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I’d like to get the group’s thoughts on the value of modified MJs. I bought a pretty nice 89 Eliminator, 1-owner, 4.0, 5-spd, 95k miles. It’s very straight, clean, excellent condition except the repaint is maybe a 7/10. Factory buckets, I have the original wheels, totally unmolested except for the current wheels on it....

 

I would like to build an MJ as an overlanding vehicle to showcase products and use for business-related shows and events. Also just use it as a cool platform for camping with a rooftop tent. 
 

It would be fairly mild with 33’s, 3-link, bumpers, 4wd conversion. I also would likely do a 97+ exterior swap (I like the older interior style too much and it’s in great shape). No sheet metal cutting or body modifications. 
 

Finally, to the point...how does the market treat Comanches modified like this (mild build with 97+ front end)? I know it will appreciate well in its current stock state, especially with under 95k, but would the value still be decent modified??

 

Or do I find yet another truck in worse shape to build?

 

Also, I know it’s my truck, I can do what I want with it, blah blah. But I don’t want to ruin a nice (mostly) original truck and you guys always have good insight!!

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The market varies greatly and we’ve discussed that on a few build so far. I was offered 18k for mine but declined. It’s fairly modded as well. I took it off the market and decided to keep it but another couple of weeks may have netted 20k. And just to note, I have way over 20k into it.
The market as a whole hasn’t really nailed down MJ prices. Many pick up there trucks dirt cheap and others are willing to pay. When I was trying to find a nice MJ about 5 or so years ago, most the ones I liked were in the 10-13k range. Ultimately it all comes down to finding the right buyer.

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The market for these trucks is small enough that personal preference of individual buyers really is going to be the driving force.

 

It would seem that the build style you're describing (97+ conversion, 33s) is a popular look. Personally, it's not my cup of tea, but enough people seem to like 97+ converted trucks. I think as long as the mods in question are well done, you'd do just fine.

 

If you want to gouge your eyeballs out reading my overly long and melodramatic take on it, here's an effort-post I did about modifications and values a while ago. Keep in mind that I'm a persnickety a$$hole about this kind of thing, my preferences tend toward originality, and the thread I originally posted this in was more about restored trucks, if I remember right. Maybe you'll get something out of it :dunno:

 

Quote

Here's my take. It's not so much WHAT has been done, as HOW it has been done. There's no way you could possibly answer the first question, because every single person you ask is going to have a different answer. Some people are strict purists, some people like big lifts and big tires and will value a truck accordingly. At this point in my automotive life, I don't think I would buy another Jeep that has been messed with by someone else. That's not because I think all mods are bad, but there is much more to doing a modification correctly than just getting it on the truck. Generally speaking - it's much easier to do something that brings the value down.

 

I do not trust the general public to modify a vehicle correctly, especially anything that has to do with steering geometry or electrical work. I've seen way too many hackjobs and way too many things that only look nice on the surface. Here on CC we're insulated from that a little bit, because people who do garbage work generally won't put in the time to show it off on a forum full of people who actually care about the preservation of these trucks, but crap work is out there and way, way more common than it should be.

 

I respect attention to detail. There are certain things you can look at on a modified vehicle to see if there was care taken with the work done. Famous example - if I see a repainted truck that has the Comanche fender badges in the wrong place - why should I think the painter did a good job if they couldn't even be bothered to put the badges in the right place? Anyone who knows how to read a tape measure can find the exact position of that badge on the fender in five minutes. Anyone who doesn't have enough respect for the customer or vehicle to do that little bit of finish work correctly has no business painting a vehicle.

