Advice on shopping for a TJ -
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post #1 of 4 Old 08-10-2020, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Advice on shopping for a TJ

I'm new to Jeeps and would like to buy a Wrangler for using on the weekends and maybe driving to work one or two days a week (I only have a 5 mile commute). I want something that's solid and reliable, and hoping to stay under $8k. From most of my research, that would get me a TJ with 120-160k miles on it. With that many miles, what should I be looking out for other than avoiding body rust? Are there certain common repairs I'll want to make sure have already been done? What should I look out for or expect as a big maintenance expense?

Should I also consider a YJ with around the same miles? Are they both equivalent from reliability perspective?

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post #2 of 4 Old 08-10-2020, 12:24 PM
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2006 TJ Wrangler 
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My neighbor recently bought a rust bucket ’97 from Ohio for $2k for one of his kids. Paint is faded, has a hard top (with a small crack), manual transmission, and about a 3” lift with nearly bald tires. It had serious rust to the frame under the doors, and literally had holes in the tub under the doors. He pulled the tub from the frame, cut out the rust, patched it, and repainted the frame with Por-15. The frame honestly was so bad that he about bought one from Texas, but his patch job is really good work! I bet he’s only got $4k in it?

I recently drove it and it rode like an old Jeep. But fun! I think he needs to start replacing suspension stuff. He’s working on getting it road safe.

Anyway, I think for $8k, I assume you’re going to do some work. Most TJs tend to have a rear Dana 35 axle over here preferred Dana 44. Might be something to look for, but this this old TJ has a Dana 35 which has been on since new!

Thing is, parts for TJs are all over the place and there is plenty of help here. So even if you don’t like what you buy, you can always repair or replace it.

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post #3 of 4 Old 08-10-2020, 03:08 PM
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2002 TJ Wrangler 
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I think finding a reliable TJ for $8k is doable, depending on where you're at and what you're looking for. If you're out in the rust belts area, or buy one elsewhere, and stay stock. Most modded, lifted, have been offloaded and wheeled, plus the sellers want to get the money back for the mods.

Even a stock 2.5l, with 5 speed can be a fun vehicle. Go look at and test drive as many as you can. Even ones you know you don't want, out of your price range, etc. This gives you a expectation/base line. CraigsList,, dealers, private sellers. That's the best way to educate yourself.

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

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post #4 of 4 Old 08-10-2020, 03:37 PM
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
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I think rust would be the biggest thing to look out for. There are a few other issues certain years had but overall all Tjs are reliable if maintained well. My 98 is pushing 300k miles and aside from a new radiator and transmission rebuild, it hasn't had any real issues.
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