Rubicon or Sahara

Hristo34

Member
I much prefer the Rubicon to Sahara, for my purposes, but for what you are describing, the Sahara sounds better. Even better though, would be a sport model. Less weight spent on fancy junk can go to handling your other extras. I don't think you'll see a big increase in fuel economy with the Sahara, despite what the salesman told you.
 
Thanks guys . I will do more research . My last jeep was a 2012 sport with standard trans . sold it a couple years ago and miss it . the only things i need for sure is air and cruse . my wife bought a renegade limited last fall,and it is sorta nice having all the bells and whistles. I am going to price out a new JLU sport and see what it comes in at . I wonder if you can get 3.73 in a sport ? And please all you rubi people do not get me wrong . the rube is a much more capable off road vehicle . the one I looked at was a beautiful piece of equipment . my personality will not let me pay that much money and then use it for what it was intended ,I would be afraid of putting a scratch in such nice machine .
 

larock1971

New member
You don't say when you plan to start your travels, but another thing to think about is when Ursa Minor will begin production of the J30 for the JL Wrangler, which I assume the Rubicon you looked at is. Ursa Minor still shows the JL as "Coming Soon", but even when production gets going they may have a back log of pre-orders.
 

Lucky j

Explorer
Ok, my turn to pitch in.

Got my fisrt jeep wrangler in september 94, no Rubi package on the YJ at that time. O ly came in in 2003 on the TJ. I have wheel the heck out of it. Many friends had the rubis, and some even had the rubi's front and rear axle on standard none rubi wranglers. The only strenght in the Rubi set-up t-case, is the 4:1 ratio, only good for rock crawling, specially hooked up to the 4.10 diif ratios.

The locker are a very nice thing to have, but the suspension became so good with the coil springs compare to the leafs of cj's and yj's, that I have seen many unlocked tj performe very well in regular 4 wheeling situation, even in situation when a locked and regeared YJ would have a workout.

Now, since I was doing hardcore 4wheeling, I did upgarde my YJ with 4,56 ratio, beefier axle, even better prepared than Rubi's, with 35" interco boggers, but I was running a 5 speed manual in off road situation. The rubicon T-case would only have been used once in a great while. The 2,72 was better for my most of the time 4 wheeling.

In 2015, I found my self a 2005 unlimited wrangler (the famous LJ), sport edition. Ran it with 3" suspension and wornout 33" muds or good at for travel. Only tracklock limited slip in the back, open d30 up front,lodes with recovery and pulling an off road trailer in dirt road that are way worst tha any open trafic road. Never had issues, only needed the winch of a friend ounce to pull me from behind when a culver let go under my front wheel. And by experience, no lockers (front and back would have help me much here. Only my rear winch, but would have been tricky with the trailer in tow. Faisable, but easier with a pull from my friend).


Will the LJ get the geard front 4,56 arb locked with chromoly axle and the rear currie high pignon 9" with same gear with detroit locker and and both with bigger 1/2 ton pick-up brakes? Yes, cause I have them.

Do I realy need them, not for anything not hardcore of adventure travel. But I am the type of guy that like to go forward. Would I go for a rubicon transfert case, no. Would I go for and atlas II 3 speed transfert case, yes, do I nees it, nope. And Btw, I paid 5500$ jus for that LJ.

Would I get any non rubi for what you plan to do, yes, even the 2017 sahara. But I have no care for bling my self.

So I would probably look for something even cheaper and give them better all aroumd tires.

This is all personal, and only done to help a confusing reflexion.
Have fun. :)
 
so I went by my local jeep dealer today to see if they had any used JK unlimited in stock . They only had one . what they did have is a left over brand new 2017 Sahara fully loaded with leather . he also had a brand new 2019 Rubicon loaded ,black beautiful rig . so this is part of the question for $18,000 difference in price would you pick the Sahara ? My goal is to put a Ursa Minor top on it and outfit it for a trip to the Yukon and Alaska . the Dealer said the Sahara would get much better gas millage . I will have to drive across Canada to start my trip ,so lots of hi way miles involved . please keep in mind I am 65 years young and look at 4 wheel drive as something to get me out of trouble ,not into it . But honestly I could never bring myself to pay the price for the Rubicon .I have looked at a couple of used Rubicons ,but they had been run hard . Just wondering what people with experience think, is the Sahara up to the job? Thanks

Based on your use case, you won't need the features that the Rubicon provides on your trip to the Yukon and Alaska. Not even close. A trip north will be 90% on pavement as you have correctly identified. There are no "off road" sections that you HAVE to traverse to get up the Dempster or Dalton, both are just gravel roads with varying quality that any Jeep Wrangler can handle with relative ease. A new, warrantied Sahara will likely serve you FAR better than a used Rubicon -- the trouble with used Jeeps is that some have been Mall Crawlers with hundreds of thousands of KMs left, some have been rode hard and put away wet and are a bad day away from major part failures. It's tough to tell the difference after the Detailers have had a crack at them.

If you want to be doing some trail runs, I would go so far as to suggest that a Rubicon isn't necessary for all but the most difficult and punishing off road tracks where vehicle damage is likely. