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Old 07-24-2015, 02:53 PM
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Exclamation 18 yo wants first jeep - is this a decent buy?

My son wants to get his first Jeep (I know nothing either...). We found this listing, and am wondering if it looks like a reasonable buy that won't cost him every penny on keep on the road. He will be commuting for a year or so, as he is not ready to start off-roading any time soon. The listing looks like it has a lot of unnecessary "bling", but I cannot tell if it's hiding something, or if it's likely still a quality vehicle... Price seems good - almost too good? What signs should I look for that will tell me to run away?

1990 Jeep Wrangler Islander For Sale in Leo, IN - CarGurus

1990
2.5
I4
5-speed
stock gearing
33"

Thanks for any guidance!!

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Old 07-24-2015, 03:02 PM   #2
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Ad says :
4,000 miles on engine, transmission, transfercase and front and back axles. Also has locker in front and rear axle.

Sounds like a rebuilt that was used for off road

Don't know how long of a commute your son has, but I hope he doesn't have to get there in a hurry .

Personally, I would pass, but it may be worth a look if they guy is legit.

I would be curious why someone put all that work in a jeep and then want to dump it. I would be testing the 4wd and lockers. My guess is its not put together right.

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Old 07-24-2015, 03:16 PM   #3
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Hi, welcome to the forum and good luck finding one for him. I am 16 years old and my dad got me a jeep JK (2012) a month ago. It had around 55k miles and we got it for $20-25k in an auction. This being said, if you check out my build thread and see the pictures of when we first got it, you can see that it was not modded whatsoever besides the standard tow hitch that was attached. I was constantly looking at Jeeps for months prior to getting the one that I did and have some knowledge in this area now. IMO, and this is only my opinion, I would steer clear of that vehicle. I can break it down into 2 parts that might help my reasoning.
1) As far as the vehicle goes, it is getting up there in miles (which is understandable being an older model), at 137k, and the outfit it has definitely looks to be more geared towards off-roading, which means that it wouldn't be very good for daily driving. The 33's without the re-gear might not be the greatest investment with the miles it already has on it, as it could hinder performance (especially DD'ing on the street) and could cause later investments such as u-joints and eventually re-gears. (I digress, that is a whole other read and discussion). ALSO, the modded front bumper, fender flares, hi-lift jack, and rims/tires alone all cost $2.5k give or take.
2) With that being said, a lot of people will post false advertisements to get your money pipelined to them without even having the product. I'm essentially saying that again, IMHO, you could be getting scammed, which is always something to account for being that my parents and I almost made the same move. And also, it wouldn't make sense on his end to sell it for that price, especially with the value that Wranglers hold without all of the bells and whistles that this listing shows. Now, if it is not a scam, another factor could be that something does not work or it has been in a lot of accidents.
The bottom line, and my true advice to you is to run a VIN number on Carfax, then possibly e-mail the guy asking the basic questions like why he is selling, how are you looking to be paid, etc., and then go from there. If you do not get this one, raise the budget if you can and be patient. Any further questions just shoot me back a reply. Best of luck to you.
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:20 PM
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That's kinda what I was thinking, and worrying about...

His commute is short to school and work, so no worries there. I found a chart that shows 4.11 on 33" is good for mileage, but bad for power...

How would I go about checking the transfer/axel/locker setup during a test drive to prevent buying something that's going to kill itself in 6 months...?
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:30 PM   #5
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I just bought a 89 Islander and I've been going through it replacing leaks and brake parts. As-far-as better dependability you might want to look for an older Grand Cherokee.

I just sold a 97 that I loved, and still have an 04 Grand with 183,000 on it with the 4.0. I've had it since 2006 with 40,000 miles. It's been a great truck.

There are piles of them on CL. We carry a ton of repair parts for them too, if you pick one up and it needs something.

The 4.0's a fairly easy motor to work on

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Old 07-24-2015, 03:36 PM   #6
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Looks like a nice jeep, $3,900 is a great price of you decide to look at it meet him at local police station and can't get scammed too bad. Btw the plate number is visible in one pic maybe you can get some info from that. Check the lockers by jacking up the rear wheels if both turn in the same direction you have a locker or limited slip, a locker is not something I would want in the front especially in Indiana winters with a new driver.
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for the info Stone772 - good stuff to consider!

