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Old 03-10-2012, 12:25 AM   #1
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Lessons learned from my first Wrangler purchase

Since I received so much great information from this site when I was researching the purchase, I thought I'd give something back.

Tops: I purchased the dual top package. Before I left the dealer, I had them remove the soft top from under the hard top and stick it in the back. They wanted to charge me about $100 to do it. Needless to say, I made an issue of it and they finally relented. My suggestion is to tell your salesperson BEFORE you buy it that you want the soft top removed from under the hard time before you take delivery (assuming you don't want to do it yourself).

Also, the soft top came in this really shitty cover and, when they took the soft top off, they ripped it pretty bad. This being my first Jeep, I didn't realize that it's meant to be discarded (they didn't tell me either). I asked them to get me a new one, which they just took off someone else's Jeep. Point being, if it gets ripped, it's no big deal.

Spare tire: DO NOT leave the dealership without locking nuts on your spare. Someone stole my upgraded spare only a week after driving it off the lot (discussed here). Yes, I know the locking nuts are only a deterrent and, if someone really wants it, they can get it. But, IMO, it's worth the $50 for the deterrent.

Costco: If you're a Costco member, Costco has an auto buying program. Ultimately, they didn't get me the best deal on the car (which surprised me). However, they also have a program where anything you buy afterwards - parts or service from their chosen Jeep dealer - is 15% off.

Tuffy security trunk: I purchased one of these just to have some security when the top is down. It's very sturdy and it comes apart very easily if you need the full space of the trunk. I recommend it.

Locking fuel door cover: I do NOT recommend the Rugged Ridge 11229.03 Black Stainless Steel Locking Fuel Door Cover. I wrote up a review here. Although I don't have any experience with the Mopar, if I had to do it over again, I'd go that route.

Mopar hood lock: If you get a hood lock and a winch, get it installed BEFORE you install the winch. There are 4 (maybe even 5) bolts that secure it and you will likely not be able to get them all in with the winch already there.

Headlights: I went with the SM6024J Headlamp Kit for Jeep Wrangler 2007->. Replaces H13 lamp with Hella E-Code H4 Headlamps, with upgrade to Phillips X-treme Power bulbs. IMO, this is an absolute must and, when you purchase the car, you should budget for this as well. If I didn't hate the government, I'd say it ought to be illegal for Jeep to include those shitty stock lights. RallyLights was heavily backordered on the harnesses, so it took quite some time to get them. But their service was still, overall, good and I'd recommend using them.

Bike rack:
If you want to carry 3-4 bikes, I recommend the Thule Revolver Bike Hitch Rack. I originally purchased the Thule Ridgeline 4-Bike Hitch Rack. Bad idea, and Thule does not make this clear on their website. You cannot open the back gate with the bike rack attached, making the thing a huge pain. Yes, it does pivot down a bit, but not enough to clear. The Revolver can swing all the way out, even with the bikes attached.

Couple of notes on vendor choices here: I originally purchased the Ridgeline from Campmor and when I called to return it, they told me that had I told them I was getting the Wrangler, they would have told me not to buy that one. Their customer service was absolutely terrific and took the thing back without question. They even paid for the shipping back. I would absolutely do business with them again and highly recommend them.

I ended up buying the Revolver from Autoplicity.com and I must give them mixed reviews. Their price was pretty good, but the shipping was not. The box arrived with a hole in it and a broken part (which I assume was FedEx's fault). So they had Thule send me out a new part (which was good). However, the delivery was scheduled to be one day and I waited at home all day, but FedEx didn't show up. (They showed up the next day). I asked Autoplicity to see if they could get me a shipping refund because of the late delivery, and they told me they put in a claim. After over 2 months of continuous following up on the claim with them to no avail, I finally called FedEx who told me no claim had ever been made. FedEx told me that it was the shipper who had to make the claim. So, I'm not sure why they lied to me about that but, as a result, I can't really recommend them.

