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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am new to the forum and new to Jeeps. Actually I don't own one yet, so I am looking for buying tips for my son's first car.

We will be getting a cheap one that we can work on together.

I am looking for things to look for as far as issues or things that are not even worth dealing with.
I am mechanically inclined and did the same thing with my dad on an old F150.
We will be buying a TJ that is a 5-speed

Some of my basic questions are:

How many miles on average are the 4.0 good for...assuming normal driving use (I know this is broad question...is 200k too many)

I know a lot of the body panels rust, and that there are replacements for those all over the place

I know the frames rust too...that's a bigger issue. Do they make kits to replace the rusted section?

Are there any other major issues to look for or things that could be warning signs of a ticking time bomb?

I really appreciate any help I get with this.
 

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:welcome:

Lots of info here if you search. Rust is the number one issue when buying a used TJ. Where are you located? In the rust belt? It matters, a lot.

I live in the Chicago area, but flew one way to buy my '03 TJ from Santa Fe, NM because all the examples around here had at least moderate rust issues.

Hard to say how long the 4.0 would last. Obviously depends on care and feeding. I believe most would agree that it should be good for 200k.

From what I understand, while the TJ is generally extremely easy to work on, the body panel replacements are not cheap. I would check into this.

Yes, kits do exist to replace rusted sections of the frame. I couldn't tell you exactly where off the top of my head, but I know they're out there.

The value of a Car Fax is debatable, but I would personally never by a used car/truck/SUV without a clean one.

I drove a few used examples around me whose engines ran extremely rough. Obviously, the better the engine is running, the better off you'll be.

I wish you luck!! Lastly, this has been said a lot: be patient with your search and cast a wide net. One more thing: expect to put at least a grand or two into any used TJ unless you find the unicorn that is perfect. TJ's are no longer young!
 

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Lesson number one

you didn't know so you get a pass but a Jeep dies a little bit every time you call it a car. Over a long proud history Jeeps have earned their name, heck Jeeps made their name. Call it a Jeep and it will run better drive better perform better and look better doing it.

One of my jeeps has a 4.0 with over 270,000 miles on it and I beat the living snot out of it constantly another has a 4.0 with 210,000 and is an absolute cream puff that I baby and everybody who sees it thinks that it has very very low miles.

I suggest that while you're shopping focus 75% of your attention on rust then focus 24% on general condition and maintenance the last 1% you can worry about how many miles are on the odometer
 

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Gottagofast pretty much covers it. Make sure, very important, you check the rust from bumper to bumper. Crawl under with a high powered light. Very rusty oil pan and any scaling is a bad sign. Focus around the gas tank and rear shocks. Look for fresh paint, a red flag. Be very careful buying lifted up modified jeeps. Are the modifications of quality? Did the person that did the installation know what they were doing? Many jeeps are worked on in the backyard by a teenager.

Spend a lot of time on the various sites seeing what they jeeps are selling for. You are going into a good time to look for one, summer time is the worse time to buy a jeep.

Buying one as a project vehicle wit the mindset of working on it is good.
 

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Gottagofast did cover all the bases, but left out one item. Old Jeeps never seem to die (unless eaten by rust or someone hits it on the road), they just get new parts. There are catalogs devoted to Jeep parts. You can even find a lot of the parts over the counter at NAPA, AutoZone, Advance and O'Reilly. Quadratec is an aftermarket company whose entire business model is parts and accessories for Jeeps (only Jeeps). (Cars need not apply).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I appreciate all the feedback.

I know jeeps have enough aftermarket parts to essentially build an entire new one from them!

I live in Michigan, so rust is going to be a part of life for what ever we get.

I'm looking for something my son and I can work on over the next year and a half until he turns 16...I just don't want to get into something that is beyond repair without replacing he entire tub or frame.

Thanks again for your feedback.
 

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I got mine about a year and a half ago with just over 183k miles then. I haven't had to do anything major to the engine. I am over 202k now and runs better now than when I got it.

Frame condition was number one condition in choosing the one I got. There is some blistering on the tub inside the wheel wells and a little underneath, but the frame was close to mint for the rust belt Northeast. I figure I can get it under control on the body to hold for a while. Mechanically and frame-wise... I hope to hit 300k before replacing with a rebuilt motor.
 
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