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Old 05-24-2013, 12:27 AM   #1
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Going to Purchase a new Wrangler, but help- any bad years?

Hello all. I currently have a jeep cherokee, its actually my 5th 1. I've had a couple lifted and my current 1 is stock except a little 2"lift.
Its time to move on and get a NEW Jeep Wrangler!
My question/concern is- I do not know much about Wranglers, but I do know that with any manufacturer, their are certain year vehicles that have problems then those problems usually get corrected the following year.
Is there any 2007-2013 Wranglers that would be considered a "bad year?"
I was thinking just a Wrangler Sport S would be good enough, but I like how the Rubicon has the ability to lock the diff but the price difference is quite a bit. If I ever wanted locking diffs like is stock on the Rubicon, would it be a expensive future mod or would it be best to just get the Rubicon?
Is the new ones better on gas?

Give me any and all opinions, thoughts and answers and it will be greatly appreciated for my near soon purchase.

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Old 05-24-2013, 01:09 AM   #2
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You're better off just getting a rubicon

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Old 05-24-2013, 01:30 AM   #3
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The "bad" years on the JK are 2007-2011.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:49 AM   #4
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I don't mean to widen the scope of your question, but what are your immediate aspirations for the new rig?

If you're planning to hit the ground running on the trails, I'd strongly recommend a Rubicon as the previous poster suggested. In addition, I'd opt for the Pentastar in the latest models, but I'd ask about any service records on any vehicle you're considering, knowing that there is a Pentastar cylinder head issue floating around. Performing a search in this forum or similar forums might give you a sense of what you're dealing with there. Not many complaints given the number of Pentastars out there in the wild.

So far as gas mileage goes, remember, it's a Jeep. Any mass refinements in this area are outside of your purchase window, and it wouldn't matter anyway because you'll presumably mod the sucker and strip away any potential mpg gains that you might get. Gearing and tire choices might be a factor here, but keep realistic expectations. Will the Jeep be your daily driver? As an owner of a 2000 TJ that's pretty much stock (save 31" tires), I'll extend myself to say that the newer Wranglers have a better on-road profle all around and fresh off of the lot.

All that being said, I have to say with utter conviction that there is no such thing as a "bad model year" for a Jeep Wrangler. You will get flogged mercilessly for stating anything less in this corner of the interweb. [emoticon broke an axle, otherwise would be right here]
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Old 05-24-2013, 02:09 AM   #5
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The "bad" years on the JK are 2007-2011.
Ah, yes. And if you do pull the trigger on a JK, you will have to sign additional paperwork consenting to the Jeep wave. Be warned. Seriously though, nearly all of the JKs wave back where I'm from. To the OP, let us know what you're considering after you have some candidate vehicles in mind and we'll go from there. Don't take anything off of the table because it's going to come down to what *you* want and what *you* want your Jeep to be. Welcome to the forum and welcome to the journey.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:18 AM   #6
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I've got one of those "bad year" Rubicons and I love it and have slowly transformed it from grocery getter to badass machine. The Hemi is next.

I've had this conversation a lot with friends and here is what I suggest. Find one of these Rubicons that are rolling around the small western cities. I live near Spokane Washington, population 250,000. And Coeur d Alene Idaho is next door with a population of 70,000. There are women driving these trail monsters only on the pavement and they are in beautiful shape. I mean I see them all the time. I am sure they have never been in 4 low, let alone had anyone even push the locker or sway bar buttons. Find one of those with low miles and you'll be laughing! You have no idea what a locked up, stock Rubicon can do. Especially with the sway bar out. They are awesome!

The 2012 and newer have more horse power and better fuel economy, but I had a guy come up to me last week while I was at the car wash. I was getting my 21 foot Malibu ready for summer. This guy had a 2013 Rubicon and he said he traded in his 09. He said he doesn't notice the power difference or fuel economy. I have to call BS on it a little because the difference between 202 hp and 285 hp is just too much to overlook.

I also just used a hypertech programmer to get more out of my engine (65,000 miles) because I'm now running 37's and it has better response and feels like more power than when it was brand new and stock. Not bad for $350. And it programs your tire size and says it will allow you control over your lockers in 4 hi and sway bar in 4 hi and 2 hi as opposed to just 4 low.

Hope that helps. You'll be glad you went to the wrangler and even happier if you go to the Rubicon.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:26 AM   #7
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Obvious stuff aside about the 12 and newer JK with improved auto trans and more HP/ better gas mileage with the 3.6. The 07 model is the one you'd need to watch for if you decide to save cash and go older. Some early production models came with D35's as opposed to the D44, so be sure to double check if you go with an 07.
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:52 AM   #8
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I have a 2011. I bought it a couple months before the MY12's came out. I regretted this for quite a while until I decided to go out and buy a 2012 Rubicon. I went to the dealership and test drove every model. I can not say that I did not notice a difference, especially in the transmission. However the difference to me was insignificant. The only thing I could imagine making me switch would be an in depth analysis of the Pentastar's longevity over the previous platform. Thus, I kept my 2011.

