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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all

Im From the UK and I have just left the military and am parting company with my classic vw camper and looking at buying a TJ for some light off-road camping and general us. I have never had any experience with wrangler and I want to ask you guys a few questions.

I’m looking at a 2005 4L because it passes the emission zone standards being brought into the capital (London) where I live, law says all petrol vehicles must pass euro Ncap 5 which means it has to be newer than a 2005 for petrol (if I wanted a diesel I would have to buy a brand new wrangler for 40k because the emission standards are so harsh).

First off what is everyone opinion of soft top or hard top, for me it will be a weekend car but an all session one, and I don’t have a garage, I have heard the soft tops leak (and I have had a few old soft tops and I can believe that). Are the after market replacements water tight and any good in case the originals are shot?.

What is the mileage I should expect from a manual, will it actually manage 25mpg stated for UK fuel on a motorway (Highway) or is that a dream, is 19 more realistic.

What areas are critical for inspections pre purchase, I have had classic VW’s for years and am mechanically minded, from what I have read, the vehicle has a chassis rail composition and they rust there a lot, and in the foot wheels and seat belt points.

Do the hard tops leak where the top meets the windscreen?, a seller I have spoken says he siliconed his there because of “wind noise” but I’m thinking that sounds like someone trying to stop a water leak as speed on a highway and lying about it! 🤔, do they leak there or could he be telling the truth?.

Can a hardtop be replaced with a soft top and vis versa?.

Thanks guys, any other advice would be appreciated

Scott

Thanks guys really appreciate the help
 

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Soft tops and hard tops, either can be used. Soft top must be removed completely to install a hard top.
After market soft tops, Bestop are the OEM manufacturer of the soft tops, some of the other aftermarket ones are decent.
Hard top should not leak at the windshield header, no I don't think silicone will reduce the wind noise from there.
Inspect the frame, where it bends up in front of the rear tires especially. Poke at it with a screw driver, bang on it with a hammer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks pvansch1 I will bear these areas in mind when checking the vehicle for corrosion. Yeah I’m a little concerned that the owner is trying to convince me that he didn’t silicon it because it leaks where it does, he also asked “are you likely to want to take the top off” and I thought of course I will. The vehicle looks
Very solid from the pics but I will have to check that are rigorously
 

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2005 TJ, manuals better choice over auto due to an Achilles heel with the PCM of that years.

My 2.4L with 31x10.5x15 and 3.7x gears run me about 20mpg, with the 4L you will be close to that due to easier work for the 4L.

If the oil pump is factory on the 4L you will want to replace it. Another weak point in the 2002-2006-ish models. Easy to do as the pump is external.

You can run soft top year-round. I am in New Hampshire and about the same weather patterns as the UK and no issues. The heater in the TJ does just fine keeping you toasty. Plus I do not have to store the hardtop or swap it on or off. I've been topless/windowless/half-door for over 2 months now and expect to go another 2 before the soft top goes back on.

As most will tell you the frame is a weak point in TJ's. They never put drain holes near the rear hump or front hump ad the water sits and rots them from inside out. Be very diligent and bring a tap hammer and look close to those areas. It a min, poke your finger inside and check for scaling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the post, so I am looking for water rotting the chassis from the inside from poor draining, and I am no longer to worried about the soft top option now either so thanks for that patofnaud.

I have just been doing some research and the top of the windscreen (windsheald ��) has a rubber weather strip where it meets the hard top, so that could have gone on the vehicle I’m going to go and see hence why the owner has silicones it, and that looks a simple fix to stop road noise and rain.
 

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Hex, yeah we call em windshields. :)

Mine was just replaced last week due to a crack. It was not the original, but they do tend to leak if not installed correctly as the glass only sits on a bead of urethane caulking. That rubber gasket, if it is one continuous piece, it is factory. If it has a joint mid-center bottom, its not factory. If the windshield leaks, you tend to get two rot spots inside the window frame one on each end. My TJ has those two rot spots only I can see. ;) from the original one leaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Haha thanks Patofnaud �� growing up watching American tv and having meet quite a few of you guys at this point I feel I have quite a lot of your parlance’s down ��.

So that’s good news about that rubber seal, good chance the owner is ignorant to it’s failing and has siliconed the top to the windshield strip to stop highway noise and water ingress, I should be able to fix that then after I beat him down on the price.

Thanks for the help guys most appreciated.

One more thing, he said he paid to have a air conditioning unit sent from the US and fitted at great expense by a pro because the car didn’t have air con, that sounds a little strange. He explained it was the factory unit but is there anything I should watch out for other than bad wiring and leaks etc?
 

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Regarding your main question, I would highly recommend a hard top over a soft top, it will last longer, keep the cab dry and warmer in the winter. You can always take it off when the time comes.
 

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:welcome: to the Forum..:wavey:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Old Dogger!

That’s bot great news digger 84, I am stuck by emotions laws unfortunately to the final years of the TJ, I would love a later diesel but London has decided it only wants to have “emissions friendly” vehicles, despise telling everyone the last few years to buy diesels and then changing there mind, so now we have thousands of them that are no longer fit for us here.
 

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My TJ has no A/C. Living in the northeast, with no windows/top and half doors, it would be like teets on a bull.

That being said, if they added it, its a simple bolt-in all the correct parts (evap, condenser, pump, and proper HVAC panel.. The wiring is already there.
 

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I've had three soft top jeeps and none leaked so don't believe that all soft top jeeps leak. If they do, they can be fixed. I would highly recommend a soft top since it is so much easier to take the top down or just take all the windows out if you feel like it. As far as mileage, mine has a stock powertrain but a 2" lift and 31" tires and I get about 14 mpg with no highway miles but I think that would translate to 16.8 imperial mpg.
 

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And my softop is leak-free. I've seen more threads about leaking freedom panels on hard tops than I can count but softops do not come to mind.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the posts guys, has made me feel a lot more confident with making a purchase now.
Last thing
What’s needed to convert a hard top to soft top?
 

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A TJ any year hardtop plus 6 bolts nuts and washers
Nothing else required

Nice to full doors but not required
Nice to have harness to wire in rear defroster wiper and washer but not required



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I viewed the jeep last night and I have a couple of questions.

There were a few silly things like the radio needing tuning as it’s had a new battery and a rear break light out. But there were a couple of things like

-Lots of condensation on the aircon vent pipe into the engine bay, seemed excessive to me but I have only had classic cars the last 10 years so I am new to air con quite frankly.

-Water leak in rear right corner of vehicle under carpet, I know people have mentioned that the rear vents of the hard top can leak, there was no signs of rust or damp carpets it was very very clean, but factor in the silicon on the weather stripping up front it looks like it has a slight leak and needs attention.

Windscreen was chipped and needs replacing but apparently the windscreen guys told him they didn’t have the trim to do it, does it have a strange insert or something??.

-It’s been swapped to a hard top and is missing the electrics for the wiper, seemed to have a plug in the rear right of hard top that was loss, is this a head ache job I’m ok at electrics but is the loom all present?.

-Break pedal seems to do nothing till the very end of the compression, it seems fine and he tells me it’s not been an issue nor leaks or has air in the cylinder but still it’s strange, are they like that?.

Thanks guys for the help, I loved the car and will make him an offer but he wants a lot for it so just want some advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sorry that’s a plug in the rear left of the hard top in the trunk area, from what I understand that’s were the rear electrics would plug but seemed incomplete, am I right that it should plug in there?.
Thanks all
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So thanks for you help guys I bought the wrangler in the end, I have a question I will post in a fresh thread
 
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