As an aside, to mount the Revolver and clear the spare tire, you need a hitch receiver extension. I got the 8" version at U-Haul.

Floor mats: I went with the Rugged Ridge 12987.01 Black Front and Rear Floor Liner Kit and am very happy. I strongly recommend getting them, especially if you live anywhere that salts the streets in the winter. I would have purchased the Quadratec versions, but their shipping costs are obnoxious and Amazon shipped these for free. (The Quadratec's are their branded version of the Rugged Ridge).

Stereo: I originally purchased the ByByte Car/Droid (Android tablet that you can pull out). The concept is great but that particular product is awful. Very slow response time and I had some other problems with the unit (e.g., the startup screen has "I luv you" on it with some random website, they couldn't get the vendor's email address removed from the unit). So I sent it back before it was even installed. (Because they didn't credit me my return shipping costs, even though they sent me a defective unit, I cannot recommend them.) Will probably go with the Kenwood DNX6190HD that just came out, but still debating. It's pretty pricey and I'd hate to get the thing wet when the top's down and kill it.

Backup camera: IMO, rear visibility is for shit. I got the Lock Pick Bar-Cam 221, but it's just sitting in the box until I figure out the stereo. So can't give any feedback at this point.

Winch: This was a disaster, and I cannot recommend truckaddons.com because of it. I purchased the Engo 10K Winch with Synthetic Line because of a promotion they posted in this forum, and I worked with Chris there to tell me what else I needed.

He told me to get the Body Armor JK-3101 winch plate for the stock bumper. Wrong. It will not install on a stock bumper. He told me to get this Bulldog soft winch cover. Complete crap. The thing blows off when you drive the car as it doesn't secure to the winch or winch plate. When he finally ordered the correct winch plate for the stock bumper (Rough Country RGC 1162), he didn't tell me that I would be losing the stock toe hooks and that I should, therefore, order the one with D-rings. So now I don't have rings on the front.

It was the installer who figured out I had the wrong winch plate (after 45 minutes of work). When the correct winch plate finally arrived, it was then that the installer told me that he would also have to spend more time (and money) relocating the brake pump canister, which required cutting and welding.

So not only did the whole winch fiasco cost me a couple hundred more than I had planned, both in additional installation costs and product costs (and I wouldn't have gotten the winch had I known it would cost that much), and not only was it a huge aggravation because truckaddons.com didn't give me proper information, but the return process of the winch plate was a NIGHTMARE. I dealt with Randy (their returns manager) and finally had to file a chargeback claim with my credit card because he wouldn't refund my money when they finally received the winch plate back. (Not to mention that he sent FedEx to the wrong location to pick the thing up.) It took me a little under 3 months to get the winch plate credited all because of truckaddons.com's lousy service.

Needless to say, I will not ever order from truckaddons.com again, and I do not recommend them, ESPECIALLY if you're not sure exactly what you need.

Alarm/Remote start: I got the Viper 5901 with the Essentials 508D Radar Field Disturbance Sensor, battery backup, and the transponder kit bypass. The remote stinks because it's extremely large but, other than that, the alarm is really very cool. If someone sticks their hands into the car when the top is down or the windows are down, the alarm goes off. Just wish it was a real force field that gave the thief a shock.

Installation: If you're in the Chicago area, I recommend ShowtimeAudio.net. Jerry's a good man and his team does good work.

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Old 03-10-2012, 12:45 AM   #2
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My God, I have PTSD just getting through that post.

I will likely wake up screaming tonight. I don't even know where to start.

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Old 03-10-2012, 07:18 AM   #3
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Nice info. Well written. Thanks. I am in the market for a bike rack to carry 3 or 4 bikes, now I know where to start looking.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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As far as the mats, Quadratec will give you free shipping if you get a quote from the vendor on this forum. The mats are pretty good as long as you make sure they fit properly.

