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Old 08-01-2010, 04:26 PM   #1
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looking to buy an 04 Rubicon

This is my first Jeep, and I really don't know the first thing about off-roading or mechanics. I've been reading on the forum all day, and frankly, I'm getting a little overwhelmed. I'm supposed to look at the Jeep on Tuesday, but it is a 6 hour drive for me to the dealer. I am trying to get a list of questions I should ask that might not be obvious to anyone but a prior jeep owner. It is pretty much a stock 04 Rubicon with a 3" lift, 16 x 8" Moab wheels, LT245/75R16 on/off road BSW tires, aftermarket Hella lights and Warn front and rear bumpers. It has 70,000 miles on it. Is there anything regarding maintenance, mechanics that should have been adjusted because of the lift and tires (one of my biggest concerns), or anything else I might not be aware of? I wanted a Jeep for the experience, being able to make it to almost any trailhead in CO, top down and doors off. I don't want a "rock crawler", don't plan on driving it through deep water. Is this too much of a jeep for me? Thanks for any input.

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Old 08-01-2010, 04:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetskifreak82 View Post
This is my first Jeep, and I really don't know the first thing about off-roading or mechanics. I've been reading on the forum all day, and frankly, I'm getting a little overwhelmed. I'm supposed to look at the Jeep on Tuesday, but it is a 6 hour drive for me to the dealer. I am trying to get a list of questions I should ask that might not be obvious to anyone but a prior jeep owner. It is pretty much a stock 04 Rubicon with a 3" lift, 16 x 8" Moab wheels, LT245/75R16 on/off road BSW tires, aftermarket Hella lights and Warn front and rear bumpers. It has 70,000 miles on it. Is there anything regarding maintenance, mechanics that should have been adjusted because of the lift and tires (one of my biggest concerns), or anything else I might not be aware of? I wanted a Jeep for the experience, being able to make it to almost any trailhead in CO, top down and doors off. I don't want a "rock crawler", don't plan on driving it through deep water. Is this too much of a jeep for me? Thanks for any input.
thats not very close to stock though, be careful with buying a lifted jeep from a dealer. if u do decide to buy it get a good warranty in case the lift or anything else on the jeep was done wrong, how much do they want for it too? get the brand of lift and who performed the install if possible, it all really depends on price and condition though

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Old 08-01-2010, 04:59 PM   #3
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They want 14,900. Is there any specific brands of lifts I should steer clear from? I love the look of the 3 inch lift, but am concerned about performance changes. Plus I've watched these "wobble of death" videos and they scare the bejeezus out of me. The dealer does 75 percent Jeeps though and seems very knowledgeable about them. Oh, I forgot there is also an Air Raid cold-air intake installed. That helps with increasing horsepower at low speeds for 4-wheeling right? And is there anything specific I should test or look for during the test drive?
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:07 PM   #4
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$14.9 sounds too high, I'd counter-offer 12K. I bought an '04 Rubicon a few months ago and though I got a "special" price from whom I bough it from, even it was under $12K.

The Air-Raid is actually not a good thing as its air filter doesn't really filter the air all that well. I'm looking to get rid of mine as it came on the Rubicon and it's just letting too much of the dust I wheel in past. My last TJ had a similar air filter for a while and I got rid of it once I learned how much grime it was letting get past it.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:49 PM   #5
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i just bought my 03 rubi in january for 13k with 70kmi too
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:52 PM   #6
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So with the new tires and wheels and hella lighting systems 15 doesn't sound that bad. I'm hoping to get him to throw a hard top in there for me for maybe 500 more...
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Old 08-01-2010, 06:24 PM   #7
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I would try to go between 12K and 13K, since you don't know how well it was taken care of.. also deal with the hard top separately unless you can get it included in that 12 - 13K range.

