ive had my old 55 for almost 20 years and have to say 98% of the work ive done was to improve it. i think we have all had one of those vech that your always spending money on it and most of the time it is better to get rid of it. unless you go over the whole jeep and check everything out and then know what its going to need.
Buddy of mine had an 02 TJ. He said it had a vibration at about 55mph. I crawled underneath it and looked, and yep! There's your problem.
The skid had busted loose on the passenger side due to rust. The whole drivetrain was hanging out. He had some angle iron welded in to hold it up, and I told him he better do the other side too. Don't know if he did or not.
The underside of that thing looked as rusty as any CJ frame I've seen, and it was 10 years old.
Keep your CJ, and buy a comfortable DD.
85 CJ7 258, borla header, Team Rush, MC2100 ,optima batt, Warn 8274, agr super box 2 & pump, T5 w/ B&M shifter, centerforce 2, superior 1 piece axles, warn hubs 2.5 in lift, 31" BFG MT
But who wants to ride in a CAR with a ROOF in the summer???
Someone who doesn't own a CJ! In all seriousness though, owning a CJ I think is a hobby all in itself. You can have a Jeep hobby or an off road hobby but the CJ experience is in a class of its own. Preserving a legend! I always joke around by saying, if I ever feel like wrenching on my CJ I just go drive it for a while. There will be something to tweak or fix when I'm done. Do what makes you happy. Rob
If you want reliability, get a newer TJ. After all a CJ will be at least 27 years old. If you want a classic and reliability, and you have a clean CJ to start with (not from the rust belt) spend some dough and do a body off restoration where you can replace worn parts and then dump in a newer FI, computer controlled motor/tranny combo. Then you will have a classic that will get you anywhere, anytime. And you will spend less than half the cost of a new ride. Keep your DD car for long trips.
I had a TJ that was completly over the top built and I honestly got tired of it, it was so big my wife would not drive it and even my dad was not fond of the soft suspension and 7" of lift. I had bought it in hopes that she would use it occasionally ,but she drove it once in 3 years so I sold it. I then got the itch again for a CJ which is what I had before the TJ and i honestly could not be happier. There is something about a CJ taking pride in a vehicle that you can wrench on and build to your personal taste, put there is also a time when you have to throw in the towel. the TJ was ultra reliable very drivable with lockers and 35" tires it would easily keep up in traffic on the interstate. The CJ is reliable but it is a CJ with its loose steering and bouncy bouncy suspension.
I think you need to find a good tech that knows older vehicles. This person will be able to get the cj in working order so you have a baseline to work with. Once you have the baseline, then it won't be bad for you. I would believe it would be cheaper than getting another TJ. Once you start down the rabbit hole and you dont really know what you doing, no disrespect, it can get crazy.IMHO
There's no denying the appeal of a CJ: The simplicity, the nostalgia, the camaraderie, the rust, the flooding carburetor.........ah, good times; but I digress. We do this stuff because IT IS FUN! When it ceases to be fun, why do it?
CJ's can be great "fun" vehicles. That fun can be from restoring them, driving them or some combination of tinkering and driving. But if you start to hate it, move on. It's a thing not a commitment.
I have a TJ because I want a fun vehicle. I've done the one barrel carburetor, 3-speed non-synchronized 1st gear, manual steering, all drum brake thing. Loved it; don't want to do anymore. Not saying there's anything wrong if you want the CJ experience and it's highly likely that someday I'll want to return to that myself.
I joined the "I'll have both" club. I guess I'm lucky because Ive been driving CJs for about 22 years. They have been very reliable and run nice. I got the TJ for the MPFI, airbags, coils, and available parts OEM and aftermarket. I will still own and drive the classic CJ.
This may not appy for the OP...but Ive found that in a lot of cases, when a CJ is purchase as a fixer upper OR for a low price (under 3 grand), the new owner dumps a ton of time and cash into it and gets burned out. Ive seen more than a few basket cases have 4 times their value put into fixing them only to be sold to the next guy at a fraction of the investment when in fact 90% of the Jeep is now new or complete. The PO just thinks, that's it, no more....
I did the opposite and paid 8 grand for mine in 1991....enjoyed it for 160K more miles and many many years....
Not to sound like a vulture, but that is what I was looking for when we bought ours, a project that had tons of money dumped in it for pennies on the dollar. My PO burned out (lucky for me) late in the game, wanted a new bike, so I got our Jeep for what he paid for the axles, lockers, disc swap, drivelines and transmission. The guy had all the reciepts and I was blown away at what this stuff costs. Of course, I dumped my required $$ deposit into it as well. That said, I would probably never stump up the money to do a SBC swap or lockers or even a winch.