Jeep Wrangler - any owners?

Discussion in 'Cars, Motorcycles, Boats, Airplanes Talk' started by purr1n, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Ride Quality, Suspension, and Brakes

    Not apples to apples, but I liked how the JK Rubicon rode over the JL Sahara (soccer mom edition - nevertheless - still extremely capable) and JL Sport. The JK Rubicon gave me the best sense of road feel. I am pretty sure that among the trim levels, the Rubicon has the stiffest ride and that the Sahara has the softest. What makes it difficult for me to say for sure is that we are also comparing across generations. The JKs have a smaller wheelbase and track than the JLs, so this could certainly contribute to the better sense of road feel. On the other hand, the JLs had less body roll and felt more planted, likely because of the wider track and supposed minor tweaks to the suspension geometry that resulted in a lower center of gravity. The Sahara's softer ride actually helped it go over bumps easier than the Sport - the Sport has just a bit more rough and jarring. The nice thing is that the Sahara didn't feel under-damped either. There was no excess bounce. I referred the Rubicon damping. My wife preferred the Sahara. We could live with either. The differences are not huge as the Rubicon and Sahara both use the same kind of gas shocks, but maybe with different valving and I am guessing different spring rates. I wonder how long the stock shocks will last. I don't trust FCA putting on parts that will last the life of a car.

    The really fun thing about the Wrangler is how I can just run over speed bumps without even a care. This capability will definitely come in handy when I get pissed off waiting at the security checkpoints at the exclusive gated neighborhoods. I will just drive OVER the center island and go home. (Yeah, a lot of these retarded gated neighborhoods put in stupid center islands that go on for thousands of feet before the security gates. This can be annoying if I make a wrong turn into one of the queues.)

    The JK's brakes, at least the stock brakes (or brake pads) kind of suck. No bite. Takes forever to stop. I made the sales guy grab one of the oh-shit handles when I broke late to test the JK's stopping power. I had assumed, wrongly, that the JK would stop like the JL. The difference is significant; however I am sure better brake pads will help tons. Finally, the steering feel equally sucks for both JK and JL. Numb with huge dead zone. It works though, and really isn't any different from that of say a Toyota Sequoia.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sketchy Quality - FCA Auto Worker Having a Bad Monday?

    I should mention that one of the new JL Sahara's I test drove exhibited more windshield wind noise than even the older JK Rubicon. (All the other JLs, regardless of trim, were quieter). My wife and daughter noticed this too. This kept us scratching our heads. Reading some stuff on the Wrangler forums, it seems that sometimes, the FCA workers don't apply the seal around the glass properly, so there is a small gap in the windshield. This small gap causes whistling noise.

    I preparing to go into the mindset that quality will be absolute shit. Then again, it's hard to say. I was hoping that our Acura MDX would last 10-12 years. Instead, we dumped it at CarMax after we got electrical bugs and steering rack leaks (among other things) at 5-6 years.
     
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  3. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    I haven’t had any issues with my JK 2 door. I’ve read of some of the leaking problems but they seem to happen with a small percentage of owners. Yes the stock radio is crap. That’s why I ordered mine with the base radio because I knew it was getting yanked out the first month I owned it.

    In my area It’s hard to get a great deal on a Wrangler. I sent emails to all the dealers within 100 miles specifying exactly what options and color i wanted. The price comparisons were all on an identical vehicle which took the guess work out of it. I mentioned I was willing to order so there were no attempts to move me to a loaded model. I had a target price in mind based on research and the cheapest quote came in about $800 below that. I got my local guy to match it with no doc fees or add ons, and I had him order it. No phone numbers were given to anyone until I went in to the dealership to put down a deposit. I financed mine through my credit union and gave the dealership a pre made out cashiers check from the CU.

    I never did a test drive with any dealer. I had driven a buddy’s JKU while on a hunting trip so I knew how it drove.

    This week my wife will test drive a new JL at the dealers when I’m getting one of my free oil changes done on the JK. If she decides she wants one I’ll go through the same process again.
     
