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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a 2004 TJ several months ago, now has 101,000 miles on it. From the time I purchased until now had quite a few problems with it. It seems the previous owners liked to do a lot of their upgrades and modifications themselves and screwed a lot of things up. Basically I was having an issue where the Jeep would throw a check engine light, start struggling to hold an idle and as soon as I would drop it out of gear or come to a stop the electrical would shut off completely. It would immediately start back up, idle would be all screwed up but eventually the problem would go away. Took it to my mechanic and first had a bad ignition that he thought was shorting it out so replaced that. It ran good for a while and then problem occurred again. Biggest issue I kept having is the problem would occur, then it would go away and it would not replicate for the mechanic and all the diagnostics were checking out fine. So as the problem kept occurring, mechanic still believed it was electrical problem, so began chasing and repairing electrical grounds. This process occurred over quite a long period of time because due to my job I come and go for several months at a time. After I just moved to new city for work, problem popped up again and I am no longer near my mechanic. I brought it to another mechanic, who immediately said he thought the Edge Electronic Module that was installed was bad. He uninstalled the electronic module that was a part of the old Edge Trail Jammer kit and re-flashed the ECM to stock. Haven't had the problem since but it has only been a week or so. My dad is a mechanic back home but I am not as savy about cars as he is. My worry is the problem may not be fixed and still come back again. So just wanted to put this out there and get some feedback. I also do not think the previous owners did a lot of the regular maintenance that needs to be done, so am wondering if this problem has finally been fixed where I need to look next to keep it running well. Want to get the engine and jeep running well so I can start putting money in to some of the exterior and fun stuff.
 

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Man, where to start. Well you found that aftermarket programmers suck, do next to nothing to add power, and cause more problems then they are worth.

You bought, from the pic, a pretty modified Jeep. Who knows for sure what they did, how they did it, and if it was done correctly. That is why it is better not to buy someone else's problem. But, you have it now so...

I would go through and check all fluids, belt, steering/suspension components, wheel bearings, proper locker function, brakes, and whatever else you may find along the way. Make sure it is reliable and safe first of all. Hopefully the re-flash will keep it running well so can eliminate that issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I guess not being as educated as I should have been, the thought was that I would buy a Jeep that already had done the things I would want to do to it. Definitely learning the hard way that it would have been better to buy some stock jeep and do everything myself to make sure that it was done correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is all the specs and everything that was claimed to have been done to it/come with it when I bought it:

2 Full Doors
4WD
6 Cylinder, 4.0 Liter
Manual, 5 Speed
Air Conditioning, Cruise Control, Power Steering, Tilt Wheel, Dual Air Bags
Factory Style Soft Top
Jeep Brand Trunk (I sold this)

Additions from Previous Owners:
Edge Cold Air Intake and Tuner: This actually is the Edge Trial Jammer kit from like 2005. Came with Cold Air Intake, Throttle Body and Electronic module (This is the one I just removed.

Yellow Top Optimum Battery

Warn Rock Crawler Front Bumper with Winch Mount and D Shackles, WINCH NOT INCLUDED

Rear Tow Receiver Hitch

Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ 33x12.5x15 Tires

Hard Top, Full Hard Doors

Smittybuilt Cargo Restraint System

Best Top Rear Seat

Tuffy Full Security Center Console: I know a lot of people like these consoles but I am not sure if mine was just not properly installed or what. There is just a tone of heat that comes up the front of the console and shifter boot area when I am driving. The interior is poorly rhinolined and there is no carpet so maybe that explain the roughly 1/2" gap better the metal of the console and the floor board underneath the shifter boot but I am not sure. I have considered going back to a stock console to see if it fixes this issue.

Flat Front Fenders: I love the flat fenders but the previous owner did some weird stuff around the fender well. They basically cut these rectangular pieces out of the fender well but it was totally unnecessary because these fenders attached regardless. I am not sure if there is a way to fix this?

