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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I have the opportunity to purchase a 2003 Rubicon that has been set up completely for offroading. Not sure of the exact mods, but it is lifted and my mechanic said something about the mounts being cut and rewelded somewhere to make the long arms fit correctly.

Either way, it only has 44k miles on it, most of those are from off roading and crawling. It has been sitting for about 2 years untouched and needs about $2500 worth of work just to get roadworthy.

It looks nice, but I will be using it mainly as a daily driver.

Other notes are it has a hard top and soft top, but because it has been sitting for so long needs to be cleaned thoroughly, has mold, etc.

My question to you all is:
Is a rig that has been set up for an off road rig ok to use as a daily driver? I commute about 30 miles a day, some highway. I am just nervous based on what my mechanic said about it being strictly an off road set up. He did say it was all done nice, but needs to be fixed up a bit.

Any feedback you have would be great. I really need a vehicle and have been offered a screaming deal on this.

Thank you!
Dan
 

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It'll probably bounce, wobble, and shake on the road. since Its a crawler you don't notice things like that when at crawling speed.
 

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I'd stay away from it as a DD. Here's my Jeep and with the MT/R tires it has less than perfect road manners. My Jeep is not a DD and it would not make a good DD.
 

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I was told to stay away from lifted rigs because you never know how bad a lift was put on. You should just build up a stocker and have that be your DD. I'm guessing it has 35's or even 37's and you don't want that for daily use.

Before I bought my jeep, I talked to my dad's friend about two nice built jeeps on 35's and 37's. He said you can never be sure what was done right and what was done wrong, so I went with a stock jeep. It's more rewarding to build something slowly from scratch than just get it all at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It has 33's but they have slow leaks so I would be replacing them.

My mechanic said the lift was put on well, but he said there's no going back to stock.

The main thing I'm struggling with is the fact that it is such a good deal, way cheaper than I could buy a stock for. I have been looking for a while and a stock with 150k miles or so goes for $5k or so. This one only has 44k miles and is much cheaper than $5k. Its a friend of a friend who is selling it so he is giving a super deal.
 

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The part of "no going back" is what would worry me. If you could get pictures of the suspension and underneath, I'm sure you could get some better input on here. Sure sounds like a killer deal!
 

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I'm going to play devil's advocate.....
It'll probably bounce, wobble, and shake on the road. since Its a crawler you don't notice things like that when at crawling speed.
And it may not.....

Just because it's a "crawler" doesn't mean it has poor road manners.
I'd stay away from it as a DD. Here's my Jeep and with the MT/R tires it has less than perfect road manners. My Jeep is not a DD and it would not make a good DD.
Explain what it doesn't do well and why.
I was told to stay away from lifted rigs because you never know how bad a lift was put on.
This may be true or the suspension could be well-executed. We don't know until we see pictures.
You should just build up a stocker and have that be your DD. I'm guessing it has 35's or even 37's and you don't want that for daily use.
I DD'd my TJ for 3 years on 35's before getting a second vehicle. My steering, gearing, suspension and brakes were excellent and it made for a fine DD. If I had to loan out either of my DD's now, I wouldn't hesitate to drive my Jeep every day....it's now on 37's and the steering, gearing, suspension and brakes are comparatively better than they were on 35's. It drives as nicely as any TJ on 37's you'll ever drive.
Before I bought my jeep, I talked to my dad's friend about two nice built jeeps on 35's and 37's. He said you can never be sure what was done right and what was done wrong, so I went with a stock jeep. It's more rewarding to build something slowly from scratch than just get it all at once.
Agreed, you just never know. I started with a stock vehicle and did all of the work from there. Some people may want to get a head start and that's fine. But they need to be smart enough to know what to look for and what to avoid. 99.9% of the "modified" Jeeps out there are built to pretty poor standards as far as I'm concerned. If you can find that needle in the haystack (well-executed, low miles, good price) then go for it.
It has 33's but they have slow leaks so I would be replacing them.

My mechanic said the lift was put on well, but he said there's no going back to stock.

The main thing I'm struggling with is the fact that it is such a good deal, way cheaper than I could buy a stock for. I have been looking for a while and a stock with 150k miles or so goes for $5k or so. This one only has 44k miles and is much cheaper than $5k. Its a friend of a friend who is selling it so he is giving a super deal.
Post some pictures of the suspension, steering and axles.

It can't be too "extreme" on 33's. Sorry, it just can't be. That's not a large tire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·


That's a recent pic, the two below are from like 2005... doesn't look like much changed on it...





Not sure if these pics help at all, not sure I will be able to get more, I am going to see it tonight, but not sure I will be able to get pics....
 

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I like the Drop Kick Slyders! Definitely on my shortlist.
 

