OK! Thanks to everyone that offered feedback almost a year ago.
I just realized i made a few other posts but never really updated this one.
I know none of this will be a revelation to current owners, but hopefully it can help the next guy on what to expect making the switch, from someone who has never owned a Jeep.
In July i pulled the trigger on a Willys JKU, got a reasonable trade number on the 5.0, and reasonable price on the Willys in White after some back and forth, White was not my first choice. With vinyl experience I tore it down and wrapped it myself in 3m 1080 Matte Gray Aluminum. Only cost was $500 of material and I have plenty left on the roll. I inherited some brand new smoky Mountain wheels with 35" Toyo OC MTs for free but to get them out of the way of the donator I had to put on with no lift. Picked up an AEV ProCal, added wheel spacers and RK extended rear bumpstops to limit uptravel and trimmed and capped the rock rail. Ran that way for about 4 months didn't have daily driving rub accept for full lock in reverse and over super hard bumps hitting fender lip. I also swapped the hard top for a supertop NX in twill and a knockoff cargo net and that's how it sat until funds allowed about 3 weeks ago to go with a Teraflex S/T 3 lift with no shocks, that I separately paired with Falcon 3.2 adjustables.
Regular impressions are that while I miss the power of the mustang, the sun and fun factor allow me to enjoy the jeeps qualities way more often than I could use the mustangs power.
Pretty day - throw the top back, take off the doors, etc
bad weather - no worries about water covering road, severe hydroplaning. there's a spot on my commute that rain would randomly flood with about 10 inches of water, if i hit it in the mustang, I had to turn around and go 15 minutes out of the way to bypass. not anymore
confidence - has capability that i could go through, over, or around almost anything I may encounter in my area at least on a daily basis. Even simple things. Had a wreck in front of a store i was in and the exit was blocked by a totaled car, everyone was having to stay until it was moved. Cop told me it would be about 45 minutes for the wrecker but I was fine to hop the curb drive over sidewalk onto road.
cargo- do i even need to mention this, i had to borrow a truck once to buy a 42 inch TV because it couldn't fit in the mustang. I just bought a 65 inch that not only fit fine in the jeep, i stopped at home depot and got some 2x4s and bags of landscape rock too while wife sat in the jeep.
The mustang was great but it was all about speed, unless I was on it and risking a ticket by the time I hit third gear there really wasn't much enjoyment to be had in a legal manner. sure it looked good but something about the jeep makes it fun just going the speed limit. Days when I see a nice 5.0 I get a little sad, but then I throw the top down and it instantly goes away.
I think I'll be satisfied with the 35's and to me I have zero issues with 35s and the stock 3.73s. It's not a speed demon but it's not unbearable. Other than interstate onramps I rarely have to really get on it, just typically acceleration seems more than fine for daily surface street/highway driving, and I regularly drive 75 on the interstate with no issue. AVG about 17-18mpg
Now with the soft top on windy days it does feel like driving a covered wagon, but you adjust and learn to live with it. The brakes are fine and better than my dads 2500 diesel ram by a mile. I may Upgrade the pad, but I don't think its necessary. Steering feels great to me with the upgraded trackbar and Falcon stabilizer on medium.
The interior is spartan, but it works. I don't think its uncomfortable but luxury it is not, nor should it be. I knew the JL was on the horizon with better interior at a higher prce, but was able to get into a JK for the right price partially because of that. I do intend to upgrade the 130res radio with an android unit eventually and maybe better speakers, but really only listen to local ESPN and USB so it's not necessary for me. I don't use Bluetooth because it drains my phone, but it does work. Uconnect voice commands are the most useless counter intuitive I have ever used. They really are pointless. Saying 'Play All Songs" does nothing but have her read a list of all song titles on the drive? I have resorted to converting all music to just MP3 and my favorite songs I edited in windows to have the album title "Awesome Mix" - so now I just hit the button scroll down to albums, select, awesome mix, hit random, and then it will play all songs I put with that as the album.
I initially planned to get cardinal red Katzkins like a 10A to replace the cloth, but the more I think about sunfade on red leather being topless, I think i'm just going to get some bartacts and call it a day.
I am extremely happy with the S/T3 lift and the falcons. setting 3 seems perfect for daily driving. It's more stable and planted than stock, firmer but not in a bad way. Setting one makes it kinda bouncy like stock and i'd rather firm but controllable over comfortable but bouncy. I am a little disappointed in that it netted 4.25" of actual lift, hoping it settles and winch/bumpers/carrier bring it down some. Front driveshaft seems pretty steep and boot isn't that far from exhaust. A Woods or Adams will fix it fine, just didn't really want to spend it on that at this time. Also wanted tube fenders but just IMO 4 inches of lift, 35s, & tube fenders leaves alot of gap, and i don't want 37's or the upgrades needed to run them.
I have had it "offroad" a few times and never had a problem. Typical mud was no issue, long mud slick in back of my subdivision i go through regularly is no problem as long as I keep the rpms spinning it just churns through it. Dirt mounds, Hills and ruts back there are equally fine. We don't have rocks here so cant comment. The most often terrain it sees is I guess what y'all call fire roads...we don't have those but we do have a crap ton of logging trails that cut through to real roads. They are usually dirt/gravel trails cut through pine wide enough for an 18 wheeler. some are gated and posted, but some are not. The ones that are not make them hard to tell from a public dirt/gravel road
I also have friends whose family own timber land that give us free reign through them. I knew this terrain was easily found in my area going in and thats what made me go for the S/T3. The trails can get rough but you can maintain some bit of speed in a safe/fun manner through them.
All in all that has been my ownership experience. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Pics are mix of before and after lift.