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Old 12-28-2010, 12:08 AM   #1
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Which TJ Would be Best?

So im looking to buy my 1st TJ.
What years should I stay away from ?
What years are best ?
What should I look for as trouble spots ?
How many miles is too many miles ?
Would like the 5 speed and 4 cyl.. any warnings about these 2 ?
I know allot of questions- just want to make a good choice. I heard 1999 is the worst year- is that true

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:16 AM   #2
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I have a 1999 that I bought used. I have had about 6 months and have not had any problems yet. And it is a 4 cyl. 5 speed. The only thing is that it does not have much power. If you and going to lift it and put bigger tires, I would go with the 6cyl. I am now trying to figure out how to get more power out of mine. Good luck.

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Old 12-28-2010, 12:28 AM   #3
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I also have a 99 and it is going great. roughly 139,000 miles on it and the only thing that has been bad so far really is the exhaust pipe hit the skid plate when it was in idle and when it was shut off. we wedged a couple of 1 by pieces of wood under it and it solved the problem. A fan wire is loose and it will shut off occasionally, and occasional normal small things. Nothing unusual in other vehicles. Overall it is a very well operating vehicle! Its an inline 6 4.0 liter 5 speed manual transmission. I get somewhere between 14 and 16 mpg with 31x10.5 tires. I don't understand why those Canadians couldn't manufacture a more efficient motor... anyways, 90's is always the way to go in my opinion haha... unless you're talking about music... but that's a different story... please reply back with reasons the 99' is possibly a bad year just so I can look out and be ready for any of those problems. Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:35 AM   #4
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Go with a six, ive got the 4 and you dont want it..trust me.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by That99SaharaGuy
I don't understand why those Canadians couldn't manufacture a more efficient motor...
What're you talking about?
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:12 AM   #6
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I personally have no issues with my 4 and 33s. You just gotta know how to drive it. Keep up with traffic (pass most people) and get ~ 19-20mpg.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:19 AM   #7
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Well I've got a 4 banger and an auto so maybe that's why I don't like mine...
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:26 AM   #8
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if your going 1997-1999 with the 4.0L you get the AX-15 and I have heard many prefer that over any of the newer manual transmisisons. Also the 2.5L is wimpy and gets the same mileage.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by jkaufman_95 View Post
Well I've got a 4 banger and an auto so maybe that's why I don't like mine...
True, mine's a 6 speed. Love it.

And no, I'm averaging an extra 4-5mpg more than most people here. So I'm not sure what people are talking about saying they get the same mileage.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:33 AM   #10
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4 bangger is fine unless you want bigger tires without regearing.
I found the 5spd version the 4th gear is a bit too tall. I found myself changing between 3rd and 4th all the time when going uphill doing 35-40.
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:52 AM   #11
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I've got a 98 TJ with the 2.5/5 speed. When I first test drove it (totally stock), I thought it was pretty spunky. Then I put five 33" tires on it, and changed the gears to 4.88 (from 4.10) and I can use all five gears. It still does ok (plus it gained a good bit of weight with corner guards, gas tank skid, side armor, heavier bumpers f/r, tools/high-lift, and a winch). It don't expect it to be a speedster, and off-road it is an animal.

Definitely test drive and see if the 2.5 is "enough" engine for you (it is for me). If it seems too sluggish, then go for a six-cylinder. It won't get any better once you start modifying and adding stuff to your Jeep.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:29 PM   #12
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1999 tj

Sorry to give you a scare. I was googling how to buy a jeep . came to a site that said.. best and worst TJs to buy.. They said- everyone knows the 1999 is the worst year ever made and the 95 is the best.. but what do they know..

Im sure yours is fine.. thats why I joined the site.. before I buy I research and then research some more..
all you guys have been great.. I praying that when the right jeep comes along- all your input will have helped.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by That99SaharaGuy View Post
I also have a 99 and it is going great. roughly 139,000 miles on it and the only thing that has been bad so far really is the exhaust pipe hit the skid plate when it was in idle and when it was shut off. we wedged a couple of 1 by pieces of wood under it and it solved the problem. A fan wire is loose and it will shut off occasionally, and occasional normal small things. Nothing unusual in other vehicles. Overall it is a very well operating vehicle! Its an inline 6 4.0 liter 5 speed manual transmission. I get somewhere between 14 and 16 mpg with 31x10.5 tires. I don't understand why those Canadians couldn't manufacture a more efficient motor... anyways, 90's is always the way to go in my opinion haha... unless you're talking about music... but that's a different story... please reply back with reasons the 99' is possibly a bad year just so I can look out and be ready for any of those problems. Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:31 PM   #13
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mines the best to be honest with you. 2000 manual I6

Why you ask? Because i got one and i love it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:33 PM   #14
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What year

What year is your jeep with the 4cyl and 5 speed ?

thanks
Pastor Scott

Quote:
Originally Posted by ellman605 View Post
I personally have no issues with my 4 and 33s. You just gotta know how to drive it. Keep up with traffic (pass most people) and get ~ 19-20mpg.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
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They said- everyone knows the 1999 is the worst year ever made and the 95 is the best.. but what do they know..
This is probably just somebody givin TJS a hard time since there are no 95 TJs...anything older than a 97 is a YJ. If it were me, I would look into a I6...and if you think that you will be getting larger tires in the future, you may consider trying to find a TJ with a D44 rear axle already in place.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:42 PM   #16
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I don't know anything about the 4 bangers, but the only big differences I can think of between the older and newer 4.0's is:

1. exhaust manifold design. Old TJs (Maybe pre 2002, but I'm not sure) have a tendency to crack exhaust manifolds because there are no flex joints in the exhaust system. I have a 98 and I replaced the cracked manifold myself one day. It wasn't too bad.

