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Old 04-11-2008, 06:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best used Jeep tj?

I am looking for opinions on what is the best deal in used jeep tjs. What are the pros and cons model year to year. I am going to buy in the next couple of days. I am not interested in a rubicon because they are out of my price range. I am most curious about the transmissions ax15 vs nv3550. I have heard that the automatics suck. Is that true? My plan was to buy a 2000 or newer sport with the nv 3550, but have heard the ax15s were good trannys as well. Also i read in jp one of the editors wouldn't own anything but a 98 99 manual 4.0 tj. I don't know why that is, or what is special about the 98, 99 model year. I will be holding out for the rear dana 44. Any info would be appreciated!
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would go with a 2001 or newer 4.0 sport or sahara model. Im not sure if the 4.0s in 2000 came distributorless or not but that is also something to look for. I would definetly get something with the NV3550.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Im not sure if the 4.0s in 2000 came distributorless or not but that is also something to look for.
Yes they do, they also have the 2 piece exhaust manifold that is not prone to cracking...
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I love my 98 Sport with the AX-15 and all. As far as special, I don't know what it would be except that 1998 was first Year D44 was brought back as an option. Mine is the High output 4.0L which has a factory header versus the exhaust manifold that is prone to crack, but that isn't that big of a deal.
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I have a stock 03 Wrangler X forsale if interested? brand new 30" bfg A/t, auto tranny, A/C both hard and soft tops, 4.0L with 54000 miles!
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input guys! I don't think that i want an automatic.
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Old 04-12-2008, 03:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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2000 - 2002
NV3550, less emissions, less stuff
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I love my 98 Sport with the AX-15 and all. As far as special, I don't know what it would be except that 1998 was first Year D44 was brought back as an option. Mine is the High output 4.0L which has a factory header versus the exhaust manifold that is prone to crack, but that isn't that big of a deal.
All 4.0's are "High Output" in 91+ Jeeps.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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All 4.0's are "High Output" in 91+ Jeeps.
I understood that the High outputs had the header, not the cast exhaust manifold.
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Old 04-12-2008, 08:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ironmike439 View Post
I am looking for opinions on what is the best deal in used jeep tjs. What are the pros and cons model year to year. I am going to buy in the next couple of days. I am not interested in a rubicon because they are out of my price range. I am most curious about the transmissions ax15 vs nv3550. I have heard that the automatics suck. Is that true? My plan was to buy a 2000 or newer sport with the nv 3550, but have heard the ax15s were good trannys as well. Also i read in jp one of the editors wouldn't own anything but a 98 99 manual 4.0 tj. I don't know why that is, or what is special about the 98, 99 model year. I will be holding out for the rear dana 44. Any info would be appreciated!
nothing wrong with the auto in the TJs.
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:57 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I understood that the High outputs had the header, not the cast exhaust manifold.
All 97-99 4.0L TJ's have the crack prone header. All 2000-2006 4.0L TJ's have the 2 piece exhaust manifold. All 4.0L TJ's are high output...

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Old 04-12-2008, 09:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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2000 - 2002
NV3550, less emissions, less stuff
?...
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:03 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Mine is the High output 4.0L which has a factory header versus the exhaust manifold that is prone to crack.
The cast exhaust manifold is NOT prone to cracking...
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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nothing wrong with the auto in the TJs.
I have the 32RH in my 2000 Sport, I do like it...
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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?...
less stuff spread around the truck. all the emissions is in the engine bay. Not on top of the tank and in the rear 1/4...
make more sense now?
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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If you are going to trash it on the trails you might as well buy the cheapest one you can find with a good motor and transmission of your choice. Over time you are probably going to upgrade axles, transfer case etc anyways.

Some people have bad luck with cracked manifolds others don't. Mine (98) lasted over 100k miles but was junk when I finally pulled it out. The 3550 gives you a little better gearing over the ax15. The earlier 3 speed autos work well but don't like water without modifications. Mixed reviews on the later model 4 speeds.

Buy one that the previous owner never took off road and build it as you like. Buy one that was wheeled and it may have modifications already done. You will be money ahead on parts buying one that was wheeled (transfer case mods, axle gears/lockers, sye, armor, steering upgrades etc etc) but you have to be careful things aren't trashed and reliability may be an issue. Modifications are not wise financial investments...they almost always loose value. It's cheaper to let the previous owner buy the stuff.
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:22 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I understood that the High outputs had the header, not the cast exhaust manifold.
they all have the header, and the header is what is prone to cracking. 3X for me. (98 also)
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:49 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Depends on what you are going to do with it.

If you are planning on cutting it up with a sawzall and trailering it to the trail and back i would find something that has a good motor and trans that looks like ass for good $, then 97 and up would do the trick.

IF you just want a small lift + 33" tires for some weekend trails, but will depend on this to get you to work and back I would look for '00 - 01 and newer. Try to find a sport or Sahara with a 44 rear and 3.73 gears. The gears will work fine for 33s. Being a newer rig it should have reasonable miles on it... Try to find full hard doors for street driving.
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:34 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of the advice! I have actually found a few rubicons for less than $15000 so if i can talk the wife into it, ill go that way. I am shocked to see the price spread on rubicons, I have seen 03 rubicons anywhere from $24000 to $14900. Most of them have 50 to 90 thousand miles on them. I am not sure if the rubicon package is worth the extra money though.
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:00 PM   #20 (permalink)
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they all have the header, and the header is what is prone to cracking. 3X for me. (98 also)
Not 2000 and up they don't...
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:15 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Thanks for all of the advice! I have actually found a few rubicons for less than $15000 so if i can talk the wife into it, ill go that way. I am shocked to see the price spread on rubicons, I have seen 03 rubicons anywhere from $24000 to $14900. Most of them have 50 to 90 thousand miles on them. I am not sure if the rubicon package is worth the extra money though.
the price is dropping because of the introduction of the JK rubicon. So all those wannabe's are selling the TJ series so they can get the JK series to stay cool amongst the crowds. Thats just my theory. Am I bitter towards mall crawlers? NAAWWW

But its good to know that someone like your self will actually use it for what it is built for. I ran across some rubicon's with the normal mods and 35's and they are amazing on the trails. Just don't go any bigger then 36's and you'll be fine. I hope it works out for you. good luck
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:11 PM   #22 (permalink)
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No plan to go any bigger than 36s. Probably will run 35 toyos on the street and switch to 36 iroks when on a trail run. I found a rubicon in Washington that has an automatic tranny. Does anybody know if the auto trannys are any good? I have heard mixed reviews. I would love to hear from someone that has an auto rubicon to see what they think of the auto, especially with the 4 to 1 low range. Can the auto trannys be beefed up?
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:07 PM   #23 (permalink)
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nothing at all wrong with the automatics in fact i wish mine was auto
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:07 PM   #24 (permalink)
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i would never buy a built rig.... as i want to build it myself but if you are in here askin whats the best one im ganna say you will save tons of money buyin on thats already built up. they are great deals if it was done right. hell for 20k a 04 tj 44's f/r with 4.88's ox front and rear all chromo with supercharged 4.0 manual 24,000 miles and a RE Tri linked 8" kit just was listed for 21,000!!! hows that for a deal? oh and it had a killer custom paint job and PSC full cage... thing was wheeled three times loads more
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:35 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Look for a 2000 and up TJ Sahara with the D44 package, 3.73 gears
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