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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:05 PM   #1
cole664
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XJ vs Wrangler Decision HELP

I've been interested in buying a Jeep for a while now, and my heart has always been set on a TJ. However, I got an offer for a straight trade: My current car for a nice XJ with only 129k miles.The XJ has a lot of upgrades, including: Rustys 4.5 inch lift, black soft 8 rims, new 33s, Bushwacker cutout flares, custom bumpers with tire carrier, cb radio, cd player, quick disconnects (not installed), kc lights, h7 headlight conversion, new flex plate, new starter, hi lift exreme off road jack, etc. I would've most likely taken the offer any day, however I also recently came up on an offer for a cheap TJ. It's a silver 2004 4.0L sport with a little under 100k on it, it has a small lift and is running soft 8s, not sure about the tire size though. The only problem is that it has a salvage title. I normally wouldn't mess with anything with a salvage title, but a buddy of mine bought it at an auction and the only thing wrong with it is that it needs a new right fender and a new hood, those were the only things damaged. No one has messed with it or tried to fix it yet so all of the work would be done by me, which is reassuring because I'll know that it wasn't done by someone that I don't trust. The accident that it was in didn't cause any engine damage, or anything mechanical, but it was still salvaged. They're only asking $3500 for it, and I figure it will only cost $1000 at most to fix it, coming to a grand total of about $4500. Basically my question is, should I trade my current car (around the same value as an xj) for the XJ, or buy the wrangler, fix it, and sell my car after to make my money back (my current car is worth about $5500). So I wanted to ask for some advice on what I should do, I know each model has its own list of pros and cons, but personally it's a very hard decision to make. Here's some pictures of the exact XJ I was offered, and what the TJ looks like:





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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
Camgtown
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Well I drive a '99 XJ sport and it's awesome with no modifications other than a paint job by me and my dad. I would do anything for what you got on that one. It's been a great vehicle and gets about 15 mpg city.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 09:55 PM   #3
cbenez1
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I seriously doubt that an 04 tj was salvaged due to a hood & fender. I would bet that it totaled for another reason. There are a whole lot of flood vehicles on the auction market since hurricane sandy. Not saying don't buy it. Just look it over REALLY good before you do. Having said all that, I'd still rather have the XJ. I've owned several of each and even though I miss having a topless vehicle, I still find the XJ's to be as capable and more versatile.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
chris87xj
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Sharp looking XJ there.
The most notable functionality difference between an XJ and a TJ is the amount of room available to carry passengers and gear, and neither is super efficient on mileage.
I'm also thinking there's more to that salvage title than meets the eye. The only reason a vehicle gets a salvage title is if it's damaged to the point it would cost more to fix it right than it's worth.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 10:08 PM   #5
cole664
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbenez1 View Post
I seriously doubt that an 04 tj was salvaged due to a hood & fender. I would bet that it totaled for another reason. There are a whole lot of flood vehicles on the auction market since hurricane sandy. Not saying don't buy it. Just look it over REALLY good before you do. Having said all that, I'd still rather have the XJ. I've owned several of each and even though I miss having a topless vehicle, I still find the XJ's to be as capable and more versatile.
I looked it over today in person, honestly it's easy to understand why it was salvaged judging by the look of it, because it does look rough. But to be fair, it looks a lot worse than it actually is, and won't be too hard to fix. I'm leaning toward the XJ mainly because it has a clean title and I can drive it right when I buy it.
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Unread 08-19-2013, 10:11 PM   #6
cole664
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris87xj View Post
Sharp looking XJ there.
The most notable functionality difference between an XJ and a TJ is the amount of room available to carry passengers and gear, and neither is super efficient on mileage.
I'm also thinking there's more to that salvage title than meets the eye. The only reason a vehicle gets a salvage title is if it's damaged to the point it would cost more to fix it right than it's worth.
You guys could be right about the TJ, and the last thing I want to do is get into a project that will cost more to fix than it's even worth to begin with.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 01:10 AM   #7
XJmike0122
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Insurance appraisers are trained to save the company money. There not going to just look at it go eww that looks really bad lets total it. They dig into it. KBB on that was probably in the 11k range. They don't normal total a vehicle if the cost of repair is less than 50%. Does it look $5,500 dollars damaged? Its your choice but I would say save your self some underlying problems and go with the XJ. Its going to cause some headaches down the road, but most have been covered on here already. Remember if sounds to good to be true it probably is. That's why the set of 2 "new" Truck lite LED head lights I found on ebay for 200 bucks are still on ebay. Anyway good luck on your choice.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 10:23 AM   #8
ibjeepin95
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I'd take the TJ personally.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 04:48 PM   #9
Motorcharge
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Hard to say without knowing what your current car is. Did I miss that?

