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Hello all,
I am new to the forum, and I am in the process of negotiating a deal on a fully stock 2004 Rubicon 5spd manual. I need some pointers on what to look for to ensure that I am not getting anything unexpected if I take this jeep home. The jeep itself seems to be in excellent condition, it has less than 15K on the odometer, and according to the dealership, the owners (couple in their mid 50's) traded on a new suv because the wife didnt like the ride of the jeep etc. The dealereship claims it was not used as a jeep, more as a second car, so it has never been offroaded (heavily anyways). In addition, they bought the jeep in a different state and towed it to its current location with a motorhome, so it does have tow brackets mounted to the front frame horns (I think they had to drill holes in the frame to mount them). The claim is that it was only towed this one time thus having only around 1K towing miles. Looking at it myself, it has the original style wrangler mtr's with very little wear, and it doesnt really have rock chips on the windshield frame or the grill (they did put a bra on it, and I did take it off and look at the paint and there didn't appear to be scratching or fading, but it was cloudy outside so Im not sure what direct sunlight would show). The only problems I can see are that the plastic panel on the inside of the drivers door has a crack in it at the top near the window area, but the dealership has agreed to replace it if I buy it. Also, there is some scratch marks on the top of the drivers door sill and the cargo area sill from boot marks/sliding something in the cargo area. Other than that, it seems to drive well and everything works (the power does seem sluggish compared to my old 01 TJ sport though, is this common?) the interior is very nice, and the rest of the exterior has no scratch marks or other rock chips etc. In addition, all of the bumpers, hardtop, bumperettes are not sunbleached telling me it hasnt sat out much. The underside has no scrapes or dents in any of the skidplates or oilpan, but the frame and gas tank skid do have a thin layer of greasy not oily residue on them (I'm thinking road grime from towing maybe? it doesnt appear to be from the jeep as its all over the outside of the frame). Is 18K a good deal for this jeep, and how much could I potentially lose if I try to sell it later? How easy/hard is it to sell a rubicon? What are some other common problems, important things I should look for so I dont get "taken for a ride"?In addition, since its an 04 one owner, it should still have 7 months left on the 7/70 powertrain, how do I transfer this and would it be worthwhile? Would it fully cover tranny replacement/engine component replacement, does anyone have experience using the 7/70 at a dealership and how do they treat you?
 

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Jeepless in PA
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Shawn,


I am new to the forum,
Welcome to the ROF.


I need some pointers on what to look for to ensure that I am not getting anything unexpected if I take this jeep home. The jeep itself seems to be in excellent condition, it has less than 15K on the odometer, <snip> claims it was not used as a jeep, more as a second car, so it has never been offroaded (heavily anyways).
Since it has only 15k miles, there is not much to check for signs of damages, rust, etc. Be sure to feel above the center skid plate at the transmission for signs of off-road abuse if it is packed with dirt, mud, rocks. If there are very few scratches, I think you found a garage kept rubi. When we picked up a late year rubi, I was sure to change the axles, transmission, transfercase, engine asap since they could be contaminated with water and it is good periodic maintenance. Whenever I look at a vehicle I check above the rear shocks, back of the gas tank, control arm mounts (upper and lower), rear frame which is known to hold water and rust, put my finger in the gas tank's drain hole to see if dirt/etc, signs of leaking around rear main seal below engine, differential covers, any signs of leaking fluid where tires mount to the rear axle, general condition of the engine, etc. If you have pictures, we may be able to give you some pointers.

In addition, they bought the jeep in a different state and towed it to its current location with a motorhome, so it does have tow brackets mounted to the front frame horns (I think they had to drill holes in the frame to mount them). The claim is that it was only towed this one time thus having only around 1K towing miles.
IIRC, the tow bar is only bolted to the front bumper and not the frame itself? If you really want to make sure it was towed once (based on having the stock MTRs) look for the build date on the tires. It will be in an embossed oval on the side of the tire. If they wore out the stock MTRs, these would not show a 2003/2004 build code.

ex.