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  4. Divad al-Rahsir

    Divad al-Rahsir Facebook Friend

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    They happen to every owner that I personally know, barring the ones that park in garages. I realize that this is statistically insignificant for anyone but me and that confirmation bias is a real issue, but I used to think that roof leaks only happened to people that couldn't figure out how to put their roofs on correctly and possibly the occasional person unlucky enough to have gotten a lemon. Then mine started leaking. Then I began asking around, and the usual response that I got was, "Yeah, they do that. You bought a Jeep. What were you expecting?"

    It may be different on the JK's, but the "gaskets" on the JKU's are just random pieces of foam tape applied somewhat haphazardly to the seating surfaces. It truly is done by eyeball. Assuming a correct initial installation, a system like this would probably be all right if the roof panels are not removed and installed more than a few times, but that's not how I use mine. In any event, it's janky as fuck and a bit surprising to see on a $30,000+ vehicle.

    What's particularly annoying about it is that it doesn't always happen. The rain and wind have to be coming in a certain way, and it seems to take a bit to develop. My leaks didn't start in earnest until two years after I'd bought it. Unfortunately for me, they made their debut sometime during a five month trip to Japan in the winter, so my first indicator of a real problem was several inches of nasty-ass swamp water on the front floorboards and a metric shit-ton of mold on the interior when I got back home. That was not a pleasant cleanup.

    After that, I did some more reading online and discovered that this seems to be part of the JKU experience, so I tore out the carpeting (it was basically trashed anyway by the Flood of 2016) and put in some removable waterproof stuff. When she floods now, I just remove the mats, pull the drain plugs, and carry on. I'll eventually have the front pan coated with a bed liner and just skip the carpets altogether...which really is how they should leave the factory in the first place, if you ask me.

    Interestingly enough, I have a beat-to-shit-and-back-again soft top that I bought on the cheap a year or two ago. I only run it in the summer when we don't get much rain, but when we do, it doesn't leak - just the hard top does. (The dash doesn't seem to leak in the summer either, and I'm at a loss to explain that. Perhaps the roof is channeling the water in some way that...nah, fuck it, I'm done trying to figure this shit out.) I'm tempted to just run the soft top year round, but I'm paranoid about one of my asshole tweaker neighbors cutting a hole in it in their search for pocket change and random trinkets, or one of the regulars of the soup kitchen down the street crawling in to sleep off the heroin. (Which admittedly may be an unfounded fear. As an experiment, I left the top down all last summer, including at night and when I was away. Not one person fucked with my vehicle. My working theory is that such an obviously unsecure vehicle must have seemed like a trap of some sort. Then again, this very thing has happened to people that I know with better secured vehicles in more obvious locations, so it's not a possibility that I can easily ignore either.)

    So maybe it won't happen to every Wrangler eventually - I can accept that, even if I don't necessarily believe it. They may have even gone to a different and more reliable system on the new Wranglers, but Jeep, amirite? I suppose that the warning here is that if it does happen, it may happen at a very bad time, and your dealer may not be able to correct it. Mine certainly couldn't.

    It's actually not as big of a deal as I've made it out to be. If the water hasn't been there for months, lift the carpet, pull the drain plugs, and run the heater for a bit on your next errand. When I'm traveling, I pull the carpets and the drain plugs before I go. It's a pain in the ass that seems unwarranted in a modern vehicle, but at the end of the day it's essentially a first world problem and not worth stressing out over.
     
