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Old 06-03-2012, 12:05 AM   #1
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I Smell BS - but there is hope - Opinions Sought

Alright - I've made a deal to sell my '99 4 banger, and put that money towards a newer TJ. I've found an '03 Rubi that LOOKS nice, BUT...

According to the dealer, a) it has 214k (!!) on it, but that's "ok," b/c it was towed most of it's life. From what I understand, towing does NOT put on mileage. Also, b) it pops out of 1st gear SOMETIMES because of a 2" body lift, that, if removed, solves that problem (how do they know that? did they remove it, test it, and put it back in!?!?).

I find a) very, very implausible, and b) SOMEWHAT plausible.

Now, presuming for a moment there are 214k miles on it, as reliable as the I6 and ax15 are, that's PUSHING IT before needing a rebuild. How can I determine what kind of shape the engine and tranny are in during a normal car dealer test drive, etc.?? How much should I expect to spend on an engine and tranny rebuild, if the price point is right for me?

FURTHER, what ELSE should I be on the lookout for in something this high mileage??

Thanks for the opinions.

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:43 AM   #2
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ask to see a compression test and demand to be there when its done that will tell you alot. its they are telling the truth they wont object.

or take it for a test drive and compression test it yourself.

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Old 06-03-2012, 12:53 AM   #3
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the trans will be a NV3550 in 03, not the ax15
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:56 AM   #4
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Alaska99TJ - Thanks for the response. From what I've read, I'm looking for about 120-150psi on the comp test. I know what my 4 banger "feels" like when I punch it on the highway (pretty damned anemic, which is why I'm selling it). What am I "feeling" for when I test the Rubi? Punch, lag, fart?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:01 AM   #5
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gixxerphil - I stand corrected! It's late, and there's alcohol involved. So, do you have any take on my dilemma? Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:02 AM   #6
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gixxerphil - I stand corrected! It's late, and there's alcohol involved. So, do you have any take on my dilemma? Thanks!

Sorry, I don't. Although the body could be causing the shifter issue???
I know a lot of times a body lift will mess with the TC linkage
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:07 AM   #7
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Yeah, I've read about that re: TJ linkage and body lifts. I PLAN on getting rid of the body lift, and putting a small suspension lift in, with slightly bigger tires. Other than that, this thing has every major feature I want. Crossing my fingers that it works out, but my "too good to be true" reflex is twinging a bit more than I'm comfortable with. Cheers.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:13 AM   #8
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If you have a trusted mechanic you can always ask if you can take the jeep there and have them look at it.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:24 AM   #9
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If you have a trusted mechanic you can always ask if you can take the jeep there and have them look at it.

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Old 06-03-2012, 01:39 AM   #10
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DO they have service records?
I would want to see major service done on some of the most expensive things (transmission, clutch, electrical work, etc)
This would give me some assurance that I wouldn't have to do it myself any time soon.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:21 AM   #11
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I have a 2000 TJ just spent $2300 on a dealer rebuilding 1 &. 2 gear and sync'sk
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:40 AM   #12
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flat towing in newtral position will not spin the tranny output shat therfor not cause it to generate miles while being towed. correct me if im wrong
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:48 AM   #13
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How much is the jeep? Price can solve a great many questions. As for me..214 still means there is 214k miles on the axle shafts u-joints, carrier bearings, etc etc....
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:28 AM   #14
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By me there was a dealer down to $9500 on a 03 Rubi with 160K on it. Took a couple months to sell it. They started at 12K If you are buying this Rubi for more than 8K you are getting robbed.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:30 AM   #15
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Why not ask for the original owners number and give um a call
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:36 AM   #16
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if you got the time get oil samples,if they come back with alot of metel particals,that could indicate wear that might go unnoticed.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:38 AM   #17
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flat towing in newtral position will not spin the tranny output shat therfor not cause it to generate miles while being towed. correct me if im wrong
I flat tow my '04 LJ and it does NOT advance the odometer. If the TJ you are looking at with 214K miles has been towed as well, it has 214K miles PLUS whatever distance it was towed.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:34 AM   #18
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Thanks to everyone for the ideas. A buddy of mine mentioned a couple of things... First, he asked the very valid question "if the transmission is in gear, but the t-case in neutral while towing, will THAT cause the odometer to tick over?" Anyone know? What else we got?
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:47 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by scottunzicker
Thanks to everyone for the ideas. A buddy of mine mentioned a couple of things... First, he asked the very valid question "if the transmission is in gear, but the t-case in neutral while towing, will THAT cause the odometer to tick over?" Anyone know? What else we got?
Nope, the tranny won't be spinning because the engine is off, and the tcase is disconnected from the axles so that won't be spinning either.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:48 AM   #20
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I recommend a discussion with the salesman about a price that reflects a rebuild and assumption that the vehicle is only good for a builder project. Then consider the cost of building it up vs buying a lower mileage Jeep. You could probably find something like that at auction or even get that vehicle at auction when the dealer decides to dump it. Dealer probably trying for a quick sale if they get any interest knowing that it's headed to auction if they don't sell it fast. A vehicle with that mileage is not usually kept on a dealer lot very long.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:26 PM   #21
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Mom sold the Jeepster - I was kind of starting to lean that way, myself. Any ballpark figure you'd care to volunteer in terms of what I should pay and what I should expect to outlay for a rebuild (and what all that would entail)?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:38 PM   #22
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I'd ask for a Carfax report. If, the dealer doesn't subscribe to Carfax, I'd pay $30 for a one month subscription and run it. Might answer allot of your questions and you can use it when looking at other rigs. As mentioned before, contact the PO, it's the law that the dealer provide the info. A 2" BL sets off alarms, for me, in an 03-06 model.

