What to Do with a 97 Jeep Wrangler that has a Rusted Out Frame?
It has been some years since I got rid of my jeep wrangler (but I still miss it). But back in 1999 when I bought my jeep my mother’s youth came back out and she bought her jeep to go side by side with mine. Of course she had to outdo my 4 cylinder with her Sahara. Now 16 years later I get a call from them saying that they noticed some rust on the frame and could I come over and take a look at it.
I got under the jeep to take a look and immediately noticed the frame was in bad shape. On the passenger side you could see that the frame had rusted so bad that the side of the frame had a crack in it all the way up into the front end of the car. I shook my head went over to the driver side only to see that the back side of the frame was just as bad. From what I saw I knew the jeeps future was not looking that bright.
After reading the forums about solutions and similar problems I was feeling a little hopeful that a shop could work with a frame repair kit and fix up the frame. The jeep was brought into a shop that specializes in frames to have a closer look. When the guy came back with his findings he had no good news at all. They had found rust all over the frame and it was beyond repair and that the repair kits would not work do to the amount of rust on the frame. They quoted a price to put a new frame on the jeep but the cost exceeds the jeeps value. The final words from the guy at the frame shop were “I hope you do not hit a big pothole on the way home”. Meaning the whole frame could crumble at any time.
So with the bad news told and my mother coming to terms that she will have to get a new jeep we have to decide what to do with this one. Other than the frame the jeep is in good condition for its age. The jeep only had 98,400 miles on it. And no known troubles with the engine or the transmission. The interior in very good condition almost looks brand new inside. There is also a hard top and a soft top for the jeep.
The Guy at the shop recommended selling it on EBay but I have tried to sell one vehicle on there before and it was a pain in the rear. They could trade it in when they purchase a new car but I cannot see getting much of anything on a trade in. Junking it would be just as good as giving it away to charity. That leads to the last option I can think of and that is to part it out on my own.
I guess my question to everyone here is what would you do? Would it be hard to part it out on my own? How much do you think it is worth? Could someone reading this be interested in buying it knowing its condition? Or since I miss the days of having a jeep should I buy it from my mother and make it my own project jeep? Any input would be gratefully appreciated.
I couldn't even sell it I was getting really low ball offers for it. The rust is a huge deal breaker but I ended up getting lucky and I traded the rusty jeep and 1,400$ for a 97 4.0 with a clean frame. I Herculined the bed and por-15'd the frame within the first month. Good luck though i feel for ya
How mechanically inclined are you Andy? Myself, I would buy it as a project! I'm in the mid west and used frames in good shape can be had for $450.00. I would likely double that price for the east cost.
If you have a garage you can work from, a decent selection of tools, and a couple friends that are willing to lend a hand on a couple Saturday's then you could have a nice jeep for a little bit of elbow grease and for less money then you would otherwise have into buying one.
If you decide to take it on as a project the people here are a good resource for jeep knowledge, so if you hit a snag answers are only a few key strokes away.
Replace the frame. I got real lucky and got a clean frame on ebay for $63.00. Yes, that was $63.00. It was a no reserve auction and was only a couple hours away. They're out there. Just keep looking. Of course I haven't done the swap yet. I keep patching my frame. When it gets bad enough, I'll do it.
I was lucky,
I rescued my 97 before it was too late. I found the start of rust, especially on the top coil spring holders on the rear. But it was all happening due to fine dirt that had packed the gaps between the mount and the frame its welded too. As well as finding most of the frame full of this silt. The first owner never took it offroad but bombed down alot of gravel roads. Im assuming the dust filled in the frame, and moisture did the rest. I took my pressure washer and flushed them out and I think I halted the cancer early enough. And the bomb is the rest of the jeep is like brand new, garaged, well kept. Just glad I noticed it before winter, so it didnt sit and have frozen dirt heaving and hoeing.
Where do you live? I may be able to help you either find a new frame or give advice to parting it out.
IMHO. If you are not EXTREMELY mechanically inclined... and own a fairly extensive variety of tools... and have friends to help, I would not suggest trying a frame swap on your own.
Actually the tools you need aren't that extensive at all. A standard and metric socket and wrench set, star bits, and a set of fuel line lock tools. You can rent a cherry picker at most equipment rental stores. This also makes for a good reason to buy a couple new tools.