2. coil packs. Older Tjs (again, not sure the exact years) have a standard coil, distributor, and plug wires... Newer TJs have coil packs right on top of the plugs. I personally like the older distributor style since its cheap, but coils are fine too.

As for milage, the 4.0 will run for 300-400k with no problems as long as its maintained. Possible problem areas to check on a used TJ are:

1. the frame - look for rust spots, holes, etc. Look around the transfer case skid plate for rust in between the plate and frame. I've seen that area completely gone before.

2. the tub - look around the inner fenders, behind the wheels, and around the gas tank for rust spots in the tub.

3. test 4wd - make sure there is no binding in the u-joints, etc.

There is a lot more to look at in terms of the motor, trans etc. but I would always check the body/frame first to see how badly the jeep was abused.

good luck!
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:50 PM   #17
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I have a 99 4.0L I6 with 88K miles and I am loving it.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:52 PM   #18
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99 a bad year?
That's funny I've owned my 99 manual 4.0 since 01 and have only replaces the radiator, exhaust manifold and master/slave cylinder.

185k miles and still has original Clutch which was my first manual ever.
97-99 are best years unless you want a rubicon and I you do wan lift and tires down the road look for one with the Dana 44 rear axle.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:52 PM   #19
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Like everyone else is saying, try to get the 4.0 straight six. Those engines will last a long time
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:14 PM   #20
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99 a bad year?
That's funny I've owned my 99 manual 4.0 since 01 and have only replaces the radiator, exhaust manifold and master/slave cylinder.

185k miles and still has original Clutch which was my first manual ever.
97-99 are best years unless you want a rubicon and I you do wan lift and tires down the road look for one with the Dana 44 rear axle.
Why would you say 97-99, I've got a I6 2000 that I love.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by pastorscott View Post
Sorry to give you a scare. I was googling how to buy a jeep . came to a site that said.. best and worst TJs to buy.. They said- everyone knows the 1999 is the worst year ever made and the 95 is the best.. but what do they know..
...
First year for the TJ was '97. No '95 TJ.... As you stated... "...but what do they know"...
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:13 PM   #22
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I've had both (a 2000 2.5 and now a 1999 I6). The 2.5 lacked power, but the 6 is bulletproof.
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:58 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MBLG

What're you talking about?
Well I'm kinda jokin' around but I meant that it's a fairly small vehicle with a 6 cylinder that isn't fuel efficient. And my jeep was manufactured in Canada by Canadian Chrysler... lol I still love the thing though
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pastorscott View Post
So im looking to buy my 1st TJ.
What years should I stay away from ?
What years are best ?
What should I look for as trouble spots ?
How many miles is too many miles ?
Would like the 5 speed and 4 cyl.. any warnings about these 2 ?
I know allot of questions- just want to make a good choice. I heard 1999 is the worst year- is that true

Pastor Scott
I'm not aware of any model years' that were best avoided. I like the older 80's models, but I'm too old to take on another fixer-upper.

Mileage-wise, I've seen one CJ with 377,000 miles on the original engine and it ran fine. The wife's Cherokee has 140,000 with all-original equipment, and it runs like new. High mileage is not an issue with these vehicles, however, I speak only of those Jeeps with the famous 4.0 straight-six engine. They're absolutely bulletproof, period.

When I bought my 2005 TJL, I test-drove the 4-banger Sport. Not nearly enough engine for that weight vehicle. I like the 6-sp. transmission, 30x9 tires and 3.73 stock gearing - great on and off road. The coil-on-plug design on later-TJ's are excellent; no spark plug wires or distributor to fool with. Love the hydraulic clutch system - ultra reliable. There's very little to complain about from my perspective; I did ditch the "clutch-in to start" thing right off (after you remove the device, clutch pedal pressure lightens up nicely), and I set it up so that the fog lights work alongside the high beams.

Ah, okay, one major PIA that I dealt with right after I bought new: the seat position! I put an inch of steel spacers underneath the backside of the seat brackets. Much more comfortable! Also, I had to add a throttle return spring - way too touchy otherwise. I'm sure you'll enjoy fixing the quirks with your purchase soon enough. This is half the fun of owning a Jeep.

