I Do This For The Glory
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Nobleboro, Maine
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Re: Wranglers to stay away from?
The '92 and up had the rear section of roll cage that encompassed the compartment better. This year was also the year (I believe) the NP231 transfer case was modified so it could be flat towed. Prior years were such that when you locked the lever into neutral, the front and rear driveshafts locked together. In the '92 and up models, the "neutral" meant the rear spun independently of the front.
The '95 and up YJ's had the 297 U-joint, which is a 1/2 ton joint. Prior to this the YJ's used the 260, which is a 1/4 ton joint.
In '97 (technically there was no '96 Wrangler), 80% of the Wrangler was changed, from the engine (pistons and other internal components), to the new coil suspension, to the thicker skid plates. The TJ ('97 and up) was also the first year of the airbag additions.
I have also heard of some minor problems with the '97 TJ, but mainly they were leaking issues with a hard top, the fuel sending unit, and the header cracking. The '97 also uses the OBD-II (On Board Diagnostics), and is the only year you can check the computer codes with the key switch. In '98 they added the airbag shutoff switch, but you cannot check the codes without a scanner.
The YJ's also went to glavanized bodies in '92 I think, or maybe it was '93. I'm not up on a lot of YJ stuff.