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post #1 of 13 Old 07-07-2021, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
hsbawa
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1st Time Prospective Jeep Buyer - Need some expert thoughts

I am moving into empty nest stage, so thinking this is the good time to start exploring and going off the pavement. As my current car is 18+ years old, it is also a great time for new vehicle.

I am battling between Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland (JGC-O). I like to keep my vehicles long term so will definitely try to go for higher trim which would allow me to have some creature comfort and features to pick up more challenging trails with time and experience.

I believe I should have some key recovery equipment like winch. For JGC-O it may be mod to front end and may voids warranty for the same. This leaves Jeep Wrangler as the only option (as front fender comes with option to add winch) but I heard lot of concerns about the noise and handling.

Any thoughts on the issues on extreme noise and handling with Jeep Wrangler and JGC-O modifications for recovery accessories? As for me it will be long distance drives w/ safety and recovery as key item.

Thank you in advance for your expert advice.

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post #2 of 13 Old 07-07-2021, 03:17 PM
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Are you looking to get into off road life, light trail riding or for safety in questionable conditions?

There are winch bumpers for the WK2. They are not cheap but do offer the ability to install a semi hidden winch. That shouldn't void the normal warranty though it may void something that needed modification to work with the new bumper as that mod wouldn't be factory (like if you have the adaptive cruise control). The Wrangler is in the same boat unless you opt for the factory steel bumper and the specific winch designed for that bumper.

The WK2 is a far superior riding vehicle than a JL, has better suspension and seats but suffers from ground clearance. That's really not an issue on the highway and you can buy a but if you have the air suspension in OR1 or OR2 (OR2 rides like crap but it does give you max clearance for a Grand Cherokee). The WK2 with a limited slip differential will adapt to the road conditions as needed. The only Wrangler that can do that would be a Sahara with the Selec-Trac option (Full time 4WD).

Which one is quieter? The WK2. A JL with a hard top is not bad as long as you don't have mud terrain tires. You can get hard top insulation which will help abate some of that noise but it's still louder than a Grand.

I have a WK2 Trailhawk and a JK. For long trips that don't involve going to an off road park, the WK2 is the vehicle of choice, even in bad conditions. It's really surefooted. For trips where I'm planning to go off road in some way (trails, beach, etc.), the JK is my vehicle of choice.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-07-2021, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
hsbawa
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@cranbiz Thank you!
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-15-2021, 04:32 PM
TXTrailhawk
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OP, I went through the same decision process, choosing between a Wrangler Unlimited Rubi and the GC Trailhawk. Went with the GC because it drives like a (good) regular vehicle on the road, but is significantly capable off-road. Also, I added pretty much all the packages except rear screens, and it's more luxe than my BMW M4 (to be fair, those are kinda spartan). Might we worth investigating.

Cheers

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-16-2021, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
hsbawa
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@TXTrailhawk Thank you!
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-16-2021, 09:12 AM
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long as the trails dont get moderate a Suv will do. But if you really get into off road adventure where its moderate and up. Around here those type suvs wont see a 3.5 rated trail and few would even try a 3.0. Where say a stock Rubicon would, easy. but issues start at 3.5 too that is end of moderate. Start of hard. 3+ tends to lead to body damage mechanical breaks. Driver skill tends to be more critical.

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post #7 of 13 Old 07-16-2021, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
hsbawa
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long as the trails dont get moderate a Suv will do. But if you really get into off road adventure where its moderate and up. Around here those type suvs wont see a 3.5 rated trail and few would even try a 3.0. Where say a stock Rubicon would, easy. but issues start at 3.5 too that is end of moderate. Start of hard. 3+ tends to lead to body damage mechanical breaks. Driver skill tends to be more critical.
@222Doc Thank you!

Right now I am planning for overlanding only and not much into rock crawling/climbing as it needs some good experience driving/recovery and can get expensive from maintenance and recovery point of view.

Initially I was thinking getting Subaru Wilderness but after looking at the videos of various trails including Black Bear and Imogene passes (in couple of years plan), I realized getting Jeep may be good long term investment as I am not sure how far Subaru Wilderness can go.

