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Unread 10-14-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
mwmoon
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I think I want a four-door JK; now I have questions

This is my second thread in about a month after well over a year away from the forums. A little background, followed by a sentence or two for the tl;dr crowd:

I got my first Jeep, a '94 Grand Cherokee, as an undergrad in '02. I drove it till a collision with a tractor at 55 mph rendered it undriveable, at which time I bought an '05 TJ (the Jeep that's probably still in my profile). In a fit of madness, I sold it about a year ago for a Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie. Awesome truck, but not a Jeep.

A month or two ago, I finally admitted to my wife that I made a huge mistake and wanted to remedy the situation. To my surprise, she agreed. A week or so after that came an even bigger surprise: We're going to be having our first kid in May.

Since the family is expanding, I shifted my attention from TJ Rubicon ads on Craigslist to four-door JK ads on Craigslist. While I know a decent amount about TJs, I am essentially clueless on JKs and need some help on the buying process. Any and all help would be very much appreciated:

FOR THOSE WITH SHORT ATTENTION SPANS, START READING HERE:
  1. How are the four-door JKs as a family vehicle? Am I going to have room for all my crap, my wife's crap and Moon Jr.'s crap when we decide to take a trip to the mountains or the beach? Any other concerns as far as capability to haul my wife and kid around town, on pavement and off?
  2. Are there any model years to stay away from? Since '07 was the first year of the JK, my instincts say to stay away from that one. Correct me if I'm wrong, and add on to the list of any particular vehicles to avoid.
  3. One of the first things I want to do when I get a new Jeep is put 33s or maybe even 35s on it. How much lift am I looking at?
  4. Compared to TJ mods, how much more expensive are JK mods (winch bumpers, rock sliders, etc.)?
  5. Rear seats: I've read that a lot (all?) of four-door JKs have split folding rear seats. True/false?
  6. Are the doors just as easy to remove as they are on TJs?
  7. Any specific trim packages I should look out for (or avoid)? This is going to be my daily driver for a very long time, and I plan to spend a good deal of time at (and on) the beach and/or Uwharrie (an awesome park in N.C. with trails galore), but I'm not going to be doing any extreme rock crawling or anything like that.
  8. I really need to come in at under $18,000 on this Jeep (before trade-in). What can I expect in this range?

I know this is a long post, and I hope you guys can point me to some helpful info. I want to do this right, especially with a kid on the way.

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Unread 10-15-2013, 06:32 PM   #2
gogogooch
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My $0.02

With 1 kid you should be able to use the JKU for the family unless you pack 1/2 your house when you vacation. Car seat will fit fine and you can split the seat for more room. All JKU's have split rear seats that I am aware of. The ride is better than the TJ but you wont mistake a JKU for a Buick.

From reading on here I would say the '07 and '08s have the most issues with regard to leaks and oil consumption. At $18K I dont think a '12 or newer will be in your budget. Those have the new 3.6 Pentastar engines.

Rubicons will be pricey in the JKU range. Not sure an '09 would come under $18k unless it has alot of miles on it - not sure if that would be an issue for you or not.

I have a Sahara and love it. Its very capable for the things you are talking about and the Saharas come with alot of creature comforts standard.

In '10 there was an 'interior' update. You'd have to decide if the '09 or '10 interior is more to your liking. I prefer the more rudimentary '09 interior but to each their own.

Ill leave others to answer some of the other questions.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 08:42 PM   #3
nickcee47
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Taking the rotors off in the back are a B$^%$ Brakes are such a pain in the butt to replace. Helped my friend take off his. sledge hammer for hours was the only way.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
mwmoon
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Thanks. Both posts were helpful.

I looked at a few JKU's at the dealership yesterday, and I definitely need to add keyless entry to my must-have list. Getting in the back seat looked like a pain in the tail on the one that didn't have that option.

I found an '08 Sahara in Raleigh with 122k miles for $16,995 on cars.com, but it's no longer on their website, so it may be gone. Before I even call, would love some feedback on what you think of that Jeep at that price.

I also found an '07 Sahara that is almost exactly what I'm looking for, down to the color. Are there any issues I need to look for on the '07s since they're the first year of the JKs?
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Unread 10-16-2013, 09:55 AM   #5
Adam013085
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122k miles is a hell of a lot of miles for $17k. If you can be patient you can find a JKU with lower miles for around $20k or so. You could probably get something like that close to your price range.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
mwmoon
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That's exactly what I thought, but I'm admittedly clueless when it comes to JK's. I was a TJ guy.

