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  1. #1
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    Default Buying a Wrangler

    So I've mentioned in the past that I was hoping to buy a Wrangler for my wife some day. I'm at the point where I want to start gaining a little knowledge about the Jeep Wrangler so I can hopefully make a good educated selection.

    I know that I want a "TJ", and they stop making them in 2006.
    I know that I want a 4.0l engine and a manual transmission.
    I know that I want a hard top. If it comes with a soft top great, but knowing my wife when she wants it quite(ish) or warm she's going to want the hard top and the full doors.

    So those are the things I know. If you see something about that as to why I wouldn't want those things please chime in.

    If you have any advice I'd love to read it.

    As far as I know all the TJ's have Dana 35 rear ends, with the exception of the Rubicon that has a Dana 44(?) I know some of the TJ's are the normal very short wheel base but there are some with long wheel base. Perhaps those are Rubicon as well. I believe my pref would be the Rubicon, but I don't want to spend 20k for a 5 year old vehicle.

    I would like to find a white one or a red one. Those are my wife's favs.

    I will be lifting it, and I will be putting larger tires on it, but unless I'm driving it off road it's going to be a mall crawler for my wife. It will get re-geared because the tires will be at least 33's or 35's. One of the reasons I was leaning to the Dana 44 rear end.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    The D44 was a option in the rear of TJ's, not just the rubicons. The longer wheelbase one is a Unlimited, also known as a LJ, and also those aren't all rubicons. Also you said you wanted a manual transmission. In the newer ones you have the option of a 5speed or a 6speed. I'd go with the 6speed.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Quote Originally Posted by bigjim350 View Post
    The D44 was a option in the rear of TJ's, not just the rubicons. The longer wheelbase one is a Unlimited, also known as a LJ, and also those aren't all rubicons. Also you said you wanted a manual transmission. In the newer ones you have the option of a 5speed or a 6speed. I'd go with the 6speed.
    oooo good info, thanks.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Tony, you won't need nearly as much lift on the TJ to fit 33"s or 35"s as you would on the XJ.
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
    1997 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto RIP 6/6/2016
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    yup 31's with NO lift looks like yours with 4.5 inches... its pretty cool and I DO know that the TJ's didnt have the cooling issue NEARLY as badly as the XJ's do

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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    I thought about picking up a Wrangler myself.. Everyone says that I should def. pick up a Rubicon.. but I figure I'm going to replace everything that makes it any different from a standard TJ, with the exception of the 4:1 TC, and the D44's... so the expense of the Rubi is def. not really worth it in the end to me..
    FORMER GREEN XJ CLUB MEMBER
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Well down here in setx the 4:1 rubicon transfer case is kinda useless, cause there ain't much crawling. In the deep mud we have 4wd hi bogs down too much and the rubicon 4wd lo won't give enough wheel speed.

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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedragon436 View Post
    I thought about picking up a Wrangler myself.. Everyone says that I should def. pick up a Rubicon.. but I figure I'm going to replace everything that makes it any different from a standard TJ, with the exception of the 4:1 TC, and the D44's... so the expense of the Rubi is def. not really worth it in the end to me..
    Agreed the only reason id OPT for a rubi is if its still under factory warranty... just to cover the lockers... other than that I would NEVER prefer a rubi since all that it offers is what I would be installing CHEAPER and probably better anyhow!
    My jeep has done so well over the years and I have followed all but TWO rubicons... but they werent "rubicons" anymore they were big billy baddass buggies other than that I can go with em anywhere!
    You gotta learn to walk before you can crawl!

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    go with a rubi or unlimited, you get the locker & d44(i dont know about the locker in the unlimited), you can get a used one for under 15 easy. also id get both tops, or buy one with hard top and get a soft top seperate, just for the fact that it sucks if you want to the top off with a hard top. just taking it off and putting it somewhere sucks.

    also as it was stated, you can lift a wrangler 4" and run 35's but they might rub a little bit. i had 33's on mine with 4" and it looked good. i think you can run 33's with a stock lift or damn near close.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    If you want a 6-speed, then look at a 2006 Unlimited. For street driving and mild off roading the six speed will be fine.

