First-Time Wrangler Buyer Seeking Advice - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 07:13 PM Thread Starter
GA-Family
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First-Time Wrangler Buyer Seeking Advice

Hello all,

First, we are very glad to have found this forum. Lots of great info... especially for first time buyers like us. Thanks for making this such a great resource!

Well, we're ready to make the leap... our first Wrangler! We're a family of four (kids are 7 and 9). Not sure who's more excited about owning a Jeep.

We've got it narrowed down to a '05/'06 LJ. Wonder if we could ask the group for some advice/feedback:
  1. When looking at a prior-owned Jeep, what's most important to look for? Here's a few we came up with:
    - Get a Carfax and know the Jeep's history
    - General body condition (dents, warps, uniform gaps)
    - Undercarriage (damage, leaks, rust)
    - Drive it (noises, knocks, alignment, balance)
    - Check the systems (heating/cooling, sound, cruise)
    - If we're satisfied to this point, have our local mechanic look it over
  2. Are all lift kits created equally?
    After test driving our first Jeep (with a 3" lift), we noticed the rough ride. We felt every bump in the road. A few larger bumps were near bladder busters. We expected a firmer ride but this was more like a riding lawnmower. We'll definitely compare this to our next test drive... but any thoughts are appreciated.
  3. What are some of the preferred shops/websites for parts and accessories?
    One of the things we look forward to is customizing our new toy. Aside from the trim and performance goodies, we're looking for a hardtop and secure storage options. Not sure where to start for these.

So many more questions, so little time. We'll start with these first and be back for more!

Thanks in advance for your help!
GA-Family
Atlanta, GA

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 07:50 PM
Snowplow
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Whell how you buy is up to you. I bought my 06 LJ because of price and it was very very clean, and all stock never touched. My only advice is do a price search in your state and then some other states then compare prices and make your decision on what it is worth to you.

Just keep in mind big tires and lift kits dont make a jeep worth more money. It just means that is less you have to spend.
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post #3 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 08:47 PM
RogueSpear2023
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If I were you especially if you don't know a lot about jeeps I would buy one as un-modified as possible particularly when it comes to lift and suspension. The reason being first you don't know how it was done, or if done right. A suspension that was not properly installed can cost thousands more to fix than if you would have just bought a lift and done it yourself or qualified mechanic. The other reason is you will want to buy the lift you want, not what some one else wants. If you buy a good quality lift like OME, Rubicon Express, and a few others they will ride 10x better than stock, if you go cheap, the ride can be far worse than stock with some of the cheaper lifts. But when buying look mainly for leaks and scrapes on the skids underneath.

Max

2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
4.0L, 42RLE, Dual Tops, Full Doors, JKS Front Disconnects, Cragar Soft 8 Black Wheels, 33x12.5x15 Goodyear Duratracs, .75" Front Coil Spacers, Bushwacker 6" Flat Fender Flares, Skid Row Steering Box Skid, LubeLockers, Rubicon Locker Mod, OBA, Cobra 19 Ultra III CB, 3' Firestik, Rough Country 2.2 Steering Stabilizer, RC 1.25" BL, RC 1" MML, RC Grab Handles, Fog Lamp Bent Pin Mod, 4" Apline S Series Speakers, Kenwood Excelon 6.5" Speakers, 6.5" JL Audio 6W3V3 Subwoofer (in center console) w/MTX Thunder 202 amp, IPF H4 Headlight Housing, Sliverstar H4 bulbs.




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"Buying a jeep and not taking it off road, is like buying a dragster and never taking it to the track"
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 09:44 PM
critterjeep
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yeah i'd buy more of a stocker. i'm gonna suggest the rubicon because i'm biased.

your list of stuff to check looks good. if you get a soft top model, check it good for tears and check the zippers.

2003 Rubicon (shale green/khaki), 33x12.5x15 BFG Mud KM2s on Pro Comp 8179s (Firestone Winterforce on stock Moabs for winter), Bilstein 5100s, 3" AEV (nth) Progessive coils, OME steering stabilizer, 1" M.O.R.E. body lift, JKS adj. track bar in the front, 1" JKS budget motor mount lift, RC quick discos, OR-Fab rear rock crawler bumper with 2" receiver, Rokmen 3/16" steering box skid plate, Rokmen rear frame tie-ins, Teraflex 3/16" heavy-duty oil pan skid plate, Alpine CDE-124SXM CD/sat radio MP3 player, Bestop sliding windows, Bestop Safari Bikini top (green military camo), Mopar "windjammer" rear window, Mopar "duster" tonneau cover with tailgate bar, Rockhard Full roll cage with full padding, KC slimlites long range/off road lights on KC windshield mounts, Tuffy security glove box, Pilot LED tail lights.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 09:57 PM
glockster
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Well, the only thing I'll ad is that you've already made the wise decision to go LJ. Saved yourself a big step right there.

