I'm in the market to buy a 2001-2002 Wrangler Sahara, 5-speed most likely, I've never bought a used Jeep and thought I should probably ask if there is anything I should look for before buying, like to know if has been extremely offroaded or something.
[FONT="Courier New"][SIZE="1"][SIZE="2"][B]FUTURE[/B]: 2007 Jeep Patriot Freedom Drive II Off-Road
[B]CURRENT[/B]: 2006 Dodge RAM 1500 SLT, QuadCab SB, 4.7L Magnum V8, 5AT, 3.55, With a ton of Mopar goodies.
[B]PAST JEEP(s)[/B]: 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Selec-Trac 4x4, 4AT, I6 4.0L, 3.73 (80,000 Miles)[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
Both of those years are ideal because you get the sailcloth soft top as well as a host of other minor improvements. '02s lose the driver's side tumbling fron seat, so rear seat passengers will have to get in on the r/h side. HVAC was supposedly improved in '02, but I'm not sure exactly what they did to it. '02 also got the 30" wheel and tire group standard (it was optional on '01) so if it has a manual it will have a dana 44 by default - any '02 ordered with a manual and 30" tires were required to get the dana 44. I would also get dual top if you can find it since it will save you money in the long run.
As far as mechanical things - the transmission will have a neutral gear rattle. I looked at a bunch of 2000-2002 Jeeps before I bought mine, and some were definately too loud and those that were generally had a balkier shift action. Mine is relatively quiet and shifts very smoothly. Although you may get lucky, most will have a minor rear main seal leak. Unless you are a neat freak who panicks at the slightest spot on the driveway, I wouldn't bother with it. Try to peek in the valve cover for sludge - they did have years that had head cracking problems that can help create sludge in an otherwise well maintained engine. Radiators are another known issue - check where the bottom and top tanks are crimped to the core for leaks. Check that all the blower speeds work - blower motor resistors can and do fail. Paint checking (small cracks or "fissures") is common on the darker colors - mine is doing it. Rust is also a constant specter with a rudimentary vehicle like this - there are many seams that come together (especially at the back below the tailight) that are exposed and rely on paint only to protect them.
Thant's all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure others will chime in with some other things to look out for.
...'02 also got the 30" wheel and tire group standard (it was optional on '01) so if it has a manual it will have a dana 44 by default - any '02 ordered with a manual and 30" tires were required to get the dana 44...
You sure about this?
I don't think there were any packages in '02 that included a D44 rear.
I always thought it was a completely seperate option, at least in the pre-2003 TJs.
Try to avoid buying one that has been wheeled much. I know they are a great off road vehicle but the more one has been wheeled the more likley it is to have or develop problems. I own one and I know mine is not as sound as one with the same miles that has never been wheeled. One way to aviod getting into one that has been wheeled a lot is do not buy one with a lot of modifications. Stockers and pretty lightly used.