Need Some Quick Input

Stryder106

Explorer
Hi Guys - the youngest daughter is wanting to get a Jeep as her first car (she has saved her own money). We have found a 2007 Wrangler Unlimited X hardtop. Auto, 3.8L, 4WD, etc. Looks to be all stock (we are going to look at it in a few hours). Also doesn't look like it has much (if any) trail time on it as it has street tread tires and no scratches or dents. My only experience with Jeeps is: 1) I hotwired a WWII Willy's when I was 8 and took it for a drive through a field; and 2) the middle daughter's first vehicle is a 1995 Wrangler YJ 4.0L that has been nothing but a PITA from a reliability perspective (new trans, new computer, etc).
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So, before I get into this mess again, with the 2007 (123K miles) - is there anything I need to look out for (like on the 95 YJ I learned that with bigger tires and stock gearing - they don't like to pass smog in SoCal due to the NOX requirement)? This particular daughter is now getting rid of the 95 as she is leaving for college and it has proven to be too unreliable to be trusted with her going to be so far away from home.
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As I mentioned before, this is her hard earned money that she has saved and we want her to have something reliable. She is dead set on a Jeep as she is getting into landscape photography and wants to be able to go out and take some pics (and go with us on trips). she's turning 16 so this will be her first car. She does intend to add stuff to it as time goes on: the typical lift, tires, wheels, suspension, gearing, etc.
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Any help, input, advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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PS - it has a "Trail Rated" badge on it. does that actually mean anything specific to this vehicle or is that just a marketing angle?
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
I always point friends towards 2012 or newer with the Pentastar revision engine, the 3.6, in my opinion, is a much better engine. Lots of the 07-11 guys in our club hate their engine... but where she's buying it for herself that may not be an attainable thing.

As with most Jeeps, stock is the best bet. Gearing should be 3.21 or 4.10, rear axle a JK44, front a D30. Trail rated badge was put on any Jeep product that could drive through the Rubicon Trail, if I remember correctly.
 

rubicon91

Explorer
Plenty of people have higher mileage jks. The issue from what I am aware of with the earlier ones is burning oil. The 3.8 liter engine is no where near as good as the 3.6 liter that showed up in 2012. It also is the first year of the new JK version. If they have history of maintenance and everything may not be bad. With that being said I would find a 06 TJ with similar mileage and go after it way before the 07. Is your daughter wanting a 4 door? If I had a choice between a 07-11 jk or a 03-06 tj I would hands down go for the TJ. Good luck with whatever way you decide.

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jswift716

Adventurer
A tj or lj would be your better bet if she's set on a wrangler, that being said I drove my stock 97 xj Cherokee home to buffalo ny from the Smokey mts with a dead cluster and bad thermostat causing nasty overheating issues. Especially with her getting into photography I'd shoot for an xj just so the gear and expensive equipment is better protected plus a 12k 07, a 8-10k tj or a 4k low miles xj... leaves alot more left over for upgrades :)

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Outside somewhere

Overland certified public figure brand ambassador
Run, dont walk away from the 3.8 Its garbage. Plus it sounds like both of you are not familiar with the jeep brand ie whats good/bad, potential packages etc. Slow down. Do your research.
 

NatersXJ6

Explorer
Other than engine

I have a 3.6, so no help there... But...

Crawl slowly and completely under the rig. Look for signs of trail scraping / rust on the underside, control arms, frame rails, bottom of gas tank dented, leaks from the t-case, transmission pan, etc...

I could show you lots of examples from my JKUR, but it is pretty obvious...

If there isn't anything like that, then you probably got the truth about offroad history.

I wouldn't be too worried about much else, unless the price seems disproportionately low or high.

Get ready to rotate tires a lot.

I wouldn't hesitate to put one of my girls in an 07' but I have a high tolerance for mechanical issues.
 

