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Unread 04-14-2008, 12:00 PM   #1
AZJeepNewbie
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Used Rubicon Questions

Hi all,

Does a 2006 Rubicon have a control inside the vehicle for locking the axles? Or is are they locked automatically when in 4x4 low? I've been reading the various FAQ's, and it's note quite clear on that point. I'm evaluating a Rubicon I might purchase, and am suspecting it might be a fake Rubicon. The other thing I'm going to do is inspect the differentials with the pictures posted in the faq, which BTW, is very useful! So thanks to the folks who contributed to that.

Thanks a bunch.


Last edited by AZJeepNewbie; 04-14-2008 at 07:21 PM.. Reason: Changed title
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Unread 04-14-2008, 12:47 PM   #2
Dragon158
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It will have switches.
And your welcome, those are my Rubicon 44 pictures in that thread. I still think that was a great idea!

P.S. Run the VIN on anything your considering, call the dealer and get the build list before parting with any cash. Good luck, you'll love it.

Last edited by Dragon158; 04-14-2008 at 12:49 PM.. Reason: added info
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Unread 04-14-2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips, Dragon. I really appreciate it.

I'm gonna head over to the dealer later today and take another look at the vehicle. One of the things that made me suspicious was that it had 15" wheels on it and street tires. Even I know that's wrong.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 02:19 PM   #4
Dragon158
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I'm curious to see it, take pictures if you can. I can't imagine a dealer trying to pull a fast one with a fake Rubi, but who knows.
The switches with be in the center of the dash, just above the center console. One switch for the front and one switch for the rear. Let us know how you made out.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 06:46 PM   #5
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Ok, it's definitely a Rubicon. Axle locking controls on the dash confirm, and the differentials are Dana 44 Rubicon variant as confirmed by the very helpful pictures in the FAQ.

I took a much better look at it and test drove it. Overall it's amazingly clean. Low mileage, still under factory warranty for 8 more months. There are a couple of things that concern me.

1) Original wheels have been replaced with 15" Jeep wheels. Should have 16" right? The salesman told me that one of the wheels had been damaged, so they put a whole new set on. There are curb dings on the wheels, so they're probably junkyard wheels. Could it be the whole set was cheaper than just buying a single replacement wheel? Since my primary purpose in buying the vehicle is to use it off-road, I'll at least need tires. Preferably I'm assuming I should replace the wheels with 16"? Thoughts?

2) Car had a notable shimmy coming from the front drive side. The saleman noted it, and they're going to check it out. Could be something as simple as a bad balance, tire or wheel. Otherwise, the car drove really great. Best used jeep I've driven yet (although, I've only test driven three so far.) Smooth, and surprisingly quick.

3) In 4 wheel low, with locked axles, there was a rather large delay before the car accelerated off the line from idle. Like almost one second of delay, then it would lurch off the line. It felt like a huge drive-line lash. The transmission is an automatic. Is this normal? It seemed very odd.

4) The dealer printed off the CarFax. The car is from the other end of the state. On two occasions, it has been back to the dealer for "Steering/Suspension Checked". On one of those occasions it says "Parts Ordered".

Another interesting thing is that it has an aftermarket roll cage. I don't mind it, but I'm not wild about the bar across the dash which obscures my view a bit. I have a short back and long legs, which causes me to sit low anyway. So the bar doesn't help. Maybe I can lift the seat, but the roll cage has overhead bars that are fairly close as it is.

Here are a couple of pics.






Aside from the concerns mentioned above, I really like the car. It's amazingly clean, and under 30K miles. But it's already way more money than I originally budget for to buy a Jeep. I know I'll need tires, and maybe wheels. So if it turns out to be a lemon, or need anything expensive, then I'm really screwed.

Thoughts anyone? Thanks again.

Last edited by AZJeepNewbie; 04-14-2008 at 07:16 PM..
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Unread 04-14-2008, 08:23 PM   #6
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A lot of people replace the 16" factory rims, I like the look of mine and plan on keeping them.
I have automatic transmission, wife made me do it.
I'm not sure about the feeling of the locked axles, it will act like you described, but without seeing it I can't be 100% sure there are no issues with it.
It appears that someone started to modify it, with the roll cage installation. If the previous owner took it off road, that may be the origin of the steering shimmy. When I bought mine I looked for a Jeep that was totally original, because I wanted to build it to suit my taste etc... & more importantly I wanted to know that it was done correctly.
I may not have answered any of the questions you have, but I have one for you. You mentioned that you were surprised it was an automatic. The reason I ask is because the manual & automatic transmissions have different gear ratios etc... It will come into play if you decide to put larger tires on it. For example if I put 33's on mine, with an automatic I may have to shut off my OD switch. Or it could possibly kick in and out of OD, which my cause wear and tear etc...
Just something else to think about... But my opinion, it looks nice but if it's out of your price range and it's been modified from original. I'd pass, unless I could get the price down substantially. Before you make a choice please let some other guys chime in. I'm no Jeep expert and I've only had mine for a year.

Last edited by Dragon158; 04-14-2008 at 08:24 PM.. Reason: typo
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Unread 04-14-2008, 08:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragon158 View Post
You mentioned that you were surprised it was an automatic.
Whoops. That was unfortunate wording on my part when I said "is this normal". I was actually talking about the differential locking introducing a big delay in coming off the line. But I mentioned the automatic trans in the same breath. Sorry to have mislead. Most of the Jeeps out here seem to be automatics for some reason.

You know, I think I may take your advice and pass on this one. Too many unknowns for the price.

