Hello, thinking of restoring a KJ for the wife...

JeepyJeep

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My 2004 Liberty has almost 240k on it now. The motor is still going strong. Never had an engine light! The only motor issue ever was a water pump replacement at 185k. Trans was replaced at 170k with a used one off eBay. $350 delivered. The only recurring problem has been front end parts like upper a-arms and lower ball joints. (done twice) Struts were also done around 180k. All these parts were CHEAP and easy to find. One weekend of half work/half play to do the front end. Keep it aligned or your tires may wear out on the inside lines of tread. Rust? Mine has just started to bubble at the bottom of the doors. Probably should have replaced the window felts long ago... the two right side windows don’t currently work. Common on these. I’ll fix them soon. All in all, a super-sturdy, great looking vehicle that will take you anywhere and turn on a dime! Hope this helps.
 

JMichael2006

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Hello, I'm a long time wrench turner and Jeep owner and have had many (CJs, YJs, TJs, WJ, KJ, and currently a JT). My wife had a 2004 Liberty (bought new) for about about three years but traded it on a minivan when the growing family required it. We are still a Jeep family, and every time my wife considers a new JL, she always says she wishes she still had her Liberty. She really loved that thing, and I love her and all things Jeep so...

... seriously considering buying a decent KJ and fixing it up for her as a spare vehicle. I joined this forum specifically to ask the following:

1. How is parts availability for these things?
-- I'd imagine tie rods, ball joints, and other high-wear parts are readily available, yes?
-- What other high-wear stuff is hard to get or not available?
2. Once you get past the likely engine overhaul or replacement, what are the usual problem areas?
-- Are the auto transmissions decent on these things at 150,000 miles, or just about spent?
-- How do the electrical components and computer-controlled electronics hold up?
-- What are the dreaded nightmares that some people run into and everyone hopes it doesn't happen to them?
3. Are the seats rebuildable with factory foam, or would it rely on creativity with stuff from Hobby Lobby, etc.?
-- What are other challenging aspects of getting an interior back in good, clean condition?

Appreciate anyone's willingness to share some acquired knowledge and perspective of what is bound to be a terrible idea.

Thanks,
MM
MM,

I have had my 06 KJ CRD from day one and now pushing 240K. I have changed the fluids regularly, changed the timing belt twice, replaced the power steering lines because of rust. I build mine from SS tube and braided hose from the race car. The trans has been no problem even though diesels were known for having issues. No suspension issues either, she can still haul a face cord of wood inside.

Parts for both gas and diesel are available all over and many in salvage yards. Mine is rusting everywhere and will need to be replaced, but still doing her job.
 

stumpumper46

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Hello, I'm a long time wrench turner and Jeep owner and have had many (CJs, YJs, TJs, WJ, KJ, and currently a JT). My wife had a 2004 Liberty (bought new) for about about three years but traded it on a minivan when the growing family required it. We are still a Jeep family, and every time my wife considers a new JL, she always says she wishes she still had her Liberty. She really loved that thing, and I love her and all things Jeep so...

... seriously considering buying a decent KJ and fixing it up for her as a spare vehicle. I joined this forum specifically to ask the following:

1. How is parts availability for these things?
-- I'd imagine tie rods, ball joints, and other high-wear parts are readily available, yes?
-- What other high-wear stuff is hard to get or not available?
2. Once you get past the likely engine overhaul or replacement, what are the usual problem areas?
-- Are the auto transmissions decent on these things at 150,000 miles, or just about spent?
-- How do the electrical components and computer-controlled electronics hold up?
-- What are the dreaded nightmares that some people run into and everyone hopes it doesn't happen to them?
3. Are the seats rebuildable with factory foam, or would it rely on creativity with stuff from Hobby Lobby, etc.?
-- What are other challenging aspects of getting an interior back in good, clean condition?

Appreciate anyone's willingness to share some acquired knowledge and perspective of what is bound to be a terrible idea.

