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Old 01-24-2020, 05:57 AM
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Best Way To Start: Stock JK or Fully Modified WJ

This is probably not the best place for this post...but I've looked at several forums and subforms on different sites and none seem to be. So, here it is.

I've been basically looking at used JKU Rubicons. The intent was a car for Rausch Creek (about 3 hrs away) and use on the street occasionally, modifying over time.

Those modifications add up in cost. But the JK is well supported and has a huge base of cars. We also thought about starting with a JL, which would be newer and has lots of stuff standard that would be a JK add-on.

Then there is another alternative. There is a WJ that we saw last night. Fully modified. 40" tires on bead locks. PSC steering. Clayton long arm. King coil-overs. JK Rubicon axles with OE lockers, sleeved, knuckle reinforcement, RCV axles, and 5.13 gears. Snorkel, vented hood, bumpers and tire carrier. Adaptec transfer case.

Lots of WJ stuff is slowly going out of production; it would be a hard vehicle to duplicate. To get the JK to that state would take years and lots of $$$. When I put together a build list, it is hard not to hit $5k and relatively easy to get to $10+k (suspension, shocks, tires, wheels, bumpers, etc.)

With its triangulated rear suspension (no trackbar) and shorter wheelbase (106" vs 116"), it could be argued it is potentially a more off-road capable platform than a JK.

This WJ had been modified over a decade by someone with a high skill level. It isn't a beauty queen, with some surface rust here and there. There is a concern that it maybe just a bit too much for me to maintain...with lots of unfamiliar off-road stuff that may need maintenance.

But is it too much? Would start with an OE or near OE JKUR be a better platform to get into off-roading? It wouldn't be as ready of the zombie apocalypse but a lot more practical to get groceries on a snowy day. And the zombie apocalypse isn't coming that soon...although all sorts of people think it is part of the 2020 election

So...JK or modified WJ?

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Old 01-24-2020, 06:39 AM   #2
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Best Way To Start: Stock JK or Fully Modified WJ

Do you prefer the WJ body style over the JK?

Do you enjoy the process of modding or do you find it tedious, like a chore?

I personally don’t like to buy heavily modded vehicles because in many cases it’s opening up a big can of worms. Another reason is I enjoy modding, it’s a hobby.

40s are way overkill for me, and although I have the axles for it, there is no need. And at that point I would drop in an LS3, which I have no desire to spend that kind of money right now on the Jeep.

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Old 01-24-2020, 06:39 AM   #3
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If you're going to be going to Rausch Creek frequently I'd suggest starting with a JKU non-Rubi. Build it like you want it. Rubi locking diffs are only going to benefit you as long as you stick with D44s and I'm not a fan at all of the electric sway bar disco.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:19 AM   #4
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There are two questions here. Do you want a JK / JKU or do you want a WJ? And do you want a heavily modified vehicle or do you want to buy one close to stock and do your own mods?
I prefer the JK / JKU over the WJ, but I get why some would rather have a WJ.
I would never buy a heavily modified vehicle, regardless of whether it is a WJ or a JK / JKU. I would be afraid to find out how poorly those mods had been done, for starters. Besides, I enjoy the process of doing the modifications myself. But that is me. Both options are valid. But if you buy a heavily modified vehicle be ready to fix things that weren't done right. Because there will be things not done right. For example, JK Rubicon axles aren't strong enough to properly run 40's and 5.13 gears aren't enough gear in my opinion.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:40 AM   #5
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Unless there is something that is really amazing on the build, starting with as blank canvass as you can is a good way to go.
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Old 01-24-2020, 07:58 AM   #6
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I bought a jeep that was already modified to the point I needed to get on the beach. But, like others here are saying... I don't trust other peoples mods. I basically took the thing apart when I got home with it and have not driven it but once in the first 3 months. Did that to ensure the bumpers they put on, winch, lights (and wiring) were all ok. I discovered and fixed a lot of things (loose or incorrect bolts, poor workmanship, etc.) and now I know they are right. Still doing a bit to mine and even did a lot of mods myself in the last 3 months ($3000 into it already).

I got a steal on the Jeep. Had zero rust and I knew it was pampered because it belonged to a lady that took it to shows (which is where I first saw it).

