I don't mean why did you buy "a" TJ, I mean why did you buy your particular Jeep? If you're anything like me, you went shopping with a mental checklist of things that were non-negotiable as well as things that you hoped for, and ended up having to compromise somewhat. For me:
Had to have:
Low miles, automatic transmission, full doors, hard top, reasonably local, priced less than $10k.
Bonuses I ended up with:
Red (I was hoping for red or black), custom wheels, CD player.
Wimpy tires, no lift (got new tires, lift happens tomorrow), no A/C.
So did you choose your TJ, or did your TJ somehow choose you?
I started looking for a jeep when my 92 Geo prizm started to crap out cuz i wanted a 4x4 and had always loved jeeps. Looked at a bunch, but being in indiana all the frames were rusted out. Gave up on that, but found a old toyota 4x4 pickup that i liked. On the way back from checking it out and deciding to go to the bank in the next week, i saw a jeep sitting in the lot of a little one room used car place. Stopped to look at it. Great condition, no rust. Came back test drove it checked everything out more extensively and pulled the trigger on it.
I'd been looking for a jeep for about two years, almost always a Yj because I couldn't afford a tj (whenever i did find a tj in my price range it was garbage). Then one day in the local listings found a 98 with 101k bone stock. I took a chance to look at it and it was an instant love connection
Hubby and I were planning on finding a nice TJ/LJ sometime next year. So we stalked these forums for months, learning what we wanted and didn't want in our future Jeep. We periodically looked at Wranglers for sale to get an idea of what deals were out there (plus, shopping for Jeeps is just fun). When we spotted this 2006 Unlimited Rubicon for sale around 3 am (this is what happens when you shop late at night... you spend thousands of dollars!), we knew we had to check it out. The price was much less than we had seen in southern California (we got it for $16k) and we knew it would be difficult to find this Jeep again at this price. So we drove a couple hours to look at it and drove it back home that day. We didn't plan to have our TJ so soon, but we're sure glad we made the deal!
Preferences while shopping:
4.0L, Dana 44 rear, hardtop, full doors, automatic, clean title, stock, Electric Lime Green or a blue exterior, priced $12k or less, "babied", mileage under 100k, LJ if possible, A/C (non negotiable in the desert), zero rust (some typical surface rust acceptable)
Bonuses we ended up with:
Dana 44 rear AND front! Front and rear lockers, 31" tires, aftermarket automatic windows
White exterior, cost (but we weren't originally looking to get a Rubicon), missing center console, peeling paint on dash, crappiest aftermarket carpet job you've ever seen, clearly been taken offroad a lot (turns out it was a Border Patrol Jeep), scratched up exterior paint, definitely NOT babied, small patched hole in hardtop where the Border Patrol light bar was mounted
We chose it, but it also sort of chose us. We've been enjoying our LJ immensely. I traded my Soul (literally) for it, and I can't regret it. Having the Jeep gives my husband and I a joint obsession and lots of projects to work on together.
I've wanted a Wrangler for 20ish years but could never talk myself into it. Always needed something more practical. Saw my 06 sitting for sale by the side of the road off and on over the last 6 months. Price kept coming down until it got to the point where I thought was too good to be true. Got my very clean 06 X, already lifted with brand new 33 MTs, Promark 8000lb winch, 72,000 miles for $10,500. Thought that was a pretty good deal.
Had been looking about 2 months for a TJ and found nothing but absolute dogs.
My list was 98-02 with automatic trans (wanted 32RH), A/C, 4.0, stock or very close to it, low miles (under 100k) D44 mandatory.
Was about to give up, found my jeep 30 miles from my house. Compromises: half doors (I like them now), soft top (I'm really enjoying it but a security problem), Red (I wanted black, blue, or silver).
2002 red TJ sport, 55k miles, bone stock and all mandatory equipment was there, paid 800 more than I had planned to on this but figured it was meant to be. Been wanting a Jeep since I was old enough to drive, 31 years later I had my Jeep and it was clean and rust free. I even like the color now. Very happy with the purchase. Wheeling it and going with a expedition style build with focus on reliability. So far pretty good!
wanted something new and fun to drive
wanted something I could drive hard without it getting too broken
wanted an LJ for the extra space
wanted something that wasnt a JK (too many $$) and I wanted a 4.0L
wanted an auto because who wants to drive a stick in Dallas traffic?
most colors were ok, except green. got silver which is good since it shows dirt less than any other color
wanted one without rust and in good shape and ready to be modded..
so I found it, got it at a competitive price and it didnt have death wobble.. what else could a guy ask for?