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For what its worth I DD my jeep on 35s, Sure it has its little quirks and I cant take corners like a race car but other than that I have no complaints. Just pay attention to your suspension and bushings, and if you have stock brakes plan your stops out. And if youre saying you can get that for less than $5K? cause that's a heck of a deal if so, I'd jump on it if it was me.
 

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Used my 20 year old Trail jeep as my daily driver for 4 months till I got a new car. Jeep had over 200k miles on it, 35's and all the other stuff... did fine drove about 5k miles in that time.. I don't see why the rubicon would be different.. Once the basics of the refresh were done.. I would run some AT or all season tires for the street to help with ride and braking. what is the asking price for the jeep?
 

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I'd say, if you can get an 03 Rubicon with less than 44K miles for under 5K, go for it. Even if you have to put some $$$ into it you should be way ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah I mean for what it is I think I am getting a deal and a half. The issue is going to be, I need to drive this to work and back every day. Is it going to pose too much of a problem for me you think? Are those 33's or 35's? Would I be better suited to 33 or 35? Lot's of questions, sorry. I don't plan on doing too much off roading, but love the thought of having the option.
 

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Assuming a true Rubicon...that thing would go for way North of 5k around here if it runs decently and no radical noises. Probably closer to 9 or 10. Probably go for 5k with an engine knock.

Ive seen rusty 99's with tons of miles going for more than that.

I would snatch it up based on that. Looks like it needs some work or it wouldn't be just sitting there like that. Probably vibes/wobbles like crazy, needs u joints, tires, fluids changed. Be prepared to stick at least a couple grand into it. Maybe not tho....

Air up the tires, put a battery in it and drive it around the block. Or better yet, send out a request to see if there is a local jeeper around that is willing to take a look at it with you.
 

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I'm going to play devil's advocate.....

Explain what it doesn't do well and why.
I recently modified my Jeep from stock. I used Currie Lift Components (Johnnie Joints), Currie Steering, Fox 2.0 shocks, and Goodyear MT/R 285/70 R17 tires on 17" wheels. I had the Jeep aligned at Arrow Alignment and Frame and the laser has everything within 3/32" front to rear...in other words spot on alignment.

The Jeep tracks straight and brakes straight when on a smooth surface, but if the road surface has any deviations the MT/R tires will track the deviation, and track off course. It is not bad, nor is the highway handling anywhere near white knuckle...it is just not a daily driver kind of vehicle. My FJ Cruiser is a far better DD than my Jeep.

Although I'd rather be "seen" in my Jeep. :)
 

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It has 33's but they have slow leaks so I would be replacing them.

My mechanic said the lift was put on well, but he said there's no going back to stock.

The main thing I'm struggling with is the fact that it is such a good deal, way cheaper than I could buy a stock for. I have been looking for a while and a stock with 150k miles or so goes for $5k or so. This one only has 44k miles and is much cheaper than $5k. Its a friend of a friend who is selling it so he is giving a super deal.
Much less than 5k for a Rubicon?? Buy it now!!!!!!!!!!! Worse case scenario, if it's too much to be a daily driver, you could probably turn it and sell it for double than that tomorrow.
 

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I see a Paragon sticker on it, so that might mean the Jeep is in PA somewhere. If you pass on it, please let me know and send the buyers info my way :)

If the engine runs well..not much rust and your mechanic thinks it's pretty sound, If I were you , I really would consider buying it. That price, in my opinion, is a steal for a working or even non working Rubicon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's definitely not in PA, its here in Connecticut I am checking in out this evening. but yeah the engine is good, kinda covered in pollen/moldiness as its been sitting for so long....

The more I think about it, the more it is worth it. Even if I fix it and don't like it, I should be able to sell it and make my money back.
 

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Some TLC and more street friendly tires would help.
If your mechanic checked it out and stamped the approval of the lift and everything seems tight, buy it.
What part of CT? Jeep looks familiar
 

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I think you would be able to make your money back easily if you buy it and decide you don't want it. I just did a search on Craigslist for Rubicons.... The cheapest one I saw in my area...Northern NJ, was a stock 2003 Orange rubicon with 252,000 miles for 7500.

I honestly think if you put a little bit of elbow grease into it just to clean it up a little, you could easily make a big profit on it if you decide it's too much to use as a daily driver.

Or for the money you're saving with buying it, pick up an old ZJ for about 1500, and there is your new daily driver while you have a new to you bad a$$ Rubicon too :) That's actually what I did, I found a 97 Grand Cherokee Limited on CL. Really high mileage, it had some rust, but the engine ran great. I paid $750 for it. It's been my daily driver for the past year. I've only had to change the alternator. Parts for the ZJ are everywhere too..new and used from junk yards. So my TJ is for fun, weekends and whatever else, and the ZJ does my 80 mile round trip commute to work..with a little bit better gas mileage...and heated seats :)
 
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