First Time Jeep Owner -
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sheppard AFB
Posts: 226
First Time Jeep Owner

Hey yall,
Looking to buy my first jeep, wanted some advice. I've been reading this forum for a few weeks now, and relying on the advice of my buddy with a CJ7... I'm pretty sure about what I want at this point, but wanted to hear your opinions...

I'd love to get a 94-95 YJ. I want my vehicle to be as reliable as I can buy, but obviously it's a jeep--it's made to be fixed. That's why I love the older ones--more mechanically-friendly and repair-friendly. I'm fairly mechanically inclined, been tearing apart small motors for years, welding, etc. though I haven't worked on cars much.

Bottom line for me--I don't want a money pit and I want car I can work on myself. Going on forums and asking friends for advice when little things go wrong, really learning about your Jeep, that's half the fun in my eyes. I want that. What I don't want is a Jeep that I can't get around town in when I need to because it's breaking down and breaking my bank all the time.

Obviously, you play the hand you're dealt--sometimes good vehicles are going to have those setbacks. For a Jeep, seems like replacing a transmission isn't a question of if, but when. I realize that and I'm OK with that... But, I'll stop talking.

Best YJ year to buy? 94-95? I really want a 6 cylinder, but is that really that big of a deal? Is buying a 4 cylinder 'bad'?

Should I even consider a 2000-ish TJ if i like working on things myself? Honestly, I don't care for interior comfort much at all.

Thanks for the help--hope this wasn't too scattered. Thanks in advance and thanks for the insight you've given all the guys like me who are lurking around reading this site!


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post #2 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 03:55 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Cortlandt Manor NY
Posts: 16
just to start you cant really ask the question should i get a tj over a yj cause everyone has pros and cons about the two me personally i have a 95 jeep yj 4 cylinder that i love i say its only a jeep if the lights are square but the tj has some pros like it has coil springs and they flex a lot more but from your post you dont seem like your gonna be a hardcore rock crawler and the biggest con i feel that the tj has is that they are stupid priced even if the person has a peace of sshhiitt rust bucket they think it cost over 5000. now for the pros of the yj they are crazy easy to work on the hardest thing about them is rusted bolts and they a OBD1 so youll probably never see a check engine light unless the thing is about to blow up the 1996 and newer tj are OBD2 and if a vacuum line has a tiny pin hole you might have a check engine light for an evap light. now to 4.0 vs 2.5 i have a 2.5 4 cylinder that i really like till i have to get on the highway but besides the lack of top end power they are bullet proof little engines that there is a huge following of guys trying to make power out of them. and as far as what years to get i would probably look for an 91 or later cause before then the engines had a dumb fuel injection set up and the 4.2 was carbureted. hope this helps and goodluck with whatever you get
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 06:13 PM
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lexington,SC
Posts: 1,849
find a well maintained 94 or 95 with a 4.0. Rust is your biggest enemy, so look for one with zero rust and be prepared to pay a bit of a premium for that. A Jeep in that condition willl have the best chance of meeting your expectations. My Jeep has been reliable except for problems developed as a result of my mods and inexperience.

1994 YJ Wrangler, 4.0, AX15, NP231, 35x12.50x15 BFG KM2s, 4" RC lift, 1" lift Boom Shackles, 1" BL, 4.10 gears, 8.8 LSD in rear and D30 Aussie Locker in front, on-board air conversion, Ramsey RE8000 winch.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-13-2011, 06:53 PM
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,407
If I had to do it again I would hold out for a TJ with a six cylinder. I'd also save a little extra and buy one that some one has already built. (You never get all the money out you put in)

Having said that...I don't ever plan on selling my YJ and I have zero problem with its 4 cylinder. I don't get on the highway though.

If I had to buy another YJ I would realize that rust will happen a little but I'd avoid critical rust issues such as the rear frame or tub / floor pans. I would never buy a carbeurated YJ with a stock setup.

I'd be weary of a questionable transmission as they aren't cheap to rebuild.

