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Old 01-30-2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Wrangler Unlimited: Reliability?

Hey Guys,

Wanted to see if I could get some firsthand advice or opinions regarding the reliability of the JK Wranglers. Iíve always wanted a Jeep (going back to a YJ when I was 16), and after spending $4600 in repairs to my Pontiac G6 coupe in the past 20,000km, Iíve decided to cut my losses and get something new - and something Iíve always wanted.

Wanted to ask about the overall reliability of the JK Wrangler Unlimited. For those who own (or owned) one Iím looking for some opinions - have you been pleased with the basic reliability? Now Iím not talking about off road ability or performance here, but rather the basic build quality and day-to-day experiences.

Iím hoping for a vehicle that doesnít have any well know defects or problems and that will be happy with regular oil changes and basic routine maintenance. I just donít want to get burned again like I did with the G6.

Any input or thoughts?

(FYI, problems with the G6 included replacing the breaks (twice) including callipers once, ball joints/control arm, water pump, coolant tank, strut bearings, oil level sensor, brake light short, and a handful of other less severe annoyances.)

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:12 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doogals
Hey Guys,

Wanted to see if I could get some firsthand advice or opinions regarding the reliability of the JK Wranglers. I’ve always wanted a Jeep (going back to a YJ when I was 16), and after spending $4600 in repairs to my Pontiac G6 coupe in the past 20,000km, I’ve decided to cut my losses and get something new - and something I’ve always wanted.

Wanted to ask about the overall reliability of the JK Wrangler Unlimited. For those who own (or owned) one I’m looking for some opinions - have you been pleased with the basic reliability? Now I’m not talking about off road ability or performance here, but rather the basic build quality and day-to-day experiences.

I’m hoping for a vehicle that doesn’t have any well know defects or problems and that will be happy with regular oil changes and basic routine maintenance. I just don’t want to get burned again like I did with the G6.

Any input or thoughts?

(FYI, problems with the G6 included replacing the breaks (twice) including callipers once, ball joints/control arm, water pump, coolant tank, strut bearings, oil level sensor, brake light short, and a handful of other less severe annoyances.)
I completly and utterly abuse mine and the only issue I have had so far is my engine fan messed up from getting mud in the motor too man times. My 07 just broke 70k.

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Old 01-31-2011, 09:14 AM   #3
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I have had mine for a year now and have had zero issues...matter of fact, I'm fixing to buy my wife one of her own...
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:46 AM   #4
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I've had my '08 JKU Rubi for over 2 years and no matter what mod I do toit (a lot)--

It keeps running outta gas-

Other than that-no problemo !!

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Old 01-31-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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I had an 07 for 2 1/2 years an 63K on it. It needed lower ball joints at 43K.
The 2010 has 16k on it and has been trouble free. If you ever wanted a Jeep you will love it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:42 PM   #6
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There are hundreds of folks on this forum alone that love their JKs--that should tell you something.

Every vehicle has its share of problems and the JKs don't seem any worse than anything else out there. If anything, the more "simple" design generates less large scale failures and when failures do happen they tend not to be super expensive. They don't even have power seats or extra fancy electronics for example.

Further, the JK only came out in 2007, so the first one off the line is only four years old.

That said, here is a recent thread where folks provided some info on problems they have had. Keep in mind that for the most part only folks with problems would post. Had there been a thread about people who have had no problems, I'm sure it would have been even longer.
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:59 PM   #7
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i honestly beat the snot out of my 2010, and cant break it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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We've had our 10 Rubi 2dr 6spd. for 1 yr. with 0 issues.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:22 PM   #9
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10 Rubicon 2-Door, six speed - for a few months - same report - zero issues
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:01 PM   #10
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2007 JK 2dr, auto.
~65k miles.

I did 6.5k miles in last 8 months including about 1o offroad runs (nothing difficult).

