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Buying a Used CJ or Wrangler



  • 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: 10,637
    Quadratec will price match if you find it cheaper somewhere else.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • 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
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    ......some wind noise coming from between the top of windshield and hardtop

    It's likely to be one of three things.
    In no particular order, it could be a hardtop that's distorted, the hardtop could have been refitted incorrectly, or the seal on top of the windshield could be bad.

    Whichever, start by unclipping the hardtop at the windshield and removing the top to body fixings at the tub, then lift it a little and move it back six inches.
    You can now examine the header seal on top of the windshield frame. If it's damaged in any way replace it (part #55176 512AE_ SEAL, Header Opening).
    This would also be a good time to examine the top to body seals as well, as they too have a bearing on the alignment of the top (SEAL, Enclosure To Body_#55176 372AC Right _#55176 373AC Left).
    To correctly refit the top, very loosely install the tub bolts then align the front of the top on the header rail and snap the retaining clips shut. Lastly, tighten the fixing bolts, pulling or pushing the hardtop sides in or out as you do so to align with the body sides.

    Finally, if the noise remains because the hardtop was a poor molding (or you're too lazy to undertake the previous steps :P ), you can run a thick bead of silicone sealant between the front lip of the hardtop and the windshield frame.
    Use the best quality black sealant in a cartridge, which needs to be applied with a caulking gun. Cut the nozzle for a thick bead and smooth it afterwards as the smoother it is the quieter it will be. You might also want to lay masking tape above and below the joint beforehand to help keep thing clean and tidy.

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

    Yes, do everything. Whenever you get a 'new to you' vehicle, service everything.
    You don't know when things were previously done and it gives you a baseline for future maintenance.
    Inspect the brakes and steering, change the brake fluid and power steering fluid, and grease the steering and suspension points.
    Check the wheel bearings for wear, and the 'U' joints on the propshafts and front halfshafts.
    Change all powertrain fluids (diffs, t/case, transmission, engine) and filters. plus the air filter, spark plugs, and serpentine belt.
    Flush the cooling system and check the hoses for cracks and leaks.

    From that point on just keep to the maintenance schedule in your handbook, starting in 3K miles as if the Jeep was brand new.

    Have fun! ;)
  • THANKS for all of the info... Another question ( there may be more :) ) Some vibration when applying brakes.. feels like warped rotors. Replace pads / rotors? A guess on price for this? THX PAUL
  • any / all parts mention above , get from the local dealer or another good site to buy OEM replacement parts? THX PAUL :D
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Personally for brakes, I'd go with EBC Yellow or Green pads for your wrangler. Just get some GOOD quality rotors. They do NOT have to be OEM. :)

  • I am looking at purchasing a used Wrangler. This will be my first Jeep. I priced out three used vehicles using the Edmunds pricing tool. In each case the Edmunds retail price was $4K below the price listed by the seller. All three vehicles were listed with Edmunds and the sellers were dealers and not individuals. For example, a 1997 Jeep Wrangler with 140K miles was listed at $9K. Edmunds priced it at a little over $5K. In another instance a 2005 Wrangler with 59K miles is listed for $17K and the Edmunds pricing tool returned a retail price at a little over $12K.

    Is there anyone on this board that can comment? Are the dealer prices high or is Edmunds low? I'm an experienced negotiator but I don't know too much about Jeeps and need some feedback from folks that are used to dealing in this market.
  • I just bought my first Jeep in MN.. A 2001 Wrangler Sahara, Auto trans. Hardtop only, traler hitch. , 55,00 miles I paid 11,600$ Very clean. ..... Also, test drove a 2002, for 11,500$, 80,000 miles, 2 tops... I looked at a lot of Jeeps on Cragslist and good luck!! :D
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Edmunds retail price was $4K below the price listed by the seller. All three vehicles were listed with Edmunds and the sellers were dealers and not individuals.

    Dealers usually have a lot more mark up on a used vehicle compared to a new one.
  • Thanks to those that responded. I have had three contacts with sellers so far. Two private sellers and one used car dealer. The private sellers were easy to talk to and deal with over the phone. The used car dealer was somewhat difficult. He was very critical of the offer that I made using the Edmunds price. He wanted to talk NADA retail price. The vehicle in question looked great on the AutoTrader site. It had four previous owners. The last owner had an accident report that showed up on car fax as moderate damage. The dealers last comment to me was the Edmunds needed to join the real world. After that I thanked him for his time and ended the call. I'll continue my search. It is just going to take a while before I find what I want at a price that I am willing to pay.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Seems to me that banks and state taxing authorities love NADA because their values are higher. So the banks can justify loaning more money and the states can justify soaking you for more taxes.