Weeds

Adventurer
I have not had any problems with my 08' but I only have 60,000 miles. I also have a manual transmission. I could not stand the auto even in the test drive. Personally I would not buy a used jeep unless you like to work on vehicles. I have owned jeeps and jeeped for 38 years.

I bought my son a 68 blazer, he switched to a CJ-7 and loved it but now has a 2001 Land Cruiser. The Cruiser is more dependable but parts are expensive.

To me its too many miles but you did not say the asking price. Do not fall in love with jeeps just because they project an certain image, whatever that means.
 

Stryder106

Explorer
Thank you all for the replies - please keep them coming. As I mentioned, one of our daughters has a 95 YJ SE. In the two years we've had it, it has been a constant nightmare, I have done more wrenching on it than I care to mention. The things beyond my ability have been to completely rebuild the transmission and get a remanufactured computer as hers fragged. I also drag race a MOPAR.
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We just came back from looking at this JK in person and it is at a new car store (trade in). It's a 2007 Wrangler Unlimited X with extra factory stuff (not sure which sub-package it is, but: tow package, premium sound, power doors and windows, hard top, front and rear receivers), D44 rear, 3.21 gears, automatic, 4WD. The only aftermarket accessory is an exo-rack that looks like it was setup for either kayaks or surfboards. It has two dings on the passenger side - one on the door and one on the rear quarter panel near the junction of the top and door. Both went to the bare metal and neither were properly addressed with rusting present.
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I crawled underneath it and there are no dents or scrapes, but there is dried saltwater all over underneath (where the lot detailer thought no one would look). The exhaust and driveshaft appear more rusted than I would expect, but it is a 10 year old vehicle - so not sure what "normal" should look like on it.
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The Car Fax report is a bit odd - 1 owner vehicle - but the listed maintenance on it is: 28 miles, 60K miles, 95K miles, then every 3K miles to present. Really odd as it looks like two totally different owner behaviors but is listed as single owner vehicle. Makes me wonder if once it neared 100K miles it started having more mechanical issues thus warranting more diligent service/oil changes?
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Aside from those things - it is really clean - and this is the first JK I've ever sat in - I have to say - I'm impressed with the layout and feel inside of it - because I absolutely hate our daughter's YJ. The dealer is asking $16,500. They came down to $14,500 plus T&L but I'm just not sure how bad that rust really is, so we left.
 
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Something isn't adding up, if it has a D44 front then it is a Rubicon, not and X unless it was installed by a previous owner. Also I believe if it came with the tow package then it should be the 3.73 gears, I could be wrong on that though. Either way, if it has 3.21 gears, an auto transmission, the 3.8 and larger tires are in store then you really will want budget to re-gear. Especially if you are in the hills. Not trying to talk you out of it, but those things should be looked at more closely.
 

Stryder106

Explorer
Something isn't adding up, if it has a D44 front then it is a Rubicon, not and X unless it was installed by a previous owner. Also I believe if it came with the tow package then it should be the 3.73 gears, I could be wrong on that though. Either way, if it has 3.21 gears, an auto transmission, the 3.8 and larger tires are in store then you really will want budget to re-gear. Especially if you are in the hills. Not trying to talk you out of it, but those things should be looked at more closely.
Oops - D44 rear. The dealer (new car store) only knows what's being pulled up as factory installed options per the VIN. For instance - they are adding $100 for "Oversized Offroad tires" per the factory installed option, but it clearly has undersized street tread tires on it now. Their description also lists: Manual door locks and windows - but it's clearly power on both. They also list "Premium sound - NO" - but it has the premium sound system (Infinity) 6 speakers. Etc. It's almost like they have the wrong vin - but I checked it. so, it could have 3.73s in it for all I know as is it definitely factory installed receivers (one rear, two front). And I completely agree on the need to regear if going to larger tires. Our other daughter's 4.0 with 33s and 3.55s - is seriously undergeared so I can only imagine the 3.21s.
 

rubicon91

Explorer
You can get the vin and go out and get the build sheet from Jeep for the vehicle. It will tell you everything about it from the factory. Then at least you will know what it is supposed to have in it. I know when I had manual windows I had looked into power and it was a PITA to do so sounds like the dealership doesn't have the right info. Also if it is a X and has it on the side of the jeep it isn't going to be a 12. I believe those were early on. If you want to know where to get build sheet you can pm me.

