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  #1  
Old December 5th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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J##p knowledge?

I know I shouldn't be asking this HERE.... but I think a lot of you have a j##p background.

The wife of a very good friend has asked me to find an old j##p to buy for said friend as a christmas present. I imagine she would be willing to spend up to 2-3k for one, so we're not looking at something in pristine condition. The good friend is a farmer/rancher who works on his own equipment, and a very competent mechanic. Once the j##p reaches their place it will never see a paved road again, it will spend the rest of its days wheeling in river bottom and canyon country.
I don't know dick about j##ps, but I'm sure there must be things to look out for while shopping for one. Is there a range of model years I should look for, or steer away from? Are there weak points in the frame where I should look for cracks? Is one engine better than others? Stuff like that.

Thanks for any advice you can offer!
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  #2  
Old December 5th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Burke Bell
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I am a newbie in the Jeep world, but I have heard to shy away from the ones with square headlights (can't remember the year models or designation letters) due to their leaf springs in the back...
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  #3  
Old December 5th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Some people do not care for early YJs (square headlights). They still had the carbed 4.2 that were used in CJs. So really it all depends on if you want a carb motor or fuel injection. CJ-7 or early YJ if you think they want carbed or late YJ if you think they want fuel injection. I'd stay away from CJ-5s (only because they are hard to get in and out of with the little door). For a ranch truck (and for the budget) I wouldn't get into TJs as a leaf sprung CJ or YJ is going to be easier to work with and cheaper as well.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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Andrew Najarian
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They are all leaf springs up to the TJ which came in (I want to say '97?)

The square headlight Wranglers are YJs. If you want coil springs you have to get a TJ, but I think you will have a very narrow pool of vehicles to choose from if you look for TJs in that price range. You will probably find totalled ones, and high mileage 4cyls but probably not many 6cyl in decent shape for that price.

The TJ also got the legitimate dash board with airbags and all that stuff, so although you gain the coils you loose some of the serviceablity. Personally I like the CJs the most b/c they are the most simple, fair priced in the market and look better than the YJs too (never cared for the square headlights).
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  #5  
Old December 5th, 2007, 10:10 AM
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2-3k for a 97-99 TJ is possible .. value has dropped since the JK has come out.. I sold my 2002 TJ for $7500 a few weeks ago..
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  #6  
Old December 5th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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i loved my 95 6cyl yj when i had it years ago! i'll always be a square headlight fan :0 they are probably great buys these days too.
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  #7  
Old December 5th, 2007, 12:38 PM
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Matt J.
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The highlights are all above.

Older Military Jeeps are getting expensive unless they want to restore one.
CJ is the classics years from (not sure... 70's?) through mid/late 80's
YJ is square headlights and up to '96.
TJ is the round headlights, "quadra coil suspension", airbags, more modern.
The JK is a JoKe... Just IMHO, they're awful pretty, and very electronic and that's a problem.

A CJ would be a great vehicle for ranch use for someone willing to work on it. They're not huge inside; my kid brother's got an old '78 or so CJ5. He's let it sit for years outside, exposed to everything from salt spray to sunshine w/o any protection because he's a typical lazy-ass GenX-er. It was starting to get good when he was working on it, but he got bored. The prices for those are exactly in line with you $2-3k range for a reasonable example of it.

YJ's can be had, too, but that's a very personal taste decision... I wouldn't want one unless it was really just for a beater.

TJ's are great, and reliable, too with current enough engine and parts that sourcing isn't an issue. After '99 they became more electronic, though, and less shadetree mechanic friendly.

I'd vote CJ, late 70's, early 80's with good maintenance. You can build a Jeep from the ground up for nearly any year from catalogs anyway. And the CJ's really look the part for a ranch rig.

I've go 350k or so miles in 3 TJ Jeeps - '97 Sport, '02 Sport, and '03 Rubicon. The '02 was my wife's favorite - bright red - but the Rubicon is just unlike any other vehicle for really off-roading (but you'll not find a Rubicon in that range). I've never had one leave me stranded, even after driving them into and through other cars and trucks (oops). I've yanked a duelly out of a ditch with the '97 when it had 150k on the entire drivetrain (with people laughing at me as I offered and tie up... not when he was out).
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  #8  
Old December 5th, 2007, 01:07 PM
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Keith Kreutzer
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Cj Frames Crack (a lot) but are far the simplest, they also rust. The emmisions control is horrible in the 80's so you'll want, at the very least yank the carb and replace it with a non computor controlled version, EFI is better. the 80's brought the 5 speed which is a pretty nice T5 but (see above)

CJ 7's are the only way to go 5's are too small unless you are ONLY playing otherwise they are fun if you keep them low. Leaf Springs in the CJ's are only 2" ers up front pretty weak, go to 2.5" Yj Springs If you lift.

