Just purchased a used 2003 Sahara w/ 36k miles on it instead of the new Rubicon (my original 1st choice). Are there any specific things I should do to this jeep right off (its stock) and how diferent is it than the Rubicon? If the Rubicon replaced the Sahara, i figured they were close. Im looking to go w/ a bikini top which will let some weather (mainly rain of course) in it, plus eventually lift, wheels, tires. Any advice on doing these things to this specific model?
The Rubi is vastly different than a sahara. The rubi has front and rear dana 44's, 4 wheel disc brake, air lockers , a different t-case plus other things that some would just consider cosmetic. Out of all of those things the sahara could have a dana 44 in the rear and 4 wheel discs, that's it
2004 WJ 4.0
2" BDS springs + 3/4" spacers up front , Goodyear Duratrac 245/75R16, Yaesu FT-7900R
Well, the Sahara is a nice model, its just not a Rubicon. The sahara probably has a D44 with a trac-lock in it. The rubicon has D44's f/r with lockers in both. Also the rubicon comes with the Np241 t-case with a 4:1 ratio. Really helps out offroad. Also they have factory 4.10 or 4.11 gears in the axles. I have a 98 sahara and i got the s**t D35 with no locker. The first thing i would do is put a lift and some armor on it. Try to keep the COG low so the jeep wont be top heavy. More aggresive tires would also help.
If you are unaware of the added features of the Rubicon then you most likley would have not needed them.
Front and rear heavy duty axles
Front and rear lockers (better traction off road)
Lower gear ratio
Lower 4 wheel low gear ration (better to crawl over large obstacles)
4 wheel disc brakes
Possible heavy duty rear end
Possible 4 wheel disc brakes
The Rubicon is a better offroad vehicle but the Sahara is also a very capable off road rig, and the nice thing about Jeeps is you can add any of the Rubicon features that you may need in the future. I my opinion you made a good choice and saved some cash.
Also, if you have a factory softtop I would try running that with the windows out before you spend money on a bikini top that may be to your liking and would keep more of the weather out.
The Sahara was like a lux model comparitively speaking. It came with standard AC, better radio, vinyl seats, body colored flares/rocker cover, etc. The Rubicon is like a rock crawling edition - lower t-case ratio, selectable lockers, D44 axles on both ends, stiffer springs, bigger tires, etc.
You'll want to start by doing the same things as everyone else. Armor (oil pan skid, rockers, diffs), lift, tires, winch, etc.
__________________ '03 Bright Silver Metallic TJ Sport
BSMCCEP Club Member #45 Stock: 4.0L I6:5-speed:3.07 gears:D35 with Trac-Loc:15x7 Ecco wheels:Dual Top Group Mods: 30x9.5 BFG A-T T/A KO's:JKS Quicker disconnects:Rock-It Man rocker guards:Jeep Medic oil pan/tranny skid:Kilby steering skid:Warn D30 diff guard:C4x4 D35 diff guard:Rusty's radiator guard:Skid Row LCA skids:SilverStar headlights and fogs:Hidden Hitch class III receiver:Old Realistic 40ch CB:2' Firestik II:Arizona Rocky Road tailgate antenna mount Next : Jeeperman rear bumper '06 Candy Orange Honda Shadow Spirit 750
i have a green '03 Sahara with 33k miles and am very happy with it. was all stock, until the dreaded death wobble appeared (Goodyear GSAs). after finding the front end tight, it was new BFG 31" ATs for me! plus an OME steering stabilizer. life's good now.
i don't go off road as much as i should though! OME springs/shocks will probably be my next mod.
Rubicons are very nice, if you're going off road a lot. for me, the Sahara's great. and get the BFGs if you're still on the original tires...
Let's keep in mind - The Sahara you have is still a VERY capable off road monster - yeah you can upgrade it - BUT so can every jeeper. Consider making it the way YOU want it. Maybe a lift, maybe some lockers, maybe some new rubber....
2005 Rubicon Unlimited Sahara #609 of 1000. 4 speed auto. Sirius Sat Radio, Mile Marker PE8000 Winch, 2" BB from Rocky Road, 32" BF Goodrich Radial TA/KO, RB1 NAV Radio with Ipod Controller
thanx for the feedback guys! im new to jeeps so this helps. i was also looking at a 2001 SE that was already decked out in skyjacker everything and more. it had it all - 33's, the works but had obviously been put thru it all in 4 years and had much wear. i think i did better w/ the sahara than that but saved $$ from the rubicon and can make it what i want for the little trail riding i will be doing. thanks again! ill probably do the oil pan skid, wheels/tires, and lift first.