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Old 02-21-2007, 10:57 AM  
Archie F. Swin Archie F. Swin is offline
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Current and former Jeep Wrangler owners

I'm looking at 2007 as the year I replace my daily driver, a '94 Jeep Cherokee (4.0l 2wd). I'm looking for input and advice concerning a used Jeep Wrangler, a vehicle I am giving serious consideration as my next daily driver. I will probably try to find a '97 to 2000 Wrangler.

First of all why am I tiring of the Cherokee?
-It looks like the Exxon Valdez ran ashore on my driveway
-No driver's side airbag
-the auto tranny has been quirky lately, regualry slipping into what wrenches call "limp" mode
-the vehicle performs very poorly (read: dangerously) on icy, at times wet roads

Why am I considering a Wrangler?
I would like to have a vehicle with a bit more of a "fun to drive" factor, and more importantly I'm becoming increasingly more interested in owning a convertible. Now I know a Jeep Wrangler is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think convertible, but here's my reasoning.
Convertibles are one of three things A)two-seat roadsters B) limited production American cars C) expensive imports.
With that in mind I'm thinking that the Wrangler is the only vehicle I can squeeze my wife and two kids in, drop the top, and If it something fails mechanically...O'Reilly has the part on the shelf.

Even though my Cherokee has not been my favorite, primarily because of the stupid ****ing sensors, that can leave you on the side of the road if one fails, I do like the 4.0l engine because of the ease of maintenance and the common parts. Not to mention its a potent six-banger.

I would especially be interested in opinions in hard top vs soft top.

Last edited by Archie F. Swin; 02-21-2007 at 11:39 AM..
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:00 AM   #2
L.A. Chieffan L.A. Chieffan is offline
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I had a nice wrangler a few years ago. Lifted, a lot of custom stuff. It's a cool car and the females like it but it ain't practical for an every day car.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:01 AM   #3
Sully Sully is offline
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I had a Wrangler for 7 years. I loved it. The convertability factor was the best part, especially taking the doors off.
I had a 95. It was pretty basic, 5-speed, 4-cylinder. If anything went wrong with it, it was also pretty basic, and I don't know crap about fixing cars.
The only bad thing was the noise. If you are driving a ong distance, you are absically driving a refrigerator box with wheels, so wind can eff with it pretty bad, and with the soft top, the wind noise is annoying. However, I did drive it to Florida and back, and to Columbia and back many times, so you get used to it.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
RJ RJ is offline
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Agree with Sully across the board. I really enjoyed it but it wasn't practical for everyday use or road trips. If I have one again it will be just for weekend fun when my daughter gets old enough to not need a car seat.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
Radar Chief Radar Chief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sully
I had a Wrangler for 7 years. I loved it. The convertability factor was the best part, especially taking the doors off.
I had a 95. It was pretty basic, 5-speed, 4-cylinder. If anything went wrong with it, it was also pretty basic, and I don't know crap about fixing cars.
The only bad thing was the noise. If you are driving a ong distance, you are absically driving a refrigerator box with wheels, so wind can eff with it pretty bad, and with the soft top, the wind noise is annoying. However, I did drive it to Florida and back, and to Columbia and back many times, so you get used to it.
You should try an old CJ, it’s like drive’n down the highway in a tent.
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Old 02-21-2007, 11:49 AM   #6
DMAC DMAC is offline
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I had a 94 Wrangler, then the family came.

I loved it, you join a "community" so to say.

Although, I have noticed that recently Jeeps have become more of a "chick" car.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:01 PM   #7
Radar Chief Radar Chief is offline
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http://www.jeepsunlimited.com/mambo2/

Go to Jeeps Unlimited and check out their boards. The CJ forum is strictly tech and there’s lots of good information and experienced technical guys that post there.
They also have forums that are split into the three different models for YJ, TJ and the new JK Wranglers.
I don’t think a ’97 Wrangler model exists, they skipped a year of production to make a bigger splash with the then new TJ model but I’m not certain of the year and the guys on the Wrangler forums would know better than I do.
From what I know of’em though, and since you’re basically look’n in the TJ model range, you should probably look for either a late model, IIRC ’05 and above, or a Sahara model. The basic TJ comes with a Dana 35 rear axle that is universally accepted as junk. The later models will have an AAM (American Axle Manufacturer) that is an upgrade over the Dana and the Sahara as the battle tested Dana 44.
All will use the Dana 30 front and some got the high pinion version, at least I think. The Dana 30 is a pretty good front axle but the high pinion version is a bit stronger.
It seems like they also got the AX 15 transmission and NV231 transfer case.
Like I said though, the guys at JU will know better than I do.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:25 PM   #8
Archie F. Swin Archie F. Swin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar Chief
http://www.jeepsunlimited.com/mambo2/