1ATony - He wants to be able to take off the top and sides though, so probably not looking at a Cherokee... Thanks!
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:41 PM   #8
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Google search matches someone who sells different cars.. etc.. If its real and has a clean title.. i say go for it.. flip and make a $1000... Down side is lockers front and rear if you see snow in 4wd on streets can make it difficult to drive. Find out what kinds of lockers... a locked front will fight for traction back and forth in the snow.. makes it hard to steer sometimes.. I would not go alone to see this incase its a scam.. check for rust.. hit the frame.. bring a magnet etc...
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:47 PM   #9
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Keep in mind that, even though the engine has been "rebuilt", it's still a 25-year-old vehicle and will probably have random issues pop up here and there. I'm also leery of vehicles that have had so much rebuilt shortly before selling and for cheap price, that tells me the seller is trying to dump their problem(s) onto someone else. I'd keep on looking.

Also, since you live in Indiana and there's snow and ice, I don't know that an older Jeep like that would be a wise/safe choice for a new driver. With no ABS, traction control, stability control, or airbags it's relatively easy to end up in a ditch if you're not careful.

Jeeps are cool, but safety > cool when it comes to my kids. They'll be getting a safe and reliable first vehicle, but that's just me.
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:23 PM
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Thanks, everybody! I appreciate the quick and thoughtful responses. I will have to find out more about the lockers, as that sounds like the possibly most serious issue for safe [especially winter] road driving.

Feel free to keep the comments coming - the more knowledge, the better!
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:26 PM   #11
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You are right about the bling. Those chrome steps got to go.
4:11s on 33s with the 2.5 is a very slow and weak combo. It is what my YJ was running. In the 3 years I owned that jeep I never did have a mechanical malfunction with over 200k on the motor. They are good little jeeps but at that price and condition it would only be good as a local commuter/ trail runner.

Personally if it is what it says it is I think it is a fair deal. If it is good rust wise. If it has a lot of fresh lookin paint on the frame and other rust spots be sure to run away. I loved my YJ though. Probably my favorite vehicle I've owned.

I do have to mention about the 16YO driving a JK giving advice on a Yj is kinda funny and makes me chuckle. Sorry Stone. Not meant to be rude just interesting to be in that situation, maybe I'm jealous....

For a first jeep that one would be awesome.

Oh. I also agree about the locker stuff mentioned above. Can be sketchy for sure in snow.
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:28 PM   #12
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Looks clean, and a good price. I would check the frame out real good by the spring hangers front and rear with a small hammer, make sure it's solid and not rusting through. A locker in the front won't be bad if the jeep still has the vacuum disconnect, just make sure he doesn't use 4x4 on the ice and snow. What many call a locker is LSD or true trac which isn't like a full time locker and is manageable in the rear on ice and snow. Looks almost too clean so check the body out real close in case he painted the whole thing to cover a crumbling jeep.
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Old 07-24-2015, 04:59 PM   #13
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This sounds like a scam.
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:23 PM   #14
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I looked long and hard before I found my jeep, and you probably will too, just listen to the advice from everybody here, and it will make a difference in what you end up in.
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Old 07-24-2015, 07:03 PM   #15
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An old trick we used was a small magnet on the body. Place the magnet around the wheel wells, under and I front of the doors, above the rear bumper. If the magnet won't stick, it's painted over bondo covering a rusted body or collision repair.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:43 PM   #16
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I do have to mention about the 16YO driving a JK giving advice on a Yj is kinda funny and makes me chuckle. Sorry Stone. Not meant to be rude just interesting
just giving my two cents to help this guy out. If the info was wrong in anyway let me know the right way because that's why we're on the forum, to learn and help.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:46 PM   #17
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just giving my two cents to help this guy out. If the info was wrong in anyway let me know the right way because that's why we're on the forum, to learn and help.
Wasn't being critical. Just interesting is all.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:06 AM   #18
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just giving my two cents to help this guy out. If the info was wrong in anyway let me know the right way because that's why we're on the forum, to learn and help.
let's just go ahead say it, your parents bought you a jk so you feel the need to throw your"knowledge"of yj's out there. The question is is have you ever even drove stick let alone a lumber truck?! If not yu have no experience with the yj world
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:23 PM   #19
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let's just go ahead say it, your parents bought you a jk so you feel the need to throw your"knowledge"of yj's out there. The question is is have you ever even drove stick let alone a lumber truck?! If not yu have no experience with the yj world
you're making assumptions about who I am and my experiences based on my car and age. That is a great way to judge someone! If I didn't have knowledge about this, I wouldn't have replied. I don't see an age requirement for knowledge about YJ's or any other topic I spoke of. So let me handle my business and maybe you can do the same, without blatant and misinformed comments like such. As far as I'm concerned, I've sure benefitted this thread more than you have.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:38 PM   #20
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you're making assumptions about who I am and my experiences based on my car and age. That is a great way to judge someone! If I didn't have knowledge about this, I wouldn't have replied. I don't see an age requirement for knowledge about YJ's or any other topic I spoke of. So let me handle my business and maybe you can do the same, without blatant and misinformed comments like such. As far as I'm concerned, I've sure benefitted this thread more than you have.
I thought your response was very good and very insightful, and my first thought was this guy is only 16 years old? You sound to me like a very intelligent guy who has done his homework. You should feel good about yourself and don't pay any attention to the haters.
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:09 PM   #21
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you're making assumptions about who I am and my experiences based on my car and age. That is a great way to judge someone! If I didn't have knowledge about this, I wouldn't have replied. I don't see an age requirement for knowledge about YJ's or any other topic I spoke of. So let me handle my business and maybe you can do the same, without blatant and misinformed comments like such. As far as I'm concerned, I've sure benefitted this thread more than you have.



