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Jeep 4WD Question

Devilman

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Started kicking around the idea of picking up a Jeep. Mostly a toy to bang around offroad but decent enough that could be driven on the street and towed behind a motorhome occasionally. Started off looking at CJ7s, but wouldn't totally rule out a Wrangler. Planning to stay at least with a 6 cyl and a standard trans, but not familiar with how the 4WD operates on the 90s era Wranglers. All the 4WD vehicles I've ever had were old school: transfer cases and locking hubs, which is why I started out only looking at CJs. Did some looking around and best I can come up with is its vacuum operated somehow? Normally it's something I'd stay away from, but may be nothing really wrong with it? Just wondering how reliable it is and what the offroaders here may have to say about it.

Thanks! :cool:
 

DLC

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I’ve had 5 jeeps
Latest ones
2005 rubi unlimited on 35 - I keep this in havasu
2012 rubicon unlimited 4 door on 37’s - this is at home I call it my Prius

I would go with a 98 or newer wrangler TJ, 6 cyc 5 speed, transfer case is a NP 231,tons of mods for the t case, motor is fuel injected plenty of power the loose end would be the rear end and they did have an option of a Dana 44 other wise it’s a Dana 35 you can get a super 35 kit and it will beef up the 35. this will have good ac and heater ps, pb
High mileage may have an oil leak at the rear main seal it’s hit / Miss

if you can find a Rubicon model that would be better but more cash 02-06
Dana 241 t case w/ 4to 1low range
Dana 44 frt and rear
Disc brakes all around

do you have a budget in mind? Do you want one all stock or mildly modified

it may take a little bit to find the right one so don’t be in a hurry
 

DLC

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Early TJ’ s auto tranny was a 3 speed they work great for rock crawling but has limits for street driving, they do have a 4 speed not sure what years they came out
The ride and driving experience is much better in the TJ than a CJ. The early TJ’ s had an issue with the 4wd shift lever it was attached to the body and the t case and under flex while off road it would pop out of gear or be hard to engage, they have a kit that changes that and it’s an easy modification. The vacuum system is good and you shouldn’t have any issues with it

any wrangler manny or auto trans can be flat towed behind a motorhome my o5 has been all over, nor cal, Yellowstone no problems
 

DLC

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I keep thinking of stuff to add

the CJ has a crappy soft top design flaps and makes noise and the hard top is kinda funky
The TJ has a great soft top many different styles easy on and off or up and down and hard top is easy to put on take off, storage while hard top is off can be difficult as it’s kinda big bulky. Soft tops come with clear windows or tinted, rear windows zip out easy
You can get full hard doors with roll up windows of half door soft upper or full soft doors they all work good and depends on your usage
 

Devilman

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Some good info for sure, thank you. That's good to know about the vacuum system too.

I'm fine with slightly modified. It would just keep me from probably doing the same stuff to a stock one anyway lol. Lifted with 33s is probably about the extent I would be looking at. Then whatever accessories it may have would just be a bonus. Lights, tow bar, maybe a winch, stuff like that.

Budget, that will probably be subjective, lol. I/we originally kicked off this search looking to spend 4-5 K. Of course that was on something older, simpler, and probably needing some work. I see now that I'll have to up my spending game a bit to get more of the creature comforts so to speak.

Usage would be occasional, so thats one of the factors in not dropping a big chunk of $$$ on something that will not get used a whole lot. Mostly woods/trail riding I'd say. Not scared of the mud. Not much opportunity for rock crawling around here though.

After reading what you posted I did a bit of searching and something like these 2 get my attention. They are 97 models though.

https://sanantonio.craigslist.org/cto/d/san-antonio-1997-jeep-wrangler-sport/7065840927.html

https://houston.craigslist.org/cto/d/pearland-jeep-wrangler-tj/7062979976.html
 

Devilman

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I notice you didn't mention YJs at all. Are they that bad? o_O:p
 

Dana757

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I notice you didn't mention YJs at all. Are they that bad? o_O:p
Last model with leaf spring suspension. TJ is first with coils. And it's way way better to drive.
 

Dana757

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When I bought mine I was looking at TJ's with hard top, full doors, AC, auto trans and pretty well done up so I didn't have to throw and ocean of money in it right off the bat. I've sense thrown an ocean of money in it but hey, that's how it goes.
Rubicon's are nice because you get lower gearing in t case, Dana 44's with front and rear lockers (instead of open diffs in Dana 30's. Here is mine how I bought it. On 35's, 5:13 gears, chromoly axels and yada yada yada.
 

