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Old 11-21-2019, 02:48 PM
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New Purchase: Rubicon or Upgrade Aftermarket

I am planning on buying a 2020 Jeep in Feb. I want it to be an offroad machine. The Runicon is the only model with the rocktrac suspension and gear set up. It is freaken expensive. And I would have to upgrade suspension, lift, wheels and tires, etc anyway.

So is the extra money up front worth it to buy a Rubicon or should I buy a lessor model and spent the money saved on upgrades to get the crawl and traction ability up to par?

Other than renting Jeeps I have zero experience. Although I did get a rental jeep hard stuck by placing the left wheels on a muddy shoulder. It just sunk. Totally unimpressive system with no way to lock up the system. It was a joke.

Advise???

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Old 11-21-2019, 04:24 PM   #2
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going to build hardcore jeep buy the most basic model and put it on dynatrac 60's.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:55 PM   #3
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This has been hashed over so many times.

If you aren't going to be able to throw 20k+ at a sport immediately after buying it, but you can afford a payment on a Rubicon, and the bank doesn't mind you wheeling their Jeep, then get the Rubicon. You'll be able to do so much more in it, up front, and you can replace or upgrade parts as they break, wear out.

If you can throw 20k+ at it immediately, then get a sport.

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Old 11-21-2019, 05:42 PM   #4
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Old 11-21-2019, 06:03 PM   #5
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:50 PM
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This has been hashed over so many times.

If you aren't going to be able to throw 20k+ at a sport immediately after buying it, but you can afford a payment on a Rubicon, and the bank doesn't mind you wheeling their Jeep, then get the Rubicon. You'll be able to do so much more in it, up front, and you can replace or upgrade parts as they break, wear out.

If you can throw 20k+ at it immediately, then get a sport.

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It may have been beaten into the ground here before, but I am new. Lol.

Yeah, hear ya. I can afford the 20k.

Problem is I was just now going over the factory website pricing it out, not likely I will be happy in a total stripper, I want the adaptive cruise control and by the time ya get that on a lessor model you are not that far off the rubicon. Ug.

I wanted a 2-door. Tested one yesterday, loved it but the unlimited is so much more practical with my two boys.

Maybe I will keep my old Escalade another year.
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Old 11-21-2019, 09:59 PM   #7
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If you have $20K to $30K for mods you can build a beast that will blow a Rubi out of the water. If you enjoy modding as a hobby it’s even better.
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Old 11-21-2019, 10:29 PM   #8
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If you have $20K to $30K for mods you can build a beast that will blow a Rubi out of the water. If you enjoy modding as a hobby it’s even better.
Only if you can do all of the work yourself. Honestly, 20k doesn't get you very far in parts.

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Old 11-21-2019, 10:42 PM   #9
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I was just thinking of the axles, t-case, and driveshafts mainly. Stuff like suspension, armor, skids, bumpers, winch, sliders, wheels, tires, etc one would need to add to a Rubi anyway and that’s easy another $10K to $15K. Maybe I am just fooling myself because I lost count on how much I spent.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:12 PM   #10
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I was just thinking of the axles, t-case, and driveshafts mainly. Stuff like suspension, armor, skids, bumpers, winch, sliders, wheels, tires, etc one would need to add to a Rubi anyway and that’s easy another $10K to $15K. Maybe I am just fooling myself because I lost count on how much I spent.
You need to surpass the Rubicon to make it worth it, not equal it. That means 1 tons, 35s (at least) T case, gears, fenders and bumpers, lockers and driveshafts. Otherwise you should have just bought a Rubicon.

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Old 11-21-2019, 11:27 PM   #11
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Another redundant debate with low potential for reading comprehension with hundreds of other threads. I’m out.
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Old 11-22-2019, 01:30 AM   #12
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Since you don't have a Jeep now and don't really know anything about four wheeling, my suggestion is to buy an older model JKU (2012~2017) to learn about off roading. I've been going off road almost all my life, but never owned a 4x4 until the early 2000's. Now all four of my vehicles are 4x4. My first Jeep was a 2000 WJ which had around 155K on it and I drove it till it died on the pass at 175K (engine gone, gears gone). Now I have an 2011 JKU Rubicon (3"lift, 35" tires, steel skid plates from front to rear, new bumpers F & R as well as a winch). I use it for off roading 90% but I also drive it when I go to town and I know the parking will be tight. Otherwise I drive my Dodge Ram 4 dr truck (also 4x4). Doing it this way allowed me to learn the basics in a cheap Jeep, then upgrade to a better one which I knew would be better once I had better experience.

