Just because you hear pops, clicks, etc. when driving in circles in 4wd doesn't necessarily mean the vehicle has front end issues. The tires are rotating at different speeds and your front or rear diff is accommodating. 4wd was designed to be used in straight lines for the most part, especially in low gear.
And never drive in 4wd on dry pavement or you will almost certainly hear a pop. It will be your transfer case exploding.
I have a 95 yj. You can find them for about 5-8k depending on aftermarket accessories, mileage, etc.
If you get a 2.5l with an ax5 tranny, expect the synchs to go out if they haven't already. The ax15 that came on the 4.0's were beefier.
The np231 tc the yj's came with is top notch.
If it has a lift and tires bigger than 31's, make sure it has been re-geared front and rear. Minimum of 4.56 and possibly even 4.88. You won't regret it and it might save your transmission. Especially 5th gear.
A digital Dakota speedo calibrator and slip yoke eliminator are also a must if it has been lifted and running oversized tires.
Rhino lined interiors are good too. Check the top for tears and dry rot if it is soft and also inspect the condition of the soft top hardware, window channel, etc. A new hardware kit can run you 300 bucks easy and a bestop soft top can run another 350-500 new.
If they already have aftermarket bumpers/tire carriers, that is a big plus as they can run upwards of 1000 bucks each. You can find some for 400 to 500 though.
If it has a lunchbox locker, Detroit or arb locker that is also a plus for off road, but they can cause handle issues when cornering on dry pavement.
Good luck. You can find some great deals for 5-8k.