2005 Sahara Unlimited Rubicon Buy w/o Mechanic Inspection? - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-24-2019, 07:48 AM Thread Starter
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2005 Sahara Unlimited Rubicon Buy w/o Mechanic Inspection?

I have a deposit going down on this Jeep. It would replace my 2005 Rubicon Unlimited which I totaled in VT last month. Total cost out the door is somewhere between $14-$15k. It has 97K miles on it and doesn't look like its ever left the pavement.

The CarFax shows all regular maintenance done as well as normal stuff like steering damper replacement, radiator replacement, valve cover gasket, etc. The body has the tiniest blisters of rust on the passenger side front between the hood latch and the fender. The underside has very little rust - some small surface rust was pointed over. I did that on my own Jeep with Rust Reformer annually to keep the cancer away. I checked closely and the surfaces were smooth and I stuck a finger in the frame holes at a few different spots and it was clean inside too.

I took it for a test drive and it shifted smoothly, it went into 4 Hi and 4 Lo just fine, and the lockers worked (although the rear wheel locker seems slow to come on and slow to go off). Then engine sounded completely normal and quiet for a well maintained I6. Transmission fluid looked good, oil - it needed a change but wasn't filthy. No leaks or drips.

I won't have time to have my mechanic look at it before I buy it or I will probably lose it to one of the other 4 people behind me who want it. Should I go for it ? I don't think I'll be able to get something this clean with this few miles anytime soon.

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post #2 of 5 Old 02-24-2019, 08:15 AM
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
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How knowledgeable are you mechanically. Sounds like you have done your due diligence that you can i.e. test drive, carfax etc.
Price doesn't sound horrible, but how does that compare to others in your area, even within a 100-200 mile radius. You always take a chance when buying used, and it is nice to have a mechanic take a look at it, but I know the LJ's are getting more and more difficult to find in good clean condition. Of course the nay sayer's will tell you about how horrible the transmission is and not worth the risk, but I don't think the mechanic can easily diagnose if this one has that issue or will have that issue. Only you can decide.
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-24-2019, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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Well - having put 270,000 miles on my previous Jeep, I know what it should sound and feel like. Not aware of the bad rep on the transmission. This is the automatic (3 speed plus O/D).

I've been looking for about 3 weeks for a Unlimited Rubicon but the few that have turned up are in rough shape, are rebuilds, or are more expensive and have higher mileage. I guess that weighs in its favor.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-24-2019, 05:28 PM
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2002 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Denton County, TX
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I believe a Sahara unlimited rubicon, is like a unicorn, really not that many were made.

If you put 270k miles, you should know what you're looking at. Trust your own judgement. I've never used a mechanic to preview a vehicle for me.

Good luck.

I am multi-talented, I can talk and piss you off at the same time.

denton county, tx
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-25-2019, 06:36 PM
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1992 YJ Wrangler 
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Well unless someone swapped transmissions that is not the 3 speed but the 4 speed auto i.e. 42RLE. Not as loved as the 32rh but the 42rle was the only transmission offered starting in 2004. In later years it was heavily intergrated into the ecm/pcm so a tranny sway is more difficult if not impossible. But still sounds like a pretty good deal.
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