Don't get locked in with focusing on the Rubi.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:53 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by scottunzicker View Post
Thanks to everyone for the ideas. A buddy of mine mentioned a couple of things... First, he asked the very valid question "if the transmission is in gear, but the t-case in neutral while towing, will THAT cause the odometer to tick over?" Anyone know? What else we got?
Just to be clear, flat towing a TJ with the transfer case in Neutral, and auto trans in Park, or manual trans in gear, will not add miles to the odometer. But it's not because the speedo gear is not spinning! The speedo gear is driven by the rear output shaft of the transfer case which is connected to the rear drive shaft and the rear axle. The odometer does not register miles because the ignition is not (or should not be) turned ON. You only need to turn the key to the first click (the unlocked OFF position) to unlock the steering wheel. Without power the odometer can't add miles.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:30 PM   #24
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Hard to guess what it's worth without knowing the whole story or what you intend to use it for. If you need a daily driver, this is not the vehicle for you. It's gonna have one service issue after another. On the other hand, if you want a 2nd vehicle to use as a trail buggy and also have the time, money, and interest in this vehicle as a project, it might be worth a couple thousand if the frame and body are ok and it has not been abused off road. Just looking at the quadratec catalog, it's about 4000 for a new motor, 1000 for a transfer case, and that does not include shipping or labor.
I don't know if anyone would rebuild at that mileage unless they could do the labor by themselves and had a good machine shop nearby to recondition the block and such.
I'd bet that Rubicon gets terrible mpg unless it's been overhauled. I don't see how those could be towing miles, or why a person who tows a Jeep around would put a body lift on it. Just doesn't add up.
I bought an 03 x for about 17k but it had 12k miles, a $5000 snow plow rig, and a 3 year extended warranty from chrysler. The top and doors had never been removed, and no indication of trail abuse.
Honestly, I think you could end up spending more on that Rubi than just buying a new one. A buyer at auction would either part it out or make it a project of their own. There are plenty of buyers out there just for the rubicon axles/locking differential.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:58 PM   #25
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I wouldn't pay more than 6k. GL
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:01 PM   #26
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I would not spend more than 6k. Good luck!
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:41 PM   #27
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Book on it is 8500 or so, but most jeeps will bring well above the book price.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #28
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Way to many miles. Look elsewhere my friend. You will be into a whole slew of bills coming up very soon and you will cry alone in your bed while your jeep is in the shop racking up the bill. Look for something fresh and spend the $1000 or 2 and save yourself from the pain.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:22 PM   #29
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In short, I went and checked it out at the dealership today. They were closed, but it was on the lot. The second I got under it, bad juju. Lots o' grease all over the driver's side control arm, drips everywhere (looks like rear main seal is leaking), and, to top it off, there was what appeared to be a brand new oil pan gasket. Who knows how long that thing had been leaking. I'll link to some movies here in a bit.
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Old 06-03-2012, 06:38 PM   #30
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Here you go. A couple of m4v files, about 35mb each.

http://www.scottunzicker.com/clips/d...0Broadband.m4v

and

http://www.scottunzicker.com/clips/p...0Broadband.m4v

Thanks for all y'all's input. Now, who has a 2000-2006 manual for sale?

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