I didn't buy my jeep.... My jeep was given to me by my friend that didn't know how to fix her and didn't have the money to repair her! The mechanic he took it to said that the repairs would have been between $5k- $10k to repair!! I think the mechanic wanted the jeep to part out or to have for himself!
The jeep came to me broken and not working so well. After 4 hours of some replacement of parts and a tune up she was my jeep! Got the title, registration, inspection, emissions and tags the same day. She's been one of the most reliable and fun vehicles I've had. just came back from a road trip from VA to CA back to VA. Almost 7000 for the trip and almost 190k overall and she is still running strong!
I bought my TJ off of my neighbor basically because I grew up in it. He was getting old wanted something with a little more "Luxury" so I traded him my 2000 Grand Cherokee. He had a tear in his eye the day i picked it up. Wrangler is more my style anyways. Mine is a black 2000 Sahara with around 340,000 miles and still runs stronger than ever. Only thing replaced in the driveline was the clutch. Just installed a 4 inch lift 2 weeks ago now I'm looking for some 33 inch tires..... Love my jeep!
Wanted something capable, not too fancy, that would be ok to get a few scratches, fun to work on, and lively. Narrowed it down to a TJ with a 4.0, 5 speed, hardtop, stock, AC. Looked at a few a dealers and they were overpriced and often rusty. So I looked on craigs list for about 4 months. Found one being sold by a preacher. Went to his church and really liked it. I glad I bought a mostly stock Jeep. I really like building it, doing mods, and taking it out.
99 Sahara - 5 speed
12,500 lb Winch, synthetic winch line, Spyder Front Bumper, Aircraft Lights
Rancho 2.5" Suspension Lift, 1" body lift.
285/75/16 Guard Dogs, Level 8 Alloy Wheels
4.56 Gears, Dana 44 Rear, Spartan Locker in Front, Powertrax No-Slip locker in the rear
I got my TJ cause id always wanted a Jeep. It had to be a manual, soft top, a gold/silver color, and i wanted half doors. I ended up with my 05 Light Kahki Metalic with a 2.4 full doors, and a 6 speed. I was skeptical that the 2.4 would do the job, but after a test drive I was in love! Its great cause it has no a/c no cruise and even no center console. I like the ultra simplicity and ruggedness of it, and most importantly it doesn't rattle like jingle bells when you start it, like the timing chains on my old explorer did.
List: Black, 4.0L, stock/limited mods, low km's, under 10k
Bonuses: Both hardtop and soft top, only 82,000 km (much less than I hoped for), 2004, lady driven, not offroaded, bone stock, bartered down to 9.5k (in edmonton area would be valued around 11.5 or 12k I figure)
Compromises: Light hail damage on hood, weird bumper sticker, door hinges were rusted together from not being taken off
I needed to get my first ride and remembered my uncles old CJ7 and how fun it was. I didn't know much, just that I didn't want a JK (don't like the look) and that I wanted red, a lift, good tires, a stick shift, and (hopefully) A/C.
I found this little yellow TJ and fell in love. 14,000 miles. No rust. A/C. Never been offroaded. I didn't think I would be able to get it because it looked too nice, but my parents decided they couldn't pass up the deal. With 14,000 miles, bone stock, and no rust the price was $16,000.
What i didn't get was a lifted Jeep but I'm glade I didn't, now I can make it my own instead of just adding to what the other guy did. Oh, and she was sitting on the stock six year old tires. Talk about dry rot
And here's what she looked like the day we looked at her
Honestly, my daughter needed wheels for her 1st car. My boss just happened to be selling his 97 TJ that he had totally redone (new engine, new transmission, too much to list) and the price was right. I felt good that this used vehicle would last a long time, so I bought it and gave my Camry to my daughter. Love the Jeep !
2004 4.0 with a 5 speed. It had half doors that I wanted and 0 rust which you don't find often in VA (the Jeep was a single owner from TX). Only thing missing was a 44 rear but I'll deal with that for the time being.
My TJ found me (kind of). My dad was going to trade it in on a JK and offered it to me instead. I took it and restored it. Partially because my wife won't let me get another motorcycle. Driving topless and doorless is about as close as it gets to having a bike.
