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Okay, I was pretty pumped to sell my Scrambler and move into a TJ, specifically wanted the LJR. As some read, I even put down and ultimately forfeited my deposit on my dream setup.

After reading everything from PCM to OPDA, I don’t think I can get myself to buy one. Mainly because of the PCM. I even considered building up an 04 LJ to essentially make my own LJR but that would easily pass $10k on top of purchasing the Jeep. I didn’t do the math, but it’s gotta be don’t you think? With two kids, a dog, and gear we really need the extra space so a TJ Rubicon isn’t an option.

No, I definitely don’t need a Rubicon for 95% of what we will do but I also don’t want to miss out on not having one just in case. Plus, I will always regret not buying one.

Now, whether I want to or not, I think I have to look into the 2012+ JKU unlimited Rubicon. Never thought I would own a 4-door Jeep. As in Never ever. I prefer vintage or traditional over modern and unique over typical. I mean there are so many 4-door Jeeps on the road. That’s what I am giving up. Sadly, I have come to that conclusion and over the last week or so it’s starting to grow on me.

It’s really unfortunate, because the LJR is one of the coolest Jeeps ever made. I’m jealous of everyone who has one (and always will be). I can’t think of another way to make it work. Can you? As anyone else been down this road? My ideal budget is $20-22k. Isn’t building my own LJR going to bust my budget? Any other suggestions?




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Just because you buy it right away, doesn't mean you need to build it right away...

I've owned Jeeps that were never modified. I've owned Jeeps it took a while to modify. I've owned Jeeps (including my current JKURHR) and built them right away..

Some drive the Rubicon Trail with no modification at all...

The solution to your problem might be as simply as;

Decide what you want

Decide what you want to do with it
and

Budget money and time to get there once you have it
 

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Rubicon is WAY over rated.... only extreme rock crawlers really need the 4:1 case and you can add much better lockers to a non rubi for 2-3k....
 

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Rubicon is WAY over rated.... only extreme rock crawlers really need the 4:1 case and you can add much better lockers to a non rubi for 2-3k....
Agreed. If you buy an 04 LJ you could build the stock axles to handle 35s. You could also keep the np231 transfer Case and install a Rubicrawler underdrive if you need lower gearing for rockcrawling. My Rubicrawler equipped rig has a 113:1 crawl ratio in 4low, which is necessary for the terrain I traverse.
 

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Okay, I was pretty pumped to sell my Scrambler and move into a TJ, specifically wanted the LJR. As some read, I even put down and ultimately forfeited my deposit on my dream setup.
After reading everything from PCM to OPDA, I don’t think I can get myself to buy one. Mainly because of the PCM.
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You might consider a slightly older, though not a LJ, but a TJ. From everything I've read, the 2002s seem to have less problems than others. Definitely not PCM or ODPA. Nor are they disposed to bad heads, cracked manifolds or other problems that you hear of.
Finally, consider this: the only ones you hear of are the bad ones. Owners who DON'T have problems aren't on these forums looking for answers.
Listen to the rush hour traffic reports where you are. All you hear reported are the accidents. They never mention the thousands who make it to work and back home without incident.
Never give up your dreams. They say that Life is what happens while you're waiting for your dreams to come true. But if you put some work into it, along with a big dose of patience, you might get what you ultimately want.
I lost my previous Jeep, a '87 YJ, in 1990. Life came along and I didn't have a Jeep for many years. Eventually though, that same Life circled around, and I now have a Jeep again. And I couldn't be happier about it. Every time I get into it, I'm reminded of what it felt like those twenty-five and more years ago. Get the Jeep you want, if you "settle", you'll always wonder, "What if..."
 
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You might consider a slightly older, though not a LJ, but a TJ. From everything I've read, the 2002s seem to have less problems than others. Definitely not PCM or ODPA. Nor are they disposed to bad heads, cracked manifolds or other problems that you hear of.
Finally, consider this: the only ones you hear of are the bad ones. Owners who DON'T have problems aren't on these forums looking for answers.
Listen to the rush hour traffic reports where you are. All you hear reported are the accidents. They never mention the thousands who make it to work and back home without incident.
Never give up your dreams. They say that Life is what happens while you're waiting for your dreams to come true. But if you put some work into it, along with a big dose of patience, you might get what you ultimately want.
I lost my previous Jeep, a '87 YJ, in 1990. Life came along and I didn't have a Jeep for many years. Eventually though, that same Life circled around, and I now have a Jeep again. And I couldn't be happier about it. Every time I get into it, I'm reminded of what it felt like those twenty-five and more years ago. Get the Jeep you want, if you "settle", you'll always wonder, "What if..."

x2 PLUS I had a TJ 2000 and 1997. The 1997 I sold early.. The 2000 I sold with 130,000 miles. Never had a problem with the engine or PCM (never). My current Jeep excluded it's my favorite Jeep and I used her the way she was built and then some. Rolled her, rolled her back and drove her some more before selling her to some cop out in TX that is still driving her..
 
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OPDA is a minor thing and the PCM is only a problem in an auto. I've had a couple of 05' 6 speeds and never had any problems. That 4:1 t-case is great for crawling. A regular TJ NP231 doesn't compare.
 

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OP - the OPDA is a relatively easy fix if it hasn't already been done. Replace the OPDA, but use the OEM sensor in it. The PCM only affects the automatics. Even that can be worked around. Most of the issue is hard shifting from 1st to 2nd when COLD. Owner say, the solution is to let the engine warm up first.

