Hi guys, wife and I are looking at getting our 1st jeep just before our retirement! Pricing jeeps has made my head hurt. Why are some 89 xj's priced at $9,000 and 99-01 tj Sahara's running $7,500-9,000. Do the tj's ride any better or are they buggy sprung also? I am wanting a stock unmolested, not mud bogged specimen to begin with. I am even thinking of an older CJ-7. Wife will be a driver, that is when I let her so take that into account. I know I don't want a 4 banger. Any help is appreciated, thanks Mac.
The higher priced older machines should be completely restored and in near perfect condition, OR some shade-tree dufuss could be trying to recoup his cost for jacking it up four feet and putting monster-truck tires under it. Older jeeps are a money pit, new ones less so. Go to Kelly Blue Book for newer Jeep pricing info. The TJ and newer jeeps have coil spring suspensions and ride better than the older YJ and CJ's which have leaf springs. Whatever you go for, make sure there is NO rust anywhere! Easy to find in your area, but many older Jeeps from up north are rusted out hulks.
Don't completely discount the 4 cylinder either. They are tough little dudes and are perfectly adequate for non mountain driving; just as long as you run stock sized or 31 tires under it, it will be fine, even at highway speeds. Also the mileage will be a lot better than the six.
If possible, get a completely stock machine. Well cared for TJ specimens easily last 200,000 plus miles, so don't let the higher mileage units scare you away until you check them out. But please realize that Jeeps are not good for long highway trips, towing, or carrying four people around. Look at them as a toy, and you won't be disappointed.
Encoreman, you may be luckier than me... depending what you are wanting to do. I bought a 1979 CJ-7, no rust, and in a condition where it drove acceptably. After running it "more than it was used to", I found that a lot of things went wrong. Since then, I have since had to mechanically restore the Jeep. Now that I am done, and it is running well, I am already tired of it! I am now trying to sell it.
I know what you mean, though. I am in Memphis - and it seems like all of the used Jeeps in our area include pictures of it stuck or covered in mud!
If you're not looking for something that you can count on working on, I would go newer. If you want something older, give me a shout!