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PICS: I Bought a ZJ (its really nice/like next to new nice)

Old 06-05-2019, 10:53 AM
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Default PICS: I Bought a ZJ (its really nice/like next to new nice)

I want to show off this here ZJ I just picked up, and tell the story of how I happened to get my hands on this diamond.. a true gem!

I had been browsing adds for over a year. I was actually looking out for a XJ. This past week I found a Jeep that I just could not pass up. After having bought my WJ a few years ago, I was hooked on these Jeeps almost instantly. I convinced myself awhile back that I was going to eventually have all three; a WJ, XJ, and a ZJ...

This is me after taking hold of the ZJ







This is how it happened. I saw an add for this one at what I thought appeared to be a reputable used car dealer. It was listed for $2,950.00 There was a discount applied bringing the price down to $2,300.00 + a $299.00 fee(s) added to the purchase price. I called and everything sounded good. It has a carfax. Was a one owner bought new in 1997. They owned it up until January 2019. Fully disclosed yearly vehicle registration, maintenance, and history report. I drove out to see it. I was told by the sales rep that they had just taken stock of it maybe three to four days prior, and that their mechanic had not really gotten to go over it to get if fully prepped for sale. He said there was a new battery put in it the other day, and that it started right up and that it sounded good. The Jeep was still in the back lot nearer the service bays when I first got to the dealer. I spent an hour looking over it every which way possible. I was seriously having trouble finding anything significantly wrong with it. The oil and the trans fluids even looked newish, and were at their proper levels. I could not find evidence of any leaks. The worst I could find was the center counsel compartment lid did not latch down anymore. I could easily tell that this thing was taken well care of, and was probably always kept in a garage. When I cranked it there was a problem. The cluster was dead. None of the gauges worked. No dispay or gauge lights of any kind outside of the radio and the 4wd 2wd display there was nothing.. The a/c and heat only blew out of the defrost vents (cold a/c & hot heat though). I told the sales rep that the cluster and gauges problem had me worried. I wasn't able to tell the temperature, oil pressure, mileage or anything. That I was hesitant. We let it idle with the a/c on full blast for 30minutes in 90* heat, and it seemed fine. So, I went to test drive it. I told the guy I was going to be gone for awhile, and then I drove around for 30 to 40 minutes. 44 all worked perfectly. Good brakes. Good power. Nothing unusual... I pulled over and hunted down the fuse box. Pulled out a blown 20amp slot 7 cluster fuse. Put in the spare, and the gauges came alive! (I pulled the spare back out and put the blown fuse back in slot 7). Looked at vacuum lines and saw why the a/c and heat were only blowing out the defrost. Connected it, and had normal a/c coming out of the vents (disconnected that vacuum line again). Drove back to the dealer to make a deal. I explained to him that I was far from home in NC, and that I was starting to think that I really didn't need to buy another vehicle right now. I told him that the tires were worn out/dry-rotted. The a/c had a major issue (it's hot here in South Georgia right now!). And the biggest problem for me was with the cluster not working... I said unless I was to get a really great deal, I would have to walk away from this one. He says what is your out the door price. I hesitated... Looked at him, and said that I would sign the papers and take my chances with ownership at $1350.00 out the door no fees. He went to talk to someone. Came back and asked me if I could do $1575.00.. and I told him no. He asked if I had cash on me. I did, and he says I could have it for $1350.00

Long story I know.. but what a deal! Thanks for looking!

Last edited by Noah911; 06-05-2019 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:20 PM
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Nice work. That thing looks mint.
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Old 06-06-2019, 03:54 PM
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Nice! My 2000 WJ looked as good as that when I bought it in 2012 and had just been detailed. The problem I had was I took it out on the road and couldn't find ANYTHING wrong with it except foggy headlights!
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:15 PM
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I fixed the problem of the a/c only working on defrost by punching the dash a couple times. It sometimes happens again, so I just punch it again.
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Old 06-06-2019, 09:15 PM
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The interior lights on mine have a mind of there own!! They are normal.. Then flicker.. Stay on.. Flicker.. Normal..

I can control wether or not they will act normal by rolling the front drivers window up or down when they start acting funny...
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Old 06-07-2019, 04:51 AM
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Sounds like a ground issue to me. Or maybe a bad dimmer switch. Common fault on a ZJ.
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:45 AM
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I read about this lights issue on here after it happened. Something about door switches? Maybe dimmer switch problem? Or could be any of the ground wires too.. I remember a few people pointing out the most likely problem ground(s) but I haven't gotten there just yet. The most I've dug into this one so far is the oil change & drained out the coolant to put a couple gallons of distilled water in instead for right now before I fill it back up with a coolant antifreeze mixture. The air filter in there right now looks like a brand new WIX filter so I've left that be.. Trans fluid/transfer case is the next priority on my list. Then the diffs. Then the brake fluid. Then the plugs and wires. Go after all of the grounds & put on new battery terminals somewhere in there while working on all this other stuff, and hopefully find the reason to fix the interior lights issue.

