Every few years I get a whim to buy a jeep, and this year I'm actually going to do it. The jeep will be used as a DD with light off roading on the weekends. I have +/- 15 K to spend and have been looking at 04 - 06 vehicles. In this price range there are literally hundreds of jeeps for sale within 75 miles of my house. I guess I need some help narrowing down my choices.
I have test driven a few and they all drive differently (I think the tires/wheels have a lot to do with it). From reading through several posts on your awesome forum, I have decided to get both a hard and soft top. What I can't decide about is Automatic v. Manual, and X/Sport/Rubicon. The Rubicons I have seen are nice looking vehicles, but are they worth the extra $$ for what I'm going to be using it for? Also, I prefer the Automatic, but the ones I have driven seem so sluggish compared to the 5/6 speed manual.
I am also a little worried about buying a used vehicle with more than 50k miles on it -- is this irrational??
Any help would be appreciated, because I think my head is going to explode f4rom too many options.
If your going to be using this as a daily driver, a Rubicon might not be the model for you, but if you are serious about off-roading and want to upgrade it to do some fairly tough stuff then it might be.
The Rubicon is the top of the line Wrangler that comes with:
1: Dana44 Axles front and rear with air actuated lockers
2: NP241 transfercase with 4:1 low range
3: 4:10 gear ratio in the axles
All of this is some serious stuff when deciding in an off-road vehicle, but if your just a recreational wheeler it probably isn't necessary.
One thing is, if it is going to be your daily driver I'd suggest looking into stock Jeeps rather than a modified one since you'll know that there are no real issues to worry about. Plus, a stock vehicle will get you the best MPG over something with 33" tires.
But really it comes down to what you like, and there are hundreds of Jeep that are ALL different.
I have a auto.. I like it because I hate changing gears.. but it is a lot more maintenance. I want a rubicon just because its something I dont have.. but my x is more than enough then what I use it for. x and sport is basically the same.. some sport comes with a d44=stronger axels..
I have an X for my DD. It's completely stock and i have the 5 speed trans. If you live in a big city where you do alot of stop and go, i would get an AT. I have had an automatic in my last couple vehicles, and i became quite bored driving them, but then i live in a smaller city.
Also the 4.0 I6 is a pretty solid engine. When i bought mine it had 71000 miles on it and runs great.
Good luck on for search and let us know when you found one ... and do post pics when you buy one.
either way AT or manual you DEFINITLY want the I6 4.0L engine
as for models, it seems like you dont need the rubicon, so I would suggest either the sport or X it doesn't really matter, but when you look at the jeep make sure it has the D44 rear axle. this means that the rear axle's fill plug will be made of metal and not a rubber/plastic plug, it will also be kind or boxy with lines as opposed to the smooth circlish D35.
once you get it I would suggest getting either 31-33 inch tires so looking at jeeps with those mods already is ok, but make sure to take it to a good jeep mechanic that knows about lifts and have them check to make sure the lift was put on correctly
lastly dont worry about 50K+ vehicles the I6 is know to go for over 300,000 miles if taken care of, make sure to get the service records for any jeep you buy, a beat up and neglected 40K jeep could be more worn out than a properly maintained an babied 80K mile jeep