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Stryder106

Explorer
For whatever reason, brain malfunction possibly, I erroneously typed in 2012 in my second post in this - it's a 2007.
 

vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
The 07- 11 has lots hard plastics which are easily scratched. Mine is a very early 07 JKU rubicon with all the options (actually built in Fall of 06 I think)...and try as I might to avoid scratches on the inner door panels, there are small scratches all over the place. As the model years went on, the seats got better for some and worse for others. The early JKs had the Delphi alternators (better) and decent power steering pumps.

The biggest issue is the Auto transmission - not because of reliability, but because of the gearing and programming. It needs more gears to keep the 3.8 in its peak power zone longer. Since it only has four and the programming sucks, it amplifies the shortcomings of the 3.8. The auto NEEDs a cooler...if it doesn't have one, get one.

The 3.8 is a lesser powered motor...no one disagrees with that. I wish it had more power...but I also want more power with everything I own. I have the 6 speed and 4.10 gearing on 33s. It does fine - just a little slower and more shifting ...certainly not going to win any races with it.

Slow Off road, the 3.8 is fine. The Rubicons have a 4:1 transfer case..the others are 2 or 2.4:1 or something like that.

JKs allow folks to easily run 33, 35, 37...and 40...more so than any previous model year. And more folks are running these large tires...so of course more folks are going to want more power...

There are plenty of owners, including me that do not have oil consumption issues. You may have a hard time establishing if this motor burns oil or not. The internet amplifies problems and silences normalcy. My motor runs fine...as do most of my other friends that have/had the 3.8. There are a series of PCV that are more prone to burning oil than others. The PCV is an easily swapped part.

Do a Google search and you'll find the one that solves the issue (if it is not ring related - the other oil consumption culprit caused by a manufacturing issue). The motor seems to have spun bearing issues crop up as it ages, but based on a conversation with a teardown tech, many seem to be oil starvation related. Some oil consumption issues(like mine) were solved with the correct PCV and trying different oil mfrs/weights. M1 syth 5w20 burns up...conv or just about anything other synth does better. PP synth 5w-30 does the best.

Do I wish it had more power.. sure, but it is what it is. Hit 120k this week and I tow and work that little 6 cyl motor pretty hard.

As a first vehicle, there are safer and cheaper rides. If the 3.8 Jeep can be had for a reasonable price and the rest of it is in good shape...AND she WANTS it - go for it. If she wants to put 35s and have it be a freeway hauler into the mountains, the better typically more expensive option is a 3.6.

All model years have some leaking top issues...some JEEPs more so than others. Mine leaks, but I know where and how to deal with it (foam muckets and needs all new roof seals).

There is no primer under the hinges for most years until 15(? I think)...so you'll want to remove and prime all the hinges. The tailgate hinge wears out on all model years and should be replaced with a Moryde/equivalent. The rear axle flanges can be easily bent...mine have not however. The factory/oem ball joints aren't the greatest and tend to wear out prematurely.

There are some more issues with the 12- 13 motors than the later years involving sand in cooling and heads that need to be swapped.

As a model ages and gets closer to phase out, systemic issues tend to become less. If she has the coin, get a newer 3.6...she'll like the bigger motor and better transmission.

I have a unlimited mileage/year complete car service contract. It has paid for itself 3x over. My service costs for this Jeep are more than expected, but I don't think are too far out of line for a vehicle that gets used like a Jeep...Don't expect Corolla-like reliability on a vehicle that goes from high speed driving off road to rock crawling to freeway driving.

but here is the deal : All model years and vehicles have their warts. Some warts may be more common than others...just understand what the common issues are and balance that against the cost.

