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Old 12-07-2019, 11:01 PM
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Going to look at a 1997 wrangler, any advise..

Is tat a good year? Its a straight 6 with auto transmission, 170k miles. Stock with half doors. Been on the market a few weeks and I think he is ready to sell. Im very familiar with what to look for and the 03/04 models. Anything particular with this year? What would you offer considering fair condition, soft top and half doors.

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Old 12-08-2019, 10:58 AM   #2
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Drive it, look underside good for rust,beat up belly pan and diffs and take your time. I like to start with a cold engine and check the oil & coolant colors and levels. Pull the oil cap and look for chocolate shake muck. 97 Is the fort year for the TJ, no jeeps built in 96 as they "regrouped". One thing I always consider is look at the sellers home their other vehicles, etc,etc. Looks like skid row then they likely dont take care of stuff either. As far as a dealer goes, think they know NOTHING about that vehicle their selling for top dollar. They bought of off an auction lot or it was traded in because? Price wise...there all over the place. IMO, sure you will hear I only paid xxxxx for a bla,bla. Dont get burned, but dont expect something for nothing either. We all know what these things are selling for these days.

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Old 12-08-2019, 12:16 PM   #3
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1997 is a good year with just minor cosmetic differences. It might even have the rare 3.55 gears.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:26 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BSA70 View Post
Is tat a good year? Its a straight 6 with auto transmission, 170k miles. Stock with half doors. Been on the market a few weeks and I think he is ready to sell. Im very familiar with what to look for and the 03/04 models. Anything particular with this year? What would you offer considering fair condition, soft top and half doors.
Where I live, good TJs sell in a day or two. $5,500-6,000 in good shape. I've never bought a Jeep in fair condition.
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Old 12-11-2019, 08:21 AM   #5
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I bought a 97 TJ in Gainesville VA a couple years ago with 98k miles for $2500. Now saying this I am a mechanic and knew what I was getting. The seller wanted $5500 but after I crawled around under it for an hour looking at everything that was bad I talked him down to $2500. The torque boxes on the floor pans were rusted where the body mounts sit. So for me it was an easy fix. Just time is all for me. So I have driven it for 2 years. Now it is stripped down to the frame and rebuilding the whole Jeep. I don’t plan on selling her so how much money I put into is not relevant. Just look it over really good and take your time.
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Old 12-12-2019, 06:49 AM
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I bought a 97 TJ in Gainesville VA a couple years ago with 98k miles for $2500. Now saying this I am a mechanic and knew what I was getting. The seller wanted $5500 but after I crawled around under it for an hour looking at everything that was bad I talked him down to $2500. The torque boxes on the floor pans were rusted where the body mounts sit. So for me it was an easy fix. Just time is all for me. So I have driven it for 2 years. Now it is stripped down to the frame and rebuilding the whole Jeep. I donít plan on selling her so how much money I put into is not relevant. Just look it over really good and take your time.
4 or 6 cylinder
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:51 AM   #7
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1997 is a good year with just minor cosmetic differences. It might even have the rare 3.55 gears.
Is there any way to tell it has 3.55 gears without tearing into them?
I have a 97 4banger and it'll get up to 70 in 5th, not that I like to drive it that fast. Slow to get up and go, but will climb a brick wall. Mines in great shape, zero rust and all stock with 207K miles on it now, I paid 6k for it about 4 years ago, fwiw.
Good luck.
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:31 PM   #8
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Look at the tag on the left side of the diff cover, or jack up the rear and spin the tire by hand while counting the revolutions on the driveshaft.
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Old 12-12-2019, 12:52 PM   #9
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Look at the tag on the left side of the diff cover, or jack up the rear and spin the tire by hand while counting the revolutions on the driveshaft.
What am I looking for on the sticker or counting the revolutions?
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:32 PM   #10
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Run the builders sheet:
https://www.jeep.com/webselfservice/...FY29S5MJ110985


Be sure to change the VIN number at the end or you will get the report on my long gone '91 YJ. Some of the tire codes may have been reused (the one on my old XJ says it had 18" wheels (NOT). You may also get some "Description not found" on some of the items where the code has been taken out of the system, but most of the critical items will still run. Differential gear spec should be good.
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Old 12-12-2019, 01:34 PM   #11
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Is there any way to tell it has 3.55 gears without tearing into them?
I have a 97 4banger and it'll get up to 70 in 5th, not that I like to drive it that fast. Slow to get up and go, but will climb a brick wall. Mines in great shape, zero rust and all stock with 207K miles on it now, I paid 6k for it about 4 years ago, fwiw.
Good luck.

That is on great looking 97. I like the touch of the red tow hooks (ala JK Rubicons).
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:38 PM   #12
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What am I looking for on the sticker or counting the revolutions?

It'll have the ratio stamped into it. 3.55, 3.73, 4.10.


Doing it by spinning the tire--spin the tire one full turn while counting the driveshaft rotations. 3.5 turns is 3.55 gearing, not quite 4, more than 3.5 is 3.73, just over 4 rotations would be 4.10 gears.
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