Maybe 6 years ago I got my dad an 00 XJ Limited that was a mint soccer moms car. He has loved it as a commuter and it is bone stock and still clean, only slight surface rust in some places underneath due to going from a southern vehicle to being in Pittsburgh with the salt and snow.
A year or so later I got him an 04 Silverado 4x4, added some fun stuff and a nice gun rack bolted to the floor. He prefers this for his commute to work and has become our hunting and rifle range vehicle. I do love the room inside and the V8 power. However, other than dirt roads for hunting a Silverado is not good for trails due to its size.
The XJ is now my parents 3rd vehicle, and they usually just drive it once a week to keep it going. A few people have offered to buy it off my dad. So....as much as part of me has toyed in the past of lifting it, getting 31s, and regearing it with a limited slip or locker out back, I am thinking of possibly getting a TJ or JK. The money I would spend to lift the XJ, tires, get an SYE, regear it, etc would end up being quite an investment. We could probably sell it for a nice chunk of change since most XJs in Pittsburgh are ugly rot.
This is a daydream for next year, as dad has a few more weeks vacation. I live in Cali and used Jeeps are way cheaper and usually in way better shape with extra mods. Dad thought the idea of a coast to coast road trip, with a prairie dog hunt on the way back to Pittsburgh would be neat. Dad is late 60s, and the chance to do these sorts of things will be limited as time passes.
We are not sure on budget yet, but just curious about input on a good hunting platform. I think a LJ would be nice, but they are hard to come by. I did find a nice hardtop local here for $16k in good shape, so maybe next year there would be options like that. An auto and a hardtop would be preferable for dad since he is past the stick shift days despite that being the only thing he would drive until a few years ago. Hardtop would be nice for the cold weather and to reduce noise.
There seem to be affordable JKs out here used, so that could be a possibility as well. I've never had a JK but seems you can put minor lift on it and stuff decent rubber for minimal money. I would not want anything too tall that it was a hassle for my dad to get in and out, but a small bump in tire size with or without a lift would be nice to make it more trail worthy. Doubt I would want to spend money on a regear, and I guess if we found a JK rubicon or LJ Rubicon that would be nice to have the lower gears and lockers.
Just curious...anyone else have an older relative in a TJ or JK, or perhaps some folks on here are still wheeling and hunting in them. What size lift and tires? Any particular years of the JK would be good to start window browsing for? Dad hates the look of the 4 door hah, and a 2 door with small tire upgrade would be more suited for trails anyhow. An LJ seems like it would be nice for the added length and storage, especially if I found a Rubicon. Maybe 2" coils and 31s with some sliders that had a step for dad. Not sure how high a JK would be with a 2" lift and 32/33s as far as getting in and out.
Ah, just daydreaming. Want to savor any sort of projects, hunting trips, or memories to have with dad.
i'm older... 63. my fav is my 1966 cj5. stock suspension it will easily handle 32" tires. my 2nd fav is my 1966 wagoneer. again will easily run 32" tires, stock. the ride and comfort is much better than the cj.
1966 CJ5A, mods are coming
1966 Wagoneer, bone stock
I love the Wagoneers, but finding one in Pittsburgh that is not a pile of dust would be difficult. Might even be a hard find for a reliable one out here in Cali. My folks are not mechanically inclined what so ever, in the old days my dad did all our brake jobs and tune ups, and was Mr Strict about vehicle upkeep. Now though they are buried with grandkids, dad still works, and he also umpires and refs in the evenings and they forget about tune ups until I come home and nag! hah So I probably need to think about something newer that would be turn key, no projects and not worrying about them needing upkeep. I do not know any good 4x4 speciality mechanics where they are, they have their shade tree local mechanics who are honest and nice, but not into anything other than regular repairs on bone stock more modern cars.
Wagoneer would be sweet though....if I can find a good LJ or JK for right price and low mileage, might be my best bet. I have never been in a JK so next time I go home might go test drive one with dad to see how it is getting in and out.
I could dump money into the XJ, but seeing I do not know any Jeep guys near them, I would not want headaches of someone doing a lift and SYE and my parents having to worry about working out any gremlins. I have never been lucky enough to lift my TJs without needing follow up tinkering to eliminate death wobble or driveline vibes etc. The XJ would be a nice platform though as its clean. It has the undesirable transfer case though from what I understand, it has 4H, 4L, 2H, and all wheel drive. So from what I gather even if I lifted it a little I would need to do a t-case swap or a SYE. Then probably wheel spacers and new tires, and if I did put 31s I would probably want to do 4.10s and at least a True Trac in rear if not both ends, and some better bumpers. Next thing you know I would have $6k in it in parts and labor! But out here in Cali for $6k alone you can buy a sweet XJ already set up, lifted, gears, locked, armor etc. Cali does seem like a gold mine for used 4x4s because so many people modify them and lots on the used market. And my mom complains about the XJ for some reason she never has liked it :-( She does not think it is comfortable neither front or back seats.
If I get dad in a JK and he does not mind getting in and out of it, as goofy as some of the stock stepup running board things look, I just saw a brand new Sahara that they looked very stable and wide to help get in and out. And I read a thread on here you can stuff a good tire upgrade with no lift or maybe just one of those Tera Flex leveling kits and some wider ATs. If we got a JK though it would be more expensive and no way we would have money for gears or traction devices. Scoring a 2 door Rubicon would be amazing. Just have not had a vehicle at home to get into the woods deeper like we did when I was in high school. I had a K5 Blazer with 2" lift, 33s and stick shift granny gear and we got into all kinds of great hunting areas. These days with dad having various health issues and getting tired easy, being able to drive deeper into the woods would be wonderful. And ever since I bought my first TJ maybe 7 years ago, it changed my mind about off road. A Jeep or even a 4runner can do things in the woods no full size can do as easily and without body damage. I am a Jeep guy for life now they are so beautiful off road. And I tried getting dad a quad after his heart attack about 6 years ago. Got him a nice 4x4 quad, winch, trailer, and a Silverado to tow it all. The quad sat in the garage for 3 years until I sold it. He has never been an off road guy, so just was not his thing to load a quad into trailer and go hunting etc. I am thinking some sort of Jeep would be my best bet.
How do you keep your Jeeps going in Minnesota? The rust has to be as bad as Pittsburgh no?? Vehicles do not last in the rust belt, salt kills them.
mine are good underneath, so far. i plan on just spraying them with with maybe a hd 30wt oil and coating everything but the exhaust. i'm thinking about every other year should do it. spray it on, drive it down a dusty road, call it good.
1966 CJ5A, mods are coming
1966 Wagoneer, bone stock