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We have been wheeling our 2005 diesel KJ for a while now and after wheeling this summer again in the San Juans and a trail in Moab, we're ready for something that can do those trails rated at 6+ (out of 10). The KJ (and me) does really, really well on <=5 trails, but what really bummed me out was a tight switchback on the Yankee Boy trail (just south of Ouray) past the pit toilets this August. I got a wheel in the air and we weren't going anywhere. I tried three different lines, but no joy. There had been a bunch of rain all summer and the switchback was very rutted and at a pretty good incline. (We have All Terrain TAs on the KJ)

That was the only time Dear Wife closed her eyes while wheeling and it was the only trail I ever abandoned. That moment was my epiphany - I decided right then and there that we needed to wheel a more capable vehicle. It was a pretty easy sell since DW really, really loves it (and so does the dog :) )

So that's a little about me...

I have spent many, many hours on Jeep Forum and this one performing my due diligence and trying to figure out what I want to shop for. What I do know is I want a Rubi. What I don't know is the perennial question of Auto vs. stick and wheelbase. I think I want a 2003 or 2004 Rubi.

Stick vs. Auto: I have owned many standard tranny vehicles over the years and never minded shifting gears (usually enjoyed it especially on my '97 Corvette) except in stop and go traffic. If we buy a Rubi, it will not be a DD. So the question is focused about what's the easiest to wheel, and then what's the best to wheel. The thought of pushing in the clutch at a 30 degree incline is not pretty.

For you manual tranny wheelers, do you primarily stay in 1st or 2nd when climbing? Ever a need to shift while climbing? (I'm talking about a good grade here...) What I found with my KJ is when I'm in 4-Low and approaching a grade, I shift to 1st and keep it there until on flat-ish ground.

Wheelbase length: Having made some four and five point turns on narrow trails, I appreciate the relatively short length of my KJ and thought the TJ with a little shorter wheelbase would make maneuvering even easier. Apparently a shorter wheelbase is a bit of a detriment when rock crawling. So is the standard wheelbase Wrangler the best compromise for wheeling and doing some rocks?

Mileage: Looks like 2003-4 Rubis have about 50K miles and up (saw one on the Internet at 100K+ miles.) Is there any mileage benchmark when stuff usually starts breaking?

I will be giving up one of man's ultimate toys (I have a Komatsu D39P-1 dozer) for a Rubi. Every time I get in my dozer and push stuff around and hear the tracks clack I get a huge rush :spin: - oh well - time to move on.

Thanks guys

John
Texas Hill Country (for the winter)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ooh.. OOH.. OOH.. I like it (a lot!)

Oregon - yikes!
 

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A nice flight with some of those air plane peanuts and then... ROAD TRIP!
 

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Tigger's rig is a steal! :cheesy: But then again half the fun of this hobby is taking pride and building a rig the way you want it.
 

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I know it's a rare bird to find in the Rubicon model, but If I were to do it over, I would hold out for a TJ unlimited, I sure could use the extra space on over night camping trips.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
XJ Knight said:
A nice flight with some of those air plane peanuts and then... ROAD TRIP!
Flying? YUK :-x No thanks, I've had way too much airport time.

Tigger's about 2K miles from me. When I find my Rubi, I'll take my truck and trailer and haul it back to the nest. So far I've been looking in a 500 mile radius on Autotrader and Craig's List.

rubicon joe said:
I know it's a rare bird to find in the Rubicon model, but If I were to do it over, I would hold out for a TJ unlimited, I sure could use the extra space on over night camping trips.
I don't plan on doing anything with a Rubi except wheeling it during the day. We have a 40' land yacht (motorhome) and we currently tow the KJ. If we get a Rubi (I want to say when we get a Rubi), we'll tow it instead. My KJ tops out at about 4500+ pounds (believe it or don't), and I think a stock Rubi might be about 1K lighter.
 

