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LJ Rubicon Sahara - talk me off a ledge?

superspeckman

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Maryland
So I had a 97 TJ I've been working on with my daughter as a project that took a turn for the WORSE with frame rot. So I've been trolling around the internet for affordable frames or another TJ to swap or as a replacement entirely. So Thursday I stumble upon this POSTING and over several phone calls arranged a visit today to look it over. Long story short I leave a REFUNDABLE deposit and the salesman said the posting should come down so if that happens the pics are here:


2005 LJ Rubicon Sahara
125K miles / Auto / Listed @ $15963 w/6mo power train warranty

The good:
- One owner on carfax and a ton of maintenance completed at the original dealership in VA and another Jeep dealer in MD
- Interior is in immaculate shape
- Major frame concern spots look clean with very minimal surface rust
- Every frame opening i can feel inside is smooth bare metal except for the opening near belly pan and you can feel some minimal dirt in there (no flaking rusty feel)
- All the fluids look good, motor mounts solid, no signs of persistent leaks / corrosion / dirt in engine bay
- New radiator, idler pulley, belts this spring
- Doesn't look to have ever been wheeled. No upgrades (besides 2 spot lights and a plastidip grill) except manual sway bar disconnects
- No CEL or codes reported when I scanned it
- Looks to have been garage kept

The bad:
- Couldn't drive it today because they pulled the windshield out. Some corrosion they caught and are replacing a channel that's behind the windshield base
- Had one accident reported as "minor". Looks to be the PO rear-ended someone. Original bumper replaced with a Warn bumper. No other damage, panels replaced, or signs of repair under front or under hood.
- Only two spots of minor rust: one on drivers side fender top and the other is the corner of the gas tank skid
- Soft top close to needing replaced its got some wear in corners and vinyl becoming hard in spots

So long winded way of asking does this seem like I should pull the trigger? Or is my 15 years of lusting over an LJ Rubicon clouding my decision making? Best I could talk them down to today was $15,500 out the door. More pics to come when I go back Wed to finish inspection and test drive. A little higher mileage than I would like but I can't find another LJ Rubicon ANYWHERE that isn't a rust bucket or covered in shitty mods and beat up for the last 15 years. Not to mention the limited edition aspect. They've got like 40 internet requests for info on it so far but I was the first one persistent enough to get the service manager to walk me in the back shop to look it over. Help!
 

ejay

TJ Addict
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
1,920
Location
CA to WY refugee
Looks nice. I guarantee you that there is more rust on this than meets the eye. Just by looking at the existing rust. After a better examination, I'd probably pull the trigger but for me, it's not a 2008 Grand Cherokee Diesel......
 

2001slvrstntj

Cigar smokin, whiskey drinkin, meat smokin, jeeper
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2019
Messages
1,065
Location
Pasadena Md
Seems good to me, I thought the LJR Sahara was a limited build too...right? If rust is not bad as you say and drives good would be tough to turn down I think.

Good luck!
 

il buono

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2019
Messages
442
Location
Tucson
Provided the rust situation isn't any worse than what you point out, that's a good deal for a Rubihara. That one owner seems to have taken great care of it.
 

AK49LJ

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
28
Location
Upper west end
If that is truly a Rubihara, I would buy it and stick it in storage somewhere.... they are very rare, being only 1000 were made. They all had chrome grills and an engraved placard on the dash... both of which are missing from the photos. I would want a pic of the placard for sure.

Edit: I think I see the placard on the center stack now.
 
OP
superspeckman

superspeckman

Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
57
Location
Maryland
If that is truly a Rubihara, I would buy it and stick it in storage somewhere.... they are very rare, being only 1000 were made. They all had chrome grills and an engraved placard on the dash... both of which are missing from the photos. I would want a pic of the placard for sure.

Edit: I think I see the placard on the center stack now.

It has the interior placard for sure. I pulled the build sheet for the VIN and it is legit the Sahara package.
 
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Jcraig

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2019
Messages
105
Location
florida
Definitely check the build sheet. To see if its the real deal or if anything has been changed.
 

Starrs

TJ Guru
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
6,366
Location
Indiana, United States
Damn, I'll have to keep an eye out. If I pull the trigger it would be hard to let it go but 20's...
Not trying to talk you out of any purchase, but zoom in on the door i hinges. If you know of rust in a couple areas there is more...there is always more. I wouldn’t buy any vehicle with known rust...no matter what the price is.
 

Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2019
Messages
7,035
Location
Virginia
Good grief, now I'm kicking myself after seeing all these prices. I recently passed on an LJ Rubicon with 98K on it and two owners. With only minor surface rust on the frame, the seller was asking $11,500. The fact that I already had two nice Jeeps, and it was a 6 speed, contributed.