Finding a Jeep Project Car -
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-10-2019, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Finding a Jeep Project Car

Hey everyone I'm new to this forum and you all have probably seen the question I am about to ask thousands of times but here it goes... I'm 16 years old and am looking for a project car to work on for relatively cheap. Obviously when it comes to customization and third party support, the Jeep Wrangler is unrivaled, so that's what I'm after. Do y'all have any tips on where to find them? What years to look for? Engines? Tops? I'm open to any advice. I'm really looking for something to keep me busy and something that I can work on and cherish for years to come. The Jeep community is something I would love to be apart of, I just need to know where to start.


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post #2 of 6 Old 03-10-2019, 07:42 PM
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2009 JK Wrangler 
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Project car, Jeep and 'relatively cheap' are not phrases that go together. Jeeps are one of the most expensive vehicles around to do as projects. Especially Wranglers.
If you want an inexpensive project to learn on, start with an old Honda. Something you won't care about messing up on (because you WILL as you learn).
Later, after you've learned some basics about mechanics and can afford a more advanced project, look into a Jeep.

'09 JK Rubicon
'01 XJ Sport
'10 Fusion
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-11-2019, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, thank you for the advice. That makes sense.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-17-2019, 11:39 PM
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I am not an experts. I am learning. I have two YJ project Jeeps. I knew very little about these when I started and spent a lot of time in youtube researching things.

The YJ models are less popular and therefore cheaper. I like the square headlights and find the other models boring looking.

Older Jeeps can be very rusty. Avoid rusted frames and bodies.

One of my Jeeps is getting a robust (more expensive rebuild). I’m replacing parts like U joints that I could still use, with new parts just for reliability, with less concern about cost. I plan to keep this one long term.

The second Jeep i bought for parts but it’s running and too nice to scrap. So on that one I’m only fixing what’s broke. I plan to give it to my brother or niece as a gift. I bought it for $500 with a fairly good frame and body. It was listed as not running and needs a belt. I found it listed on Facebook cheap and looked up the seller’s phone number and called him. He later told me he ignored all the email messages because there were so many of them. I bought it sight unseen and drove over to pay the guy. I beat out fifty other people that wanted it. If you jump fast or look in rural places where cars are hard to sell you can find better deals. I found the alternator seized up, So, I put $150 into a belt and alternator, and brought over a used battery to get it running. I plan to fix an exhaust leak, fix the play in the front end, rip out the carpet and spray the interior tub with U-Pol and perhaps the bottom. They can be found cheap. Be careful not to go overboard. It’s probably better to keep, use, and resell, and trade up over time.

Wranglers are relatively simple vehicles.
Perhaps not as easy or cheap to maintain or as fun to drive as my 5 spd Volvo 240.

The jeep’s 4 wheel drive parts are not that much more complicated than a rear wheel drive. I am learning as I go and having fun doing the work. Jeeps are easy to sell unless rusted out and there are many of them. If you are shopping for one, arm yourself with knowledge. Know the differences between the 4 cyl and 6 cyl models—gearing and transmissions. If the gears grind while shifting that could be a pita to fix. Know where to look for rust on the frame. Shop around and pick a good one. Consider that if it starts to rust out it might be time to turn it over and find a newer one.

Night Sailor
1990 Jeep YJ
w/Mercedes OM617
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-13-2019, 08:34 PM
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: McComb
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I too have a YJ, but be does take some cash to “play” with them. I started accidentally working on golf carts. Once word for out that I rebuilt one, people started calling wanting me to fix theirs Then I moved to side by side. Son burnt one up (no oil). So I took my time a rebuilt it. Had an opportunity to get a Jeep and have been working on it.

Tons of folks on this site to assist, but it does take Cash....and can quickly empty your pocket book if your not careful!
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-13-2019, 09:25 PM
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1993 ZJ 
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It all depends what you want to do with the Jeep. Get an old or battered one and fix it up a bit and drive it or take it off road some? Not expensive.

If you want to really build it up and do serious off-roading and rock climbing, that will take money, but a stock Jeep maybe with a few cheap or used or junkyard parts can be lots of fun on dirt trails, mud and snow. Enjoy!
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