You're more mature than a lot of people on here that are old enough to be your parents. Haha
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:29 PM   #22
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Thank you guys, Cyndi and Willys_Freak. I don't mind hate, and I wouldn't have responded to it, but it was a matter of respect for myself and what I've come to learn by researching and also being on this fantastic forum. We all (well, apparently, almost all) appreciate you two and all the other good spirits here bringing the Jeeping community closer.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:20 AM   #23
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Thank you guys, Cyndi and Willys_Freak. I don't mind hate, and I wouldn't have responded to it, but it was a matter of respect for myself and what I've come to learn by researching and also being on this fantastic forum. We all (well, apparently, almost all) appreciate you two and all the other good spirits here bringing the Jeeping community closer.
Sorry to be a downer. Not really trying to spread hate here at all but what you said is exactly why this forum drives me crazy.

I do have respect for you and I'm sure you are a well above average on many things. And this is not directed towards you specifically but brings up a point that I think gets over looked or unmentioned around here.


There are too many people playing the telephone game here. Meaning that because someone read something that was posted by someone else that read something moves the person with real experience further and further from someone that needs a solid answer.

I'm not saying you can't learn from reading by any means. Just that it is hard to sometimes decipher what some one really has experience with vs what someone's interpretation of what someone else knows.

I think what has caused this thread to bring some hostility is that YJ owners are very prideful and sensitive about their jeeps. (Not trying to make them sound like softies in anyway). But YJs are a special jeep and the guys that are active YJ owners know just about everything about their jeep and the neighbors jeep and every YJ build thread and everything. They are crazy. And they read about someone doing something then they go and to that. They are not afraid of wrenching on their jeeps or having a project that may be in a garage for months at a time.

While yes you do have some experience, people here have a lot more and they are not very political about expressing their opinion of newer jeep owners.

Anyway I've forgotten where I was going. But don't take anything posted here too seriously. I just try to keep my posts limited to what I have actually experienced vs what I have read about. There's too much of a herd mentality here (and it runs rampant in the JK sections) and I try to not participate in spreading skewed information the best I can.

Anyway anyway.... You should buy a Yj. It will change your life. Best jeep they ever made for sure. I miss mine every day. I apologize about my ramblings.
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:31 AM   #24
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@YJmaddness lol, I've noticed that people in the YJ forum are getting more pissy than they were when i joined a few months ago. maybe fiat has something to do with it?
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:27 AM   #25
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I've scrolled through this thread a half dozen times, felt like saying this can't hurt.
I honestly would second everything YJmadness said there.
I've learned so much from owning my '95, between doing research on here, and then actually going and putting some of that into practice. It changed my life for sure.
Personally I don't consider 137k to be getting up there in miles, but that's based off of having driven a minivan with 225k-ish on it through high school, so long as the vehicle has been taken care of, that's nothing for the engine.
Opinions could have been stated more tactfully for sure, but in a case like this, I would take them with a grain of salt.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:33 AM   #26
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Anyway anyway.... You should buy a Yj. It will change your life. Best jeep they ever made for sure. I miss mine every day. I apologize about my ramblings.
I get it (I had a YJ, too. See attached). I think there are a couple of extremes going on here, though.

