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katekebo 01-14-2013 01:29 PM

My daughter wants a Jeep
So... my 15 years daughter wants a Jeep. No, she is not a spoiled little brat. She has a bit of engineering genes (we she inherited from me, I suppose), and wants to "build" her own first car (with my help, and funding).

Actually, I am probably partially guilty of seeding this idea in her head .... Importantly, we DO have my wife's approval and support, so at least this won't conclude in a divorce (hopefully).

I have been pondering options, and my initial conclusion is that a Jeep CJ and or a VW Classic Beetle are probably the best options.

VW Beetle is the simplest / easiest car to work on (I had two in my youth), and parts are still readily available. The CJ is more fun, probably safer (or should I say, less unsafe), and still a very simple vehicle to work on. My daughter is also a bit of adventurous spirit, so the CJ probably fits better with her personality.

The idea is to work on it over the next two years so that she can have her own car by the time she finished high school. She is considering studying engineering, so it might be a good starting project for her (and an excellent father-daughter bonding exercise).

I am mechanical-electrical engineer and I used to maintain all my cars (amd motorcycle) when I was a poor student as well as during my early professional carrier. Most recently, I used to do all the maintenance on our boat. So I am pretty car-literate and not scared of using tools (and breaking things, lol). That said, I have never restored a full vehicle. The most complex work I have done myself is complete brakes work, replacing wheel bearings, replacing alternators or starters, fixing an engine oil, gas or water pump, replacing a radiator, adjusting valve clearance, rebuilding a carburetor, and a bunch of other things of that level of complexity (plus of course regular maintenance works). So I feel reasonably competent of being able to perform 80% of the tasks myself, short of complete engine or transmission rebuild (for which I don't have the necessary tools anyway). For major work like that, if necessary, we will resource to professionals.

But of course, I am left with many questions. Here are some, and I will probably come with more. I will sincerely appreciate your help in pointing me in the right direction.

1) How much should we expect to spend on the initial purchase? I want to buy something that is in reasonably good shape - driveable, rust-free and with the engine/transmission which are good for at least another 40-50k miles. Other "lesser" stuff - we can "fix" it. We WANT to work on the car, so we are not interested in something that has been fully restored - but I would prefer not to have to re-build the whole car from scratch.

2) Do you know of any good places to buy a vehicle like that with confidence? Anybody you trust and who will stand behind what they sold me? There are tons of used Jeeps on eBay, but I am concerned about buying it from somebody less-then-trustworthy (or simply ignorant of what he/she is selling).

3) Any good professional or amateur resource in Cincinnati or nearby areas that would be able to help if we stumble upon a problem?

We would also consider other vehicle, like on old FJ or a Land-Rover, but these are scarce and expensive.

I will be coming back with more questions.

Your input and moral support will always be greatly appreciated.

faultymechanics 01-16-2013 01:28 PM

Well you could definitely find a shell with no engine or tranny. Buy the shell find a suitable motor. If you are getting a cj which in most states is a antique car and not subject to inspections I would grab a chevy 350 and either manual 4 speed or the auto tranny and put it in. I know the swap is fairly simple and there are guides on here and Ithink you can buy pre fabricated conversion parts. Cheap motor and lotsa parts to repair it should something go wrong. Plus fun to drive and sounds beautiful.

sledn8r 01-16-2013 08:39 PM

Good luck and look forward to the good times.

4Jeepn 01-16-2013 10:08 PM

For a 1st time driver, I would skip past the CJ and move to a TJ. 6cyl auto or 5 spd. You can still build it up, repaint it do what ever.. but if it were my kid i would want the safer of the two jeeps and the TJ wins hands down.. Better top, better control on the road, safer in a crash.. the list go's on and on. But its your Jeep buy what you like... what is your total budget for the project?

myquite 01-16-2013 10:39 PM

agreed on the TJ, one word alone "Airbag".

Turtle69 01-17-2013 12:47 AM

That's so great your supporting her dream, it took me 25 years to get my Jeep, thanks to my hubby who unlike my exes wants my dreams to come true. Anyway, your daughter is lucky and smart, congrats on raising a smart tasteful girl.

Joe Dirt 01-17-2013 02:10 AM

I'd agree that a TJ is better for a new driver. The bad news is that my 18 year old daughter wrecked my TJ last month. The good news is that it took a 60 MPH side impact like a champ and she walked away with some bad bruises but nothing more. The Acura that hit her was destroyed and the driver broke her arm in 2 places. American steel is the best protection for your daughter hands down. Screw the VW idea. My daughter would have had permenent injuries in one of those.

lynn 01-17-2013 09:47 AM

I'm with the guys above, go with a TJ.

derf 01-17-2013 10:16 AM

My only concern with a teenager in a Jeep is that a Jeep is not the most stable vehicle at speed. A lot of irresponsible teenagers have rolled Jeeps because they drove them like sports cars.

If your daughter is responsible and gets a good education on the limitations of tippy short wheelbase vehicles, I say go for it.