Meanwhile, I have a line on a 2001 Wrangler Sport, 5 speed, for about half the price of the Rubicon. My primary usage for the vehicle will be for off-road exploration, as well as getting to places to explore. As much as I really like the extra off-road features of the Rubicon, it might be too much money to have tied up in it, while a Sport might just serve the purpose.

Thanks again. You've been most helpful.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 09:14 PM   #8
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That delay in moving away sounds serious. No Automatic should ever be like that. Talk to the dealer about it and get them to fix it if you're keen to go further. The suspicion has to be there, with a serious roll cage like it has, that maybe someone wheeled it pretty hard in the past. They may have modified it heavily and then unbolted everything to put it back to near stock when they sold it. that may not be a bad thing, but I'd be underneath it looking for signs of things being removed and replaced to get a better idea of what you're actually getting so your decision can be a fully informed one. Might also give you some bargaining power and get the price nearer to your budget.

Another thing, there's a thread on her ebaout whther white TJs are "girly". Overall, anyone who didn't have a white TJ thought white ones were girly. I have no opinion either way, of course.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 09:15 PM   #9
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Posts crossed, if the truck moved away quickly and normally but it was just the locker lights which were slow to come on, then that probably is normal.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 09:43 PM   #10
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Hey, Flash. You were right the first time. The car would NOT move away normally. You'd be sitting there idling, step on the gas to pull away, the engine would rev without the car moving for a second. Then wham! It was like you dumped the clutch, and it would start pulling. While it was moving, it was smooth. But if you stopped, then "wham!", it would jerk off the line again. It was as if the torque converter was bad. But it only happened in low-range, with the diff's locked. I'm not sure whether it would have happened in low-range without the diff's locked though.

Coincidently, I just found another 2006 Rubicon automatic trans at another dealer in a nearby town. They want $4K more for that one, which shows you how cheap this white one is. I may take it for a spin just out of curiosity to see how the low range behaves on it.

BTW, white cars stay much cooler out here in the desert. I'd rather feel cool than look cool.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 10:39 PM   #11
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Mostly the slow to take off from a stop is low transmission oil and worst case is low trans pump pressure. It should be the same in reverse ? Either way its not a good look and needs attention. I can't see how the diffs being locked could affect it.

if it only occurs in low range then you're looking at a problem within the transfer case. I'm no expert on them but its possible the drive chain is really loose inside? it needs attention becuase whther t/mission or T/case, it has the potential to take the shine right off the cheap deal and screw your budget well and truly. Even though there's 8 months of warranty left (right?) there's no time like the time before you buy to have the dealer working for you on a problem. Its amazing how everyone responsible's attitudes change so quickly but I guess that's human nature?

The rubicon stickers and those 44's will go a long way to relieve any feeling of femininity you might experience in a white Jeep, as well as being cool in the desert! Just in case, everything I drive or tow is black, but then there's not a lot of desert here.
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Unread 04-14-2008, 11:00 PM   #12
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Thanks again, Gordon. From your analysis, my money is on the transfer case. With that, and the front-end wobble, there's too much risk here. I might tell the used car lot if they can fix the wobble and the low-range hesitation, I may revisit the decision. Otherwise, deal's off.

I'm going to take a look at this Jeep Sport over the weekend: http://flagstaff.craigslist.org/car/628273144.html

Sadly it's no Rubicon, but it's half the price. It'll probably do for my desert-exploration purposes.

Loved your club video BTW!!
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Unread 04-14-2008, 11:26 PM   #13
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If there's any way you can swing a Rubicon, do it. Others in here will argue there's nothing wrong with the 35/30 axle combinations but don't believe a word of it. I've just spent the best part of $10k importing and installing a new D44 for the front of mine because I kept breaking my D30 and I already had the rear D44. I wish I had have known and I would have spent the money up front on the Rubi and saved me a bundle of heartache and frustration. But then you've seen the kind of country we wheel in - not a rock to be seen. Those guys on the video can break 2-3 CVs a day. cheers, get that dealer to fix it an buy it. Take the roll cage out and send it over here if you don't want it?
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Unread 04-15-2008, 07:40 AM   #14
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I hear you. But... this vehicle's primary purpose will be off-road exploration and travel. I'm not going to be in competitions like I see in your club. I just want to explore desert areas, go down primitive dirt roads, with occasional stretches of deep loose sand, and at fairly civilized speeds. Are you telling me that a normal Jeep is incapable of that?

A Rubicon will cost me TWICE what a Wrangler Sport costs. That's $10K for a Sport or $20K for a Rubicon. That's primarily because the Rubicon is a newer model, so the ones on the market are all just a couple of years old. Then it's going to get all dirty and scraped up by brush. I hate to do that to a vehicle I just paid $20K for.

If that's the case, maybe I don't want a Jeep. I was originally considering getting a side-by-side ATV like the Arctic Cat Prowler or Polaris Ranger XP. Put a full roll cage on it, and back seat for the kids. That'll cost me $15K out the door. However, they're more fun (I hear), and better for playing in sand dunes. Plus, I won't be worried about scratching it up. The only bummer is that I'll have to trailer it on the highway, when I want to reach more distant places. That's really how I got to the Jeep. I figure for $15K I could get a hell of a used Jeep instead. But you can't get a decent Rubicon for that kind of money.

Sorry, just thinking out loud here.

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Unread 04-15-2008, 10:07 AM   #15
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Update: I called the dealer where the vehicle was primarily serviced since new, and found some very interesting things. It's had an oil pan, rear main seal, and transfer case, and front air locker, all replaced under warranty. All this on a car with 27,000 miles on it. Yikes.
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