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passingthrough 07-31-2010 12:29 PM

what Jeep NOT to buy?
Hey all,

I am on the market to buy my first Jeep. I could use a little insight from some of you experts out there. I am looking at early to late 90's Wranglers as these seem to be plentiful in my budget range. I have been doing some research, but still have a few questions:

1. Are there no 1996 Wranglers?

2. People keep telling me there is a year or two of 90's 'problem Jeeps' to avoid....?????

3. Can someone please give me a quickie lesson on what the difference is in YJ, CJ....etc?

Here is my personal checklist so far of what I require of the Jeep I purchase. Is there anything on my list you feel you would change? why? Anything else I should add to my list?

a. Inline 6 cyclinder
b. A/C (working or not)
c. Hard Top
d. full doors with rollup windows
e. 5 speed manual
f. max 2" lift.

This will be a daily driver, grocery getter, MILD offroad - (no rock crawling) & tow behind my motorhome as a transportation vehicle.

Thanking you for your opinions and advice in advance-

Gate53 07-31-2010 01:11 PM

As to the CJ TJ YJ explaination this list should help:

The Jeep Call-Signs...(TJ, YJ, CJ7, J2000, etc)


Jeep Call Signs

Military Jeeps.

BRC-60 (1940) The first Jeep, the Bantam (American Austin) Pilot.
BRC-40 (41-42) Bantam's military Jeep (MA/GP equivilent)
MA (1940) The original military Jeep built by Willys-Overland.
GP (1940) Ford's version of the Willys MA.
CPJ Chevrolet Prototype Jeep (2 built in WWII)

MB (40-45) The '2nd' model that was an update to MA and mass-produced for WWII.
GPW (40-45) Ford's version of hte Willys MB.

GPA (42-43) 'The Seep' or Sea Jeep. Amphibious Jeep.

M38 (50-52) aka MC - The next generation military Jeep by Willys, similar to the civilian CJ-3A.

M38A1 (52-71) aka MD - Basically the military version of the CJ-5.

M170 (53-55) Similar to a military version of the CJ-6.

M151 (51-78) The M.U.T.T. Prototypes and Production.
M718 (51-78) Ambulance version of M151.

M676 Military version of the FC170.

M715 (67-69) A 5/4-ton military pickup built '67-'69. It somewhat resembles a J-truck (SJ).

M422 (60-63) The AMC Mighty Mite.

Other mentionables:
M606 (65) CJ3B based military version.
M606A2-A3 CJ5 based military version.
AM-7 CJ7 based military version.

SWB Civilian 'Traditional' Jeeps.
CJ-1 (44) Test Prototype based on MB. Only pictures exist.
CJ-2 (44-45) The Agri-Jeep. 5 are known to still exist. (possibly denoted as AJs)
CJ-2A (45-49) A flat-fender, very similar to the military MB except that the headlights bulge out of the grill instead of being inset.
CJ-3A (48-53) A flat-fender, very similar to the military M38.
VJ (48-50) The Original 2WD Jeepster.
CJ-3B (52-68) A flat-fender, the top of its hood sits 4" higher above the fenders than the 3A to clear the new F-head engine.
CJ-4 (50) A single prototype model exists. Military version known as XM-170.
CJ-V35/U (50) A militarized version of the CJ3A built for the Navy. (1000 units)...predecessor of the M-38.
CJ-5 (55-83) The civilian version of the M38A1, with S-style doorway opening.
(Trims-Tuxedo Park, Camper, Mark IV, Levi, Renegade I, II, Silver Anniversary, Super Jeep)
CJ-5A (Tuxedo Park Trimmed CJ5)
CJ-6 (look in the Jeep Truck Section)
CJ-6A (Tuxedo Park Trimmed CJ6)
CJ-7 (76-86) U-door styled, longer wheelbased version of CJ5.
(Trims-Renegade, Levi, Jamboree, Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Laredo, Limited)
CJ-8 (look in the Jeep Truck Section)
CJ-9 Never existed as a stand-alone model...was the initial AMC term used to describe the intial design stages of what would become the Chrysler YJ Wrangler.
CJ-10 (look in the Jeep Truck Section)
C101 (1967-71) Jeepster-Commando. (made by Kaiser instead of Willys)
C101 Hurst (1971) Special Jeepster-Commando made by Hurst.
C102 (1972) Commando. (made by Kaiser instead of Willys)
C103 (1973) Commando. (made by Kaiser instead of Willys)
C104 (1974) Commando. (made by Kaiser instead of Willys)

YJ (87-95) The original square headlight, leafsprung Wrangler.

TJ (97-06) The second generation round headlight, coilsprung Wrangler.
(Trims: SE, X, Sport, Sahara, Rubicon)
LJ(04-06) "The Unlimited" longer wheel base TJ.

TK (07+) The third generation Wrangler.
LK(07+) The upcoming 4door Unlimited.

Jeep Truck Models

Willys Truck (47-65)

FC150 (57-65) Forward Control Trucks
FC170 (57-61) LWB FC version

J-100 (63-67) The Gladiator
J-200 (63-67) The Gladiator
J-300 (63-67) The Gladiator

SJ (71-87) Trucks (J2000, J4000, J10, J20, Pioneer, Laredo, Honcho)

CJ-6 (58-75) a Stretched CJ-5 S-style door. (similar looking to later CJ7 based scramblers)
CJ-7 (76-86) U-door styled, longer wheelbased version of CJ5.
CJ-8 (81-86) "The Scrambler." Similar to a CJ-7, but with an extra 10" of wheelbase and an even longer rear overhang. Like the CJ-6, it was intended as a small pickup.

