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Old 06-13-2010, 03:32 PM   #1
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Question Opinions Please...

Hello, I have been in the market for a TJ for about a month and a half... I have posted on here for opinions on other jeeps, but ended up waiting and looking for a more suitable one for me. I have found 2 similar jeeps that I have taken a liking to, and think would be a good fit, and they are not too overpriced. First one is a 2004 wrangler X, with 48K, for $14577. Second one is a 2005 wrangler X with 55K for $14988. The only difference I can really tell is that the 2005 is 6sp and has cruise control. I like the 2004 because of the mods that have been done to it (which also concern me, due to the fact that it was most likely taken offroad). I like the 2005 because it has the 6sp (does that even make much of a difference driving?) has cruise control, and is un-modified, leaving an open platform for me to mod to my liking.

Here a links to each of the jeeps, Please help me with some opinions on what jeep you experts would choose and why.

2005 Wrangler X
Cars for Sale: 2005 Jeep Wrangler X in Littleton, CO 80123: Sport Utility Details - 278407380 - AutoTrader.com

2004 Wrangler X
2004 JEEP WRANGLER VERY NICED

Thanks for your input.
Jeff

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Old 06-13-2010, 03:42 PM   #2
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I like both colors.....Navy and Pearl blue. With the info you've given I'd try to talk em down $1,000 on the '04 and show them the '05 you're considering. If they don't come down, go with the newer Jeep. Good luck!

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Old 06-13-2010, 03:45 PM   #3
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Ok, the Craigslist TJ has a Dana 35c rear axle and a 3.07 axle ratio. The 3.07 means it will be a real dog, performance-wise, with larger tires. The Dana 35c rear axle is the standard rear axle which isn't strong enough for a locker and big tires. If you want to build up an offroad machine, you'd have to either replace with rear Dana 35c axle with something stronger (the front axle is fine) like a Dana 44 axle (like used out of a Wrangler) or beef it up with a Super 35 kit which is about $1000 plus installation

There's not enough information on the Autotrader Jeep to know what the axle ratio is or if the rear axle is the standard Dana 35c or if it has the optional extra-cost rear Dana 44 axle that replaces the standard Dana 35c rear axle. Plus if it has the Dana 44 rear axle, it has the more desireable 3.73 axle ratio that gives better performance with bigger tires.

If you don't plan to build it up with a rear locker, bigger tires, etc. then the rear axle issue doesn't really matter. You can ask if the Autotrader seller can determine if the rear axle is a Dana 35c or Dana 44 (don't tell him which is more desireable or he may lie) but don't expect them to know or know how to tell which it is.

The 6-speed is good if you like manual transmissions, plus it is geared a bit lower that raises the rpms a tad which helps with bigger tires & offroad use.

The question is how do you see your Jeep being built? Do you plan to offroad it a lot? If so, try to find a Jeep that already has a rear Dana 44 axle or you'll be facing extra significant costs to upgrade the standard Dana 35c axle. If not, then the standard Dana 35c axle is fine.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:49 PM   #4
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X2 on what Jerry said. My suggestion would be to look for an '04 -'06 Unlimited. They will have the D44 rear for sure already. Plus if you put a small lift of about 2 - 2 1/2" in it you won't likely have to worry about drive line vibes and installing a SYE/CV due to the longer body length and reduced drive shaft angle.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info Jerry. This jeep will be my daily driver, and I will be doing some mild to moderate offroading. When I say mild to moderate, I mean dirt trails with some wholes, mud, snow, ice, small rocks. I dont plan on lifting it more than 3" and never going bigger than 33" tires. I do plan on taking it to the hills quite often to camp and wheel, but it will have to get me there and home, so I wouldn't beat it up to bad. Correct me if i'm wrong(which i probably am) but I thought the Dana 35 was ok as long as you dont go bigger than 33" tires?
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
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X2 on what Jerry said. My suggestion would be to look for an '04 -'06 Unlimited. They will have the D44 rear for sure already. Plus if you put a small lift of about 2 - 2 1/2" in it you won't likely have to worry about drive line vibes and installing a SYE/CV due to the longer body length and reduced drive shaft angle.
I have looked into the unlimited, and I do like how it is a little bigger and has extra space. However the price tag on those is like 2-3K more. I'm on kind of a tight budget, and cant really pay more than 15K. I'm also kind of stuck because the market for TJ's in CO is higher than anywhere else I have looked. So they are all overpriced by like 1-3K if not more...
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:25 PM   #7
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I thought the Dana 35 was ok as long as you dont go bigger than 33" tires?
Well, kinda-sorta. Sometimes. If you don't install a locker, you'll probably be ok with up to about the 33" tire size. BUT, I have personally assisted people off the trail who broke one of their Dana 35c axle shafts with only 31" tires. Granted, they probably got crazy with the go-pedal but I dunno as I wasn't watching when the axle axle broke. Just don't get the feeling it's ok with 33" tires to get crazy with it.

