I probably won't do this, but just wanted to hear people's views:
There has been so much hype about the rubicon that i'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't just wait, and buy one of those. Mr. Bill says I'll be paying between $24-28 thousand. Much more than I want to pay, but maybe worth it? lockers and front D44 is great. I want to add a lift and bigger tires to whatever jeep I get, and wouldn't it be pretty wasteful to just remove 31's that come on the rubicon? Afterall, that's a small part of the reason it is more. Like 'jrtj2001' said, can't you just build up a sport?
Steel Blue '01 Sport
3" Teraflex Lift
quick-loc front, limited slip rear (for now!)
JKS quick disco's
Rancho Steering Stabilizer
uhh...hi-lift, CB, windshield-mount lights, and other toys
In my opinion, I would get a Sport and make my own mods to it. From what I am getting from my local dealers, they are not going to order a great deal of the Rubicons for the lot, and they are going to get every penny they can for the ones they do....
Considering what the Rubicon will cost, and what you can do to a Sport for the increase in dollars, I think you would have a Sport that is more capable than the Rubicon for the same amount of money.
Don't take me wrong.....I think that the Rubicon will be one kick-butt-out-of-the-box machine. If I bought one, I know that I would probably lift it some, and put larger tires on it, even though I told myself I wouldn't at the time of purchase.
'01 TJ, 3" BDS lift, OME LT Shocks, 32" Goodyear MT/R's, Eagle Alloy 1869's, Warn Rock-Slider rocker skids, JKS discos, KC's, Alpine deck, Infinity noise makers, Hi-Lift mounted on front bumper and fire extinquisher mounted on tranny tunnel......
The key advantage to the Rubicon is it is al designed to work together, under warranty baby!! yes, the sport is cheaper-- if you like the mods, that is a great route. I would swap the tires at the dealer, so I get credit for the ones I do not need. Here in Va a couple of dealers were willing to work with me (at a reasonable price no less) when i bought my Sport. The reviews in the mags seem to indicate this thing is awesome!! just read the JP article last night...
[COLOR=red][FONT=comic sans ms]playin like stupid on the World Wide Web[/FONT][/COLOR]
If you get a Sport and upgrade it to the spec. as a Rubicon you would end up paying more than a Rubicon or at least the same amount. Not only are you getting front and rear air lockers, front and rear disc brakes, front and rear D44, diamond plated rocker panels, but you would also get a 4 to 1 transfer case and 4.10 gears. And a warranty to fix it all when it breaks.
RIP: '97 TJ with 2in Teraflex with QD's. 32in AT's. Hi-lift jack, two 10in subs and a 500 watt amp. 150watt KC Daylighters. Avalanche Engineering Rocker Knockers.
I got to drive a Rubicon in Branson last week, and I'm telling you, it's a sweet machine. The sticker price on the one I drove was about $23k. It's a lot of machine for the money, and priced withing a few hundred of the Sahara. Dana 44's front and rear just by themselves are worth a ton. The 4.11 rearend and 4:1 transfer case make it a real crawler. The course I drove on was pretty cool, with a 45 degree climb up and down, followed by a 30 degree climb, a crawl over a stack of logs about 10' high, down into a hole they scooped out of the ground and then finally over a pile of boulders (they trashed a few bumperetts on that one). I'd never driven a Jeep with such a low range. They had you drive the whole course with your foot off the gas - just idle along in 1st gear and 4-lo. No gas, no brake. It was pretty amazing!
The air lockers (from what the engineer in charge of the project told me) are stronger than anything they could find. During development, he said they tried, but just couldn't break it. The fact that it requires such low pressure is probably a plus - I remember watching an ARB equiped Wrangler malfunction on a particulary tough hill climb. When it went, the high pressure blew the dif plug right out of the pumpkin, dumping gear oil all over the hill.
The engineer I spoke with was one of two in charge of the Rubicon. both are true off-roaders (the guy has 5 old jeeps that he's built up himself). Sitting at a bar, they came up with a dream sheet of everything they wanted for the perfect trail Wrangler. The development costs were staggering (at least to me) - 5 million for the transfer case, 3 million for the lockers, and so on. After selling the project, he was surprised that they got almost everything they wanted.
Anyway, if you want one, you'll probably have to wait til next year. They really didn't think the demand for this model was going to be that high, so the production comitments from their OEM's for these special parts wasn't that high. I think they're planning to build only 8,000 this year. 4,000 are already spoken for. Next year, production will be much higher.
If I was in the market I'd definitely be checking one out. Dual 44's and selectable lockers(rear doubling as a limited slip when open). 4:1 tcase gearing. SYE. And most appealing... 4.10's in the pumpkin. Perfect for my 33's. Add a lift and some real skids and you're set. The only thing I'd do though, would be to remove that gaudy "Rubicon" lettering on the hood .