I was given a 98' Sport with a 5 speed, 6 cylinder and a 3" body lift riding on (initially) 32X11.5 tires as my first car. The "Bigfoot Edition" package had been put on by a dealership when new. It had 140,000 miles on it but was very clean. I kept it for the next 9 1/2 years and (for personal/financial reasons that weren't connected to the Jeep) sold it with 262,000 on the clock. With a set of All terrain or good mud tires, it was a beach machine. Dunes, mud, none of it stopped it...even with a trailer in tow in areas known to swallow much more powerful 4X4s. I used it to pull stumps, tow other vehicles, drive long distances and cruise through town. The torque of the 4.0 combined with a good 1st gear and 4Lo is very handy. My only complaint was that the A/C wasn't strong enough to cool the back seat terribly well in super hot weather. The heater, however, was astonishing. I could drop the top in 50 degree weather, wear shorts and have to turn the heater DOWN because it was scalding my feet. Everybody will ask if it is top heavy. Honestly, I've driven a stock height Grand Cherokee and felt much more likely to roll it.
The following things failed and had to be replaced:
Exhaust Manifold-Apparently every Wrangler will have this happen at some point. A shop in the next town replaced it but put a small "flex" joint after the header. Never had a problem with it after that.
Power Steering Pump-150,000. Easy replacement
Alternator-188,000 Not unexpected nor difficult to replace.
Rear Axle-Mine had a Dana 35 rear in the beginning, bigger tires and was regularly used to tow boats, pull stumps and recover other vehicles. This failed at the 210,000 mark. I replaced it with a Dana 44 that was easy to acquire used and never had a problem after that.
Seats-The support gave out somewhere around the 230,000 mark. I replaced the fronts with relative ease.
Transmission - Synchros on 1st and 5th gear started to fail around 220,000 miles. I replaced it with a crate transmission for cheap at about 245,000.
Soft Top-I replaced this twice actually. They just don't last much longer than five years it seems. Cheap to replace though.
I misjudged the depth of a mud hole and killed the engine at the 232,000 mark. A dealership replaced the engine with a $400 donor from a same year Cherokee. This illustrates the final point I want to make: It is ridiculously easy to get parts for these Jeeps. Everything can be replaced in short order. There is no waiting on a part and it is relatively easy to work on the 4X4 yourself. The straight six isn't a powerhouse, but (unless it inhales a bunch of muddy water) it won't die.
I bought my Jeep new at a dealership in Colorado.
When it was brand new a huge snowstorm hit and there was a pounding on the door.
The ranch owner stood there up to his waist in snow. "Can I borrow your rig?"he asked.
He needed to do an emergency insulin run for a friend and none of their big expensive ranch trucks could get through the snow.
It got through when nobody else could and spent the day rescuing stranded people in what turned out to be a deadly storm. Since then I have driven it across the country from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
We have lived in rural Colorado, New Mexico and now on the Plains.
Hauled feed to horses, pulled a boat, loaded goats in the back and transported them.
Hauled railroad ties and used it as an anchor to stretch fence.
My two Irish Wolfhounds curled up in the back and slept for long trips between New Mexico and Kansas.
It gets no babying and it has given no trouble.
Pop it into four wheel drive and it can get you almost anywhere and back.
It's still going strong and I drive it nearly every day.
Somehow manages to clean up and look good despite all the miles through the brush. I have neglected it shockingly but it still keeps going.
Yeah it is loud.
Always has been.. but after driving it all these years I am too deaf for it to bother me much. :-)
Make more just like it in case it dies someday.
I don't want to drive anything else.
In 2010 I purchased a beautiful '98 Wrangler Sport,from an elderly lady that had only 51k miles.It had a 4.0 with air and auto transmission.Within a week,the jeep would for no apparent reason,begin to stall and miss.This episode would last anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds,and by stomping on the gas,it would backfire,and then smooth out.In the last 10k miles,I have spent approx. 2500.00$ trying to resolve this problem,including 1300.00$ and 18 weeks at the Dealership.After 4 and 1/2 months,I brought it home today,same problem.After owning four Jeeps, this is my last.
Nothing.I have never been so disgusted with a vehicle.
My first vehicle(a jeep isnt a car) is a 98 sport with the 5 speed.
I have both tops and hard doors, and its still very loud(I have NOISY mud terrain tires which dont help).
I have driven this things over ice, then the ice cracked and I was bogging through 3 ft of mud with ice scraping along the bottom and no problems from that.
This Jeep has 192,000 miles and has been well abused like no other vehicle.
But its been expensive.
trans rebuild at 190K($800) is only vehicle related part but I still got many miles on it.
Other problems that all cars will have is new power steering pump($120), AC system overhaul ($250), brakes ($150).
I did all the work myself(very easy to work on). FUN!!!
Super rugged, super good offroad, cheap and easy to replace parts, plain, simple interior-love it.
All my friends are jealous and 2 other friends have wranglers now due to me.
5 speed is not smooth but it feels rugged like your driving a semi.
Everybody loves it.
Me, my 4 year old cousins, and even my grandma and mom all want it lol.
I have 2" lift, 31" mudders, arb snorkel, and homemade bumpers.
I also like to add that I get decent mileage since I have lift and mud tires.
I get 18 of highway/city combined with 4.0L and 5 speed, 190K on the engine and it still loves to scream.
The 4.0L is the BEST ENGINE of all time(in my mind)
I have high miles so I cant complain are stuff going wrong.
GREAT resale value!!!
I love driving my jeep. Its fun to drive, and i love being able to go anywhere anytime. I bought it with about 120,000 miles on it and put a 4 in lift with 33 in tires. That killed the power and gas mileage. It has about 154,000 on it now and just replaced a water pump and the power steering is on its way out the door. I replaced the rear axle with a ford 8.8 about a year ago. The Dana 35c that comes in it is junk. Overall, it takes cash to keep it running right, but its worth it if you got the cash. I highly recommend the hardtop and full doors. I wish it came with a better quality stereo so i can actually hear my music when I'm driving.
Torque, go anywhere anytime, ability to take the top off, versatility, very fun to drive.
Better stereo, lower gear ratios, quieter, more interior room.