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'01 TJ Sport and '17 JKU Rubicon
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have an '01 TJ with 121k on it, 3 speed auto, 3.07 gears, open/open diffs, 30" BFG KO2s, 2" Teraflex suspension lift.

I'm at a crossroads with how to continue my build. As of now, I've done some pretty gnarly (by my standards) SoCal wheeling and besides a few small bumps, I've been able to do anything I want to do. I haven't gotten stuck anywhere where I felt like I "needed" something else. And I don't feel the need to do anything more extreme than what I have been doing from a trail difficultly perspective. I am wheeling with much more built rigs and keeping up.

There are a few other things I have considered doing but they are all pretty expensive or have some downsides.

1. Rear locker. I'd really like a selectable locker but I have a rear Dana 35. I'd have to either put a Super35 kit in it or upgrade to a Dana 44. Both very expensive, obviously. Even used D44s in my area are stupidly expensive.

2. Front lunchbox locker. I could easily and cheaply put in a front lunchbox locker. Even though I live in SoCal, I'm not super excited for how this would limit me to 2wd in snow (which I do drive to areas with snow sometimes).

3. 31" tires. I could upgrade my tires to 31s but this would require a regear for sure. As of right now I am not blown away with the 3.07s with 30s but I can live with it. Regearing would be expensive. Not sure a regear is really worth it just to go up one tire size and I have no desire to go to 33s.

4. Tummy tuck. Would need to do a 1" BL, MML, and I'm guessing CV/SYE in order to accomplish this. The expense for this adds up quickly, however my shovel is almost always the thing I'm hitting first. I don't mind beating up my stock skid a little bit but it might be nice to get rid of it.

Obviously no one else can make decisions for me, but has anyone else been at similar crossroads and what did you decide to do? I don't want to just keep throwing money at the jeep especially when it's already doing what I need it to, but at the same time I want as capable of a rig as I can get for as low of a price as i can get. What is most important to do next?

I have a totally stock '17 JKUR that I could start putting money in to instead.
 

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I'd keep the TJ as is and dump the money into the JKUR. I think you can go further with less $$ on the JKUR and everything you love about the TJ sill still be there in the form it is in now. I had a 99 sport manual with similar gearing to you and the 30s felt slow. My TJR has the stock 4.10s and has more power than my brand new sport ever did with 33X11.6 mud tires. I bought it on purpose because I did not want to throw away half the drive train just to run 33s. Rubicons are nice that way.
 
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'01 TJ Sport and '17 JKU Rubicon
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'd keep the TJ as is and dump the money into the JKUR. I think you can go further with less $$ on the JKUR and everything you love about the TJ sill still be there in the form it is in now. I had a 99 sport manual with similar gearing to you and the 30s felt slow. My TJR has the stock 4.10s and has more power than my brand new sport ever did with 33X11.6 mud tires. I bought it on purpose because I did not want to throw away half the drive train just to run 33s. Rubicons are nice that way.
Thanks for the feedback and reply. That is cool that you have an '04 TJR and a '14 JKUR!

They sure are nice that way and I think you have a point on going further with the JKUR with less $$ and just leaving the TJ as is. Probably would cost less to put 35s on my JKUR, it would be much more capable, and I'd be "done" with it, i.e. not really need anything else.

I think maybe my gearing doesn't bother me as much with 30s because I have the 3 speed. I've heard 3.07s are horrific with all other transmissions except the 3 speed auto, but mine feels fine.

To be honest, I was never planning to do anything with my TJ. It was meant as a fun ride-around-town vehicle as a side to my RAM 1500 which was bulky. I bought it bone stock with no plans to upgrade it. But a few things happened - first, I never wanted to drive my RAM, I always preferred the Jeep. And then I took it to do some wheeling and realized how much I enjoyed it. So I put the lift on it and some new wheels to get my tires out a little bit, made a huge difference off road. If I knew I was going to want everything above , honestly I probably would've purchased either a TJR, LJR (if I could find one) or even a '13-'18 JKR 2 door ...but that ship has sailed. I don't really want to sell my TJ because I'm attached to it now but I also don't want to throw 5k at it to improve it's performance a slight hair. I'm definitely not willing to do the work to go to 33's. I ended up buying the JKUR only because I never wanted to drive my RAM and wanted to still have a second vehicle with 4 doors that has some tow capacity. I figured it might as well be a Jeep and it wasn't too much more to get a rubicon.

I think ultimately what I am going to do is stick the front lunchbox locker in and live with the issues using 4wd in the snow and be done building my TJ.
 

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a lunch box in the front doesnt limit you to 2wd in the snow. it limits you from hot rodding it at a stop light while making a turn, that situation is more fun in 2hi anyways. they handle quite fine under normal conditions.
 

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Thanks for the feedback and reply. That is cool that you have an '04 TJR and a '14 JKUR!

They sure are nice that way and I think you have a point on going further with the JKUR with less $$ and just leaving the TJ as is. Probably would cost less to put 35s on my JKUR, it would be much more capable, and I'd be "done" with it, i.e. not really need anything else.

I think maybe my gearing doesn't bother me as much with 30s because I have the 3 speed. I've heard 3.07s are horrific with all other transmissions except the 3 speed auto, but mine feels fine.

