XJ thoughts?

chang

New member
Greetings, I am new to the forum, but I have seen some amazing stuff on here. Hopefully you all could provide some insight.

I'm looking to get a vehicle for an extended, multiple month road trip across North America, and would serve as my DD after that. I've decided on an XJ because I like them (I've had an XJ (briefly), WJ, and LJ) and it seems to provide enough space without drinking gas like a land cruiser. Also, my 4.0s were much more reliable than the 4.7 in my WJ. I have a few questions.

XJs seem to go for a premium out here (much higher than Edmunds TMV, etc) but I've found a couple that might fit the bill.
1: '99 Sport with 150k, with service records. No rust. $4500
2: '99 Sport with 100k, with some front end body damage but runs well - owner says it was from a low speed collision. Pics look like i would replace the grill, bumper, front driver fender panel. Minimal rust. $2500

(I also posted this in a Jeep forum, but I'd love to get opinions from overlanders. I guess it doesn't hurt to get multiple opinions, either.)

I like the low miles and the price of #2, but afraid of hidden unibody damage. Thoughts? The service records on #1 is appealing. Also, thoughts on other vehicles? Thanks!
 

tom11919

New member
If it were up to me, I'd get the one without any body damage for $4500 in a heartbeat. The extra miles mean next to nothing with the 4.0/AW4 drivetrain especially with the service records. The piece of mind that comes with a straight unibody is worth the price difference alone. My '97 XJ had ~100k miles on it when I bought it, but had a 'reconstructed' title which means that it has been rear-ended. Cosmetically, it was fine, but there are some creases in the unibody 'frame rails' at the front of the trailer hitch that have spawned cracks over the years. I've recently repaired them while I had the rear axle out for a rebuild, but it would've been nice to have avoided the issue altogether.

I've had mine for three years and have driven from Anchorage to Atlanta by way of Michigan twice pulling a small trailer without issue. And with the rear seat folded down, my co-driver and I had tons of room in the back to stretch out and nap while the other drove. MPG is decent for what my jeep is (lifted 4.5"), maintenance/cost of ownersip has been cheap, it can carry way more cargo than most people think, and I think its fun to drive. In short, I consider XJs to be a nearly ideal cross country road trip / daily driver vehicle.
 

chang

New member
Awesome! Thanks for the information. It's good to hear that you've done it without major issues. I'm leaning that way and might pull the trigger tomorrow.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

iluv83vettes

Adventurer
I second everything that tom11919 said and will add that 99 is probably the best year you could buy. I might be a little biased though as I have a 99. It is my second one and I love it and would not hesitate to take it cross country with a friend or two.
 

docwatson

Adventurer
x3 for number one. Check out the rear axle too. The C8.25 is much stronger then that Dana 35 which can be a big deal if your favor the skinny pedal off-road.
 

tom11919

New member
x3 for number one. Check out the rear axle too. The C8.25 is much stronger then that Dana 35 which can be a big deal if your favor the skinny pedal off-road.
C8.25 is definitely the strongest factory axle, but don't let a D35 be a deal breaker. My XJ had one (with 3.55 gears spinning 31x10.50s) for the first trip down the Alaska Highway and I didn't have any trouble out of it.
 

chang

New member
Well, Jeep #1 was sold hours before I could see it and I don't think I am going to consider #2 anymore. The XJ is still on the top of my list, but the search starts over....
 

docwatson

Adventurer
If I could do it all over I would have looked more diligently for an 97+ (preferably 99) with the upcountry package. Its just about perfect for a DD. 1" lift, skids, tow points, LSD, and higher spring rate. They are fairly rare it seems like though, but I would keep my eye out.
 

WrenchMonkey

Mechanical Animal
I'll go against the crowd and say you shoulda got the second one in the first place.
.
The bumper you likely would have replaced anyway. The grill and fender are dirt cheap, so you're getting a remarkably low-mileage XJ (6k a year?) for barely half the price of the other.
.
You should have planned to beef up the driver's framerail anyway, where the steering box mounts, so any minor tweak it suffered would be covered.
.
Of course, I'm a famously cheap bastard, and I have no problem with twisted sheetmetal...
.
Robert
 
Top