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WeRAllInThisTogether 08-20-2015 02:33 PM

Thinking about buying a YJ...advice appreciated!
Posted this in the newbie section but someone suggested I post it here instead.

Hello all, new here and thinking about buying my first Jeep and need a little advice. Here's my situation: I totaled my Camry a few weeks ago (no one hurt) and the insurance company is giving me $5,000 for it. I'm a married father of two and whenever we have gotten a newer vehicle I have just driven the older one. This is maybe my first chance to actually pick the vehicle I drive and I've wanted a Wrangler for about 20 years. My wife is cool with it but here is my dilemma: I don't want a car payment so $5,000 is my ceiling. Looks like all I can get for that kind of money is a YJ, which is fine with me. Most of the ones I've seen are 150k to 200k miles. Would really love a 95 and here are two YJs that I've seen and driven:

So any thoughts on these? I need something that is a dependable DD. I don't mind random stuff breaking here or there, I understand that's part of having a Jeep. What I am terrified of is having a major mechanical issue. I'm not exactly a man of means so I can't take a $1,000 repair 4 months after I buy a vehicle. I have no immediate intentions of modding my ride, I just want it to be dependable mechanically. I'm nervous about buying something with 200k miles on it whatever the make and model. My mechanical skills are meh, I guess. I can change fluids, alternators, brakes, I could probably pull a radiator out and replace it but I can't really do any major repairs. So all you experienced Jeep guys and gals out an older/higher mileage Wrangler right for me? All opinions welcome...thanks!

BlakeG881 08-20-2015 02:47 PM

just looking at the pics they both look like pretty decent jeeps. personally i would go more for the green one. 95' is the best year a far as rust prevention and stuff. the green one looks the least molested, white looks like it has a body lift on it. however i would like more info on it from the owner, previous history and the likes. i would go check out both drive them listen to them run, check everywhere for rust, especially the frame. check near the rear shackle mounts they like to rust out there, look for oil and other fluid leaks. bring a mechanic friend if you have one would be good to get more than one perspective.

Scott-CJ8 08-20-2015 03:31 PM

They both look good, but I prefer the Green '95. Decent shape, better platform to start from too.

Glenn91YJ 08-20-2015 03:52 PM

Well driving a 20+ year old vehicle with 150K plus miles as a daily driver is risky at best. Jeeps in general don't have the best "reliability" ratings.
I bought mine strictly as a fun project vehicle and put around 5-6K per year on it. I have to admit mines has been pretty good with no major problems.

Personally you'd probably be better off looking for a used Honda Accord or another Camry. You'll get a much better and dependable vehicle for the same money vs a Jeep!

Something like this would be a better DD!!!

2004 Honda Accord EX-V6 Sedan

Save and get the Jeep as a "third" vehicle when the funds are available. This way when problems pop up you won't be sweating how you're going to get to work!!!

Jeeprich25 08-20-2015 04:49 PM

I have to agree. As someone who's had a yj as a DD for the last 7 years, it's only mostly dependable. But the upkeep is constant. I felt somewhat comfortable when I bought it. Much like you, I could do SOME work. Now there's literally nothing on it I probably can't fix. It has, however, left me stranded more times than I can remember for stupid things. If you pull the trigger on one, for gods sake...get AAA roadside.

steves92 08-20-2015 09:28 PM

You should be able to find one one with less miles? I got a 92 4.0 5 speed from a fallen firefighters family friend for $ had 92k on it with no rust issues and bone stock when I got it. Very dependable and easy to work on, also fuel injected, keep your eyes peeled? I'm in California though.

bigearl 08-21-2015 12:00 AM

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Look for one with lower miles, it'll be less of a pain to maintain.

Tom95YJ 08-21-2015 12:05 AM

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Originally Posted by bigearl (Post 20948209)
Look for one with lower miles, it'll be less of a pain to maintain.

This isn't necessarily true. It all depends on how well the previous owner/owners maintained it. My 26 year old YJ runs just as good as my 15 year old XJ. And the the YJ has roughly 44k more miles

toddster8 08-21-2015 12:20 AM

The fact is, used Wranglers are grossly over-priced. They're toys. Any used car carries the risk of a $1k repair in the near future. If money is that tight, don't spend more than half of what you have on the initial purchase.

That said, I dropped $5K on my pretty clean YJ and have probably spent $500 on mostly optional stuff in two years. (Fortunately, the nearly new tires from my wrecked 4-runner fit the Jeep.) Though I am going to have to bite the bullet one of these weekends and drop the transmission to change the slave cylinder. Not expensive as a DIY, but tedious.

Other used cars I've bought for around $2k required around $1k in the first few months for vital systems. Although were I live, there is no emissions testing, so I can get cars from the city fairly cheap. The owners can't afford the $ it would take to pass emissions, but I don't need to.

Stumpr 08-21-2015 01:13 AM

Check the frame for rot. Particularly the rear, right off the bumper where the rear shackle mount is. And the front ends of the frame as well.

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