Thanks,
MM


I just had some steering links replaced on my 2005 Liberty. Also the rear Y shaped stabilizer. Oreilleys had all the parts.

About a year ago the front driveshaft puked and Oreilleys had one with a lifetime warranty for less than the dealer. The rubber brake hoses were looking cracked and dry so those got replaced too. I live in WI so the Jeep gets a lot of salt on it, I think that's why stuff is showing wear. BUt I like the maneuverability of the Liberty plus it can handle a heavy trailer quite well. Mine now has 255,000 miles and is running well. But I have used 100% synthetic oil in everything since it was new. Big difference.
Mine has the 2.8 Diesel engine and the heavy duty 5 speed auto trans. Fluid got changed every 50,000.

I'm starting to see rust on the bottom of doors on the outside. I had it ziebarted but they only cover the inner edges. Nothing is rusting where it was treated.

I strongly recommend you find one from AZ, or NM with NO rust. You can get an engine or trans rebuilt for less than the cost of repairs once rust gets the upper hand.

I was told the reason the Liberty is rated to pull up to 5,000 pound trailer is because it has the heavy duty diffentials and trans.

A new Cherokee is limited to 2,000 probably due to it being front drive and I guess the transaxle is not as heavy duty as what is in the Liberty.

 

vandon62

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So My wife and I inherited a base 04 kj Atlantic Blue with.. some slight north east rusting. But it was mostly surface rust... and wire wheeled off a few hours under the jeep and a good spray of black ceramic coated paint and eventually it was good as new... The thing about rust is Yif it is rusted take a pick and make sure it doesn't go all the way through the framework... surface rust ehhh... The other thing to keep in mind is the doors under the "weather stripping" thats on the door itself... rusting will occur there... again wire wheel and primer some touchup spray with some masking tape.... took me two days... but not a big deal The Mopar paint IS still available on ebay... Just make sure if its the pbj atlantic blue that code HAS CHANGED to ZBJ

and needed ALOT of maintenance stuff... did not even have the recall done for the trailer hitch. So... I've ended up upgrading the clockspring, for audio/cruise control added cruise control (ebay less than $120 total) upgraded to towing brakes calipers and rotors, needed an injector, replaced new sparkplugs, the usual problem with the exaust manifold gaskets existed so i've still need to replace the exhaust manifold gaskets.
Rewiring the rear harness was just long and tedious work cause my junk yards didn't have an 04 or close with a towing so my doner ended up being an 01 and me soldering connections to the04 harness plug... and installing the overhead console just for fun too. couldn't find one on ebay... for my year overhead consoles are easy to find on ebay...


So again just invest in some rust prep tools and stock up on ebay ZBJ paint :p and ceramic black coated paint... and wire wheel and sand the **** out of anything on the underside and spray it down good... besides... the underside looks great in black anyway....

I have to admit... i loved driving it back from W.V to Texas... and I love driving it around but it is the Wifes. I just have to find excuses to tow things! one of the weird design flaws is that the rims puddle water... in them. so just keep an eye out for rust on the interior of the rims... Or just avoid that and buy some good Junker rims that fit from another jeep year... That look better!

So far just about everything 2002-7 is compatible for replacements so... as far as parts.... Junk yards are gonna be your friend!
AS for the interior?! Just keep in mind the underpadding is fiberglass...
We learned this the hardware rewiring the rear... GREAT for sound insulation though! honestly from everything I researched... The main thing to keep in mind is the changing of fluids... everyone forgets the trans fluid and gear box fluid needs changed semi regularly. I was lucky to get one with an engine replaced even though it only had 83k on it when it was parked... the engine only has 30k Gearbox is ATV4 And surprisingly they switched the powersteering fluid to an ATV4 aswell So when its red brown don't be surprised.... just keep in mind that if its brown and ucky it needs flushed...

something else to keep in mind is that the 04 wiring harnesses leading TO the main Electrical on the base seem to be absolutely complete... as in just replace parts as needed from upgraded models and it works!... so far all my upgrades were plug it in and it worked!
 
