors. and unzipping the window isn't that bad.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:18 PM   #5
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id say the 99 4.0, you prob wont be too happy with the 2.5 but hey to each his own. the noise could very well just be the normal power steering squeal from turning it all the way but either way fixed or reduced price is always a plus
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #6

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you will love soft windows

less miles. 20k is alot. They do run forever if kept right though.

No lift means you will know what is done right and wrong.
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:49 PM   #7
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Prolly obvious but get the '99. You'll be happier long term.
1. used with an auxiliary verb or “be” to form the negative
2. used as a short substitute for a negative clause
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Old 09-03-2011, 10:57 PM   #8
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THANK YOU! it's funny how it takes other people pointing out the obvious for it to really become obvious.
I really appreciate it!
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:53 AM   #9
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If I'm not too late, Take door number 1 for all reasons stated above. Can't put it anybetter
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:09 PM   #10
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DEFINITELY the '99. The 6cyl and a clean slate to start Modding on.
|2004 Jeep TJ "Green Machine"|4.0L 5 speed Dana44|33x12.50x15 Goodyear Duratracs|2.5" OME HD coils + 1.25" body lift|OME NitroSport shocks|4.56 gears|Skid Row Engine Skid|BCC Sliders|Currie AntiRock|
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:36 PM   #11
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99, 4.0 engine and a fresh start for mods

Green Sahara, 31" BFGs, 15" Cragar 397s, 2" Lift
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:55 PM   #12
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99 and try to trade doors for full doors i'm sure someone on this site or another has hard doors and want soft, or could trade somewhere and pay a lil extra, the noise is probably normal but you might get a lower price outta it which is another plus
i have a 4 cylinder and gas mileage and power is horrible on the highway
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:56 PM   #13
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4.0 No questions asked.. they have balls!
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:03 PM   #14
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Nothing to compare, go with the 99 4.0. You wont be very happy with the 2.5 on the highway..
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:23 PM   #15
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99. Doors are a lot easier to swap than a motor. I had to have full doors too when I first bought mine, but recently switched over to half doors & like them much more.
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:49 AM   #16
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:55 AM   #17

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what's up with the cat?

back on topic: 6 in a row makes it go. 4 in a row makes it slow. do i need to elaborate?
2003 Rubicon, 4.0L, 5SPD, Custom 4.75" lift, 33" MT Baja Claws
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:54 AM   #18
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Go with the 99 4.0, you will be happy
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:12 AM   #19
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I agree, take the '99 and run with it!! I agree with immarkshy, the noise very well could be just the normal power steering noise when you pull it hard left or right. My TJ does it, my dad's Cherokee did it. The 4.0 is a much better motor in the long run. My husband's ex bought a 2.5 and it can't make it up the hills in Lancaster County on dry roads, I can't imagine how bad it's going to be in the snow LOL.
The only time i hate the soft windows is when it starts to rain and you're on the highway driving at 70 MPH. I had to pull over in order to zip them up on my last road trip. 90% of the time I just take the tops of the doors off and throw them in the back of the Jeep so I don't have to worry about the zippers.

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