To be honest, I was never planning to do anything with my TJ. It was meant as a fun ride-around-town vehicle as a side to my RAM 1500 which was bulky. I bought it bone stock with no plans to upgrade it. But a few things happened - first, I never wanted to drive my RAM, I always preferred the Jeep. And then I took it to do some wheeling and realized how much I enjoyed it. So I put the lift on it and some new wheels to get my tires out a little bit, made a huge difference off road. If I knew I was going to want everything above , honestly I probably would've purchased either a TJR, LJR (if I could find one) or even a '13-'18 JKR 2 door ...but that ship has sailed. I don't really want to sell my TJ because I'm attached to it now but I also don't want to throw 5k at it to improve it's performance a slight hair. I'm definitely not willing to do the work to go to 33's. I ended up buying the JKUR only because I never wanted to drive my RAM and wanted to still have a second vehicle with 4 doors that has some tow capacity. I figured it might as well be a Jeep and it wasn't too much more to get a rubicon.

I think ultimately what I am going to do is stick the front lunchbox locker in and live with the issues using 4wd in the snow and be done building my TJ.
Here are 3 out of my 4 4WD vehicles. Ironically the only thing I have that is 2WD is my pickup truck. I use the JKUR for overlanding mainly but it is very capable and the drive train is solid. Its hard to say which Jeep is more capable. It really depends on the trail and how many JKUs have created ruts at just the right places. I do think the TJR is more fun than the JKUR. The Kubota can definitely go more places and the front end loader can undo a stuck pretty well and unlike the winches on my Jeeps, you never have to leave the seat. If you want to go further on the TJ, I'd buy a TJ Rubicon and sell the one you have. Selectable lockers, 4.10s, 4:1 T case, and fairly sturdy D44 axles are just too expensive IMHO unless you are building a trailer queen rock buggy and you want to go beyond 35s. You will become attached to the Rubicon quickly and have no issues selling your current TJ. Its very differnt going from a TJ to a JK, but not from a TJ sport to a TJ rubicon. There is nothing to miss. It is the same Jeep with better bones and they are not making any more of them.

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I was looking at what I thought were two nearly identical TJs when I was in the market for the first time three years ago. Both over 150k miles, both same year, both about $11k. The higher milage one was a Rubicon. The lower mileage was an X. I did notice 4 wheel disc brakes on the Rubicon while looking at them on the lot. That is when I did more research on what the differences were. For nearly the same money, I took the higher mileage Rubicon. I think I made the right choice! D44 with lockers front and rear, the crawl ratio, 4 wheel disc brakes, no ABS to deal with... Was a lot of Jeep for the same money, I thought. With the factory drivetrain and lockers, I don't see any need for me to go further in mods there. It may be cheaper (and easier) in the long run to just seek out a Rubicon you could afford, if those are the capabilities you would aspire to have. It was the right choice for me...
 

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I was looking at what I thought were two nearly identical TJs when I was in the market for the first time three years ago. Both over 150k miles, both same year, both about $11k. The higher milage one was a Rubicon. The lower mileage was an X. I did notice 4 wheel disc brakes on the Rubicon while looking at them on the lot. That is when I did more research on what the differences were. For nearly the same money, I took the higher mileage Rubicon. I think I made the right choice! D44 with lockers front and rear, the crawl ratio, 4 wheel disc brakes, no ABS to deal with... Was a lot of Jeep for the same money, I thought. With the factory drivetrain and lockers, I don't see any need for me to go further in mods there. It may be cheaper (and easier) in the long run to just seek out a Rubicon you could afford, if those are the capabilities you would aspire to have. It was the right choice for me...
Did the same math myself. Frankly I don't care what the odometer on a TJ says. My TJR has 171,000 miles on it and ran like crap when I bought it. I slapped in a new head and some odds and ends and it runs like new. The 4.0L is a trivial engine to refresh. I might have the NV3550 ran through at some point but really, if there is no rust the mileage does not matter to me.
 

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Did the same math myself. Frankly I don't care what the odometer on a TJ says. My TJR has 171,000 miles on it and ran like crap when I bought it. I slapped in a new head and some odds and ends and it runs like new. The 4.0L is a trivial engine to refresh. I might have the NV3550 ran through at some point but really, if there is no rust the mileage does not matter to me.
I recently turned 220k on the mileage. About 35k is mine in the three years I have owned. It is the best daily driver I have ever owned and been able to maintain myself. Not to mention, the most fun and most capable for the few times I am free to go trail riding.
 

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'01 TJ Sport and '17 JKU Rubicon
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Appreciate all the feedback. This has given me a lot to think about and helped me process all of the decisions in front of me.

I’ve watched the Jeep market in my area, the Rubicon’s are selling for 10-20k over other TJs right now. The last year or so the Jeep market has gotten out of control and I think particularly bad in SoCal where people take their jeeps out easily all year. I don’t think a TJR is in the cards right now even though that’s the easy fix and also I’d prefer to have one than my sport. Honestly I could probably find a newer JKR (granted that’s different) for cheaper or similar price for a TJR.

That said, given my TJ brings me where I want already and I’m very attached to it, I think the lunchbox locker will give me more than enough performance without breaking the bank, and I’m good to hear it’s not a total nightmare in snow. I can then start building my JKUR which is exciting as it’s totally stock.
 
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