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Old 08-01-2010, 07:38 PM   #8
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i paid $16k for my 04 Rubi last September. it was all stock but only had 56k miles on it and was very clean. i dont think the PO's ever got her dirty.
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:05 PM   #9
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That makes me feel better USMC0341. I actually feel it is a good deal, Kelley blue book is 17,500. Here's hoping I get the loan approved tomorrow and it isn't sold, otherwise it is probably mine Tuesday.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:16 PM   #10
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mine came with a warn i9500 winch mounted, hard and soft top
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:26 PM   #11
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I just found out that the lift is actually a "puck lift", and not a true lift. Everything is stock rubicon, the dealer said something about the coils having a plastic puck or something like that. Is this something I should stay away from, or is it ok?
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:56 PM   #12
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I purchased my 04 Rubi for 13,500. 68k miles. Pretty much bone stock. Just check out the lockers and make sure they work. Down once for back, a second time for front. Get on some dirt...turn em on and make sure the lights come on on the dash and stay on. It should be very hard to turn when the front lockers are engaged. You should feel binding when you turn when the 4 wheel drive is engaged. These are simple tests that anyone can do when getting a new jeep to see if things seem to be working! Take it up to highway speeds paying attention as you speed up for death wobble. Listen for tcase, clutch, tranny noise. Some is normal...just normally gear noises. Good luck! Hope it turns out well!
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #13
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Pucks are the cheapest way to lift a Jeep. Not bad but not the best. You can always upgrade later on.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:08 PM   #14
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I purchased my 04 Rubi for 13,500. 68k miles. Pretty much bone stock. Just check out the lockers and make sure they work. Down once for back, a second time for front. Get on some dirt...turn em on and make sure the lights come on on the dash and stay on. It should be very hard to turn when the front lockers are engaged. You should feel binding when you turn when the 4 wheel drive is engaged. These are simple tests that anyone can do when getting a new jeep to see if things seem to be working! Take it up to highway speeds paying attention as you speed up for death wobble. Listen for tcase, clutch, tranny noise. Some is normal...just normally gear noises. Good luck! Hope it turns out well!
Sorry, new the off-road thing... lockers mean locking differentials, right? What do those do exactly? Do they make it so the wheels don't turn independently, or what? At what speed, gear, etc do you turn those on? Sorry, I've never owned a 4wd vehicle before and am pretty illiterate.
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Old 08-02-2010, 09:44 PM   #15
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Here it is

Here's one for sale where I bought mine in LEXINGTON,SC
CatheysAutoSales.com, Cathey's Auto Sales, used cars for sale, by Carsforsale.com!
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:03 PM   #16
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I would make sure that it is truly a Rubicon. There have been cases of unsuspecting dealers taking in trades and not realizing the only thing Rubicon about the Jeep is the staickers.
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Old 08-02-2010, 10:30 PM   #17
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$14.9 sounds too high, I'd counter-offer 12K. I bought an '04 Rubicon a few months ago and though I got a "special" price from whom I bough it from, even it was under $12K.

The Air-Raid is actually not a good thing as its air filter doesn't really filter the air all that well. I'm looking to get rid of mine as it came on the Rubicon and it's just letting too much of the dust I wheel in past. My last TJ had a similar air filter for a while and I got rid of it once I learned how much grime it was letting get past it.
Gotta remember that here in the mountains of CO jeeps are ALWAYS sold for like 2-3K more than a lot of places. Especially California. I just moved from cali to Colorado about a year ago, and the price difference is just wrong... Blue book the rubi and offer like 1 or 2K less, thats what I did and IMO I got a good deal on my jeep. Also, Who cares what other people think of the deal you got! If YOU think its a good deal, then YOU got a good deal!
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jetskifreak82 View Post
Sorry, new the off-road thing... lockers mean locking differentials, right? What do those do exactly? Do they make it so the wheels don't turn independently, or what? At what speed, gear, etc do you turn those on? Sorry, I've never owned a 4wd vehicle before and am pretty illiterate.
You are correct about lockers. They provide 100% power to both wheels on the axle regardless of traction. On a stock Rubicon you turn turn them on in 4 wheel low. There are some mods that allow you to use them in 4 wheel hi, however, I have not done those to my jeep. (yet).
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:49 PM   #19
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I ended up not getting the Rubicon. I drove 6 hours there and spent only 30 minutes looking at and driving that heap. The check engine light actually turned on as the guy drove it up to me! It wobbled horribly at low speeds, the engine made popping sounds as you slowed down from 30 to 10, just didn't feel great at all. Maybe it's just a jeep thing and I'm not used to how they drive yet, but it made me very discouraged.
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:12 PM   #20
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Sounds like you did the right thing, and the 6 hour drive was not for nothing...
I looked for about 6 months until I found the Rubi I was looking for and it took driving a number of Wranglers with different lifts as well as stock before I really new what the thing should feel like when driving.

And no, I don't think the check engine light coming on is a jeep thing!

BTW, I just bought a 2003 TC Rubicon, 107K miles, stock for $12K...the AC was out and I knew that going in...just had that fixed for $500 so I guess you could say I paid $12,500 AND, I'm actually glad it's stock. I can do the mods I want, the way I want them and know what is on the jeep. I drove some TJ's that looked cool but drove like crap, who knows what kinda of crappy lift they put on.

Good Luck
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:58 PM   #21
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Thanks for the encouragement tchaap. The good thing is my little car I have now is still running great, it gets me around. I can afford to be picky. I think I just learned my lesson with the driving thing. I think my limit is 2 hours now. What do you guys think of the Rubicon unlimited? (TJ version, not the 4 door version).

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