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Going to look at 2006 LJ Rubicon - any specific questions to ask?

sevensandeights

sevensandeights
SOA Member
#1
My brother in law is in the market for a used Jeep. My Jeep knowledge stops at 1986!

He found a 2006 LJ Rubicon with 150k for $10.5k. Jeep is on the used car lot at a large new car dealership in a different state. Pics make the Jeep look pretty clean. All stock with no lift and all season radial tires. Seems cheap for what it is. Any advice on what to look for when evaluating this vehicle?

P.S. He has been sending me links to ads for a few weeks. I can't believe what used Jeep TJ/JK/JK unlimited are got for!!!!!
 

Rosco1974

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
#2
Just the basics. Carfax, paint work, rust, leaks, a/c works, heater core, bad synchro/hard shifts, etc. That's a good price if all good.
 

barrys

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
#4
I would think being at a big new car lot, the frame would be good. Don't think they would risk selling anything with a bad frame but.....if it's not a Jeep dealership and they rest is clean, a tech could look it over real quick assuming frame is good if the rest is real clean. Every Jeep with a removable top is subject to frame issues, haven't heard of JK issues but it seems like it just a matter of time.
 
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mysunnshine

Legacy Registered User
#5
Within that year range(04-06 as I recall), the auto trans models had pcm issues which caused shifting issues. There is a go-around with custom programming though. ;)
 

7jeeps7kings

Legacy Registered User
#6
I would think being at a big new car lot, the frame would be good. Don't think they would risk selling anything with a bad frame but.....if it's not a Jeep dealership and they rest is clean, a tech could look it over real quick assuming frame is good if the rest is real clean. Every Jeep with a removable top is subject to frame issues, haven't heard of JK issues but it seems like it just a matter of time.
Dealerships/ salesmen are scum. They Will do anything to make a buck (and typically not honestly). It is very rare to find someone that will tell you the truth. I'm in Ohio in the salt belt (northeast). My old neighbor two house down bought a beautiful tj sahara (or so he thought). When he brought it home I walked over and took a look at it. He said he got a heck of a deal and bought it down in VA. He figured buying it down there it would be nice unlike a jeep here in Northeast Ohio. Which it did look nice! One week later his skid plate was hanging down on the passenger side. He thought the bolts were loose or stripped out and thats why it was hanging. He called me over and the frame was absolutely shot; near the steering box, and on both sides of the frame rails where the skid plate bolts to the frame you could run a screw driver through the paper thin metal. The frame was also rotted in the rear just past the the coils. He called the dealership and they told him good luck! I've seen a bunch of LJ's and Tj's with this same problem (along with other jeeps). Maybe someone was running this jeep tj on the beach and salt and sand sat inside the frame rails and rotted it out. The exterior of the frame looked good. The body was mint! And frame swaps are not cheap.

I can tell you another story about buying my first new truck and how those great, big, nice, and shinny dealerships can be. Long story short; I special ordered a truck and waited for it to come in. It took longer then expected. I Pass by the dealership and found the truck sitting on the lot surrounded by snow. It was no where near any other vehicle (isolated). It had not snowed for 2-3 weeks at that time (the truck was two months late at that time). Called the dealership to find out what was going on (it was for sure my truck. I had to order it for a reason. no one had the truck I was looking for with all the options). They got mad that I found the truck was on their lot. I got the truck and drove it home and found snow/ salt swirl marks down the driver side from the door back to the taillight (and no where else, it was just dripping off like it would normally). I didn't think anything of it; I was just happy to have my first new truck. I figured they rushed getting it cleaned for me and did not finish waxing it (like they would do that. LOL) . I washed the truck and went to go meet a buddy of mine who loves trucks and is into cars for lunch a couple of days after I got it. He instantly told me my truck had been painted and was not original. he said it had been painted from my drivers door to my taillight on the driver side. I had said nothing to him about the swirl marks when I brought it home in the slush, snow, and salt days earlier. We found tape and masking paper in the taillight housing and you could feel a paint line under a contouring part of the truck body. They had damaged my special ordered brand new truck at the dealership and tried to hide it from me. I never got a straight story out of them of what happened. I had to get the state attorney general involved. The story ended happily for me! They had to order me another truck. When the second truck showed up I had two trucks special ordered sitting side by side inside the service garage. I went over the second truck with two of my buddies with a fine tooth comb!

So don't ever trust a dealership and always check the frame. IMO
 
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bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
#9
That’s a pretty great price unless it’s got a ton of miles.

If it’s a manual check the 1st-2nd shift. That synchro has a habit of going out and making it tough.

Check the fan speeds, quick fix but the resistors go out fairly often.

Check the VIN for the cam/OPDA gear recall via a Jeep dealer to see if it had the recall and if/when the recall was done. The OPDA (think distributor) on these years is a flawed design that should have been recalled. Listen for the “laughing monkey” sound at startup and just off idle (google for examples) it’s a distinctive sound that happens when the upper OPDA bushing goes out and the unit will fail shortly after. The big problem is when the OPDA gear wears/takes out the cam gear. Then it will eat any new OPDA in short order.

If it’s the stock radiator, check the top crimp where the top tank is crimped to the core. Notorious for leaking after 70k miles or so.

If auto, test drive it a lot. We originally wanted an auto but I absolutely hated it and even the wife saw the clear difference when I drove her in a 6-speed and she decided it was worth learning to drive stick.

Outside of the basics, that’s all I can think of.
 

sevensandeights

sevensandeights
SOA Member
#10
I went test drive it yesterday. Drove well - steering and brakes were tight. Interior was decent . Floor boards were solid - just a little surface rust. Engine compartment was immaculate. No obvious leaks underneath. Had full hard top on and soft top was in a bag in the back (my brother-in-law will pull that out and check it when he goes to see the Jeep himself).

It did have some rust bubles on the fenders, around the door handles and below the bottom tailgate hinge.

Someone had recently sprayed light undercoating on the frame as a cosmetic touch up. However, the frame looked solid - only surface rust (under the undercoating) with no rot. Put my finger in the inspection hole where the rear frame starts to go up over the axle. Pulled out some dry sand/dirt but no chunks of metal like you'd find inside a CJ frame.

All the Rubicon stuff seemed to work. T-case went into 4Low. Diffs engaged (per the light on the dash).
 

7jeeps7kings

Legacy Registered User
#11
If auto, test drive it a lot. We originally wanted an auto but I absolutely hated it and even the wife saw the clear difference when I drove her in a 6-speed and she decided it was worth learning to drive stick.
Thats funny. I had a 2004 LJ on order with a local dealership before any of them had arrived on the dealership lots. The first LJ's to get ordered/ landing on the dealership lots were only automatics. My first thoughts were "it would be fine because the wife would drive it more..." While my Jeep LJ was on order I found a dealership an hour or so from my house that landed one of the first LJ's on a dealership lot in my area at the time (my salesman called me at told me about it). We drove out there to test drive it. Thank God we did. That auto trans was terrible! The Wife and I both hated it and canceled the order. It was a dog and continued to shift in and out of all the gears like something was wrong or it was under powered or out of trans fluid... Even the salesman at the dealership was like???? They had four on the lot. We test drove another one because we all thought something was wrong with the first one. The second one did the samething. We ended up buy a 85 cj7 instead at the time. Then we Sold the 85 cj7 and bought the still going never ending cj8 build i have going on. lol

Sorry for the high jack. good luck with the purchase!
 
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