I've returned to my Wrangler roots!
Well it's still early, but it appears to have a weak synchro 3rd to 4th gear, and possibly a bad carrier bearing in the rear end.
Everything else appears to be in fine shape.
I had to go back to my Wrangler YJ roots, so I sold my 2004 Liberty Limited and searched for a clean rust-free 1995 YJ Wrangler. I previously owned a '95 Wrangler SE with the "Splash" graphics, so I was pleasantly surprised to find another one-owner example in exception shape.
The body and interior are in nearly new condition. The vehicles runs and drives excellent. I noticed a little noise coming from the rear-end, as well as a little "snick" on the 3rd to 4th up-shift.
If you shift slowly, you do not get the "snick", so I assume it's a weak synchro. (Not uncommon in Jeeps).
The only cosmetic flaw on the vehicle is very minor - a small "stress crack" inside the driver's door by the vent window (also pretty common in Wranglers).
The vehicle is "Poppy Red" with a light gray interior. It has a black hard top. (My previous '95, was white with the "Splash" graphics, also with a black hard top. I love the "Splash" graphics, along with the body-colored fender flares. It looks more like it has 30k miles on it rather than 130K plus.
The 4.0 liter engine starts and runs flawlessly, and it drives very well.
I expected to have to repair a few things since it is a 10 year old vehicle, with fairly high miles on it.
Unfortunately clean examples of YJ models are getting harder and harder to find, but they are still out there.
I expect it to be a fine little Jeep, once the repairs are done.
I've also owned a 2003 TJ Wrangler Sahara, and although the TJ's ride much smoother than the YJ's. I personally prefer the old AMC designed, leaf-sprung, kind of crude, with an ox-cart ride YJ. In fact, from the day I traded-in my previous '95 YJ for the '03 TJ, I was sorry to see the old YJ go.
They are simple, easy to work on, and you know that you are in a Jeep. The dash and instrumentation scream "Jeep", rather than "Chrysler Mini-Van". You can disassemble the dash to replace bulbs etc. in 30 minutes of less, using only a phillips head screw driver.
Sure the TJ's are great looking vehicles, and they have "real Jeep" round headlights, but don't write-off those old rugged rectangular headlight YJ's. They are true Jeeps through and through, and are not very far removed from the beloved "CJ" series.
The 4.0 liter in-line six is as close to bullet-proof as you can get, and it moves the little Wrangler along very smartly. I've been told that this engine dates back to an old Nash design.
I certainly hope that Chrysler does not replace this engine in the Wrangler with the 3.7 liter V6 first used in the Liberty models, as rumored. This would certainly create an uproar by Wrangler enthusiasts.
My '04 Liberty was a fine vehicle, however I found that I preferred the simple ruggedness of a Wrangler.
I'm giving up a lot in creature comforts, but the Wrangler has a strong heater, a nice AC unit that blows cold, comfortable seat (more comfortable than the rather flat seats in the Liberty), and a heck of a lot of character.
The Liberty is certainly more refined and better suited to being a family vehicle, however, whatever the Wrangler gives up in refinement, it makes up for in character.
Sure Wranglers are noisy, rough-riding, a little cramped, and a bit thirsty. But they sure are fun!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th October, 2005