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Old 08-04-2013, 12:16 PM   #1
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Fork in the road, decision time.

I bought a TJ sometime last year. I have replaced all of the fluids, most of the consumables and gone through everything else to come up with a list of remaining parts to replace. It's a small list that is under $500 to do. From there I can start to actually gather components to upgrade toward my end goal. This includes axles, driveshaft, SYE, springs, shocks, front antiroll bar, fenders, and tires, as well as some interior treatment. This list is not cheap, and will result in me having a very capable rig that will do nearly everything I wanted the Jeep to do.

What I have: 1999 TJ, 4.0, AT, A/C, full doors, soft top, 150k mi., D35 with LSD, D30.

I wanted a hardtop but the price on this rig was good and the mechanical condition is great.

This brings me to my fork in the road:

I am wondering whether or not to start putting the money into this TJ, or grab up an '05-'06 LJ rubicon hard top and start setting it up for my intended uses.

I am not a hardcore wheeler, I like the capability when I need it and I'm more of a remote outdoorsman in the NW though I do plan to wheel several times per year. I also would like to be able to tow a larger fishing boat that what the TJ will do comfortably. This points me to the LJ and the axles and gearing as well as the TC tail, rear discs, and other minor items points me to the rubicon.

I have south of 8k in my TJ now. I could likely get every penny out of it, and maybe a bit more. I figure on another 8-10k to get it where i want it.

The LJ hardtops I'm looking at in Rubicon trim are running 17-22k with under 50k mi. Most seem to be around 40k mi. I have a wide selection of Jeeps to choose from throughout the NW, they are always for sale.

I know it's a novel, but it's a fairly serious move for me and I'm just looking for input, not asking if I should or shouldn't. I like my TJ and it's nimbleness, I like the idea of a bit more rear legroom and double the cargo space with extra towing capacity. Thoughts?

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Old 08-04-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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the only thing that i'm unhappy about with my jeep is that its a tj and not an lj. especially if you want to tow or do any overland stuff

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Old 08-04-2013, 07:51 PM   #3
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I'm going to put a plasti-dip long arm lift kit with 40" tires on it!

Those words will draw some more replies maybe. :P
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:12 PM   #4
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Well, you know, the longer the arms the better, right? anyways, if you can afford an LJ Rubicon, I say go for it. If all you do is mild-medium wheeling and not serious crawlin', then why not.
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Old 08-04-2013, 08:37 PM   #5
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I'd get a LJ rubi in a heartbeat if I had the means to do so.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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Really a personal choice. I like the look of the TJ, but would like to have a little extra space every now and again for stuff. Totally your call.
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Old 08-04-2013, 10:52 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input so far. It is definitely my call, and I'm obviously leaning toward moving to the LJ rubi. I just want to bounce the $ part off of others so that my own thinking isn't the only viewpoint. It'll cost about the same for me to build the TJ I have or buy a hard top LJ rubi in stock form with around 100k less miles (though the mileage doesn't concern me as much as it does some folks).

I would have a better built toy with the TJ, but I would have a more utility based rig that was perfectly capable as well the other. I haven't seen anyone with an LJ rubicon post that they should have bought a TJ sport with a D35 and built it so...
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Old 08-04-2013, 11:08 PM   #8
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Get the LJ rubi you won't regret it
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #9
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I've got an LJ Rubi, absolutely love it. Had a 97 TJ Sport before and although I do miss the turning radius at times, I find that the ride is much more improved with the longer wheelbase on the highway and I can carry more crap. Whichever you decide on I don't think you'll regret it.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
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Last year I sold my 97 TJ with 98k miles and bought a 05 TJ with only 50k miles. Both were/are in great shape. The 05 was about double what I paid for the 97. I use mine as a toy, not a daily driver but the low miles on the 05 was a big reason I bought it.

I have zero interest in an LJ because I hate the way they look and I don't need the extra room. But I wouldn't mind having the Rubi.

All that said, if you like (or don't dislike) LJs and you can afford it, I think you should go with the LJ Rubi. If you stay with what you have and put a lot into it you may still have some regrets about not getting the LJ Rubi and you will likely always want to upgrade. Besides that, putting the upgrades on a newer, lower miles jeep is a better investment than putting the same money into an older one. I have no regrets about getting the newer jeep.

I prefer a soft top because I don't have a place to store a hardtop and my top stays off all spring/summer and part of the fall. I just park in the garage and don't drive it when it rains. But you probably have some regrets about not getting a hardtop the first time because you are looking and considering a hardtop now, so that is another plus for the new one.

As long as you can afford the newer jeep I think you will not regret getting it. You may regret it if you don't.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:34 AM   #11
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It really comes down to how big you wana go. If your gona 14b/60 and stretch on 40s why spend the extra money on wheel base and axles you'll scrap anyways. For something you're talking about the Lj rubi is probably close the ideal initial setup.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:56 AM   #12
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Why go 40's if you are not a hard core wheeler????
I have an 06 TJ Rubi. I paid 17k for it 3 years ago with 103k on it.
I have a RE 5.5 LA, 1.75 BL and 1' MML, 4.88 gears, currie steering, Tom woods DS's, armored all around sitting on 35's. It is a very capable rig and will do any trail or obstical I want to try.
The only thing I wish is that it was an LJ. The TJ's wheel base is just a little to short for crawling. The LJ's is perfect and being a Rubi makes it an extremely capable machine!!!!
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #13
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The 40" tire plasti-dip long arm kit comment was a joke, all the way around. I will be going 33" and unless an actual need for 35" arises I will be happy to stay there.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:19 PM   #14
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I don't know......I think the LJs look a little funny
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:26 PM   #15
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For your uses, it sounds like the LJ Rubi would be the best decision. And you really can't beat a clean, late-model TJ/LJ. The interior is just all-around nicer and more comfortable than earlier model TJ's. But I may be biased because I hate the gray and brown interiors...I much prefer black.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:44 PM   #16
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For your uses, it sounds like the LJ Rubi would be the best decision. And you really can't beat a clean, late-model TJ/LJ. The interior is just all-around nicer and more comfortable than earlier model TJ's. But I may be biased because I hate the gray and brown interiors...I much prefer black.
You have given me good reality checks to consider in the past, which in a way led me to start considering a rubicon as an alternative to buying axles etc in the first place. Wanting more room for fishing/camping with the lady and the dogs got me thinking LJ. The blessing from said lady for either option got me considering the money aspect.

I'm now going to start shopping some of the current LJ rubicons on the market here and put up my TJ for sale.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:46 PM   #17
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From what I've read I'll probably miss my 32rh a bit though I'm sure I'll live.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:57 PM   #18
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Go with the LJ. Wish I could fit more stuff in the TJ.
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:50 PM   #19
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The 40" tire plasti-dip long arm kit comment was a joke, all the way around. I will be going 33" and unless an actual need for 35" arises I will be happy to stay there.
my bad

I went 35's because they are only about $20 bucks more a tire than the 33's. I wanted to go 37's but my god they are like 150 - 200 bucks more a tire.

if you have stock gears than 33's will be your best bet

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