Bushwacker Rear Pocket Flare Fenders
: A rock flew up and cracked one of these so I removed them. I like the look better without them anyways

Rock sliders

6 " long arm lift kit: This is the big question mark right now. Pretty vague information for a lift and I was completely uneducated on any type of lifts when I bought the vehicle. I brought it to a mechanic and had them inspect it, they said everything was good, but turns out that was not really the case. Definitely going to need some help with this.

New shocks/stabilizer: Had a shock mount break off at the weld, and had it repaired and had to replace all of the shocks.

Line X lined interior

Updated Leather JK Front Seats: These seats are brutal, they get way too hot in the sun, not to mention they don't even really seem to fit in the jeep properly with the Tuffy console. They are just super bulky and make it impossible to get in and out of the back or adjust the seats forward and backward.

This is just what the previous owner said was done. They also said 4:10 gears were put in it but I find that hard to believe. The jeep is so sluggish going up some of these hills in Georgia. I need quite a bit of help, going to post another post with the things I have done to it since I owned it.

SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!
 

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I can't help with everything, but I can add in some thoughts.

First off, check your vin to see if that's actually a Rubi or just has stickers. My first thought is 4.10 gears makes no sense when rubis are stock with 4.07s. The 6th diget will be a 6 if it's a Rubi, you can also do a vin check on Jeeps website to get the build sheet.

What axles are in it? Again rubis come with 44s front and rear, check that.

6" long arm is insane for 33s. I have a 4.5 long arm with 35's and no BL and have zero rub.

Are the brakes in the rear drum or disk? Again, rubis have 4 wheel disk.

Tuffy console: I have one now with bedrug carpet with no issues and no heat, weird that you do. It's the same console I had in my sold 99 that I lined and didn't put carpet in, again no excess heat in that jeep either.

If it's legit line-x like the PO claimes, it'll be labeled somewhere and it wouldn't come off as "poorly rhino'd" line-x is extremely high quality.

Personal opinion, it doesn't look great without rear flares, especially with the paint damage from flares.

From everything I've read and heard first hand, the new optimum batteries are trash, don't replace now obviously if it works, but don't replace it with those. When they switched manufacturers they lost quality apparently.

Weird about the jk seats, strange choice. But you could get seat covers for them if you don't like the leather, or but tj seats, they're fairly inexpensive. Check Craigslist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
These are the things that I have had to do to the jeep since I have owned it:

Rough Country Jeep Front Sway-bar Disconnects (4-6in): One of the original disconnects was broken and they were both all rusted so I replaced them.

New Starter

Stereo
New Front and Rear Speakers: I put pretty decent speaker in the front and in the overheard sound bar but the sound is still pretty bad. Any easy ways to increase the sound capability in the jeep? I don't listen to anything with a lot of bass or anything but I tend to listen to my music louder than the average person.

Ignition Switch and Re-wiring

Rear Shocks and Rear Shock Mounts Replaced

Truck-Lite 7” Round LED Headlights 27270C

New Water Pump, thermostat, belt, tensioner, etc.

New Fuel pump and had fuel system cleaned

New Heater Core/Evarporator Core and Blower resistor

Had a lot of the electrical done to repair bad grounds in the dash when I was having the problem listed above

This is where I am at right now.

I found a new mechanic where I am living now and he has been good to me so far.

He removed that Edge programmer that seemed to be causing the issue. (I called Edge to see what they would do for me, gave me 50% off a Superchips TrailDash2, wanted to get some opinions on that product)

Right now it seems that I have a leak from either just my valve cover gasket and/or my rear main seal. (How much does that cost to fix? and how urgent does it need to be fixed?)

Also my catalytic converter took a shit, so I am looking to replace the whole exhaust system. I really like the look of the MBRP black catback system and the reviews seem to be pretty good on most of the sites I have checked. Just wanted to get some opinions on what all I should go with for exhaust system and catalytic converter to improve the sound and a little more power?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am new to this forum so I am not really sure how to do the whole quote thing effectively.

As far as the Jeep being a Rubicon, It definitely is. I have the VIN prior to buying and had that confirmed with my previous mechanic.