The WJ would be huge and you should plan to spend a ton of time upfront learning about all the mods and the current state of them. I wouldn't be against the WJ if the price was right and I went in up front expecting to be working on it a lot before hitting any trail.
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:39 AM   #7
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I agree with everything that's been said. I've built 2 ZJ's. They were very ,very capable. Both got a lot of thumbs up and attention everywhere we went. They cost more to modify than my JKUR. As time went on, being unibody, I started having problems with doors sticking shut. The hatch wouldn't open sometimes. All this was with unibody stiffening. I popped the sunroof once in the 5.9 Limited while twisted up.

I don't know your experience level,but if it's low, you could easily get in trouble with a WJ with longarms and 40's. I think you be happier in the long run with a Jk that the doors and top easily come off of , is easier to modify and can grow as you do.
YMMV, Rob
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:47 AM   #8
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For example, JK Rubicon axles aren't strong enough to properly run 40's and 5.13 gears aren't enough gear in my opinion.
I agree the axles aren’t strong enough, but I’d think the gears are probably fine if it’s got the 4.7
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Old 01-24-2020, 03:45 PM   #9
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I agree the axles aren’t strong enough, but I’d think the gears are probably fine if it’s got the 4.7
Inclined to agree with you and @GuzziMoto . Similar curb weights between the JKU and WJ and unless it has the High Output 4.7 it probably is still undergeared.

40s, beadlocks, and JK Dana 44s sounds like a ticking timebomb to me. Maybe the little 4.0l motor is the saving grace of the axles but the torque of that is still similar to the 3.6 pentastar...

@DavidNJ , I'd vote for the JK.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:08 AM
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There are two questions here. Do you want a JK / JKU or do you want a WJ? And do you want a heavily modified vehicle or do you want to buy one close to stock and do your own mods?
I prefer the JK / JKU over the WJ, but I get why some would rather have a WJ.
I would never buy a heavily modified vehicle, regardless of whether it is a WJ or a JK / JKU. I would be afraid to find out how poorly those mods had been done, for starters. Besides, I enjoy the process of doing the modifications myself. But that is me. Both options are valid. But if you buy a heavily modified vehicle be ready to fix things that weren't done right. Because there will be things not done right. For example, JK Rubicon axles aren't strong enough to properly run 40's and 5.13 gears aren't enough gear in my opinion.
The owner is a certified diesel and truck mechanic with excellent welding skills, access to extensive shop equipment, lots of off-road experience, and runs his own off-road fabrication/maintenance shop on the side. This was his personal car. His component selection is pretty much what I would have selected, or what I would have selected if I was going to spend the money (e.g. King coil overs), or stuff I wasn't even considering (A/C compressor turned into air compressor, PSC ram assist, etc.). The only knocks are it isn't new and all that stuff requires maintenance.

It is less than any Rubicon I've seen, modified or not. I fully agree, most modified JKs were done by people with limited budgets, mixed skills, and no intention of going off-road.

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I agree the axles aren’t strong enough, but I’d think the gears are probably fine if it’s got the 4.7
It's a modified 4L: cams, intake, head, headers.

The gearing is worse than you imagine. It is a 4-speed auto. 1st is 2.75...that is 2.75. Vs 3.59 in the JK. It has an Adaptec transfer case (so 2Lo is an option) with 3.8 gears, just a little less than the Rubicons NV241OR. 5.13 vs 5.38 is about 5%. However, Comp Cams lists the range of its two smallest cams as 800-4800 and 800-5000rpm. In 2/4 Lo the overall ratio is 53. 70mph would be 2200 rpm in 4th and I imagine would require WOT.

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Inclined to agree with you and @GuzziMoto . Similar curb weights between the JKU and WJ and unless it has the High Output 4.7 it probably is still undergeared.

40s, beadlocks, and JK Dana 44s sounds like a ticking timebomb to me. Maybe the little 4.0l motor is the saving grace of the axles but the torque of that is still similar to the 3.6 pentastar...

@DavidNJ , I'd vote for the JK.

The 40s on the JK D44 axles is a concern. Which why I am posting to get opinions. My guess is we would light on the skinny pedal.

Assuming it worked without issue...is it harder to get started on a vehicle this advanced that can tackle black and maybe some black/red trails, or is it better to start on an unmodified/lightly modified JKUR that can do green trails and maybe a blue trail with a little scraping? We would be starting on green and blue trails anyway.


