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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2001, 11:29 PM
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Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

I have been looking for a TJ for a while now. I have narrowed my search down to 2. First I would like to know if there were any major changes from '97 to '98? Just wondering if there was anything that was changed since '97 was the first year the TJ was made that would have prompted a change in '98. The first of the two TJ's I am looking at is a white '97, 6cyl, tan softtop, 5 speed, alloy wheels, 59k miles, soundbar, 235x75 BFG All Terrains, towing package, pampered vehicle for $12,000. The second is a white '98, 6cyl, black hardtop with full steel doors, 5 speed, basic wheels, 45k miles, 215x75's for $13,000. I live in Tennessee where it is only cold for about 3 monthes so the hard top is nice, but not a necessity. I am leaning toward the '97 because I like the tan, I like the wheels, I like the tires, and it has been well taken care of by a 65 year old man. If I chose to go with the '98, I would have the instant cost of a softtop, as well as wheels and tires because they look like the most basic package one can get when buying a TJ. This Jeep would be 90% ON-road driving, and 10% off-road. I know it sounds like I have made my mind up, but I would like your opinion on whether EITHER one of these sounds like a decent deal, and whether I am looking at this the wrong way since the '98 is a year new, has a hardtop, and 14k less miles. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Mavric
'95 Cherokee, '86 CJ-7

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2001, 12:53 AM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

You should be able to sell the hardtop for most of the money to get a good soft top. I've seen two TJ hardtops on ebay the last couple days sell easily.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2001, 11:20 AM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

I had a 97 and I can tell you a major problem is the fresh air intake. The opening on the cowl is so wide that it extends over the blower motor and all the silicone in the world did not keep water out of there. Trust me. Later they changed the cowl and made it much smaller. You can tell easily by looking at the number of slats. I think that late 98 was the changeover but not sure. Also, check to see if one of them has a Dana 44 and a 19 gallon gas tank.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2001, 11:42 AM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

The one with the D44 is the one that I would go with. No matter if it was 1% offroad. Break the wennie D35 and you will pay 3-4 times the amout of one that is originally equipped with the D44 to fix it. The one with the towing package will be the one that will most likely have the D44, but check to make sure. The hardtop would be nice, but not required(I live just south of you in Alabama and have a hardtop, I could live without it).

If both of the ones you are looking at don't have D44's, I would hold out for one that does. TJ's are getting cheaper, just be patient and the right one will fall into your lap.




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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2001, 03:20 PM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

If you check the Consumer Reports web site you'll fine that the '98 is much more reliable than the '97, according to actual owners providing feedback on such issues.

Hewgag

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2001, 04:15 PM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

I'd run with the '97. We have a '97 and it's been an awesome Jeep. No leaks like previously mentioned and a good all around jeep. Look to see what time the jeep was actually made, ours was made in '96, and the early '96 ones (Feb thru May) has some leakage problems with the tops and cowls. Ours has been flawless though.

Check to see if it has a D44, it may not, they were released in late '97. If it has the nice wheels it may also have the 3.55 gears in the axles, so check them as well, there is a tag on the axle that will say what the ratio is. If it has 3.55 it has the posi, they only came together in '97.

The '98 would be nice also, and you could get probably $750 for the hard top alone, which puts them at about the same price.

As to the differences, do a search, we covered them before, but basically there were no differences between '97 and '98, they were the same. The '98 was available with 3.73 gears, but I doubt the '98 has them based on the rims, whereas the '97 probably has the 3.55 based on the rims, and the Trac-Lok as well. The '98 has the little bump stops on the front bumper, and the airbag disconnect, but my airback has never gone off after TONS of wheeling and repeated beatings, so I wouldn't worry about it unless you have small kids that will ride in the front. Otherwise they were the same jeep, no matter what magazines say about "reliability". Oh, and the '97 has the ability to check the computer codes from the odometer by turning the key on and off several times, the '98 doesn't have that feature.





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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-30-2001, 08:32 AM
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Re: Looking at buying a TJ. . . NEED ADVICE

Hey, JEEPN! I knew I could get you to join in after my post![img]/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]

Hurry up and come out to run the 'Con before our California pinky-commies shut it down!

Hewgag

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Visit my 2000TJ "Hewgag" in BackCountry Trailers' Back Country Rigs section at http://www.backcountrytrailers.com/
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