- The YJ lovers, such as yourself, think they're the best thing since sliced bread and everyone should have one. It's a biased view, but that's OK.

- The JK owners that think YJs aren't all that. Again, it's a biased view and there's nothing wrong with that.

There needs to be a happy medium, where all of the information is processed and the OP reaches a logical conclusion.

My YJ ('93, 5-speed, 4.0L) was a fine Jeep. Reliable, easy to work on. Heavily modified? Sure. Good for a daily driver? Absolutely not, but that wasn't because it was a YJ.

My first car was a '78 El Camino with an anemic 305 V8. It was slow but it got the job done. I also ended up in the center divide on the freeway at night, facing the wrong way, because I hit a patch of black ice. Thankfully, everything was fine and nobody got hurt. At the time I shrugged it off, went on my way, albeit a little slower on that road at night, and continued to drive that car for another couple of years. Being a teenager, it didn't occur to me that a RWD, tail-light, nanny-free car wasn't the best choice for a new driver, but it was also all we could afford.

So, now, I see a thread like this one where a teenager wants a cheap Jeep. Jeeps are awesome. They're fun, they're cool, they're unique. I'm sure that's also what the teenager is thinking. They're not thinking about how a stock YJ, with its short wheelbase and lack of any safety systems like ABS, is a handful in the ice and snow, especially light snow or freshly plowed roads. Toss lockers into the mix and it's become an even bigger handful in the winter.

Being a parent myself, I have to bring some logic and reason into their lives. My job isn't to be cool and get them cool things. They could be the greatest kids in the world, but that doesn't mean that they are mentally prepared and experienced enough to drive that kind of vehicle in the winter. I wouldn't be doing my job as a parent if I put them in an unsafe situation.

Notice the recurring theme here. Teenagers. Winter with ice and snow. Safety systems (ABS, etc). A Jeep like a YJ would be a totally different experience someplace like Florida, southern CA, etc. Winter? Hah.

So the responses, or at least my responses, aren't anti-YJ. They're pro-safety and trying to keep new drivers safe. I think giving a new driver that lives where there are real winters a vehicle that lacks even the basics like ABS and airbags is a bad idea.

If he wants to save up his own money and buy a YJ then nobody can stop him, he's legally an adult, but I would feel horrible if I contributed to something that didn't provide adequate protection for my kid and something ended up happening.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:53 AM   #27
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^^^ excellent point.

Side note. I wouldn't trade my jk for anything,


Is there a balance somewhere to where you can gain driving experience and have a safe vehicle?

I'm kind of prideful about my driving experiences and how I learned to drive. I think driving a vehicle with out computer influence in poor conditions really helps you develop a proactive driving habit. Rather than trusting the vehicle to save you.

I drove old Chevy trucks till I moved away,And was pulling a landscaping trailer from my 16th bday. now I'm hauling crude oil in huge super tankers. Just like you said you had an experience that taught you how to be a better driver.
I think my kids are going to be in old vehicles till they show me that they are able to drive something nicer but maybe on the other hand their jeeps will be nicer than mine at that point. Lol

Once again I'm off on a tangent. I do really like how you made your point. And it makes a lot of sense for sure. Thanks. I'm kinda a dumb trucker when it comes to expressing my thoughts. Haha
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:41 AM   #28
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Is there a balance somewhere to where you can gain driving experience and have a safe vehicle?
Oh, absolutely and that's a great point. Not to get all off topic again, I think something that everyone should know and experience is what their vehicle is capable of in terms of evasive maneuvers in harsh conditions.

I've found that defensive drivers focus on avoidance but because they're focused on "safe driving" often times they don't think to learn what to do if they can't avoid a situation.

