what is the difference between the 96 and 97 or the 97 and 98. Can`t remember which but it has to do with suspension lift. They are different between the years. one may be easier/cheaper to lift or is more reliable.
the 97 and older models used the independent twin I beam front suspension, with coil springs, shocks and stabilizer bar. 98 and newer models used Independent unequal length control arms, coil springs, shock absorbers and stabilizer bar. That is still used up to and including 2004 models.
The 97 and earlier is easier and much cheaper to lift. Also less easily damaged off-road. The 98+ isn't really bad, but you're limited to about a 4" lift and the front components will break with anything over a 33" tire.