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  5. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    @Divad al-Rahsir mine is only 1.5 yrs old and I haven't had any water problems yet. I hope it stays that way. I also put a Black Forest Throwback top on it for the summer months to replace the front freedom panels. (I LOVE this top!) That has been leak free in heavy thunderstorms so far. I have also been using this product:

    https://www.amazon.com/nextzett-91480615-Gummi-Pflege-Rubber/dp/B004B8GTQG

    ...which won't fix a bad design but seems to keep all the seals like new. I guess the real test is when I pull up the carpets in the next few weeks to install a custom fiberglass sub enclosure to go under the drivers seat. Maybe it hasn't been dry and I just haven't noticed it yet. I like the bed liner idea, but I'm guessing cabin noise will go up a little. It would certainly make it easier to keep clean. I hate trying to keep black automotive carpet looking like new.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The design and seals of the hardtop panels wouldn't exactly give me confidence if I lived in some place like Michigan with rapidly changing weather conditions and storms throughout all seasons of the year. I can definitely see rain or snow coming in at the right angles seep into the interior. The humidity changes would wreak havoc on the seals. They would probably need replacing every other year to work effectively. I guess I have less to worry about because I live in SoCal where rainfall is rare, and then if there is any, it simply pours straight down.

    I pulled the trigger on a JLU with the stick. The sticks for a time could only be ordered with the heavier duty rear axle and limited slip. This is the reason why I wanted a stick. My wife can drive a stick, so no problem there. Yes, the steering is numb, the driver needs to pay some minor attention to keep the Jeep going straight on highways, the drivetrain goes clunk sometimes, and the mileage is shit (but still 6-8 mpg better than our old MDX), but we can also do stuff like this.

    2018_0505_21592800.jpg

    BTW, driving on the beach can be much more difficult than most people think. Tightly packed sand like the above is easy. Once you get into the fluffy areas with the dry fine grains, you can be screwed, even in a 4x4. I learned to air down the tires and use 4 low on the 2 speed transfer case. Saw an "SUV" (not 4x4 with a transfer case) get totally stuck in the sand. The front wheels dug a huge hole in the sand. Not having handy D-rings for tow hooks for someone else to easily tow you out only makes things harder. These situations are supposedly very common at Oceano. Practically all other vehicles at Oceano were far better prepared (bigger wheels, knobby tires, custom suspensions) for the conditions, so I took it very easy on the stock AT tires.

    Screw spending thousands on audio. This is way more fun. I'll be starting on some easy fire roads and may be taking a few off road clinics or join a 4x4 club
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  7. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    I decide not to wait for the diesel to come out, discovering it was going to be the eco diesel that was in the Ram 1500, and it was having issues, not to mention limited future parts support.

    I pulled the trigger on a JL Sahara a few weeks ago, after test driving it back to back with a heavily discounted JK. My local HB dealership had a solid deal and gave me what I wanted for my WRX on trade (I was shocked). The whole process was fairly smooth and I was well taken care of with minimal BS (contrary to yelp reviews). I always like to judge for myself before writing something off. The HB dealership beat every dealership within a 100 miles by at least 5% when I was shopping.

    Last Friday I installed the 2" Mopar lift with updated driver's spring perch (people have had issues with the driver's side bowing before update). I chose this lift for the factory backing and 2.5" diameter proprietary Fox shocks (Fox only sells 2" diameter shocks to the rest of the Jeep JL world at this time). It took me 4hrs to do the job behind my apartment, and a LOT of cussing.

    Anyone that familiar with me knows I'm a big 80's fan, and this Jeep is an homage to those days of yore with 17" Mickey Thompson Classic III rims, and a front tube bumper. Fending off the mall ninja's and aggressive SoCal freeway drivers in Audi's and BMW's is almost a full time job, c'mon I dare you to creep in and cut me off, mwaaahahaaaaaaa.

    I plan to go do some trails and camping soon, I pulled all four wisdom teeth on Sunday and feel a little like staying close to home for now.

    IMG_1111.JPG
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    I've wanted a Jeep Wrangler since i was a kid, but the ride has always bothered me too much to be a daily driver. The JL knocks it out of the park as far as I'm concerned, Truly awesome !!!

    EDIT: Tires are 285/70/17 same as the Rubicon's, with wider rims. My MT's are 9" wide and offset for a wider more stable stance when lifted vs the stock 7.5" Rubicon. Why didn't I just get a Rubicon? the 4.11 ratio wasn't needed with mostly street/fwy driving and I hate the red dash (I know it can be swapped out for $500).
     