0 problems.... excepting the almost every time empty gas tank
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:12 PM   #11
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2009 JKU 6 spd manual here only issue I had was j.o.g. (jump out of gear). Other than that no other issues.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:23 PM   #12
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The most under engineered part on a JK is pretty much the entire front axle. There have been a few people that have bent the front axle housing, and/or the inner Cs of the steering knuckles. The ball joints are also rather poor quality with plastic inner bearing surfaces that wear out quickly. It is not uncommon at all to have to replace ball joints within 30,000 miles. And finally, the axle u-joint caps are held on with a c-style clip that has a tendancy to work its way off of the u-joint. When that happens, the cap comes off, the u-joint binds in the axle, and the ears break off of the axle.

The number of people that need to replace ball joints is quite high.

The number of people that break axle shafts is low

The number of people that bend an axle housing is extremely low. I read a poll on another forum where they asked how many people had bent their front axle. I saw it when it was about a week old, and at that time there were 3 people that voted "yes" they had bent their front axle housing, and there were over 300 people that had voted "no" they had not bent their front axle housing. So the odds are definitely in your favor not to have problems with a bent axle housing.

If you choose to address these shortcomings in front axle engineering before there is a problem, there are easy fixes available. A number of companys make sleeves and gussets that strengthen the front axle. Dynatrac makes a replacement front axle housing (Pro Rock 44) that accepts all of your stock axle internal components and your stock hubs and brakes. Both Dynatrac and Poly Performance make better ball joints to replace the weak OEM ball joints. The cost of upgrading your axle is minimal.

I just got the following quote on upgrading my front axle:

Teraflex Sleeve Kit and Knuckle Gusset $120.00
Poly Performance Ball Joints-Both Sides $230.00
Labor for sleeve kit and ball joints $150.00

So for $500 you can make your OEM front axle extremely reliable.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:54 PM   #13
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Wrangler Responce / Question

Yeah, I'm pretty much in the same boat as Doogal. Although I've been driving non Wrangler Jeeps (Cherokees) since 82, I've always longed for a real Jeep ie. a Wrangler. Since 2002, I've been driving a Liberty and really like it but my interests in a Wrangler still lives. That said, how does the current Wrangler stack up against the Liberties track record? I know they're different but I've got 89K on my Liberty and it runs like a top. I'd appreciate any comments.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:03 PM   #14
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The current Wrangler engines have reported logged over 250k in other vehicles on a regular basis. It hasn't been in the JK long enough for that kind of data.

Take a real look at the CR complaints. You'll find things like rough ride. Noisy. Too few cupholders.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:26 PM   #15
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You're not going to get honest answers out of a website full of Jeep lovers. Do the research yourself and you'll find out that the Wrangler has one of the worst quality ratings of any vehicle. People buy them because they love them, not because of their quality.
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:34 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by jz68 View Post
You're not going to get honest answers out of a website full of Jeep lovers. Do the research yourself and you'll find out that the Wrangler has one of the worst quality ratings of any vehicle. People buy them because they love them, not because of their quality.
You couldn't be more wrong. We are actually the harshest critics of the vehicle we love. We just don't appreciate people such as yourself, who doesn't own one, criticizing it.
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Old 02-01-2011, 01:13 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jz68
You're not going to get honest answers out of a website full of Jeep lovers.
That's a risk, I suppose.

However, I would note that there are threads about what problems folks have had and how they were fixed. On balance, I'd say it's a pretty forthright place, so long as the person seeking answers understands that the posters here have a high tolerance for their vehicles' quirks. we also tend to have a willingness to fix things in creative ways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jz68
Do the research yourself and you'll find out that the Wrangler has one of the worst quality ratings of any vehicle.
This is straight up disinformation. I would argue that Wranglers don't get a fair shake in the auto media (consumer reports, etc.) because reviewers generally blend what are average reliability ratings along with complaints about comfort, road manners, luxury features, etc. to get "below average" scores.

The reality is that the Wrangler is ill-suited to the traditional metrics used to determine what is a "good" type of "car." How do you suppose the Wrangler would fair if consumer reports was focused on off road ability, unique styling, and amenability to customization?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jz68
People buy them because they love them, not because of their quality.
That's true. And while it may be especially true with the Wrangler, it's also worth noting that very few people ever buy a vehicle focused on nothing other than vehicle "quality."
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:56 AM   #18
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I've had my JKU since October 2006 with about 50k on it. I wheel it quite a bit and the only thing that I've had to fix are:

Computer flash at 8k to fix headlights/dash lights
rear brake pads at 36k
Driver's side exhaust manifold around 40k

That's it.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:56 AM   #19
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Disinformation? Go look at the studies and surveys. We're not talking about studies comparing fuel economy, storage space, ride and other meaningless things when talking about a Jeep. These are QUALITY studies that placed the Wrangler at or near the bottom.

