Thinking about a Rubicon LJ. What to know before purchase?


Rhrrsn

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I’m thinking about potentially purchasing a rubicon lj. Is there anything I should be aware of before I start looking? I already own a 2001 TJ and I know the obvious rust problems they can have. I more so want to know if there is a specific year I should look for or anything else I should be aware of. Thanks!
 

Starrs

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Get an 04 lj and with all the money you save buy real lockers and real sliders and even pretty stickers for the hood.
Starting to think this is the way to go also. LJR would be nice, but you can build a very nice LJ. No sense in paying a premium price when you can possibly get a low mileage LJ and make it better than a Rubicon. Paying 30 plus for an LJR is just plain dumb IMO when a stock LJ with under 60k miles can be bought for 15-18k in most cases.
 
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Rubi04

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If you haven't already, check out this thread:

What should I look for when buying a used Wrangler TJ?

I also agree with what @Starrs said about the non-Rubicon model as well. If you plan to mod it heavily, a Rubicon would be a waste. If you plan to keep it mostly stock, then I could see going for the Rubicon.

This. Lighter mods, 33’s at most, armor, tummy tuck, makes a rubicon worth it if you can find one within a few grand of a regular TJ...if it’s double, nope.
 
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Irun

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Personally, I didn't care if the sixth number in the VIN was a six (6). The '04 LJ route is the one I took. No transmission computer or OPDA issues to worry about. I then bought a TJ Rubicon, with a rusted frame, for the axles and transfer case. I sold the Rubicon hard top, full doors, engine, transmission, interior, etc. and ended up breaking even.

The results are worth it. Less money spent on the Jeep purchase meant more I could spend on modifications. The only downside to an '04 LJ is if you want a manual, because all 04s were automatic. The flip side is the automatic allows you to install a RubiCrawler. This is hands down my favorite mod!

xYNa5Vp.jpg
 

oldjeepman

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Like what was said before, if your plan is to build it to wheel the snot out of it. Get an 04 and do that. For more of a milder build get the LJR. I love my 06 LJR as it is except, I am tired of the 6spd wish it was an auto.
 
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DrDmoney

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Personally, I would only buy a Rubicon model if I stumbled across one in pristine condition and at a ridiculously low price. A 4:1 T-case is not for everyone in fact Jeep put it in there for one purpose and that was navigating the Rubicon Trail, if your going to buy an LJ to modify then buy a Sport model for less, you can probably buy a nice one for much less and as @Irun stated with an automatic you can add a Rubicrawler box and get a super low crawl ratio if you need it and a standard low range for 98% of most people’s wheeling needs.
 
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Mr. Bills

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Personally, I would only buy a Rubicon model if I stumbled across one in pristine condition and at a ridiculously low price. . . .
Which is exactly what I did. Drove 690 miles to pick it up.

Seller's photo from his 2017 "for sale" ad:

2006 TJ Unlimited Rubicon - Left Side.jpg
 
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B00mb00m

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Personally, I didn't care if the sixth number in the VIN was a six (6). The '04 LJ route is the one I took. No transmission computer or OPDA issues to worry about. I then bought a TJ Rubicon, with a rusted frame, for the axles and transfer case. I sold the Rubicon hard top, full doors, engine, transmission, interior, etc. and ended up breaking even.

The results are worth it. Less money spent on the Jeep purchase meant more I could spend on modifications. The only downside to an '04 LJ is if you want a manual, because all 04s were automatic. The flip side is the automatic allows you to install a RubiCrawler. This is hands down my favorite mod!

View attachment 148478
Why ya'll always got to bring up the rubicrawler! I just put my Trump Check in savings!!
 

LONGJP2

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Only made the LJ for 3 years. Depending on time and money, you might not get to pick what you really want. Things like transmission or color might win out over Rubicon or non.

I drove 400 miles to get my 2006 LJR.
 
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Sea Cot

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If/when the locker actuator(s) fail, they apparently are in limited supply. Be prepared to replace with RJ D44 & 60 from what I've read (and inadvertently caused) on this board.

Not sure if locker pumps are unobtanium yet, either.

The internets is full of stores telling the demise of the OEM lockers, in particular the rear. So, there's that.

The fog light switch is on the turn signal stalk, so that's pretty neat.
 

dogbreath650

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They only made about 12k of them so they hold their resale value, course they will cost you more. They get you into the game quicker with the 4:1 transfer case, factory lockers and F/R D44 axles. Sure you can build a LJ to perform as good or better as a LJR but at the end you need to figure out what it cost you to get there in time and your labor and do the comparison.
 
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Vinman

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If the end game is to build a moderate wheeler on 35’s, the LJ Rubicon is hard to beat. Even if you’re planning on going bigger the sale of factory axles should offset the premium spent on the initial purchase price.
Around here the non-Rubicon LJ’s seem to command a 25% premium over regular TJ’s then the Rubicon package seems to command another 20-25% above non-Rubicon LJ prices.
Of course thats just my opinion so take it for what you paid for it😀