This is a link to the other one I was talking about: http://carolinacoastimports.com/2007...9/Details.aspx

Mileage is the only thing that concerns me on that Jeep. Everything else seems to be exactly what I'm looking for.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 11:17 AM   #7
Adam013085
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I see many ppl buying high mileage JKs TJs whatever. Id buy a high mileage Jeep but I wouldn't want to pay near that price.
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Unread 10-16-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
mwmoon
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Yep. I don't mind the miles so much as the price. So what's a fair offer for that JKU? Worst the dealer can (and almost certainly will) do is say no.

Last edited by mwmoon; 10-16-2013 at 11:26 AM.. Reason: typo
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Unread 10-31-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
mwmoon
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Bump: Looking at a different JKU Sahara. It's an '08 six-speed with 89k miles. Like I said before, high miles don't worry me, but I would appreciate some feedback on what I should expect to pay for it. They're asking $21,900, which is entirely too much in my opinion.

If you were in my shoes, would you bother with making an offer or just look elsewhere?
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Unread 11-01-2013, 07:08 AM   #10
Adam013085
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Wranglers seem to hold their value better than others. That being said about 2 years ago I was looking at JKU in either a sahara or rubi and couldnt touch one for under $25k asking price. Id say they are within a few k of a fair price. I wouldn't want to spend that much on a vehicle with that amount of miles regarless of it being a jeep or any other make.
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Unread 11-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #11
mwmoon
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I found a black 2014 JKU Sport in Virginia with a sticker price at $22,260 and a Sport S with better gears and power windows/locks listed at $25,875.

I called my local dealer, and their words were, "If they can do it, we can do it." So now I need to know how much more to ask at the local dealership before gearing up for a four-hour drive to the DC area. I also need to know whether it is worth it to upgrade to the "S" package.
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Unread 11-01-2013, 11:12 AM   #12
blackjeep05
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Wow 26k for a JKU new with power windows and locks and the 3.73s? Damn if all that is true thats a deal. If it has a hardtop with cruise its a steal. I think you will love the JKU more than the Tj once you drive it for a week. I know I do. I came from a 05 LJ which is the streched Tj and though it was leaps and bounds better than my previous Tj and Yj it still had its limits especially for hauling things around and comfort. I thought I would miss my 4.0 being I have driven them so long but, I forgot all about them. Once you learn how to drive the 3.8L if thats what you end up with its better in every way vs the 4.0L. I thought I messed up by getting the JKU at first but, the more I have driven it I realize what I was truly missing. Yea its still a Jeep but, it don't ride like a horse and buggy and you don't have to yell to talk to someone rather it be on the phone or in the vehicle. What really has me amazed is my 05 LJ that had the perfect set up for 32s got less gas mileage than my JKU with the same size tires. Mind you the JKU is much heavier than the LJ and way heavier than the YJ and TJ. My LJ got on average 14MPG vs 18 to 19 I'm getting with my JKU. Plus the 4.0L is not a highway engine any transmission with overdrive just kills it especially in hills and high elevation. I also have a little munchkin on the way so it was time to kinda have a second family vehicle in case the first one goes down. If you have any other questions just ask. Feel free to pm if you like.
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Unread 11-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #13
mwmoon
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Thanks!

Yeah, from what I have read and heard, it sounds like this is a pretty sweet deal. A dealership on the other side of the state laughed at me and told me I was being unreasonable when I said I wanted one in that price range.

I was about to settle on a used Jeep when I saw this one pop up in a search result.
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Unread 11-01-2013, 11:29 AM   #14
blackjeep05
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Yea 26k is awesome. Around here you would be spending 30 to 31k easy and doing good to get it at that out the door. Jeeps are gold here. Heck I sold my 05 LJ with 105k for 16k. Lady came to look at it and a few hours later was asking how I wanted the money.
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Unread 11-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
mwmoon
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I'm gonna ask for $25k, but I think that's pushing my luck. Even if they're only willing to match the Va. dealership, I'm almost certainly going to take the deal, especially with the equity I have in the truck I'm trading in. Maybe I'll ask them to throw some black rims on it to finalize the deal.

My wife suggested (entirely tongue-in-cheek) that we get a minivan since we are going to have a kid. I countered with this particular van as the only acceptable option, but I think I'll stick with a JKU as the family vehicle:

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