 

Electrical work - I expect to see quality connectors appropriate for the conditions. I do not ever want to see wire nuts, insulated non-heatshrink crimp connectors, or vampire splices. I expect to see relays when appropriate, connected with appropriate relay sockets and NOT just quick-connect terminals that can be mixed up easily. I do NOT want to see un-loomed wires snaking across the engine bay. I do not want to see different circuits using the same wire color. I expect all wires to be appropriately sized. If there are multiple new circuits, I expect to see an auxiliary fuse block as close to the circuit origin as possible with fuses sized appropriately for the wire gauges being used in the circuit. I expect all added on wiring to be removable. I don't want to see a bunch of stuff hanging off of the battery - military style battery terminals are great for making a system with a lot of additions look good and most of these trucks need new ones at this point anyway. I hate all wire splices, but I hate properly soldered ones slightly less. All splices should be done in a part of the harness that does not bend, especially if the connection is soldered. Solder creates a stiff point in the wire that will end up breaking if it is allowed to move with any regularity. Solder splices should be roughly the same size as the wire including insulation. Lumps in the solder should be kept to a minimum, which should not be a problem if the wire is properly heated and flux is used. Additional flux should be used and the excess cleaned up. Crimp connections are totally fine if proper tooling is used, and for parallel-type connections I prefer crimp connectors.

 

Most aftermarket audio system work makes my blood boil. A lot of people don't want to keep the factory components, and that's fine. What is not fine is cutting up factory harnesses, wiring speakers with the wrong polarity, etc. It's a personal thing, but I really don't like aftermarket radio installs that have the radio protruding from the dash.

 

Since you asked for a list, here's a few of mine in no particular order:

 

ADD VALUE:

- Headlight harnesses

- Non sealed beam headlights (halogen or quality LED)

- A high level of options, even if the truck might not have had them from the factory.

- Signs that the truck has been maintained properly over its life.

- Some electrical stuff, if I can tell that it's been done properly.

 

NEUTRAL VALUE ("meh"):

- A well done aftermarket radio install, which is a small percentage of aftermarket radio installs. If I were to buy a truck with one, I'd probably switch it out with one of my factory ones out of preference.

- 97+ mirrors. What they gain in visibility they lose in looks.

 

LOWER VALUE:

- A repaint in a factory color if I can tell it's a repaint. If I can tell it's a repaint without being told, it's not good enough for me. Badges in the wrong place are the #1 alarm bell.

- Aftermarket additions like remote starts and alarm systems. I get why you would want them, but they are too invasive to the factory wiring for me.

- 99.5% of aftermarket audio work.

- Trashy looking or knock-off LED headlights with terrible optics. Sadly these are the majority.

- Most uses of spray on or roll on bedliner.

- Most things you can buy at Autozone.

- Non-factory wheels.

- Oversized wheels. Sometimes 16s look good, but most 17s are too much. Exception: I really like the 2000-2001 Icon wheels and may end up with a set when I need tires next.

- 97+ front clip. I just like the old one better.

 

I will say that I don't think you'll be taking away from the value by removing the originality. In my mind, that's only really important when the truck is an absolute 10/10 as-is. There are plenty of all-original turdbuckets around. Besides, it's already had its originality taken away by the repaint. It's only original once, and whoever got it painted has already crossed the Rubicon(heh) with this one.

 

And, of course, it doesn't sound like you plan to destroy it bouncing it off rocks, so you could always undo some of the mods and end up with a pretty clean truck when you go to sell.

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I haven't tracked MJ prices of late. It used to be, about 20 years ago, they brought less than XJs. Probably 10 years ago, they started to gain traction. Look like the prices are about even or a touch to the MJ. I will say the same dilemma effects XJs. I will say lifts and mods do not detract from the price as before. I don't think they add a bunch to the price either. Maybe they add 1/2 the cost of the parts price. I will say no rust and low miles drastically increase the price. Also, the lift brand and quality of the install should increase the price. As stated before, when moded you are narrowing the field or potential buyers. Even if yours is exactly what the buyer wants, will they paly the game that it is not? If you can convert back, then that's and edge. So many looking for a steal and not a deal.   

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I feel like it'll appreciate value better in the long run as is. I'm just down the road from you and what I've seen, a build like you're talking about is in the $8k range if the drivetrain has no issues, and the body is rust free. That's also what you could probably get for the exact same truck unmodified, IF it is truly pristine.

