Which Year Rubicon Unlimited? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-09-2017, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Which Year Rubicon Unlimited?

Am considering buying a used Rubicon Unlimited. Let someone else take the first depreciation hit. My idea is to enjoy it for a few years and then maybe trade up to a used JL, if it appeals to me. There are plenty of used JKU Rubicons out there. I think I want at least a 2012, since that is when the 3.6 Pentastar joined the party. Commuting and some light offroading.

I am thinking something with fairly low miles and the power and convenience stuff - I love the technology, Navigation, and maybe even leather, dual top group. My commute full of stop and go and my old knees mean automatic transmission is a must?

Which year should I try to find?

Anything in particular to watch out for? I want to find one that is bone stock; not interested in anyone else's mods that may or may not be right.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-09-2017, 10:56 PM
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If you are intent on buying used, shop wisely. My last jeep I shop used for a long time, until I figured out that for me, there was not enough savings to justify buying used.
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post #3 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Az Scooter View Post
If you are intent on buying used, shop wisely. My last jeep I shop used for a long time, until I figured out that for me, there was not enough savings to justify buying used.
Can you please give me a little more on your thought process if you have the time?
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 05:33 AM
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I ran into the same situation as AZ Scooter, not enough savings for me when looking at Jeeps that met my criteria. This was three years ago, and I was looking for a manual two door, so isn't apples to apples, but I can explain my reasoning.

I wanted something fairly new, with relatively low miles. This would be my daily driver (only vehicle other than company work truck), so I didn't want something that already had problems, or would likely develop them quickly. I kept my eye out for a long time (months) and went and looked at a some. I found only a few with the features I wanted (two door, manual, hard top), but one or two were almost exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, they were only priced four to five thousand less than new. I know that five thousand dollars is nothing to sneeze at, and I may have been able to talk them down a bit. But it wasn't enough savings for what I was giving up. One Rubicon I found was a bit cheaper, but it was a 5 year old vehicle with 70K miles. Buying that Jeep would have meant paying $25K-ish for a vehicle that had already had it's best miles and years used up by someone else, not to mention it would have no warranty. It was very near to needing new tires, and I never got serious enough to check it out further and see if it needed anything else. I would have ended up with a still fairly expensive daily driver that needed $1,000 worth of tires at the very least, had no warranty, and would have 70K miles of someone else's wear and tear to deal with. Newer Jeeps were obviously nicer, with fewer miles (in some cases), but they were also much more expensive.

In the end, I found exactly what I wanted new, paid $32K, and got a brand new Jeep with a warranty. Yes it was more expensive, but interest is often less on a new vehicle, so it's possible it's not as bad as the numbers sound. And for the extra cost I get the best years and use with the Jeep. I got the peace of mind knowing what was done to it, when and how (in terms of maintenance and "abuse", like off roading). It ended up being something I personally was more comfortable with.

Shortly after I bought my Jeep, my cousin bought a used, two door, manual Rubicon and got a very good price. It had low miles (around 40K I believe), was lifted with 35" tires. He has since replaced the drag link, pitman arm and a couple control arm bushings. There is still a bit of play in the steering caused by a very small amount of play in the steering gear box. The tires have ok tread, but are cupped a bit, making them loud. His 4WD shifter linkage has broken twice, and he had to rig it to be able to shift out of 4WD a couple times. I believe he has done other, minor work to it, but I can't be sure. Having said all that, he still did the right thing for him buying used. The Jeep isn't his daily driver. In the several years he's owned the Jeep he's put very few miles on it, and it does what he needs it to do.

Now, you are in a very different boat, in that you are looking for a four door. There seem to be far more four door Wranglers out there these days, and I'm sure the used market is much more saturated now with four door, auto Rubicons, than it was three years ago with base, two door, manual Rubicons. It is probably more likely you will find a deal than it was for me. But that is how it worked out for me, and why I ended up buying new.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emoto View Post
Can you please give me a little more on your thought process if you have the time?


I agree. Do the math is you can. We just bought a new CRV for the wife. High resale value, typically high mileage on used and our expected length of ownership meant it was just a little cheaper, per mile, to buy new. Those were my circumstances though, do the math specific to yours. I would think the high resale value of Jeeps will put it pretty close to a wash between used vs. new though.


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post #6 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 07:59 AM
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If I remember correctly, the Pentastar had head and heat problems early on. Google Pentastar engine problems. You might end up with a bad engine and with no warranty it would be costly.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 04:24 PM
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Can you please give me a little more on your thought process if you have the time?
The only keeps that I found that were close to what I wanted were running over $40k. I was looking for a hard rock, or 10A jeep. I didn't even care if it was modded. I ended up buying new, spending $47k and doing everything myself, and had use of the full warranty, or at least the belief of a warranty, since I had it lifted within a week.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 06:11 PM
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A friend of mine has one for sale.
He takes extremely good care of his vehicles. I thinks it's a great value

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post #9 of 23 Old 01-10-2017, 07:41 PM
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I would consider at least a 2013 model to have some minor upgrades.
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post #10 of 23 Old 01-11-2017, 02:42 AM
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I've had two friends at work buy JKUs in the last two months.