I have seen people take brand new 2019 JKUR's on a trail and scratch the heck out of it on their first trail. They were a little bit upset but the wife was more upset (the Jeep had the dealer's sales tags on it, which showed it had only been sold ten days before the event). Not what I recommend; start with a less expensive unit, then upgrade based on experience. Get into a 4x4 club and learn from them. Good luck.
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:48 AM   #13
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My first thought is that with no experience, do you have a good understanding of the capability of the Rubicon? I think it is fair to say that it will do more than most people are aware of, even those with experience. I'm just not sure if someone with no experience knows what they are asking for when they say "off-road machine".

Considering that aftermarket add ons have no warranty and very little value in resale. That $20k you put into a sport disappears in value unless you find a specific buyer. The extra money in the Rubicon is stable. Well, as stable as it can be in the automotive world.

With these considerations, I chose Rubicon. Might there be times on a trail that I need help or have to take a bypass or can't do a trail? Sure. But it's all about weighing your tolerances. It cost a lot of money to reduce those possibilities.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:10 PM
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My first thought is that with no experience, do you have a good understanding of the capability of the Rubicon? I think it is fair to say that it will do more than most people are aware of, even those with experience. I'm just not sure if someone with no experience knows what they are asking for when they say "off-road machine".
Well, yeah from my trip to MOAB this last summer I'd say Rubicons have pathetic capabilities, lol. UTVs zip by them with ease, it is not even close. 4500 lbs limits offroad capabilities.

I own a 1000 cc UTV. However, I am no offroad pro.

I did live in a H1 Hummer for about 9 months once. A real POS those are.

What I want is a road trip machine that can take any reasonable trail once I drift off the pavement. Trailering a UTV, like trailering anything is a PITA.

I suspect real offroading in heavy water, mud, or 40 degree hills, will be rare events. But I want to be able to do it if need be.

My Escalade, bought new 15 years ago and has been mostly trouble free, is starting to need repairs after 240,000 miles. A new one is 100k. I was thinking about half that for a fun road trip car like a Jeep would be a hoot and save money.

I commute 115 miles each way to work, but only once a week. So the Jeep will be a commuter car if my beater Escalade finally dies. Damn thing just keeps going.

And to be honest, I always thought Jeeps were bad azz looking so there is that.

Anyway I was 100% gonna grab one, but seems like maybe I should either buy a stripper and take my time slowly fixing it up, or just buy something like what I have now.... or even just forget about it all and keep repairing my beater for another year.
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Old 11-23-2019, 09:23 PM   #15
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Just go purchase a new Rubicon, and be done with it. Plus, this way your complete Wrangler will be warrantied!

If you decide down the road to sell it, you will receive a better money return on your investment!
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Old 11-23-2019, 11:17 PM   #16
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Did you seriously just basically say Rubicons suck because UTVS blow past them? That's some amazing logic right there.

Beyond help.

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Old 11-24-2019, 05:32 AM
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Did you seriously just basically say Rubicons suck because UTVS blow past them? That's some amazing logic right there.

Beyond help.

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Yes, I actually said that the offroad capabilities of Jeeps, because they weigh 4500 lbs, and are kinda big, are limited compared to specifically designed offroad vehicles with less weight on the wheels, more horsepower per pound, and lower centers of gravity.

This was very apparent at Moab where Jeeps were slowly and carefully negotiating the lessor obstacles while UTVs flew over much more difficult obstacles.

The Hummer H1 has the same issue but more so. It is extremely heavy, underpowered, and huge. It is a complete joke of an offroad vehicle. We had them in Desert Storm and the real max speed of a hummer across mostly flat level ground was 5 mph. Our M60 tanks were so loaded down with reactive armor kits, mine plows, and etc. They had a pathetic speed of 9 mph. So they just flat outran the Hummers.

My 1000cc UTV weighs a quarter what a Jeep does. A Jeep would have have 400 horsepower to have the same power to weight ratio. The suspension? The UTV rides like a caddy over rough terrain at speed.

My UTV is actually street legal but it would be insane to take it on a road trip.

A Jeep is a real car that get ya from point A to B, and still allow ya to wander offroad if need be. That is very cool.

A Jeep is also a convertible, it rides high for great visibility, it turns on a dime at low speeds so parks like a dream. These are onroad attributes to the positive.

I have never been in a full race offroad Jeep with upgraded everything. Something like that would be like a UTV, although it might compromise some aspects of its onroad capabilities.

I am a newbee to this board, kinda dissapointed in the thin skinned and selfish attitude apparent in the community.

