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Unread 12-02-2009, 11:57 AM   #1
DocJake
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Jeep buy: 99 with 40K or 03 with 90K?

I've seen a couple dozen TJ's now between 1999 and 2003. Given a similar price of say, $8500 for the TJ's I've been looking at, the choices are older with less miles, or newer with higher miles..

If you were looking for a good start on a DD project, and wanted reliability first and foremost, would you grab a newer model (03 with 90K and showing wear and tear), or a mint 99 with 40K? Were there any substantial design changes in these years?

Doc

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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:00 PM   #2
champelite210
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I'd rather have less miles.
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:05 PM   #3
JeepJeep31
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Doc,

I went through the same thing; ended up buying the 99 with lower miles that was in great shape.

There were no sugnificant changes during those years on many of the models; with the exception that I do believe 03 was the year the soft tops were the 4 ply sail cloth (very desirable; wish I had it) but the engine, drive train and suspension are all the same.

OK
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:07 PM   #4
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At some point, I believe 03, the spark plugs went to a rail setup rather than a distributor cap, there are other subtle differences as well. Nothing major though.
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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At some point during that time frame the 4.0L went to a distributorless ignition.

Also, the blower motor resistor changed during that time frame, but that's no biggie. Power steering pump changed too?
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:11 PM   #6
JeepJeep31
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Didn't the distributor less engines only happen to the I6?

Thanks mark02tj; your faster than I am
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:12 PM   #7
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Not sure, but wasn't 03 the first year that they used the NV3500 transmission? Of course, if you want an auto, there's also the issue of the tranny change, but I'm not sure on that. At some point they went from a 3 spd to a 4spd auto (basically, they added an OD gear.)
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:14 PM   #8
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Here's a link from the FAQ you might find helpful:

Changes to the TJ over the model years
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:22 PM   #9
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http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/st...ations-452871/

everything you need to know ^^

if there automatics 97-02 have 3 speeds 03 and up added a 4speed so you have overdrive, i found that out the hard way....
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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Exhaust manifold and distributorless engine started in 2000'.I've had a 98' 5 speed,2003' auto and 05' 6 speed.A 99' isn't worth $8500 and an 03' is worth much more.I always end up selling mine so I go where the money is.I was offered $13,000 for my 03' with 26,000 miles.I got $10,000 for my 98' (fixed up).If I was going to keep it for a long time,I would go with the lower miles.
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Unread 12-02-2009, 12:37 PM   #11
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Thanks guys.. both the 99 and 03 had I-6 engines. The 03 was asking $7999. The 99's asking price is $9000 but from a reputable Honda dealership and will come with 3 month warranty. The 03 had 85K miles, but seemed to need brakes and tires, had a tattered and cracked softop, and a dealer who was as slippery as they get. Wanted an extra $200 just to "prep" it then told me the asking price was "printed wrong" but he would give it to me for what was printed if I bought a warranty which he would use to make any needed repairs. What a scam. I went off on him and walked out. Price was 7999, +200 prep, plus cost of new soft top as the old one was worthless. Either I keep looking or opt for the primo 99 with the 40K.
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The easiest way to find that missing socket wrench is to buy a replacement

2009 Wrangler JK Deep Water Blue 2/door, Auto Soft Top
Automatic/3.73
2.5" RC Coils/1" MORE-BL/3/4" Levellers/Skyjacker Hydros Shocks/JKS 2" Bumps
17" AEV Argent Pintlers/34.4" GY Duratracs
Rugged Ridge XHD Modular Bumpers, locking ends, grill loop
JKS Links/XHD Modular Bumpers/Locking End Units
SB-XCR8 Winch

http://theadirondoc.blogspot.com
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Unread 12-02-2009, 01:01 PM   #12
rainmn
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$8K for an '03 is likely to get you a beater, much like you described.

Of the two you described, I wouldn't have to think twice about going for the '99.

(BTW, I recently went through this, and bought a '99)
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Unread 12-02-2009, 01:06 PM   #13
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personally i'd look for an '00-'02. Lots of major changes to the 03+.

Main reason for a DD would be the 3spd automatic, and improved engine design. For city driving it just worked better than the 4spd. If you spend a lot of time at 55 or above, the 4spd might be worth it, b/c the OD gives ~25% drop in RPM. But you'd need a LOT of highway miles to make it worth it IMO. and honestly i'd prefer to keep my OD RPM above 2000 (that equates to be about 2750 RPM in 3rd which has a 1:1 ratio). The engine just doesn't have enough power below 2k.
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Unread 12-02-2009, 01:19 PM   #14
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i agree w/ dippert, i have a 1999 sport w/ the 3speed and 85,000 miles and it runs great, i had to choose between the one i have now and a 2002 sahara w/ 117,000 miles, so i picked my 99. i am very happy w/ it, i have put it through some pretty nasty stuff and it keeps going and runs great, the only thing i dont like is i dont have over drive for when i have to drive 2 hours back home from school so it cruises at about 3,000rpm at 72ish, but no biggie
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Unread 12-02-2009, 01:47 PM   #15
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the only thing i dont like is i dont have over drive for when i have to drive 2 hours back home from school so it cruises at about 3,000rpm at 72ish, but no biggie
Put some 33's on it and don't regear and it will be perfect.
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