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Thread: Getting into the Jeep World

  1. #1
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    Getting into the Jeep World

    Hello again everyone. It's been at least two years since I last hit the trails. Having a third kid and new job basically killed my ability to do any hobbies at all so I haven't even driven my Toyota 4Runner in almost an entire year. However, I'm looking to change that by selling both my 4Runner and Acadia to get into a Unlimited JK. Most importantly, my wife is actually in agreement that this is a good idea and supports getting the rig to a place that it looks like a "real" jeep to her. This will be a daily driver for me and for the family of 5 during the summer. My plan would be to do the monthly trail rides and eventually get out to Colorado, Moab, etc with it. I've told her that my goal is to spend $30K to get a 2014 or newer with <40,000 miles that would require further modifications to get it to its end state. The end state is based primarily on what I experienced with my lifted, locked, armoured 4Runner on 33s but I do need a some opinions from those with more experience in the jeep world. I also would consider buying a jeep that is close to the end state for more money if I found the right deal. The end state would have front bumper with winch, rear bumper with tire carrier, CB, bluetooth, 33" or 35" MT with appropriate gearing and lift, front and rear lockers, Dana 44 or Dana 30 with reinforcements up front, and some rock rails. I'm comfortable tackling any of this work on my own though truth be told I will likely use a local mechanic that builds jeeps as a hobby to do the work. So my questions are below and they are mostly around paying extra for a Rubicon or getting a Sahara and then upgrading.

    I'd love to have the 4.10 gearing, front Dana 44, and locking ability that comes from the Rubicon package. My understanding is that I would be fine running 35s if I wanted without any problems for the type of wheeling I described here. This is attractive because the upgrades are pretty easy if I don't have to touch the drive train at all. Of course, I've only seen one Rubicon below $35K and it was a 2013 with 20K miles that seemed too good to be true.

    If I go with a non-Rubicon then I've been holding out for Saharas with the 3.71 gear ratio. My thoughts with this are that I could likely live with 33s on that for a long time and then eventually regear / add lockers at the same time. From what I've price up it looks like it would save me at least a few thousands to go this route.

    Basically, would you guys recommend waiting around for the right Rubicon or build it on my own down the road?

  2. #2
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    I think you have the right plan for an all around do everything and haul everyone type rig. I would probably shoot for the Rubicon just to save time and probably money in the long run by time you geared and locked another one. I could be wrong since I drive Jap crap.
    1988 Suzuki Samurai,SPOA, 31x12.50 boggers, 15x10 Eagle 589s, 6.5:1 T-case gears, H shift pattern in t case. F/R lockers, diff guards, rocksliders, custom bumper w/ 5500LB winch, power steering, rear disc brakes, Sony CD player and 6.5" speakers, 300 watt amp, and 10" sub.

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    Yeah if your end game is 35s, the Rubicon is the way to go, IMO. It basically just needs enough lift to fit the 35s and your good. If you were planning 40s as end game then don't spend the extra on Rubicon, because your probably going to replace all the stuff that makes it a "Rubicon" anyeays.
    1988 Samurai Truggy: yotas, locked, linked 4Ds
    2003 WJ: 6.5" long arm and 33s
    2004 F350: Tow Rig: 6.0, 6 speed on 20s and 33" wildpeaks

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    Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    I appreciate the thoughts guys. I've been leaning this way myself. My wife gently reminded me that she'd rather have us using the Jeep as a family rather than just my son and I working on it in the garage while she watches our two daughters. I guess I should act while she is still on board with spending the money.

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    I'm not sure what the used vehicle price jump is with a Rubicon compared to a standard model, but as mentioned above there are some advantages to the Rubicon in this situation. Slap on a small lift and 35's and you have a capable vehicle that you can still drive to work everyday (I have a buddy who did this). To be honest I have any thought about going to a smaller (less modified) rig that I could also drive to work or into town every once in awhile. Granted having a dedicated off-road rig on 1-ton axles, lockers, and 40" tires that you haul on a trailer to the woods is fun, you get tired of always working on it and finding the time to haul it to a challenging trail is tough.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Amen Brad.
    '01 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 L Auto, 78 Dodge Dana 60/70 with 4.88 gears, ARB front, Lincoln locked rear, Dana 300 transfer case, 4 link upper triangulated front and rear, 4 inch lift, 38.5 boggers rear, TSL-SX front, tube fenders, rock sliders, Bilstein shocks, 1.25" BBL, 1" MML, Warn M8000, fuel cell, custom drive shafts, belly up skidplate.
    '00 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0L, standard, dana 30/ dana 44 with chromoly axle shafts, ARB lockers front/rear, 35" tires
    '04 Chevy 2500 HD
    Tow Rig and farm truck