In general I'd take a Wrangler over my XJ but I also don't have kids and very rarely have passengers or need for a lot of room in the rear. In the situation you've given, I'd take the XJ over the TJ unless the salvage title isn't really an issue in your state or with whoever you have insurance through.

As for the title over the damage, $5500 through a body shop isn't hard to rack up at all. If you have paint damage to the point where they have to repaint anything you're looking at over $1000 minimum. It's not $5500 with one of us fixing it, it's $5500 with a $100/h+ labor rate with entirely brand new parts, badging, ect. I take stuff to our body shop at work for estimates several times a week and little dents that would cost you $100 from Dent Wizard will cost you $500 in the body shop. They're getting insurance money 90% of the time so estimates are always way higher than a realistic fix.
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Unread 08-20-2013, 05:22 PM   #10
dmill89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motorcharge View Post
As for the title over the damage, $5500 through a body shop isn't hard to rack up at all. If you have paint damage to the point where they have to repaint anything you're looking at over $1000 minimum. It's not $5500 with one of us fixing it, it's $5500 with a $100/h+ labor rate with entirely brand new parts, badging, ect. I take stuff to our body shop at work for estimates several times a week and little dents that would cost you $100 from Dent Wizard will cost you $500 in the body shop. They're getting insurance money 90% of the time so estimates are always way higher than a realistic fix.
^This. My previous DD (2007 Pontiac G6) was hit in a parking lot (other driver at fault) at less than 5 mph. The damage was a torn bumper cover and cracked headlight. It cost about $1,400 (including a $175 bumper cover, $550 to paint the new bumper cover, and $275 for a genuine GM headlight assembly) to fix at the dealer body shop (other driver's insurance paid) and took 4 days (I'm guessing mostly waiting for the paint to cure).

I could have fixed it in about an hour for less than $200 myself with a new aftermarket headlight and color matching used bumper cover but since I wasn't paying for it I really didn't care about the cost. It doesn't take much to do thousands in damage at the rates the insurance company's pay.

That being said I would make sure I knew the extent of damage before I bought a salvage title vehicle, including a vehicle history report and through inspection (preferably by a Jeep specialty mechanic).
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Unread 08-22-2013, 08:30 AM   #11
bobthecatkiller
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I ended up with a xj after I decided for the most part unless u get a rubicon or Sahara the xj just has a stronger drive train stock.
that and I finally decided that everyone wanted me to get a wrangler but what I really wanted was a xj.

Ohhhh and my junkyard is filled with xjs so that helps if something breaks. I maybe see 2 yjs at most never a tj. The tjs go to the more expensive junkyard around here where if you want say a intake manifold.... They make u buy the whole engine. It's not a choice it's how they run and you don't pull the parts, hell your not even allowed in the yard.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
Steelo805
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That xj is sweet
I do have wrangler envy from time to time but I think an xj that nice would solve the problem.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 07:11 PM   #13
Ekul310
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I would say trade your car for the xj and buy the tj. You could possible fix it up and make some cash, if you don't decide to keep it. Then you could sell the xj to make a few $
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Unread 08-26-2013, 06:12 AM   #14
cmoore
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On a budget, the XJ can be more capable for less (better wheelbase, aw4 is a better tranny) and can carry more friends/tools/spares.
Long term and deep pocket build wise, the framed wranglers are easier to make bullet proof.
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Unread 08-26-2013, 08:26 AM   #15
LimeLJ
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In this case I would keep the XJ. The XJ kind of drives like a brick, but the TJ is a driving brick. Carrying an extra 1,000 pounds of weight around on large tires is slow especially if it has not been regeared.
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