Personally I'd avoid one that had retarded mods such as a 3" body lift on stock springs. Crap like this is evidence that the previous owner was thinking cheap and short term. My buddies and I maintain our jeep as though we plan on owning it forever. Look for guys like this.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 09:12 AM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: lovelady texas
Posts: 195
go for the 94-95 6cyl with ax15 5 speed trans. they will literally run forever! 4cyl is great stock..but ..if you plan to add lift and tires they suck on the highway. yj's are alot simpler to work on than tj's especially the suspensions. alot cheaper as well, if you ever want to beef up..i say if..but if you buy a jeep you will get the bug..we all have
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 10:35 AM
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1994 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sevierville, TN
Posts: 1,121
94-95 4.0, 5spd is what I would look for. most the people who have money pits is because they have turned them into a money pit. once you start moding it then it gets kind of addictive. but my motor has about 220K and it does not burn any oil and still runs strong. that straight 6 just can't be beat for longevity. I have been running syn oil since about 60k and I had to replace the rear main seal when I swapped trannys at about 175k. but other than that I have replaced starters, 1 water pump and my a/c compressor went out 2 years ago but the power steering pump and alternator are still original.

just find one that has been taken care of and they are easy to work on.

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post #7 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 10:55 AM
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1990 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 4,020
hmm Im on he Fence here..... the 4.0 is nice for hte FI and whatnot, but my 4.2 is bullet proof really, yep uts carbed, easy to tune once you get to know carbs a bit, fuel pump is 18 bucks and 3 minutes to change, check for codes if something goes wrong...???? what codes, do the nutter, team rush and a new MC or weber carb and you have 3 vac lines and 8 wirs gie or take to woory about...

sof for ease and cheap the 4.2 IMO is the easier one to work one, and really just as relaible ONCE you get it running right, took me a iot to get it all up and running but it has been mostly trouble free for 4 years outside of general maintence... has a slight hiccup now but working on it....

like most said look for rust EVERYWHERE.... that will be your biggest nightmare if it takes hold.

so I dont kow 4.0 or 4.2.... I would go 4.2 again prolly, but a 6 for sure.... and Im a 5 speed kinda guy... make sure you get the Ax15 if your going older tho....

some say not to buy a modded jeep, I kind of agree... but depends on how its modded, if done right coud be a good score, but I would try ang get one with no or just a few mods, that way you do the work and YOU know what has been done and how....

Started with some rust repairs ended in a SOA...

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1990 YJ. SOA, OME 36R 3.5" lift springs, OME 5/8 greasable shackles, OTT high steer, Custom cage, team Rush, Posi, 33 TSL swampers
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 10:57 AM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Orting
Posts: 892
I just picked up a 95 it has the I4, Has the 4" lift 33" tires. I wasn't looking for lots of power.... I know where a 94 YJ with a race built 350 and trans is that can be had for 4500 if your near Eastern North Carolina. I don't mind the I4 honestly.

95' YJ 4" lift 33"x12.5r15's D30/8.8 locked with 4:88's
USMC Jeep Club #6
"Why in hell can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 11:09 AM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Fayette County WV
Posts: 1,110
My 2c's...

Find a 95 4.0L stock with no rust on the tub or frame. If you can find one for under $4,500 buy it. I say stock because you won't have to worry about the quality of the modifications done to it and you can build it how you want.

This, in my opinion, is the best case scenario for a YJ purchase. There are other combination's of year/quality/price I would consider but this is best case.

Good luck and let us know what you get.


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post #10 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 11:51 AM
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Issaquah
Posts: 1,037
When I picked mine up - I got it from a guy in California and I only saw pictures of it. Mechanically it was pretty strong with the little 1989 4Cly showing just over 140K - seven years or so later - it just rolled 200K and still flies past Emissions tests like a brand new car.

I love posting pictures of the repairs that I've done so that others can learn or follow along. I am also very grateful for the folks here that do the same!!

Rust will be your enemy - when you go to look at them - find them from an owner and plan to take it to a Power Washer, blast the gunk off the engine and the engine bay IF it is not clean under there. A clean engine bay is hard to fake and generally someone that knows and loves their Jeep will keep that clean!

Also power wash the front end joints, brakes and tie rod ends - are they looking worn, rusted out or shot?

