I've been searching for a new Jeep project for almost a year now. Wrangler and XJ prices are stupid-high and I've already got a couple vintage Jeeps buildups in the works. All of a sudden, ZJs seem like the bargain of the Jeep world. The only bummer about buying a ZJ is most of 'em have 200K-plus miles and almost every one I've looked at has needed a transmission rebuild. I've explored ways to get a manual transmission swapped in one, but in almost every case it's easier to just rebuild the factory tranny...which almost doubles the purchase price of the vehicle. So, I keep looking. Ideally I'd like to find a '97-'98 Laredo with a clean cloth interior and working A/C and smog equipment. I'm not picky about the engine. I love Mopar's 5.2L Magnum, but the 4.0L would be equally good. I'd build up the front Dana 30, swap in a better rear axle, do some bumpers and rocker armor, and outfit it with tires and skidplating to handle the Rubicon and other moderate trails of that ilk. Nothing has come up yet, but I'll stumble onto something. I always do.
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