Considering the next build

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Long story short; had an XJ, unibody cracked so had the great idea I was going to chop it up and make a buggy. Then I had a baby and needed a family friendly car. Wife didn't want me to get another Jeep or let the baby ride in the MJ. So instead got a BMW X5 (talk about wayyyyy different). As much fun as it is to blast around in the X (it's a 4.6is so it can move) I really just want a damn jeep again. Plus the X sees the garage more than the street soo :conceited

Coming from the XJ as my primary camping/4 wheeling rig I always wanted some more room and more umph going up the hill. So enter the WJ consideration. In my head the build will be roughly the same whether a XJ/WJ. I have a full width HP44 and 9" that I want to run they will be geared and locked once I got to that point, 35's, long arms and the rest of the fun stuff to wheel around.

My biggest worry is the dependability of the V8 vs I6. Is it going to be worth the extra room, power and comfort to move to a WJ? I did consider a I6 WJ too, more room, but less umph. From what I've gathered the V8 has some issues but nothing that is terrible. This will eventually be our family road trip/camping rig. So comfort and reliability are big concerns. I really do not want to consider a ZJ but if there's something I'm missing as to why I should I would be interested in hearing that.
 

Cottontail

Three-De Off-Road
NAXJA Member
We had a 2004 WJ with the 4.0 I-6 and had no issues at all with the umph. It was solid and dependable (until about 210xxx) and familiar. At that point I had the WJ, an XJ, and a ZJ all with the same engine.

I preferred the WJ over the WKII we currently have. I prefer the ZJ over the WJ though. I think the ZJ is a more comfortable vehicle, I like the interior styling better, I have better head room and visability, and I think the ZJ drives better than the WJ.

I'll take this moment to say I still own my ZJ (going on 19 years this September) and have long since let the WJ go.

If I had to build up a new platform I'd lean towards the ZJ as personal preference, but frankly getting a decent builder will be much harder in the ZJ model as the WJ. Most ZJs I come across are ragged out. The WJ, I see more examples of well-kept machines.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
We had a 2004 WJ with the 4.0 I-6 and had no issues at all with the umph. It was solid and dependable (until about 210xxx) and familiar. At that point I had the WJ, an XJ, and a ZJ all with the same engine.

I preferred the WJ over the WKII we currently have. I prefer the ZJ over the WJ though. I think the ZJ is a more comfortable vehicle, I like the interior styling better, I have better head room and visability, and I think the ZJ drives better than the WJ.

I'll take this moment to say I still own my ZJ (going on 19 years this September) and have long since let the WJ go.

If I had to build up a new platform I'd lean towards the ZJ as personal preference, but frankly getting a decent builder will be much harder in the ZJ model as the WJ. Most ZJs I come across are ragged out. The WJ, I see more examples of well-kept machines.
Thanks, all good info. I do agree about trying to find a clean ZJ. They (at least in CO) are beat to crap or just as much as a WJ. Is there certain years of ZJ/WJ that are more desirable than others?
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
I love my 97 zj. It was clean when I bought it 2 years ago. But I paid more for that. Has the 5.2. they're not a powerhouse but they're solid engines. The biggest thing with the zj and wj is the tranny is not nearly as reliable as the aw4. I'm not a fan of the wj tho. They're not terrible but certain things just annoy me. The heater cores WILL leak, the HVAC doors break, the radiator is absolute hell to change. I'll take an old car that's easy to fix over a fancy new one that's hard to work on. I personally hate the 4.7. they run good but super fragile. Overheat it once when the radiator goes and it's done. Exhaust manifold always break bolts and leak, timing chains will need to be done at some point, they're really not much better at holding oil than a 4.0. they can had for cheap but I see so many that are just as beat to hell as anything else.

That being said I see some lifted wjs that almost make me change my mind. Done right they're a good looking rig.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
I do agree WJ's done right are a good looking rig. The one thing I love about my XJ/MJ is I know how to work on them and for the most part are reliable as hell. Just wish they had a little more room.