Regarding the gears, the previous owner just may have been as uneducated as I was and was quoting the stock gears you are saying come with the Rubicons. That being said, I drive a lot of pavement miles and use the offroad capabilities for my outdoor activities like going to my hunting camp and fishing, do I need to have it re-geared? It has a lot of clearance and almost makes the 33s look small. I want to put 35x12.5s on it as some point.

I had my mechanic confirm that is has the DAna 44s in it
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I want to get in to the lift but I want to hold off because that is a long conversation all in itself. My previous mechanic who was very well-versed in Jeeps looked over the suspension system and basically said that it was not done correctly. The ride is so stiff and can feel every single bump, he said he could put a similar style lift on the jeep that has a little more give in it but in order to put a different style lift on it, the whole FRAME WOULD NEED TO BE REPLACED!? Said when they installed the lift that's on it now the PO cut away and removed a bunch of stuff that was on the frame.
 

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I am new to this forum so I am not really sure how to do the whole quote thing effectively.

As far as the Jeep being a Rubicon, It definitely is. I have the VIN prior to buying and had that confirmed with my previous mechanic.

Regarding the gears, the previous owner just may have been as uneducated as I was and was quoting the stock gears you are saying come with the Rubicons. That being said, I drive a lot of pavement miles and use the offroad capabilities for my outdoor activities like going to my hunting camp and fishing, do I need to have it re-geared? It has a lot of clearance and almost makes the 33s look small. I want to put 35x12.5s on it as some point.

I had my mechanic confirm that is has the DAna 44s in it
Quote button at the bottom.

You can run 35s with stock Rubi gears "ok", the 5/6 speeds are arguably optimal at 4.88, autos at 5.13. but the stock 4.07s will do fine until you can afford to regear, but your 33s should feel great with stock Rubi gears.

Yeah a 6" lift will make 33s look like 30s, does it have a body lift too?
 

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I want to get in to the lift but I want to hold off because that is a long conversation all in itself. My previous mechanic who was very well-versed in Jeeps looked over the suspension system and basically said that it was not done correctly. The ride is so stiff and can feel every single bump, he said he could put a similar style lift on the jeep that has a little more give in it but in order to put a different style lift on it, the whole FRAME WOULD NEED TO BE REPLACED!? Said when they installed the lift that's on it now the PO cut away and removed a bunch of stuff that was on the frame.
I can't speak to all long arm kits, but in general... The long arm refers to the control arms, if you look at a stock Jeep you can see where the control arms hit the body, it's a welded bracket.

To put in a long arm kits, you take the short arms out, and cut the bracket off, generally grind the weld away and repaint to make it look good. And then a new bracket is then either welded or bolted through the frame to hold the new "long arms"

You could convert back to short arms, but yes... You would need to fabricate the brackets onto your frame, or replace the frame I suppose would be an option, but I'd imagine it'd be much easier and cost effective to just fab the brackets.

Someone else can chime in, but I think most if not all short arms kits will be using the factory control arm brackets. But I'm pretty confident say you can find the stock or similar brackets online and either weld yourself or have someone else weld them onto your existing frame
.. if you so choose to go back to a standard short arms lift.

That being said, I am far far far from an expert, someone else can chime in here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I can't help with everything, but I can add in some thoughts.

First off, check your vin to see if that's actually a Rubi or just has stickers. My first thought is 4.10 gears makes no sense when rubis are stock with 4.07s. The 6th diget will be a 6 if it's a Rubi, you can also do a vin check on Jeeps website to get the build sheet.

What axles are in it? Again rubis come with 44s front and rear, check that.

6" long arm is insane for 33s. I have a 4.5 long arm with 35's and no BL and have zero rub.

Are the brakes in the rear drum or disk? Again, rubis have 4 wheel disk.

Tuffy console: I have one now with bedrug carpet with no issues and no heat, weird that you do. It's the same console I had in my sold 99 that I lined and didn't put carpet in, again no excess heat in that jeep either.

