LJ Thoughts

Area for post regarding Jeeps other than an FSJ. This area may contain technical post regarding those vehicles as well.
1979bettywhite
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LJ Thoughts

Postby 1979bettywhite » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:10 am

So after quite a while pondering this, I think I am finally going to pull the trigger sometime this year.

I have had my 2011 Ford F-150 Platinum 4x4 since new in 2011. Did not need a truck at the time, but I am a finance guy. Post 2008 and the interest rate debacle we had somewhat of a "unicorn" situation. You could buy a new truck and receive 0% interest for 5 years with no money down. Being in the business I am in and knowing I wanted to keep money at work in the markets, but also knowing I would need a new truck in the next 5 years, I jumped at this chance. Looking back it was a good decision. Truck has paid for itself with my market investments plus some, while I paid my 100% principle payment each month.

So here is the "rub". While the truck is great (first year of the ecoboost), it is too much truck for me. And there are so many electronics on this truck that I fear as things begin failing, the price for repairs will continue to grow. The one that really caught my attention was the HVAC system. Since it is a dual climate system, there are $30 actuators that control the flow of air to both sides. The problem is, if the driver's side goes bad (which is does routinely at 100k miles) the entire dash assembly has to be pulled to repair (a $1700 labor job). But I have now really digressed....

So I have loved the LJ for a long time, but never pulled the trigger. I currently own my 78 Cherokee and a 79 CJ-5 and I think this would be a nice addition to the fleet. Although this LJ would now become my daily driver. And I live in a city with a decent amount of traffic. But I long for the simplicity of the 4.0 and little in the way of electronics. I can add whatever I need for "creature comforts" (bluetooth, hands free etc.).

So my question is, do any of my fellow FSJers own an LJ? What are some of the pros/cons of having one as a DD?

I of course would like a Rubicon edition, but those are becoming more and more of a unicorn it seems. May just go with the standard unlimited.

Any thoughts? Happy New Year to all!

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ross80truck
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby ross80truck » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:01 am

I do not personally own an LJ, but I have a good friend that has an LJ rubicon and daily drives his. He loves it. His is an automatic, I personally am more of a manual fan. He went the no lift option and is running metal cloak fenders with 35" tires. It rides nice and handles just like stock. He had to upgrade the steering which is a weak point on all TJ models. He also needs to upgrade the brakes. They leave you wanting trying to stop those 35" tires in traffic. Also, with the no lift option he rubs the sway bar in the front at full lock with the tires. But as you can see, all the problems he has are self inflicted issues with the no lift and big tires. I personally would daily an LJ in a heartbeat, but I have to many other Jeeps and my wife won't let me get one.
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will e
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby will e » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:20 am

I am confused by your designation. Did you mean a Jeep TJ (1997 to 2006)? I believe these were the last that had both a straight six and a Rubicon option. They also wouldn't be full of electronic stuff.
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1979bettywhite
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby 1979bettywhite » Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:53 am

That is correct Will. Technically it is a TJ. Known as the Unlimited version. Produced 2004-2006. Many refer to it as the LJ. It had a 10" longer wheelbase than the TJ. Also the rubicon I believe was only produced in the 2005-2006 years. There are some electronics in it, but nothing I would not feel confident in tackling myself and all the known issues have plenty of solutions etc. out there.

Thanks for the comments Ross. My application would be similar, although I think I would opt for a small to moderate lift and run either 33s or 35s. I would most likely upgrade the steering components to something beefier to make things a bit safer around town and on the highway.

I also am inclined to search for a manual as well as I prefer them, and I think it would hold up longer and better. Not to mention in today's day-in-age, it's almost a free security system as not many know how to drive one anymore. Sometimes I ponder leaving the keys in the CJ's ignition, knowing most kids these days won't have a clue.

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derf
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby derf » Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:24 pm

I spent some time evaluating an LJ or 4dr JKU as a daily driver before settling on something I wouldn't be tempted to modify a lot.

