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Old 10-17-2013, 11:14 PM   #1
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TJ guy looking for JKU - Need advice

I hope this thread is in the right section. If not, please move it for me or point me in the right direction.

I owned a 2005 TJ for several years before (very foolishly) trading it in for a Dodge Ram 1500 a little over a year ago. I love the truck, but I miss the Jeep. My wife and I recently found out we're expecting our first child, so I am looking very seriously at buying a used JK Unlimited.

I really like the Sahara trim, which is perfect for a blend of a comfortable daily driver that will be more than capable for what I'm looking for on light trails.

What issues should I be aware of, especially in the 2007-2009 model years?

Also, I found a Jeep I'm very interested in at a small dealership in eastern N.C. Here's one of the photos from their website:



The interior looks to be in good shape. No carpet, which I don't care about, as I could very easily apply a generous dose of Herculiner. It's a 2007 Sahara and is a six-speed manual with about 95,000 miles. Those are 35x12.50 tires, which means the previous owner probably has a small lift on it -- correct?

They're selling it for $18,995, and while I plan to drive it Saturday, the dealer indicated over the phone the price is pretty firm.

tl;dr version:
  • What issues do I need to be aware of when searching for a 2007-2009 JKU?
  • Is the Jeep I'm looking at a good deal, or should I keep looking?
  • How are JK's as family vehicles? Appropriate for a small child?
  • How capable are JK's on light to moderate trails, especially when compared to a TJ?

Thanks. I'm pretty excited about getting back into the Jeep scene.

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Old 10-17-2013, 11:41 PM   #2
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Congrats on expecting. Great color and Sahara is a good choice as far as how you vision your jku to fit your lifestyle. I've always had a pentastar ('12 jk) and can't advise you on the 3.8. However, I think that is a fair price. JKU can fit 35 stock, esp with trimmed fenders like the one you posted.

Forgot to mention, I went to a JKU because I have a 19 month old and another on the way. So far it's been a breeze having my toddler seat in there and loving the extra room for our boxer.

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Old 10-18-2013, 12:01 AM   #3
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It doesn't look very lifted to me, maybe a spacer lift on top of the springs in the front. Those fenders are just cut down stock fenders. The 6 speed is a must on the 3.8 liters engines to me. The automatic with that engine, and 3.21 gears has trouble holding 70mph on the interstate. Also the 3.8 has some issues with using oil. Mine was using 1 qt every 1000 miles, but is down to 1 qt every 4,000 miles now since is used some seafoam up through a vacuum line and in the crankcase. A lot of people still have oil loss issues though with that motor.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:04 AM   #4
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It appears that it might not have a lift. Looks like the fender flares were just trimmed. Good looking Jeep though. Tremendous difference going from a TJ to a JK/JKU. Road manners aren't even comparable. I can't speak much from the early model JK's/JKU's as I have a '13 with the 3.6L.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:37 AM   #5
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Seems like it might be comparable pricewise to KBB in my area. And any dealer that says it's the lowest they'll go are full of it...Go, look at it. Crawl underneath. If you like it offer low. Worst they'll say is no. If they come back with a counter, don't say anything - uncomfortable silence often times commands the negotiation. If they don't say anything else, stand up, grab the family and say thanks for your time, think I'll keep looking...might bet you more and having them move twice before you move your number puts you in a better position. Have a target you're willing to pay and stick to it. Walk away if if you don't get it, there are plenty of jku's out there and the right one will come along.

As far as family friendly - I have a 14 jkur with a car seat and an infant carrier in the back seat. I'm 6'1 and when my wife drives and I passenger, with the infant carrier behind the passenger seat I have room in the front and my knees aren't smashed to dash (not even remotely).
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:18 AM   #6
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Looks like you at right down the road from me...I am in Winterville. If that Jeep is at East Carolina Jeep, I can hook you up with my salesman. Bought two from him in the last year. I was going to go up to Koons in Virginia to buy, but he made it happen.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything.
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:22 PM   #7
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I bought my truck at East Carolina, but the Jeep I posted in this thread is at a small family owned dealership in Wilmington.

I'm thinking about waiting for a newer JKU with fewer miles to come available -- maybe even a Rubicon. With what I owe on my truck, I may be able to break about even on payments.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:01 PM   #8
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Hey - just throwing this out there. Have a look at a base Sport or Sport S in a new one, maybe an outgoing 2013 sitting on the lot somewhere. Get the dealer down to the best number you can and then look at what the best interest rate you can get is.

