Author Topic: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase  (Read 521 times)

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Offline paceman

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possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« on: September 13, 2021, 01:59:37 PM »
hi all,

interesting in hearing from members who own (or have owned) recent (within 10 years, maybe) versions of the 5 door Jeep Wrangler...

we are thinking about upgrading the wife's car, and she has her heart set on one of these... that's ok with me, i don't mind the look of them...

would love to hear about pros, cons, what to look for when buying (will be a 2nd hand purchase, if we proceed), etc...

would prefer not to hear the usual jokes about buying a jeep, etc... everyone has their opinion, but would rather it not clutter up the thread...

more interested in factual and real life info, please...
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 02:01:13 PM by paceman »

Offline paull

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2021, 04:48:27 PM »
Sorry, not a short post.........

I had a 2010 5dr diesel auto (so mine was pre-facelift JK with original interior and older auto).
I had it for 7 years and loved it, but it has to be said I loved it despite it's faults, not because it didn't have any.

Some of the negatives......
- It's handling with OE suspension was woeful, and arguably dangerous, but aftermarket suspension sorted that.
- The steering was as vague on-road as all the motoring journo's say, but once you got it off-road it was perfect.
- It's very small inside for the size of the vehicle as the big wheel flares make the body a lot narrower than you think it's going to be.
- Payload is a joke.
- Hard top needs lining otherwise summer temperatures inside were unbearable.
- Cooling systems (particularly if you have an auto) are mediocre at best.
- Petrol motors are thirsty (particularly the older 3.8l) but generally reliable.
- The diesel motor was OK, but was known to need rebuilds around the 140,000km. Ironically it was those that had been babied that needed the rebuilds. If was driven hard then it was fine.
- The older RFE autos were bullet proof but lacked ratios and were a little quirky.......it had 2 second gears; one for going up the gears and one for coming down. I'm sure it sounded like a good idea to someone, but just making it a proper 6 speed instead of a quirky 5 speed would have been way better.
- OE ball joints were practically a joke. Factor on replacing them.
- They cost a fortune to own............way way way too much aftermarket support between here & the US. Very easy to spend up big on accessories.
- Not strictly a negative about the vehicle, but when buying accessories from US, make sure that whatever you're buying is legal here (as rules a lot more lax in the US) and is suitable for RHD (as a lot of US sourced aftermarket stuff is for LHD).
- Drivers footwell is narrow, due the shape of the transmission tunnel and the fact it was designed as LHD. Never bothered me personally, but every motoring journo in Aus seemed to have a beef with it.
- Rear doors are a bit small so rear access isn't great.
- Needs a lift if used off road otherwise it drags the fuel tank skid plate on everything.

Could probably go on but I'll not scare you too much.

All that said, it was great fun car that put a smile on my face every time I drove it. I would happily still have it today (despite mine looking like it was going to need an engine re-build at some point) if I didn't need something to tow a caravan.
- On road handling was acceptable if you knew what to expect. It's never going to compete for an IFS vehicle for handling and comfort, but if you're happy with that then it's fine. Again the journo's slated it for this but I never thought it was that bad. It was a little more tiring to drive on long trips, but again if you're expecting then that's OK. Once you got it off-road everything just felt right. Drop the tyre pressures, disconnect the sway bar, and it was a world of fun.
- Traction control was good, so lockers aren't an immediate essential, unless you want to go hard.......and they come standard in a Rubicon.
- The D30 front diff (on non-Rubicons) was a bit weak if you wanted to fit 35's, but was fine for 33's unless you were driving it like you stole it.
- While it can cost you a fortune, the depth of aftermarket support is fantastic. You can literally get anything for it, and most of it is easy bolt on fitment.
- It was a fun, engaging car to drive regardless of where you were driving it.
- It towed a camper trailer really well (though it was a challenge to stay within GVM/GCM limits).
- I liked the tailgate setup whit the hardtop, though some thought it quirky as you needed to close the glass top before you close the tailgate. I liked it as with the tailgate open you had easy access to everything in the back (instead of having to reach over the tailgate like on a ute or a landcruiser). The open tailgate was perfect for to fit a little table on, and the hardtop glass gave you something to shelter under if it was raining.

There are heaps of other points (good and bad), but many will depend on your expected use, and which specific model you were looking for. If its primarily for your wife I'd suggest she test drive one before you put too much thought into it. Driving a live axle 4WD, particularly one with 5 link front and rear suspension, is a bit unique between the vague steering and side to side body movements from the 5-link suspension both ends. If she hates it then it's pointless going into too much detail. If she's OK with it then that's all good.

As I said, I loved mine despite its faults, and I'd still have it now if I could. As well as being fun it was actually a really reliable car.
Any questions just let me know and I'll try to rack my brains and see if I can remember as I've not owned it for about 5 years now.
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Offline Pete79

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2021, 09:44:02 PM »
I’ll tell you what I think of the JKU after I pick up the wife’s new one tomorrow. ;)

We’ve had our 2 door for a bit over 5 years now and the wife absolutely loves it.

As far as owning a JK goes, regardless of 2 door or 4 door….
It’s all about compromise.

If you’re going to throw a few basic mods under it and go have some fun off road, then you should absolutely go for it!

But if you’re not going to wheel it properly, then all of the compromises of daily Wrangler life aren’t really worth it in my opinion.

They do have their good points.

Fuel economy on the newer 3.6L is much better then the big overweight wagons that the 2 big names are selling at ridiculous prices these days.
There’s plenty of power on tap and with the 6 speed manual you can easily burn all of the flat brim hat wearing P platers in their Hiluxs and Navaras off the lights, if that’s your thing.

