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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All:

Long post but please bear with me. I began my membership in this forum when I had a 14 WK2. I left the forum when I hit my mid-life crisis and bought a 15 JKUR that I built up and wheeled. Unfortunately, I had some life events happen (divorce) and I traded in my JKUR for a 12 VW Touareg TDI. I love my new TDI but missing the ability to go wheeling and driving on the beach in the summer. So that brings me back here.

I'm looking for a second vehicle for my girlfriend which will serve as our occasional wheeling rig, dedicated beach vehicle, and her daily driver. She drives very infrequently <4k miles per year since she lives in the city and is able to take public transportation to work. I have two kids 6 & 8 who will occasionally be in this vehicle when mine is in the shop or if she is helping me out with hockey practices. Other than that I expect we'll do some light wheeling maybe 6 times a year which will primarily consist of Class 6 roads in NH. We are on a limited budget but are considering either an XJ or WJ. I have experience owning a 2000 XJ that I lifted with a 2" OME lift. I know all of the issues with the XJ including cracked cylinder heads (I had to replace mine). I love the look of the XJ, as it is truly a classic, but remember the relatively small interior, road noise, drum brakes, etc.. I don't have much experience with the WJs other than reading the buying guides. Whatever I end up with I'm looking to run 32/33" tires and 3 or 4" of lift. From what I've read it sounds like the WJ would generally fit the bill better than an XJ due to it being slightly roomier inside, rear disc brakes, and having the option of a V8. I know there isn't as much available from an aftermarket perspective but given what I'm looking to do is there anything I'm missing with the WJ?
 

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I had a 2001 XJ which I lifted 4.5" on 32s. I loved it except both of us are >6 ft so it wasn't comfortable and the 80 pound dog didn't fit well in the back. It went down the road at 201k miles with the factory 0331 head so as long as you keep up with the maintenance you'd be good. It was replaced by the WK2.

The Wrangler is a much better fit but the lack of rear doors makes it a little inconvenient at times. But hey, the top comes off!!

If I were to do it over again I probably would have skipped the XJ and went WJ.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick response. I'm 6'4" (and a lot fatter then I was when I had the XJ) so hear you on the height issue. Long term plan is to move to get her a JKUR but till then going to have to make do with either an XJ or WJ. I briefly considered a Land Rover Disco I or II but I think I'd rather stay in the Jeep family. I'm fairly mechanically inclined but don't have a garage anymore and only have the city street to work on whatever I buy. Should have mentioned we have a 80lb pit bull that needs to go in the back too.
 

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Well definitely an XJ but realize i'm biased still owning my originally bought 2K XJ.

The dog in the rear cargo area was no problem having taken 3 dogs too many times over too many years to the vet and else where.
I did have to buy one of those dog barriers to keep Duncan my big male dog from jumping in the front seat area.
The two females just settled down and more or less took a road nap.

If you buy any one of those two Jeeps my advice take it or leave it would be to buy one from the original owner if possible and stay away from Jeeps with extreme off road modifications.
Both of those old models typically have had multiple previous owners most of which have tinkered with, jury rigged or modified.

By the way the best year for an XJ would be a '99 or a little earlier. They don't have the 0331 heads which are prone to cracking.
Having said that, with roughly 360k miles on my 2k XJ never had a cracked head problem.

Far as the height and weight issue, just have to sit in one and see if it fits.
 

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I agree with as stock as possible. I still ran into cracked and busted wires in both front doors and the hatch of my XJ that I had to rewire.

And also my LJ, which was low mileage, two owner, had a hacked up audio system which I'm still finding little surprises each time I tinker around that I have to repair back to factory.

Also depending on your location.....both suffer from RUST! I was extremely lucky to find a high mileage rust free XJ. Check whatever you decide on very closely. Don't be afraid to poke that surface rust with a small screw driver.
 

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.......And also my LJ, which was low mileage, two owner, had a hacked up audio system which I'm still finding little surprises each time I tinker around that I have to repair back to factory....
Even though i'm the original owner of my XJ, guilty as charged! lol
lifted it a couple inches
T-case drop
30's
fab'd then added an A pillar grab handle
4-hole injectors
hi flow air filter
replaced the sagging headliner (what a PITA project that was)
added a home brewed efan timer delay
aux. running lights which i wired to synchronize with the brights on/off
updated the radio but its a genuine used later year plug 'n play Jeep radio with the same form factor
speakers
hard wired a radar and GPS red light detector
upgraded the headlights
Whats left is basically stock.

