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Buying a Used CJ or Wrangler



  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    That's what body lifts and Kilby tank skids will help with. ;)

    I've found that jacking up the body/frame a bit to sit on jackstands so the axles are easier to access makes changing the fluids a bit easier.

  • 4rider4rider Posts: 96
    "I've found that jacking up the body/frame a bit to sit on jackstands so the axles are easier to access makes changing the fluids a bit easier. "

    Totally agreed. In fact, this is the only way to do it. I guess this is a lesser problem for liftted TJs. I wished they could have designed this differently so that there is a little more space between the tank and the rear axle for easier maintenance and (quick) inspections.
  • flyrodflyrod Posts: 2
    My daughter is in the market for a car and wants a Wrangler, manual transmission with softtop. Looks like 2005 is the price range limit.

    Questions: mileage for a 6 vice 4 cyl? reliability? safety? will be driving in No. VA. DC area. any and all advice will be welcomed.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Questions for your first:

    How old is she? Wranglers are not necessarily ideal for a new driver due to their short wheelbase and higher COG. My daughter had one (and it became mine) and nearly rolled it on the road going around the corner.

    As for your questions:
    1. 6 will have more pep, esp on the highways. Mileage may be a hair better for the 4, but not enough to be a huge difference. The 4 is great for around town. DEFINITELY not a speed demon. I have a 4cyl.
    2. Reliability. Depends on previous owners. My 97 is doing okay with only a few things I've had to address, mainly from my offroading. If the PO wheeled it (check the underside for scrapes, dents, etc) I'd probably stay away.
    3. Safety. They hold up pretty well in crashes, but if this is a concern, I think there are better SUV options out there. I drive mine w/o doors and top and it can be disconcerting for younger drivers knowing a bumper or other car part could get ya pretty easily. I've armored mine up for offroad action and I actually feel safer in it as a result, even on road.

    In your region, knowing how DC drivers are, the 6 would be a better option as far as being able to go highway speeds vs being the slowpoke and have a truck drive up the tailpipe.

  • jetbattjetbatt Posts: 2
    1. Definitely the 6cyl. (#1 - more zip, #2 resale value, #3 Mpg difference is negligible)

    2. My 2004 has had ZERO problems! and yes it has been used off-road.

    3. Safety? Name any other consumer vehicle that comes with a functional roll-cage. We traded a dodge neon in on our Wrangler and my insurance premiums actually dropped! They are safe to drive and cheap to fix.

    4. Things you WILL want in a used jeep. Full size doors are a must, No one wants to unzip the window every time you go to the ATM or McDonalds. Hard top is a Plus for the winters in your area, you can always buy an aftermarket soft top.( Alot of Hardtoppers like me have both ). Say NO to skinny tires. Wider tires get more traction in wet weather and have better overall handling. A/C comes in handy when sitting in traffic under a hot sun.

    5. One thing to remember - They all ride ruff !
  • flyrodflyrod Posts: 2
    Thanks for the responses. My daughter is an experienced driver, very good with a manual transmission, has always driven "wrecks" that had to be nursed through the day, every day, up to now. She wants the softtop, knows about the ride, noise, etc. She's old enough to get what she wants (and will, no doubt). I feel better about the Wrangler and will go looking with her next month when she's ready to buy (what do I look for besides the underside?). I am thinking a 2005 soft top in good shape with 40K miles, manual tranny, 6cyl, CD, A/C, rear seat should go for $13,500 cash. Is that about right? Any years (older) other than 2005 better than others? Any years to stay away from? We've looked at an 05 with a 6 speed manual 4 cyl that was very nice but I thought it needed a little more merging power.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    IF you think she'll offroad or mod it any, try to find one with the Dana 44 rear axle. That has the metal fill plug (not the rubber one).

    Check the radiator for any signs of leaks (Jeep radiators are a mix of plastic and metal and can crack - easily fixed). May also want to check under the carpet for signs of rust.

    If you stick with 03 and newer, you should get a decent one. Quite a few changes in 02 and 03, but then fairly consistent after that.

    The opinion about full vs half doors is pure opinion. I have half doors and HATE the full doors. When the uppers are off, VERY comfortable. The full doors feel confining by comparison, though I admit they are more secure, especially with a hard top.

    may want to see about finding one with both hard and soft top if possible. If you have one top, and want the other, adding it later can be pricey!

  • New here...does anyone know what a 1981 CJ Superstar is worth? It isn't on kelley blue book or since it is so old. Thank you for any information anyone can give me.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    So much depends on condition. Could be anything from a $30K restoration to a $100 rust bucket.

    To find comparable Jeeps you'll need to research magazines and eBay over a period of time, and remembering of course that there's always a difference between asking and actual selling price.
  • Thank you for your reply. I'm not too familiar with this situation. When you say $30 restoration, do you mean that is what it would cost to fix it up? He is asking $3,000. He has taken care of the engine but the body is junky looking, as far as faded paint. Not a whole lot of rust. It has been in Phoenix, Arizona. My husband and I are thinking of purchasing it from him and restoring. Thanks much!
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    ("Could be anything from a $30K restoration to a $100 rust bucket".)

    When you say $30 restoration, do you mean that is what it would cost to fix it up? He is asking $3,000.

    (Mmm.......$30K = $30,000. ;) )

    Three thousand dollars sounds like a lot to me for a Jeep in need of restoration, even if the engine has been 'taken care of'.

    Whats' your objective? If you want to end up with a beautifully restored older model Jeep, then buying one that someone else has done the work on will be much cheaper than restoring one yourself.
    If you want an inexpensive Jeep runabout, you'll get a much better value in a later model.
    If you want the fun and experience of restoring an older Jeep then this may be the way to go. However, unless there's something exceptionally wonderful about this one I think you need to negotiate a substantially lower price, and even then you'll be amazed at how much you'll eventually spend on the project.

    Just remember that fully restored vehicles at the lower end of the market (under $100K) sell all the time for much less than the cost of restoration. Most people restore them for pleasure rather than profit.
  • mac24,
    you answered our questions. we are novices at this. it helps to get advice from someone who has experienced something first hand. Our main thing was if we pick up the Jeep cheap, would restoring be a big cost and it sounds like it could be depending on how good of condition we want to make it. thanks so much for your help.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    ...................if we pick up the Jeep cheap, would restoring be a big cost and it sounds like it could be depending on how good of condition we want to make it.

    Glad that helped. Don't let it put you off owning a Jeep though! :)
  • 87000 miles ,AT AC, in MN good condition new tires $5500 OBO . Is this a fair price? Any issues with this make and model that I should Be aware of ?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Price sounds decent. Have it checked out by an independent mechanic. If you can look it over, look for signs of wheeling. Also check to see if you have any manifold cracking - the 97's were prone to that. Pound the catalytic to see if it rattles.

  • for a 2001 Wrangler. Where's the best place to buy a good quality top ?? Thanks! Paul :)
  • Would prefer a 'no - drill into the windshiled' :confuse: model.... if there is such a thing. thanks!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Bestop is the only game in town IMO. Quadratec, JCWhitney, etc all have pretty much the same price for Bestop stuff.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,271
    Quadratec will price match if you find it cheaper somewhere else.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • new owner, some wind noise coming from between the top of windshield and hardtop. What's the best fix for this?

    Has 55, 000 miles: plan to change coolant and tranny fluid soon. Anything else, i.e. plugs, etc.. thx. Paul
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