This old cellphone pic shows a guy I helped who broke his D35's axle shaft with 32" tires and no locker. I strapped his Hi-Lift in place to hold his wheel in so he could make it back to camp. He was not a happy guy during all that.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:43 PM   #8
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Hmmm something new to think about now... I dont plan to get "crazy" right from the get go. This will be my first TJ, my first manual tranny, and my first 4wd vehicle. So I will have a lot of learning to do before I get "crazy". I figure by the time I am comfortable with my off road abilities I will have decided weather or not I will even put a lift and bigger tires on it. But for now it will stay pretty much stock. This all will be a learning process for me, and I generally tend learn the hard way.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:50 PM   #9
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By the way, don't be afraid to go with an automatic Wrangler. The tougher the trail, the more you'll see the hardcore offroaders using automatics. I converted my first TJ from a 5-speed manual to an automatic for my rock crawling trails. After that Jeep was stolen, I held out for an automatic on the replacement Jeep I bought. Plus automatic transmissions are FAR less likely to cause an axle shaft or something else in the drivetrain to break.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:55 PM   #10
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Listen to Jerry, I did/do. to quote inferno girl....."he knows everyting!" no really, he does.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:08 PM   #11
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Listen to Jerry, I did/do. to quote inferno girl....."he knows everyting!" no really, he does.
Haha I know he does. I have been lurking on here for about 2 months, and almost every thread in the forum asking a spec question, Jerry knows the answer and always explains it very well. His knowledge will be noted, and taken into consideration when buying my TJ. As far as an auto, I have decided I would like to try a manual tranny, one for the experience, and two because I think its fun to drive. Also I dont really plan on rock crawling to much, I would be to afraid of messin stuff up.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:10 PM   #12
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Jerry is right about the Dana 44 rear. You will save a significant amount of money by getting a TJ with a Dana 44 already installed. If you plan to do any real wheeling you will need it. Between the 2 Jeeps you showed, I believe the '04 is probably the better deal. If you are concerned with it having been abused offroad just take a look at the bottom of those sliders. They will tell the tale. But, to tell you the truth I'll bet that you can find a Rubicon in the same price range. It will have Dana 44's front and rear, 4.10 gear ratio, sliders, and 4:1 transfer case. You will get a much bigger bang for your buck.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:18 PM   #13
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You will not like the 3:07 axle ratio in the mountains. It is OK on the flats, but you will be forever shifting gears on hills.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:44 PM   #14
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The '05 model looks like a limited edition "Rocky Mountain" package. It came factory with the more desirable rear axle dana 44. It has the two tone seats and a sticker on the passenger side. I thought it was supposed to also have the diamond plate rockers and graphite color fender flares, but I don't know for sure. So you'd need to look under the rear to check for the shape of the differential pumpkin to see what's up. The used car details list a soft top, but it clearly has a hard top. Since jeep wrangler parts can be easily swapped around, it wouldn't be unusual for a dealer to clean up one trade-in with some parts from another...(like the hard top for instance). Someone could have put a rocky mountain sticker on it because they live in the rocky mountain state?

Both jeeps appear to be very clean and are relatively low mileage. The '04 has some useful add-on parts...some better quality than others. I don't personally care for the style of the ARB brand front bumper, but it's very expensive and considered a good company. The Tabor brand winch is a budget line for Warn Winches. Warn is considered a good product, but I don't know about their Tabor line-up. A good winch is about a $500 miniumum investment. A rear bumper with a swing out tire carrier is a common purchase for when you go with a larger set of tires. They usually look much the same, but some are better designed than others. There's another $500-$800. It may have had larger tires as a trade-in and they've been swapped for the BFGoodrich all-terrains in the pictures. It would test drive with more pep with smaller tires.

So for instance, when you go to replace factory front and rear bumpers, you can easily spend the same amount of money it would cost to swap out a rear dana 35 axle for a TJ dana 44. If you happen to like any of the swapped parts on the '04, it could be a better deal.

Of the two, I like the stock '05 jeep myself (if it truly is the special edition). I have a '98 Sport that came with dana 35 rear and factory 3.07 gear ratio. I swapped both front and rear axles to get a d44 rear and 4.10 ratio. I live in flat florida where daily driving on 4.10 axle gear ratio and 33" tires is okay. You'll get advice from jeep owners who live in mountains to regear the axles if you plan to put similar size tires on either jeep. So a decision of 3.07 vs. 3.73 ratio isn't an argument I'd take interest in.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:48 AM   #15
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Wink Listen to Jerry

Listen to Jerry for ALL your correct facts and info...The input from the rest of the forum guy's is also very helpful and can give you a lot of great idea's. One of these two guy's is probably going to lower the price at least $500.00, hopefully $800.00 - $1,000.00. Would that make the decision easier? Good Luck and welcome to the forum!
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:06 AM   #16
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Go for the Rocky Mountain Edition!
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Old 06-14-2010, 07:21 AM   #17
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I've got the rocky mountain edition. it's basically awesome, but I bought mine in early 09 for $13K and it had 40,000 miles. I'd haggle if I were you! Offer them 12,500 and see what they do. and what they'll do is come back at a lower price.

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