Right now, to me, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used vehicle. Used car prices are still fairly high and Wranglers are frankly ridiculous. It will cost you a bit more on your monthly payment, but considering maintenance, resale, and higher interest rates for used cars I think you may come out ahead in the long run on a low-option new one. Plus the gas mileage is a little better, and the new engine really runs well.

Not wanting to spoil your fun or disparage the 3.8, but something to think about. It's a big financial decision.
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:14 PM   #9
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this^^
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:21 PM   #10
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Your biggest issue on a manual 3.8 will be the gear ratio....there is a good chance it will have 3.21's and you won't be happy.....especially with those tires.
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Old 10-18-2013, 07:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
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your biggest issue on a manual 3.8 will be the gear ratio....there is a good chance it will have 3.21's and you won't be happy.....especially with those tires.
x2
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:24 PM   #12
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So after a quick look at a gear ratio chart, it looks like I want minimum 4.10s for a manual transmission running 35x12.50 tires?

Also, I was talking to my wife today, and we were thinking about exactly what you were saying, i82much: something newer for exactly the reasons you outlined.

I'm probably going to end up kicking myself in the ass for passing on the '07 I posted, but I think it makes sense to wait for something newer, with fewer miles and blah, blah blah...
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwmoon View Post
So after a quick look at a gear ratio chart, it looks like I want minimum 4.10s for a manual transmission running 35x12.50 tires? Also, I was talking to my wife today, and we were thinking about exactly what you were saying, i82much: something newer for exactly the reasons you outlined. I'm probably going to end up kicking myself in the ass for passing on the '07 I posted, but I think it makes sense to wait for something newer, with fewer miles and blah, blah blah...
For the 3.8 manual ... 4.88's would prob be better. Especially for a non rubi off road.

I run 410's with 35's and it's fine around town.
(07 2 door 6 speed)
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Old 10-19-2013, 01:51 AM   #14
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you could probably get this one for $20k and it has half the miles on it. You can always lift it and put bigger tires on it later so you know its done right. Cars for Sale: 2007 Jeep Wrangler 4x4 Unlimited X in Souderton, PA 18964: Sport Utility Details - 357473323 - AutoTrader.com
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:46 AM   #15
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Thanks for the tip. I've spent the better part of the last 72 hours on Craigslist, Autotrader and cars.com looking for something that catches my attention.

Found an '08 Rubicon with 71k miles for $24,900. That one is the leading contender right now (though that might change by midday tomorrow), especially if they will give me anywhere close to what I want for my truck.

Another question, this time for the parents out there: How well does an infant car seat fit in the back of a JKU?
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:14 AM   #16
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Make sure it is 4 wheel drive, there were 2007's made in 2 wheel drive!!
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Old 10-20-2013, 10:03 AM   #17
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re: "passing on the '07 I posted, but I think it makes sense to wait for something newer, with fewer miles and blah, blah blah... "

agree

once you've done research on "the Market" for what you think you want, THEN you'll recognize what represents a good/GREAT deal.

IMHO 'any vehicle' at 100,000 miles has a serious slice of the headache-free portion of its service life already served to the original owner.

I'm just turning 63k on an 08JK cream puff I bought with 15K on it, and couldn't have made a better purchase. Still, the advantages of the newer 3.6/tranny/mfg warranty should be part of the decision.

The various wear=out bits are beginning to need attention on my own DD. At 100K that cycle is more prominent.

There are just SO MANY used rigs that are SO CLOSE to what 'new' costs I'd be breaking out the calculator to help make the choice.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:13 AM   #18
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Quote:
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As far as family friendly - I have a 14 jkur with a car seat and an infant carrier in the back seat. I'm 6'1 and when my wife drives and I passenger, with the infant carrier behind the passenger seat I have room in the front and my knees aren't smashed to dash (not even remotely).
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Another question, this time for the parents out there: How well does an infant car seat fit in the back of a JKU?

No problem with an infant carseat in the unlimited.
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:20 AM   #19
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Awesome news!

I'm very close to a deal for the Rubicon I mentioned a few posts up, and if all goes well, the next time I bump this thread will be with pics of my new JKUR. The dealer gave me a pretty fair trade-in value over the phone, sight unseen. The truck is in fantastic shape, and I plan to ask for more after they look at the truck; however, one of my rear tires is starting to show considerable wear. Should I replace it before I take it to the dealer or not even worry about it? I'm not sure if the cost of a new tire will outweigh any negative impact the old one would have on the appraisal?

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