Thanks for the info about the Engo winch. I had been considering ordering one.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:29 AM   #5
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Great post. Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:32 AM   #6
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Thanks for all that. I think I'll stick to my bone stock Sahara! Lol
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:36 AM   #7
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I enjoyed the read! Thanks for the info!
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:53 AM   #8
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Good stuff
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:10 AM   #9
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Good read and well expressed!
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for taking the time to post an informative message.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:36 AM   #11
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It's always good to see somebody post both the positive and negative experiences in one post. Great stuff!
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:12 PM   #12
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great read and lots of information. thanks for all that! have a bunch of tabs open to read now
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Disraeli View Post
My God, I have PTSD just getting through that post.

I will likely wake up screaming tonight. I don't even know where to start.
I just want to qualify my earlier post. Wasn't meant to be disparaging, but to imply that you've put up with a lot of frustrating stuff right out of the gate. So far, I'm just mad about breaking my first antenna.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:04 AM   #14
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Threads like these are why I joined the forum. Nice job 12Jeep!
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:31 AM   #15
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Great post. Totally agree with you on the stock headlamps they are pathetic and imo dangerous.
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #16
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Only a two bike rack, but a good one for those interested

Thule Spare Me Bike Rack, Thule 963 Spare Me Spare Tire Bike Rack
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:57 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the time you've put into this thread. I sure do appreciate that, me being a first time owner just like you.... Dude, I gotta go buy myself some locking nuts and locking gas cap for my wrangler, I park it in a light rail parking lot everyday I go to work. Shit!!! I am freaking out right now...
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:37 PM   #18
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the receiver bike rack will work, you just need a hitch extender. harbor freight has 8" extenders with a nice little steel platform that you can use as a seat for like $25 bucks! here's a picture of mine.... and yes, i usually have a spare on there.... just waiting for the oversized tire carrier...

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Old 03-12-2012, 02:02 PM   #19
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I learned bigger is not better. On my 2001 I just had to go all out and have the 8" ShyJacker Rock Ready Double Flex. Back then ,it was one of, if not the best on the market. I hated that suspension. Loud as hell due to the heim joints on the top and bottom for the long are kit and always needed adjustment. This time when I lift, I'm going modest with no more than 4". Maybe even just 2.5".
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:47 PM   #20
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Was thinking of getting the two bike rack that attaches to the spare tire mount. Any pros or cons on this? Seems pretty stable and easy to use.
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:51 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by 2012Jeep View Post
Bike rack: If you want to carry 3-4 bikes, I recommend the Thule Revolver Bike Hitch Rack. I originally purchased the Thule Ridgeline 4-Bike Hitch Rack. Bad idea, and Thule does not make this clear on their website. You cannot open the back gate with the bike rack attached, making the thing a huge pain. Yes, it does pivot down a bit, but not enough to clear. The Revolver can swing all the way out, even with the bikes attached.

Couple of notes on vendor choices here: I originally purchased the Ridgeline from Campmor and when I called to return it, they told me that had I told them I was getting the Wrangler, they would have told me not to buy that one. Their customer service was absolutely terrific and took the thing back without question. They even paid for the shipping back. I would absolutely do business with them again and highly recommend them.

I ended up buying the Revolver from Autoplicity.com and I must give them mixed reviews. Their price was pretty good, but the shipping was not. The box arrived with a hole in it and a broken part (which I assume was FedEx's fault). So they had Thule send me out a new part (which was good). However, the delivery was scheduled to be one day and I waited at home all day, but FedEx didn't show up. (They showed up the next day). I asked Autoplicity to see if they could get me a shipping refund because of the late delivery, and they told me they put in a claim. After over 2 months of continuous following up on the claim with them to no avail, I finally called FedEx who told me no claim had ever been made. FedEx told me that it was the shipper who had to make the claim. So, I'm not sure why they lied to me about that but, as a result, I can't really recommend them.
I can't edit the original, but I wanted to update this post because Autoplicity did eventually come through on this. They credited me for the full shipping charges. Yes, it did take them 3 months, and it did take persistence from me, but they did it and that's what's important.

