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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2002, 09:38 AM
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What to look for when buying a jeep

i am just starting to four wheel but i need a jeep. i need some help from anyone about what to look for in a jeep. i have at the most 4500 to spend. what should i be looking at or what should i expect to be able to buy with that amount. i have to also use it as a daily driver since i am in college and money is tight. thank you
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2002, 02:38 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep

what do you plan to do with it (how crazy you want to get) ?
do you feel comfortable working on it (plenty of help here) ?
what style do you like ~~~subliminal message to follow~~~ ROUND IS BETTER
basically it is all going to depend on you. there was a post last week
that might shed a bit of insight on this...
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2002, 02:54 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep

A couple of things to think about......
Engine? V-6, I-6, V-8, I-4
Tranny? Lotsa choices available with all sorts of different reliability and gearing
Axles? D-44, AMC 20, chrysler 8.75, D-35, D-20, D-25, D-30 depending on year/configuration.
Vaccum disconnects on the axle or not?
Carb or EFI?
What decade made?
Manual locking hubs or not?
Hard top/soft top?
Creature comforts like AC, Heat, crank up windows, door locks, floor padding, carpet, etc?
How much rust/body damage are you willing to put up with?
How built do you want it when you get it?
Do you care about water/oil leaks or wet seats in the rain?
Do you wanna wrench on it or pay someone else to do it?

Gotta decide what your priorities are. Do you want to wheel it once in a while and drive it most of the time, or wheel it lots? How much maintenance can you afford?


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2002, 09:49 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep

Main thing to look for is to make sure that the headlights dont have flat spots in them. lol Be sure to drive it first and shift it into 4wl and 4wh, check for gear engagement. if you buy a CJ and if the rear axle housing cover is round (amc 20) check for leaks at the flange (next to the brake backing plate) cause that could indicate a bent housing. Check the rear axle spring pads they tend to bend.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2002, 04:46 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep

Under no circumstances are you to buy an '87 to '89 Wrangler... unless you are planning on replacing the drivetrain and axles anyhow.
Do a search for "Peugot BA-10" transmissions, and find out how NOT to end up with one!

Let me kick myself in the [censored] and suggest that you to buy a full-size Jeep instead ok? 2 SWB and 1 mid-size Jeep later, and I wish I'd bought a J-Truck, full-size 2-door Cherokee, or even a Grand Wagoneer...
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2002, 06:14 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep

My current peeve is rust. Jeeps, at least older ones, are terrible rust buckets. When the rust sets in on the body, the electrical system goes to pot because the ground connections go bad. And they're mighty difficult to troubleshoot and repair.

Pretty soon parts are falling off, and anything you put on the floor can suddenly disappear.

When rust gets into the frame there are more problems. There are lots of nuts that are swaged into the frame. When you try to take the bolt out, the nut twists loose and spins. Now you can't get the bolt out without grinding the head off, and it's a pain to get a nut back in when you want to put it together.

On CJs, the worst frame rust spots are where the rear crossmember is welded to the frame tubes. Second worst is on the inside of the tubes in front of the rear axel. There are two stampings there that overlap a couple of inches and rust eats out between them. Rust can be repaired but it's tedious and terribly expensive to do right.

To find frame rust get a welder's hammer and hit the bottom of the frame tubes with the pointy end. Hard. Also look for places where two pieces of steel overlap. If the outer piece is domed up instead of flat, there's rust behind it.

The only sensible reason to buy a rusty Jeep is to get the mechanicals.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2002, 07:18 PM
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Re: What to look for when buying a jeep


Everything that the previous posts said is good advice. The only thing that I have to add is that the price of a jeep reaches a level between $3500-$4500 and seems to go down no further. Look for the jeep that has a straight body and frame, plus the most upgrades for the buck in that price range. You can spend a lot (thousands of dollars) on a jeep and get NONE of that money back even if you sell it the day after the work was done. I know it does not seem right, but that is just the way it is. Building a jeep is a labor (and expence) of love, not an investment.

Good Luck!
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