  8. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I like that Mopar lift kit, and how it doesn't mess with your warranty...
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I fricking love those rims ever since I saw them on a black Wrangler on the highway. They are truly timeless and classic. We probably won't raise ours, but will get the same rim with more aggressive AT tires when the our "lite" AT tires wear out. I like the wider stance. Hoping Julie will not notice it.

    The HB dealership was one of three good ones that I worked with, but over a two hour drive these days, maybe more. I think they are a higher volume dealer, and thus easier to work with. I ended going up north to Ventura, which can be less than an hour away.

    Get some side armor next and put some tire marks and dents on the doors of ohhgourami's beemer when you see him in OC.

    P.S. It's funny to see people move of out the way or do a double take while in the Jeep.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  10. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    My wife and I just ordered a 2018 JLU in Hella Yella. I'll post pictures in a month or two when it finally arrives.

    The ride quality of the JLU vs. my JK is huge. I think the next step for my JK is some new adjustable Rancho shocks. I'll probably never lift it because it would look ridiculous with the stock rims and all season tires. Also, ride quality is improved by dropping the tire pressure a little.
     
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  11. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

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    LOL, when on vacation recently we had the option of different SUVs.
    I opted for the Jeep and the kids were super-excited...then they saw it was only a Compass and were disappointed.
    Wasn't a REAL JEEP like the Wrangler.
     
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  12. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    One thing that has impressed me is the upgraded 8.4" infotainment Alpine audio system. It's not earth shattering, but it's solid and has decent clarity... so I decided to take a measurement with REW and stuffed the mic in the driver's headrest.

    IMG_1130.JPG
    IMG_1131.JPG
    Here's a raw unsmoothed look
    Jeep No smoothing.jpg
    and 1/6 smoothed
    Jeep 1:6 smoothing.jpg

    Measurement was done with a flat EQ and a 2013 MacBook Air feeding the Jeep with 1000Hz sine wave through a TRS jack. Not bad at all

    I've been getting more familiar with my Jeep and started poking around the JL forums looking for tidbits of information. I came across people complaining of loose steering, and wandering on the freeway. I though this was just part of the Wrangler life, and was to be embraced (I drive BIG trucks, 45,000-120,000lbs, so I know what weight and vague steering is all about). One thread caught my interest and gave me the info to tighten up the steering box, so I tried it, and it works !!! I managed to strip the 4mm hex, so I pounded a T27 torx bit into it and made the adjustment. Goodbye vague dead zone, and hello precise steering, WOW this is nice.
    steering box.JPG
    I was also worried about how my spare MT wheel hangs a few inches away from the spare tire stabilizers due to the offset. The Jeep's rear cargo door doesn't inspire confidence and I was worried it would suffer catastrophic failure with repeated jarring bumps. I ended up filling the gap with black racket balls and everything feels solid once again. Works like a charm !!!
    IMG_1132.JPG
    I love this ride, it gets more amazing everyday.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
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  13. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    IMG_20180824_151425092_HDR.jpg IMG_20180824_151515091_HDR.jpg

    I promised some pics a while back and kept meaning to drag out the good camera and do it properly. Instead of putting it off some more I snapped a couple of crappy cell phone pics while visiting my daughter at school today.
     
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  14. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Yes!!! Take any car and do some photoshopping to make the windows bigger, body thinner, hood lower and they always look way better. I’ve hated this fad for the last 15 years when will it go away? I love the 70’s ish BMW with the huge windows and slim body.

    Anal[redacted] used to say it was because of a law about bumper or hood height to make pedestrian impacts safer but that makes no sense to me and I haven’t heard that anywhere else.
     
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    About Wranglers, it was my first car. Got a cheap lowest cost model 4 cylinder manual transmission 2 door version. And then put as many lights on it as I possibly could and a roof rack.

