Jeep Wrangler Advice

Messages
509
Location
VA
Wife and I are considering a new....well new to us......Jeep Wrangler. We would probably be looking at a 1-3 year old vehicle with reasonably low mileage. I guess ideally I'd like a 2 door Rubicon with a soft top but I realize the 4 door hardtop would be probably be more user friendly. Personally, I would prefer a Mustang GT or Camaro SS but the wife would prefer the Wrangler. Vehicle would not be used as a daily driver but we would use it at the beach and just mostly as a fun vehicle. My major concern is the reliability of the Jeep. I have quite a bit of experience with the Hemi Chargers at work but I'm not thrilled with their reliability. I see most of the Wrangler's have the 3.6L engine and an automatic transmission? Is this combination considered reliable? Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
Messages
436
Location
Virginia, USA
I worked on a friend's Jeep with the 3.6L engine. Spark plugs were a pain to change but it seemed reliable. Her thermostat went out at about 110K, but cost a total of $22 to replace and a bulk of the cost was a jug of fresh coolant to replenish the loss. The only real thing that gave a constant issue with her Jeep the parking brake,. Their manual transmissions are known for popping out of gear while parked and their parking brake isn't strong enough to hold the vehicle on an incline, even with stock rims and tires. Her Jeep met its end rolling out of her garage, down a hill, hitting a Camry, and flipping over into someone else's garage. Long story short, these vehicles are not what you'd consider safe but seeing how you are just using it for beach cruising, you should be fine. Just always chock a wheel when parked (it even says so in the owners manual).
 
Messages
430
Location
Daytona Beach
I had a 2010 Unlimited with both tops. It had some good points as well as some bad ones, prob typical of any car. My summation: This is not a vehicle for an older person. The tops were difficult to operate. It takes four men to remove the hardtop completely. The T top panels can be removed by one person pretty easy. But then you need to store them in the back. The soft top is difficult for one person to operate, but not impossible. Jeep doesn't really provide enough tie downs for half down or full down stowage. Velcro straps help that a lot. This is not a vehicle that you want to run on the interstate very far. The steering is "squirrely" at speeds over 60 or 65. The soft top is noisy at speed, the hard top is quiet. Fuel economy was horrible, maybe getting 18 mpg most days (V6) No engine problems or trans issues, no issues with the parking brake or the trans coming out of park. Engine ran pretty quiet, using 0W-20. Taking the doors off is not a one man job, and you need to get side mirrors that mount elsewhere if you do. Vehicle was a PIA to wash or wax. Too many little nooks and crannies. My intention was to drive it on the beach, like you, but I couldn't take the rest that went along with it so it never made it to FL.
 
Messages
8,897
Location
Houston, TX
2018 and newer Jeeps are going to be the JL series and they have several improvements over the previous JK series. One of the biggest changes is the revamping of the 3.6L engine (now Generation 2). Though the earlier series engine has been installed in millions of vehicles and has proven itself, some of the earlier models had head and valvetrain issues. The only word of caution that I have to share is to be very careful when tightening the oil filter cover as the oil filter housing is plastic and integrated into the oil cooler which is aluminum. Overtightening the cap will cause the housing to crack and oil will leak into the valley pan area. The JL Rubicons also have the new 3rd Generation Dana 44 axles which have some improvements over the previous series, though the reduction of fluid capacity is not what I would call an improvement. They typically have electronic locking differentials and the front axle has a disconnect which prevents the front driveshaft and ring gears from turning when in 4x2 mode. The 8 speed automatic is a ZF model with some custom FCA changes, but is fairly bulletproof, shifts firmly, and does not "hunt" for gears or when it should shift. Some Jeeps suffer from what is known as death wobble (front wheels bouncing harder and harder after hitting a bump), but that is usually traced to worn front suspension components such as trackbars, tie rods, and/or drag links. They can "wander" when driving at highway speeds, but that can normally be sorted by installation of a better steering stabilizer. I traded an AMG GLC43 in for my 2019 and TBT I wish I would have bought the Jeep instead of the AMG in the beginning. I have not had any issues with mine except for the rear defogger power wire becoming detached (which is a problem with all of them). Since you are going to use this as a weekend car, you may want to consider the soft top since it will be easier to remove versus the hard top. I would also highly recommend changing the axle and transfer case fluid if there is no evidence that it has been. I changed mine at 5K and the rear axle had more wear metals in it than my previous truck did at 160K. I typically see 17MPG in town and between 20-23MPG on the highway at speeds less than 75MPH. It is a box on wheels, so the fact that I see that MPG with 4.10 gears and 33" mud tires is fine by me. Last, but not least, I would stay away from the 2.0T engine simply due to the extra complexity of the cooling systems associated with it. I put 3,100 miles on a Sahara rental in various modes (off-road and highway) and had no issues and it had plenty of power so I am confident it runs just fine, but the long term viability is a question yet to be answered. I hope this helps!
 
