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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. As the title states, I am planning to spend up to $20k on a jeep by the end of the year, but I really have no clue where to begin. I've wanted a jeep for about 15 years now, but I haven't been in a situation where I could get one until now. Any help figuring out what type of jeep I should be looking for would be greatly appreciated.

I can give some brief info as to what I want in a jeep.

  • I have up to $20k to spend, and I know I want a 2 door jeep.
  • I definitely want full doors.
  • This would not be a daily driver vehicle. I already have a truck that is my daily driver. This would be a second vehicle to drive in the summer or during warm weather. That said, I live in the south so it's warm most of the year.
  • I don't have a garage to store the jeep. Although, I could probably store it in my parents' garage during the winter if I didn't plan to drive it then.
  • I don't necessarily plan to rock climb. Then again, I don't know much about rock climbing. It seems like it would cause things to constantly have to be repaired, and I definitely don't have the money to do that. If I don't do any rock climbing, though, I would still like to take it on some trails.
  • I've definitely been leaning toward a manual transmission. Growing up, my truck had a manual transmission, and I kinda miss it. I'm definitely open to hearing the pros and cons of that, though.
  • I am not mechanically savvy (if that matters).
  • I definitely want the jeep to have a lift kit and either 33" or 35" tires. I don't know if I should be looking for a jeep that already has a lift, large tires, etc., or if I should start with something closer to stock and add the extras myself. My concern with a jeep that already has the lift, tires, etc., is that I don't know how hard it has been driven. But at the same time, it seems much easier to buy one that already has those extras.
  • I don't know if I should be looking for a hard top or soft top. I'm sure both is a good option, but if I could only get one at first, I don't know which it should be.

I have no clue where to begin in terms of year and mileage. Should I be looking for something slightly newer with less miles, which is certainly going to be more expensive? Or is something around 75k miles okay? I don't even really know what would be considered a good deal on a jeep based on the year and mileage. From what I've seen when searching around, it's almost impossible to use KBB for the value because almost every jeep has a lot of aftermarket parts that increase the value.

Should I be looking for a Rubicon, Sport, etc.? Would it be better to buy from a dealer or look for a private seller on Craigslist, AutoTrader, etc.? When I actually look at the jeep in person, what should I be looking for?

Any opinions on where to begin my search would be greatly appreciated. I just want to be sure I know what to look for in order to get the best value for my money. Thanks.
 

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My advise would be to find a stock Jeep without mods, preferably 2012 or newer. Then you can buy and install good quality mods.

If you find one at great price with a soft top consider to buy it, you can get a hard top later. If you like manual transmission it will be cheaper.

If you know how to change a spare tire and do an oil change then you can work on a Jeep. Tons of videos our there that will guide you. Example; you can install a lift kit with basic tools and jack stands.

To search for use Jeeps I like cargurus and auto tempest, both sites search sales from most popular sites.
 

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My *advice would be to find a great condition, late model TJ. Get it checked over by a mechanic first to save you some headaches. Find one with a hardtop and everything else done the way you want it. 20k will buy a lot of TJ but not much of anything newer.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 

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My advice would be to buy a stock Jeep and buy the lift kit yourself. Do your research on what you want. There's smoother lifts that are more for daily drivers which make it nicer to drive with, then there's stiffer lifts that are more so for offroading and while you're driving you feel every little bump in the road and it's stiff as hell.

since you don't plan on doing any rock climbing I would advise against the rubicon as that's built more for offroading and costs more.

But my most important tip: do your research before buying anything!!! You're already doing great by coming on this forum and asking questions. When I bought my Jeep I was so eager to get it lifted and upgraded and I did no research. Bought a stiff ass lift kit that made me hate driving the jeep and bought 20" wheels with 35" tires and that made me hate the look. Since then I've realized I should've went with a softer rated coil spring set and shocks and 17" wheels on 35s... If I did a little research first it would've saved me so much time and effort and $$..

Everyone on this site is extremely knowledgeable. I ask hundreds of questions and I advise you to do the same so you can be steered in the right direction
 

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My advice is to buy my TJ....
 

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Given that budget and lack of wrenching experience, I'd advise a JK, 2012 or newer. Bone stock until you figure out what you want done to it. Plus the mods people make are priced in and make sellers hard headed.

I have a TJ, but it's a labor of love and takes a lot of work to get up to snuff. Certainly way less expensive and leaves a lot of room to add good mods, $-wise. But realistically, if you aren't going to wrench, paying for mods will blow your budget. Mods more than just eye candy silly stuff I mean.
 

