1990 YJ w/ 4.2 and 180k miles - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 12-19-2017, 10:35 AM
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1990 YJ w/ 4.2 and 180k miles

Hey all,

Iím new to the forum. My wife currently drives a Ď17 JK Unlimited Big Bear edition. But, I have the oppurtunity to purchase a 1990 Wrangler with 180k miles and a 4.2L. I donít know much about the 4.2 and since this has relatively high mileage I want to get the opinions of those much more knowledgeable about that motor. This would not be a daily driver and would be more of a toy/project my son could drive once he turns 16 in 5 years.

The individual selling is asking $3k and it would need new grill, hood, front fenders from damage. Damage looks to be superficial and not into anything structural.

Thanks for any insight.


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Old 12-19-2017, 11:58 AM   #2

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With that mileage, the question is "How has this vehicle been maintained?".

My '87 has about the same miles (bought it 4 years ago with around 160K) and the motor is still quite serviceable. The straight 6 has 7 main bearings and relatively thick cylinder walls. Sometimes we call them "tractor engines" because they are low RPM engines with good torque. Low RPMs = long life.

What I find with purchasing older vehicles, is that the PO tends to defer maintenance until something goes out and ends up selling the older vehicle cheap, just to get rid of it. Usually a good position for the buyer to negotiate an attractive purchase price.

Then the new owner goes ahead and takes care of whatever needed repairs and deferred maintenance and has a useable vehicle. (Hopefully).

When I bought mine, the Jeep needed front brakes, a starter, tighten the manifolds, a carb and a timing chain. With those fixes, the Jeep became reliable and fun to drive.
By doing all the work myself, I kept the costs within my budget.
I think my experience was typical.

Depending on what the rest of the Jeep looks like (excluding the body damage) the price seems a bit high but not out of reason. It might be a bargain if the rest of the Jeep is really nice.
The biggest YJ killer is rust. The frames like to rust at the rear, where the springs mount and in the middle where the skid plate/X-member bolts. Check those areas carefully. Other areas to check for rust are the front frame spring mounts and steering box area. Also, pull up the floor mats and look at the front floor especially at the bottom of the "A" pillar, and climb underneath to get an idea of whatever rust the body mounts may have.

If your son is interested, it'll make a great father/son project.

Good Luck, L.M.
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"Wrangler....It's not just a vehicle, It's a lifestyle".
.................................................. ........................
1987 YJ-4.2L-Standard Shift- Re-manufactured Carter Carb-2" body Lift-31X10.5X15 BFG KOs-190K Miles No back seat.
HEI distributor with computer and all related relays and wiring removed.
12K Badlands winch with dual batteries.
Warn front bumper. Matching imitation Warn bumper on the rear.
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Old 12-19-2017, 01:29 PM
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Thanks Lucky MAC.

The seller claims zero rust. We will see...
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Old 12-19-2017, 08:20 PM   #4
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Lucky MAC is right, if the rest of the jeep is in Great shape, being a Texas jeep { if it lived there it's whole life} then it should be pretty rust free. All upgrades count for something, if it's just a wrecked Heep then it's not worth it. That said the 4.2 is a great engine, the Father of the World renowned 4.0, a lot of parts can interchange, so it's all a matter of how good it is and what it will cost $ & time to put it back on the road in Great shape.
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90 YJ,4.2 A/T,A/C,P/S,P/B, 3.07,235/75/15"Nutter, Carter non stepper,2.5"lift and Booms
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Old 12-24-2017, 06:34 AM   #5
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I bought a 87 YJ, 4.2 with 145k. No rust, it has been painted but it will need redone for sure. I paid $ 2500 for it. It will take time for me to get it where want it to be.
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Old 12-24-2017, 07:37 AM   #6
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my TJ is 10 years newer than the YJ you're looking at, has 215,000 miles on it and still runs great (though I'm planning on stroking it, come spring time)

just make sure the fluids have been kept up on (regular oil changes, never over heated) and these engines run for a long time

I just hope the 2.5L in my 130,000 mile YJ will last as long as the 6 has

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