My TJ found me in a way. I was driving to go check out this great looking silver tj, ad saw mine on the way. When I got to the other dealership, I realized that the silver jeep had been in an accident and there were several things that just didn't feel right about it. On the way back I checked out mine and put the down payment on it that night.
Had to have:
Under 150 k miles
Under $10 k
It was November 1996, snowing like crazy, and election day. I'd been fighting a starting issue with my '87 YJ for months, but seemed to have figured the problem out finally as I hadn't had an issue for over 2 months.
The wife says about 6:30PM that she needs sugar and asks me if I would mind... of course not! I love drivin' in a snow storm in the Jeep! So off I go to the handy 7-11, forgot my wallet so had to scrounge change from the Jeep to pay. Got the sugar, jumped in the YJ and... nothing. AGAIN!
Now, this was '96, cell phones were not exactly popular then but there was the pay phone, staring at me, seemingly knowing that I spent my last dime on sugar. Well, it's only 8 blocks from the 7-11 to home so off I trudge. Got home looking like Frosty the snow man and immediately had wife call for a wrecker to take YJ to Jeep dealer... I've had enough of "trying" to find the problem... I'll let the dealer fix it I think...
So I grab the truck and head up to meet the wrecker at the 7-11, checked the starting issue and YJ still wouldn't turn over so it got loaded and I followed the wrecker to the Jeep dealer about 4 miles away.
I decided I'd watch the wrecker driver unload the Jeep from the showroom and then do the paperwork with the service manager that was still on duty until 9 at the time. DAMN... the wrecker guy offloads the YJ and it started right up... LAST STRAW!!!
I found the nearest sales guy I could find and said, I'm trading that YJ out there tonight... whatcha got in a new Wrangler?
So out into the snow we head... only 3 TJs on the lot, one was black and manual transmission, while the other two were automatics. "Blackie" became mine that evening and would still be mine if it had air conditioning. Since we moved to Nebraska, AC in the summer is a must I decided at my advanced age. My daughter now has my beloved TJ, and am waiting on an air conditioned, manual transmissioned, JKUR as I write this.
This is the first time in over 30 years I have not had Jeep in my garage and I gotta tell ya it feels really weird! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
My daughters TJ - so long old friend
Epilog - I happened to meet the owner of my old YJ a few months later and asked if he had any starting problems? He seemed amazed that a total stranger would question him, but the YJ was distinctive so I was 99% sure it had been mine. His response was he had indeed had intermittant problems that he couldn't find... I wished him good luck.
I bought my tj because I wanted a 1/4 ton size rig that was solid axle and i could work with and add custom touches. two years after I bought it, there is not much jeep left but still enjoying working on it.
I wasn't looking for one--not actively, at least--when I found my current TJ. At that time, I owned a '97 SE 5-speed. The SE was not even remotely what I wanted in a Wrangler; I had purchased it solely because it fell in my lap (we took it in on trade at work) and it was dirt cheap ($1700). Owning an SE with 88k miles was better than owning no Wrangler at all, I figured, so I kept it for a year and a half.
Later, we took in a '98 Sport 5-speed with 82k miles. By now I was thinking of getting more serious and transitioning into a 4.0L TJ, though I really, really wanted an auto trans. This '98 didn't have that, but it did have the Dana44 and was in good shape overall. I bought it for $6500, then sold my SE (now with 93k miles) for $5000.
The way I looked at it, I did an engine swap and a Dana44 swap for only $1500.
__________________ Dempsey Bowling
My fleet: 91 Miata, 98 Wrangler Sport, 06 Mustang GT, 01 Suburban 8.1L, 14 Forte EX
Jeep mods: 4" longarm + 1" BL, 35" KM2s, 4.56s with dual ARBs... and lots of scratched armor
always wanted a wrangler but could never afford one. i took a loan to buy a pickup about 3 years ago, decided that it was too boring to drive. sold it and bought my jeep. it kind of picked me. i searched for about 6 monts to a year for one. i started the search when i still had the pickup.
I originally was looking for a grand Cherokee, but realized in my price range, they wouldn't be worth it. Started looking at TJs with no real wishlist in mind, mainly the best value with the lowest miles. What I found was a 2000 2.5l, full soft doors, brand new soft top, lifted, sway bar discos, with 110k. I got it for $6600, which I feel was a damn good price