CJ-10 (81-85) A more truck-like Jeep built mainly for export.

MJ (86-92) The Civilian Comanche pickup.

Jeep Wagons

Willys Station Wagons (49-65)
Willys Panel Wagons (53-65)
Traveller Wagons (60-64)

FJ3 (61-65) Jeep Fleetvan
FJ3-A (61-65) Jeep Fleetvan

SJ (74-83) The full-size Cherokee
SJ (76-83) The full-size Cherokee Chief
SJ (63-83) The Wagoneer
SJ (66-69) The Super Wagoneer
SJ (84-91) The Grand Wagoneer
SJ (63-87)The J-truck

XJ (84-01) Cherokee
XJ (84-89) Wagoneer

FJ (90-95) Jeep Eagle

ZJ (93-98) The 1st generation Grand Cherokee.

WJ (99-04) The 2nd generation Grand Cherokee.

KJ (02+) The Liberty.

WK (05+) The 3rd generation Grand Cherokee.

XK (06+) The Commander, 7 passenger SUV.

Postal Mail Jeeps

DJ-3A (56-65) Dispatcher version of the CJ-3A
DJ-5 (65-73) Dispatcher version of the CJ-5 by Jeep and then AM General.
DJ-5A (68)
DJ-5D(75-76) Am General.
DJ-5F, G, L (77-82)
DJ-6 (65-68) LWB like CJ6.

No there were no 1996 Wranglers That was the year they went from laef spring suspention the coil springs.

And your checklist is an excellent place to start.

To many first timers want all these mods and have no idea what their stock Jeep can do or how to drive it. With your list you stand a better chance finding one that hasn't been treated to harshly. Not to mention you can let your Jeep "grow" along with your skills of controling it. Welcome to the addiction!

VolForce 07-31-2010 01:19 PM

you have all the designations posted....alot, never realized there were that many.

I think you should look for a 91-95 jeep wrangler (yj) based on what you said. The 91-95 has the EFI engine, a little more user friendly if you arent very mechanical. No there are technically no 96 jeeps, that was a re-tooling time for Chrysler, they went from the YJ to the TJ in that period of time. There were plenty of Wranglers (TJ's) built in 96, they just have the model year 97 assigned.

fullberg 07-31-2010 01:23 PM

"b. A/C (working or not)"

I never understood A/C in a jeep, I mean its a JEEP. LOL
I've been looking for a jeep for my dad in OH and I can tell you.... first YJ's still cost a few $$$$$ here and most of the YJ's we looked at had bad frame rot.Look for it by the spring hold in the back and by the stearing box in the front. nothing is worse than a nice jeep sitting on a garbage frame.( when you cant weld that is) I cant find a decent straight 6 fuel injected YJ for under $3500 and all we want is something to plow snow.

30-284 07-31-2010 01:38 PM


Originally Posted by Gate53 (Post 707647)

Jeep Call Signs

TK (07+) The third generation Wrangler.



Coyote_94YJ 07-31-2010 01:49 PM

They are all good in my book but make sure it isn't a 4 cylinder and isn't rusted out. And if someone offers you a 96 Wrangler.....RUN!!!!!! Run fast and run far.

JDsDream 07-31-2010 01:57 PM


Originally Posted by 30-284 (Post 707672)



Jalus Cornerious 07-31-2010 02:24 PM


Originally Posted by coyote_94yj (Post 707673)
They are all good in my book but make sure it isn't a 4 cylinder and isn't rusted out. And if someone offers you a 96 Wrangler.....RUN!!!!!! Run fast and run far.

Mine is rusted AND 4 cylinder :banghead:

GroundHawg 07-31-2010 02:41 PM

I think these folks got you covered. my dad will be getting a jeep soon. same basic requirements as you. 2nd vehicle, mild-no offroad, few mods if any, cheap, etc.

I'll tell you what I told him. get a TJ, 100,000 miles or less. 4.0. the ride is a bit better than leafy YJ's. shoot for late 90's, early 00's. the engine should sound good. a few oil leaks aren't uncommon and an easy fix. look under it. no banged up plates or diff covers. surface rust is alright, just no cracks or holes. DRIVE IT. pay attention to transmission shifting, and cycle through 4hi and 4lo. this tends to be a Jeep's weak point. make certain all trans shifts are clean and quiet, even in an auto, and the TC shifts properly, especially 4lo. lots of folks NEVER shift to 4lo, so check it out.

I'll be with my dad of course when that time comes, but that's a quick check list off the top of my head. avoid that 2.5. 90% of the owners I see with it hate it.

passingthrough 07-31-2010 03:31 PM

Thanks to all of you! I knew right away out of the 3 engine choices, the straight six is the only one acceptable to me, heck, i think even the Ark had a straight 6! FI would be nice.

fullberg: When you reach your Dads and mine age I reckon you'll understand non-A/C is not an option for any vehicle. LOL!

Rutty Muddy Dirt Roads would be the extent of the 'off-road' I would ever do with it. I find it interesting that most of the 'Kregslist' ads I see people posting include pictures of how badly they have treated their Jeeps, which i guess i should thank them for the warning.

Just want to tow it behind my 30' Motorhome for something to drive once i get 'there'...wherever that may be. Yes, I want OEM all the way except I would like a 2" lift with some sharp aftermarket wheels & just some all terrain radials.

just last week i missed a 99' with all my requirements, & only 63K miles for 5,500....& real perty dark blue....DAMM!

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