One thing that comes up with the late TJ and early JK is the automatic transmission. They both come with the 42RLE 4 speed automatic. The issue, like so many Chrysler vehicles, is that the long term reliability of the transmission is very much sub-par. A non-trivial number of people experience failure before 100,000 miles. Expect that one with significant miles will likely be near the end of it's life if it hasn't been rebuilt already.

There are a few companies who have figured out ways to improve the reliability of the transmission. I know of ATS based here in the Denver area. They are mostly a diesel transmission shop but they do have a package for the Jeep 42RLE. It will cost you quite a bit over a stock style rebuild but it will last a lot longer. Along with the transmission rebuild, you'll certainly want to add an auxiliary transmission cooler as part of the problem is that the transmission does tend to overheat in the TJ/JK without it.

The NSG370 6 speed manual is a reliable enough alternative to the automatic if that's what you prefer.

The Rubicon is decent if you can find one for a reasonable cost. The front axle is a Dana 44 housing but it uses Dana 30 axle tubes and steering components. Basically, they pulled out the D30 center section and put a D44 center in it's place. If it's been wheeled hard, it is likely to show signs of bending. There are aftermarket upgrades that you can use to beef it up if you intend to take it off road. On road with stock size tires it will be fine as is.


Other than that, there's nothing special to note. Just look for signs of accidents or rust in the common areas when looking at one.
Last edited by derf on Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Stuka
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Stuka » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:37 pm

The LJ is a cool rig, but having owned two JKs, not sure I could go back to a TJ platform unless I really wanted a very mild build. For anything more than a little bit of lift you need a mid arm or long arm kit because of how short the stock control arms are. The 4.0 is nice, and pretty basic to upkeep.

Definitely go for a manual. The NSG isn't a perfect manual, but its way better than the 42RLE (Owned a KJ with a 42RLE which was failing at 110k miles when we got rid of it). The only issue I really had with 9 years of driving with an NSG370 was that when cold it likes to pop out of 2nd gear until it gets warm. You can kind of fix this by using high dollar fluid (It already uses special fluid, but redline makes one that is better).

The other thing of course is cargo and people space. The LJ certainly has more cargo space than a TJ, but the backseat is still mostly unusable for more than quick trips. JKU's are obviously way more money than an LJ, but I love how much cargo space I have, and being able to have a usable back seat.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

Herk
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Herk » Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:15 pm

My DD is a 205 LJ Rubicon with right at 200K miles. Last real jeep. JK was just a minivan.

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby 66stepside » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:32 pm

I have an 04 LJ, auto, bone stock- as my daily driver. I’ve enjoyed it as long as I’ve owned it- about 7 years, or so. My daughter loves it more than I do, and she wants it as her first vehicle.


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will e
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby will e » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:51 pm

1979bettywhite wrote: Many refer to it as the LJ. It had a 10" longer wheelbase than the TJ.
Ah Okay! I have been wheeling with a guy who owns one. I didn't know that is what they call it. Learn something new every day!
81 Waggy 'WILL E' Retired
82 Cherokee WT - SOA/SF/high steer/Alcan springs/agr box/Borgeson steering shaft/AMC 401/performer/holley TA/HEI/BeCool/727/ALTAS (2.0/2.72/5.44)/D60 Snofighter(Yukon Zip,hubs,stubs,4.56)/14 Bolt (FF,BF shave, Discs, ARB,Artec Truss)/MTR 37X12.5/Corbeau XRS Baja & 5 point retractable harness/Hella Aux lights/tuffy console/killer32 sliders/Evil Twin bumpers, rack and roll cage/WARN 8000/TT Fabworks steering brace/dual batts/custom TC skid plate/ARB fridge

1979bettywhite
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby 1979bettywhite » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:55 pm

Good thoughts from all of you. There are two close to me with around 100k miles. Both manuals and in pretty good shape. One hardtop and one soft. Have heard the hardtop is quite heavy but my thought is it would be pricey to buy another hardtop and I can always get a soft top. Going to check out both but may wind up holding out for a lower mileage one. But definitely going manual.