Feel free to post about how because someone talked this topic over before its not worth your time, or etc.

I know absolutely nothing about the costs and practicalities of upgrading a stock Jeep.

That was really my question.

I thank those who attempted to answer that. It sounds like it will get expensive. It also sounds like a stock Rubicon is worth its premium in comparison.
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Old 11-24-2019, 06:01 AM   #18
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Just go purchase a new Rubicon, and be done with it. Plus, this way your complete Wrangler will be warrantied!

If you decide down the road to sell it, you will receive a better money return on your investment!
+1 on the Rubicon. All you will probably need is a simple 2" lift and you could go to larger tires. Plenty for what your needs based on what you posted and you want it to be a backup daily driver.
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:57 AM   #19
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I meant no offense and wasn't challenging your experience. We had no way of knowing until you shared. However, saying what you are about the Rubicon doesn't add to your credibility. Comparing them to UTV's is apples and oranges. Purpose built machines...for two different purposes.
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:59 AM   #20
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Rubicon with 2” lift and 35s. If you’re not planning to do extreme off-roading like most of us than my guess is this is all you would ever need. Plus your resale value will be way better than a heavily modified sport. Plus you have to make sure all those mods are done right. You can really screw it up if you don’t know what you’re doing or know the right parts to buy.


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Old 11-24-2019, 09:09 AM   #21
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Yes, I actually said that the offroad capabilities of Jeeps, because they weigh 4500 lbs, and are kinda big, are limited compared to specifically designed offroad vehicles with less weight on the wheels, more horsepower per pound, and lower centers of gravity.



This was very apparent at Moab where Jeeps were slowly and carefully negotiating the lessor obstacles while UTVs flew over much more difficult obstacles.



The Hummer H1 has the same issue but more so. It is extremely heavy, underpowered, and huge. It is a complete joke of an offroad vehicle. We had them in Desert Storm and the real max speed of a hummer across mostly flat level ground was 5 mph. Our M60 tanks were so loaded down with reactive armor kits, mine plows, and etc. They had a pathetic speed of 9 mph. So they just flat outran the Hummers.



My 1000cc UTV weighs a quarter what a Jeep does. A Jeep would have have 400 horsepower to have the same power to weight ratio. The suspension? The UTV rides like a caddy over rough terrain at speed.



My UTV is actually street legal but it would be insane to take it on a road trip.



A Jeep is a real car that get ya from point A to B, and still allow ya to wander offroad if need be. That is very cool.



A Jeep is also a convertible, it rides high for great visibility, it turns on a dime at low speeds so parks like a dream. These are onroad attributes to the positive.



I have never been in a full race offroad Jeep with upgraded everything. Something like that would be like a UTV, although it might compromise some aspects of its onroad capabilities.



I am a newbee to this board, kinda dissapointed in the thin skinned and selfish attitude apparent in the community.



Feel free to post about how because someone talked this topic over before its not worth your time, or etc.



I know absolutely nothing about the costs and practicalities of upgrading a stock Jeep.



That was really my question.



I thank those who attempted to answer that. It sounds like it will get expensive. It also sounds like a stock Rubicon is worth its premium in comparison.
Nice rant. Missed the point.

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Old 11-24-2019, 09:45 AM   #22
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Wranglers are not for everyone. I would not buy one as a long distance commuter vehicle. I will say if a person takes the time to learn their capabilities they can do incredible things and take to some incredible places. As one who has been to Moab many times I can tell you most of the vehicles I see on the trails are rentals with novice drivers which explains why many of the ones you saw were just poking along. That and when you are in Moab it’s not a race to go flying by all the scenery. I will tell you more than once we are jeeping in places and have atv fly by but get to a super steep section only to watch us go up and not follow us and we don’t see them again. On longer remote trails you don’t see as many either or in the rain and snow etc. both are fun and have big followings.

Getting stuck in a rental really doesn’t tell you much as most rentals have open diffs and very Street oriented tires so no different than any other open differ vehicle sinking in mud.

This forum is full of great information. Sure, like all forums not everyone is helpful but most are and are willing to share their experiences. I have found there are other good forums out there if this one doesn’t seem to be a good fit. I know I have learned much on this and other forums over the years.
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Old 11-24-2019, 10:23 PM
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as one who has been to Moab many times I can tell you most of the vehicles I see on the trails are rentals with novice drivers which explains why many of the ones you saw were just poking along. That and when you are in Moab it’s not a race to go flying by all the scenery. I will tell you more than once we are jeeping in places and have atv fly by but get to a super steep section only to watch us go up and not follow us and we don’t see them again. On longer remote trails you don’t see as many either or in the rain and snow etc. both are fun and have big followings.

