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UtahRay 06-04-2013 07:55 AM

Your opinion counts
Ok Forum members, here is the deal:

Getting back in after a 45 year absence from Jeeps. This Jeep will not be a daily driver, but a weekend warrior. I live in Utah so there is plenty to do however I am not sure of the type of Jeep I ought to be considering to buy. It will be a Jeep wrangler and it will be between the years 2002 and 2006. I am leaning toward Rubicon however but am not sure if that is where I ought to go. Also, I am looking at a lot of used jeeps that have modifications on them and my question is whether I should consider stock or should buy one with mods.: Example:

Used Jeep 1 03' Jeep Rubicon. Teraflex 3" PRO- LCG Suspension lift. Teraflex 1" body lift. Teraflex front ST swaybar. Rock guard front bumper. Ramsey rear bumper. Plugs in front for fog lights. Teraflex belly up skid plate. Hard top has tinted windows. New rear brakes, regularly maintained and greased. After market cat back exhaust with magna flow muffler. K&N cold air intake. New steering gear box. Teraflex heavy duty track bar with heavy duty axle and frame mount. This jeep has low miles and is in excellent condition. 71K miles

Used Jeep 2 77k miles, lift, high steer, Terra Flex shocks, 4.55 gears, automatic trans, air conditioning, K&N cold air intake, aluminum rims, 33 X 12.50 X 15 tires with lots of tread, just had emission and inspection, radio with CD player and blue tooth with microphone for hands free phone use. Very good condition!

Used Jeep 3 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon with only 82,010 original miles, runs great! Very fun vehicle! Because of the Rubicon style, it has front and rear lockers. Dana 44 axles, skid plates, front and rear custom bumpers, tow package, hard top with privacy glass, power windows, cd player, cruise control, 31x10.50 BFG tires.

All are within 1500 of each other. Suggestions? Opinions?


errollins13 06-04-2013 08:33 AM

I guess it really depends on what you want to do with it and how much you want to do by yourself.
I would probably go with the rubi if you plan on doing harder wheeling and want bigger then 33's on it.

ChaddG 06-04-2013 08:38 AM

where did they mount the microphone for the hands free?
leaning towards #1

lynn 06-04-2013 08:40 AM

Consider the LJ version. 10" longer wheelbase (15" more interior) offers many benefits.
Rubicon LJ available in model year 2005 and 2006.

MFsoftball22 06-04-2013 08:54 AM

I would find someone who knows about TJ/LJ Wranglers and about modifying them, and have them look over any potential buy. If you purchased a stock TJ/LJ you will spend a lot more money modifying the vehicle to where you want it, but the plus side is you will be able to modify it to fit your specs and know that it is done right. Buying a unmodified Rubi would be a great starting point. Buying a Wrangler that is already modified can save you money but can also be a hassle. You might end up having to fix things that the PO did do right, cut corners, or did differently than you would have done it. This can be costly but bigger than that it can be an absolute headache. Trus me I know from Experience. That is why i would have someone who knows about Wranglers and modifying them go with you to look at any Jeeps you are interested in.

Good Luck and Welcome back.

Water Dog 06-04-2013 09:33 AM

If you are going to wheel it, I would lean toward one of the Rubi's. There is probably 6 or 7 thousand $'s of hardware that you wouldn't have to upgrade in axles and lockers alone. TJ/LJ is kind of personal preference. I like my shorter wb TJ in the rocks, but there are plenty of folks who like the LJ's as well.

Jerry Bransford 06-04-2013 10:54 AM

I would eliminate the #2 Jeep due to its high-steer which is just not a good steering design for a TJ. It'd be hard to make a decision between 1 & 3 from here without seeing them. Kind of leaning towards the less modified #3 as it probably hasn't been wheeled as much as #1 has. If # 1 or 3 has an automatic & you like wheeling tougher trails, I'd lean towards the one with the automatic.

For carrying gear & passengers, the longer wheelbase Unlimited is nice but for wheeling, I have to help those with Unlimiteds over tough trails more than those with the shorter wheelbased standard TJs. I personally would not want to have to contend with the Unlimited's longer wheelbase that is harder to get through tight/twisty trails.

n00g7 06-04-2013 11:27 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Me? #3. I would never buy a vehicle that a PO put a K&N intake on.

UtahRay 06-04-2013 05:46 PM

Thank you for all of the great opinions and suggestions
Thanks to everyone who contributed. I found a whole lot of great information from the replies. What a great forum and what great people to get to know.

I will keep you posted on what I get and how it goes.

Thanks again,

UtahRay 06-05-2013 10:59 PM

Hello again all:

Well, I pulled the trigger and ended up buying Jeep no. 3. It seemed to be the consensus for most of you who shared their opinion. I am so excited!!! So here is my next newbie question. What bikini top (is that the name of just the top portion for shade that can be put on the Jeep after removing the hardtop/) is the best to buy that we can use in case we run across a stray summer shower or just want to shade our heads while going somewhat topless? Name of company and name of product please? So it is going on a 2003 Jeep Rubicon. Thanks again.

Jerry Bransford 06-05-2013 11:26 PM

I believe #3 was a good choice, congrats & good luck with it!!

A Bestop "Safari" top would be a good choice. A bikini top only covers the front seats, a safari top is a little longer & covers the back area too. I recommend a safari top. Having had both styles, a safari style is more practical in my opinion for more situations.

Rubicondon53 06-05-2013 11:32 PM

Bestop is the brand name.. I wouldn't consider any other brand, as Bestop is original equipment and it will fit.. Many of the other brands cost less, last half as long and not fit properly.. Congrats on your new Rubi, I concur with all the #3 votes.. :)

n00g7 06-06-2013 12:41 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Bestop. You can see my jeep with it hooked into the door surrounds and the other jeep with it strapped around the bars only.

UtahRay 06-07-2013 11:56 AM

Thanks for the info. Can the Bestop Safari cover be used with or without doors removed?

Jerry Bransford 06-07-2013 11:57 AM


Originally Posted by UtahRay (Post 3835918)
Thanks for the info. Can the Bestop Safari cover be used with or without doors removed?

Yes, it doesn't care about your door configuration. Doors on or off, door surrounds on or off, it's good.

UtahRay 06-07-2013 12:06 PM

On tires:

Currently I have Tires/ BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO- 31X10.50R 15 on the Jeep I just bought. Sometime this year I will need to replace them. Since I am so new.... I am not sure to replace them with like items or to go back to stock. Here are the questions based upon the fact that I will be using this jeep for casual off road travel and not serious rock climbing or extreme usage. It will certainly be used off road in tough areas but not extreme anything (at least at this point).

If I stay the same size is the BF Goodrich a good tire or do you recommend something else?
If I go stock, what would you go with?
Which would you recommend?
Thanks so much.

Jerry Bransford 06-07-2013 12:14 PM

The BFG All Terrain is a fine tire that does well in nearly any type of terrain except deep snow or deep mud. If you want a slightly more aggressive tire that isn't exactly "aggressive" but will also be quiet and wear a long time, BFG's Mud Terrain KM2 would be a very good choice. If you want a more aggressive tire that will hold up to nearly anything without being excessively loud, Goodyear's kevlar-reinforced MT/R would be a great choice. I'm on my 3rd set of MT/Rs over two TJs & don't see changing to anything else.

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