Rock climbing/crawling may be in next 4-5 years after gaining some good amount of soft/mid level off-road experience.
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-16-2021, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hsbawa View Post
Rock climbing/crawling may be in next 4-5 years after gaining some good amount of soft/mid level off-road experience.
If your long range plans are this, what is your long range vehicle plan? Trade for a replacement? Drive it until the wheels fall off?

With Jeep pricing, I would be inclined to buy a JLU Rubicon now and when ready, modify it to suit the types of more advanced trails you wish to run. In most cases, it makes no sense to buy a new $75K vehicle (projected Rubicon pricing in 5 years from now) to beat it on the rocks. Beat up on the 5 year old vehicle and buy a DD for your day to day use.

02 WJ Laredo, heavily optioned but stock
12 JK, 3.5" Teraflex/Franken lift, Bilstein 5100's, BFG KM3's 37x12.5/R17
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-16-2021, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
hsbawa
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Originally Posted by cranbiz View Post
If your long range plans are this, what is your long range vehicle plan? Trade for a replacement? Drive it until the wheels fall off?

With Jeep pricing, I would be inclined to buy a JLU Rubicon now and when ready, modify it to suit the types of more advanced trails you wish to run. In most cases, it makes no sense to buy a new $75K vehicle (projected Rubicon pricing in 5 years from now) to beat it on the rocks. Beat up on the 5 year old vehicle and buy a DD for your day to day use.
I am doing lot of research before this purchase, as my goal is to keep it for lifetime or, as you said, until the wheels fall off.

I am thinking about Rubicon too. As I have driven rented Wranglers (Sport S and not Rubicon) during my work travel, I didn't find them that annoying regarding road noise other than steering play which I am sure can be fixed with some custom solutions. But I will do a test drive again soon.

Also my rock climbing goal is for fun and what is in vehicle's limit and without breaking it but there are always unknowns.

Lets see how it goes.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-19-2021, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by hsbawa View Post
Also my rock climbing goal is for fun and what is in vehicle's limit and without breaking it but there are always unknowns.
The only unknown is when am I going to break it.

A Rubicon is a very capable vehicle stock. A few mods and it is very, very capable. However, no matter how strong you make something, there is always a weak link to be exploited. If you don't want to break something, don't go rock crawling. It sounds harsh but it's true. In this game, you pay to play. The satisfaction of going where many can't though, it priceless.

02 WJ Laredo, heavily optioned but stock
12 JK, 3.5" Teraflex/Franken lift, Bilstein 5100's, BFG KM3's 37x12.5/R17
17 WK2 Trailhawk
KN4BBA
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-20-2021, 06:16 PM
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Drive as many as you can, they are their own animal (Wranglers) and some passion for them is almost needed.

Iíve had an 88 Dodge Raider, an 06 LJ, I own a Subaru Forester XT and now an 03 Rubicon. I also have a Tundra.

Iíve had the Subaru pretty deep in places I shouldnít have. Iíve had to replace every bushing, springs and shocks. I cooked them all. I run LT tires on it as well. Itís very capable but itís very light weight construction. Itís a snow weapon on the roads but itís not a true trail vehicle and the Wilderness editions give you a bit more ground clearance and some electronic modes but itís still a light weight unit body vehicle. Itís a dirt road vehicle but not what Iíd call a trail vehicle, youíll just keep breaking and bending things.

I got rid of my 06 LJ because at the time it was my only car and I had to do a lot of 70+ mph highway driving. It wasnít fast enough, it didnít stop well enough, the handling at high speeds is borderline dangerous in aggressive traffic. It had to go.

Now, my 03 Rubicon is a 2nd vehicle and I live on a dirt road in an area where I can go trail running all the time. As a vehicle it is far more capable than my mind can even get around. I stuffed it down a trail that looked more like a hiking path or horse trail than a road, steep inclines where I was looking at the hood the whole way, exposed rock ledge surface, roots, loose dirt/mud and it crawled up it in 4H without even the slightest struggle. I can finally use a Jeep as a Jeep.