Getting stuck in a rental really doesn’t tell you much as most rentals have open diffs and very Street oriented tires so no different than any other open differ vehicle sinking in mud.
Yep. It was most rental Jeeps or tours. A few tricked out vehicles but yeah, it was the convoy tour Jeeps clogging up the routes going slow.

So you have a point. A very valid point.

Also, like I said above but in more detail I rented an Unlimited in the smokys. It did not even have limited slip differentials I found out the hard way.

I had two tires on a moist shoulder and it just sunk in so bad a guy with a 4 wheel drive dually had to haul me out. The Jeep just spun the low friction tires, it was in reality a two wheel drive car, with both drive wheels on the low traction side.

My Escalade would have done fine in the same situation as my two right tires were on pavement.

So, I totally see your point.

Yeah, I want the real deal, which seems to be a Rubicon witha lift and big tires?
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Old 11-26-2019, 07:26 PM   #24
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It really depends on what your goals are. Myself, I do not want a crazy off-road rock crawler, I daily drive my JKU RHR and use it for work. Funeral lead car and I also plow my parking lot with it....

I did a lightly optioned rubicon hard rock then added a 3.5in lift, 37’s, regear and etc to make it reliable. More capable then I need and also gave me the options I wanted from the factory.

Many do go base then load it up, I didn’t want to mess with all that due to how I use my Jeep.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:11 PM   #25
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Unless you are stuck on the JL, you might want to consider a different route.

I was in your shoes 2 years ago. I rode with a buddy in a Rubicon at an East Coast Jamboree and caught the bug about 3 years ago. I had about 10 mins behind the wheel in the dirt, but knew I wanted to do more.

Like you, I priced out a new Rubicon with all the bells and whistles, and was planning to build from there. I read every article on this forum, and watched Jeep youtube vids until my eyes bled. I learned a huge amount, but was even more confused about what path to take. One scenario I was considering was shipping my new Jeep to FL where there’s a shop that will throw an LS3 under the hood.

The first mistake I was making was to think that this was gonna be my first and only Jeep. The second mistake I was making in one you see with new Motorcycle riders, pilots, and … Jeepers – Just because you can buy up to the next level doesn’t mean you should (Just ask JFK Jr).

Finally, a buddy talked some sense into me – go buy a 2 yo Rubicon that’s served mall duty with valor, and drive it.

So… I bought a 2yo JKU (that had never seen dirt) with low miles for a steal of a deal. I then went wheeling with it to learn a little before I bought anything else. Guess what… A stock Rubicon is WAY more capable than you think it is. Other than ground clearance issues on the big rocks… there’s very little this thing won’t do.

After about 10 hours of wheeling, and working up to the local black diamond trails, I then knew better what I wanted to build – I wanted a Jeep to drive the Rubicon Trail. So, I started doing more research and discovered what was truly required to drive the Rubicon Trail. In short, the min I found (others will CERTAINLY disagree) was 3” lift, 35” tires, front drive-shaft (yes, you will need this), new bumpers, winch, and armor. I was less concerned about the spend, so I got a very nice lift, very nice tires and wheels suited for RT, a bunch of armor, and additional misc parts. All in, I spent about $10-12k on parts, and then installed everything myself.

And then I drive the p!ss out of it. I wanted to learn the limits so I drove that thing up some of the stupidest lines imaginable to see what it would do before I drove it on 22 miles of Rubicon Trail.

And finally… 2 years to the month of getting the Jeep, my son and I drove the Rubicon Trail… and had the time of our lives!

Here’s the thing… I NOW know what I want to build next. I’ve had more time to meet people on the trail and see what they drive. I’ve discovered my own capabilities, and have a basic notion of what my driving progression towards ‘expert’ looks like. In other words, I’m ready to sell my current Jeep and buy another to build a little bigger and better; and so far, I’m still in less than the cost of a loaded Rubi off the showroom floor.

But if I’m honest… I should probably drive my current ride for another year (and another trip to the Rubicon) before I upgrade. And to answer your question – I will be buying a Sport and building it up; but I would not have known how to do that when I first bought.

I hope this helps.

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Old 11-27-2019, 04:54 PM   #26
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I am planning on buying a 2020 Jeep in Feb. I want it to be an offroad machine. The Runicon is the only model with the rocktrac suspension and gear set up. It is freaken expensive. And I would have to upgrade suspension, lift, wheels and tires, etc anyway.