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Moustache Man

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This is by far the best I've found, but it is several hours away from me. Photos provided by the seller. Asking $8,000.

2003 4x4

Anyone see anything that would scare them off (other than the price)?

It looks like it has been rattle-can painted underneath, but that it pretty common practice, even if there is only surface rust.

Thanks.
MM
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tommudd

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8000 for an 03 ? wow
I bought my 03 with 76,000, I think it was, ( less than 80000 ) in 2015, had been kept in heated garage, all service records from new, one owner for 1/2 that
I need to sell mine it looks like
 

Moustache Man

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This one has 127,000 miles. I haven't run the carfax yet.

I sold a 2005 4Runner V8 for $7,500 (to my brother for my niece) a couple of years ago. I can't pay more than that for a 2003 Liberty. But maybe I'll have to if I want to win Husband of the Year...
 

WheelNut

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SUV prices are insane this year. I paid $5400CDN ($4400USD) for my 05 Sport with 210,000km (120,000mi). $8,000 for an '03 seems like waaaay to much. It does LOOK good in the photos though. No red flags, it's a good colour, and I'd say anyone who took the time to maintain the underbody likely took the time to maintain the rest of the vehicle, so that's a good sign . What are the comparable Liberty's selling for in your area? I'd assume you could haggle the guy down quite a ways from $8k. The most expensive Liberty here in Vancouver is an '05 Renegade with 100,000mi on the clock for $6400USD.

Overall I'd say used SUV prices have increased by 50-100% from what I was seeing in 2019. I bought a '97 Pathfinder that was super mint with 50,000mi on it for $3000CDN in early 2019. I then sold it to a friend a few months later as I couldn't stand driving that thing for what I paid for it. That Pathfinder would easily fetch $5000-7000 if it were up for sale now. Don't even get me started on the prices of XJs and 4Runners...
 
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Moustache Man

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Yeah, prices are nuts. Most Liberty models within 100 miles of me are $1,500-$5,000. Very few less than 200,000 miles, most have 230-250K. Most have failed paint or visible body damage.

This one is over 200 miles from me, but significantly better condition than any other blue Liberty in the same radius.

On the one hand, cash talks so he might go below $7,000. On the other hand, he'll know that I don't want to drive 200+ miles only to not make a deal, so it puts me at a disadvantage.
 

LabRat

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8000 for an 03 ? wow
I bought my 03 with 76,000, I think it was, ( less than 80000 ) in 2015, had been kept in heated garage, all service records from new, one owner for 1/2 that
I need to sell mine it looks like
There’s a shortage of money and used cars. Libertys that run with trashed OE suspension going for 6-8k around here right now.
Winter is coming so the 4xs are a hot commodity .
 

tommudd

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Yes fully realize that there are and is a used car shortage BUT 8000 is insane
I just passed up an 06, 68,000 miles, one owner , older couple , well maintained , ( black , my color of vehicle ) kept in garage for 5200, ( and could of gotten it cheaper after they saw my 03 )
near me here in Southern Ohio
But since I don't do newer than 05 KJs passed on it
 
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vandon62

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personally i wouldn't pay more than 5k bottom line unless the engin and trans and 4.4 case are less than 30k on them replaced new... other than that 5,500
 

Moustache Man

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I appreciate the continued replies. We are still on the lookout, but I can't bring myself to drive 300+ miles each way to get a vehicle that I don't need, then hoping it can make the return trip. We are hoping to find a good one close by eventually. As for the one I posted about on this thread, he has dropped the price to $7,500. That vehicle is in Sylva, North Carolina, if anyone is interested.
 

vandon62

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my wife joked about selling ours to you but... she loves driving it... lol after all the work i put into it she's thrilled except the mpg! lol
 

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