If it's legit line-x like the PO claimes, it'll be labeled somewhere and it wouldn't come off as "poorly rhino'd" line-x is extremely high quality.

Personal opinion, it doesn't look great without rear flares, especially with the paint damage from flares.

From everything I've read and heard first hand, the new optimum batteries are trash, don't replace now obviously if it works, but don't replace it with those. When they switched manufacturers they lost quality apparently.

Weird about the jk seats, strange choice. But you could get seat covers for them if you don't like the leather, or but tj seats, they're fairly inexpensive. Check Craigslist.
Quote button at the bottom.

You can run 35s with stock Rubi gears "ok", the 5/6 speeds are arguably optimal at 4.88, autos at 5.13. but the stock 4.07s will do fine until you can afford to regear, but your 33s should feel great with stock Rubi gears.

Yeah a 6" lift will make 33s look like 30s, does it have a body lift too?
So I think it does have some body spacers on it as well, you can see them near the front and rear bumpers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I can't speak to all long arm kits, but in general... The long arm refers to the control arms, if you look at a stock Jeep you can see where the control arms hit the body, it's a welded bracket.

To put in a long arm kits, you take the short arms out, and cut the bracket off, generally grind the weld away and repaint to make it look good. And then a new bracket is then either welded or bolted through the frame to hold the new "long arms"

You could convert back to short arms, but yes... You would need to fabricate the brackets onto your frame, or replace the frame I suppose would be an option, but I'd imagine it'd be much easier and cost effective to just fab the brackets.

Someone else can chime in, but I think most if not all short arms kits will be using the factory control arm brackets. But I'm pretty confident say you can find the stock or similar brackets online and either weld yourself or have someone else weld them onto your existing frame
.. if you so choose to go back to a standard short arms lift.

That being said, I am far far far from an expert, someone else can chime in here.

Just the way my mechanic described it to me, the lift and suspension that is on the Jeep now would be great for going slow speeds, rock crawling, riding trails etc. But he did say that it is not really meant to be driving at higher speeds down the road or highway. The only reason I had considered the switch, was first because the modifications to the suspension that were done by the PO were done incorrectly and need to be fixed. So if I was going to have to spend the money to fix it, I would want to put in something that will smooth out the ride on pavement and is not so stiff where every bump has me bouncing off my seat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here are some pictures taken by the PO. I have not taken a whole lot of picture yet since I have owned it. I know they aren't the best pictures but you can see the coil springs bowing and stuff like that. Not good. Some of you with more knowledge can probably tell more about the suspension from these pictures than I can
 

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The 2003 Rubicon came stock with 4.11 diff ratios (from the build sheet) and I believe the 2004-2006 would have been the same. I don't think there was a difference between auto and manual tranny.

I know that the 2007-2017 Rubis come stock with 3.73s with automatic transmission and 4.10s with the 6 speed.

Since the stock control arm brackets are one of the items that have to be replaced due to rust up in the rust belt, replacement brackets for frame repair should be available.

TJ Rubis came stock with 16" wheels and LT245/75R16 (30.5") tires. Going to 33s would have only required a minimum lift and a 3" lift should handle 35" easily. Add in the flat fenders and the 6" is way too much and does make the tires look small.

With that much lift, I wonder if he had much larger tires on it and was using it for mud bogging. That would explain the missing carpet and the liner treatment on the floors. I am not sure if there is a heat shield under the tunnel the condole sits on or not. I know the interior of my stock plastic center console gets pretty warm, but not hot enough to burn.
 

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That suspension is a mess. Bowed springs, the upper control arm bushing in the first pic is off center so it is probably bad, some kind of odd looking steering set up. I would remove it completely and start over with something like a Currie 4". Unfortunately the po went long arm which means there was likely some irreversible modifications made the the frame and possibly axle bracketry. That is probably the reason your mechanic mentioned a new frame.

Ditch all the programmer/throttle body spacer/cold air crap. You aren't gaining anything over the stock set up, other than more dirt in the filter/engine, throwing engine codes, etc.