Yj's can be fun cheap and simple. Again if you have no Emmisions to worry about yank the Computor controlled carb and put a real one on or get one with EFI. While the Square headlights don't appeal to the purist in me it really doesn't matter performance wise. The Yj Had a Hydraulic clutch linkage and a better frame. Keep the tires below 33" and either of the above are going to do okay with the axles.. Upgrades are available (cheap compared to Rovers) if bigger tires are required.

If I where to go out and get a Jeep I'm afraid that after owning 2 CJ2a's and a couple CJ7's (All wildly modified) i'd go for a TJ. Still pretty simple and the refinement makes it a nice ride. all the same things and more with a TJ especially if it never see's another paved road.

Being a former Jeep guy (and Toyota, Dodge, Izusu and Ford) I figured would take the risk, suffer the embarassment, loose friends and piss off Lucas by tossing in my $.02
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  #9  
Old December 5th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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mark kellgren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revor
...Being a former Jeep guy
You are forgiven.
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  #10  
Old December 5th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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Jim Cheney
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I dont have any input, I just wanted to jump in and represent lazy-ass gen-x'ers that never finish what they start.
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  #11  
Old December 5th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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LOL... I've been accused of the same thing.
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  #12  
Old December 5th, 2007, 02:23 PM
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4.0 FI you cant go wrong. My last one had 265 k on it and was running strong when I sold it.
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  #13  
Old December 5th, 2007, 05:35 PM
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Michael Pham
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Prior to my Land Rover addiction,
I had a 91 YJ 4.0
It did have fuel injection and was the first year for the high output 4.0 6cylinder.
180hp, manual, very quick and fun and I really wish I hadn't sold her.

Plus it was a Sahara in that cool tan color.

The jeeps hold their value very well... I sold it 3 years ago with 36,000 on her and still got nearly 7k for it.
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  #14  
Old December 5th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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Jack Walter
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For what he'll be doing with it - 100% off road where highway performance isn't an issue - I'd look for one of the 4 cylinder TJ's - with fuel injection if there is such an animal. A friend of mine had a 4 cylinder and he preferred it to his son's 6-cyl Jeep until they got on the highway. The 4 cylinders are cheap too....
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  #15  
Old December 5th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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Thanks, guys!
Just exactly the kind of education I need. I've found a couple in my area that look promising, I think I'll go check 'em out!

Thanks again, for taking the time to help.

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  #16  
Old December 5th, 2007, 11:55 PM
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Robert Ragland
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The 4.0 engine was pretty good, but the axles and high gear ratios were rather weak. I really believe the "4 cyl is better" argument stemmed more from gearing (3.73 vs 3.08 ring gear IIRC) than anything else. The Dana 35C in rear and 27(?) in front were lacking. That said, quite a few Jeeps survived lousy lifts and oversized tires driven by crazed teenagers.

I'd try the TJ with a 4.0, and maybe swap in a Dana 44 in the rear with better axle ratios (main upgrade with the original Rubicon). Unless you are into certain types of off-roading, a light weight Jeep will do quite fine with 31 or 32" tires. My '93 had tall skinny old style Buckshots (roughly 31.5x9.5) with a 1.5" lift, and I never got stuck. The Jeep was a lot of fun when I bought it new in college, and I still see it riding around campus 14 years later.
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  #17  
Old December 6th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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I don't know enough specifics but my experience has been my brother in laws wrangler which needed a new transmission every 2-3 years driving in LA. And a old CJ that came off of a ranch in TX also had a problem with the transmission. The CJ had less than 5,000 miles on it for about a 8 year old jeep and then was driven from TX to SoCal and needed a new transmission almost on arrival. I know the guy's doing the work had nothing good to say about jeep tranny's and it ended up getting switched out to a Borg-Warner transmission and was never a problem again. I don't remember model years or anything. But, if I was looking at a jeep I would do more research on the transmission issue and find out what to look out for.
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  #18  
Old December 6th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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I can't speak from personal experience... my Jeeps had 25k ('90-91 YJ, parent's with the high output 4.0L), 155k ('97 TJ), 100k ('02 TJ), and now another 90k on the '03 Rubicon... never had a tranny fail.

BUT I did talk to the asshole at NTB who actually managed to make my alignment worse this spring about Jeeps... he says mechanics accept that Jeeps transmissions are their weak point. Claimed the engines run forever with rock solid reliability, but the trannies crap out long before that.

Who knows, he was a dumbass. My 20 minute string alignment (first try) was better than his 6 hour - yes, HOUR - 'puter alignment.

I'm still a fan of the older fashioned CJ's, or the '97-'99 TJ's.
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  #19  
Old December 6th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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I wouldn't be too concerned about the trans though. The T5 is a pretty good trans which is inexpensive to find parts for if you rebuild yourself and although I am not sure what the exact differences are between a mustang T5 and a Jeep T5, if they are similar used trans' in decent shape are a dime a dozen!
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  #20  
Old December 6th, 2007, 08:57 PM
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Charles Galpin
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I have owned 2 CJ7's so that would be my preference, but your best value is the latest model 4 cylinder you can get for the the money.

charles
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