What's better? The devil you know or the one you don't? The Jeep JK is one of the highest selling vehicles in the US. It has the best aftermarket support (by far) and tends to have a very active ownership base...so there will be far more info about Jeeps JKs online than any other vehicle.
Hi Guys - the youngest daughter is wanting to get a Jeep as her first car (she has saved her own money). We have found a 2007 Wrangler Unlimited X hardtop. Auto, 3.8L, 4WD, etc. Looks to be all stock (we are going to look at it in a few hours). Also doesn't look like it has much (if any) trail time on it as it has street tread tires and no scratches or dents. My only experience with Jeeps is: 1) I hotwired a WWII Willy's when I was 8 and took it for a drive through a field; and 2) the middle daughter's first vehicle is a 1995 Wrangler YJ 4.0L that has been nothing but a PITA from a reliability perspective (new trans, new computer, etc).
//
So, before I get into this mess again, with the 2007 (123K miles) - is there anything I need to look out for (like on the 95 YJ I learned that with bigger tires and stock gearing - they don't like to pass smog in SoCal due to the NOX requirement)? This particular daughter is now getting rid of the 95 as she is leaving for college and it has proven to be too unreliable to be trusted with her going to be so far away from home.
//
As I mentioned before, this is her hard earned money that she has saved and we want her to have something reliable. She is dead set on a Jeep as she is getting into landscape photography and wants to be able to go out and take some pics (and go with us on trips). she's turning 16 so this will be her first car. She does intend to add stuff to it as time goes on: the typical lift, tires, wheels, suspension, gearing, etc.
//
Any help, input, advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
//
PS - it has a "Trail Rated" badge on it. does that actually mean anything specific to this vehicle or is that just a marketing angle?

sent via the cone of silence
 
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vtsoundman

OverAnalyzer
Oops - D44 rear. The dealer (new car store) only knows what's being pulled up as factory installed options per the VIN. For instance - they are adding $100 for "Oversized Offroad tires" per the factory installed option, but it clearly has undersized street tread tires on it now. Their description also lists: Manual door locks and windows - but it's clearly power on both. They also list "Premium sound - NO" - but it has the premium sound system (Infinity) 6 speakers. Etc. It's almost like they have the wrong vin - but I checked it. so, it could have 3.73s in it for all I know as is it definitely factory installed receivers (one rear, two front). And I completely agree on the need to regear if going to larger tires. Our other daughter's 4.0 with 33s and 3.55s - is seriously undergeared so I can only imagine the 3.21s.
D44 rear was an option in 07, but was matched with a tow package. Can't say for sure if it also reqd the 3.73s. easy to do the math. 07 had some weird stuff and combinations. Get a FCA build sheet. Tires were an option from the factory...but were all seasons. Sounds like someone might be mixing build sheet vs KBB options that the dealer checked.

Rust. Yes...there will be surface rust for sure. My exhaust has looked like **** for years. Corrosion showed up on the alum engine parts early too..all it takes is one or two short periods in salt /snow to make it look like crap. A single drive through salt water as Pismo can do it too. I drove across the country in middle of winter through snow country. When I got back to Cali, the amount to surface rust on the underside made me think the jeep spent most of its life in a rust belt (as compared to my wife's Toyota, my Audi, or even old GM suburban) The driveshafts also have lots of surface rust. Jeep does not have the corrosion protection quality like most others, but I haven't seen many JKs that are rust buckets like previous Jeep years.

Front rcvrs aren't an option I am aware not..wonder if you might be seeing a tow bar setup for a toad -> dragging it behind a motorhome.

Service records on carfax are notoriously incorrect. Could be lots of reasons...incl that the PO took it to get changed at a local shop /DUY instead of dealer ... And then the dealer became competitive (like what happened with my local Toyota dealer).

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