Seriously guys, stop doing such a disservice to potential owners.

By the way, I test drove a 2011 and plan on buying a 2012. I've done the research and know what to expect, some of you need to take off the rose colored glasses.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:11 AM   #20
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Disinformation? Go look at the studies and surveys. We're not talking about studies comparing fuel economy, storage space, ride and other meaningless things when talking about a Jeep. These are QUALITY studies that placed the Wrangler at or near the bottom.

Seriously guys, stop doing such a disservice to potential owners.

By the way, I test drove a 2011 and plan on buying a 2012. I've done the research and know what to expect, some of you need to take off the rose colored glasses.
Look at them where? Please post your sources (other than the ridiculous CR). CR absolutely uses those things in their overall ratings. CR bases their "results" solely on people who report them to them. People who have an issue are more likely to complain. How many of us who are happy are going to waste our time letting CR know? If you know anything about statistics you will know that CR's ratings are useless.

If Wranglers are so unreliable, why do they have one of the highest resale values of any vehicle? Run that through you survey and let us know what you come up with.

Now where are the studies and surveys you are referring to?
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:08 AM   #21
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Wrangler was also near the bottom of the most recent JD Power quality study.

But hey, what's the point? You'll just tell me how their study doesn't matter either.

I'm not going to take the time to post links, they're out there if you want to take your head out of the sand and find them.

Lets do this since you're such a defender of the Wranglers reliability, show me a quality study where they're near the top.

I'll be waiting.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:13 AM   #22
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Nice deflection. FAIL.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:14 AM   #23
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If you have such a problem with Wranglers why are you here and why on earth would you want one?
I have a 93 yj and a 10 jk rubicon and i love them both
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:17 AM   #24
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How about this B.S. ends or I close this thread.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:20 AM   #25
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Wrangler was also near the bottom of the most recent JD Power quality study.

But hey, what's the point? You'll just tell me how their study doesn't matter either.
That's another "study" based on responses. Again they didn't actually test anything.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:23 AM   #26
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I've not owned my JK long enough to comment on reliability (which is different than "quality" which jz68 mostly talks about-that measurement most definitely includes such niceties as ciriticisms of hard plastic interior, insufficient storage, too few cupholders etc.). I can say that I owned a TJ Wrangler Rubicon for 8 years and 180,000 miles that saw many miles offroad and the ONLY problem I had throughout that entire ownership was replacing an oxygen sensor. I only did that because I had to in order to pass local emissions tests and to improve gas mileage-the Jeep ran fine even with the bad sensor. I did routine maintenance (not always on schedule) and treated the vehicle like a Jeep. It never failed me. In fact, it was the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. I would still be driving it had it not been destroyed in a head-on collission. Did the TJ rank highly in Consumer Reports or JD? Nope and that was because of the factors I pointed out above and such things as rough ride quality, primitive powertrain etc. If one doesn't want those things, he should not buy a Jeep Wrangler. They are offroad vehicles and that involves trade-offs with on road characteristics and "amenities." I expect that my JK will be just as reliable and I'll also point out that the JK has vastly improved the interior 'amenities' over my old TJ. Just do the maintenance and all will be fine. Just my two cents.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:26 AM   #27
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:34 AM   #28
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Nice article Tom. The true test is when they bring you back home, and mine always has.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:41 AM   #29
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Good article. However, my extremely limited experience with the 3.8 doesn't bear out some of the criticisms of it in the article. I guess time will tell for me, but I'm very happy with my recent purchase.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:43 AM   #30
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Way to move the goal posts. We're not discussing the Wrangler's off road capabilites, we're talking about quality.

Trying to have a meaningful debate on this site is pointless, especially when even the mods put on the rose colored glasses. You guys sit here and keep blowing sunshine up peoples asses, I'll find a new forum where people look at both sides.

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