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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Stuka » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:38 pm

Herk wrote:My DD is a 205 LJ Rubicon with right at 200K miles. Last real jeep. JK was just a minivan.


If that’s the case, so are our Wagoneers.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby derf » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:02 pm

1979bettywhite wrote:Good thoughts from all of you. There are two close to me with around 100k miles. Both manuals and in pretty good shape. One hardtop and one soft. Have heard the hardtop is quite heavy but my thought is it would be pricey to buy another hardtop and I can always get a soft top. Going to check out both but may wind up holding out for a lower mileage one. But definitely going manual.


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If I had the choice between two identically equipped but one had a good hard top and the other didn't, I'd take the hard top all day. Having daily driven a soft top Jeep for years, I'd prefer a hard top all day long.

But it's nice to be able to just drop the top whenever you feel like it.

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Stuka » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:54 pm

The hardtop is certainly better in winter months. And it provides a quieter driving experience. Soft top is nice for summer to quickly drop the top. But as you said, soft tops are pretty cheap compared to a hard top. Especially an LJ hardtop, as they didn't make them for nearly as long as the TJ.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

1979bettywhite
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby 1979bettywhite » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:10 am

Thanks again for all your comments. The other reason I thought about doing this is that I would like to see how the Gladiator is when it comes out. I believe that one should not buy a first year vehicle, and especially a first year vehicle with a new powertrain (thinking 3.0L turbo diesel). So in a couple years I might want to explore that option. But I would also like to wait to hear what the problems etc are. This gives me the option to get out of the truck and in to something I will most likely enjoy and will be reliable etc. without coming out of pocket any money. Allows me to wait and see how the Gladiator is and if I would like to go down that path sometime in the future.

The bigger problem I envision is falling in love with the LJ and not wanting to get rid of it. I have a creeping Jeep addiction and I am afraid of it. And so is my better half :). I am sure some of you can sympathize with my struggles...

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Stuka » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:43 am

I am also interested in the Gladiator, but also agree to never buy a first model year anything. Although at least in the case of the diesel, its the same engine and trans from the Grand Cherokee.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby derf » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:08 am

1979bettywhite wrote:Thanks again for all your comments. The other reason I thought about doing this is that I would like to see how the Gladiator is when it comes out. I believe that one should not buy a first year vehicle, and especially a first year vehicle with a new powertrain (thinking 3.0L turbo diesel). So in a couple years I might want to explore that option. But I would also like to wait to hear what the problems etc are. This gives me the option to get out of the truck and in to something I will most likely enjoy and will be reliable etc. without coming out of pocket any money. Allows me to wait and see how the Gladiator is and if I would like to go down that path sometime in the future.

The bigger problem I envision is falling in love with the LJ and not wanting to get rid of it. I have a creeping Jeep addiction and I am afraid of it. And so is my better half :). I am sure some of you can sympathize with my struggles...


I'm not addicted. I can stop whenever I want.

I just don't want to stop right now...


I've been keeping my eye on the JT now. The more I look at it, the less I feel inclined to buy one. Being so long with such a long rear overhang, it won't be good for the type of Jeeping I do with my JK. I've wheeled my J10 and it drug it's butt all over the place. The JT would be similar. And since I already have a truck with an 8' bed, I don't need the JT to do "truck things". I still like it though and I can fully understand the market they're targeting. I hope it does well.

I have been patiently waiting for the diesel in the JL to show up. If anything intrigues me, it's going with a diesel 4 door. While I like my 2 door and have built it pretty well for rock crawling, the limited space for gear is something I'm not entirely fond of. A 4 door diesel Rubicon would check all the "I want it" boxes for me but the off-the-lot cost may be more than I want to stomach.

I may end up focusing on getting the J10 into shape to be my primary tow vehicle. That way I can put the JK on a trailer and throw the gear I want to haul into the back of the truck.

1979bettywhite
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby 1979bettywhite » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:13 am

Yeah, we are on the same page there. Once again a reason for me looking into the LJ. Waiting for them to decide if they are putting the 3.0L in the JL. That would be a pretty mean crawling rig, although I think your limitation would then fall to the axles and drivetrain in putting down the torque numbers it will potentially make. Not to mention when you throw a tuner on there.

