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Unread 10-19-2014, 12:42 PM   #1
Serbear4u
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2000 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Best year XJ for under $2000?

(Sorry if this is the wrong place...)

I'm going to need a vehicle next year, and really miss my '00 TJ. But you can't find any decent Wranglers for cheap, anymore.

But I saw a Craigslist ad for a stock XJ for $800 (don't remember the year) and it got my gears turning.

So.... input?



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Unread 10-19-2014, 12:55 PM   #2
YnotJ92
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Around my neck of the woods, ive seen quite a few xjs for under 2k, but most of them need work... The ones that seem like they dont need all that much work, are either high mileage (200k+) or pre-95...

I saw a really nice looking completely stock 95 2door in red. 117k miles... Just under 2k...
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Unread 10-19-2014, 01:06 PM   #3
mschi772
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No such thing as a best year in my opinion--any differences are far too minor for me to feel strongly about. Which ever XJ is the best fit or best deal is the best one for you. I had to use "Hills Angels 4x4 Club" in your profile to figure-out where you live since your profile doesn't say so...assuming you live in Nevada-ish, rust probably isn't much of an issue. A glance at Craigslist shows many XJ's out there going for $2000 or less. No matter what you get, no matter what your budget, it will need some amount of work. A lot of those $2000ish XJ's out there would go for twice as much here in WI.

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Originally Posted by mschi772 View Post
Guys whose only advice to you is "buy a 99" aren't really helping you much. Some of them just blindly regurgitate that because they read it somewhere when researching Jeeps, and they don't even know why. There are some reasons that 99 is a particularly favored year, but it might be that NONE of them matter to YOU. I mean, what do you want to do with your Cherokee? Is it just going to be a daily driver? Will you wheel it? If so, how often? How hard? What kind (mud, sand, rocks)? Are there any particular modifications/upgrades you'd want to do to it?

I think some people's obsession with 99 is a bit disrespectful to how great all the other XJ's are. Even the 00 and 01 XJ's are worthy of respect that is often denied to them by many. You really can't lose. Many minor and some major changes were made between 84 and 01. I'm sure you can find a list of all the changes out there somewhere; I know I found that info myself once upon a time.

Aside from the normal stuff to look out for with ANY used car, be aware that 84-86 XJ's had GM engines that pale in comparison to the 4.0 of 87-01 (I'm just ignoring the 4 cyl engines that some XJ's had). The pre-91 Renix systems are a bit ... "special" and simply something to be aware of and ready to work with if you're looking at one. 00-01 4.0's have a head with a casting flaw that may or may not crack between cyl 3 and 4. Many of them never crack (or at least haven't after hundreds of thousands of miles), but many do. It's something to watch-out for but not something that should keep you away completely, and you should be aware that identical heads without the casting flaw are out there should you have a crack. The manual trannies are solid as are the autos. The two possible transfer cases are both great. There are a variety of rear ends each with their own advantages and disadvantages, and unless you're planning on doing lots of wheeling, even the weakest of the bunch (D35) will be just peachy. The floor pans are easily the most susceptible to rust on all years. Because of the limited space for a radiator, XJ's are just barely able to maintain their operating temperature, so you have very little room to slack on maintaining the cooling system; luckily the cooling system is a reliable as any other part of the 4.0, so it's not likely to require much work (and any work will be relatively cheap). The stock exhaust manifold cracks easily which can impact the performance and efficiency of your engine negatively. APN makes a replacement header that is a very affordable replacement should you ever need/want one (there are other header options out there as well).

It is my opinion that if you get an XJ with a 4.0 from 91-99, you have virtually nothing but cheap regular maintenance to worry about. If you get an 00 or 01, you just have to make sure to never overheat it (as if you'd ever be OK with overheating any engine), and to pay closer attention to the oil and coolant "health."
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Unread 10-19-2014, 01:23 PM   #4
Atmos
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the correct answer is 1994. I think that pretty much sums it up. no further questions your honor
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Unread 10-19-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
VegasGT
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mschi covered it very well there.

Personal opinion here, Ive owned:

Two 92's, 96, 97, 98, two 99's, and an 01.

I preferred the '99 and the '92 the greatest. Both years have most all of the "good stuff" most people are after, though my 92 2 door was among one of the strongest running 4.0's Ive owned. Honestly if I started my build over I would have bought a '92 (or any 91-96). I like the newer styling and all of 97+ but honestly I think the earlier interiors were better built and looked more "Jeep".

The 2 grand mark will get you a good XJ in need of basic maintenance pretty easily around here. I paid $2500 for mine when it was stock. Mileage was over 190k but was well maintained with lots of receipts of parts replaced inside the original owners manual.

I probably wouldnt pay much over $3500 for any XJ that isnt low mileage and pretty mint. Even the last XJ built is nearly 15 years old, they are all going to nab you for a full maintenance refresh soon anyway, might as well buy a cheap one that needs the work right off the bat. I dont like surprises.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 02:04 AM   #6
BagusJeep
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Anything without the Renix, post 1993.