Other things I'm a bit concerned about: It needs cameras...spare tire blocks the rear window and IMHO I would find it impossible to park in a parking lot without cameras. Real beadlocks fall in the interesting category of being not-illegal. I don't know if any other mods would fall into that category. In addition to possibly getting unwanted attention (and a WJ with 6" lift, 40" tires is noticeable), if anything fails and causes an accident I'm not sure about the liability. That said, it has NJ plates and has been to Rauch Creek.
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:45 PM   #11
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Sounds like you will be new to the whole off roading deal.
So, I vote stock, or near stock rig.
The amount you will learn wheeling a near stock rig will be invaluable experience, and will force you to progress your driving skills. It will also teach you modifications/things you need (vs things that are just cool) for the trails you do.
Add to that, even a stock Rubi IMO is more than a novice should start with.
If you end up with a Rubi, do yourself a favor and leave the lockers off, until you have exhausted every possible approach/line on an obstacle.

A 6" lifted rig on 40's isn't going to teach you a darn thing. Not only will it likely be detrimental to progressing your driving skills, it has real potential to teach you some really bad habits. As your comfort level with difficulty in attempting obstacles increases, your lack of driving skills, or even learned bad habits, could lead to some unfavorable outcomes as rig like that has a very high probability of allowing an inexperienced wheeler to get into situations well over their head... which could be just a fun story with inconvenience associated, or, potentially, a truly dangerous situation.

I started out wheeling a stock Cherokee on massive 235/75-15 all terrain tires.
The amount I learned on little tires and open diffs has been invaluable over the years.

I love WJ's (owned a stock one for 8 years), but the reason I moved out of my Cherokee and into a Wrangler was due to the unibody (as noted above, doors not closing/opening etc., and mine even had HD underbelly and frame stiffeners). I was not out jumping mine or anything extreme, simply running/crawling challenging trails, but there comes a point with XJ's/ZJ's/WJ's when you need to look at full boxing the "frame" and front sub assembly... and that is at 33" tires in my experience.
Has the WJ you are looking at had the "frame" addressed? If not, and running 40's, tells me while the builder may be very skilled, he didn't build this one for the long haul... much less the tires currently under it.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:37 AM
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Sounds like you will be new to the whole off roading deal.
So, I vote stock, or near stock rig.
The amount you will learn wheeling a near stock rig will be invaluable experience, and will force you to progress your driving skills. It will also teach you modifications/things you need (vs things that are just cool) for the trails you do.
Add to that, even a stock Rubi IMO is more than a novice should start with.
If you end up with a Rubi, do yourself a favor and leave the lockers off, until you have exhausted every possible approach/line on an obstacle.

A 6" lifted rig on 40's isn't going to teach you a darn thing. Not only will it likely be detrimental to progressing your driving skills, it has real potential to teach you some really bad habits. As your comfort level with difficulty in attempting obstacles increases, your lack of driving skills, or even learned bad habits, could lead to some unfavorable outcomes as rig like that has a very high probability of allowing an inexperienced wheeler to get into situations well over their head... which could be just a fun story with inconvenience associated, or, potentially, a truly dangerous situation.

I started out wheeling a stock Cherokee on massive 235/75-15 all terrain tires.
The amount I learned on little tires and open diffs has been invaluable over the years.

I love WJ's (owned a stock one for 8 years), but the reason I moved out of my Cherokee and into a Wrangler was due to the unibody (as noted above, doors not closing/opening etc., and mine even had HD underbelly and frame stiffeners). I was not out jumping mine or anything extreme, simply running/crawling challenging trails, but there comes a point with XJ's/ZJ's/WJ's when you need to look at full boxing the "frame" and front sub assembly... and that is at 33" tires in my experience.
Has the WJ you are looking at had the "frame" addressed? If not, and running 40's, tells me while the builder may be very skilled, he didn't build this one for the long haul... much less the tires currently under it.

This JK starts at 2+X the cost if the modified WJ is. And then the expensive modifications begin. Nearly all the mods to the WJ at some point get done to the JK. The WJ actually ends up with a better suspension since the JK's gas tank gets in the way of a triangulated rear and the cross member limits front control arm length.

This is a picture of the WJ. It wasn't built yesterday. It has the Clayton long arm which includes a significant chassis stiffener and the WJ starts stronger than an XJ or ZJ. It is the 4.7L people complain about, this is the 6.

