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Old 06-30-2017, 04:33 PM
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3.21 vs 3.73 on Highway + New/Used Question Considering 2017 Inventory is Limited

I have read many posts on this forum and they are very helpful. I have already seen the existing 3.21 vs 3.73 front/rear axle ratio questions.

I recently - rather impulsively - decided to get a new Jeep. I'm in Miami Beach, FL and had a CJ7 20 years ago in college. It was love/hate. Love for tons of obvious reasons, hate because August in Miami with a leaky soft top and no AC is tough. Overall, loved it.

Like a couple other posters I saw, I'm most concerned with a comfortable highway ride (e.g. smooth, limited noise, etc.). It's my understanding that (1) hard top headliner helps, and (2) 3.21 front/axle ratio helps, since it will rev lower at higher speeds.

With that said, I test drove the 3.21 Unlimited Sahara and it is light years beyond what I was accustomed to with my CJ7. Much nicer, smoother ride.

I don't want to wait 2-3 months for a custom order or 5-6 months for a 2018. The problem is that Jeep's inventory is kind of weak and the combination of things I want is pretty much impossible to find… unless I go for the 3.73 front/rear axle ratio.

- Is the 3.73 MUCH DIFFERENT on highways vs. the 3.21 with standard wheels on, or is it more or less the same (noise, comfort, smoothness, etc.)?
- Does the 3.73, which has more torque, provide better acceleration, which would be a plus?

Additionally, because I'm running into issues finding availability with what I want, I wonder if perhaps I should consider buying a used jeep? I was going to lease a new one for business/tax purposes, then considered buying (which can have positive tax implications, too), and now, am considering something used. Chiefly because it seemed like I would want different options versus what they have as new and would have to go out-of-pocket to get precisely what I want anyway. Thoughts?!

I greatly appreciate your input and feedback on this - I've learned so much in the last few days - it brings back memories of how much I loved my old jeep!!!!

~Jason

p.s. I may have inadvertently posted this in another forum area but cannot seem to find it to remove it.

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Old 06-30-2017, 05:49 PM   #2
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9 out of 10 people would rather have the 3.73 and it's got more value for re-sale. For doing anything "Jeepy" it's going to be better. The 3.21's are a dime a dozen and they run nice on the hiway with smaller tires.

Nothing wrong with low mileage used, but your not going to save much money. You may however find a used one that has some quality modifications done on it and that's a bonus. Color is a big deal on a Jeep, don't ever settle for one you're not sure about. Good luck, have fun!

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Old 06-30-2017, 06:09 PM   #3
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I'm in Houston so similar to Miami.
I haven't felt the need for the hardtop headliners. The AC in these things are pretty powerful and I still don't see how those pads do enough to warrant the cost.
In stock form, the JKU drives pretty much like any other suv on the hwy. I've never been in a JK.
I have the 3.73 and like it. I don't wish for more power. And other than power and slightly higher rpm, nothing else will be different than 3.21 which you will probably regret.
You've got about 2 weeks left to custom order a '17 and lead time is only 5 weeks right now, give or take.
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2017 JKU SAHARA | FIRECRACKER RED | BLACK HARDTOP | 3.73 AXLE | TRACLOK | BLACK/DARK SADDLE CLOTH | CONNECTIVITY | AUTO AC | HEATED SEATS | SIDE AIRBAGS | 17" FUEL RECOILS | 285/75/17C NITTO RIDGE GRAPPLERS | MOPAR 2" LIFT | PIONEER NEX 8200
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:57 PM   #4
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Unless you plan to search used listings for two months, I'd get a new Jeep. Doesn't sound like you are looking for anything too difficult to find on dealer lots.

If you are fine with 3.21 you won't be disappointed with the 3.73: the lower gearing ratio (i.e., higher number) makes the Jeep more responsive to the throttle.

Get a hardtop and add the headliners later. It literally takes 20 mins to install.

Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2017, 07:21 PM   #5
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I had the 3.21s, and it's ok stock, but if you plan to get bigger tires, get the 3.73. I say get the 3.73..

Everyone that gets into my Jeep can't believe it rides that nice. They've come a long way


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Old 06-30-2017, 08:52 PM   #6
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I'm very glad I ordered and waited for the 3.73 gears.
Mine is very peppy compared to a 3.21 I test drove.

You can still order a new 2017 until next week or so. DO IT!
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:49 PM   #7
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Get the 3:73 gears. I didn't notice any difference in engine noise between the two you are considering. Yes, it is more responsive.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:10 AM   #8
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@Jason5988 I cant speak for the 3.21 gear ratio because we've never test drove one, However we did special order a unlimited with the 3.73 option. We've had the jeep for almost 3 months now and has almost 4000 mile on it.. I do see a slight bog down feeling when driving a jeep with these type of gear ratio and this was purely deliberate. This forces us to actually drive slow and enjoy the sights. About the only reason we order the jeep with the 3.73 gears is because somewhere down the road we may want to actually tow something. So yes in short, there is a lack of acceleration but the gearing makes up for it while on up hill climbs. BTW the jeep has yet to see any speeds over 65 mph because we'll never put this jeep on any major highways.
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Old 07-01-2017, 10:44 AM   #9
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I have the 3.73 gears in my 2015 JKU Sport S with an automatic transmission that I have owned for a month now. Even in my limited experience and opinion, they make the Jeep more responsive, quicker off the line from a stop and give it more passing power at speed. The 3.6 Pentastar V6 is an engine that likes, maybe even loves, to rev, so reasonably deeper gearing doesn't bother it like the old 4.0 and 258 inline sixes that ran out of breath at 4,000rpm. I have run it down the Interstate at 80mph and it does just fine, I have no worries about taking it on trips that include extended periods at 75-80mph or even a little more.

When I was shopping, after test driving different variants one of my requirements became either 3.73s if buying a Sport S or Sahara or 4.10s if buying a Rubicon. Or a deal on something with higher gears at such a great price that it allowed factoring the immediate installation of new lower gears into the budget equation. This was mostly to accommodate both towing a utility trailer and an eventual move to moderately larger off-road tires. But honestly, I am liking how the Jeep drives so much that I am a bit concerned about the effect bigger tires are going to have. There might be a regear in my future anyhow.

Knowing what I know now, I definitely would not want any lesser than 3.73 gears in even a stock JK/JKU. They put the "sport" in the Sport package.
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:04 AM   #10
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A few months back I was doing 90mph in strong crosswinds in my 3" lifted JKU on 34's and the 3.73 for an extended period of time between austin and houston.
MPG suffered quite a bit but the jeep handled it fine.
We were trying to get back into town before the dog boarding place closed. JUST made it. lol

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2017 JKU SAHARA | FIRECRACKER RED | BLACK HARDTOP | 3.73 AXLE | TRACLOK | BLACK/DARK SADDLE CLOTH | CONNECTIVITY | AUTO AC | HEATED SEATS | SIDE AIRBAGS | 17" FUEL RECOILS | 285/75/17C NITTO RIDGE GRAPPLERS | MOPAR 2" LIFT | PIONEER NEX 8200
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