Messages
4,434
Location
Massachusetts
I recommend considering an older Jeep. If it's just for fun, there are plenty of nice examples out there. I would think being in VA you could find some really clean rigs just a drive away. As a Jeep guy, my perspective on drivability is skewed because I don't expect a Cadillac ride (although JK's are like Caddy's compared to leaf springs). I will say, that even when my '92 was street legal, my wife and I would take it 4.5 hours up North to the White Mountains, no problem. My last trip to Moab, I drove on the highway between trails at 70MPH and she drove straight and true - even with 38x16 Baja Claws. Just keep your front end and steering tight and it will be fine. I was always able to military press the hard top off too, even my son's '87. I'm not a little guy, but the 4 door Wranglers would definitely need a couple of people. IMO, Jeep ownership is a lifestyle, akin to riding a Harley. If you're going to the beach, then the hard top and doors are always off. Don't forget to wave.
 
Messages
6,150
Location
KY
I love my TJ- I've owned it for 18 years; the only thing I'd consider to replace it would be a JK or JL.
 
Messages
2,005
Location
Jacksonville, FL
No comparision between a JL (introduced in 18) to any Jeep before it. The JL is just THAT much better. Recently had a rental JL with the turbo 4 cylinder for a work trip. I was astounded how good the Turbo 4 was, power curve wise, I preferred it to the 3.6 V6. Instant flat torque curve and paired well to the 8sp. If I was going to own one myself, I would probably get the V6 so I didn't have to deal with any future issues with the Turbo 4, but [censored], from driving one, it's tempting. I would highly recommend you buy a JL if you get a Jeep.
 
Messages
4,434
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by FlyNavyP3
No comparision between a JL (introduced in 18) to any Jeep before it. The JL is just THAT much better.
That's subjective. The last time I checked, I can't hook my PTO powered splitter or generator up to a new Jeep. I don't think you would drive around in the rain with leather seats either. Better is in the eye of the beholder.
 
Messages
916
Location
Hollister, CA
Originally Posted by IveBeenRued
I worked on a friend's Jeep with the 3.6L engine. Spark plugs were a pain to change but it seemed reliable. Her thermostat went out at about 110K, but cost a total of $22 to replace and a bulk of the cost was a jug of fresh coolant to replenish the loss. The only real thing that gave a constant issue with her Jeep the parking brake,. Their manual transmissions are known for popping out of gear while parked and their parking brake isn't strong enough to hold the vehicle on an incline, even with stock rims and tires. Her Jeep met its end rolling out of her garage, down a hill, hitting a Camry, and flipping over into someone else's garage. Long story short, these vehicles are not what you'd consider safe but seeing how you are just using it for beach cruising, you should be fine. Just always chock a wheel when parked (it even says so in the owners manual).
I had a Wrangler with the manual transmission and parked on slopes. Never had an issue. These vehicles ARE safe as long as someone knows how to use the parking brake on a slope. With your foot still on the brake pedal, engage the parking brake fully. Remove your foot from the brake pedal and make sure the parking brake will hold the vehicle on the slope. Like I said, mine never had an issue.
 
Messages
6,150
Location
KY
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by mailman74
Run don't walk away Jeeps are junk Just Empty Every Pocket
Really?
The classic BITOGer babbling based on internet hearsay.
 
Messages
4,434
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted by MCompact
Originally Posted by 2015_PSD
Originally Posted by mailman74
Run don't walk away Jeeps are junk Just Empty Every Pocket
Really?
The classic BITOGer babbling based on internet hearsay.
He has a right hand drive Jeep, so hopefully its sarcasm. Just Empty Every Pocket, I believe that saying stems from the infinite customizability (<-is that a word?) that Jeeps have more than any other ride. It's what many do with them too. Jeeps are the Chevy small block of engines. The difference from the Hot Rod world is that we Build, Wheel, Break, Repeat. If I had bought instead of built my front axle, it would have been about $5-6K! Then we go out and beat on them and repeat the cycle. I've been married a long time. I don't go drinking on weekends or nudie bars. I wheel my junk and my wife loves that I have a good time and doesn't care about how much it costs. My youngest son had his first roll over at 4 years old. Both he and my oldest (now 25) started driving in my trail Jeep. The both drive a stick! Not even a regular stick, it's a Muncie SM420 where the shifter throw changing from L to 1st gear is about 4 feet! My son and I were out firing up his new to him 1987 Wrangler. Installed a new ignition switch/key and got it fired up after a decade (or more) of stagnation. It's super clean with a nice frame and body. The brakes blew a rear line and the clutch doesn't work, so I showed my son how to drive it off the trailer and across the yard by putting it in low range and starting in gear. I don't think you can do that anymore with a new Jeep. Anyway, Rant off - I'm all pumped up on Jeep! We got a lot done today, so just wanted to share. USA
 