Most people just can't resist modding these old XJ's.
 

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I'm the same way. I try to do it tastefully and properly though. And keep all of my documents for when I decide to sell.
 

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I'm the same way. I try to do it tastefully and properly though. And keep all of my documents for when I decide to sell.
Yep totally agree.
You should see my XJ's note book, maints. log and parts receipts, about as thick as an old Websters Dictionary.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So as much as I said a WJ might be better I keep coming back to the classic styling of the XJ and the look of the XJ lifted vs the WJ lifted. I've been talking to a couple of sellers. Would love to get your thoughts on these:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/2535368146788162/ - local guy bought for his son who had a camaro but recently traded for a 4wd truck. Looks to be immaculate but I think it is priced a bit high.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1197136333816550/ - local guy 3rd owner says he's got a folder full of receipts. Similar story to above. Bought a truck and doesn't need the XJ anymore. Obviously it is a 2001 but I'm willing to deal with the cracked cylinder head issue again now that I know what I'm looking for.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/1761794603964977/ - just reached out to this guy don't know anything about it.

Now with all that said, the above jeeps are a little expensive for what I'm looking for but certainly doable. I have been talking to a guy who belongs to the Jeep offroad club who is casually trying to sell his WJ. He's an engineer by trade (looked him up) and has given me a ton of information about the WJ. Price point is great, it will obviously need some work but I can do a lot of it myself. He did identify the death wobble issue but that would be addressed when I replace the existing suspension with a mild 3" lift. Thoughts?



Thanks for all your help!!!
 

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The 1st, $4500 is a fair price if it hasn't been beaten up. Note the lift, after market flare fenders, 31's and an aftermarket radio.
The year is good but no indication of the mileage which could be critical.

The 2nd, far as i can tell no price.
The mileage is good for an XJ.
Looks basically stock.
Has the head been cracked? Need to verify in person before buying.
If the price is right, head not cracked and no serious rust, looks like a runner up.
Far as the 0331 head issue for the 2000/2001 XJ's, if replacing one of those cracked heads with no accompanying serious engine damage i'd replace the head from:
They have 0331 compatible heads that have been re-casted to guarantee against cracking.

The 3rd, fair price, excellent year, decent mileage, looks stock and would be another runner up.
I'd say IMO and in IMO only based from the seller's pages, this looks like it could be a winner.

As for the WJ don't know much about them so i'll pass.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The 1st, $4500 is a fair price if it hasn't been beaten up. Note the lift, after market flare fenders, 31's and an aftermarket radio.
The year is good but no indication of the mileage which could be critical.

The 2nd, far as i can tell no price.
The mileage is good for an XJ.
Looks basically stock.
Has the head been cracked? Need to verify in person before buying.
If the price is right, head not cracked and no serious rust, looks like a runner up.
Far as the 0331 head issue for the 2000/2001 XJ's, if replacing one of those cracked heads with no accompanying serious engine damage i'd replace the head from:
They have 0331 compatible heads that have been re-casted to guarantee against cracking.

The 3rd, fair price, excellent year, decent mileage, looks stock and would be another runner up.
I'd say IMO and in IMO only based from the seller's pages, this looks like it could be a winner.

As for the WJ don't know much about them so i'll pass.
Much thanks! The first XJ has 148k miles on it. The 2nd is asking $3,900 for it but has some paint issues on the hood. I have a friend who owns a body shop so I'm sure I could get that taken care of. When the head went on my 2000 XJ I replaced it with a clearwater cylinder head. Very happy with their service. The 3rd I'm waiting to hear back from on any additional information. I like the look of the 1998 between the color and the shape it is in.

I keep convincing myself that the WJ would be better but every time I see a nicely done XJ it makes me want one instead. I feel like the WJs are a dime a dozen but a well cared for XJ is timeless.
 

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XJ's rule!
I enjoy driving my XJ more than all my other vehicles and that includes my hi-tech GC TrailHawk but thats me.
IMO, i myself wouldn't buy any vehicle without inspecting them in person especially 20+ year old XJ's.
 
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