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      11-01-2011, 09:29 PM   #1
Precision
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What should I look for?

Since everyone flipped out on me for posting in tech Im making a thread here. I am an older senior in college and in need of some new wheels. I have $3,500 cash to spend and am open to suggestions. I live in a close to Canada northern climate where we get pounded with snow most of the year. I've tried to own FWD cars in this area and once the weather hits... Useless.

What I need/want:

-Something with solid off road capability

-decent on gas, the more mpg the better but I'm willing to sacrifice gas mileage for a better overall rig

-WILL NOT give me serious troubles or leave me stranded. I don't care about stupid quirks or short comings, what I can't deal with is oops you need an engine, transmission, transfer case etc.

-I understand that I'm not going to find perfection with this amount of cash, I am ok with minor stuff and regular maintenance

-I want to be able to count on it for years on basic maintenance and wearable stuff

-Something good looking and functional

I am ok with any brand, but I want a clean well maintained vehicle that I won't have to get lucky to find. What vehicles, year, make, mileage posess these attributes?

I've seen anything from Tahoes, Durangos, full size 4wd trucks etc all in this range. Mostly had 100-200k, I used to drive an 01 XJ w 91k but it's gone.

What should I look for and what should I make sure to inspect or have cleared before I buy?

How should I go about the purchase without losing out for being too slow or too quick and end up missing a vehicle problem?
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      11-02-2011, 02:01 AM   #2
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toyota 4runner?
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      11-02-2011, 10:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benmoooon View Post
toyota 4runner?
Good suggestion. But can be expensive for a good example. But very reliable in most cases. I bought one with 120,xxx and put over 50k on it with no problems as a work beater.
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      11-02-2011, 11:03 AM   #4
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I would have said 2001 Cherokee (NOT Grand Cherokee) but you've been there.
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      11-02-2011, 11:05 AM   #5
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Its gonna be hard finding something for around 3500 that for sure will be reliable. What about an e30 325i or something like that. Classic and cool.
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      11-02-2011, 11:34 AM   #6
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Jeep Wrangler. Great in the snow with the right tires and fantastic in the summer with the top off. If you're up near Canada, you're going to have to go for a true 4x4 in order to get through the snow. An AWD car won't work in the deep stuff.
Take your time, travel a decent distance to find the right vehicle.
I had a 1988 Wrangler a long time ago. I LOVED that thing!
You can fix them with a sledgehammer. They're very simplistic so there isn't a lot that is going to go wrong with it. I know you've already had the XJ, so you're aware how well the heater works in these things.
A friend of mine used to work for Chrysler and he said the 4.0 liter engine is designed to run at least 300K.
Try to find something that at least has some sort of maintenance history. At this price point, you already know it's going to be dicey.
Look at the front frame rails under the hood and right behind the bumper on the outside to make sure they are straight. VERY easy to see. Look for weld marks or areas that have been repainted. Look for overspray too. Do the same in the back of the vehicle.
Before the vehicle moves, check underneath to see if anything is leaking. Also, ask them NOT to have the car warmed up when you get there. You want to start it cold to see if there are issues with it starting and if there are smoking issues.
Of course most of this applies to any vehicle. It's just SO much easier to see on a Wrangler since the frame is so exposed.
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      11-02-2011, 01:23 PM   #7
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