Cheatsheet for checking out a 97 TJ -
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post #1 of 3 Old 05-08-2008, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 26
Cheatsheet for checking out a 97 TJ

I'm not particularly well versed in the ways of jeepdom, or cardom in general. Ideally when I'm going to buy a used vehicle of any kind, I'd take it to my local mechanic who checks them out for me for free in about 30 - 45 minutes. In this case, the Jeep is too far away for me to get it to my mechanic.

I've got a line on a 97 TJ with 145k miles and asking price is 3900. It's got a 4 cyl auto but needs a new top, and looks like it's in good shape from the pics he has sent me so far. I'm hoping to see it this weekend.

Here is what I'm looking for. What list of things are critical to check out (I know on the older Jeeps to look at the frame where the leaf springs attach because that's a common place for trouble), and more importantly than that, how will I know what I'm looking for?

As always I will wait to be dazzled by the awesome folks here in JeepForum land! Thanks a ton!


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post #2 of 3 Old 05-08-2008, 08:13 AM
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2005 LJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NH
Posts: 912
Welcome! And 150K sounds average for a 97. I would check everything and have a mechanic check also and give you his opinion on it. I would also keep looking around for 6cyl until your sure you want this one because the the 4 banger is pretty gutless.
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post #3 of 3 Old 05-08-2008, 08:53 AM Thread Starter
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1998 ZJ 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 26
4 vs 6 = I'm too cheap :)

I've driven a number of Jeeps and I agree that the 4 banger is underwhelming. I've got a number of things that I have to balance in this transaction. I really just need a 2nd vehicle to drive maybe 5 times a month, plus I want something to drag behind my RV. The big thing is trying to get a 97 and staying under $4k if possible. Here is my order of priorities (I think)

1) Cost
2) 1997+
3) Condition (Mechanically good for it's age, Cosmetically C- would be fine)
4) Engine

I'd love to get a 6, but I think that in order for me to get a TJ I'll have to settle on the 4 cylinder for now to stay in my budget.

Thanks for the input!

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