The axles are JK with RCV shafts in the front, reinforced knuckles and sleeved in the front. To the extent it is a little rough, we can be learning without worrying about scuffing up an otherwise clean JK.

It wasn't modified by a guy in his one car garage. The owner does off-road modifications for others and built this car over a long period.

The doors open. The Clayton long arm includes a 31" long U-channel, 2" wide, 3" deep, and 3/16" thick from the cross member holding the front radius arms to the rear suspension brackets (https://www.claytonoffroad.com/sites..._Drawing_1.PDF, https://www.claytonoffroad.com/sites...ructions_5.PDF). My concern is more with visibility...it needs cameras. But then, so does a JK.



I disagree on having the lockers. Yes...lockers aren't needed if there isn't any wheel slip. But when there is it is important.

Back to the JK...or JL...we probably would never swap cars. That is, once we started making modifications and getting it dinged off-road, the cost of swapping is just too high.

With that, I agree that starting with JK or JL would be better. Looking for JKs it seems looking for a Hard Rock or Recon makes sense. They have a very small premium on the used market while including a vented hood and steel bumpers, two items that could run $2k-$3k to add later. The 2017 and 2018 JKRs come with LED lights, saving another $1000. There aren't very many used JLs. My current thinking would be the get the Recon and then get the Mopar 2" lift ($1600) and 35" wheels and tires basically upgrading it to a Red Rock spec. The Mopar lift includes a front driveshaft.

I've seen one less expensive JK that was reasonably priced. It was a 90k mile 2015 Hard Rock for $24.9k (plus taxes). It probably needed at least one tire. It was sold before I got to it.

In the end, the modified WJ starts at 1/2 the price of the stock JKUR Recon when taxes, etc. are included. And that doesn't include JK modifications.

I'm not sure why you think it couldn't be driven on a green and blue trail by a novice. What should we be looking for?

Note: My wife is on the fence because she feels the JK (or JL) could be more of her backup car. She doesn't see herself taking the lifted WJ on 40" tires to work or Costco. But she didn't find it that intimidating.

Note 2: If for some reason we end up not taking the WJ, we will probably get a 2017 or 2018 Recon or Hard Rock. Probably the Recon since they are about the same price and the Recon includes the upgraded front axle housing, something only an off-road nerd would notice.

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Old 01-26-2020, 06:05 AM
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This is the most recent JK we are looking at, a 2018 with 32k miles. Right now, more parts are available for a JK than any other platform, although the JL is catching up fast. On the other hand, parts for the WJ are drying up as many vendors are dropping their JK offerings and others went out of business during the recession.

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Old 01-26-2020, 06:25 AM   #14
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I’m getting a headache. I definitely think the WJ is exactly what you need.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:22 AM   #15
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"I'm not sure why you think it couldn't be driven on a green and blue trail by a novice. What should we be looking for?"


What we are saying is that this vehicle is way more capable than your skill level. It would probably be "point and shoot" on blue and green trails. You wouldn't learn anything this way. Imagine, your confidence is super high because the other trails were so "easy". You get to a really technical trail and your rig gets you in trouble because you haven't learned about wheel speed, tipping points, throttle control, picking a line etc. Offroad driving technical trails is a skill. I've seen a lot of people roll their rig because of simple inexperience.
YMMV
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:23 AM   #16
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I dunno man....


I can see you underneath that wj every 15 minutes fixing something that those 40's break.... and it's a HEAVILY modified vehicle so fixing it will become more of a guessing game than a straight forward repair, every single time. If you are not (extremely) good with a wrench and in troubleshooting then I would avoid the wj like the plague. I personally wouldn't touch that monstrosity with a 10 foot pole..... and I AM good with a wrench.


BTW... you can get 2low kits for the jk. I think the add on kit is around 200 or 300 bucks.
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:58 AM   #17
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Reading through your posts, it seems you are really wanting the WJ. I say go for it. It isn't perfect but it would be fun, and capable. You may break things and then you'll learn to fix them. I'm sure you'll be tentative on trails at first because it will feel different and new. You'll build confidence quickly though so pay attention to your spotters and remember you need to drive it home.

Have fun.

