Zorba's JeepThese pictures are from the dealer's website and craigslist ad:
I virtually always purchase a used vehicle from the used lot of a new car dealer. I purchased both my '85 Mercedes, and my past '87 F-250 diesel pickup that way. I've had less than stellar luck buying from individuals, and I've never purchased from a generic used car lot.
Pretty good looking for a 14 year old Jeep.
Take a very close look at this front rim, and remember it for the next page...
Hard top in great shape.
No trailer hitch.
Just a good looking...
... unmolested and un-abused Jeep!
Cloth, thank Goddess, seats. One small hole in the drivers seat bottom.
View from other side.
Hand crank windows! Yay!
Rear tumbling and removable seat.
A hair under 127K miles.
Stereo is totally adequate, but will be replaced. See text.
Everybody knows that used car salesmen are shysters and best avoided. If there is an exception to this rule, then the used car dealership I bought this Jeep from is it. They had the "CarFax" on it, from that, I learned that this Jeep had started life in southern California, and had been in two very minor accidents in its life, and had also been stolen fairly early on, but recovered the next day. It eventually moved with its original owner to Idaho, and was sold several years later to its second owner who had it in Montana for a number of years. That owner brought it to Florida last year, and traded it directly to this dealership for a newer SUV because it was hurting his back to drive it as a daily driver.
That makes me the 3rd owner - just like my Mercedes coincidentally. In addition, the CarFax revealed that it had a new U-joint installed several years ago, and had just had a new serpentine belt put on it 3 months before by a shop within walking distance of my house. The dealership had gone through it fairly well - certainly very well for anybody selling a used vehicle. They had put a new valve cover gasket on it, new battery terminals, changed the oil, and pressure tested the cooling system (which was still holding pressure cold when I removed the radiator cap). They informed me of a rear transmission seal leak that actually turned out to NOT exist - it was oil from the previously leaking valve cover. The Jeep was priced in the lower third of the Kelly Blue Book value - very fair as far as I was concerned.
Best of all, they did NOT put new tires on it. New car dealers tend to replace the tires on their used cars, which means that A) You can't see how the tires are wearing to check alignment or front end issues, and B) You're buying new tires again pretty quick anyway because the tires these dealers put on are, of course, cheap crap and don't last very long. I complimented this used car dealer for NOT changing the damn tires! The tires that are on it are 2 years old and show considerable wear, but will last at least as long as any replacements a dealership would have put on, and best of all, they were wearing very evenly and correctly.
After a test drive, including engaging the 4 wheel drive system; my wife liked it too, so we bought it! We had a friend and dance sister in California that owned a YJ, the Jeep iteration immediately before this one. We were amazed at how much nicer this TJ, with its coil springs, rides compared to the YJ's leaf springs. Its not my Mercedes, but it rides far better than it has any business doing, and we had it up to 75 on the freeway and it remained smooth riding with an obviously in-alignment front end.
I'm planning on setting it up for "mild to moderate" off roading, or "wheeling" as its called in Jeep parlance. I'll eventually install slightly larger tires, a mild inch and a half lift, and a trailer hitch. The stereo, although adequate as such, is going to have to go because its taking up entirely too much space in a tiny Jeep! There is an aftermarket replacement bezel that converts the double DIN sized bay into a true double DIN bay with square corners allowing generic double DIN equipment to be installed. What this means is that I'll install a *single* DIN stereo, and use the other half for a single DIN CB radio installation - an absolute must in a Jeep. Onboard air, a 120VAC voltage inverter (300 watt, installing it mainly because I have it in hand, inherited from my late Father - should be handy!), a winch, and eventually I'll pull the carpet and replace it with molded rubber liners with floor mats.
The body, or "tub" as its called by Jeepers, is pretty much rust free, although there's surface rust on parts of the frame which I'll treat and paint. I'll be changing the oil in both differentials (at least one has been into before, probably for exactly this), as well as the transmission (6 speed by Mercedes) and transfer case. New radiator and heater hoses with a coolant change too. There is a cable shift "do dah" that replaces the mechanical linkage for the transfer case that improves shifting dramatically by all accounts, and is apparently easy to install. I might also convert the transfer case shift lever to an "old skool" gearshift - those 4 shift levers on my buddy's old Willys still come to mind! If it were possible to adapt this transfer case to "twin stick" I would, but it isn't on this model.
Read on for the next part, including how the used car dealership really came through for me!