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Discussion Starter #1
New member here, a little backstory:

I'm a total mechanical n00b, it's not my industry, but I WANT to learn more about cars and how to maintain them. The Wrangler has been my dream car since I first laid eyes on one when I was 6 or so. So I'm looking for a budget Jeep to learn on.

I've been lurking on craig's, haven't gone and physically looked at any yet, but so far, I found this one in my area:




And this one:

  • 1987 2.5L 5-speed, original engine
  • 143XXX miles
  • 2 in body lift with shocks
  • Minimal rust
  • New clutch, brakes, and rotors
  • 12-14 mpg (according to owner)
  • Soft top w/ rips
  • $3900
Both titles are apparently clean but will be snapping the vin numbers and checking myself. I'm leaning more towards the first one due to the newer engine and (allegedly) better gas mileage. I would be buying a hard top before the end of summer. Just wanted to know what you YJ'ers thought or if you had any tips on what to look for, I'd really appreciate it!
 

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If I were looking for a YJ these are the things I would look for:

Rust:
Frame rails near shackle points
Floor pans
Roll bar bases behind seats
Windshield
Cross-member above & behind fuel tank

Years:
91-95 for fuel injection

Engine:
2.5 if your keeping it stock
4.0 if you have intentions on lifting it and running larger tires.

Modifications:
Stock so I had a clean slate to work with, thus not having to deal with improperly installed modifications that you see all too frequently on YJ's.

Mileage:
Obviously the lower the better

Wiring:
Ensure the PO hasn't cobbled up the wiring under the dash for his janky stereo install, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I were looking for a YJ these are the things I would look for:

Rust:
Frame rails near shackle points
Floor pans
Roll bar bases behind seats
Windshield
Cross-member above & behind fuel tank

Years:
91-95 for fuel injection

Engine:
2.5 if your keeping it stock
4.0 if you have intentions on lifting it and running larger tires.

Modifications:
Stock so I had a clean slate to work with, thus not having to deal with improperly installed modifications that you see all too frequently on YJ's.

Mileage:
Obviously the lower the better

Wiring:
Ensure the PO hasn't cobbled up the wiring under the dash for his janky stereo install, etc.
Great advice, thanks!
 

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I'm also new to Jeeps, having just bought a scruffy '93 YJ. It has what some might term 'minimal rust', but others might disagree. The most obvious area was the windshield frame at the bottom centre (I'll be starting a thread with more questions about that tonight), and some blistering starting on the outside of the tub behind the doors and a couple of other places where two panels join orcreate a box. One area I didn't pick up on when I viewed the car was the rear shock top mount on the chassis: its design creates a pocket that fills up with mud, salt, and water that must sit there and fester through the years. The bracket on the right side has rusted badly and also affected the top of the chassis in that area. I guess this is a common problem as you can buy replacement brackets, so I now have a bit of unplanned chassis welding to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just went and looked at the blue '87. It seemed decent though had a bit more rust than what I was thinking but none on the body and no rot level rust. The bad thing was it has a noxious exhaust leak filling the interior with exhaust. Felt sick to my stomach after just driving in it for a few minutes. Think I might pass on it as I don't have the time to fix that and I need something I can drive around right now.

The black one got sold out from under me despite having set up a viewing for today. ****ers. Oh well, might wait until I've saved a bit more until I try again. I'll be watching what's on sale more often though. Thanks for your input guys.
 

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Just don't be impatient and settle for something your not happy with, expand your search area & keep a look out... you will find it.
 

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:lmao:mad: 20 to 23 mpg on an 89 wrangler.

Give me their info. I need to contact them to find out about what secret awesome thing they did to their jeep to get that.

And they weren't sure of the lift.

Thankful you weren't the one that got it.
 

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Just remember an 87 is 30 years old. Most likely unless it's been garaged, or restored it's going to need some work. If an exhaust leak scared you off, this might be more of a project than you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Just remember an 87 is 30 years old. Most likely unless it's been garaged, or restored it's going to need some work. If an exhaust leak scared you off, this might be more of a project than you want.
I'm not scared by any minor fix, but like I said I'm a noob and don't have experience with exhaust leaks and I needed something that will drive right now. This made it un-driveable in the short term.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
:lmao:mad: 20 to 23 mpg on an 89 wrangler.

Give me their info. I need to contact them to find out about what secret awesome thing they did to their jeep to get that.