I love my Wrangler, I love my mods, and I love my minivan engine. If I had wanted better gas mileage, I would have purchased a Prius. I have yet to need more power. So I am happy with my JK, even if it is a taboo model year! I take very good care of my Jeep, and I expect it to last a long time.

I would not shy away from an 07'-11'. If you can get more engine at the same price though, do it!
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by madeinhb View Post
You're better off just getting a rubicon

Hi there,

I'm just wondering your reasoning here?

As having owned a couple rubi's, I'm now in the market for a new sport and the difference in price IMHO doesn't justify the electronic sway bar disconnects, locking difs and pretty hood sticker.

The price difference between new rubi and new sport leaves lots of money left over to customize they way you want, including ARB air lockers, skid plates, bumpers, lift, etc etc.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:32 AM   #10
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I have a 2011. I bought it a couple months before the MY12's came out. I regretted this for quite a while until I decided to go out and buy a 2012 Rubicon. I went to the dealership and test drove every model. I can not say that I did not notice a difference, especially in the transmission. However the difference to me was insignificant. The only thing I could imagine making me switch would be an in depth analysis of the Pentastar's longevity over the previous platform. Thus, I kept my 2011.

I love my Wrangler, I love my mods, and I love my minivan engine. If I had wanted better gas mileage, I would have purchased a Prius. I have yet to need more power. So I am happy with my JK, even if it is a taboo model year! I take very good care of my Jeep, and I expect it to last a long time.

I would not shy away from an 07'-11'. If you can get more engine at the same price though, do it!
I refer to the long lived 3.8L as the "Lee Iacocca Engine" since the 3.6L is also used in minivans AND Challengers, Rams, 300s, etc. SoI call the 3.6L the "Everything Engine" or a "Detuned Challenger Engine" when I'm trying to impress the ignorant.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:55 AM   #11
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Some early production models came with D35's as opposed to the D44, so be sure to double check if you go with an 07.
Its an extreme few. Like within the first few weeks of production I've never seen one in person and only saw 2 online. They really aren't common

But it's easy to check. D44's have an octagonal diff cover
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:06 PM   #12
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I took your questions a little differently

There are some issues with JKs. How widespread they are is hard to tell since you are on a JK dedicated forum. As a result, the sample of reports here is probably not representative of the larger JK owning population as we are all gear heads and fanatics.

SOME 2007 and 2008 models have issues with excessive oil consumption. REALLY excessive- like 1qt per 1000 miles. Chrysler says it's OK, the general consensus is it's not OK, but Chrysler won't do anything about it. So if buying a '07 or '08 model proceed carefully.

SOME 2012 models have problems with ticking heads. LOTS of info here about it, just search "ticking head". The solution is a replacement head from Chrysler. If buying used, I haven't investigated all of the warranty ins and outs. Don't know what impacts might be to a second owner.

Again, a search of the forums leads one to believe that every Jeep is doomed by these problems. But bear in mind you're in a Jeep forum so the appearance of problems is exaggerated. Not that you can ignore it, but you should at least know the problems exist out there.

There have been some issues reported with manual transmission problems (jumping out of gear etc). I don't know enough about that to comment on any apparent patterns. Try searching "manual transmission problems" or something similar.

I know lots of guys with 3.8s that swear by them. Just as many swear at them because they aren't Pentastars.

Bottom line is it's a wrangler and they are all decent vehicles. I hope to join the club fairly soon with a '14. When you start shopping you'll find deals are hard to find as the things hold their value so well. Hence, I'm buying new as the savings on used aren't significant enough for me to take the risk. And I can get exactly what I want and none of what I don't.

Only YOU can decide if a Rubi is worth it. I only plan Beaches, no rock crawling. To me $5000 is an expensive premium for lockers. And that's the only Rubi feature I might need with my intended use for the Jeep. Therefore, I will go for a sport outfitted how I want it. If I ever get stuck on the beach because I don't have lockers, the $5000 I saved by not buying a Rubi will buy a few tows. I know lots of guys without rubis that run the beach all of the time without issue.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:09 PM   #13
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The 07-11 bad years talk , is horse shit. Do hours of your very own research, google a question and the link always directs you to a jeep forum. Pm a person with a cetain jeep and or mods, and most are very happy to answer any questions.
Now back to the water cooler, the 3.8 does not have as much horsepower and the 3.6. However, I run 35's on my 3.8 and don't have any power issues.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:13 PM   #14
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There are women driving these trail monsters only on the pavement and they are in beautiful shape.
The women or the Rubis?
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:12 PM   #15
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I avoided looking at 2007s because some do not have the Dana44 rear axle and none of them have rear disc brakes. I would have done a 2011 but got lucky on a used 2012 "S" for less.
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:20 PM   #16
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Hi there,

I'm just wondering your reasoning here?

As having owned a couple rubi's, I'm now in the market for a new sport and the difference in price IMHO doesn't justify the electronic sway bar disconnects, locking difs and pretty hood sticker.