One has been "window shopping" for that last 4 or 5 years... and I'm not kidding. If you're looking for used, often the best bets are buying a local rig that will have a service history at the local dealer. You can ask the service dept to pull up the VIN and they can tell you what was done and when. If it had new heads put on it, they can tell you. This one friend would ask me questions from time to time and would often send me links to JKs for sale. MOST of the time, I could tell him that what he was looking at was only 4-5k under the price of a new one. He was also looking for a Sahara with a lift and 35s. That was his minimum standard. Beyond that, he was completely open. So after about 5 years, he finally located and purchased a JKU Sahara. A brand new 2016. Within two weeks, it was on 3" of lift and 35's. He still has invested only about 2k over some other used 14/15 JKs.

The second friend had a 2010 JKU he bought new. For whatever stupid reason, his wife talked him into trading it in on a Ford Flex and hated it. Then they fell into a bankruptcy that they just are now getting out of. They found a stock 2014 just last week. I have not been told what the price was, but knowing their history, it had to be a VERY solid deal for them to afford it.

Your buying experience is going to weigh heavily on where you're making your deal and how excited you are on the purchase. I've had good and bad experiences at the dealers and only one good one when buying used. I say only one, because some people just felt slightly dishonest when we talked about the car/truck. The last two vehicle purchases were both good and bad. The good one, we were buying a new Ram 1500. The dealership experience had been so-so... a nice sales rep with a very pushy and overly excited sales manager.... however I had the truck about 5k under sticker and with my trade I was walking out with a new Ram for $27,000. The not-so-good one was the used Challenger I bought my wife last July. The dealership knew absolutely nothing about Dodge which bugged me, and after we did a walk around of the car before the deal, I found a cracked taillight that we obviously missed. The dealership replaced it, but not without a LOT of back-and-forth calls and chatter. The icing on the no-so-good feeling was I've never carried two car loans in my life.... that honestly took away some of the excitement. But remember what I said about how much you like the car? I called my own bank and secured my own loan. I walked in with a check and walked out with the car.

I have State Farm, who has their own bank. I've bought two cars and one boat with them and I can't tell you how supremely easy it was and how competitive the rate was. Doing it that way has relieved MANY of the issues that have sucked the life out of auto purchases at the dealership. My first experience like this was buying a Fiat 500 Abarth.... which was an amazing car. I got an awesome deal on the car and walked out in an excited daze. Sadly, they retain practically NO value and the dealer network is horrible... but thats another story... sorry.

I guess my thought would be, if you're looking used and you are familiar with the JK, shop used from owner. You will find your best deals on Jeeps that way (at least in the south east) and if you have your own bank its pretty dang easy. At the dealer, its easier to make them do the work to find a loan that works for you if you don't have a bank. If a warranty is a factor, then the newer the better.

I recommend the '12-up because the engine/trans combo is better than the '07-11. Sure, I have a '07 JKU Rubicon with 67,000 miles on it. Its starting to show its age, too. Jan 22nd is its birthday..... it'll be 10 years old.
... already????
I'll also point out that this overweight under powered JK has been to NYC twice... Durango, Colorado... South Florida... Central Florida... OBX.... Camp Lejune... Tennessee... Alabama...
So even being the wheezy fat pig that it is, it still gets down the road at interstate speeds with the family and luggage. Those 67,000 miles have seen the smokies and the rockies. The Atlantic and the Gulf. Times Square and Ouray. So long as its in good repair it will take you where you need it to. Except past a gas station.
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post #11 of 23 Old 01-11-2017, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Boy, you guys aren't kidding about new being not that much more expensive than used!

Now I've started playing around with the numbers for new.

Does anyone know if Jeep still gives a discount to Tread Lightly members?
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post #12 of 23 Old 01-11-2017, 06:35 AM
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I am in Northern NY at Ft. Drum. I can tell you the prices around here are ridiculous for new and used. Also with the winters and rust up here I was nervous about buying used. Personally I won't buy a Jeep that has been lifted already. You don't know how the previous owner did it and if he went with price over quality. To me the piece of mind knowing what parts I put on and done correctly far outweighs not knowing.

We I was looking for my Rubicon, I have it narrowed down to three. One was 2 hrs away and the other 2 were 6 hrs away in opposite directions. Because I'm military I register in Alaska and don't pay sales tax. So talking to the dealers and making sure they would do a temporary tag so I could register in Alaska made a huge difference in $3000 savings of tax. This eliminated the closes dealer that was in NY. They insisted I still had to pay NY taxes. Of the other 2 dealers in Ohio and NJ I went with the one in Ohio. The dealer in NJ couldn't understand why I wanted them to take some pictures of the jeep and send them to me. Remember I am 6 hrs away. They had pics on the website so they didn't want to take some recent ones. The ones on the website looked almost photo shopped. They also wouldn't talk price over the phone and had several added fees.