If I had to do it over again, I would go for the ragtop instead of hardstop - easier to remove and install. I would have also bought the OEM tow equipment. I added it later, but it was a lot of work to retrofit. I would have bought the automatic transmission instead of 6-sp., just because I'm getting old and lazy.

One thing I'd never do though is buy the little 4-banger engine; not nearly enough power for a vehicle like this, esp. if you ever plan to tow a trailer.

Happy hunting!
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:29 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by jasonwrangler
4 bangger is fine unless you want bigger tires without regearing.
I found the 5spd version the 4th gear is a bit too tall. I found myself changing between 3rd and 4th all the time when going uphill doing 35-40.
lol I have to do that now without a lift and bigger tires.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:29 PM   #26
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I have a 99 with the 4.0....the only reason I got the I6 was because 15 years ago, I said Id never own another 4 cylinder truck. Now the Jeep is close to that category, therefore I got the 6. How much better is it than the 4 cylinder? Prob not much with the right gearing. These things aren't made for speed, that's a fact.

Conclusion: you would prob be happy with either engine for everyday tasks.

As for the years to stay away from, I don't think there's a such thing. The small minor changes throughout the years aren't enough to make me say "steer clear" of a certain model.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:52 PM   #27
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2. coil packs. Older Tjs (again, not sure the exact years) have a standard coil, distributor, and plug wires... Newer TJs have coil packs right on top of the plugs. I personally like the older distributor style since its cheap, but coils are fine too.



good luck!
they switched mid 2000. Mine has a distributor but later 2000's don't
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:42 AM   #28
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I did ditch the "clutch-in to start" thing right off (after you remove the device, clutch pedal pressure lightens up nicely), Happy hunting!
Can you give me a little insight on this? I would love to get rid of that safety device. I have a 98 TJ with a 4 banger. I would like to start it without having to get into the Jeep, like when I start it to warm it up or when I am working on it.

thanks,

tomslusher
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:03 AM   #29
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The biggest thing that I would look at is what you want to do with your Jeep in the present and the future. I thought I would be happy with no lift and 31" tires and never wanting more. Well now I have a 2" BB and a 1" body lift and I find myself looking for a dana 44 rear axle so I can run larger tires and lock them in the future. What I thought I originally wanted and what I want now are two very different things. I love my Jeep, but I am wishing I would have held out for a Rubicon and it would have saved me a little bit of coin.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:47 AM   #30
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Your questions are sensible and typical. They are frequently asked on these internet sites, so you can look around a little more and read other posts to get some more information. There are a lot of things that can be said here to help you decide what you want. I'll just add a couple opinions.

I purchased a used '98 TJ, six cylinder with 70K miles. I have about 125K now with very few (almost none) unexpected repairs needed. I have pre-emptively replaced some parts in the process of modifying my jeep in popular ways. Brakes, shocks, hoses, bearings, etc.

Are you capable of doing minor automotive repairs? Do you have a basic set of wrenches and a comfortable place to park a jeep and work on it? If so, then you can prepare a used wrangler for dependability with relatively minor expense. The TJ model was/is popular and remained pretty much unchanged between 1997 and 2006. (There are actually several changes over the years, but that's more detail for later). I don't know the correct number but I bet a million were sold. So parts and repair expertise are common. If you have to "fix up" a used purchase, it might not be too much trouble. I would think that rust would be an important "deal breaker". I live in Florida, so rust isn't as big a problem here as it would be in other parts of the country.

I advocate an unmodified, stock conditon, clean-as-you-can-find, little tires jeep. That's what I looked for and purchased. If you already have some experience with the many different add on parts that are available, then you can save some money buying a jeep that's been modified by the previous owner. But there's a lot of stuff sold and bolted on that really isn't worth the trouble. For example, some bumpers are better than others....some canvas tops are better than others.

The six cylinder jeep is generally prefered over the four cylinder, but in my area adds a couple thousand dollars to the value of a used jeep. My understanding is the fuel economy of a four cylinder is not significant. Most TJs have the same rear axle model d35, but a few have the more desirable model d44 rear axle. Beginning in 2003, there is a upgrade package called a "rubicon" that is popular and worth considering. In all models, the axles are geared for original stock size tire diameters. If you want to beef up your jeep with a larger tire, you need to research about axle gear ratios and how to change them to match larger tires.

I like my five-speed manual transmission in my '98 sport model. I don't mind shifting gears or depressing a clutch pedal.

I prefer the full size steel doors with real glass, roll-up windows. I like the factory designed canvas soft-top vs. some of the aftermarket replacement tops. I prefer a hard top for certain uses, so I purchased a jeep with a hard top and later purchased a factory soft top. I swap back and forth as I feel the desire. A hard top with full doors can be locked for reasonable security. There is no security in a canvas top.

Many used parts fit all jeep TJ models across the production years. You can usually find affordable used factory parts to add to any jeep you purchase.

A lot more can be said, but I should stop. Read as much as you can on these web sites. Eventually a used car needs new tires. Try to decide if you'll want to put a larger size tire on your jeep wrangler. That's a very popular thing to do. State your intent in a question and you'll get some more advice.

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