    Unlimiteds all had the Dana 44 rear end with disc brakes. The factory Dana 44 is barely an upgrade from the Dana 35. Do not let anybody kid you, these ARE NOT comparable to the old style Dana 44. For street driving and mild off roading the factory Dana 44 will be fine. Two examples: 1) I bent my factory TJ Dana 44 and replaced it with an old school 44. No problems then. 2) The disc brakes on the rear of my XJ came off an Unlimiteds bent Dana 44 after the owner upgraded to a Dana 60.

    For lift, put a 1" body lift on, 1" motor mount lift, and 2-1/2" Rancho Rockcrawler Suspension System and it will clear 33 x 12.5 x 15 tires. You may or may not have to put a SYE on it. My TJ with a shorter wheelbase did not vibrate at all as described above. The motor mount lift made the difference. I believe Rancho now has a 4" Rockcrawler kit. That should clear the 35" tires. I liked my 2-1/2" Rancho Rockcrawler Suspension System. It came complete with everything you need. New pitman arm, new brake lines, etc.

    Hardtop is a good option to get with the Jeep. They are afterwards + you will have to get the doors, too.
    Last edited by XJ Rat; 07-24-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    I just glanced through the responses again, and I don't think anyone mention the best year. You know like the XJ has the 1999 when everything came together at least for the 97+ models.

    Is there a year TJ to want? A year to stay away from?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudderoy View Post
    I just glanced through the responses again, and I don't think anyone mention the best year. You know like the XJ has the 1999 when everything came together at least for the 97+ models.

    Is there a year TJ to want? A year to stay away from?
    Depends on what you want:
    TJ or LJ
    Rubicon or Sport
    5 speed or 6 speed

    I would look for a 2006 LJ. They had the 6 speed and lockers (Rubicon).
    Semper Fi

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    Quote Originally Posted by XJ Rat View Post
    Depends on what you want:
    TJ or LJ
    Rubicon or Sport
    5 speed or 6 speed

    I would look for a 2006 LJ. They had the 6 speed and lockers (Rubicon).
    Oh I forgot about that. Isn't the LJ really just a slightly modified TJ? Longer really? Same 4.0L and transmission? If so I think the LJ would be fine.

    This will be a road warrior vehicle.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    LJ is like the Scrambler version of the TJ Wranglers.. Longer wheelbase and are known as Unlimiteds.

    TJ:


    LJ:
    1993 2 door 4x4 4.0 5 speed
    1997 4 door 4x2 4.0 auto RIP 6/6/2016
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Buying a Wrangler

    All LJ's have a D44 rear axle. Most are autos, but there are a few manuals. The biggest disadvantage to LJ's is the aftermarket for tops and windows is very limited since they only made them for 2 years. Early TJ's were carbed and don't have the coil packs. Rubicons weren't made until '03, they have air lockers, and the 4:1 transfer case, 4:10 gears and a D44 in front. Soft tops are really not any colder than hard tops, but they are much easier to lower/raise than hard tops. With a hard top you need 2 people or a hoist and pray you don't get stuck in a downpour... Half doors are my choice over full doors for the ease of removal as well. Full doors are heavy, and abundant used if she decides she must have them. Half doors have much more elbow room and a nicer arm rest. Watch for rust under the carpet, and on the fenders. Tailgate hinges get tweaked by carrying an oversized spare on the gate. www.wranglerforum.com is the best (nicest) wrangler forum I know of, and I highly recommend you spend some time there reading. As mentioned 3" will clear 33's easily. To go higher requires SYE's and all that stuff of which I know nothing...

    I'm sure there's more, but right now I can't think of anything. I love my TJ, she's by far the most fun vehicle I've ever owned. And I know where you can get some awesome custom seat covers for your wife for Christmas...

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