Janky frame or just paranoia?

Kingkeem

New Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2021
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16
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Phillly
Hey all,

I want to dive into the jeep world acter taking a break from the 4runner world.

Found a 1997 4.0 with 120k miles and the frame is what has me hesitant. I don’t know if it’s bondo or grime or nothing at all. Also not familiar with welding quality so I don’t know if that patch is a quality job.

Please give me an honest assessment.

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I found another one, gentleman is from arizona. Just moved to the philly area. Frame is immaculate. Inside is so smooth. I’m Jealous of west coast folks.

Issue is, it has 220k on a 4.0 automatic, 2001 wrangler. 220k scares me on an automatic.( Not worried about the 4.0.)
 
Paying for a new/rebuilt/used/whatever transmission is far better than paying to fix rust, and chances are no matter what you choose to do, it should last longer than rust repair.
I see, makes sense.

I’m somewhat okay mechanically speaking. Never owned a jeep before. From research on here, it seems everyone stresses frame over engine/driveline miles

220k is kind of high even for jeep though right? I did buy my old 4runner at 230k but I was young and I lucked up with it being very dependable after another 90k miles.
 
I found another one, gentleman is from arizona. Just moved to the philly area. Frame is immaculate. Inside is so smooth. I’m Jealous of west coast folks.

Issue is, it has 220k on a 4.0 automatic, 2001 wrangler. 220k scares me on an automatic.( Not worried about the 4.0.)

I'm jealous of people outside the rust belt as well. Shopping for TJs here is a nightmare. Swapping a transmission or engine isn't so bad if it comes to it, but it is money. I'd rather have that than frame problems.

I see, makes sense.

I’m somewhat okay mechanically speaking. Never owned a jeep before. From research on here, it seems everyone stresses frame over engine/driveline miles

220k is kind of high even for jeep though right? I did buy my old 4runner at 230k but I was young and I lucked up with it being very dependable after another 90k miles.

I think people stress over that more (myself included) for a few reasons. It's a safety issue. It's expensive. But most of all, it can be indicative of the overall health of the vehicle. A vehicle with a frame that bad likely has major body rust and major mechanical issues lurking as well. Whereas if I see a high mileage vehicle that is super clean, I feel like it was taken care of. I do still expect mechanical problems, particularly with an auto, but the nightmare of owning and working on a rust bucket cannot be understated. It is truly a terrible experience. Whereas, a clean vehicle? Bliss. Give me a babied vehicle with high miles over a neglected rust bucket any day.

Edit: Yes, 220k is high miles even for a Jeep. My friend had to swap his auto transmission and engine at around that many miles. Don't know the history of his TJ, but that is something I would be expecting and preparing for at around those miles. As another example: I bought an auto, 4.0L with 145k miles a couple years ago and it has been great, transmission going strong, engine going strong. That is considered high miles, but it runs so well I feel like it will be years before I need to do major engine or transmission work.
 
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Offer him $500. Then take it to a junkyard and sell it to them for $750 in scrap.
Booger welds on the frame, rust on the fuel rail? RUST ON THE FUEL RAIL? sheesh.
janky is being polite.
 
I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 200k mile Wrangler I6. If its clean and rust free, it's for me. Engines are easy to be had or rebuilt and so are the auto transmissions.
 
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