yj vs tj

Jeep YJ vs TJ

For many years, Jeep Wranglers have been reliable and robust vehicles for off-roading enthusiasts. Many Jeep Wrangler models have been manufactured throughout the years, after Wrangler’s invention.

Some of the Wrangler models include the YJ, TJ, JK, and JL. These Jeep Wrangler generations are distinct from each other.

If you are a hardcore off-road enthusiast and are looking to tackle the tough trails, you may want to know the differences between these editions.

The YJ and TJ were the first two Wranglers to come onto the market, with the YJ running from 1986 to 1995. Then TJ succeeded the YJ from 1997 to 2006.

Nonetheless, most people are confused about the differences between Jeep Wrangler YJ and TJ. In this article, we will discuss the visible and invisible differences between these two Jeep Wranglers.

Jeep Wrangler YJ Background

Jeep invented the YJ Wrangler and launched in 1986 as a replacement for the CJ. YJ was the first vehicle to be sold as a Wrangler in the US.

When the YJ was under development, Jeep wanted to produce a Jeep Model that could be a better daily driver than CJ Wrangler.

The idea was producing a Jeep that would attract more buyers and increase sales hugely. Jeep Wrangler came with a more street-friendly design and had increased axle width, sway bars, and a track bar.

They also reduced ground clearance slightly to make it even more comfortable for driving on the streets. Jeep Wrangler YJ was a success by many degrees when driving down the streets and better comfort.

Jeep Wrangler TJ Background

TJ Wrangler followed the YJ and was the second Wrangler model to be sold in the US. This Wrangler edition was produced between 1997 and 2006.

The TJ seemed to take a back step in terms of physical appearance, as it borrowed most of its design cues from the Civilian Jeep (CJ). TJ Jeep represents the typical Wrangler look.

When it comes to off-roading performance, TJ recouped all the capabilities that were lost in the YJ. It raised the vehicle a tad and swapped leaf springs for a coin spring-suspension system. Despite these few off-road performance improvements, the first TJs performed as the YJ in different clothes.

However, the later TJs produced from 2003 to 2006 started diverging farther from the YJ. This was also when an exceptional off-roading TJ Rubicon was produced.

The TJ Rubicon became the most competent stock off-roading rig that ever existed in the Jeep world. This powerful trim level has been held through every successive line of jeep Wranglers, even on Jeep Gladiator.

YJ vs TJ Exterior

It’s easy to differentiate a YJ from TJ, mainly because of their headlights. YJ Wrangler comes with square headlights, which makes it stand out.

TJ Wrangler, on the other hand, comes with round headlights. Along with the headlights, other exterior features also differ in these two Jeep Wrangler editions. The YJ grill slots are slightly smaller than that of TJ Wrangler, and the grill has a slight bend.

The turn signals lights on the YJs are located right on the windshield, contrary to those of TJs. YJ Wrangler’s hood features a distinct shape that aggressively tapers toward the grill.

YJ vs TJ Interior Another significant difference between Jeep Wranglers YJ and TJ is seen in their interior. The Jeep YJ comes with a very serviceable feel to it with hard plastics and thin seats.

In most cases, Jeep Wrangler YJ didn’t come with carpets, but you can always upgrade it for better looks. For instance; You can eliminate the plastic dash and install metallic to improve your YJ aesthetics, which is something you can’t do on the TJ. The Jeep Wrangler TJ went through an interior remodeling.

It comes with an entirely new dash that has a more appealing center console. Generally, TJ has more comfortable and advanced seats than YJ. If you want to buy a YJ with better seats, you can have an interior makeover done on it.

YJ vs TJ: Transmissions and Gearing

YJ and TJ Wranglers have various transmission options. These transmissions can be manual or automatic. As you would expect, most transmission and gearing systems in YJ and TJ Wranglers are manual.

YJ vs TJ: Engine Options

While Wrangler engines are made for high-performance, the engine options in YJs and TJs are also different.

The TJ Wrangler performs better than YJ, whether on-road or off-road, but this doesn’t invalidate the YJ’s capabilities. For both of these two Jeep Wrangler editions, all the available engine options are only gasoline-powered.

YJ Engine Options

  • 2.5L AMC, 121 hp, 135 lb.-ft
  • 2.5L AMC, 130 hp, 139 lb.-ft
  •  4.2L AMC, 112hp, 210 lb.-ft
  •  4.0 AMC, 190hp, 220lb.-ft

TJ Engine Options


  • 2.4L PowerTech 14 (post 2003), 147hp, 165 lb.-ft
  •  2.5L PowerTech 14, 120hp, 140lb.-ft
  • 4.0L PowerTech 16, 190hp, 235lb.-ft

Initially, the standard YJ Wrangler came with the 2.5L AMC engine, and the 4.2L AMC was optional. In 1991, the 4.2L was swapped with the fuel-injected 4.0L.

YJ and TJ Dimensions

The overall sizes of YJ and TJ Wranglers are not very distinct. The wheelbase measures 93.4” for both editions. YJ’s total length range between 151.9” and 153”, while that of TJ range from 151.2” to 154.9.”

They also have different width measurements, with the YJ measuring 66” and 68.3” for the TJ Wrangler. When it comes to weight, the YJ’s can range anywhere between 2,855 to 3,241 pounds, while the TJ range between 3,092 to 3,857 pounds. The height in these two Wranglers is almost the same as the YJ measures up to 72," and the TJ measures up to 71.1.”

YJ and TJ Price

You can buy a lifted TJ for around $10,000 to $12,000. A stock in good condition TJ can cost you only $8,000. On the other hand, YJs are a bit cheaper, as a lifted one can cost you about $6,000 to $7,000.

But if you just want a stock in good condition YJ, the price will range from $4,000 to $5,000.

YJ vs TJ Off-Roading Capabilities

Though Jeep Wranglers have gotten better over the years, their off-roading capabilities remain outstanding. In fact, all Wrangler models can beat all 4X4 vehicles on trails.

The YJ came with a Dana 30 front axle and a Dana 35 on the rear. Jeep TJs also came with Dana 30 on the front axle, but the rear axle has a Dana 35c.

TJ Rubicon features Dana 44 front and rear axles. TJ also uses a four-corner quadra-coil suspension as opposed to the YJ’s leaf springs.

Both YJ and TJ deliver excellent off-roading performance even though they ride differently. If you are after a powerful Wrangler that can take you virtually anywhere you want to go, you can try a TJ Rubicon for the best results.


Jeep YJ and Jeep TJ are great off-roading vehicles, and they deliver the best experience when riding on rough terrains.