Potential New Member

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
I've been wanting a TJ and have been looking for a few months. It's been hard to find one that's stick shift and not rusted out.

I’m going to take a look at a ‘00 Sahara this week, manual trans, but with 215K miles. Asking is $4K. Seller says lots of maintenance was done, including frame restoration, new radiator, water pump, fuel pump, u joint, and muffler. Both hard top and a soft top are included. I’ve read that the frame is definitely a weak spot that I should check thoroughly, but what else should I look for and is the price/mileage in line?
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
35,380
Salem, Oregon
For $4000 there's just no way the something can't be wrong with it. I'm serious about that too. Miles aside, that's just too cheap.

If it were me, I would look outside of Michigan and be willing to travel to a state where they don't salt the roads.

The frame and the body is the biggest weak point in terms of rust. Aside from that though, there isn't much that goes wrong with these vehicles other than basis maintenance items such as cooling systems, O2 sensors, other electrical sensors, etc.

600k miles on a stock engine isn't unheard of.

Transmissions tend to need rebuilding around 200k miles (give or take), so that's something to be aware of. A fully rebuilt transmission can be had for $1500 new (plus the labor to install it), so consider that.
 
OP
3

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
For $4000 there's just no way the something can't be wrong with it. I'm serious about that too. Miles aside, that's just too cheap.

If it were me, I would look outside of Michigan and be willing to travel to a state where they don't salt the roads.

The frame and the body is the biggest weak point in terms of rust. Aside from that though, there isn't much that goes wrong with these vehicles other than basis maintenance items such as cooling systems, O2 sensors, other electrical sensors, etc.

600k miles on a stock engine isn't unheard of.

Transmissions tend to need rebuilding around 200k miles (give or take), so that's something to be aware of. A fully rebuilt transmission can be had for $1500 new (plus the labor to install it), so consider that.
Gotcha, thanks!
 
Reactions: Chris

Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
May 10, 2018
620
West Chester, PA, USA
For $4000 there's just no way the something can't be wrong with it. I'm serious about that too. Miles aside, that's just too cheap.

If it were me, I would look outside of Michigan and be willing to travel to a state where they don't salt the roads.

The frame and the body is the biggest weak point in terms of rust. Aside from that though, there isn't much that goes wrong with these vehicles other than basis maintenance items such as cooling systems, O2 sensors, other electrical sensors, etc.

600k miles on a stock engine isn't unheard of.

Transmissions tend to need rebuilding around 200k miles (give or take), so that's something to be aware of. A fully rebuilt transmission can be had for $1500 new (plus the labor to install it), so consider that.
I’m going to disagree on two points.

One, I’ve seen some crazy good deals happen on TJs. It’s not the norm but it does happen. Moral of the story, don’t turn tail & run because the price seems too good because while it probably is, you never know until you go look.

Two, as a lifetime rust belter I can tell you unequivocally there are good TJs here & I know that because I have one & I see them all the time. Granted, they’re the minority, but they’re here. The truth is that there were people here that bought TJs new & took care of them, maybe on purpose or maybe by accident (think of the people that bought them as second weekend vehicles & others that simply don’t drive in crappy winter weather).

My advice is look local first because it’ll be a lot easier and less aggravating to drive across town to pick up your new TJ than to fly across the country where “picking it up” takes on a whole new meaning. You may ultimately have no choice but to travel however don’t assume right out of the gate that this is necessary.
 
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OP
3

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
I’m going to disagree on two points.

One, I’ve seen some crazy good deals happen on TJs. It’s not the norm but it does happen. Moral of the story, don’t turn tail & run because the price seems too good because while it probably is, you never know until you go look.

Two, as a lifetime rust belter I can tell you unequivocally there are good TJs here & I know that because I have one & I see them all the time. Granted, they’re the minority, but they’re here. The truth is that there were people here that bought TJs new & took care of them, maybe on purpose or maybe by accident (think of the people that bought them as second weekend vehicles & others that simply don’t drive in crappy winter weather).

My advice is look local first because it’ll be a lot easier and less aggravating to drive across town to pick up your new TJ than to fly across the country where “picking it up” takes on a whole new meaning. You may ultimately have no choice but to travel however don’t assume right out of the gate that this is necessary.
Here are some pics of the underside the seller sent me before I drive an hour to look at it tomorrow.....thoughts? I know it’s hard to tell how deep the rust goes without taking a flathead/rubber mallet to it, but it seems like a lot more rust than I had imagined

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Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
3,973
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Man...That looks rough. If its already been repaired, its starting to look like it might need another. Also...If someone doesn't care enough to run wires the proper way than they didn't do other maintenance the proper way, so I'd pass.

Where about in Michigan are you? I scan craigslist quite a bit and could help you search...
 
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OP
3

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
Man...That looks rough. If its already been repaired, its starting to look like it might need another. Also...If someone doesn't care enough to run wires the proper way than they didn't do other maintenance the proper way, so I'd pass.

Where about in Michigan are you? I scan craigslist quite a bit and could help you search...
Gotcha thanks for the feedback! They said they have a dumb underglow kit on it, which I assume what the wiring is 🤦🏻‍♂️ I'm in the Southfield area, thanks!!
 

Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
May 10, 2018
620
West Chester, PA, USA
yup, that thing does look horrendous, on the third & fifth photos the frame rail looks like it's splitting near the top. And I think @Mike_H is right about the prior repair, that frame is missing some of the factory holes which is a telltale sign of new steel welded on there. I wouldn't waste a two hour round trip to see that one.
 
Reactions: 350Tek
OP
3

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
Appreciate the feedback. Yea, I've decided to pass on this one and hopefully a nicer one will pop up near me 😁
 
OP
3

350Tek

New Member
Mar 13, 2019
6
Michigan
Thoughts on this one? ‘97 Sport, 6 cylinder, manual. 142K miles. Frame looks a lot cleaner from the pics. Located about 90minutes south of me. Asking is $4500

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Westtown Willy

TJ Enthusiast
May 10, 2018
620
West Chester, PA, USA
Thoughts on this one? ‘97 Sport, 6 cylinder, manual. 142K miles. Frame looks a lot cleaner from the pics. Located about 90minutes south of me. Asking is $4500
it's hard to tell from those photos, whoever took them either doesn't know what they're trying to showcase (frame-wise) or they do & they're trying to hide something.

That photo of the passenger fender rotted through is not a good sign. That is a very common rust spot on the body of TJs & it's an important in a canary in a coal mine sense because if you see that you will usually see a good bit more on further inspection. The little bit of the frame you can see in these photos doesn't look as bad as the other one you showed us but that isn't saying much. Personally I wouldn't waste my time on this one but if you're willing to deal with some repairs & if the frame turns out to be ok the price isn't bad, however before taking a 3 hour round trip to go see this one I'd ask for much better pictures of the frame because the right picture may just rule it out entirely.
 

DetroitTJ

New Member
Jan 25, 2019
19
Detroit, MI
I am also a Michigander. I bought a rusty Jeep about a year ago with the intention of making it a project. I was in Phoenix a few weeks ago and asked myself why I didn’t buy a Jeep from the desert.

That body rust is going to suck to deal with even if the frame is solid.
 

matkal

New Member
Mar 17, 2019
23
Michigan’s Thumb
You can find Wranglers with good frames they’re just few and far between. I just found one and didn’t hesitate to go look at it. The body has a bit more rust than I hoped for but I’ve seen worse. A couple pics of the frame 830098300683008