So is the extra money up front worth it to buy a Rubicon or should I buy a lessor model and spent the money saved on upgrades to get the crawl and traction ability up to par?

Other than renting Jeeps I have zero experience. Although I did get a rental jeep hard stuck by placing the left wheels on a muddy shoulder. It just sunk. Totally unimpressive system with no way to lock up the system. It was a joke.

Advise???
buy a Rubicon. Transmission and gears are important when upgrading especially when running big tires. HB dealer has them starting at 46K


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Old 11-28-2019, 09:09 AM   #27
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As one who is not in the market for a JL, an interesting rehash of Ying vs Yang of offroading in Jeep Wranglers. I am going to throw my two cents in here.

You don't need to add a bunch of stuff to a Rubicon to do the Rubicon trail. Shortly after the JL public introduction, Jeep took a group of journalists over the Rubicon trail in bone stock 2018 JL Rubicons.


On day 2 they changed vehicles to a 2dr with a 2" lift and 35s.


As to jadmt's comment about not taking a long trip in a Wranger, my 2015 and now the 2017 are hands down the best over the road vehicle I have ever owned out of the 36 vehicles I have owned. They are not the smoothest, that was a 1980 Chrysler LeBaron T&C, which was like sitting on my living room couch going down the road. But it was too soft and I got tired easily. Most of my vehicles I used in trips to Texas and back (12 to 14 hours one way) gave me back pains, but the seats in the Sahara have good firmness where needed without being too hard. I sit more upright and have good room. My Chief is steady and comfortable at 80 on some of those Texas roads. BTW, for those not familiar with the Chief special edition, it is a Sahara with Recon wheels and the BFG KMs found on the Rubicons so it's not the Bridgestone street tires.
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2003 Light Khaki TJ Rubicon, Manual, Soft Top
2015 Anvil JKU Sahara, Auto, Hard Top - Traded
2017 Chief JKU Chief, Auto, Hard Top
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Old 11-28-2019, 10:15 AM   #28
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Idaho
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Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
Did you seriously just basically say Rubicons suck because UTVS blow past them? That's some amazing logic right there.

Beyond help.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

Agree. Why not just buy a UTV? Gotta be cheaper. If it were me..........I'd buy the Rubicon, GREAT JEEP; ready to go for the most part. But then again, it's very difficult for me to spend $50,000 on a vehicle and then to go and beat the hell out of it.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:43 AM
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  #29
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Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
Agree. Why not just buy a UTV? Gotta be cheaper. If it were me..........I'd buy the Rubicon, GREAT JEEP; ready to go for the most part. But then again, it's very difficult for me to spend $50,000 on a vehicle and then to go and beat the hell out of it.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING
Because I already own one. 1000cc. Upgraded tires, etc.

I like the idea of a used Rubi.
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Old 11-29-2019, 03:44 PM   #30
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Far West Texas.
Posts: 109
Thumbs up What I would do - what I actually DID this time around.

I've been wheeling in civilian vehicles most of my life and military vehicles for 20+ years. I've wheeled some pretty awesome shit in some pretty awesome places including German Military Uni-Mog when I was on the Iron Curtain. I even got a vehicle blown out from under me in the gulf, that was an unforgettable day!

When shopping for a new JEEP the best advice I got was this: Buy a good one right up front, and drive it -STOCK- for a full year before making any changes.

When it came time to buy what I would be keeping for perhaps the rest of my life, I got a 2015 JKU-R Hard Rock. My salesman was a brother veteran, we had served in combat together. So I admit up front I got a $50k vehicle for $42k. Since then I have put $16k in upgrades, stuff like an axle truss and gussets, LED lighting all around, and the necessities as I found what I wanted. A 2.5" lift and 35s on the stock 4.10:1 axles seem to be the perfect set-up for me, good highway manners yet easy in the desert. The 4.10:1 axles on stock tires sucked, but I knew that was temporary. Towing a trailer on 35s through Colorado showed me I needed better brakes, so a Dyna-Trac kit was added. And when needed, the 4:1 Low-range transfer really lets me pull my little expedition trailer places where others dare not.

A couple of photos on my ham-radio profile. Have a look.
https://www.qrz.com/db/kd5kc

In the end, whatever you end up with has to make -YOU- happy. Advice only goes so far. But I think what I was told was good for me. Buy a good one right up front, and drive it stock for a year before changing anything. A stock Rubicon is an awesome rig right off the showroom floor. You might find that it really needs very little change to keep you happy for many years.

Good luck to you sir...... whatever you decide.

mike-5 -- El Paso, Texas (home of Fort Bliss).
Kansas Slim and Dc9loser like this.

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