Snow and ice are great examples. A cautious, defensive driver is less likely to land in a ditch because they're driving well below what their vehicle is capable of, but what happens when things go south?

Everyone that lives where there's snow and ice should take the time to find an empty parking lot and play out various scenarios when there's snow/ice on the ground. Do emergency stops, swerve, etc. It might be scary at first and you might be surprised at the results, but it's a great way to find the limits and practice what to do when the unexpected happens.

Many people think that 4WD makes them invincible, too. Or that ABS/traction control will save them no matter what.

If you don't know the limits of your vehicle then you're likely to fly right past them and not know it until it's too late. It's also good to know how your vehicle behaves at the limits so that you can feel it coming on and know when you need to take things down a notch or two.

I grew up living a ways down a dirt road and started driving when I was about 12. By the time I got my license I had been driving for years, just not on public roads. That helped, but I was still a teenager and I still did some stupid stuff. It's just what teenagers do.

I think all teenagers should have to pass a course like this as well, learning the rules of the road doesn't teach the laws of physics.

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Old 07-26-2015, 09:53 AM   #29
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Well this thread certainly has gone off topic from the OP's original question. The jeep he was asking us about is no longer available, so he either bought it or someone else did.

My previous reply was in response to the snarky comment inferring that a 16 year old who's parents bought him a JK had no business posting in the YJ section. That comment was uncalled for IMO. And I totally agree with the person who said that you have to read the posts and take the advice and recommendations with a grain of salt. After you've been a member here for awhile, it's not too hard to figure out who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't. In the four years I've been here, I've seen a lot of knowledgable guys drop out because they got drowned out by the instant experts. I joined this forum because I don't have a man in my life right now who can help me with my jeep, and I want to be able to do as much as I can myself, and the perspectives here help me to recognize my limitations on what I can attempt and what I should seek professional help on. I have been guilty of giving wrong information, and I've been called on it, so now I'm very careful to offer advice only on topics I'm sure I know what I'm talking about, and it's rarely technical advice. YJ owners do have a tendency to be a little defensive, and I'm not sure why that is. I admit that I have some JK envy and am thinking about trading my DD (a Mustang GT) in on a JK, but I would never sell my YJ, it's just too special. Maybe that's what sets us YJ and CJ owners apart from JK owners, our jeeps are like a family member and the newer jeeps haven't had time to earn that special place of distinction yet.

Anyway, I know this has gotten too long, but if the OP is still reading, a YJ can be a good first vehicle for a teenager in the right setting. If your son wants to hotrod, it's a bad choice because of the lack of safety features. If he is levelheaded and wants to learn to wrench on his own vehicle, it can be a good choice. Most of the guys here recommend to start with a stock jeep so that you're not fixing someone else's blunders. My advice is to look for something 1991 or newer to avoid carburetor hassles. In the older vehicles in snow states, rust is a huge factor. In addition to the previous posts about using magnets, another red flag is diamond plate panels that can cover body panel rust. And remember that there is no such thing as a cheap jeep. The cheaper it is the more you will have to spend on it to make it safe and road worthy. Good luck with whatever direction you decide to take.
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:24 PM   #30
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Noticed that teh YJ has been sold. It looked legitiamte based on a VIN search and the phone number for contact. Unless it was rusted out, that would be a great...,no, make that amazing deal here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Willys_Freak View Post
I get it (I had a YJ, too. See attached). I think there are a couple of extremes going on here, though.

- The YJ lovers, such as yourself, think they're the best thing since sliced bread and everyone should have one. It's a biased view, but that's OK.

- The JK owners that think YJs aren't all that. Again, it's a biased view and there's nothing wrong with that.
And then there are members here like me. I have the best of both worlds. When I want to be pampered and have a smooth ride (and A/C), I have a JK to jump into. When I want to ride in something that screams JEEP, well, I got one of those too.

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2011 Jeep Wrangler Sahara-JK, 6 spd., 1995 Jeep Wrangler S, 2.5, 4 cyl., 2010 Chrysler 300 Touring/Signature Edition, 2003 2500 SLT, QC, LB, ETH, DEE, 2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R (F53/V10/5spd TQShift) 2002 Nissan Xterra 4WD/V6
Other: 2010 Kubota MX4700 with FEL, 1977 Kubota L185.
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