Messages
639
Location
North Carolina
Originally Posted by Zaedock
I recommend considering an older Jeep.... If you're going to the beach, then the hard top and doors are always off. Don't forget to wave.
+1
 
Messages
34,978
Location
NY
Originally Posted by Zaedock
Originally Posted by FlyNavyP3
No comparision between a JL (introduced in 18) to any Jeep before it. The JL is just THAT much better.
That's subjective. The last time I checked, I can't hook my PTO powered splitter or generator up to a new Jeep. I don't think you would drive around in the rain with leather seats either. Better is in the eye of the beholder.
+1 My 2016 Rubicon has been trouble free. Having said that I ponder a new JL from time to time. If I pull the trigger it will be on a 3.6L equipped vehicle, and hopefully before if/when they move to a DI platform of the 3.6L. If I miss that boat it will be a long time before I buy one.
 
Messages
1,227
Location
south dakota
I have the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited which has the 3.6 engine and AT. We have had zero problems and the engine runs smooth and the automatic transmission shifts nicely. We are at 62,000 miles and have not had any problems but the vehicle has had over a dozen little factory recalls. The Jeep Wranglers have that cool factor even though they are not that great on the highway. The resale value is amazing. Just my .02 cents if I were to get one I would go for the wild colors like an orange, the Geiko Green, or one of those really in your face colors that totally stand out.
 

klt1986

Thread starter
Messages
509
Location
VA
Originally Posted by joekingcorvette
I have the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited which has the 3.6 engine and AT. We have had zero problems and the engine runs smooth and the automatic transmission shifts nicely. We are at 62,000 miles and have not had any problems but the vehicle has had over a dozen little factory recalls. The Jeep Wranglers have that cool factor even though they are not that great on the highway. The resale value is amazing. Just my .02 cents if I were to get one I would go for the wild colors like an orange, the Geiko Green, or one of those really in your face colors that totally stand out.
Wife and I both like the orange and would love to have an orange Rubicon! Thanks for all the insight and opinions. We are not buying anytime soon so I still have time to research and figure out the exact model we would be most happy with.
 
Messages
8,897
Location
Houston, TX
Originally Posted by joekingcorvette
Just my .02 cents if I were to get one I would go for the wild colors like an orange, the Geiko Green, or one of those really in your face colors that totally stand out.
Mojito!
 
Messages
1,768
Location
NE
Have 2 of them, no issues so far, get the JL worlds better than JKs and older. But you will be emptying your pockets modding your Jeep when the bug bites.
 
Messages
775
Location
Wisconsin
We have a JL Rubicon 2.0 Turbo. Just got back from a 1500 mile road trip with it. I personally love the engine. IMO its SO MUCH more fun than the 3.6. And I own a 3.6 as well. My 3.6 has 90k on it and never a problem. My 2.0 has 13.5k so far, no problems. Im not concerned at all with the "potential reliability issues" with the newer 2.0. It is what it is. And its not a primary vehicle so Im willing to take the risk for the reward of that engine. BTW, I didn't want the Jeep either, my wife did. But I sure am glad she pushed for it, its been a blast so far. We have both hard and soft tops. And the hardtop is 100lbs on the JL 4 door. My 70 yr dad and I remove it easily. Be ready to spend $$$ on mods. We bought it new a year ago, and have purchased an aluminum front bumper, Smittybuilt winch, Roam side steps, and some misc smaller stuff. Lift and tires is next on the list. 35" tires fit with no mods needed on the Rubicons. The other models will need a lift. Its still a solid front axle vehicle, so its going to ride rougher than most other vehicles. Though I am pretty impressed with the ride for what it is. Also the JL interior is rainproof and has drains in the floorboards. I have leather interior and no worries about getting it wet. I pushed for the Mojito, she wanted Stingray or Ocean Blue. We got the Blue. Its a good color, IMO.
 
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