The price difference between new rubi and new sport leaves lots of money left over to customize they way you want, including ARB air lockers, skid plates, bumpers, lift, etc etc.
+1. Reason I didn't go Rubi
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:35 PM   #17
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I avoided looking at 2007s because some do not have the Dana44 rear axle and none of them have rear disc brakes. I would have done a 2011 but got lucky on a used 2012 "S" for less.
All 2007's have disc brakes front and rear. Jeeps haven't come with drum brakes since 2003 or something
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Old 05-24-2013, 01:49 PM   #18
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My last Wrangler was an '07 Sahara 2 dr, and every time I saw a Rubi I felt like I missed out. Plus there were a couple times the lockers would've been really useful.

I'm over the 'mod til your bank account is dry' phase, so I want it to be 85% done from the factory, so my next JK will definitely be a Rubicon.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:07 PM   #19
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I avoided looking at 2007s because some do not have the Dana44 rear axle and none of them have rear disc brakes. I would have done a 2011 but got lucky on a used 2012 "S" for less.
My 07 X came with all the the factory options installed already.
D44 rear, 4:10 axle gears, Detroit Trac trac LSD, Rock trac 4:1 Lo ratio transfer case, dual top, AC, power group, full skid plates and HD suspension.
I believe 4 wheel disc antilock brakes with LSD is standard for all JK's.
I only put an Eaton True Trac LSD in up front and Old Man Emu long travel suspension kit. Climbs great, rides great, love it.

Unfortunatly I didn't have $35,000+ for a new Rubicon so I spend $17K (well, 13K after trade in on the Cherokee) on a loaded X model and built it up in the garage at home.

Paid it off in 4 years by putting an extra $100 on the princable amount each month.

If you can afford the payment and full coverage insurance on a new Rubicon go for it man! Even with a 2013 Rubi you're still gonna want new suspension, tires, bumpers all that cool off road stuff. Budget for it ahead of time. New set of 35" tires alone will set you back 3 grand.

I'm very happy with my base model JK. Only regret is not spending the extra $1,250 for a factory D44 axle with e-locker up front. Never needed it, the Truetrac hooks up great but for the cost at the time it would have been worth it.

My previous rig was a 2001 XJ by the way, great Jeep that served me well. The JK just goes further on the same trails with the same size tires and of course has a removable roof. Cheers bro! hope you find your dream rig.
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Old 05-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #20
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All 2007's have disc brakes front and rear. Jeeps haven't come with drum brakes since 2003 or something
Wow. I looked at two 2007s both of which had drum rears. Swear it.. And those were not Dana44s either. Maybe they were rebuilt and the rear wasn't even for a JK? I may still have the pics of those I looked at. told at the time the 07s didn't have rear disc which I DID think was odd. Thx for the clarification.
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Old 05-24-2013, 09:41 PM   #21
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Hello.

I had an XJ (01, RE lift, rear lunchbox locker, rear disk conversion, regeared to 4.56 etc)

As for buying a Wrangler, all of them are great. The aftermarket is huge. You can't go wrong.

As much as I love the XJs, the fun factor on a Wrangler and the off the floor capability is a significant change for the better.

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Old 05-25-2013, 05:55 AM   #22
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Its an extreme few. Like within the first few weeks of production I've never seen one in person and only saw 2 online. They really aren't common

But it's easy to check. D44's have an octagonal diff cover
Hmmm, I know of two people that got stuck with the 35 on their used purchase.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:50 AM   #23
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My only comment is about the gas mileage. My 2013 Wrangler gets about 4-5 more mpg than my 1994 Cherokee in mixed driving. Both automatics and both stock.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:31 AM   #24
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Dont get a 12 with a manual transmission.
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:23 AM   #25
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Dont get a 12 with a manual transmission.
Why? I never had any issues with my 12 & manual... Got a 13 manual coming in Monday
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:47 AM   #26
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Why? I never had any issues with my 12 & manual... Got a 13 manual coming in Monday
Me neither, 24,000 miles on my manual so far.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:10 AM   #27
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2 rebuilds and a replacement tranny all under 7k miles and new transmission is more problematic than the original. Worst tranny I have ever had in a vehicle. YMMV though.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:12 AM   #28
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2 rebuilds and a replacement tranny all under 7k miles and new transmission is more problematic than the original. Worst tranny I have ever had in a vehicle. YMMV though.
Wow, I had no such issue...
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:28 AM   #29
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2 rebuilds and a replacement tranny all under 7k miles and new transmission is more problematic than the original. Worst tranny I have ever had in a vehicle. YMMV though.
That sucks! Too bad they don't use Tremecs.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:56 AM   #30
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Instead of commenting on which years are better or worse I think the bigger question is whether it's better to buy new versus used. We had a hell of a time finding a decent used JK and we were moments away from making an offer on an 08 with 50k miles for $19k but I noticed rust on the hinges and after my TJ experience I knew what an ordeal rust can be with Jeeps so we walked away. Fast forward a week later and we bought the 2012 and paid $24k with 5 miles, full warranty, and no one else's problems on a 4 year newer vehicle with what I consider the better of the two engines. Now I'm trying to--unsuccessfully so far--convince my wife to let me trade in my car for a new JKU!

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