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Old 01-26-2020, 12:21 PM   #18
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This is the most recent JK we are looking at, a 2018 with 32k miles. Right now, more parts are available for a JK than any other platform, although the JL is catching up fast. On the other hand, parts for the WJ are drying up as many vendors are dropping their JK offerings and others went out of business during the recession.

what are they asking for that one?
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Old 01-26-2020, 12:24 PM   #19
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This JK starts at 2+X the cost if the modified WJ is. And then the expensive modifications begin. Nearly all the mods to the WJ at some point get done to the JK. The WJ actually ends up with a better suspension since the JK's gas tank gets in the way of a triangulated rear and the cross member limits front control arm length.

This is a picture of the WJ. It wasn't built yesterday. It has the Clayton long arm which includes a significant chassis stiffener and the WJ starts stronger than an XJ or ZJ. It is the 4.7L people complain about, this is the 6.

The axles are JK with RCV shafts in the front, reinforced knuckles and sleeved in the front. To the extent it is a little rough, we can be learning without worrying about scuffing up an otherwise clean JK.

It wasn't modified by a guy in his one car garage. The owner does off-road modifications for others and built this car over a long period.

The doors open. The Clayton long arm includes a 31" long U-channel, 2" wide, 3" deep, and 3/16" thick from the cross member holding the front radius arms to the rear suspension brackets (https://www.claytonoffroad.com/sites..._Drawing_1.PDF, https://www.claytonoffroad.com/sites...ructions_5.PDF). My concern is more with visibility...it needs cameras. But then, so does a JK.



I disagree on having the lockers. Yes...lockers aren't needed if there isn't any wheel slip. But when there is it is important.

Back to the JK...or JL...we probably would never swap cars. That is, once we started making modifications and getting it dinged off-road, the cost of swapping is just too high.

With that, I agree that starting with JK or JL would be better. Looking for JKs it seems looking for a Hard Rock or Recon makes sense. They have a very small premium on the used market while including a vented hood and steel bumpers, two items that could run $2k-$3k to add later. The 2017 and 2018 JKRs come with LED lights, saving another $1000. There aren't very many used JLs. My current thinking would be the get the Recon and then get the Mopar 2" lift ($1600) and 35" wheels and tires basically upgrading it to a Red Rock spec. The Mopar lift includes a front driveshaft.

I've seen one less expensive JK that was reasonably priced. It was a 90k mile 2015 Hard Rock for $24.9k (plus taxes). It probably needed at least one tire. It was sold before I got to it.

In the end, the modified WJ starts at 1/2 the price of the stock JKUR Recon when taxes, etc. are included. And that doesn't include JK modifications.

I'm not sure why you think it couldn't be driven on a green and blue trail by a novice. What should we be looking for?

Note: My wife is on the fence because she feels the JK (or JL) could be more of her backup car. She doesn't see herself taking the lifted WJ on 40" tires to work or Costco. But she didn't find it that intimidating.

Note 2: If for some reason we end up not taking the WJ, we will probably get a 2017 or 2018 Recon or Hard Rock. Probably the Recon since they are about the same price and the Recon includes the upgraded front axle housing, something only an off-road nerd would notice.


No doubt that is a cool rig and probably uber capable but not something that everyone would want to be driving everyday but it would be unique compared to a jk or jl
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:01 PM
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what are they asking for that one?
I think it was just under $39k with tax and tags. If I recall they started at $36.3k. There are about 4 that appeared on the market within a 90 minute drive in the last week. Most are black. One has 12k miles.

A 2015 90k mile Hard Rock was sold a day before I could get to it. It was $24.9k. A 3yr/60k mile newer Recon is probably worth $10k more.

The trouble is it is just the start. It could easily cost an extra $10k in mods over 3yrs and insurance will be higher ($36k base value vs $3k base value).

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Originally Posted by jadmt View Post
No doubt that is a cool rig and probably uber capable but not something that everyone would want to be driving everyday but it would be unique compared to a jk or jl
No...it wouldn't be a daily driver per se. More like a sports car. I view it as an alternative to a sports car. IMHO current sports cars are nuts. Way too fast for the street without the safety equipment for the track. And too wide with too much stick for the street also.

We have a '38 Buick. 6V electrics, taillights no one sees, at least in daylight. Turn signals were an option beginning in 1939; no one looks for hand signals. I'm finding classic cars less fun because I don't feel safe driving them.

Then there is my race car...for sale (https://www.racingjunk.com/Late-Mode...te-Model-.html) Basically, way too much work, lots of tracks have closed (and with them the support network of services and suppliers), the fields are small, and I simply don't have the time.