Go to Jeeps Unlimited and check out their boards. The CJ forum is strictly tech and there’s lots of good information and experienced technical guys that post there.
They also have forums that are split into the three different models for YJ, TJ and the new JK Wranglers.
I don’t think a ’97 Wrangler model exists, they skipped a year of production to make a bigger splash with the then new TJ model but I’m not certain of the year and the guys on the Wrangler forums would know better than I do.
From what I know of’em though, and since you’re basically look’n in the TJ model range, you should probably look for either a late model, IIRC ’05 and above, or a Sahara model. The basic TJ comes with a Dana 35 rear axle that is universally accepted as junk. The later models will have an AAM (American Axle Manufacturer) that is an upgrade over the Dana and the Sahara as the battle tested Dana 44.
All will use the Dana 30 front and some got the high pinion version, at least I think. The Dana 30 is a pretty good front axle but the high pinion version is a bit stronger.
It seems like they also got the AX 15 transmission and NV231 transfer case.
Like I said though, the guys at JU will know better than I do.
'ppreciate the input, but the type of axles, tranys and suspensions will not really skew my opinion of the vehicle overall. Thats why I'm asking planeteers, hoping to sample more in the way of average joe vehicle owners. The folks at JU are more likely hard-core Jeepsters, many of them "off-roaders" which I will likely not be.

I will probably visit JU after I give the Wrangler more consideration. Just cause I don't know what kind of rear end/axle or tranny my Cherokee has doesn't mean I can't give advice or have an opinion on owning one.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:34 PM   #9
jspchief jspchief is online now
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Had an '87 Wrangler for about 7 years.

I don't think I'll ever enjoy another vehicle like I did that one. Nothing compares to taking the top and doors off on those first really nice days of spring.

The only reason I don't own another one is space. For camping and tailgating it just doesn't have the room I desire.

I had a hardtop with a harness system in my garage that made for easy removal/installation. I also had a bikini top and toneau cover. If I had to do it again I would go the hard top route again. It may limit your ability to go topless on the fly, but for overall practicality hard top wins out.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:44 PM   #10
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It's a good vehicle, as long as you have basic mechanical skills.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:56 PM   #11
Radar Chief Radar Chief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie F. Swin
'ppreciate the input, but the type of axles, tranys and suspensions will not really skew my opinion of the vehicle overall. Thats why I'm asking planeteers, hoping to sample more in the way of average joe vehicle owners. The folks at JU are more likely hard-core Jeepsters, many of them "off-roaders" which I will likely not be.

I will probably visit JU after I give the Wrangler more consideration. Just cause I don't know what kind of rear end/axle or tranny my Cherokee has doesn't mean I can't give advice or have an opinion on owning one.
Ok, that’s kewl.
If you’re not look’n for something to go off pavement at all, I wouldn’t bother with a Jeep. You’ll increase the likelihood of mechanical issues just for a convertible and if that’s all you want there are better options, IMO.
But if you just like the looks and think they’re cool, I won’t get mad at’cha.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:57 PM   #12
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I got rid of my '02 Wrangler about 8 months ago:

Pros
*Like you said, it's fun to drive, my friends always wanted me to drive when we went out.
*Convertable was cool, I like open air driving.
*Even though it's pretty light, it kicked snow's ass
*Pretty easy to work on and the easiest oil change I have ever done.

Cons
*Terrible gas mileage. I got 14 MPG with my I6.
*If you have the soft top on, there is a 50/50 chance you will have a nervous breakdown if you have more than a 2 hour trip. The wind noise is terrible.
*As has been discussed, a good wind grabs a Wrangler like a sail.
*It was absolutely USELESS for cargo. If you have all the seats full, enjoy the two grocery bags you can fit in it.
*Good luck driving any faster than 70....ever, even with the I6.

I really considered keeping the Wrangler when I got my truck, but I ended up not doing it. I loved the ride, but it's not a great car to have unless you have a good reliable SUV, truck or at least good-sized car as well.
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Old 02-21-2007, 02:27 PM   #13
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I owned a 88 Wrangler 4.0L softtop. If you get a hardtop you won't be topless very often they are not fun to put on and off even the newer tops which are a bit easier. and storage of the hardtop is an issue to consider also. With a newer softtop you can slide the top on or off without having to take it completely off.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:04 PM   #14
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I love my Cherokee..my oldest wants a Wrangler.
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Old 02-21-2007, 05:13 PM   #15
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