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Old 02-14-2014, 07:23 PM   #1
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First Impressions of driving a JK

I bought my first Jeep, a 2001 TJ, 2 months ago and now I am looking to trade it it on a JK. My TJ has 136,000 miles, auto, hardtop, 6 cycl.

I test drove a 2008 TK today with 69,000 miles, auto, hardtop. Some things I noticed that I would like to highlight here to get your feedback:

1. the engine seems alot less responsive than the straight 6 in my TJ. Seemed like I had to push the gas petal alot more to get to move.

2. the steering feel was much lighter with the JK and I believe turns alot sharper than the TJ.

The dealer said he is going to replace the transfer case and rear diffy before he sells it because they are defective. I asked "Why?" as it has less than 70,000 miles. He said it is normal for this year.

Is this true? Do 2008's have major problems with the drive train? Should I stay away from this Jeep/year? Thanks for any feedback.

JC

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Old 02-14-2014, 07:26 PM   #2
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I got a 2010 with 26k miles on it.

Sounds like it got whacked against something either on or a road somewhere. 70k is not a lot of miles to be replacing a diffy. or so I have heard. unless it got smacked against something.
curious to see the response to this

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Old 02-14-2014, 07:46 PM   #3
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It is not normal that they would need replacement. Walk away from this one. The dbw throttle will feel different especially with the auto. If you want an auto trans look at a 2012+. Different engine and trans. Prior to 2012, I would stick with the manual. (No pun intended)
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:53 PM   #4
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The old straight six had more torque than the 3.8 and the responsiveness may also be affected by the gear ratio. It is not normal to replace the transfer case and dif at 70k. Someone beat on that thing. I would walk away.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:48 PM   #5
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My '03 TJ was not exactly a powerhouse on the road even with the 5-speed manual tranny (automatics were worse). I traded up to a 2012 JK after driving one. The 3.6 power is remarkable and the auto trans is great both on the highway and offroad (unless you don't count the trails/road around Ouray/Silverton areas of Colorado as offroad). Personally, I would avoid the '07-'11 JK's. Not because they are bad or anything but because the '12's and up are so much better in terms of powertrain. The auto transmission is superb on highway or offroad. You will read threads where guys are complaining about the 3.6 power, but I suspect most of them never drove a TJ or earlier. Same thing with the 3.21 axle ratio...until you have driven it most of the rhetoric on the internet is just that, rhetoric that is repeated over and over about axle ratios and transmissions with little background to substantiate the claims. The 3.6 with auto and 3.21 axles is not a slow, underpowered combination (I have the stock sized 32's on 17" rims).
The feel of the accelerator pedal is just different, not bad. You simply need to push further to get the beast to jump on the 12's and up. My guess is that is to encourage fuel conservation.
The steering is very low effort and my JK definitely feels like it turns shorter than the TJ but short is short. Another bonus is the JK rides better and quieter on the road than the TJ (hardtops on both). Why get beat-up the 95+% of the time a Jeep never sees rough roads or trails?
Regarding this particular '08...run, don't walk away from it. There are better ones out there. One other thing of complete insignificance, my '14 JK came with a real horn unlike the single tone beeps of the TJ or the '12.
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Old 02-15-2014, 02:36 AM   #6
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Transfer case and diff? That doesn't sound like normal wear. If you are interested make sure you check the transmission and front diff. Some smell rotten in Denmark.

Steering is faster than a TJ and power steering assist is higher at low speeds. The TJ would be twitchy with fast steering. I can't defend neither the 3.8 or the 4.0. All I can say is they served their purpose for me. If the roadmap is to go down by 200 cc each engine generation, I can't wait for 3.2.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:59 AM   #7
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I don't think I am going to be buying this JK or any other JK. What really bugs me about the JK is its lack of power. I guess after 2 months I am very happy with the power/torque that my TJ straight 6 has.

I got a Consumer's Report book and for 2008 they rated the DRIVE SYSTEM "much worst than average".

So my new plan is to look for a 2006 low milage, unhacked, clean Jeep. I am not in a hurry so I have time to look around. Maybe with spring coming there will be more for sale.

Thanks for everyone's input, it was very helpful.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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The 3.8 is a proven reliable engine. Underpowered? Yes a bit. I have two buddies with 2007s and have never heard them complain of any type of engine or drivetrain issues. My 2009 with 58,000 miles has only required a wheel sensor. 2012 models and up, yes I worry about reliability of the 3.6 and some other components. That's why I laugh every time the Dealership calls and asks me if I want to trade in my 09 for a new Wrangler.
Don't put full credence in Consumer reports, and if you're a TJ guy, then it's best to stay with that model, then you won't have buyers regret for buying a JK.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #9
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Ive owned two TJ's an 01 sport and 04 rubicon. I currently own a 13' auto sport with 3.73 gears. You are correct about the TJ's being peppier off the line. They are drive by cable with a good amount of low end torque ( 4.0 L ). Even though my 13' has alot more hp, the torque is just not there. I immediately noticed this right off the lot. Second the drive by wire system in my 13' completely sucks donkey sack.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:00 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by joecatch View Post
I test drove a 2008 TK today with 69,000 miles, auto, hardtop.
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Originally Posted by joecatch View Post
I don't think I am going to be buying this JK or any other JK. What really bugs me about the JK is its lack of power.
JC
That's because you test drove an underpowered 2008 with the 202 hp 3.8L engine. Test drive a 2012+ 285 hp 3.6L with the updated engine and drivetrain and you'll immediately notice the difference.