The WJ, or equivalently modified JK/JL is sort of an off-road version of owning a Corvette, Hellcat, GT500, or Porsche. About equally practical.

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Originally Posted by Bob Sanders View Post
I dunno man....


I can see you underneath that wj every 15 minutes fixing something that those 40's break.... and it's a HEAVILY modified vehicle so fixing it will become more of a guessing game than a straight forward repair, every single time. If you are not (extremely) good with a wrench and in troubleshooting then I would avoid the wj like the plague. I personally wouldn't touch that monstrosity with a 10 foot pole..... and I AM good with a wrench.


BTW... you can get 2low kits for the jk. I think the add on kit is around 200 or 300 bucks.
Why would it break more than a JK? It has the same axles...only these have been prepped...and about the same weight. The lift is more because it starts lower. Ditto a JL vs a JK, the JK starts lower than a JL.

Yes...there is no service manual for a lot of it. But that is the same on any modification. The bigger issue are the 40s too much for that setup? It has the PSC ram and big brakes on the JK front axle, but that is still a JK Dana 44.

In some ways it is simpler. My biggest annoyance is being stuck with the old ECU (in NJ ODBII cars need to plug in for inspection) and that the ABS is gone.

If cost wasn't a factor someone could just order a Genright rolling chassis or just the parts. Genright move the gas tank to the rear allowing the JK to have a flat bottom and double triangulated long arm rear (same as the WJ) and 3-link front. Genright also uses aluminum for bumpers, skid plates, and control arms. The roller has Dynatech or Currie Dana 60s, Alcon 4-piston brakes, and 40" tires on bead locks. My guess is the roller is around $50k, and still needs a body and engine/trans/transfer case.

The 2Lo kit requires removing and disassembling the transfer case, I doubt many people do it. The Advance Adapters case has two levers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bigrob713 View Post
"I'm not sure why you think it couldn't be driven on a green and blue trail by a novice. What should we be looking for?"


What we are saying is that this vehicle is way more capable than your skill level. It would probably be "point and shoot" on blue and green trails. You wouldn't learn anything this way. Imagine, your confidence is super high because the other trails were so "easy". You get to a really technical trail and your rig gets you in trouble because you haven't learned about wheel speed, tipping points, throttle control, picking a line etc. Offroad driving technical trails is a skill. I've seen a lot of people roll their rig because of simple inexperience.
YMMV
I think all of those still apply. The stuff that would be challenging on a green course with a stock JKUR, would also be potentially damaging. This truck should be able to manage them. It even has lots of little details that only some with experience would have known about and skills fixed. For example, notice the sloped panel under the front bumper. This is what it looks like without the sloped panel.



Yes...if it broke every 5 miles it would be an issue. I doubt that is the case. However, my wife would find the first pinstripe on a newer JK pretty traumatic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leadnut View Post
I’m getting a headache. I definitely think the WJ is exactly what you need.
What we need is to win the lottery. Then we can have Genright build a JK with the same suspension as the WJ (they relocate the gas tank)...only in aluminum for lighter weight. Do you have the winning numbers for Powerball or MegaMillions? You can PM them to me!

The WJ is a compromise...but its cost is the same as an unmodified or mallcrawler 150k mile 2012 JKU Sport.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:10 PM   #21
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This is probably not the best place for this post...but I've looked at several forums and subforms on different sites and none seem to be. So, here it is.

I've been basically looking at used JKU Rubicons. The intent was a car for Rausch Creek (about 3 hrs away) and use on the street occasionally, modifying over time.

Those modifications add up in cost. But the JK is well supported and has a huge base of cars. We also thought about starting with a JL, which would be newer and has lots of stuff standard that would be a JK add-on.

Then there is another alternative. There is a WJ that we saw last night. Fully modified. 40" tires on bead locks. PSC steering. Clayton long arm. King coil-overs. JK Rubicon axles with OE lockers, sleeved, knuckle reinforcement, RCV axles, and 5.13 gears. Snorkel, vented hood, bumpers and tire carrier. Adaptec transfer case.

Lots of WJ stuff is slowly going out of production; it would be a hard vehicle to duplicate. To get the JK to that state would take years and lots of $$$. When I put together a build list, it is hard not to hit $5k and relatively easy to get to $10+k (suspension, shocks, tires, wheels, bumpers, etc.)

