I bought my jeep with 175K on the odometer and a broken transmission. It now has 220k on it. I repaired the trans and drove it until it broke again. The AX-5 is notorious for being weak. I replaced it with an AX- 15 (from a 6cyl) which is much stronger by using a dodge dakota bell housing and a Camaro clutch disk. This transmission should have come in all 4cyl jeeps (it fits like factory). If you are in to offroading and like to work on your rig or will drive it reasonably about town a Rio Grande is the jeep for you. Jeep nuts always change the driveline, so it really doesn't really matter what you start with.
Capable offroad, fun in the sun, great big four-wheeler, FULLY upgradeable!!, It's a Jeep thing. I like wrenching on mine, but I used it as a daily driver too (drove 100 mi one way to work). You always know what the weather is going to be like ;)
Transmission, transmission, transmission. Even the BRAND NEW 4 bangers come with the crumby AX-5, but its upgradeable. The rage is also to replace the Dana 35 rear axle with a Ford 8.8 from a Ford explorer.
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