And they are much more mechanically stable then the web warriors would have you believe too. ;)

The only mechanical issue that we’ve had over 5 years of pretty serious off-road wheeling has been the ball joints, we only get about 25,000km out of them.
The only other issue we had was that the hard top leaked a bit of water when we first bought it, so we put the soft top on and never looked back.
Cruising up the beach at Fraser or Straddy with the top down is great fun…. ;D

But I guess the whole point of owning a wrangler is with just a few basic mods you can drop the tyre pressures, disconnect the sway bar, hit the tracks and put a huge smile on your dial. :)
 
They obviously also have bad points, which I think will effect you the most;

Space inside is severely compromised.
Payload is a joke.
They handle like a bit of a pig on the highway and can get pretty tiring on long drives if you’re not used to these sorts of vehicles.
In stock form the access isn’t too bad, but if they’re lifted the oldies really struggle getting in and out.

For a family wagon doing the shopping/school run with a few highway km in between, there’s probably better options in my opinion.


Having said that, the wife absolutely loves them and I expect we’ll have a wrangler parked in our driveway for many more years in one form or another.
And as the one that does all of the mechanical work on our vehicles, the JK hasn’t annoyed me too much yet. Besides, I’m pretty good at changing ball joints now. ;)

We’re only going to the 4 door so we can legally tow the camper.
The 2 door is only rated to 1000kg braked towing capacity and our camper is 980kg tare.
You can legally tow more weight with a 1.3l, 960kg Jimny then you can with a 3.6l, 1.8 ton JK, go figure… ::)

The new JL models do have better towing figures, but they’re currently asking Toyota prices for band new ones.
So we decided to buy a very low km last of the JKs and wait until the car market gets back to some sort of normal to get a JL Rubicon.
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Offline paceman

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2021, 07:41:26 AM »
thanks for the very detailed responses, gents...

the day to day driving is a big deal, as this will be the wife's daily drive...

she's not an off-roader at all, so we may have to re-think...

do you think a test drive of a new model, would still give the same feel as an older model?

Offline paull

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2021, 10:08:31 AM »
I used mine as a daily and was happy with it for that purpose, even discounting the fact that I also wanted to go off road it in. I liked the fact the my JK was utilitarian and spartan (mine was the original model before the facelift so didn't even have power mirrors!). You also see lots of JK used as daily mall crawlers that will never even see a dirt road so clearly lots of folks don't care about the dynamics/handling (or don't know enough to realise how comparatively poor it is). Only way to tell which side of the fence your wife will be is to let her drive one and see.

I think the new JL will drive better than the JK, so if she's not happy with the way the JL drives she certainly won't be happy with the way the JK drives.
On the flip side it might be dangerous test driving a JL as she might get to like the comforts (both features and physical) and then be disappointed when you expect her to drive a JK every day!
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Offline Pete79

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2021, 06:36:19 AM »

- Drivers footwell is narrow, due the shape of the transmission tunnel and the fact it was designed as LHD. Never bothered me personally, but every motoring journo in Aus seemed to have a beef with it.


I had never had any issues with this in the manual model and didn’t notice it on the short test drive of our new auto model.
But driving home with the new one last night I definitely noticed I couldn’t sit my left foot in the natural position beside the brake, it keep going just under the brake pedal.
I’ll have a better look at both of them this morning and see if there is any reason this wasn’t so noticeable with the manual compared to the auto.

Offline Steffo1

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2021, 08:02:48 AM »
I had never had any issues with this in the manual model and didn’t notice it on the short test drive of our new auto model.
But driving home with the new one last night I definitely noticed I couldn’t sit my left foot in the natural position beside the brake, it keep going just under the brake pedal.
I’ll have a better look at both of them this morning and see if there is any reason this wasn’t so noticeable with the manual compared to the auto.

You were allowed to drive?

On the subject, FWIW, my local mechanic has the same model as Pete's recently departed one and  has had no major issues with it, apparently.
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Offline Pete79

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2021, 08:18:56 AM »
You were allowed to drive?

Yeah, private sale.

Went and had a test drive of a new JL Rubicon from a yard in Brissy a couple of weeks ago though.
It was a “base spec” rubicon (cloth trim, plastic bumper, no colour coded flares or roof) 12 month old demo with about 7,000km on it and they wanted $2k more then if I ordered a brand new one with all the options…. ::)
They weren’t interested in negotiating at all, not even $100 off.

Now is so not the time to buy new cars.

We just did what we normally do, and bought the lowest km used car that is less then 3 years old, this one still has a bit over 2 years of warranty.

Because it’s the very last of the JKs we can swap over all of the good stuff from our old one into the new one. Just need to get a pair of rear springs to suit the 4 door, will probably throw a set of airbags in there as well while I’ve got it all apart.

The old owner had done all of the internal stuff (dual batteries, 2 way radio, tow bar, brake controller, etc), so the money we saved on the purchase price and being able to swap over all the good suspension stuff, is going straight into front and rear air lockers, snorkel, bull bar and sliders. ;)

Offline DandyD

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Re: possible Jeep Wrangler (5 door) purchase
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 09:02:20 PM »
We are looking to replace my wife’s Nitro with a 4 door JL Rubicon.

She wanted a two door but a quick glance inside one at the dealer convinced her that it would be useless for us. There is less room inside than in an 86” Land Rover.

Petrol or diesel is not decided upon yet. Both are 4 bangers. V6 and V8 not available here. The UK spec Rubicon also gets a crappy Euro front bumper.