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    Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Well I pulled the trigger on a 2017 Rubicon that I found in Jarrettsville, MD. It sat on the lot unsold for a year so I was able to negotiate a great deal a new car. It's a pretty bare bones Rubicon but does have the dual tops and 4.10 gears. I'm hoping I'll be able to make it out this Saturday. Not sure when the modding will start since it may take a while to sell the 4Runner which will fund the modding.
    IMG_6699.jpg

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    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Very nice Rubicon. You'll like the added capability and will soon be spoiled.
    '01 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 L Auto, 78 Dodge Dana 60/70 with 4.88 gears, ARB front, Lincoln locked rear, Dana 300 transfer case, 4 link upper triangulated front and rear, 4 inch lift, 38.5 boggers rear, TSL-SX front, tube fenders, rock sliders, Bilstein shocks, 1.25" BBL, 1" MML, Warn M8000, fuel cell, custom drive shafts, belly up skidplate.
    '00 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0L, standard, dana 30/ dana 44 with chromoly axle shafts, ARB lockers front/rear, 35" tires
    '04 Chevy 2500 HD
    Tow Rig and farm truck

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    Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    Thanks. I was able to learn a lot about what I wanted in this Jeep from the time I've spent through the years at trail rides and discussing with Rex when I was with Trane. My plan is to take full advantage of the functionality every month on the trail rides but we'll see how often I can actually get there with kids in sports etc.... I'm in the process of selling my 4runner so I can replace the front/rear bumpers, upgrade the skid plates and add some spacers to bring the wheels somewhat outside the fenders. I'm not sure that I can sell my wife on proactively replacing brand new tires and adding a lift since we just bought it.

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    Senior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    If you are using it as a daily driver you might consider buying some steel wheels and putting your aggressive offroad tires on them. Do the tire change before a weekend of offroad fun. I burned through some expensive tires and degraded their offroad capability by using them on the daily driver. Tell your you are keeping the keeping the new tires (then go buy your offroad tires). That worked for me
    '01 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0 L Auto, 78 Dodge Dana 60/70 with 4.88 gears, ARB front, Lincoln locked rear, Dana 300 transfer case, 4 link upper triangulated front and rear, 4 inch lift, 38.5 boggers rear, TSL-SX front, tube fenders, rock sliders, Bilstein shocks, 1.25" BBL, 1" MML, Warn M8000, fuel cell, custom drive shafts, belly up skidplate.
    '00 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4.0L, standard, dana 30/ dana 44 with chromoly axle shafts, ARB lockers front/rear, 35" tires
    '04 Chevy 2500 HD
    Tow Rig and farm truck

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    Junior Member Ohio 4x4 Member
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    That looks like a great buy! I considered a used 2017 Rubicon in January this year that only had 10K on the clock but ended up buying a new 2018 JK Wrangler Sport with LSD 3:73s because I knew I was going to use it as a daily driver. I did a leveling kit which got me 2" of lift, bumper, winch, MCE flat fenders and 295/70 R17s on wheels with 4.5" of backspacing. I have 8 INCHES of space between the top of the tire and the fender and the Limited slip diffs have worked fantastically. I say buy what works for you and build it so you can drive it and enjoy it! 37" tires and 4 inches of lift isn't for everyone!

    Good luck!

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    As Flint mentioned above I think the option of buying a second set of off-road dedicated tires is a good idea on something you will drive daily and trail run in. The up front cost is obviously higher but in the long run it would pay off. First thing is you don't have to compromise on tire performance in either situation. You can stay with a much better road tire (better tread life, handling, lighter for better fuel mileage and vehicle wear, etc...) for the majority of your driving and then swap to the more aggressive tires for the trail. With that said there are a lot of decent all-around tires out there if you really want to stay with one set.
    Brad
    '90 Blazer - 6.2 diesel, 700r4, Dana 60, 14 bolt, locked, 39.5" Super Swamper TSLs, winch, rollcage, yada, yada, yada......

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