When I first found/bought my 87 Laredo I was wondering if I'd made a huge mistake. It seemed to be a hodge-podge of parts thrown together to make a product. I mean it had an AMC engine, Ford ignition, Puegot transmission, Carter 2bbl...etc. Some wrote how they are the bastard child of the Wrangler line, get rid of it.
I drive mine everyday and really haven't had any significant problems with it.
But there sure is a lot 87-89 YJ's on this forum. Which is either a tribute to the vehicle or to the people keeping them together and on the road.
but seriously, that was a tumultuous time for jeep. not only was it the first few years that the wrangler was being made, it was also during the time that the jeep brand was being shuffled around. jeep was owned by amc, and then amc was purchased by chrysler. this purchase was a pretty extensive process and it also (somehow) involved renault, who is responsible for that monstrosity of a transmission. i don't think that wranglers were a bad vehicle, there just tends to be issues in the 1987-1989 years because they needed to work out the kinks. every vehicle has their gremlins, it just happened that the yj had a few of them.
it is very true about the history and on top of all the name changing going on in the head office, the US decided they wanted better emissions so for the first time since the jeep had been around, they decided to emissionize the wrangler, throwing ungodly amounts of vacuum hoses and useless wiring into the mix of parts and brand names that was under the hood. granted there are alot of early YJ's still running the carter bs carb and pukego transmissions, personally (owning an 89 YJ) i replaced the carb setup for a MC2100 as my first upgrade and boy did i like it but then my 258 decided to take a crap on me and i replaced it with a chevy 305 with TPI a 700r4 auto and recently got rid of my D35/D30 combo for a ford 8.8/D44 so my YJ only looks like a YJ now a days but all those driveline mishaps are gone,
BUT i never had a problem out of my d35 with 33's and never once had a problem out of my pugeot tranny but both went when i went big tires 36 TSL's currently but next tire size will be 37-38's and i wont need to upgrade anything...
I agree totally, that's why I'm amazed that I keep seeing posts about 87-89's.
But that is also a double edged sword. So many posts means there is a lot more problems than the other years, which validates the theory that they are crap.
yeah, its always risky when they try to throw things together and roll out a product without adequite testing.
If you ever have serious problems though, there are several parts out there from the 1987s-1995s that are interchangable. Id try to pick up a wrecked 1991,92,93,94 or 95 and swap the drivetrain out. (engine,trans,transfer case,shafts,rear end,etc...)
and, OMG I love the headlight example that freakin rules! I was telling my dad the other day that I wanted to pull my front end and swap it with one that has round headlights.
I have a 48, 53,58, 85, 87,07 and they all have little quirks ,but i drive my 87 everyday because it has the best of the old school stuff mixed with just enough new
stuff like a better ride better top ( the few days it is up ) better mpg then the 48,53,58 or 85 but just 4 less then the 07 after i did the nutter by pass and mc 2100 change.
so my feeling for the 87 is i love it and will always have it in my line and i chose the 87 because it was the year of change just like my 53 cb was and when you have a square headlight jeep that runs well and used everyday it says to the round light jeepers that you are also a good jeep mechanic.