Advice for first time buying ('97 Wrangler SE) -
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-20-2019, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Advice for first time buying ('97 Wrangler SE)

Hey everyone, I'm new here, and am looking to purchase my first Wrangler. My current car, a 2003 Ford Escape, has about a year left in it. I figure now that I have some money saved up, and I can probably still squeeze at least $1000 out of my Escape if I sell it now, I have a good shot at getting my own Jeep. A mechanic in my hometown is selling a 1997 Wrangler SE with around 100500 miles for $5800. I think this is my best option since it's an automatic (I can't drive stick and I don't really have time to learn now), under $10,000 and looks like it's in great shape, and has relatively low mileage for a 22 year old Jeep. I understand that I'm losing a lot of horsepower with the 2.5L 4cyl, which will be bad during the few road trips I make every summer, but there are few others I can afford, and time is running out with my other car.

Anyways, with all that stuff out of the way, any advice for me when checking the car out in person, or looking for others online are greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 4 Old 03-23-2019, 11:08 AM
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2002 TJ Wrangler 
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Location: Denton County, TX
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Many believe that the 2.5 is under powered, especially if modded with big tires and a lift. Plus with a auto trans, you don't have the gear range as with the 5sp manual and being able to down shift.

But you have to test drive for yourself and see if it meets your needs.

Jeeps are also very prone to rust, especially in the snowy regions. The entire frame can rust out underneath the body. A 22yo Wrangler as with any 20yo vehicle is not going to be maintenance free. So be prepared to work on it yourself or have a trusted shop.

I am multi-talented, I can talk and piss you off at the same time.

denton county, tx
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-23-2019, 12:10 PM
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Some of the five speeds of that era lose the 5th gear. The lift and big tires are too much for the 2.5 I had one with th 5spd lifted 32” tires and it would be 40 mph on a grade on the highway- putting smaller tires on would look dorky with the lift. I think the manual trans on the 4 is a ax5 vs a stronger ax10 with the 6. If you are driving short distances local or trailering - you might buy but a good 1k less than low blue book

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post #4 of 4 Old 04-01-2019, 02:57 PM
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2005 LJ Wrangler 
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Look for rust under floor carpet, the frame for rust. Make sure it has all the gears. If you arn't happy I'm selling a 97 5spd 4.0 with 80000.0
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