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:welcome: to the Forum..:wavey:
 

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You can probably score a nice early model 2 door JK (2007~2010) that rides better than a TJ. Pre-100k 2 doors can be a bargain as most folks want 4 doors. Have your local shop put a 2-3 inch lift and some 35s. Budget lift and 35s could set you back $3-4k+ at a shop if they do it.

Already has a freedom top (front removable section for sunshine)
Rides better than a TJ
Probably find a Sahara or Rubi in the low teens
Manual Transmission and 2door JK = Fun!
3.8 motor isn't bad on the 2 door either

Boom Instant Beach Jeep!
 

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I'll third the TJ comments. Stock if you can find one, build from there. A JK may ride a little better in stock form, but not aftermarket.
 

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Send me $2k and I'll send you a complete list of what you should do with the remaining $18k!
 

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I would do a 2012+ JK

The much better engine, upgraded interior etc make for a more enjoyable drive,

I also wouldn’t have a problem buying a already modified jeep. However I wouldn’t want a modified Jeep that had cheap products installed or obviously improperly setup. If the Jeep has a quality lift kit with all supporting mods why not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the good advice already. I never would've even thought about a lift kit being smooth or stiff depending on the whether or not it's used for climbing or daily driving.

There seems to be a split between TJ and JK. My main concern with the TJ would be working on it, if needed. As @jku007fl mentioned, there are probably youtube videos for anything and everything, in terms of jeep repair, and I feel like I could definitely follow those to fix some things. However, I don't have a garage for doing any of that stuff, though.

Seems like most of the advice is to find a bone stock jeep and mod it from there. It makes sense, though. I'm not opposed to going that route.

In looking at used jeeps, at what point does the mileage get too high? Is something under 100k miles okay for what I'm looking for?

For example, I searched around on CarGurus, and here are a few random results (assuming it's okay for me to post links here). I didn't specifically look for manual transmission in these examples. Can someone tell me if any of these would have more value over the other, in terms of what I'm looking for? Or which would be a better starting point. I just want to be able to get an idea as to what kind of pricing I should be looking for (along with mileage). I realize the pricing will depend heavily on mods, but these first three seem to be fairly stock:

2009 Rubicon with 95k miles for $14,995

2010 Sport with 57k miles for $14,800

2006 Wrangler X with 78k miles for $11,995

This last one already has a lift, large tires, etc.

2015 Willys Wheeler Edition with 81k miles for $18k

If you were in my shoes, and a beginner in the jeep world, which of these jeeps makes the most sense?
 

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Was I the only person hoping he wanted recommendations for 20K of upgrades?
Yep, that’s the way I understood the proposition. I was going to suggest getting a second Jeep in the tj version. Twice the fun with two Jeeps!!:beerdrinking:
 

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Was I the only person hoping he wanted recommendations for 20K of upgrades?

Nope, I was making my list as the page loaded.


Thanks for all the good advice already. I never would've even thought about a lift kit being smooth or stiff depending on the whether or not it's used for climbing or daily driving.

There seems to be a split between TJ and JK. My main concern with the TJ would be working on it, if needed. As @jku007fl mentioned, there are probably youtube videos for anything and everything, in terms of jeep repair, and I feel like I could definitely follow those to fix some things. However, I don't have a garage for doing any of that stuff, though.

Seems like most of the advice is to find a bone stock jeep and mod it from there. It makes sense, though. I'm not opposed to going that route.

In looking at used jeeps, at what point does the mileage get too high? Is something under 100k miles okay for what I'm looking for?

For example, I searched around on CarGurus, and here are a few random results (assuming it's okay for me to post links here). I didn't specifically look for manual transmission in these examples. Can someone tell me if any of these would have more value over the other, in terms of what I'm looking for? Or which would be a better starting point. I just want to be able to get an idea as to what kind of pricing I should be looking for (along with mileage). I realize the pricing will depend heavily on mods, but these first three seem to be fairly stock:

2009 Rubicon with 95k miles for $14,995

2010 Sport with 57k miles for $14,800

2006 Wrangler X with 78k miles for $11,995

This last one already has a lift, large tires, etc.

2015 Willys Wheeler Edition with 81k miles for $18k

If you were in my shoes, and a beginner in the jeep world, which of these jeeps makes the most sense?

The 2015 Willys seems like a decent deal if it's in good shape. I don't think it's lifted, just flat fenders and looks like 33x12.5r15 tires. Willys came stock with 3.73 gears which is fine for 33s and rear tracloc lsd which is probably dead already at 80k. Hard to make out the tread depth, but the tires are Cooper STT. (I love mine, very street friendly mt)



I like the other 2 JKs, again depending on condition. The 2010 Sport may be priced a hair high. Everything I've read says the manual is the way to go with the 3.8.