And they weren't sure of the lift.

Thankful you weren't the one that got it.
I just assumed the higher claimed mileage was due to the newer engine, but yeah it doesn't seem too realistic.
 

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Just don't be impatient and settle for something your not happy with, expand your search area & keep a look out... you will find it.
Yeah, I pretty much decided to wait, save up a bit more and keep my eye out for one that's more perfect for me.
 

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I'd recommend anything 91-95 because of the fuel injection like IRQ stated. Also, something to consider, the 92+ has the "family" roll bar where 91- has the sport roll bar, if you car about the look naked
 

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I always recommend against the 2.5L. They are guaranteed to disappoint. Ive had two. The first was a lesson. The second was the triumph of hope over experience.

91-95 fuel injected 4.0L is the way to go.
 

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Patience grasshopper.
I looked for over two years before I found one in a condition and at a price I was willing to pay.
It's been two years of fixes and upgrades. Is it done? Not even close.
It's my DD and I would not hesitate to take it anywhere.

Bone stock '91 with no frame rust
4.0 AX15
Had 173k mi on it. Now 196k.
Offered the dealer half of their asking price and they took it. 3500
Mileage is consistently 16-17

Good luck with your search and don't get blinded by someone else's bling. Look into the bones of the machine. Frame, suspension, cooling system, electrical-wiring. Take a small magnet with you to check for large amounts of body filler..
 

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I looked at several more than a few CJ's in my hunt for a jeep. Most if not all of them had some kind of steering issues and were pretty scary at 55+. Really wanted one but didn't want to have issues just starting out. So I started looking at wranglers. Drove some TJ's and YJ's all of this over a years time. Found my YJ bone stock except for the stereo (not a hack job either thankfully).

Thousands later it is mostly done except for some small things here and there. My advice goes along with the others keep looking and don't grab the first one you see. Drive both the 4 and 6 cyl even if your not interested in them. You will most likely want the 6 cyl after driving a 4.

Good luck with your search, your YJ is waiting for you to find it.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Awesome, thanks for the advice guys. I'll definitely try out some 4.0s.

I recently looked at another 2.5 Islander

1988 bone stock except for the bumper and steering wheel. No rust either. My only concern is the weld on the exhaust right before it hits the muffler is degraded. When we were idling in it you could smell exhaust but that could have just been because the top and doors were off and we weren't moving. Is that a thing? It seems like that would be the case.
 

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I Wouldn't touch a 2.5L. I drove a 2.5L TJ for 9 years and it sucked. I was young and dumb so I didn't care much. Test drove a '95 2.5L YJ with my girlfriend last year and she was like NOPE. Settled on a sweet '95 4.0 a couple weeks later and I love it.

I'd be patient and wait for that special 4.0 to pop up.
 

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I have a brand new exhaust on my Jeep that goes out in the stock location in the back and when I am stopped sometimes or stopped and the wind is blowing from behind me I can smell the exhaust. It's a short wheelbase open vehicle, the tailpipe in the stock location is only 4' behind the drivers seat.....
 

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I always recommend against the 2.5L. They are guaranteed to disappoint. Ive had two. The first was a lesson. The second was the triumph of hope over experience.

91-95 fuel injected 4.0L is the way to go.
This is good advice for most Jeepers.
I wanted a carbureted Jeep so I was looking at 1987 through 1991. I have the skills and tools to maintain it.



Patience grasshopper.
I looked for over two years before I found one in a condition and at a price I was willing to pay.
It's been two years of fixes and upgrades. Is it done? Not even close.
It's my DD and I would not hesitate to take it anywhere.

Bone stock '91 with no frame rust
4.0 AX15
Had 173k mi on it. Now 196k.
Offered the dealer half of their asking price and they took it. 3500
Mileage is consistently 16-17

Good luck with your search and don't get blinded by someone else's bling. Look into the bones of the machine. Frame, suspension, cooling system, electrical-wiring. Take a small magnet with you to check for large amounts of body filler..
By keeping an eye on Craigslist and saving as much money as you can put away for a Jeep purchase, you'll recognize a good deal and have the cash to offer when you find the right one.

Even if you aren't quite ready to pull the trigger on a purchase, start by looking at several. That way you'll be familiar with what to look for. Lurk this (and other) Jeep forums and learn what you can. It'll pay off when you find just the right Jeep.

Good Luck, L.M.
 
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