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one thing I've noticed about MJs, they don't need the big lift and tires that other trucks need in order to attract attention.  :D 

 

also, you can lift a 2wd just the same as a 4wd.  :L: 

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4 minutes ago, Pete M said:

one thing I've noticed about MJs, they don't need the big lift and tires that other trucks need in order to attract attention.  :D 

 

also, you can lift a 2wd just the same as a 4wd.  :L: 

I don't know why you would do that but ok!

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-you can do a surprising amount of trail running with 2wd and a locker thrown in. (same rules apply: recovery points front/rear and never wheel alone)

 

-a huge percentage of the 4wd trucks on the road never do anything that actually needs 4wd 

 

-desert prerunners and indoor trophy trucks are usually 2wd

 

-if anyone is worried about resale, can't get any easier to return to stock  :D 

 

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that actually makes sense. no rock crawling. seems to me like a stock 4wd truck would wheel better than a lifted and locked 2wd truck. depends how that front dead axle is controlled but would would the same aftermarket lift kit parts work? also I would like to thank jeep right now for putting a solid axle in the front of our trucks it's very nice

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Reasons I will be doing a 4WD conversion:

- I want it

- It will make me happy

- One more item checked off the list of " add every single 1991 factory option"

- I've already mentally attached the "4x4" and "Selec-Trac" badges to my truck

- If I run into a small patch of wet grass in my driveway I can put it into full-time instead of going around

 

@Jesse J The front axle setup on a 2WD is literally the same as on a 4WD except the "axle" on the 2WD is just a tube with no diff. They came from the factory with springs that resulted in a 1" lower ride height, but literally every single other thing about them is the same. You can put whatever lift kit you want on a 2WD truck, no problem at all.

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1 minute ago, Minuit said:

Reasons I will be doing a 4WD conversion:

- I want it

- It will make me happy

- I've already mentally attached the "4x4" and "Selec-Trac" badges to my truck

- If I run into a small patch of wet grass in my driveway I can put it into full-time instead of going around

 

@Jesse J The front axle setup on a 2WD is literally the same as on a 4WD except the "axle" on the 2WD is just a tube with no diff. They came from the factory with springs that resulted in a 1" lower ride height, but literally every single other thing about them is the same. You can put whatever lift kit you want on a 2WD truck, no problem at all.

oh cool that's sick. I must say I am also attached to my 4x4 badge as well 

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I would like to build an MJ as an overlanding vehicle to showcase products and use for business-related shows and events. Also just use it as a cool platform for camping with a rooftop tent. 
 

It would be fairly mild with 33’s, 3-link, bumpers, 4wd conversion. I also would likely do a 97+ exterior swap (I like the older interior style too much and it’s in great shape). No sheet metal cutting or body modifications. 
 

Finally, to the point...how does the market treat Comanches modified like this (mild build with 97+ front end)? I know it will appreciate well in its current stock state, especially with under 95k, but would the value still be decent modified??

 

Or do I find yet another truck in worse shape to build?

 

That truck is too nice to build.

 

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Having had a lifted MJ and wheeled it, hating the lift every time I got into the truck, and then wheeled it some more after returning it to stock height, I can attest that it wheeled just as well on 31-inch tires at stock height as it did with a 4-inch lift. As for value, perhaps I'm in a minority but, having gone down the lifted truck road once, I have vowed never to do it again. If I were to look for an MJ to buy, I wouldn't even look at one that's lifted or modified. I might look at one that only has a late-model front clip on it, but a lift, off-road bumpers, non-Jeep axles, and of that stuff takes it right off the table. For me it's not even whether the mods add or reduce the value. To me, a modified MJ has zero value. Period.

 

If you want to build an off-road truck, find a beater and modify that.