5107 means
built on 51 week of 2007


also, there is some scratch marks on the top of the drivers door sill and the cargo area sill from boot marks/sliding something in the cargo area.
normal. :)

Other than that, it seems to drive well and everything works (the power does seem sluggish compared to my old 01 TJ sport though, is this common?) the interior is very nice, and the rest of the exterior has no scratch marks or other rock chips etc.
Remember the Rubi has a different transfer case (4:1) and differential gearing (4.10:1) versus your 01 sport with 2.72:1 t-case and 3:73/3:07 diff, so it will feel different.


shawplat said:
In addition, all of the bumpers, hardtop, bumperettes are not sunbleached telling me it hasnt sat out much. The underside has no scrapes or dents in any of the skidplates or oilpan, but the frame and gas tank skid do have a thin layer of greasy not oily residue on them (I'm thinking road grime from towing maybe? it doesnt appear to be from the jeep as its all over the outside of the frame).
That is normal to have above the tank, that is the oil from the road that was shot up there from the tires.


Is 18K a good deal for this jeep,
That is really hard to say since Rubicon's value is different depending where you are located. In the northeast, that is a good price since it is mint with only 15k miles. I have seen quite a few on ebay that had 40-60k miles for $16k but then similar jeeps are going for $20-22k.


and how much could I potentially lose if I try to sell it later?
That is hard to say but the longer you keep it, it will take a hit. Remember it is six years old already. If you bought it today for $18k, you could sell if tomorrow on ebay for $22k if you can find a buyer.

How easy/hard is it to sell a rubicon?
Again it depends where you live, up here they sell fast especially in the beginning of summer.

What are some other common problems, important things I should look for so I dont get "taken for a ride"? In addition, since its an 04 one owner, it should still have 7 months left on the 7/70 powertrain, how do I transfer this and would it be worthwhile?
When you purchase the jeep, they should have a form that lists the warranty and a phone number to call for a transfer. I think it costs $ but am not sure. Depending on the dealer and state law, you also get a 90day complete warranty due to it being a used car.

Would it fully cover tranny replacement/engine component replacement, does anyone have experience using the 7/70 at a dealership
Power train is 4year, 36k miles unless you purchase an extended warranty.

and how do they treat you
When stock you will not have any problems. If you start changing the rig (aftermarket parts everywhere), this greatly varies from dealer to dealer. If you are in NJ, I know of a great dealer that will fix anything.
 

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Good advice, and I would say it is a good buy as well. I paid just about that for my rig with almost 40K miles a few years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice guys...especially the tip about the tire build date. You mentioned a 4 year 36k warranty, but I thought the 03-05 rubicons had a 3/36 full warranty with a 7/70 powertrain? I was under the assumption that I would still have part of the factory powertrain warranty left that I could transfer to my name? Also, the tow mounts are kind of weird....they look like they could have been a home made set up? The bolts used for mounting them definately look like someone just mixed and matched bolts/washers at a parts store rather than using supplied hardware from a purchased mount. But essentially they look like 2 miniature pieces of square tubing (maybe 1.5") welded to a mounting plate and then bolted to the frame horns under the bumper....they sit flush with the front of the bumper on the inside of the frame horns and just below the bumper. At first I thought it might be a snow plow mount...but they claim it is a towing mount. I offered a much lower price at the dealership (15K) but they wouldnt take it....basically the sales manager said that they have about 17K into it and they need to make at least 1K, thus the 18K price....not sure if they are giving me a line, but I dont know about the super low miles myself. It seems as though when I put it into NADA....they are saying the mileage is worth $4500! They value a basic "clean trade" at $12,750 and with the mileage it jumps to $17250. After thinking more about it, I am not sure if I want to pay an extra $4500 just to get 12K miles....I am thinking about passing on it because of this, and perhaps I could find another one for around 13K-14K?