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Our 04 TJ Rubi loaded with luggage, 2 ice chests and other stuff with my wife and I and a full tank weighed 4700 lbs when we left for a 2 week trip to Silverton. If you want an unlimited TJ it will have to be a 06 or 07. They are destined to be "classics" in the same sense that CJ7's and CJ8's are today. Hope you find one and have a good time. By the way, where on Yankee Boy did you find that tight of a switchback? :eek:
 

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My little pig is so armored that it tops the 5K mark. I think the last check was 5250 with driver and gear.

Oh, and thanks for the props. Every bit helps.
 

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XJ Knight said:
A nice flight with some of those air plane peanuts and then... ROAD TRIP!
Oh HELL YEA!!!

I drove from TN to southern MS to pick mine up, it was a wonderful time for bonding.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
katswuy said:
... where on Yankee Boy did you find that tight of a switchback?
It was past mile 9.8 and past the tree line. In thinking about the switchback, it was about usual for the trails we have been on in the San Juans, but what made it a no-go for the KJ was the grade coupled with lots of erosion right where you are coming out of the switchback. We met a couple of quads coming down and they said it got worse the further up you went.

In thinking about Tigger's Rubi, it dawned on me it was highly customized/modified and probably not something a Jeep dealer would/could work on (except for maybe the engine.) I can and do wrench and have a pretty decent shop, but sometimes I would rather pay the dealer to make something happen. So maybe the best deal is to buy a stock or mostly stock Rubi and take it from there.

2006/7 Unlimited - Hmmm - I was trying to avoid the 3.8 L engine :?

Any opinions about my original question about auto vs. stick on the trails?
 

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tj unlimited rubis came in 05 and 06. 07 is the new body style. just for clarification. and they still have the 4.0. btw i love the extra length on my LJ. had a regular non rubi tj and when i wrecked her i upgraded and got the lj rubi. best decision i ever made. i got it in auto due to having it also be my daily driver, and for much of the wheeling i do around here i found auto to be better than manual for ease of operation. And my master plan involves a v8 with an auto later in its life so figured i'd skip having to delete a clutch and add an auto shifter, etc when the time comes.
 

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2006's are still TJs - so the 4.0, not a 3.8. I, personally, would look for a 2005 or 2006 LJ w/ the 4.0 and a manual. I would seriously consider the one that is for sale here on the site if you want a SWB. It is setup right. A dealer WILL work on it, just not do warranty work if it is related to the mods. I've wheeled w/ autos AND manuals a good amount. The manuals were in a XJ, TJ and a KJ. The autos were only in XJs. Unless you are rock crawlin (boulders!), I wouldn't trade a manual for the world.

There you have it, my .02.
 

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johncanfield said:
In thinking about Tigger's Rubi, it dawned on me it was highly customized/modified and probably not something a Jeep dealer would/could work on (except for maybe the engine.) I can and do wrench and have a pretty decent shop, but sometimes I would rather pay the dealer to make something happen. So maybe the best deal is to buy a stock or mostly stock Rubi and take it from there.
Welcome to ROF John! :D

I would not discount Tigger's rig, or let his list of mods scare you away. NOT at all. You have to really know a little something about the mods he has done I guess maybe to see what I am driving at. But, what you would have is a NICE rig, set up for everything you want right out the door which is not only saving you money, but also wrench time, buying the mods, and the $$ for anything you didn't want to install yourself. If you really study what he has going on there... there doesn't appear to be anything that I have EVER seen a dealer be scared of or anything that they would not have seen before. Also it has stock axles (except shafts which is no big deal), stock trany, transfer case, engine... all your BIG ticket items. The suspension is the last final BIG mechanical mod and that is pretty simple as far as working on that kind of stuff. I'm not totally familiar with your old rig's suspension, but I imagine the rubi's could be more simple to work on.