As a result, I will consider them as an option for my next purchases. There are far too many businesses who provide poor customer service, so I think it's important to acknowledge when mistakes are corrected.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:12 AM   #22
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Can you give more info on the bike rack? I have a crappy rack at home I got off ebay and I have no faith in it. Additionally it won't clear my spare. Will the Thule Revolver clear the spare? How stable is it? My current one wobbles all over the place when connected to my wife's vehicle's hitch. So it swings completely out of the way of the door? Very interested...
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:36 AM   #23
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Can you give more info on the bike rack? I have a crappy rack at home I got off ebay and I have no faith in it. Additionally it won't clear my spare. Will the Thule Revolver clear the spare? How stable is it? My current one wobbles all over the place when connected to my wife's vehicle's hitch. So it swings completely out of the way of the door? Very interested...
This is solidly built IMO. I consider it stable and the rack comes with these stability control straps to keep the bikes from swinging. Yes, it also swings completely out of the way so you have complete access to the tailgate, and all with the bikes attached I might add. Just remember that, to clear the spare, you must also purchase a hitch extender (like the 8" version of this one). Here's a video of how it works:
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:42 AM   #24
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Great info on the headlights, just ordered some!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:47 AM   #25
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This is solidly built IMO. I consider it stable and the rack comes with these stability control straps to keep the bikes from swinging. Yes, it also swings completely out of the way so you have complete access to the tailgate, and all with the bikes attached I might add. Just remember that, to clear the spare, you must also purchase a hitch extender (like the 8" version of this one). Here's a video of how it works:
Looks great, thanks for the info! I have four bikes to transport, two adult and two kids. this may be just what I'm looking for.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:51 AM   #26
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Didn't realize the spare theft was common, mine did come with locking lug nuts from the dealer though.

Someone is seriously going to be standing in a parking lot unbolting your spare and carry a 50 lb tire/wheel to their vehicle?
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #27
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My tires/wheel combo weighs like 80 lbs! Good luck I have a hard time taking them off the axle let alone the spare tire carrier
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:04 AM   #28
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Didn't realize the spare theft was common, mine did come with locking lug nuts from the dealer though.

Someone is seriously going to be standing in a parking lot unbolting your spare and carry a 50 lb tire/wheel to their vehicle?
In your workplace parking lot, at quittin' time.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:29 AM   #29
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Quote:
Tops:
Quote:
I purchased the dual top package. Before I left the dealer, I had them remove the soft top from under the hard top and stick it in the back. They wanted to charge me about $100 to do it. Needless to say, I made an issue of it and they finally relented. My suggestion is to tell your salesperson BEFORE you buy it that you want the soft top removed from under the hard time before you take delivery (assuming you don't want to do it yourself).

Also, the soft top came in this really shitty cover and, when they took the soft top off, they ripped it pretty bad. This being my first Jeep, I didn't realize that it's meant to be discarded (they didn't tell me either). I asked them to get me a new one, which they just took off someone else's Jeep. Point being, if it gets ripped, it's no big deal.
I had the same issue with mine. Initially I didn't realize it was bolted in so I went back to the dealer the next day and explained I didn't have the means (middle of winter, a Wednesday so no friends around) to remove the roof by myself. They tried to charge me $125 labour to do it, so I calmly took the person over to the jeep and showed them the big warning about driving with both tops installed. I explained clearly that this could void my warranty on the soft top if I kept it in until the summer and I requested paperwork to show that I had come to the dealer and asked for it to be removed.

At this point they either got tired of dealing with me or realized that I am the kind of a-hole that would be coming back in April saying my soft top was warped because they refused to remove it for me and I'd need a new one ordered. Either way, they removed my soft top free of charge.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:45 PM   #30
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Thanks for the reviews

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