    Just a theory, but I keep seeing comments like yours. :shades:
  • The garage a few miles away has this vehicle for sale at 8k.It needs tires and the corner of the rear bumper, right side, needs work. The body and top are in good shape, no rust and it has 75,000 miles. The rear window has a black circle/plug on each side, about one inch diameter. Around these plugs the glass seems to be cracked on the inside. Since it is sunday the garage is closed the vehicle locked so I wonder if the glass is cracked or another problem exists I have never owned a Wrangler and would appreciate any info from Wrangler owners on what type of problems, if any, are common to this year.
  • I found two Jeep wranglers that I am interested in. Both are privately owned. I have an appointment to see each one tomorrow. One is a 2001 with 48K miles on it. The other is a 99 model with almost 100K miles. Coming up with a base price was easy. The problem I'm now faced with is how to price what the user modifications are worth. Both products have expensive mods already installed. For example, both vehicles have a 4" Skyjacker suspension lift. The base price for such a feature purchased new (excluding installation) is about $1800. So, how does one go about assigning value to such a feature? Assuming one is able to determine the current price of custom features what is a reasonable depreciation value to assign to each of those features (e.g. suspension lifts, driveshaft with slip-yoke eliminator, rock sliders, winches, etc.) that a seller has added to his/her Jeep? I'm thinking I should discount the features by 35%-50%. Anybody on the board have any ideas on this? Thanks for your help.
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    The problem I'm now faced with is how to price what the user modifications are worth.

    That's easy, $0 or less. It's only if the particular mods are of particular value to you that you might want to consider paying a premium for them.
    No other buyer is going to consider them an asset, so it will make the vehicle less attractive to them and therefore worth less than if they weren't installed.

    The things that will hurt resale value the least are those accessories that are easily removed, i.e. lights, interior doo-dads that haven't required drilling or cutting holes, side steps, etc.
    What hurts most are things that can not be returned to original because either the original parts have been thrown away, or because things have actually been cut off or welded on, for example aftermarket bumpers or a suspension lift (and personally I would run, not walk, away from a 4" Skyjacker lift).

    The general exceptions to this rule are factory options. Anything available that was factory fitted adds to the value. A specific exception on Wranglers and a few others would be a winch, if professionally fitted. It would add a little less than it could be sold for if removed from the vehicle.

    The Jeep that's worth the most among others of similar age and mileage, is the one that's closest to looking just as it did when it left the factory complete with every available option.

    Once major alterations are made it's becomes a custom vehicle, and its value is now a matter of negotiation between the seller and the very limited number of buyers now available to him.
  • mac24 - Thanks for that very detailed well reasoned response. It is very helpful.

    BTW - what in you opinion is the problem with the Skyjacker lifts? There are a lot of jeeps in the North Alabama area that are fitted with this modification. I would like to get your take on why they are/might be problematic.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    The other thing that Mac hinted at is that the hardcore off-road crowd is more likely to add a lot of mods to their Jeep. That's great if you plan to do a lot of off-roading, but if you already off-road, you know that it can be hard on the equipment.

    30 years ago when I owned an unmodified CJ-5 and went on a few weekend trail rides, the following Monday I would see several club members at the dealer getting parts or using the club discount to fix stuff they broke in the woods over the weekend.

    I forget what I broke - ruined a shock or something. :blush:

    If I was in the market for another Wrangler, I'd want one that looked as stock as possible.
  • I have been looking at Jeep's for my daughter that will turn 16 in December. I have found a 1995 Jeep Wrangler 2.5L manual, Hard top, 102K for a reasonable price. Many people question me about putting her in a Jeep. I started driving in a 78 K10 Blazer and have been in trucks/SUV's every since. She's got her first "3-wheeler" at the age of 4 and always driven anything she could find. We did the Driver's Ed thing (for insurance purposes!) and her instructor told me he had "no worries with her from day one". Being born and raised around a family semi-trucking company, I don't see the "truck" worry; but people are making me question this possible purchase. I've read a lot here and I'm torn!!

    Someone wrote "the manual keeps him (16yr son) focused, and speed isn't a real factor.
    Another wrote "the tipsyness" which seems to be everyone's concern and now mine!

    She's strong and smart and a great driver, but still a kid! We live in the country (not back woods!!) and do have some bumpy back roads, mainly some highway driving with no open freeways. From what I am gathering the safety in a rollover, should it occur, is higher than the speed that can be reached in some other choices!

    Any thoughts or suggestions!!
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    Get her a 4cyl auto model and you won't have any worries about speed. ;)
    However, the center of gravity is higher than that of a comparable length small car, and where a small car can easily zip quickly around a sharp bend, a Wrangler will be much more likely to lift a wheel at the same speed, or even tip over if it hits a bump at the same time.
    If it does actually roll, the 'roll bar' and windshield frame offer much less protection that a car with a regular roof.

    That said, if she drives in a manner that suits the vehicle, you should have no worries.
    Texting, phoning, or being distracted by other teenagers in the Jeep are all much more serious threats to safety.
  • I own a 95 Jeep Wrangler. I am not sure about the driving safety, but I have had a lot of mechanical problems. I was told by a couple of mechanics that this year of wrangler is prone to certain problems including electrical. In the two years I have owned mine, I have had to replace two censors and it still just dies sometimes when I am driving it. And because you need the codes to fix certain things on Jeeps, you can't just bring them to any shop to fix. Just make sure you have a Jeep mechanic look at it. BTW this is not my first Jeep. I have been a Jeep girl for the past 10 years.

    Good Luck :lemon:
  • mac24mac24 Posts: 3,910
    own a 95 Jeep Wrangler........... I was told by a couple of mechanics that this year of wrangler is prone to certain problems............

    Can't really argue with that, although you should take into account that it's a sixteen year old vehicle.

    Unless there is a specific reason I wouldn't recommend buying anything earlier then a TJ, which first appeared in '97. In fact late '98 or '99 would be the best starting point.
    The TJ was a huge improvement over the earlier CJ and YJ models, both mechanically, electrically, and in terms of reliability.
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