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Old 02-15-2014, 07:16 PM   #11
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Ive owned two TJ's an 01 sport and 04 rubicon. I currently own a 13' auto sport with 3.73 gears. You are correct about the TJ's being peppier off the line. They are drive by cable with a good amount of low end torque ( 4.0 L ). Even though my 13' has alot more hp, the torque is just not there. I immediately noticed this right off the lot. Second the drive by wire system in my 13' completely sucks donkey sack.
Peppier off the line than what?...a 2012 or newer...lol...I don't think so...I get kids in TJ's wanting to take off from the light all the time and some times I humor them...I have 305/70/16 tires 3:73 gears and a 6 speed manual and smoke them everytime...not even close and they are running little tires.

Perhaps a TJ would fair ok with a 3.8 but that's about it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:02 PM   #12
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Vans, lets put it this way, I could spin my rear wheels from a stop with my inline 4.0's and can't get a chirp with my 3.6. Re-read my post.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:05 PM   #13
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Im talking about torque not HP. Peppier not faster!
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:09 AM   #14
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well with the 13 having Traction control it is hard to get a chirp not suppose to spin. you want spin/chirp take TC off my 2012 auto w/3.73s off the line will smoke any 3.8 or old 4.0 TJ I have tried it and done it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:55 AM   #15
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The Jeep bug hit me again several months ago when a 05 rubi 2dr appeared on a dealer lot in town. I have always been a inline 6 fan. I looked hard in 07 at the 4dr but in the end shied away from the 3.8.

My quest began for a tj rubi with the 4.0. One in the condition I wanted ranged from 15-23k. I then realized that for a little more scratch I could get a new Jk with a 3.6.

I didn't realize 3.8 had been replaced until I started looking. I found the 3.6 to be more than adequate for what I wanted and in the end ordered a new rubi.
Ok, so I could have got 2 TJs for what I am paying...lol let alone all the parts I collecting.

I would actually take a harder look at the 08 you mentioned. It sounds like you might actually have a honest dealer. You'll get a a new tx case and rear end with a warrantee. Perhaps more. Many dealers would have tried to sell you a grenade. Keep in mind though, they're not replacing them because of the year model...

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:04 PM   #16
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UPDATE - Drove a 2012 today

Today I went to a Jeep dealer and test drove a 2012 Wrangler Sport with 6 speed manual. Boy, what a difference the new engine makes. This Jeep had lots of get up and go! Took it on the highway and got up to 70 mph no problems 8-)

It is a very nice Jeep with 29,000 miles but I have 2 issues I need to think about:

1. the clutch - I am not a tall person and I had to extent my leg fully to fully depress the clutch. I may be able to move the seat more forward but I don't know if I could or want to.

2. softtop - I have a hardtop now with my 2001 TJ and I would like another hardtop. But this one has a softtop. It was very quiet on the highway but my concern with softtops is not being able to see out the back window when it rains. Plus with no heater/wiper I can't see how anyone can even use the back window in the winter time.

The Jeep had cruise, power everything, etc and was selling for $21900.

JC
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:17 PM   #17
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Today I went to a Jeep dealer and test drove a 2012 Wrangler Sport with 6 speed manual. Boy, what a difference the new engine makes. This Jeep had lots of get up and go! Took it on the highway and got up to 70 mph no problems 8-) It is a very nice Jeep with 29,000 miles but I have 2 issues I need to think about: 1. the clutch - I am not a tall person and I had to extent my leg fully to fully depress the clutch. I may be able to move the seat more forward but I don't know if I could or want to. 2. softtop - I have a hardtop now with my 2001 TJ and I would like another hardtop. But this one has a softtop. It was very quiet on the highway but my concern with softtops is not being able to see out the back window when it rains. Plus with no heater/wiper I can't see how anyone can even use the back window in the winter time. The Jeep had cruise, power everything, etc and was selling for $21900. JC
You could order the hardtop from Bestop. But the 12 you are looking at probably is not prewired for the rear wiper/defrost. So that would be additional cost
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:46 PM   #18
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You could order the hardtop from Bestop. But the 12 you are looking at probably is not prewired for the rear wiper/defrost. So that would be additional cost
Not nesscarily. I did open the rear door and noticed an unconnected connector on the drivers side. I would think it is for the heater/wiper for hard tops. I assume the heater switch and rear wiper dash switches are installed on a softtop?