    I didn’t even get off-road tires cause I wanted to save on gas mileage and it was such a beast off road. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had. So thrilling a super adrenaline rush even though you’re not going fast at all. As someone who is very passionate about driving, I love the challenge of navigating fucked up off road trails. God it’s fun.

    id like one again someday. I recommend the 4 cylinder and in stick shift it’s more in the spirit of the vehicle. You don’t need the extra 2 cylinders off road plus it saves gas mileage. And shifting a wrangler is the best thing ever. It’s a super long stick shift so you really crank the thing when you shift and the transmission is nice and smooth.

    but for the fam, I understand getting the 4 door auto. I’m just not sure the 4 door is really still a wrangler. It seems like it turns it into an SUV but I know nothing more than just looking at them. Are they still badsss off-road? That mod site makes it appear so.
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The 4-doors are certainly viable and in fact more popular because they have an easier time going up steep inclines and areas of bad traction because of longer wheelbase and traction. We got a stick because it was cheaper and also because my wife didn't mind. I actually wanted auto because I've gotten lazier. The stick is less truck like now with recent redesign a few years back - no longer the super long throws, although throws are still longish, with a huge positive that the feel is less vague. The clutch barely requires any force - IMO it feels too light and takes up too early.

    Believe it or not, the autos are the in-thing with the rock-climbers now - although the local joint that teaches the off-road driving classes are still old school and insist on stick-shifts if possible.

    The fun is driving over shit. We've driven over areas which should not be driven by regular cars when the highways get clogged, or when the lines to the security gates to the Kardashian neighborhood get too long. Who cares? Just run over the center medians, unpaved shoulders, small ditches. Heck, one time a neighbor got on my nerves because he a moving trucking blocking my driveway for longer than I expected. I just drove through my front yard, around two trees, and over the sidewalk and road verge to get to the street. I've also parked it on my front lawn, as a redneck would.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Hell yeah. When I had my wrangler I did the same thing. Problem is you get used to being indestructible and then you drive a different car and it ain’t always pretty. I was driving my parent’s minivan and had to pull off the road for some reason and did it at high speed as I would in my wrangler and the minivan bottomed out so hard. Luckily I don’t think I caused any damage (short term anyways). But you better be mindful when getting in your FRS!
     
  18. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    I've heard the same. Laws were supposedly mostly for Europe but most mfg won't do 2 significantly different body styles for different markets so consequently most cars go this way. This is also why the front end/grill of cars since ~2013 have been more flat/boxy.
     
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  19. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    You mean HUGE? It’s so hard to make up for that huge tall grill and get any kind of decent looking car in the end. There’s been a few successes recently at least as far as the aesthetics of the grill (not necessarily the rest of the car) where instead of a ginormous bumper they put a tall air intake under the front bumper. But that still leaves the whole body way too tall and often there’s just way too much body height above the wheels it looks terrible. Then they try to make up for that with huge fenders which makes it worse. And the whole thing reduces visibility drastically. Most modern cars i simply won’t buy because I can’t see the road over the super high hood and that’s a deal breaker. I need to see the fucking road.

    I bet this law has caused more injuries due to lack of visibility in front and especially out the back and blind spots than it’s helped however it was supposed to which I still don’t understand. I think a lower front end might be safer so you don’t get dragged under the car by the huge grill. I’d rather go over the top.
     
  20. fp627

    fp627 Friend

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    Shhhhhhh you're thinking.

    In all seriousness, I disagree with the idea too, but that idea was that when you got hit, if you got hit with a larger flatter object, it dispersed the force out rather than concentrating it into a single point or small area (and I will concede this is a perfectly valid point). I once again blame gov + bureaucrats for this - like most bureaucratic regulations and ideas, there rarely seems to be burden of proof placed upon the regulators, intention matters more than execution and results, possible "side effects" rarely seem to be considered, and bad laws take forever or never get removed. But this is beside the point.

    I'm tempted to look up the exact laws now but given that it's for Europe and I'm not familiar with their legal system, don't really want to sink time into it.
     
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