Well maybe I just stick with the XJ and build a little trailer for it.
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
That's what I want to do next. A small trailer I can throw all my crap in and not have to worry about packing the Jeep up. I have enough parts laying around to make one, just need the metal and time.
 

PacificEd

YOLO!
NAXJA Member
We bought a 1998 ZJ and while it's been a pretty good vehicle, all the things they warn you about, ours seems to have.

Transmission issues, poor wiring, worn out drivers door hinges, etc.

It rides good, is way roomier than an XJ, and gets decent mileage with the 4.0L engine.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Bringing this back up as I've been actively looking for a WJ. I sold my BMW and have been driving around a 00 WJ loaner my dad has. It's the 4.0 and other than some quirks of a used car it drives nice. I'll admit I really like the inside and ride better than the XJ. Obviously it should be nicer but was something I've come to appreciate. So I'm going to swing to a WJ for now and will figure out another time to get back in a XJ. I have the MJ now I can build up but for a decent family hauler i think the WJ is the best bet.

Now here's my hang up. I want to find one that needs a rebuilt engine. Reason being so I can get all the work done and hopefully be trouble free for a while. I have a buddy who rebuilds engines and can get it done decently cheap. Now here's the problem I'm debating getting a 4.7 v8 or build a I6 stroker. Cost would be about the same between the two. If there was a way to swap an aw4 behind the I6, hands down would be what I would do, but so far no luck figuring that out without the CEL being on which wont work. I know there are a few ways to help the 42re, but don't know if it would be worth it or just go V8 all the way. So any thoughts?
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
I'm throwing a shift reprogramming kit in the 44re this weekend. It's.... involved. Much more than the one I put in my aw4. But it's "supposed" to solve a lot of the issues with the re rh series. I'll be towing the sleds around this winter so hopefully this will make it last. Even if you go v8 you're still going to be left with a similar tranny.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
I'd still rather have the 545rfe over the 42re. I know the Sonnax "cure" a few people really like.

At this point it's really starting to boil down to the cleanest, cheapest one I can find. Should have snagged Rockfrogs WJ a few weeks ago. But the hunt continues.
 

sandfreestyle

New member
Having owned an 04 WJ with the HO V8 for the past decade, I can say that it's not a bad vehicle. Typical maintenance and will go for a long time. It's a great family offroader with plenty of room, comfort, amenities, and power to do just about everything you want.

The 545rfe with a shift kit is still very wife friendly and worth the $, to me at least.

The biggest downside is that there really isn't much aftermarket support for the 4.7, and what is out there comes at a premium.

I'm currently selling mine because the XJ is my primary offroad vehicle and I needed a vehicle with better mpg for work. They can be found cheap if you want to build one up, but there are a lot of little things that should be looked at regardless of the engine type. things like the CV boots, blend doors, EVAP leak, vacuum leaks, hatch/window struts, 44a not bent.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Having owned an 04 WJ with the HO V8 for the past decade, I can say that it's not a bad vehicle. Typical maintenance and will go for a long time. It's a great family offroader with plenty of room, comfort, amenities, and power to do just about everything you want.

The 545rfe with a shift kit is still very wife friendly and worth the $, to me at least.

The biggest downside is that there really isn't much aftermarket support for the 4.7, and what is out there comes at a premium.

I'm currently selling mine because the XJ is my primary offroad vehicle and I needed a vehicle with better mpg for work. They can be found cheap if you want to build one up, but there are a lot of little things that should be looked at regardless of the engine type. things like the CV boots, blend doors, EVAP leak, vacuum leaks, hatch/window struts, 44a not bent.
I agree that the v8 is a good engine. It's also part of the reason I'd like to find one that needs a rebuilt. Pick it up cheap get a new engine in and be good for a while. It also should help in getting up the hill with out needing to do gears.
 