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6 hours ago, Jesse J said:

that actually makes sense. no rock crawling. seems to me like a stock 4wd truck would wheel better than a lifted and locked 2wd truck. depends how that front dead axle is controlled but would would the same aftermarket lift kit parts work? also I would like to thank jeep right now for putting a solid axle in the front of our trucks it's very nice

Lifted 2wd trucks aren’t for rock crawling. More along the lines of a jeepspeed build. Those are quite cool. After 4wd the next best thing for crawling is a short bed. 

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On 2/22/2021 at 12:33 AM, ghetdjc320 said:

The market varies greatly and we’ve discussed that on a few build so far. I was offered 18k for mine but declined. It’s fairly modded as well. I took it off the market and decided to keep it but another couple of weeks may have netted 20k. And just to note, I have way over 20k into it.
The market as a whole hasn’t really nailed down MJ prices. Many pick up there trucks dirt cheap and others are willing to pay. When I was trying to find a nice MJ about 5 or so years ago, most the ones I liked were in the 10-13k range. Ultimately it all comes down to finding the right buyer.

I think this is what actually has me stumped and actually considering building the Jeep. Some of the higher priced vehicles I’ve seen lately have been modified and modernized somewhat. 

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Well I shouldn’t have waited til midnight if I was going to reply to everyone. But thanks a ton for the input, that’s just what I was looking for. 
 

Here is some info I purposely left out that is really making this tricky...

- I have another MJ that is much nicer. It’s an 88 and needs the AX-15 out of the red one. But....it has 186k miles. 
- I have a set of decently built 4.56 axles (D30, 9”) with ARBs sitting in the shop. 
- Since I’ll use it for business, I want it to look clean...so any cheaper vehicle I find would probably take more body/paint work than I’m interested in. 

I think the 95k miles is really my hang up. I wish it had more miles :laugh:

 

Whatever happens, if I come back in a year and start talking about one ton axles, molesting the body, and drivetrain swaps, please stop me. 

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21 hours ago, Minuit said:

The market for these trucks is small enough that personal preference of individual buyers really is going to be the driving force.

 

It would seem that the build style you're describing (97+ conversion, 33s) is a popular look. Personally, it's not my cup of tea, but enough people seem to like 97+ converted trucks. I think as long as the mods in question are well done, you'd do just fine.

 

If you want to gouge your eyeballs out reading my overly long and melodramatic take on it, here's an effort-post I did about modifications and values a while ago. Keep in mind that I'm a persnickety a$$hole about this kind of thing, my preferences tend toward originality, and the thread I originally posted this in was more about restored trucks, if I remember right. Maybe you'll get something out of it :dunno:

 

 

I will say that I don't think you'll be taking away from the value by removing the originality. In my mind, that's only really important when the truck is an absolute 10/10 as-is. There are plenty of all-original turdbuckets around. Besides, it's already had its originality taken away by the repaint. It's only original once, and whoever got it painted has already crossed the Rubicon(heh) with this one.

 

And, of course, it doesn't sound like you plan to destroy it bouncing it off rocks, so you could always undo some of the mods and end up with a pretty clean truck when you go to sell.

Great feedback, and I did read your other post, so thank you! You have a really good point about the repaint taking away from the originality. One of the reasons I bought this Jeep is because the repaint was reflected in the price and I got a pretty good deal on it. Hmmmmm. 

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16 hours ago, Jesse J said:

I guess but it takes the point out of lifting your truck

I sort of disagree. It depends on how tall you are. I have a 2" XJ build. VS the 4.5 and the memory of a stocker, it seems about right for me to get in and out of. The 4.5" I have to scooch up a few inches. I'm 5'11". But that also depends on how proportioned a person is. I will say, usually, a lift looses MPG. There was a thread on Jeep.com. The OP managed 23.5 mpg on 31"s. It was a 3 inch lift. His thought was that over that, the pumpkins were in the airstream and would cause drag. 

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14 hours ago, ghetdjc320 said:

Lifted 2wd trucks aren’t for rock crawling. More along the lines of a jeepspeed build. Those are quite cool. After 4wd the next best thing for crawling is a short bed. 

yeah exactly. I want to build a jeeppeed xj so bad

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