I work too much right now. I am in need of a break! I'll probably be taking two to three weeks off here pretty soon, and if I can get all of these basic maintinance items done, then thats when the fun stuff might begin to happen.. I have a vision for this Jeep

Last edited by Noah911; 06-07-2019 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:30 PM
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Mine was like that when I bought it too, turned out the flickering interior lights were caused by cold solder joints on the dimmer switch unit. Pulled it out and re-soldered each contact point on the board (there were quite a few), put it back in and haven't had problems since. Nice buy!
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:18 AM
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I got a quick question. Should I lift the white ZJ, or the light pewter metalic WJ? (the ZJ is 44 and the WJ is RWD).

What would be best 32" or 33" tires after a 4 1/2" lift? I'm not looking to re-gear. I am thinking about just the coils, shocks, tracbar, lower control arms, and swaybar links... I still need to figure out the drivetrain line up.. so far? If it needs new driveshaft(s), and about the sye vs's transfer case drop, because I don't know about those things yet? How that all works? I just know the first bits are the definite items going onto my list. I'll probably stay at 32" tire size? I should right, since I don't want to re-gear? What about the tc drop vs a sye? Whats up with a sye? I don't know what that really means, costs, or entails? I just know something about trying to keep the vibrations down.. keeping everything all lined up correctly is all I really know.

Last edited by Noah911; 06-16-2019 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:21 PM
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When you lift a jeep that has a rear driveshaft with a sliding yoke on the t/case end, it pulls the yoke out of the t/case enough to cause a vibration that wears out the end of the t/case output shaft splines, causing the yoke to wobble. A Slip Yoke Eliminator makes the t/case output shaft a flange that the driveshaft bolts onto and puts the sliding section in the driveshaft itself. SO, the output shaft has to be cut shorter, the flange bolted on, and a new driveshaft be installed. This is known as a "hack-and-tap" conversion. My 97 ZJ already had a flange type rear driveshaft, but I didn't have it long enough to know if it came that way or was already modified, however it wasn't lifted. It had a 242 t/case in it. My 2000 WJ has a 242 t/case in it with the sliding yoke and rubber boot. That would have to be modified if I were to lift it more than 2". A t/case drop lessens the angle between the t/case and the driveshaft for higher lifts to reduce the vibrations caused by high universal angles.

What most people don't realize is with any cross-type universal, the output shaft (driveshaft) rotational velocity changes every 1/4 turn and this is cancelled by using a second universal on the other end. This velocity change increases as the angle increases. You can see why large angles in the driveline can pound the universals to death.

I would think lifting your WJ would be simpler since you don't have a front CV driveshaft to contend with and the transmission shifts by cable so there's no linkage to worry about making mods to if you did a transmission drop on it. You might need a longer driveshaft to keep it fully engaged with the output splines. The only problem I can see is that brass bushing in the end of the transmission tailshaft housing wearing quickly.

IDK what tires and wheels you have on your WJ, but my 245/70R16s are 29.5" in diameter if that helps you decide what tires to run. You can always stay in 3rd gear if the tires are too big, unless you're on the highway.

Last edited by dave1123; 06-16-2019 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:13 PM
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Thanks! I'll have to get myself to a better understanding of all this, and educate myself before I dive into lift territory. I'm going to lift the ZJ since it's a 44, despite that being the more difficult one of the two..
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Old 06-18-2019, 07:22 PM
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That makes a lot more sense, but you asked about the WJ. You might want to put a locker or limited slip in the WJ.
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Old 06-18-2019, 10:12 PM
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No kidding!

I really like the WJ. It has been great! I take it off of paved roads all the time. It traverses some pretty nasty paths, and goes through all sorts of different types of fields very regularly. For the most part, it does well. Even on the slippery stuff if I keep some momentum.

However, I have also gotten it stuck once on completely and utterly flat grass terrain. Granted, the ground beneath the grass was wet and likely 100% saturated. Still, getting into a Jeep that way to go and take off from where you parked like that, and having to be pulled out of such a predicament. That one rear wheel spinning itself like that into the muddy ground underlay... Embarrassing!

And once in some 'slightly' deeper area of sand on the sides of a made-up roadway. That got me stuck when I couldn't keep it rolling having to get over for a vehicle coming from the opposite direction...

I never been in snow or on ice with it, but I suspect it'll be comparable to how my later model camaro handles in those conditions? Maybe worse?

When keeping up the forward momentum, it does roll through some very bad even very muddy types of terrain with ease regularly though...

I would like to maybe lock it I said to myself at least once when I was stuck dead in the water on completely flat grass.

The tires on the WJ are Cooper Discoverer AT3. They measure slightly above 30". I forget their numbers at the moment, but maybe 265/??/17

Edited to add: The tires I have are actually LT245/75R16 is what they say on them. I had to read what all those numbers meant again too.. Always forgetting that for some reason. 265 would be just a little wide for a stock rim.

Last edited by Noah911; 06-19-2019 at 05:57 AM.
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