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Thread: Is there a best year for a TJ?

  1. #1
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    Is there a best year for a TJ?

    My 17 yr old son has decided he wants a jeep wrangler. The tj's seem to fit into his 7-10,000 dollars budget. Is there a model year to look for? or i guess more importantly are there years to avoid.. He can drive a std. shift. Unfortunately he wants an automatic trans. any help would be great from you tj owners.

  2. #2
    Been Around the Block LetsGoMuddin's Avatar
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    I've had my '97 TJ for about two years now. I have the 4.0 with the 5 speed. When shopping around, look out for frame or body rot. The control arm mounts and different parts of the frame like to rot away. I was nervous about getting a stick shift because I learned how to drive stick on my Jeep, but I'm glad I did!
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  3. #3
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    Most jeeps close by ( Indianapolis IN ) area where we live have rust starting somewhere.. I work in ca. and they are much better body wise but seem to have better resale on the west coast.

  4. #4
    Fresh Catch 2000TJDude's Avatar
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    I have a 2000 sport with a manual and the only thing that I know is problematic is the head cracking on the 4 liter. I think the problem was fixed in the 02 and later. The seats and mirrors are also a little better on the later model years as well.


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  5. #5
    Fresh Catch 2000TJDude's Avatar
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    Also the auto transmission is a 4 speed on 03 and newer I think.


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  6. #6
    Hooked kep01's Avatar
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    Mine is a 03 Rubicon. 4.0 5speed. The trans is a nv3550 and it drives and rides better than my 97 the did.

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  7. #7
    Nothing but a Thing Gadget's Avatar
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    Is there a best year for a TJ?

    I have a 99 sport 4.0 5speed that I've had since it was new and other than stuff that just wore out like it should it has been very reliable, still daily driving it about half the time.
    The only real issue it had was the cracking exhaust header. I think it was a pre 2000 model year issue.

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    Last edited by Gadget; 11-19-2016 at 02:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Knows a Thing or Two ob_tj's Avatar
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    I have an 04 and love it. All the problems or breaks that I've had with it have been from wheeling.

  9. #9
    Administrator wayoflife's Avatar
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    I would highly recommend a 2000-up Sport if only because it can be had with the NV3550 manual transmission if that's what you're wanting and a Dana 44 rear axle. If I recall correctly, a 2002-up will come with a beefier gas tank skid plate. If you can afford it, a 2003-up Rubicon will come with lockers.

  10. #10
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    I found a 2003 rubicon with both tops, 1 owner, 4.0, automatic 98,000 asking $11,000 looks really clean we are gonna check that one out.. where should i be looking for the beginnings of rust? if its not obvious

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