1997 is going to be a TJ. If it has round headlights, you may be in the wrong section... However, i'll throw some advice out there from my early year TJ buddies.
Doublecheck the frame and body for rust...
Frame: around the rear shackle mounts, around the power stearing box.
Body: everywhere... specifically on the rocker pannels near the "jeep" logo, near the seat mounts, floor boards, near the roll bar mounting areas, and the body mounts.
Aside from rust, the only well to really get an idea in terms of how the motor is doing is a leakdown test and compression check... If the transfercase shifts, it works.
As for lifts, well......... there are a LOT of opinions out there on that. If you indeed have a TJ (coil springs) then I recommend the TJ section for additional advice.