On the other hand, my 2003 Rubicon is nice. The low range and lockers also come in handy when pulling small stumps. No jerking, just tension the chain and then a little gas. If the stump won't budge you have a good verification of the lockers working with the four divots.

Like 4 wheel drive, I would rather have the lockers and not need them than need them and not have them.


The LJ also limits you in certain areas. Tops for example have a limited selection. Some of the nice tops for a TJ are not available for an LJ because of the limited market. Parts for the top frame are different and very hard to find compared to the regular TJ top frame.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Agreed. If you buy an 04 LJ you could build the stock axles to handle 35s. You could also keep the np231 transfer Case and install a Rubicrawler underdrive if you need lower gearing for rockcrawling. My Rubicrawler equipped rig has a 113:1 crawl ratio in 4low, which is necessary for the terrain I traverse.


True. That’s what I would do. I plan to use 33s on whatever I get, however I could easily end up with 35s. Really I could modify the rear axle and wait on the front. I just know I want electronic lockers on both eventually.

I won’t do any extreme crawling so maybe I would be happy with the transfer case. I just don’t want to build things twice.


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OPDA is a minor thing and the PCM is only a problem in an auto. I've had a couple of 05' 6 speeds and never had any problems. That 4:1 t-case is great for crawling. A regular TJ NP231 doesn't compare.


Yeah, it’s the PCM issue first and foremost. Everything else has a very clear fix.


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OPDA is a minor thing and the PCM is only a problem in an auto. I've had a couple of 05' 6 speeds and never had any problems. That 4:1 t-case is great for crawling. A regular TJ NP231 doesn't compare.


Yeah, it’s the PCM issue first and foremost. Everything else has a very clear fix.


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I have an 06 with a bad PCM. Rig drives fine but CEL never permanently goes away.

For 33” tires and moderate wheeling the NP231 is a fine transfer case.
 

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OPDA is a minor thing and the PCM is only a problem in an auto. I've had a couple of 05' 6 speeds and never had any problems. That 4:1 t-case is great for crawling. A regular TJ NP231 doesn't compare.
I have also found I like the 4:1 when in traffic. 1st gear lets me crawl slow and steady in stop and go traffic, with minimal clutch work.
 
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I've heard people say that the Rubicon 4:1 low range t-case is too low for many purposes. But don't you just use the transmission in 2nd gear to get back down to a more "reasonable" low ratio? Or is this only a problem with the automatic if it won't actually select 2nd gear?

Rob
 

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OPDA is a minor thing and the PCM is only a problem in an auto. I've had a couple of 05' 6 speeds and never had any problems. That 4:1 t-case is great for crawling. A regular TJ NP231 doesn't compare.
Yep, replacing the OPDA is what, a 30 minute job max, requiring a wrench and Torx bit. When it starts making noise replace it and you’ll never have a problem. For the wheeling I do an NP231 would work fine, I just rarely use 1st or 2nd low but they’re there if I need them. When I get to installing the driveline on my YJ build I’ll most likely be using the 241OR from my Rubicon, which will get a 231 and may even lose the lift.
 

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We have three 4.0 wranglers all chosen carefully to avoid the common problems

One is a 91 YJ with auto problem free at just over 200K miles although does need a little R134 added each summer
I know factory ac was still R12 but this one has dealer add on AC so is R134a

Next is wife’s 04 rubi 5 spd
Has 90k miles and only major item was replacing failed mini cats

Last is my 98 sport 5spd d44 rear ARB lockers and 40k miles and would never trade it for a rubi

I would avoid rust first
Next always 4.0
Next a pox on both 05-06 trannies
Either 5 speed or the 3 spd auto

Last I hate the NGC computer after it heat sensitive code throwing error on our turbo pt cruiser

Thus much much more then opda make me avoid all 05-06



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I forgot one other rubi repair replaced starter after key stuck in start and burnt it up

Came to where wife was stuck and bump started the 5 spd
Drove it home and replaced ign switch and starter (autozone lifetime - heard all the horror stories) but has zero starter problems since and that was 3 years ago


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I forgot one other rubi repair replaced starter after key stuck in start and burnt it up

Came to where wife was stuck and bump started the 5 spd
Drove it home and replaced ign switch and starter (autozone lifetime - heard all the horror stories) but has zero starter problems since and that was 3 years ago


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So you're alright then wrenching same part over a "lifetime" then lol

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So you're alright then wrenching same part over a "lifetime" then lol

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Lets see
Manual tranny so can push/bump start if starter fails
Free lifetime swap just bring back old one and give my phone number
Was available day part failed no waiting
Has lasted years of use no issues
Takes about 5 minutes and two size wrenches to change don’t even have to jack up the vehicle

Hell yes autozone starter was a no brainer and has worked out great at half cost of oem plus if switch gets stuck again it would burn up oem just as fast but with autozone replacement part is free




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For how easy it is to change a starter on a 4.0l I’ll buy a parts store brand for <1/2 cost of a Mopar and take a chance on having to do it sooner. I’d buy 2 and keep the second one in the vehicle if I was really worried about it or planned on going someplace where a bad starter would be more than an inconvenience.

Regarding problems with the NSG370, I know there were some in 05 but that’s the way it is with new parts for any model year of any vehicle. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve read first-person reports of any problems on 2 Jeep forums, all the others are “friend of a friend of a friend” stories. I like mine as much as I liked my AX15 and NVG3550, maybe even a little more than either for the respective 16%/11% deeper 1st gear. Overdrive is only a few percent lower than the 5 speeds. It’s biggest problem, IMO, is the cost of repair or replacement. If I couldn’t find one at what I thought was a reasonable price I’d put a 5-speed in and be happy.
 
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