TJ Buying Advice - Newbie Member


JeepManJones

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
25
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Hello all,
Just joined the forum and I must say I am looking forward to everything involving TJ's. The site seems super well designed too, which is always nice!
A little background,
I own a 1966 CJ5 Tuxedo Park Edition Jeep, with the Dauntless 225 and a 3 Speed. I bought the Jeep a year ago and have been in love with it, and Jeeps in general, ever since. I have the "Jeep bug" you could say. My CJ5 is pretty mint as far as 54 year old vehicles go, and everything dialed and set up perfectly. It's my "fun" vehicle for trips to the beach, friday nights, etc.
I am looking to buy another Jeep to build up for off roading, as I want to keep my CJ5 as more of a cruiser. Sure, I do some very light offloading with it but mainly just pavement driving.
I have decided to purchase a 4.0 6 speed Manual TJ. I have been doing a ton of research (on this forum mostly) just to educate myself, and see that this is a very well liked, reliable combo. I am on somewhat of a budget and do not want to blow all of what I want to spend solely on the Jeep itself, I want to save enough money for modifications.
There is a 2005 X Model TJ, 4.0, 6 Speed for sale nearby. Bone stock. The seller says the frame is mint and it runs like new. I must say it does look very nice from the pictures, and it comes with a soft top. However, it has 196,000 miles. He is asking $3900. I do not want to be dealing with problems all the time and want to buy something reliable, something that is a great starting point for the build. I am going to see it in person tomorrow and do a test drive, so I will be able to gauge what condition it's in.
My question is should I shy away from this Jeep due to the mileage? Or is this a fine starting point. I won't be putting 40,000 miles on the Jeep a year like some people, but it will see some heavy use during the summer and I don't want to have to worry about it falling apart on me. It seems like a great deal, but not too good to be true (trust me, I've seen plenty of this before).

Thank you in advance, and happy to be a new member.
 

Chris

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Sep 28, 2015
Messages
56,212
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Florence, AZ
Mileage wouldn't be my concern, my number one concern above anything else would be frame rust, period.

For that price, I'm guessing it's a rust bucket with a rotted frame.

Pictures would help tremendously though (y)
 
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JeepManJones

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
25
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Hopefully these help, can't see the frame obviously but it appears to be in nice shape.

Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 5.14.31 PM.png


Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 5.14.38 PM.png


Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 5.14.46 PM.png
 

Rubicon John

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 12, 2020
Messages
773
Location
Atlanta
3,900 is cheaper than any 4.0 is going for around here currently. I just purchased my TJ with 187k on it and mileage was the least of my concerns. I say if there’s minimal or no rust you should jump on it ASAP.
 
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JeepManJones

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
25
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
3,900 is cheaper than any 4.0 is going for around here currently. I just purchased my TJ with 187k on it and mileage was the least of my concerns. I say if there’s minimal or no rust you should jump on it ASAP.
Yes it seems to be a great price, only been online for a few days and it will probably sell quick. Thanks for the replies.
 

Goatman

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
4,306
Location
Upstate NY
Every vehicle I've ever went to look at was in perfect running condition, rust free, only driven by granny on sunday, .... Until I got there. If it is really rust free in Mass. Then I would grab it at that price. Even if it was missing the engine. Rust is the #1 problem. Everything else can be fixed. But once you have rust you always have rust unless you are in Az or socal.
 
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Noreaster1967

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Dec 13, 2019
Messages
59
Location
New Gloucester, ME
Every vehicle I've ever went to look at was in perfect running condition, rust free, only driven by granny on sunday, .... Until I got there. If it is really rust free in Mass. Then I would grab it at that price. Even if it was missing the engine. Rust is the #1 problem. Everything else can be fixed. But once you have rust you always have rust unless you are in Az or socal.
I couldn't agree more. I live in southern Maine and I must have looked at 60+ jeeps before I found one with a decent frame.
 
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Peter Panagakos

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
191
Location
Rio Rancho, NM, United States
Too bad your so far away. I have a 2006 TJ with the 4.0, but it's an automatic. In perfect shape, in New Mexico it's whole life, no rust, 121K miles runs great has a new wrangler fix PCM so no transmission shift problems, kaki color with soft top and half doors, 2 inch lift with MOAB wheels. Not even a tiny dent in it and never really off roaded, babied. You have what I really like, late 60's CJ-5 with the oddfire V-6 and the T-90 trans. I'd swap you in a heart beat, and pay the rest of the $5k left on my TJ loan. Trouble with being in New Mexico is I'm never close to anything I really like. You would think there would be all kinds of older and newer Jeeps around here, but there are not many at all. Every thing seems to be back east or in Ohio or other midwestern state, and they often have the rust issues.
 