Most transfer cases are leaking ATF unless they have been refitted with a Slip Yoke Eliminator (SYE) - this is reasonably normal.

Check the rear diff and power wash that off end to end so that you can spot crud or leaks.

Now - take a run on the freeway for 20 minutes or so and as you come down off an Off Ramp - feel how it brakes and steers - is it pulling? screaming? knocking from lifters or rockers?

pop the hood again and check under there - do you see any leaks?? Now that it's clean you can tell

Same thing for Front and rear diffs along with Transmission and Transfer case - anything telling?

How does the clutch feel? Spongy??

Service Records - get them from the current owner - if they don't have any - you're probably going to want to walk away

I agree - avoid the carbed Jeeps in the I6, where the little I4's early on were TBI.

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post #11 of 21 Old 03-14-2011, 06:43 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: North Ridgeville
Posts: 166
95YJ here! Frame rust thru just under driver seat, by gas filter, both rear ends of the frame and by steering gearbox. Used donor frame and 8' of 1/8" steel stock to repair. Had to weld in 2 floorboards. Replaced rear driver side corner with donor. Paid $1800, invested $700 and 300 hours of labor. Now worth $3500 if I sold it. Still have emergency brake and brake lines to go.
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post #12 of 21 Old 03-16-2011, 12:00 AM Thread Starter
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sheppard AFB
Posts: 226
Thanks for all the help and responses. Still looking--so many 4 cylinders so few inline 6's. I plan on doing some highway driving now and again--not gonna turn it into a rock crawler. I've always wanted a jeep but convinced myself that it was a bad idea, lot of maintenance, etc and shied away from them. Also, haven't been to pleased with American cars.
So I just bought a 2004 Acura TL to replace my dead 95 Accord (RIP old friend)'s a nice car, but it's too nice. Don't like all the extras as weird as it sounds. My buddy mentions to me that he's going home early this next weekend to weld some stuff onto his jeep--and it just hit me. What the hell am I doing with an Acura? I'm an avid welder and love tearing apart old motors. He is going to WELD things onto his vehicle. That's so freaking bad I love it. I need that. And so I'm here.
Sorry for the life story--couldn't help myself. Will keep y'all posted, can't wait to be filling out my Jeep information. Just gotta be patient waiting for the right YJ.
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post #13 of 21 Old 03-16-2011, 11:37 AM
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: grafton ohio
Posts: 3,286
The newer the rig and lower the miles, less things will need replaced, should be more dependable. My 87 is my hobby rig, I play with it and drive it when I want to, but it's not my daily driver. If I were to buy a jeep for a DD, I would look for a 2001-2006 TJ with low miles. YJ's and TJ's are easy to work on, the easiest to work on would be a carbed YJ, 87-90. Then you get away from the computer, sensors and injectors. With a carbed jeep, you need to get rid of the factory junk carb and then you have a pretty reliable jeep.

1987 wrangler, 258 I-6, 5-speed.
2007 liberty sport 4X4, automatic
2009 ford ranger 4x4 FX4 OFF/ROAD, 5-speed
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post #14 of 21 Old 03-16-2011, 01:09 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Shanksville
Posts: 23
Yjs all the way, I have had my 95 for three years with a 4 cyl and manual tranny that most have. The only set back with the smaller engine is the lack of power sometimes. But the one bonus is probably having one of the most fuel efficient SUVs ever made. My jeeps been threw mud tons of snow all types of weather and never really gotten stuck because of lack of power, but if you have the option and the pockets deep enough for gas 6cyl would be a nice bonus! My personal preference is ofcoarse the yj over yj for it's simplicity and easy maintenance.
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post #15 of 21 Old 03-16-2011, 04:30 PM
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1995 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Surrey
Posts: 41
I would really recomend holding out for the I6. I had a 4cyl for 1.5 years and it got stolen. After driving the I6 its a very big difference especially on the highway.

I looked for about 1 month and found a 95 sahara with 140,000k (218,000kms) hard soft and bikini top. Frame, engine and body clean no rust. The windshield frame needs replaced as taht is rusted. But other than that perfect condition. Got it for 4000.
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