While I wait, I could have a great ride in the LJ.

Now what would be really awesome is to try an shoehorn a 3.0L turbo diesel into the LJ......hmmm

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby derf » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:37 am

1979bettywhite wrote:Yeah, we are on the same page there. Once again a reason for me looking into the LJ. Waiting for them to decide if they are putting the 3.0L in the JL. That would be a pretty mean crawling rig, although I think your limitation would then fall to the axles and drivetrain in putting down the torque numbers it will potentially make. Not to mention when you throw a tuner on there.

While I wait, I could have a great ride in the LJ.

Now what would be really awesome is to try an shoehorn a 3.0L turbo diesel into the LJ......hmmm


Might be easier to do a Cummins 2.8 repower. It's designed to be swapped into vehicles like Jeeps. Though emissions would be an issue if you had to deal with that.

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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby Stuka » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:28 pm

1979bettywhite wrote:Yeah, we are on the same page there. Once again a reason for me looking into the LJ. Waiting for them to decide if they are putting the 3.0L in the JL. That would be a pretty mean crawling rig, although I think your limitation would then fall to the axles and drivetrain in putting down the torque numbers it will potentially make. Not to mention when you throw a tuner on there.

While I wait, I could have a great ride in the LJ.

Now what would be really awesome is to try an shoehorn a 3.0L turbo diesel into the LJ......hmmm


Its not an 'If' the JL gets the 3.0L. FCA already announced it will be getting, and they go on sale later this year as a 2020 model year.

And for the LJ, I also say the R2.8 is a better option for a swap.
1981 J10 AMC 258 with HEI and Weber 32/36 DGEV Carb, T176, NP208, D44/M23 with 4.56 gears and Detroit Locker, 6" lift, 33x12.50 Cooper STT's, BJ's Offroad Rear Dozer Bumper.
2017 JKU Rubicon Lifted and stuff
Pevious Jeeps: 1975 Cherokee, 2008 JK, 2005 KJ, 1989 XJ

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tedlovesjeeps71
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Re: LJ Thoughts

Postby tedlovesjeeps71 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:38 pm

derf wrote:
1979bettywhite wrote:Thanks again for all your comments. The other reason I thought about doing this is that I would like to see how the Gladiator is when it comes out. I believe that one should not buy a first year vehicle, and especially a first year vehicle with a new powertrain (thinking 3.0L turbo diesel). So in a couple years I might want to explore that option. But I would also like to wait to hear what the problems etc are. This gives me the option to get out of the truck and in to something I will most likely enjoy and will be reliable etc. without coming out of pocket any money. Allows me to wait and see how the Gladiator is and if I would like to go down that path sometime in the future.

The bigger problem I envision is falling in love with the LJ and not wanting to get rid of it. I have a creeping Jeep addiction and I am afraid of it. And so is my better half :). I am sure some of you can sympathize with my struggles...


I'm not addicted. I can stop whenever I want.

I just don't want to stop right now...


I've been keeping my eye on the JT now. The more I look at it, the less I feel inclined to buy one. Being so long with such a long rear overhang, it won't be good for the type of Jeeping I do with my JK. I've wheeled my J10 and it drug it's butt all over the place. The JT would be similar. And since I already have a truck with an 8' bed, I don't need the JT to do "truck things". I still like it though and I can fully understand the market they're targeting. I hope it does well.

I have been patiently waiting for the diesel in the JL to show up. If anything intrigues me, it's going with a diesel 4 door. While I like my 2 door and have built it pretty well for rock crawling, the limited space for gear is something I'm not entirely fond of. A 4 door diesel Rubicon would check all the "I want it" boxes for me but the off-the-lot cost may be more than I want to stomach.

I may end up focusing on getting the J10 into shape to be my primary tow vehicle. That way I can put the JK on a trailer and throw the gear I want to haul into the back of the truck.



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