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Devilman

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When I bought mine I was looking at TJ's with hard top, full doors, AC, auto trans and pretty well done up so I didn't have to throw and ocean of money in it right off the bat. I've sense thrown an ocean of money in it but hey, that's how it goes.
Rubicon's are nice because you get lower gearing in t case, Dana 44's with front and rear lockers (instead of open diffs in Dana 30's. Here is mine how I bought it. On 35's, 5:13 gears, chromoly axels and yada yada yada.
That is a nice rig. I hear you on throwing money at it, I'm sure I'd do the same, lol. Another question just came to mind: towing with it. You ever tow your boat with yours?

Copy that on the YJ. Thought that may be the case on the springs/ride situation, but didn't figure it could ride any worse than the Samurai we've been messing around with lately. :confused: :D
 

Dana757

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That is a nice rig. I hear you on throwing money at it, I'm sure I'd do the same, lol. Another question just came to mind: towing with it. You ever tow your boat with yours?

Copy that on the YJ. Thought that may be the case on the springs/ride situation, but didn't figure it could ride any worse than the Samurai we've been messing around with lately. :confused: :D
No, it would throw rocks all over it. lol And tow rig it's not. It's pretty short and has really soft suspension. I could see towing a small boat with one of the 4 doors.
 

DLC

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The suspension is usually pretty soft for a nice ride so towing any with tongue weight will squat the back end and lighten / lift up the Frt

jet skis where weight is neutral wouldn’t be a problem
 

DLC

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Look for a few for sale that is close to home and go do a test drive, kick some tires! Get some experience
 

DLC

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upload_2020-2-5_9-49-15.jpeg

this is $10,000, year 2000
 

Devilman

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No, it would throw rocks all over it. lol And tow rig it's not. It's pretty short and has really soft suspension. I could see towing a small boat with one of the 4 doors.
Damn good point. We've got a pretty short ride to where we normally boat, but you mentioning it I can definitely see it being a squirrely ride. :p
 

Devilman

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Well, it's been a little while and obviously things have been off kilter for last few months but wanted to update this. Back in April we found and purchased a Jeep. Tried focusing on the newer models as suggested, but ones we found were either top notch and way over budget, or beat up and still over budget, lol. 😄 So being as how we weren't sure how much we'd actually use the thing figured we'd try something a bit more "entry level" I guess you'd say. Found a 3 owner '89 Jeep Wrangler YJ. Straight 6 with a 5 spd. It's had a few mods, but nothing too major. Engine has been converted to EFI with a Howell fuel injection kit, which supposedly is way better than the factory carb would have been. 3.5" spring lift, NP 231 transfer case with a slip yoke eliminator kit and the beefier rear driveshaft to go with it. The front axle (Dana 30) has a solid axle shaft installed, which did away with all the vacuum actuated CAD stuff. Not crazy about the front end spinning all the time, but I did see where there is a hub kit for it so may do that down the road if we keep it. Aftermarket rear bumper with a swing away spare mount and matching spare. Was originally a hard top so it has the full steel doors, but been replaced with a new soft top. New front seats, new console, sway bar disconnect kit, some other doodads. It could use a paint job, but no rust other than the nicks in the paint here and there. It could also use new tires, the tread is good but they're 8 years old. It has 30s on it now, was thinking maybe 32s, not sure. Seems like as long as they're not thrashed these things hold their value fairly well, so who knows, may trade up in the future and not lose our ass on this one. 🙃
IMG_20200530_114924.jpg
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IMG_20200530_114750.jpg
 

t&y

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Nice. Look into a shackle reversal for the front end. It will make your ride a little better. Not a crazy deal. We wheeled all over Moab in a TJ on 32's. You don't need to go big unless you plan on trying to rock crawl. Then it's more a matter of how many cubic dollars do you want to put into your jeep between tires, diffs, inner/outer axles, hubs, ring and pinion, lockers, etc... You can go a lot of place and have a lot of fun with a stock Jeep.
 

DLC

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Looks great!
congratulations ! Just empty every pocket - jeep!

Look for side wall cracks on your current tire, air them down to 10 psi and check em out

32’s would be a good choice and if you decide to go with 33’s you can add a 1inch body lift to fit them.

just go have fun, always pack a jeep bag where ever you go - tow strap tool bag tree strap high lift jack ( can be used as a winch ) 1st aid kit and food drinks and you’ll have a great time! Tons of info on what to bring with ya. Oh almost forgot get a small air compressor to air up tires start off airing down to about 14-12 psi then when you feel comfy stay about 10-12 you go just about anywhere you want to go.

Ryobi / Milwaukee under $100 has a good a good hand held air compressor and uses the same batteries As the drills/ impacts. Viaire has some good 12 volt compressors, I have the 400p about $200 and it’s been a work horse for over 10 years

most important thing is to go get lost and have some fun!
 
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