I love TJs but nearly every one I see is way overpriced. Also, for 05 and 06 google "opda".



You say you're not looking to do any "rock climbing" but there is a whole world of wheeling possibilities between crawling rocks and crawling malls.



My personal choice would be to try for the 09 Rubicon if everything checks out. Use the rest of the budget on a small lift and wheels with 33s.
 

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Seeing those prices... I agree 2012+ JK

I think on Autotrader you can select transmission style. The Auto isn't bad with the 2012+ models, but I still miss rowing my own gears.

That Willys looks like it has a manual transmission, but I can't appreciate the grill.

Always take it to an independent mechanic and have them pick it apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The 2015 Willys seems like a decent deal if it's in good shape. I don't think it's lifted, just flat fenders and looks like 33x12.5r15 tires. Willys came stock with 3.73 gears which is fine for 33s and rear tracloc lsd which is probably dead already at 80k. Hard to make out the tread depth, but the tires are Cooper STT. (I love mine, very street friendly mt)

I like the other 2 JKs, again depending on condition. The 2010 Sport may be priced a hair high. Everything I've read says the manual is the way to go with the 3.8.

I love TJs but nearly every one I see is way overpriced. Also, for 05 and 06 google "opda".

You say you're not looking to do any "rock climbing" but there is a whole world of wheeling possibilities between crawling rocks and crawling malls.

My personal choice would be to try for the 09 Rubicon if everything checks out. Use the rest of the budget on a small lift and wheels with 33s.
I'm not planning to buy one of these jeeps just yet. I just wanted to pull some examples from different years and mileage to get opinions on what seemed to best fit what I'm looking for.

I agree with your rock climbing comment, though. I'm not looking to do any full-blown rock-climbing, but I would definitely like to be able to take the jeep off-road from time to time. Is the Rubicon necessary for anything other than rock-climbing?


Seeing those prices... I agree 2012+ JK

I think on Autotrader you can select transmission style. The Auto isn't bad with the 2012+ models, but I still miss rowing my own gears.

That Willys looks like it has a manual transmission, but I can't appreciate the grill.

Always take it to an independent mechanic and have them pick it apart.
When I do buy, I'll definitely make sure to have a mechanic take a look at it because I certainly won't know what to look for.

When you say that based on those prices, you would go for a 2012+ JK, does that mean you think the other three are priced too high? Or that for an extra ~$3k it makes more sense to get something newer even if the mileage is a bit higher?


Was I the only person hoping he wanted recommendations for 20K of upgrades?
One day :happyyes:...I've got a lot to learn until then, though.
 

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Thanks for all the good advice already. I never would've even thought about a lift kit being smooth or stiff depending on the whether or not it's used for climbing or daily driving.



There seems to be a split between TJ and JK. My main concern with the TJ would be working on it, if needed. As @jku007fl mentioned, there are probably youtube videos for anything and everything, in terms of jeep repair, and I feel like I could definitely follow those to fix some things. However, I don't have a garage for doing any of that stuff, though.



Seems like most of the advice is to find a bone stock jeep and mod it from there. It makes sense, though. I'm not opposed to going that route.



In looking at used jeeps, at what point does the mileage get too high? Is something under 100k miles okay for what I'm looking for?



For example, I searched around on CarGurus, and here are a few random results (assuming it's okay for me to post links here). I didn't specifically look for manual transmission in these examples. Can someone tell me if any of these would have more value over the other, in terms of what I'm looking for? Or which would be a better starting point. I just want to be able to get an idea as to what kind of pricing I should be looking for (along with mileage). I realize the pricing will depend heavily on mods, but these first three seem to be fairly stock:



2009 Rubicon with 95k miles for $14,995



2010 Sport with 57k miles for $14,800



2006 Wrangler X with 78k miles for $11,995



This last one already has a lift, large tires, etc.



2015 Willys Wheeler Edition with 81k miles for $18k



If you were in my shoes, and a beginner in the jeep world, which of these jeeps makes the most sense?


To me, the 2010 makes the most sense even though it has the dreaded 3.8. I have had good luck with my 2010, and you said it’s not going to be your daily driver.
IMHO, I stay away from modified Wranglers. When I was looking for another Jeep, I found too many back yard botch jobs. Best of luck to you.
 

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Dealers will set a price based on whatever they feel like the market will bear especially on used inventory. As you shop, seeing what is out there ( I haven't shopped for a 2 door in 5 years), I am modifying my recommendations on your behalf (HA!):

2012+
Manual Transmission
Sahara or Rubicon = More creature comforts for a new Jeeper
3.73 gears or 4.10s for when you get the bigger tires
Try to set max mileage at 75k, maybe 60k
 
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