JC
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:50 PM   #19
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Not nesscarily. I did open the rear door and noticed an unconnected connector on the drivers side. I would think it is for the heater/wiper for hard tops. I assume the heater switch and rear wiper dash switches are installed on a softtop? JC
That's good news then. The Jeep must have come from factory as dual top. Too bad the freedom top didn't stay with it
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:11 PM   #20
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1. the clutch - I am not a tall person and I had to extent my leg fully to fully depress the clutch. I may be able to move the seat more forward but I don't know if I could or want to.
My wife is a fraction under 5' 1" and she has Pedal Mates pedal extenders on her 2013. I'm 5' 11" but I can still drive it without any problem if I move the seat all the way back. Hers is an auto but they have Pedal Mates kits for manual trans, too.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:47 AM   #21
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Not nesscarily. I did open the rear door and noticed an unconnected connector on the drivers side. I would think it is for the heater/wiper for hard tops. I assume the heater switch and rear wiper dash switches are installed on a softtop?

JC
The plot thickens....

I went to the dealer's web site to get the vin for the Jeep and I was shocked to see photos of the same Jeep with a hardtop!!! Looks like it came with a ht and the dealer put a st on. I don't know why. Can't wait for him to open this morning so I can ask him why.

JC
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:49 AM   #22
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Not nesscarily. I did open the rear door and noticed an unconnected connector on the drivers side. I would think it is for the heater/wiper for hard tops. I assume the heater switch and rear wiper dash switches are installed on a softtop?

JC
My 12 2dr spt had a freedom hard top added at the dealer and the defrost /wiper was not hooked up I was told it would cost me $250 to install the Harness and the dash switch? I'm selling mine automatic 18k on it both tops $23k.mint
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Old 02-17-2014, 11:18 AM   #23
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Even though my 13' has alot more hp, the torque is just not there. I immediately noticed this right off the lot. Second the drive by wire system in my 13' completely sucks donkey sack.
I'd driven plenty of used TJs and new 2012s before I bought my 2012 used. My used 2012 feels a LOT more powerful off the line than any new ones I tested. I've got 3.21 open diffs and can easily burn rubber off the line if I stomp on it before traction control intervenes. Plenty of power and it can almost keep up to my Hemi GC (6.6sec vs 6sec 0-60). Don't feel any lack of torque when I give it some throttle.

When the Pentastar JKs are new, drive by wire throttle input is heavily dampened by the computer, reducing full torque until some algorithmic break-in threshold is met and it's learning your driving habits. That's why it felt weak driving off the lot new. It isn't exactly an apples to apples comparison with a TJ's 4.0 I6. I'd rather have a steady and powerful roll-on of power throughout the powerband than just an instant oomph of torque followed by blaaah-for-power after mashing the throttle; the latter is how TJs feel to me.

Currently my drive-by-wire throttle feels like it's a cable connection to me; it's that immediate, FWIW.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:32 PM   #24
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Update

I decided not to go for that Jeep because I found another 2012 Sport with 23,000, 6 speed manual and hardtop today a little further away.

I went to test drive it and it seems to have enough power for me. It is certified pre-own and I am working out a deal now for it. The dealer meet my trade-in expectations.

JC
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:32 PM   #25
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Excellent! Remember, pictures or it didn't happen.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:48 PM   #26
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Check to see if they replaced the head on either of them, and confirm warranty coverage too. Any issue like this should be covered for a good time so I wouldn't worry about it a lot, just good to know about.
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Old 02-18-2014, 01:27 AM   #27
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Peak acceleration will generally be at the torque peak in first gear. I can see how a tj would seem a bit peppier right off the line. Off the top of my head i would think that by about 25 mph any pentastar jeep would be out-accelerating a 4.0.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:21 AM   #28
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Peak acceleration will generally be at the torque peak in first gear. I can see how a tj would seem a bit peppier right off the line. Off the top of my head i would think that by about 25 mph any pentastar jeep would be out-accelerating a 4.0.
I think you and others are right. My TJ seems quicker of the line. But yesterday while driving my TJ to look at the JK, I was going 65mph and went to pass someone. I stepped on the gas and it seemed like it took a while to build up speed.

JC

P.S. I will post photos when I get it. Just my luck we are expecting 2 - 5" of snow today and where I am buying it is 50 miles away on some very busy roads. I know I am driving a Jeep to pick up a Jeep but I still hate to drive a new Jeep (to me) that I am not fimilar with in bad weather. We'll see how it goes...

JC
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:33 AM   #29
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Good luck...good job staying away from the 2008!
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:51 AM   #30
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Not only the motor, also the weight, tyre size and axle ratio, gear box makes it more peppier.

I think also that the stock TJ feels peppier because it has normally smaller and lighter tires like 30" compared to many JK that have 32" tires.

JK is larger and heavier than a TJ. A 2 door JK can be up to about 660 lbs heavier than a TJ.

A JK have higher ground clearance. A JK is about 5.4" inches wider than a TJ

My former 2 door Sahara 2012 auto with pentastar and 3.21 axle ratio feelt more peppier than my current Rubicon auto 4 door 2013 with 3.73 in axle ratio.

I think my former Suzuki Jimny with a 1.3 liter engine and half of the weight of a JK would would be scary peppier with a pentastar 3.6 engine


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