Hello everyone. This is my first time to your forum. I hope I posted this in the appropriate forum. I also hope it is okay if I give some background, etc. in some detail. We live in Colorado. It has been 30 years since I owned my last Jeep CJ5. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has caught my eyes. We will use the Jeep approximately 90% city and highway driving and 10% offroad miles Jeep trails, mining trails, an occassional visit to Moab and other offroad excursions in the Rocky Mountains. We want the Jeep to perform well in all of these circumstances therefore since we will use it mainly onroad it needs to perform well there too. We also want a good looking rig. Initially I was only interested in the Rubicon, but I have read some articles that have made me rethink my initial choice and that I might be purchasing the Rubicon and then discarding a lot of the original Rubicon parts. I will probably purchase a Jeep and drive it for a few months and then proceed with the modifications. But I know I need to choose the appropriate Jeep model (Sport, Sahara, or Rubicon) because that is the initial investment. I would like to run 33" or 35" tires and wheels. Maybe a 2" to a 4" lift. I definitely want to change the front and rear bumpers. I also want the Jeep to have plenty of power that is why I am considering postponing my purchase until 2012 so I can get the new higher horsepower engine. I also want an automatic transmission. I have many questions. Based upon what our family wants to use the Jeep for is a Sport or Sahara a better choice for us than the Rubicon? Then install aftermarket front and rear bumpers, side armour, new tires and wheels, a lift kit, regear the front and rear end to 5.13's, put a locker in the rear, beef up the front end housing, install a cold air intake, chip the engine, heat reduction hood, etc. Some of these modifications would also be done to the Rubicon. Is there any work I need to do to the transmission or transfer case? I also will want to install an extra skid plate or two. If there are other modifications I am missing let me know what they are. If there are articles I should read please tell me about them.
If you think that the Rubicon is the way to go please give me feedback. Possibly the Rubicon would work just fine with only a few of the modifications I have listed above.
I don't want to offend any of the older long time Jeep Enthusiasts who have countless miles and years of experience with their Jeeps with my questions and or lack of knowledge on my part. I am looking to gain some insight. I apologize if this post is long and inappropriate for this forum. I needed some where to start. Your input would be greatly appreciated.