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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I owned a 98 TJ back in 2004. I started dating a woman with a 4 year old and we got serious so I traded in my beloved jeep for a "family" vehicle. Fast forward to today and the itch is killing me. I've been putting off picking up another car payment but I cant resist the call of a Jeep. Anyway, I found one locally. Its a 2000, auto, with 113,110 miles. Its red, hard top and pretty much plain vanilla stock set up. I found another one thats a 2003 black, soft top manual with 87,000 miles.

Now, I've never owned a manual car. I've only tried driving a manual I'd say twice in my 38 years of life. Would it be smarter to get the red manual for $7,995 or the black manual for $10,995?

I know, I should've learned to drive a stick when I was a kid but there werent any in my family. There still aren't come to think of it! Everyone has an automatic. I've also never had a red vehicle. Always black cars. Sorry for the long post. Also, the red jeep is sold by a mom and pop dealership the black at one of the major dealerships in St. Louis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The more I look at the red one the more I'm liking the color! Just wondering if the miles are too high. It is a 12 year old jeep although. I may take the 30min drive to see it.
 

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Do you have any links? Would like to see pictures and info to compare. Helps us get a better idea of what we can recommend to you.

Do you plan on doing a lot of offroading? Many offroaders prefer an auto trans. Some people swear by manual no matter what. I have heard many times that "the only real Jeep is a manual". It all comes down to personal preference. Manuals are fun, but can be a pain in a traffic jam. Auto is easier to wheel with (offroad).

And don't feel bad. I still only sort of know how to drive a manual. By the time I was old enough to drive, no one I knew had a manual anymore. Well, besides a guy with a BMW. But I wasn't allowed to touch it.
 

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those questions really have to do with personal preference & finances. personally, i like black vehicles. others would say otherwise.

i would check out both. see which one is in better shape & which one was taken care of better. my last TJ (white 97) had high miles, but was in very good shape & drove great.

are they both 6 cyl? or the 4 cyl? either way, i've read that both engines are bulletproof. i have only had one 4 cyl. (my 1st jeep) all others were 4.0L. my last 97 TJ was sold with 179k miles & still going strong.


edit. just say they are both 4 cyl.
 

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I think a lot depends on your planned use. If it is going to be strickly a mall crawler with very little off road, then you can probably make a decision based on what you like as far as auto or stick, and color. The 113,000 miles wouldn't scare me. But if you are going to be doing mods and more off roading, you might want to check and see what differentials they have and think about trying to buy something with a 6 cylinder and a Dana 44 under the back of it.
 

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Both of those have the 2.5L 4 cylinder engine, as opposed to the 4.0L 6 cylinder. If you plan on going with larger tires and a lift, you'll be happier with a 4.0. If you're just going to leave it stock and use it as a street vehicle, the 2.5L would be fine.

I see a lot of rust just on the rear bumper of the black one. Since it looks like you're in Missouri, it is vital that any Jeep you look at be as rust-free as possible. Surface rust can be cleaned up and undercoated, but anything that's penetrating the tub or frame means you should walk away from that Jeep (unless you have the means to cut out the cancer and patch it up). Bring a screwdriver and crawl under the Jeep. Poke the frame hard all over and make sure the screwdriver doesn't penetrate.

Based on your plans for your Jeep, you may also want to look for stronger axles. Your desired lift + tire size will determine which axle you should have. You'll likely want the D35 rear at least, but shoot for a D44 rear if you plan on getting tires over 31".

What exactly are your plans for your future Wrangler? We can give more advice based off of that as well. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't plan on lifting it. I would probably take the stock tires off and go another size up. I can't remember what my last jeep had. I want to say 31" tires. As far as usage just an everyday vehicle. No off roading.
 

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In that case, you won't have to worry about much other than the typical "how well does it run?" and "does it have rust?" questions. I wouldn't worry about the mileage on the 2000 red TJ. It's only been driven an average of less than 10k miles per year. That's good. I say, go ahead and check out the red one. It's got a hardtop, which you can either sell on craigslist or keep. Softtops are cheaper and easier to find than a hardtop, so you can always get one later if you want one. You should be able to work the price down a bit. Make comments to the salesman, such as, "It isn't the 6 cylinder though... I could find a 6 cylinder for less than what you're asking for this." Find out what axles it has and make sure to complain, "Ah, the D44 is way better though..." If you point out the negatives to the salesman (even though they're not negatives for you) and seem indecisive, they're more likely to adjust the price to convince you to buy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I made the drive to check out the red TJ. Got down on my hands and knees to peak under and there was lots of rust. Parts of the frame were rusted through. On both sides by the way. There was a little rust patch on the gas tank. The axels had no rust at all. It was just along the frame.
 

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i was just down that way on my way to farmington, mo. i remember seeing at least 20 wranglers for sale in between st louis and farmington. take a weekend trip and stop when one looks interesting!
 

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If you are not in a hurry, keep looking. There are good deals out there, you just have to be patient. I just bought 2000 v6 with 80k miles for $8300 from a big dealership. It was listed at $10995. I test drove it, negotiated, and made a point of telling them that this Jeep was going to be a weekend vehicle.

Even though it was a 12 yr old vehicle, and extremely clean and well taken care of, I nitpicked it a little bit. When they didn't get to a price I liked, I walked and continued looking at other Jeeps. Over the next week and a half the dealership called me numerous times and finally got to a price that I liked.

Remember, its your money! Its their job to get your money and your job to keep as much of it as possible. Nitpick and start with a reasonable low offer....the worst a dealership can say is NO... good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If you are not in a hurry, keep looking. There are good deals out there, you just have to be patient. I just bought 2000 v6 with 80k miles for $8300 from a big dealership. It was listed at $10995. I test drove it, negotiated, and made a point of telling them that this Jeep was going to be a weekend vehicle.

Even though it was a 12 yr old vehicle, and extremely clean and well taken care of, I nitpicked it a little bit. When they didn't get to a price I liked, I walked and continued looking at other Jeeps. Over the next week and a half the dealership called me numerous times and finally got to a price that I liked.

Remember, its your money! Its their job to get your money and your job to keep as much of it as possible. Nitpick and start with a reasonable low offer....the worst a dealership can say is NO... good luck
Wow, thats awesome. What things should I nitpick at? I havent owned a Jeep since 2006 so I'm a bit rusty on buying cars.
 

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if you're not in a hurry, that's when you will find the best deal. i bought my 99 with 40k miles & a long list of mods that i was going to do anyway (more than i was looking to do) for a great price. i tried talking the guy down, but he only came down $500 b/c he knew what he had & what he could get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm not in a major rush at all. My Honda runs fine. I really like the 98 with 120,000 miles. I can negotiate the $6500. Its a manual and I'm thinking it would be good to learn how to drive a manual on. Plus I can pay it off pretty quick. Like within the next year!
 

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4.0 sort of like this? Going to go check it out tomorrow while they are closed so I can take my time and really look around it.

2001 Jeep Wrangler 2dr Sport Sienna Pearl 2 Dr. Wagon. A Jeep Wrangler at Suntrup Hyundai St. Louis MO
That's funny. I drive past that jeep every day. At least for as long as its been on the lot. It looks clean. The only reason I didn't stop was because of the half doors. I prefer the full for our colder weather here. Had both and that's just my personal preference so any jeep I look at will have full doors and hopefully a hardtop. If I were you, I'd be searching Craigslist. That's where the good deals (steals) are. I'm your competition on Craigslist though, ha! That's where I found mine.
 
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