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snobnk 06-16-2013 07:30 PM

how are the 97 wranglers
The one I'm looking to buy has 2 sets doors,half and full.2 tops hard and soft,96000,the frame is solid as it was garage its life,automatic and 6 cyjinder..what else should I look for,How were these year jeeps all around?this was towed to Fla on camper a couple times...thanks mike

eyeball 06-16-2013 07:35 PM

Hope for a d44 rear end and not a d35 if you want to go with bigger tires and/or a locker.

Also I would personally prefer one without abs (mine has it).

snobnk 06-16-2013 07:43 PM

Its a Sahara auto I can i tell if its go a d44

Jerry Bransford 06-16-2013 08:26 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I had a '97 TJ & loved it, unfortunately it was stolen several years ago. I would rather have a '97 any day over something newer like the '04 like I have now.

The below photos will tell you if its rear end is the more desireable/stronger Dana 44 or the standard Dana 35. A Dana 44 is important if you want to run big tires & a locker, a Dana 35 is adequate for smaller tires so long as you don't install a locker into it.

Basically the Dana 35 on the left has a black rubber snap-in cover for its lubricant fill hole, the Dana 44 has a threaded steel bolt that is used to plug the lube fill hole. Unfortunately, the odds are good that '97 will have the Dana 35 since the Dana 44 didn't become available as an option until late in the '97 model year.

MIZFAN 06-16-2013 08:40 PM

I have a 97 with 156,000 miles on it. Body and frame have no rust and I love it.

Wouldn't trade it for anything newer.

KBR97 06-16-2013 08:41 PM

I love my 97 too!

concho 06-17-2013 03:20 AM

Love my 97. Can't go wrong with it. I've got 111,000 on mine

bmlbrewer 06-17-2013 03:33 AM

I love my '97. 222,xxx miles and she still runs like a champ. We have out problems sometimes, our current one is an argument over a tranny, but we alway come away stronger. :thumb:

Wesboy 06-17-2013 04:03 AM

156xxx on my 97 - just had to replace the rear main seal and the water pump looks like it will be needing a replacement soon.

The 3 speed auto is a dream off-road.

BurlySoldier 06-17-2013 04:44 AM

My 97 Sahara has 136k on the clock, D44, 3.55's and no rust. It's been fortunate enough to live in the southeastern U.S it's whole life though.

crowe 06-17-2013 04:51 AM

Love my 97 wouldn't have anything else. Biggest issue is frame rust no matter where your located and don't just take word for it make sure to get under there and inspect before buying def check by passenger side rear near gas tank as well my previous 97 basically rotted to point Of tank falling off. As you accumulate more miles things will start to go bad but that's any vehicle luckily the 97 isn't terrible expensive to buy parts especially if you can do own work oh and check soft top it too will be one of bigger investments in jeeps life big plus you have hardtop! Good luck

Robertsk1 06-17-2013 06:18 AM

God 207k on my 97 and love every minute I'm in it (and under it)!:thumb:

s14sh3r 06-17-2013 07:37 AM

Love mine. I'd prefer the later model seats, but I'll swap em out somewhere down the road. Mine is originally a Texas Jeep and has lived its whole live there and here in Oklahoma, so no rust.

yoopone 06-17-2013 08:12 AM

202K on my 97. it is a great Jeep. It has a D35 in the rear and I am running 33" tires. If and when the rear end gives out I will upgrade.

snobnk 06-17-2013 06:15 PM

Great response thank you..I'm looking and final decision on Wednesday

junrboy13 06-17-2013 06:57 PM

232K on my 97, she still runs like a dream as my DD.

bmlbrewer 06-17-2013 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by bmlbrewer (Post 3868288)
I love my '97. 222,xxx miles and she still runs like a champ. We have out problems sometimes, our current one is an argument over a tranny, but we alway come away stronger. :thumb:

I spoke too soon. The tranny issue is worse than I originally though.

Cameron138 06-17-2013 07:33 PM

Just hit the 190xxx mile mark, bought it for 4 grand and have put 10,000 into it for repair cost. I think I just got a bad egg, but I'v had to replace the engine, drive train, suspension, and transmission parts. All though it has been a money pit I still love the 97 model, it's a dream to drive in on the trails and all TJ models are so much superior then then newer or older ones.

My biggest suggestion would to be to make sure it is worth getting. When I bought mine a couple years back I didn't bother taking it to a mechanic to check it out before I bought it, and now I'm 10+ grand deep. Before you buy it ask to take it to the mechanic for a check up to make sure there's no hidden burdens. If all checks out though itl be more than worth it, especially with the different doors and tops your getting!

Cameron138 06-17-2013 07:33 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Attachment 262776

My 97, by the way.

smokentj 06-17-2013 07:47 PM

I have a 98 and runs great and has a 6 '' lift and running on 35'' tires and it has a dana 35 in it with 4.88 gears

Plowboy1970 06-17-2013 08:57 PM

I have two 97's A SE and a Sport. Would take either one any where.

crallscars 06-18-2013 12:18 PM

I have a 97 Sport, I love it, She now has 250,000+ miles on her.

Engine, still solid, I had the pan off to replace seals and replaced rod bearings and pump at 80,000. Replaced the electronic plate in the distributor @ 200,000.

35 rear ends are a bit light. I have had to replace the spider gears at 150,000, Today I have some play in both ring & pinion and spiders. To be expected with 250,000 miles.

Cooling, the factory system is marginal at best. Here in the south east, it's best to upgrade to a 3 row radiator.

Trans, 5 speed, works great.. The retainer spring on the throw out-bearing broke at 80,000 so I replaced the original clutch that looked like new, I saved it incase this one wears out.

Brakes. I had 200,000 on the original brakes, I finally changed them with 25% left because I was tired of checking them!

Jerry Bransford 06-18-2013 12:25 PM


Originally Posted by crallscars (Post 3873301)
Cooling, the factory system is marginal at best. Here in the south east, it's best to upgrade to a 3 row radiator.i

More rows inside the radiator does not necessarily equate to better cooling, it depends on how the vehicle is used. For better cooling efficiency, the factory converted early TJs from the initial 2-row aluminum core radiator to a 1-row aluminum core radiator around 2000 or 2001. The single row allows larger water channels than you can get into a 2 o 3 row radiator. A properly maintained 1-row radiator cooling system works great, it keeps our engines cool while wheeling in the hottest desert conditions imaginable here in SOCAL. Desert racers usually choose 1-row aluminum radiators. So in this case, more rows is not an upgrade. :)

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