Thanks,
Shawn
 

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Jeepless in PA
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shawplat said:
I thought the 03-05 rubicons had a 3/36 full warranty with a 7/70 powertrain?
It's been a while, and you are correct.


lower price at the dealership (15K) but they wouldnt take it....basically the sales manager said that they have about 17K into it and they need to make at least 1K, thus the 18K price....not sure if they are giving me a line,
There are other ways to get the price lower such as throwing in dealer's used car extended warranty, free oil changes, etc. When we picked up the 06, for an extra $700 we could have received a complete warranty that is valid at any licensed mechanic, pending a few disclaimers.

but I don't know about the super low miles myself. It seems as though when I put it into NADA....they are saying the mileage is worth $4500! They value a basic "clean trade" at $12,750 and with the mileage it jumps to $17250. After thinking more about it, I am not sure if I want to pay an extra $4500 just to get 12K miles....I am thinking about passing on it because of this, and perhaps I could find another one for around 13K-14K?

If you have any doubts about buying a used car then you are better off passing. If this is the right color, options, etc. and you could not live without it, then get it. I have seen some that were beaten and abused with 60k+ miles sell for 20k+ and some with 100k miles go for $14-16k. I looked for over a year and finally found a TJ that fit the criteria. Without seeing pictures of the rig, it is clean inside/out and drives great, I would get it.


Check out and compare this rig to ebay http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Tr...&_flso=0&_sop=7&_ssov=1&_trksid=p4506.c0.m282 or craigslist.


If you check the FleaMarket section of this forum, there are a few TJ Rubi for sale.
 

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seems a little high priced to me even with the low miles. If your not set on how it is equipped, I would beat up on the dealer some more. Since they are selling it to you for 18k, that means they gave the old guy 12k to 13k max and stuck him on the new one too. offer them 14.5k and be ready to walk, watch them chase you as your walking out the door, then tell them 15k. just my two cents...:)
 

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I bought my 2005 Rubicon TJ with 18K miles 2 1/2 years ago for $18K. Completely stock, never had been offroad, original tires, and the top had never even been down.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am surprised that you could find a Rubi that was only a couple years old at the time for 18K! It seems to me that wranglers have gone up in the past few years because it is hard to find a nice TJ rubi now under 20K unless they have more than 50-60K on the clock....I am astonished at TJ prices now because I sold my 01 TJ sport in 06 for 11K and it took a long time to move it....now it seems like 01 TJ sports are still going for 11K and sometimes more! I have been searching craigslist, autotrader, cars.com, carsdirect, jeep classifieds etc. and it seems like most rubis are 20k if they havent been wheeled hard, but is there a site I am missing? The fact of the matter is that it is nearly 7 years old and I could potentially buy a brand new JK sport with d44 rear axle for $21900 and mod it out pretty well and still have something with a warranty. I am not a JK fan at all which is why I have been looking for TJ's, and this jeep looks pretty nice...but man with only 12K in 7 years I wonder if I will run into problems due to lack of driving. I just cant make my mind up if I want to go for it or not and the stealership wont come any lower than 18K as I already started my offer at 15K cash....I dont want to take a big loss if I have to sell it later, but I am thinking I could potentially lose $8-$10k and I am not sure how much longer it would take to find a TJ rubi, red, hardtop, not wheeled. I know I need to make my mind up myself, but what does everyone think? Deal or No Deal? How much of a loss could I take buying this Jeep?
 