The Dealer I went with in Ohio, drove out to the jeep while I was on the phone with him. He facetimed with me so I could see him walk around the Jeep. I pointed out little nicks and even layed on the ground to show me the under side. The Jeep was Certified Pre owned and has the extended warranty. The dealer understood I was driving from 6 hrs away so they did everything I asked so I wouldn't waste a trip out there. I have drove 3 hrs to a dealer for a car. That dealer thought they had me and wouldn't walk way because I drove that far, They were wrong. I made sure this dealer knew I have walked away before after a long drive. Anyways from what I saw, I made an offer for an out the door price. Told them I don't care what fees they have but they need to drop the price to what ever they need to to calculate there fees to meet my out the door price. 30 min later I got a call back that they agreed. I left a $500 refundable deposit so They would hold it til I got there the next day. The Jeep was exactly as described and as I seen in the pics and video. They gave me temporary tags and I was out the doors headed home in a 1 year old jeep that was low miles. The price was a big enough difference that I didn't go new but the CPO warranty also helped that decision. I don't regret it one bit.

I think it was Fred Martin Superstore in Akron OH.
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post #13 of 23 Old 01-11-2017, 09:26 AM
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We were in a similar situation when we bought our 2014 JKUR. Every used JK around was only $3-5k less with around 40-50k miles. For that little difference in price to get a brand new JK with the options we wanted it didn't make sense to buy used. We bought ours in the fall of 2014 when the 2015s were coming in so they were motivated to move it. We also got them for the Treat Lightly discount without even signing up for the program.
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post #14 of 23 Old 01-11-2017, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
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It turns out that my employer has an affiliate agreement with FCA, so I can get a new one for 1% under invoice.

I can be a very "tough" customer when it comes to negotiating a price, but I am not sure how much more wiggle room there is. One guy is offering several hundred more off in addition to the 1% under inv. I work hard for my $$$, so don't want to give away more than I must. Thoughts?
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post #15 of 23 Old 01-12-2017, 06:52 PM
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2009 is obviously the best year. I think I saw a red one for sale on here actually!
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post #16 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the deed is done. I bought a 2017 JKU Rubicon Hard Rock last night. Should be able to pick it up next week, after some funds I'm using clear on my end.
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post #17 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 06:30 AM
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Hard Rocks are beautiful. Congratulations, and have fun.
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post #18 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 06:54 AM
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Well, the deed is done. I bought a 2017 JKU Rubicon Hard Rock last night. Should be able to pick it up next week, after some funds I'm using clear on my end.

.... and the hook is set. You'll be on here every day now. Forever!


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post #19 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Hard Rocks are beautiful. Congratulations, and have fun.
Thanks! So excited. Like a kid at Christmas.

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.... and the hook is set. You'll be on here every day now. Forever!
Hahaha! Been browsing here as a member since 2007, so not new to the place. I do expect to post more often, now that I have taken the plunge.
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post #20 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 10:14 AM
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Congrats!! Pics or did not happen JK Can you give a ballpark on price paid out the door? I believe we have a similar program through work, but by invoice you mean actual dealer cost invoice or sticker MSRP?


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post #21 of 23 Old 01-13-2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats!! Pics or did not happen JK Can you give a ballpark on price paid out the door? I believe we have a similar program through work, but by invoice you mean actual dealer cost invoice or sticker MSRP?
It was a program supposedly good for 1% under invoice. Well, they were already discounting more than that. Hard to know what is real in these situations.

Ended up about 12% off MSRP. It was about 500 below the Edmunds "true market value." Maybe someone else could have done better; I forgot a few things while doing the deal. None the less, I was happy enough with the numbers to do the deal.
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post #22 of 23 Old 01-16-2017, 06:51 PM
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It has been said, but congratulations on the new Jeep. Definitely a fun vehicle.

I know it sounds weird, but one of the best things about getting my new Wrangler was that I wasn't worried about little scratches and dings. I just shrugged off that concern because "it's a Jeep". And it'll get them on the trail regardless (and it has). It's a freeing feeling in comparison to stressing over every new ding, chip or scratch on any other new car I've gotten.
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post #23 of 23 Old 01-17-2017, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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It has been said, but congratulations on the new Jeep. Definitely a fun vehicle.

I know it sounds weird, but one of the best things about getting my new Wrangler was that I wasn't worried about little scratches and dings. I just shrugged off that concern because "it's a Jeep". And it'll get them on the trail regardless (and it has). It's a freeing feeling in comparison to stressing over every new ding, chip or scratch on any other new car I've gotten.
Thanks! Yes, you're right about that. Although I intend to look after the cosmetics, I won't stress about it.
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