TJ2

TJ Expert
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Dec 9, 2017
Messages
3,996
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Texas United States
Too bad your so far away. I have a 2006 TJ with the 4.0, but it's an automatic. In perfect shape, in New Mexico it's whole life, no rust, 121K miles runs great has a new wrangler fix PCM so no transmission shift problems, kaki color with soft top and half doors, 2 inch lift with MOAB wheels. Not even a tiny dent in it and never really off roaded, babied. You have what I really like, late 60's CJ-5 with the oddfire V-6 and the T-90 trans. I'd swap you in a heart beat, and pay the rest of the $5k left on my TJ loan. Trouble with being in New Mexico is I'm never close to anything I really like. You would think there would be all kinds of older and newer Jeeps around here, but there are not many at all. Every thing seems to be back east or in Ohio or other midwestern state, and they often have the rust issues.
No such thing as too far away.
I was in Illinois job-site when I got my 2nd TJ from Florida.
No regrets driving that long :) 19 hours for 1,300 miles @ 65 MPH few pit stops.
 

AndyG

TJ Guru
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2018
Messages
7,188
Location
Alabama
No such thing as too far away.
I was in Illinois job-site when I got my 2nd TJ from Florida.
No regrets driving that long :) 19 hours for 1,300 miles @ 65 MPH few pit stops.
This post stands out . Don't go home with the ugly ones boys!

We buy them to drive , drive to buy them.

If folks would take a road trip occasionally , it would pay off .. especially if it's a credible seller and exactly what you want.
 

Buckeyebutch

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
60
Location
OHIO
Looking at the pictures, I see a daily driver with 196K on the clock. I'm putting $20 on RED=RUSTY FRAME. Just remember [if it's to good to be true it probably isn't]
Since you are a jeep guy you'll know what to look for.
 

Goatman

TJ Expert
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
4,306
Location
Upstate NY
Too bad your so far away. I have a 2006 TJ with the 4.0, but it's an automatic. In perfect shape, in New Mexico it's whole life, no rust, 121K miles runs great has a new wrangler fix PCM so no transmission shift problems, kaki color with soft top and half doors, 2 inch lift with MOAB wheels. Not even a tiny dent in it and never really off roaded, babied. You have what I really like, late 60's CJ-5 with the oddfire V-6 and the T-90 trans. I'd swap you in a heart beat, and pay the rest of the $5k left on my TJ loan. Trouble with being in New Mexico is I'm never close to anything I really like. You would think there would be all kinds of older and newer Jeeps around here, but there are not many at all. Every thing seems to be back east or in Ohio or other midwestern state, and they often have the rust issues.
Boy, I'll tell ya, that T-90 trans is easily the best I've ever had. 258 engine and a T-90 is an unbelievable joy to drive. That is until you jump in another vehicle and go to reverse out and find yourself going fowards!😉 Loved that inline R to 1st. Can rock yourself out of any kind of gulley.
 

Peter Panagakos

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 3, 2017
Messages
191
Location
Rio Rancho, NM, United States
Yes, I loved it too. Iv'e had a number of the older Willy's Jeeps, a few military, M-38, M38A1 and a 1942 Ford GPW. Then a few civilian. CJ-5, CJ-2 and my favorite CJ3B with an odd fire V-6 and the T-90. They were all great and I miss them, was stupid to sell them. The original Jeeps, built to be repaired by a 18 year old Iowa farm boy in the middle of nowhere with some hand tools. Maybe some day I'll find another.
 
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JeepManJones

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
25
Location
Boston, Massachusetts
Thank you for all the great replies! Loving the forum, it is by far the most active one I have ever been on, which is super nice because sometimes with other forums it takes days to get even a half assed response.

So here's the story. I drove about an hour from my house to check out the TJ (posted above). I was obviously skeptical and didn't bring cash or a trailer, just wanted to give it a look. I arrived and the owner came out and was extremely, EXTREMELY nice. I knew right from the get go this guy was not trying to hose anybody, but I stayed skeptical and made sure to give the Jeep a good vetting.

I looked at every single nook and cranny of it with a big LED flashlight in hand. I kid you not, and I'll make sure to send some pictures after breakfast, the FRAME IS MINT. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO RUST ON THIS FRAME. The body has a couple tiny surface rust patches here and there, but nothing of any concern. I was blown away. If you gave it a good cleaning you could eat off the frame.

After vetting everything for an hour, I took it for a nice long test drive and was amazed at how tight everything was. Suspension, brakes, etc. the Jeep performed perfectly.

I got back and the owner had even more surprises for me. He had almost 2000 dollars of receipts for maintenance he had done, and the Jeep just recently had the rear main seal replaced at a dealership locally. I know this is a common problem and can cause some oil leakage, so it's super nice to not have to worry.

The interior was mint, only one tiny rip on the side of the drivers seat. All lights, gauges, stereo, climate control worked flawlessly.

He was originally asking $5000, but the day before I went to check it out he dropped it to $3900. After all my inspecting and test drive I offered him $3500. He laughed and said I put him in a tight spot, but said he really needed the cash. He came back at $3600.

$3550 later and there is an 05 Tj parked in my driveway.