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Funny thing is that they didnt come chasing me out the door! I was there Sunday evening trying to work the deal but the sales manager seemed like he was playing less of the "car sales" game than I was. In fact he even said during the time that "it might not be the right vehicle for you" instead of trying to talk me into the deal at all cost. I left under the assumption that they were going to check into the price of the door panel and the window repair (caused by a rock hitting the windshield during my test drive). The sales manager said they would give me a written guarantee on this vehicle stating I could return it for full purchase price if I found out it was in an accident, repainted, major repair etc. and the salesman was supposed to call me back today to finalize things. Well I never got that call....I hesitated to call myself as I didnt want to look too interested, but I am thinking I will have to call them tommorrow if I am seriously going to buy this Jeep. I am thinking someone else is interested in it and they may have sold it today, or they are just playing the waiting game with me to see how long it takes to call them? Not sure of the best way to approach it from here, any advice?
 

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I'm not sure what your intentions are, or what your wheeling experience is, but I'd say:

If you plan on wheeling, are going to keep it close to stock for a few years, and like the TJ Rubis over the JK Rubis, then get it.
If you plan on wheeling, and have big build plans (like axles, gears, lockers, etc), then don't get it because you don't need the super low mileage/wear.
If you don't plan on wheeling, then you don't need a Rubi.
 

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A few tips: Don't buy through a dealer if you can help it. Buy through a private sale only. A dealer feels no sense of ownership of a vehicle, knows nothing of the history of the car, and you always have to wonder why it ended up there.

Sign up for Carfax for 90 days if you haven't already done so, and pull the reports for all the cars you're interested in. That was extremely illuminating and helpful for me.

Shop in a good market. Even though I live hours away from Phoenix, I was amazed at the number of Jeeps for sale there. The majority of them are status symbol mall crawlers. I spent a weekend there looking at private sale Jeeps and found several Rubis in this price range, any of which would have been fine. The one I got was essentially showroom condition. There was nothing but crap for sale in my own small town!

Here's how she looked the day I brought her home.


And here's how she sits today. :D
 

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For what it's worth, I bought an 05 Rubi, hard top, a/c, and auto for less than 19,000 plus tax with 18000 miles on it back in 06. It was well taken care of and I've had zero problems with it.
 

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Welcome :D This is the best Jeep Forum out there. I have learned soooo much from everyone on here.

It does seem a little high but the miles are rather low. I got mine 2 years ago for 18K out the door. Its an 06 SWB with the 6spd and I got both tops with it. When I got it, there was 16k on the odo. The jeep was showroom clean. The previous owner was an older gentleman that barely drove it. I prob paid a little too much but I was also trading in my 4runner limited that needed looooooooots of work. I def made out way better than the dealership did. They are still pissed the deal actually went down. Oh well haha

Like others have said. Really look the jeep over. Take your time. You can def find another Rubi that is just as nice prob cheaper. I looked at probably 40 rubicons before I bought mine. Let us know when you end up buying one, and them let the fun begin

Mark
 

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you guys really made me feel good about my purchase price of 05 Rubicon Unlimited with many aftermarkets. Don't buy a Jeep for the Warrentee. unless you transfer the warrentee within 6 weeks of purchase you will default to a 3/36k warrenty. if you are 3rd owner you most likely are already out of warrentee.
When checking a Jeep Check everything. check all fluids. even check the AC and heater. check all electrical.
Check all after markets parts. you can test the lockers and don't have to be in the dirt to test it.
You plan to take it off road (why would you buy a rubicon if you don't) Expect to work on it.
 

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KingRubiconMan said:
06moneypit said:
I looked at probably 40 rubicons before I bought mine.
You looked at 40 Rubicons!? Dude, it a JEEP, not a WIFE. :laugh:










Depends on where your located and how set you are on building a stock jeep up but something tells me This could work for both yourself and Tigger viewtopic.php?f=6&t=71798
 

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make sure you check for rear main seal leaks, common problem even with low mileage units. if your going to get a rubicon also check to make sure the lockers lock (light stops blinking) when i got mine used, the dealer had to go into the rear pumpkin to replace the air hose. as mentioned before make sure the hvac blows air out of the correct vent, also an issue with broken air defectors which is big bucks to replace. and the famous ticking coming from the distributor looking thingy that we've heard so much about.
 
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