I have owned a YJ, then a TJ, then my TJ- Rubicon.
YJ's were awful but obsessively fun filled creatures. I had to adjust my carb once a week to keep it starting and the leaf spring suspension was so rough I thought I might start a business where I drive overdue pregnant ladies to the hospital and induce them all in the same trip.
Yup, you play you pay is soo true.
A short wheelbase on a 4x4 is not a problem in the winter when you use the 4wd AND "BIG AND" you drive at speeds that the weather warrants. I see so many people barreling along in 4WDs of all sizes thinking that they are indestructible cause they pulled the 4wd level/button. Yes, it well help you keep going in a straight line longer but it will not help much on a sudden emergency turn or stop any faster.
However, without the 4wd, ya its a spinning top. The transfer case on my old YJ wouldn't change in/out of 4wd unless I slowed to an almost standstill so when pavement conditions constantly changed, you tended to leave it o ff to protect your drive train. Also, hardly anybody knows how to drive a rear wheel drive anymore. Give it gas and your rear end goes sideways. Seems to surprise people now.
You should get a ride in a 97 or up, ie TJ. That's when they switched to a spring coil suspension and now it rides as smooth as a small 1/4 ton truck at least. Still no Seniormobile Buick but night and Day compared to the old! Still noisy though when you use a soft top. A less aggressive tire makes it pretty quiet but then your obviously not doing any serious off-roading so you might as well have bought a car or a CRV or some other 'urban' SUV.
The 4.0L Straight Six that started with the TJ is now considered one of the more reliable engines of it's time. The older YJ injection system came came around in its last couple of model years and was just kind of an afterthought and did work crappy.
07s and up come in a wheelbase thats almost 2' longer and more creature comforts yet again but remains a robust trail vehicle.
Opps Rambling. Will stop now. Takes a while to give equal time to the good and the bad so you don't sound like you are defending the brand too much.
Edited by Murph (11/02/0704:01 PM)
I'm Riffing. People usually stop me when I'm riffing. Or carry on without me. That's also an option.