As far as what to buy, I'd say that you'd be lucky to find a CJ that's in good condition and doesn't require a lot of work. They're out there but they're getting rare. A TJ that needs some work but not too much will be a lot easier to find.

lynn 01-17-2013 10:37 AM

I agree with you Derf... I almost always recommend that a first-time driver get a year of experience behind the wheel in a safe, easy-to-drive car, before using a SWB Jeep as a DD.
My reasoning is that SWB Jeeps demand a lot of concentration when driving (the older the Jeep, the more concentration they demand!). They make a lot of noises and have so many idiosyncrasies that can be very distracting to a young inexperienced driver. And a young distracted driver is not a good thing.

As I read katekebo's post, I got the idea that while they work together on this project, there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion about the handling oddities of a SWB Jeep, the dangers of driving distracted, etc. I got the idea that a young girl interested enough to join in this type of long term project just might be responsible enough to start off her driving experience in a SWB Jeep.
Hopefully, that will be the case.

myquite 01-17-2013 11:26 AM

absolutely nothing unsafe about a tj. Keep it stock, and the hard doors on for a while.

needforspeed150 01-17-2013 12:03 PM

[QUOTE=derf;3239915]My only concern with a teenager in a Jeep is that a Jeep is not the most stable vehicle at speed. A lot of irresponsible teenagers have rolled Jeeps because they drove them like sports cars.

If your daughter is responsible and gets a good education on the limitations of tippy short wheelbase vehicles, I say go for it.

My daughter is now 28 but she wanted a Jeep and she found a YJ at the time with 75 k on it. It was a stick. I checked it out and she paid for it and came to the realization that she had a car that she did not know how to drive(stick Shift). We took the Jeep to a large unused parking lot and started and stopped until she had the knack of it. Every time she would get to the end of the lot and make a turn around I could feel the G forces pulling at the Jeep. I asked her if she could not feel that. She had know idea what I was talking about. Well the end result was that she got to understand how it felt when it was trying to lean and was aware what not to do. (It is all about education) The YJ end the end got hit by another car at the door hinge area hard enough to pull it off the frame mounts. The Jeep was done but she came out without a scratch.

Dozer13JK 01-17-2013 07:01 PM

I'm no rocket scientist but in my opinion a Jeep CJ isn't a wise choice for a young girls first vehicle at all. If you are stuck on that idea, get a CJ-7, def not a CJ-5. Either way, drum brakes, no air bags, steel dash panel, top heavy, etc... Not a good decision. When I was 15/16 years old my dad took me out and we looked at several old CJ-7's. In no way in hell was he going to consider an 8 cylinder or CJ-5. We ended up going with a '98 TJ after all was said and done. Even when I look back at owning that old TJ, it was in no way "safe" other than the fact it had airbags. I love old CJ's but I feel those are something geared more towards a more mature and older generation of people.

Goofyjumper 01-17-2013 11:41 PM

I just spent six months rebuilding my CJ-5 from scratch top to bottom. Full diss-assembly, cleanup, fix, rebuild, and re-assembly of entire jeep. I feel it's as safe and more reliable than the day it came off the assembly line. This is a VERY do-able project between yourself and your daughter. Decent CJ's can be had for two to three thousand bucks in running condition. Parts are easily swappable from one year to the next if you have simple fab skills. Many websites provide new parts and craigslist is a great source for old parts. I rebuilt my jeep with axles from a newer vehicle to give me disk brakes and better steering. They cost a few hundred bucks and I sold the old axle set for nearly the same. Engines can easily be rebuild and re-tuned.

I'm sure you will be a responsible parent and teach your daughter the dangers of driving a jeep so that shouldn't be an issue. A TJ might have an air bag, but it's not terribly safer than a CJ.

jeepchix 01-21-2013 11:35 PM

my cj story
Your post was very long to read but I was straight out of high school and wanted to get involved with jeeps, my brother inlaw suggested a built Cj7(it must had lockers and winch, with some decent lift-expensive part out of the way)
I do not know how to weld and cj's are notorious for rust so we got this to learn to fix up the everything on it like wiring, rust, and carb.
And when I wheeled it and broke an axle then I learned that.
So thats a bit of my story and 2years later have a jeep new rubber, axle shafts, Drivetrain, and broke front locker. You Learn as you go.
Found my baby cj7 on Craigslist and agreed on 5g price, it had lots of goodies

ProTek 01-22-2013 10:56 AM

Awesome project idea you have there. Can get the family involved. Can't wait to see it.

Tuxedopark 03-18-2013 11:36 AM

If you’re going with a CJ go with a soft top. The lower the center of gravity the better. I would not recommend any lift kits and try to stay with 15” wheels. And now the most important item on the list. Put all new brakes on the CJ. Even if you stay with the drum brakes you want them to pull evenly. The last thing a new driver needs in an emergency stop situation is a dramatic pull to the left or right. Just my thoughts.

Philmycrackin 03-18-2013 11:43 AM

i just wanna say thats awesome what you and your daughter are doing. my girl is 8yrs old i hope she will wanna do this also. good luck:thumb:

johnbo 03-18-2013 07:00 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I can tell you it's not cheap.... I built this CJ8. It was fun.
Now I have a new JK and am ready to sell.
I have it posted in the for sale section. Take a look, I'm selling for less than it takes to build. But I understand if you want to build one with her.

Eddie2005unlimited 04-02-2013 06:08 PM


That's awesome !!

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