Which Jeep to get on a budget? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups
Jeep-Short Wheelbase All discussion of short wheelbase Jeeps: CJ, TJ, YJ and JK

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 06:38 PM
sbcreekbum
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Which Jeep to get on a budget?

Hi everyone. I'm new here. I own a 95 2WD Grand Cherokee. Yeah I know... city car. I'm looking to sell it and get some off road capablity. I've been looking at FJ40's, but there is quite a premium on those for being such old vehicles. I know they're tough as nails but most don't meet my requirement of having a somewhat dependable vehicle for getting to and from work.

I'd like some of you Jeep afficianados to advise me on how to spend a budget of $6k-8k based on my needs. Any year, any model (primarly short wheel base), rebuilt, modified, not modified. Or if you think I shouldn't get a Jeep just say so and tell me to leave. No please don't do that. I love jeeps. I look forward to your responses and I plan to hangout on this board more often.

Requirements
1. Off-road - I don't need a mega rock crawler, just something that supports my primary hobby - fishing in Colorado. The state offers plenty of opportunities to get to remote places to fish by jeep that you'd have a hard time doing a day trip to on foot. I love hiking on my own two feet and camping to fish, but I don't have enough opportunities to take a whole weekend to fish.
2. Dependabilty - It would be used for getting to and from work (35 miles/day), and fishing trips within 2 hours highway time. No long hauls. I don't want to call in sick to work on because of it more than 1 or 2 times a year. I reserve those hooky days for when I feel like I HAVE to go fishing or my head will explode.
Since I don't live IN the mountains it will have to do some highway time to get me to the trails. So there will be frequent (however often I can) 1-2 hour highway trips to/from the trails.
My wife has a dependable car, but I don't. So it will be my primary car. Not just a recreation vehicle.
3. Price - about $6k to $8k. I'd love a brand new Rubicon, but I got a budget. Dang tech collapse didn't spare me either. Plus, I got a 5 month old. Our first.


Thanks,
Ben

GO BRONCOS!!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 06:46 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

I'm somewhat biased here, but my vote would go for a '91 or newer Jeep YJ with a 4.0 and a 5spd. Mine has been VERY dependable(knock on wood) since I purchased it 3 years ago. They have an EXCELLENT motor, and decent tranny, and a decent tcase. If you're just planning on doing a lot of highway miles, and a few moderate trails, the axles should do fine as well. Lift are cheap for them, and very plentiful. Also, the tubs are galvanized so they don't rust very easily like older CJ's. Plus, with the FI, you don't have the worry about cold days or extreme inclines while wheeling. That's just my 2 cents though.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 07:17 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

You Can get into a 97 TJ for that money, and they are reliable. I like mine because I was able to wheel it moderately off the shelf and have only made it beter from there. You get MPI, and coiled suspension. If I were to do it again I would find a mild wreck in my price range fix the dammage and go to town. But that is just me.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 07:22 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

I agree with rio's statement. You can't go wrong with a 97 TJ with a 4.0. Hell even a 2.5 isnt bad thats what I have in two of mine. Go with the 5spd. You can find a 97 for around 5-8 grand depending. Dont worry to much about the mileage since these engines will [img]images/graemlins/burnout.gif[/img]. Goodluck with your search.
post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 07:24 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

I second the '91 and later YJ. I think it actually has better reliablity than a TJ and is a great base for building up... if you can stomach those square lights!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 08:29 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

First off welcome and congratulations on the baby...
Secondly I see you have a few options I do agree with Rio a 97' TJ would be perfect,it is very capable with a 2.5L even more so with the 4.0L and the coil suspension is great. If you plan on running tires larger than 31's though especially in the mountains of CO I would probably look for a 4.0L. A 91' or newer YJ this would give you some left over money for modification and runs pretty much the same drivline as the TJ but has the leaf suspension yet. I am suprised no one had mentioned a CJ-7 yet, with a V-8 the 258 is a good motor but provides (in stock form) about the same h.p. as a new 2.5L. These can be had for a few thousand dollars and would leave you a bunch of money for modifications and breakdowns. Your final option is to buy a wrecked ZJ and swap the transfer case and front axle into yours, my fiance' runs a ZJ and it is also a very capable off-road vehicle (it did better than mine at the bash, but mine wouldn't run). Plus if you have an area to store the wrecked vehicle this would leave you with a parts donor for anytime you break something you'd pretty much have a parts store in your back yard minus the front axle and the transfer case. Any Jeep is capable off-road you just tend to make them more capable. And finally "Which Jeep to get on a budget" did anyone else see the humor in that?
Hope this helps,
John
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 09:16 PM
 
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

Don't buy a Jeep if you are on a budget!

Just
Emptied
Every
Pocket

No joke...but anyway, for 6-8k find a CJ-8 because it will NEVER depreciate! [img]images/graemlins/AR15firing.gif[/img]

BTW congrats on the new kid, have on of them myself, almost 6 months.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 09:32 PM
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

If you want a daily driver with money to do what you want, I'm gonna have to go with the 4.0 YJ as well.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 09:42 PM
 
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

If you're looking for the most for your money, I'm actually going to steer you away from the SWB vehichles. These are so popular that they are much more expensive than comparable vehichles with identical drivetrains that might be better for what you are doing anyhow.

For instance: I know where a '95 2-door Cherokee, 124k on the 4.0 with the 4-speed automatic & 4x4 plus full factory skidplate package, that runs and drives excellent, is for $5k

The same place has a '98 in the same condition and the same mileage but no skidplate package for $6k.

You will be hard pressed to find any vintange of Wrangler is as good a condition as those two Cherokees for those prices.

But I digress, I think a full-size wide-track Jeep from the '80s is just what you need. Possibly the least popular of Jeeps at the moment (and therefore least expensive), yet fully equiped with excellent parts and enough room for 33" tires bone-stock. The '80-83 Cherokee wide-track with a AMC 360 engine, TF-727 trans, NP-208 x-case, and D44 front/ AMC 20HD rear axle is a real beast of a 4x4, and it even has an excellent ride. The J-10 is the 1/2-ton pick-up version, and the J-20 is the 3/4 ton pickup version, with a T-18a 4-speed manual optional in this model (best manual Jeep tranny ever offered). The pick-ups lasted until 1987 when Chrysler bought out AMC and elimated these trucks as competition to the Dodge Ram (ugly worthless IFS-riding POSes that they are).

The most popular swaps for SWB Jeeps are Cherokee/Grand Wagoneer axles, AMC v-8 engines, and HD auto and manual tranies that will bolt up to those engines (namely the ones from FSJs). Why not get something that already has all of these parts bolted up and ready to go?

This coming from someone who's got a YJ Wrangler with half of a Grand Wagoneer drivetrain installed, and the other half of that drivetrain waiting to be installed.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2003, 09:49 PM
 
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Re: Which Jeep to get on a budget?

I agree with everyone else in saying that a 91 or newer YJ with the 6cyl and 5 spd. manual is the way to go. I also wanted to add:

FJ40??? [img]images/graemlins/puke.gif[/img] [img]images/graemlins/lame.jpg[/img]
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