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Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Jeeps' started by woody1, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. woody1

    woody1 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I've been looking at '05 & '06 Wrangler Unlimiteds, like the extra room in the back. I would be using it to plow 500' driveway & tow small utility trailer. Which is the better transmission? Does the Rubicon model fit my needs? Any help is appreciated.
  2. tjthorson

    tjthorson Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 126

    You only need the Rubicon if you really plan to go offroad. For what you have described - a regular Unlimited will work fine.

    I prefer the automatic for my Jeeps - but I also offroad some. If you plan to plow and tow with an auto - just install a trans cooler and you will be fine. An 05 or 06 will have the 6 speed manual. Many find that trans annoying because 1st gear is extremely low - and 6th is high if you have oversized tires. With a plow you may run into trouble if you go too large on the tires as well - and the gearing may become an issue.

    An unlimited with up to a 31" tire makes a very good all around vehicle. You can add a small spacer lift of 2" as well to give it a nice stance. All Unlimiteds have the heavier duty Dana-44 rearend - which is a nice thing. A standard unlimited will have 3.73 gearing, which will be fine with those 31s. A 33" and up tire will be not too much fun without a regear.

    If you decide on Rubicon - you will have 4.10 gearing - but you also have the 4:1 transfer case (standard is 2.72:1). The 4:1 is awesome for offroading and rock crawling - but quite low to use on the street or while plowing. I find i use 4HI only - unless we are offroading.

    i love my jeep - its my second one - and it certainly is the only offroading, go anywhere, snow plowing, trailer towing, convertible made - so great choice.

    Also.... I know it appears small for a vehicle and only has a 6 cylinder - but you can expect 12-14mpg overall - and much less in 4wd, towing, or plowing. FYI.....

    Hope that helps!
  3. BigDBoots

    BigDBoots Senior Member
    Messages: 103


    I have owned a 06 Unlimited (3.73 gears, rear dana 44, 30 inch stock tire) now for just shy of 3 years, here is my 2 cents on it:

    - I recently just spent the time to figure out my mileage. I did this w/ the basic calculation of miles on the tank & refill method and came up w/ just over 15 miles per gallon. I drive appx. 16 miles round trip to work daily. I have clocked as high as 17 miles per gallon on the highway while driving to the Adks. in the summer, twice got this mileage.

    - Like the previous post, I never use 1st gear unless start/stop on an incline simply b/c it is just sooooo low. I have used it to start when towing my small trailer.

    - I installed a Rubicon Express BB 2 inch and 31 BFG tires (1 yr ago) and started offroading and it has worked fine, but havent done anything too off the wall. I have yet to purchase a plow, listening to what everyone says here so I make the most informed purchase, so I cannot help you in that area.

    All in all, I have enjoyed my experience
  4. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    Thanks for the info. Trying to figure out all the Jeep configurations is confusing. I have been wanting one for many years.
  5. tjthorson

    tjthorson Senior Member
    from IL
    Messages: 126

    It is pretty cut and dry in the TJ series (97-06).

    There are TJ and TJ unlimiteds. Some call the TJ unlimited an LJ for Long Jeep. Jeep never acknowledged this designation. Both share the same doors, front clip, rear gate, axles, transfer case, etc. The "LJ" is about 12 inches longer - and just has longer driveshaft. Most of the length is in wheelbase - a few inches are out the back behind the axle. Most parts swap, except rear seats, tops, rear driveshafts.

    If you are only going mild on your build - the rubicon is a nice upgrade. If you never plan on more then 33" tires, and never plan to do a lot of offroading - a regular Jeep will save the $$$. You dont need lockers for plowing unless you have some extreme situation, because locked axles dont steer well. If you plan to find a regular TJ, look for the Dana 44 rear if at all possible. Very easy to tell. If the rear diff cover is rounded - and has a rubber fill plug, its a Dana 35. if its more "stop sign looking" and has a metal fill plug its a 44.

    All LJs have a rear Dana 44 - so nothing to check there. the front dana 30 and 44 share many of the same parts so the 44 isnt really a big upgrade over the 30. Just the ring and pinion is different. the dana 30 has proven itself well up to 35" tires - so that isnt a concern. The front 44 ONLY came on the Rubicon - all others are front Dana 30s.

    If you are going to plow - i highly recommend a hard top. I really like the rear wiper and defrost- and general warmth of the hardtop in winter. Expect to pay about 600-800 for a TJ hardtop - any year can be used - but you will have some wiring issues if the years dont match. For an unlimited hardtop - they only made the unlimited from 04-06 so they are rarer. Expect to pay 600-1300 for a LJ hardtop.

    Also - if you are looking - an 05 has a 7/70 powertrain warranty transferable to the second owner, other years are only 3/36... if you find an 05 that you can be the second owner on - the 7/70 is nice - because its a Jeep - so pinion seals, rear main, etc - will leak. And its nice to have that covered under warranty still. Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  6. cocco78

    cocco78 Senior Member
    Messages: 158

    Don't waste your money on a rubicon unless you plan on doing some serious off-roading or your paying for features you'll never use and don't need. Although it might help resale value... I'd just look for the upgraded D44 rear axle on a regular TJ, the unlimiteds I believe all have the D44 rear.
  7. JeepTJ

    JeepTJ Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    I vote to make this a Jeep TJ sticky. A very good, overall description of the TJ/LJ.