Austin LJ Input/Can I See Yours?
Howdy, all! I have been out of the 4x4 community for a couple of years (too long), and want to get into a Jeep. I have been running numbers, trying to justify buying a newer JK Unlimited, but just can't bring myself to pay that much off the bat, especially knowing I will continue to spend money in mods.
I've always liked the TJs, and I would like to consider an Unlimited, but have never really had any contact with one. I've got a one-year-old daughter, so I'd like to see how her car seat fits to determine how feasible this would be for a secondary family vehicle. Other than that, I'd like to crawl around and over one just to re-familiarize myself with the platform. If anyone in the Austin area has one, and doesn't mind me poking around at it, please let me know.
In the meantime, here's what I've been pondering, and would love some input from the local experts:
I'm looking at keeping my purchase well under $20k. I will be selling (or trading) my BMW 330i and don't want a big cash price difference between the two. I've seen LJs for sale around the $15k-16k range, with lower miles and some upgrades, so I think that's realistic.
Of course, I'd love to get into a one-owner, low-mileage Rubicon with fresh mods that's never been off-road, but I'm realistic. I know the TJ platform is nice and solid, so I won't be disappointed in an unlocked front D30, but I'd like to get as much as I can for my money. A hardtop would be best, and I won't go without A/C.
6-speed only. I won't consider an auto.
The fewer the miles, the better, but good maintenance records are just as important. If I can find a well-cared-for model with under 75k miles, I'd be happy. From a longevity standpoint, what is an ideal limit? What preventative maintenance should I be asking about, and at what miles?
I'm not looking for a rock crawler, but a nice lift and tire combo that's already been done would save me money down the road (assuming it's been done right and not beat to hell). If I were to begin with a fresh build, my focus would be more toward expedition travel mods than boulder climbing. Capable, without sacrificing on-road ability and comfort. Any thoughts toward what to look for and what to avoid would be helpful.
I appreciate any help or advice I can get to get me into my next vehicle. I drove and built up a 2001 4x4 Xterra for over 10 years and I miss the lifestyle. I just want something nice and capable that I can travel with my family around the country.