With its triangulated rear suspension (no trackbar) and shorter wheelbase (106" vs 116"), it could be argued it is potentially a more off-road capable platform than a JK.

This WJ had been modified over a decade by someone with a high skill level. It isn't a beauty queen, with some surface rust here and there. There is a concern that it maybe just a bit too much for me to maintain...with lots of unfamiliar off-road stuff that may need maintenance.

But is it too much? Would start with an OE or near OE JKUR be a better platform to get into off-roading? It wouldn't be as ready of the zombie apocalypse but a lot more practical to get groceries on a snowy day. And the zombie apocalypse isn't coming that soon...although all sorts of people think it is part of the 2020 election

So...JK or modified WJ?

Have you crawled under the WJ? They are uniframe, I would check it over for any rust/rotting.

If the WJ fits the bill for you, pull the trigger and buy it.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:29 PM
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Have you crawled under the WJ? They are uniframe, I would check it over for any rust/rotting.

If the WJ fits the bill for you, pull the trigger and buy it.
I was under it on a creeper. Admittedly the huge transfer case skid plate on the WJ blocked a lot of my view of the floor pan. The Clayton lift kit has a 2x3 3/16" U-channel welded over the unibody between the front cross member (also from Clayton) and the rear suspension brackets (again, Clayton). At first, it looks like a frame rail. just a light coating of surface rust. The Johnny joints looked ok. The axles looked ok.

The interior has a camo headliner and Mastercraft suspension seats. The driver's seat is a bit rough. It has a CB and an aftermarket radio with a popup screen. Otherwise a base Laredo. The engine has been changed a few times and he is rebuilding another. It has headers, Edlebrock heads, Comp Cam, and Harland Sharp rockers. The intake from the TB to the snorkel is custom. The PS pump and gear I think or from an LS. Did I mention the King coil-overs? I think they probably should be rebuilt and I think at least one of the 8 springs looks like it has had it (it is bowed). Reality check: rebuilding the King shocks costs as much as a new set of Fox 2" reservoir shocks for a JK.

What is amazing is that the owner and I are from very different backgrounds yet his mods are nearly exactly what I would have done if I had the time and skills. If.

Note: I figure we'll need to spend a few grand on repairs. Common to nearly any used car. I've already looked up replacement door panels (about $140 on eBay).

Since the zombie apocalypse seems to still be a way off and even climate change is in for a dose of reality (Google IEA carbon report) the WJ is a bit of overkill. But does that really make it bad?

Sidebar: I imagine we will be happy either way. And whether I'm leaning toward the WJ or the JK depends on the hour of the day.
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Old 01-26-2020, 05:54 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by DavidNJ View Post



Why would it break more than a JK? It has the same axles...only these have been prepped...and about the same weight. The lift is more because it starts lower. Ditto a JL vs a JK, the JK starts lower than a JL.

Yes...there is no service manual for a lot of it. But that is the same on any modification. The bigger issue are the 40s too much for that setup? It has the PSC ram and big brakes on the JK front axle, but that is still a JK Dana 44.
You asked why would it break more than a JK and even supply your own answer.
It's EXACTLY what I meant. The 40's are too much



Quote:
The 2Lo kit requires removing and disassembling the transfer case, I doubt many people do it. The Advance Adapters case has two levers.
Yes. Thank you. I am well aware of an atlas Tcase.

Whether or not you want to do it is an entirely different issue. The point is you can have 2low in a jk Tcase if you wish. It's a bit of work but it gives you 4:1 in the end as opposed to 3.8:1
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidNJ View Post
I was under it on a creeper. Admittedly the huge transfer case skid plate on the WJ blocked a lot of my view of the floor pan. The Clayton lift kit has a 2x3 3/16" U-channel welded over the unibody between the front cross member (also from Clayton) and the rear suspension brackets (again, Clayton). At first, it looks like a frame rail. just a light coating of surface rust. The Johnny joints looked ok. The axles looked ok.

The interior has a camo headliner and Mastercraft suspension seats. The driver's seat is a bit rough. It has a CB and an aftermarket radio with a popup screen. Otherwise a base Laredo. The engine has been changed a few times and he is rebuilding another. It has headers, Edlebrock heads, Comp Cam, and Harland Sharp rockers. The intake from the TB to the snorkel is custom. The PS pump and gear I think or from an LS. Did I mention the King coil-overs? I think they probably should be rebuilt and I think at least one of the 8 springs looks like it has had it (it is bowed). Reality check: rebuilding the King shocks costs as much as a new set of Fox 2" reservoir shocks for a JK.