As they are all going to be old cars you can afford to be choosy on spec but get the best condition one you can. A 4.0HO with 4x4 and leather seats, possibly a 4 door would be my first choice.

For that sort of price you will have repairs to carry out and major maintenance, but you should be able to find something solid.

if you are thinking about keeping it stock, then good alloys and tyres and roof bars that actually move would also be worth looking for.

Always check the floors for rust.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 06:57 AM   #7
Motorcharge
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Not that I'm trying to persuade you away from an XJ but have you considered CJs? Around here I can pick up a decent, running CJ7 for $2-3k where 97+ XJs are all about $3k+ still. Never seen a cheap Wrangler.

As for XJs, I prefer the older body style so 95 is about ideal for me. Still has the older body style, doesn't have the weird cross over issues 96s can have, you get seat brackets that will directly swap 93-04 GC seats, and they're no different mechanically than other OBD1 XJs.

Personally though anything 87+ with a 4.0 is fine by me. Though the "ideal" year according to most people is a 99. Newer body style, no head defect like 00-01, high pinion axles, still has a distributor system instead of coil packs like 00-01, ect.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 09:39 PM   #8
amerbritcan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorcharge View Post
the "ideal" year according to most people is a 99. Newer body style, no head defect like 00-01, high pinion axles, still has a distributor system instead of coil packs like 00-01, ect.
Woo! Music to my ears. My 99 was listed online for $2500obo, or trades (I had a trade he liked) it has a 4.5" RC lift, 235 general grabbers, and a pair of 31"mud diggers mounted and balanced came with it. Stupid low mileage too. I'm sure an XJ can be had for under $2k in the not-so-rusty parts of the country where they're not collectors or unicorns.
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Unread 10-21-2014, 08:02 AM   #9
Suzanjeeps95
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I bought my stock xj for $2500. Had to change the radiator, caliper, and water pump since I bought it, but that's minor considering it is a 1995. Had 99,000 miles, now has 106,000. Love it so much!
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Unread 01-24-2015, 11:25 PM   #10
Serbear4u
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Firstly, I apologize for being absent for 3+ months. Driving a truck can do that...

Secondly, and more importantly, I really appreciate the honest (and even humorous) input! I think I will concentrate on looking for anything from the 90's. Probably easier on my wallet anyway. (As far as the wife is concerned... I realize that going cheap out of the gate can bite your wallet in the arse in the long run.) I am also not afraid of turning my own wrenches and gettin greasy! That's half the fun of owning a Jeep!

And now that I'm no longer driving a truck, tooling around on my V-Star 650 is going to get old, fast! Thank God for nice weather, if not warm weather!

P.S. - visited the Private Party car lot in town and saw a beaut '82 CJ8 Scrambler. VERY clean for $10,500. Also a nice modded '78 CJ7 for $10k. Perfect examples of "there are no cheap Wranglers" haha

Last edited by Serbear4u; 01-24-2015 at 11:28 PM.. Reason: Add note.
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Unread 03-07-2015, 05:34 PM   #11
Serbear4u
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Well, I finally found one in my price range, not too far from me. Ad is here: http://reno.craigslist.org/cto/4921881952.html It's a '90, but I'm kinda in a vehicle crunch and can't be that picky if I want one at all. Is there anything in the ad that screams at you, "DONT BUY THIS!!!" ??

After all.... isn't ANY Jeep better than ANY other car??? lol
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Unread 03-07-2015, 05:39 PM   #12
Motorcharge
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A CJ is not a Wrangler.

As for the XJ I'd throw $1200 at it around here, but I know they're worth a lot more out West. Looks decent, but I also get the feeling some kid owns it so anything he's done might be half assed. If the unibody is solid go for it.

There's a lot of cars I'd take over anything Jeep currently makes.
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Unread 03-08-2015, 10:42 AM   #13
vowbeachbum
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
 
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Find one that's Bone stock.to me, your buying someone else's problems Regardless. With that said.I wouldn't buy any vehicle with 267k on it.just keep looking.never rush a car/truck buy.you will regret it!
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Unread 03-08-2015, 06:23 PM   #14
FairlanePhil
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Another item on the 00-01s that isn't on my 99 is what looks like pollution control. There are three ports on the intake near the brake cylinder. The frontmost one runs a hardline across the firewall under the evaporator. Looks like smog stuff. This may suggest more chances for codes?

I have read on here there were some wiring revisions mid year 97 that can make troubleshooting a hassle

I have a somewhat body rusty 01 I could have swapped my lift and engine into but I swapped parts over to a rustier bodied 99 just because the 01 has a cracked head and the coil pack harness. I may regret the decision but so far I am OK with the direction I am going… away from an 01
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Unread 03-10-2015, 04:45 PM   #15
PimaXJ
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Anything for $2 K is going to need a thorough going over to give a base line for future service & reliability. By maintenance I mean change all fluids, especially the coolant system & possibly hoses. Brakes will likely need attention too. Doing the work yourself & taking care of the niggling little things which will detract from ownership pleasure, it will still cost you a thou if not replacing the tires. Good luck!
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