Itís loud, itís slow, it has handling thatís kind of all over the place, no ABS or other nanny systems and it makes me feel alive to drive it. Iíll do trips in it when Iím not pressed for time on the run and when itís about the trip and not a slog like commuting or trying to haul 8 hours at a time. I love driving it for the sake of driving it. Itís most at home on two lane county roads and on the dirt.

My Tundra is a couch on wheels and very comfortable, powerful and itís also way too huge for the woodland trails here in NH. Itís my primary vehicle for really long hauls, pickup truck duty, hauling people around etc. Itís super refined, great ride, modern tech.

A Wrangler as your sole vehicle takes passion for it as it is a compromise in many ways for regular driving around, so just be sure you have the passion for it.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-20-2021, 06:48 PM
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Depends on your perspective. The Wrangler (even though the new ones are kind of 'comfy' by my standards) is the closest thing to a pure machine. It's a psychological thing, not defined in numbers, but in an abstract sense, I think of a Wrangler more akin to a motorcycle... you are connected to a machine. Not isolated. It communicates to you, but does not pamper you. At 72, my old Wrangler is still my all time favorite vehicle I've owned. I prefer to drive that whenever I have the choice (yes I prefer it to my wife's classic Mercedes).

But it's not as comfortable, efficient, quiet, etc. Ask yourself, does that matter? Only you can answer.

[Someone proposed a psychological self test of 'are you driving the right vehicle': You are going to meet someone for the first time, for a business etc. Do you park your vehicle around the corner.. or do you show up in plain sight?]

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post #13 of 13 Old 07-21-2021, 07:12 AM
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Well i started off in life in a 47cj2a. back when Carter was president. Since then have near always had a jeep to use off road, not a DD since i was a teen. I lived right near the Rubicon trail so it was a no brain'er to get into jeeping. Though at the time everyone had mustangs and chargers camaro's etc.. Life in the slow lane jeep could not even do 55 without foot to the floor a wind at your back. Fast forward to todays Jeep jk-JL. Night and day comfort and ride. Do they ride like a Cady? NO, its a jeep. it is one of the few left with a solid front and rear axle and its on a FRAME. all other so called jeep are a Unibody Suv. As said the under pining is not that good. what does that mean? Its where all the suspension connects to the body. Damage here is not east to fix as well. Where that jeep is on a frame and if you do say rip off a control arm, repair is very simple if you can weld and replacement ones are made as thick as the frame.

Over landing is one of the most over used I think ridicules terms I have ever heard. Im over 60. Its near as dumb as a roof top tent. No offense as i know many will. But fact is you are "vehicle" or just camping or you are BACK packing. When in a vehicle not in a camp ground you are dispersed camping. Back packing you are wilderness. I have done both a long time though not backing anymore. I need that jeep to hall my stuff for sure today. people spend a ton of money to camp too. wonder how many times they use it all? ever? One and done?

We run trails all year in different states, being a real club tends to keep the options open all the time. when on the "big" trails that take say 4-5 days on the trail camping from your jeep, hard trails too. where the rocks keep the pace to 1-3 mph for days. No one i go with says we are Overlanding this... Right now our Club has what looks like two runs some heading to Co. and im still looking to get a few hardy soles to do Dusy Ershem next month. That might be the hardest for its length in the USA. 4 days min no issues, anyone breaks out there its becomes a rescue. Gas to gas is 100miles off road is 33 miles most of this trail is over 9,000 feet as well.

can anyone today say the vehicle they buy new today will be long term? I wonder, unless you are very old and on the way out. paying say new Jeep even a JLR is well over 50k and up to what 80K. ICE vehicles are on the way out as well. Todays jeep dont last as long with out big money fixes too. THis is NOT a TJ with a 4.0 that could go to moon, about 250k miles, some would even make it back..No JK or JL or anything made by jeep will ever do that... oh sure a few will but not the many like a 4.0 or say Navastars used in fords that get 300-500k miles and some much more. Todays stuff is highly complex and with that come Murphy's law and right behind him is FUBAR waiting.

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