What is amazing is that the owner and I are from very different backgrounds yet his mods are nearly exactly what I would have done if I had the time and skills. If.

Note: I figure we'll need to spend a few grand on repairs. Common to nearly any used car. I've already looked up replacement door panels (about $140 on eBay).

Since the zombie apocalypse seems to still be a way off and even climate change is in for a dose of reality (Google IEA carbon report) the WJ is a bit of overkill. But does that really make it bad?

Sidebar: I imagine we will be happy either way. And whether I'm leaning toward the WJ or the JK depends on the hour of the day.
That WJ is sweet,since you are prepared to give it some TLC, buy it.


Id clean it up underneath and paint it. Do you have a garage that it will fit in?
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:14 AM   #25
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I will throw this out there.
Based on knowing a number of mechanics, I would NEVER buy a mechanics car. No matter how good the mechanic is.
But it is your money, do what you want with it.
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Old 01-27-2020, 07:51 AM   #26
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Can we see some pics of the WJ please!?
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Old 01-27-2020, 08:11 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by GuzziMoto View Post
I will throw this out there.
Based on knowing a number of mechanics, I would NEVER buy a mechanics car. No matter how good the mechanic is.
But it is your money, do what you want with it.

LOL!
Yes. It's this stiff here that bothers me:
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidNJ View Post
The owner is a certified diesel and truck mechanic with excellent welding skills, access to extensive shop equipment, lots of off-road experience, and runs his own off-road fabrication/maintenance shop on the side. This was his personal car. His component selection is pretty much what I would have selected, or what I would have selected if I was going to spend the money (e.g. King coil overs), or stuff I wasn't even considering (A/C compressor turned into air compressor, PSC ram assist, etc.). The only knocks are it isn't new and all that stuff requires maintenance.

Typical mechanic stuff
Yeah... they'll pump air.... for a while.... until the oil runs out.
Automotive a/c compressors don't have big oil sumps and that's because they are not required. Air conditioning is a closed loop so the vast majority of the oil is being circulated along with the refrigerant. It goes out..... and comes back, but when you operate them open loop the oil isn't returned.....


It all makes me wonder how much more of this mechanic stuff is under that hood!
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by DavidNJ View Post
\
Why would it break more than a JK? It has the same axles...only these have been prepped...and about the same weight. The lift is more because it starts lower. Ditto a JL vs a JK, the JK starts lower than a JL.
It will break more because 40s are just way too much tire.

You will find that the general consensus is that the limit of the JK D44s is running 37s. And that would be built in the same manner that the WJ has been built. Gears, lockers, truss, c-gusset, axle shafts, and with many people saying hydro is a requirement. Even just on the street that build is likely gonna eat up wheel bearings and ball joints.

40s...yea, no way that can be reliable. That rig needs Dana 60s...
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:39 PM   #29
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Knowledgeable mechanics put an oiler unit in front of the compressor and then run air tools along with airing up. Seen a couple of these on TJs in my club.

A couple thoughts. If you're new to this, you will learn a hell of a lot more running 295's on a JK on greens than you will with that steam roller on blues. I've learned a ton with the 295's, a small lift and some protection. I'll also mention that our club is about 90% Wranglers. Every Cherokee that's run has ended the day with panel damage on greens. The most my JK has seen on greens, blues and the odd black is a dent on the corner of my plastic front bumper and a dent in the other corner of the plastic rear bumper. They're much better protected.

I think you're better off with a JK and building it as you gain experience. A 2.5" lift and 35's is going to last you a while.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:58 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jack FFR1846 View Post
Knowledgeable mechanics put an oiler unit in front of the compressor and then run air tools along with airing up. Seen a couple of these on TJs in my club.

Oilers work on the compressor OUTLET side not the air intake before the compressor. They are to automatically oil tools and have little to do with lubricating the compressor itself, since most air compressors have their own internal oil sump and oil delivery system. This is an A/C compressor. It handles its internal lubrication quite differently than a normal air compressor. There is no dip stick or filler hole for oil.

As far as I know there is no such thing as an oiler for a compressor inlet.


A typical jeep ac compressor..... Note the lack of heat fins and oil sump as a normal air compressor has.


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