Soapy1

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
I went to a auction today and there was a 2002 with a 4.0 and 86,000 miles cloth interior, good paint, great condition it went for 2900. A 2004 limited with the 4.7 leather in good shape 152,000 miles also went for $3300. I should have bought one of them but didn't.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
I went to a auction today and there was a 2002 with a 4.0 and 86,000 miles cloth interior, good paint, great condition it went for 2900. A 2004 limited with the 4.7 leather in good shape 152,000 miles also went for $3300. I should have bought one of them but didn't.
My dad just got his dealers license and set up with the auctions. Will starting looking there next week. Will be a learning curve figuring out what to do but might be the only way to score a smoking deal. Went yesterday to look at a 02 with a 4.7HO for $600. Said it needed a rebuilt but was in great condition. Talk to the guy because he lives out in BFE. Ask if there is any rust or major cosmetic damage...No rust great condition.....get out there rockers are rusted out underside is rusted. Had to look at him and ask if that's no rust WTF is it. :twak:
 

trippled

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
Yea the rusty cars are getting bad here and a rust free car is getting hard to find. Between the out of state people moving in and the storms totalling massive amounts of vehicles. Lots of these dealers are importing cheap rusty cars (cough CarMax cough) since they get em for cheap to resell. It's getting ridiculous.
 

srmitchell

NAXJA Member
NAXJA Member
For what its worth-
Ive had 3 wjs. All 04's.
Never had any major engine or trans issues.

My latest is a 2004 Overland, with 102K. I love it. Simple iron rock 3 inch lift, 32 inch KO2's, and it just works. I like the Overland because of the interior, sliders, and the HO motor. Also, all overlands have skids, tow hooks and quadradrive.

Get one that has the proper coolant, (indicating maintenance, it should only be Mopar HOAT coolant... its pink) and make sure the oil has been changed often.

Big Bar by Sean Mitchell, on Flickr

Big Bar by Sean Mitchell, on Flickr
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
It is nuts. Just can't believe some of them and how much people are asking.

Love that rig. Exactly what I want to do. Little lift, 31smaybe2s and clean. All good tips for what to look for. Currently there is 1 overland near me that isnt either trashed or outrageous expensive 7K+. Havent looked at it yet but guys was kind enough to send a bunch of pics. Biggest problem it has is the p0442. After reading about it worst case take of the bumper and run some new lines.

I'm also hunting for a 4.7HO limited. After thinking about it and driving around the current 4.0 WJ. If I go with a 4.0 Id rather get that in a XJ. Ideally looking for a 04, 4.7HO and black interior with sup 175k max. Might be a while from what I've seen......
 

mayub78

New member
Hello, I bought my Wife a 00' Wj 4.0, about 5 years ago, she loved it, but she wanted something brand new, so bought her a Corolla.

I stared using the Wj, as my DD, way better miles per gallon than my Xj, city and high way. It has a very comfortable ride. Love the interior room.

Considering start messing with it, a 4" lift, fox shocks, an ARB bull bar, a custom rear bumper with spear tire carrier! BFG AT's

Will be a DD, weekend camping vehicle.

If you are to build a Wj, in my personal opinion go with a 4.0, way better than the V8, less complex and lots of aftermarket parts to play with.
 

smokeyyank

Jeepoholic
NAXJA Member
Hello, I bought my Wife a 00' Wj 4.0, about 5 years ago, she loved it, but she wanted something brand new, so bought her a Corolla.

I stared using the Wj, as my DD, way better miles per gallon than my Xj, city and high way. It has a very comfortable ride. Love the interior room.

Considering start messing with it, a 4" lift, fox shocks, an ARB bull bar, a custom rear bumper with spear tire carrier! BFG AT's

Will be a DD, weekend camping vehicle.

If you are to build a Wj, in my personal opinion go with a 4.0, way better than the V8, less complex and lots of aftermarket parts to play with.
Thanks for the info. The buying ship has sailed and I picked up a 04 with a 4.7HO. I'll start a build thread in the next few weeks. Will be getting the engine and tranny rebuilt.

After driving the 4.0 I'm in now glad I went with the V8. It just doesn't have enough power to get me up the hill.
 
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