Stock Rubicon should have 4.10's factory. It will work with 33's but optimally you need more gear, especially if going to 35's.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That suspension is a mess. Bowed springs, the upper control arm bushing in the first pic is off center so it is probably bad, some kind of odd looking steering set up. I would remove it completely and start over with something like a Currie 4". Unfortunately the po went long arm which means there was likely some irreversible modifications made the the frame and possibly axle bracketry. That is probably the reason your mechanic mentioned a new frame.

Ditch all the programmer/throttle body spacer/cold air crap. You aren't gaining anything over the stock set up, other than more dirt in the filter/engine, throwing engine codes, etc.

Stock Rubicon should have 4.10's factory. It will work with 33's but optimally you need more gear, especially if going to 35's.

Good luck.
Yeah, so my mechanic was basically saying he could do one of two things. Replace the lift with another type of long arm lift, fixing everything that is messed up with it and going with a type of long arm that has a little more give to it. The other option he said was if I wanted to go to a more standard type suspension lift, He thinks I would need to replace the frame as well because he said there was some of those irreversible modifications made. Just trying to figure out what my best course of action is given those two options?

As far as the Edge trail jammer kit. All of that stuff was already on the vehicle when I purchased so I really had nothing to do with it. As I said above, the programmer has been removed. Pretty sure it just went bad given that it was manufactured in 2005. The throttle body and air intake are still on the vehicle. Is it really worth it to pull both of those off? or can I just leave them since they are on there and not causing any problems at the moment?

Because Edge's product caused me a lot of issues, they hooked me up with a Superchips TrailDash2 50% off. I have not received yet but am debating whether or not I am even going to install it. All I am concerned about is maximizing fuel economy of a lifted Jeep as much as I can and not feeling like I am going to roll backwards when I am driving uphill (which it kind of feels like at the moment). I have read all good things about Superchips' products but if it is a bad idea to install it, I can always sell it and make a profit because of the price I paid.

As far as the tires and gears, whether I stay with 33s or go to 35s, I still think that I need more gear based on the way that it is driving right now. Just very sluggish. I just do not know what exactly I should put in for gears?
 

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I do not like open element filters on an off road rig as they get too dirty too fast.

For gears, if staying at 33 either 4.56 more for on road, or 4.88 more for off road. If 35's are for certain go 4.88 or 5.13.
 

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If you're thinking of 35's, you'll want 4.88 gears with the 5 speed.

Is this your first jeep? Not meaning it to be insulting at all, but you say you want to maximize fuel efficiency, yet bought a 6"+ lifted jeep with 33s on it. The stock gearing in a Rubi should feel good with 33s and not sluggish whatsoever. So either something is drastically wrong, or you have unrealistic expectations of the Jeep.

You're driving a shoebox, it's never going to be fuel efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you're thinking of 35's, you'll want 4.88 gears with the 5 speed.

Is this your first jeep? Not meaning it to be insulting at all, but you say you want to maximize fuel efficiency, yet bought a 6"+ lifted jeep with 33s on it. The stock gearing in a Rubi should feel good with 33s and not sluggish whatsoever. So either something is drastically wrong, or you have unrealistic expectations of the Jeep.

You're driving a shoebox, it's never going to be fuel efficient.
Not insulting me at all, but I though you ask questions on here to have more experienced, more knowledgeable people answer the questions and help you out. Did not think I would get ridiculed. Especially because I already know what you proceeded to write which is why what I said above was "maximize the fuel efficiency of a lifted Jeep as much as possible". I have done a ton of reading are there a lot of things people say may give you just a tiny bit better fuel efficiency. I'm not asking for 27 mpg, but if something makes it even a little bit better I would not be opposed to it for the right price. That's what I was saying. Which all of that was tied back in to the fact that I got 50% of a product that claims to have a tune just for that, increasing fuel efficiency slightly by allowing your ECM to account for some of the modifications. I just don't want to run in to more electrical problems so if it is more headache than it is worth I would just re-sell the product.
 
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