Anyway I can go on and on with this. But If I were in your shoes, I would really study and weigh the mods that he has done, versus what it would take for you to do that with a stocker. Besides, you would be buying a jeep from a guy we all have seen and talked to on the forum for a long time. It isn't like you'd never be able to ask him a simple question again. And most of us on here have a fair amount of knowledge about the mods he has done as well. So you will have support. And like I said, I do not see anything there that a dealer would second guess at all. If they do, then find a new dealer cause that one will give you issues anyway if they are going to be like that. Many of us on ROF have been there, done that.
 

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John,

Welcome to the forum.

johncanfield said:
So the question is focused about what's the easiest to wheel, and then what's the best to wheel.
The debate between stick and auto has been known to start wars. I wheel a stick shift and sometimes I wish it was an auto, especially when I am in a rock garden. Easiest to wheel would be an the auto since you do not need to worry about rolling back on a rock while you ease on the gas.

It sound like you answered your own question.
The thought of pushing in the clutch at a 30 degree incline is not pretty.


For you manual tranny wheelers, do you primarily stay in 1st or 2nd when climbing? Ever a need to shift while climbing? (I'm talking about a good grade here...)
It really varies based on the hill height, angle and the soil. When in 4low, sometime I use 2nd gear but others I need 4-5th to keep the wheel rpms up due to sliding backwards. 1st gear I save for rock crawling since it is too low for trail riding.


So is the standard wheelbase Wrangler the best compromise for wheeling and doing some rocks?
Eventually you will learn how to maneuver the rig and in some areas a TJ is better than an LJ and vise-versa. I am a trail-guide/spotter and on multiple occasions seen an LJ walk right over rocks where a TJ gets stuck every time.




Mileage: Looks like 2003-4 Rubis have about 50K miles and up (saw one on the Internet at 100K+ miles.) Is there any mileage benchmark when stuff usually starts breaking?
There is no set breakdown point since it varies based on the modifications and once something breaks, like an axle shaft, you are better upgrading so it never happens again.
 

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Even though Tigger's ride is a steal at that price, I reccomend that you buy a Rubicon that is either stock or at most has a small lift and 33's. My first mod would be a winch if it didn't have one.

The truth is that a stock Rubicon can already do most trails. Your Jeep should grow up slowly along with your offroad driving skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
KaiserJeep said:
.. Tigger's ride is a steal at that price..
Exactly what I thought. I also agree I think I want a stock or nearly stock Rubi and lift it enough for 33s and then add a few trail goodies.

Thanks everybody for the warm welcome and extremely helpful responses. I'm beginning to feel a little more knowledgeable and less like a deer in the headlights :)
 

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I was just up at the top of Yankee Boy basin this past weekend. For a medium trail, I had the rear lockers locked for the very first time that I have owned my 06 Unlimited Rubi (purchased in July). The Jeep made it up slowly but surely and I am really, really glad that I had the lockers. It really gave me confidence that I could lock the front, if needed. I stayed in 4 wheel low and used mostly 2nd gear. I am trying to get the wife to enjoy the sport and I didn't want to throw her around too much. I don't think that I could have used a higher gear at any rate.

Governor's basin is rated as difficult and I didn't need the lockers at all on that trail. Go figure. Mostly 4 wheel low, 2nd gear on that one too.

My jeep died at the top of Imogene Pass (bad battery/alternator). There was no starting the thing with jumper cables, switching out relays, or a portable starting pack. The only way that I got it started was to point it down hill and pop the clutch. Don't know if that works with an auto, but it worked like a charm for me. It enabled me to get the jeep to Ouray to avoid a hefty tow charge. The next day (Sunday) I popped the clutch in Ouray and limped to the Autozone in Montrose. I have shifted while climbing with no problems. Just do it fairly rapidly.

We enjoy the extra room in the unlimited, but it isn't for everyone. We have no kids and getting to the back seats is sometimes a struggle.

I could sure use that dozer for a couple of days!!!
 
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