Marco


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post #6 of 11 Old 07-05-2009, 10:17 PM
xantasm
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Well as far as an LJ hardtop, I've looked and looked and have only found a few scattered about on the private sales like ebay and craiglist and shipping makes it not worth it if its not within driving distance. Quadratech sells Mopar OEM hardtops for about the same price as the dealer does which considering the dealers take up to five months to deliver it and quadratec sends it UPS, isnt that bad. There is also a company called rallytops that makes one thats a bit different than the OEM ones but is pretty good looking still:
http://www.rallytops.com/jeep/unlimited.html


As far as where to check, Im sure there are many that can be suggested as there are lots of different vendors out there selling jeep parts and a number of them here on the forums as members and vendors.

To start with I'd check
jcwhitney.com - they have a catalog section just for jeeps
quadratec.com
4wd.com also same as 4wheelparts.com
acmejeepparts.com
jeep4x4center.com - these guys also have online PDF's of the OEM parts catalogs available for download
allthingsjeep.com
jeepworld.com
tops4less.com
central4wd.com

Those are a good list of catalog type sellers and I'd recommend price comparing between them as they all have better deals on some things and worse deals on others. If you get into specific things like bumpers, skids, sliders, suspension or what have you just ask on the forums and Im sure you will get lots more choices. If you want a really long list, PM me and I can forward what I have to you but the ones I listed will cover most of what I think you might be after for now. Welcome to the LJ world.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-06-2009, 07:31 AM
kapsig1
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Buy an LJ rubicon
if you are the second owner you can transfer the powertrain warrenty
Look for mud in odd places and bad mods

I lifted my lj with the ZJ /LJ OME JKS Hybrid lift and it is more comforatable than stock


Also with your size family dont count out a 07 -10 4 door unlimited rubicon
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post #8 of 11 Old 07-06-2009, 07:38 AM
cadencedad
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Welcome to the Forum.. There is alot of knowledge and Clubs here so indulge. Also if its got a lift kit be aware of how hard it was wheeled. I would buy one that needs building. You can do what you want to it yourself! And also it probably hasnt been wheeled to death! My 2 cents..
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-06-2009, 08:03 AM
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Obviously I don't know what kind of suspension setup that one you drove had. Mine has a simple 2" BB (budget boost) for looks, but it retains the stock springs. When I changed to Skyjacker shocks it made the ride alot softer.

How do you plan on driving it? If you just want a Jeep to have fun cruising around town topless, you may not want a rubicon. or a hardtop. The Rubi's get worse mileage than a regular Wranglers because of their offroad tires and gearing.

Also hardtops are great in the winter, but it will likely be off in the summer anyway. Security is always an issue. I've had stuff stolen out of mine. I would suggest an Add-A-Trunk. LJ's have more room behind the rear seat so it's a decent size storage area.

BTW welcome to JeepForum.

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Wranglers lead the way. I mean, Rangers lead the way!

Last edited by Roughneck; 07-08-2009 at 05:39 AM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 09:00 AM
VecoPlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA-Family View Post
Well, we're ready to make the leap... our first Wrangler! We're a family of four (kids are 7 and 9). Not sure who's more excited about owning a Jeep.
I can answer this one for you... right now everyone is equally excited but the more you do to your jeep the more excited you and the kids will get and the less excited your wife will become

I Peter 3:15 ... are you ready?
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post #11 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 09:08 AM
VecoPlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GA-Family View Post
[*]Are all lift kits created equally?
After test driving our first Jeep (with a 3" lift), we noticed the rough ride. We felt every bump in the road. A few larger bumps were near bladder busters. We expected a firmer ride but this was more like a riding lawnmower. We'll definitely compare this to our next test drive... but any thoughts are appreciated.
That is what you call a short arm kit and likely a cheap one as there are alot out there. The ride quality is also a big factor of the load rating of the tires. If you are in a ~5k vehicle riding on tires made for an ~8k vehicle then the stiffness of the tires is going to transfer every little bump to your posterior. If you want a lift look to companies that make quality longarm components for the "best" ride (i.e. Clayton is my favorite) however there are plenty of shortarms that go that extra little bit to make ride a great deal more comfortable on-road (although they admittedly still lack the flex and HD nature of a long-arm) If you maintain your factory suspension geometry the ride will only improve due to the incorporation of superior compnents like springs, shocks, and joints
[*]What are some of the preferred shops/websites for parts and accessories?
One of the things we look forward to is customizing our new toy. Aside from the trim and performance goodies, we're looking for a hardtop and secure storage options. Not sure where to start for these.
[/LIST]
This is one of those "everyone has a different opinion" questions. Personally I try and stay away from the 4WD, JC Whitney, Quadratec, and 4 Wheel Parts places because I think that they take away from the culture of what it means to own a Jeep. I seem to have GREAT luck with Jason LaLiberty up at 4x4 groupbuy.com both from communication, price, and speed of delivery. Personally I like to call somewhere and have the person answering the phone recognize my voice and that is what you get from a smaller outft that you lose with the big box guys.
So many more questions, so little time. We'll start with these first and be back for more!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GA-Family View Post
Thanks in advance for your help!
GA-Family
Atlanta, GA

I Peter 3:15 ... are you ready?
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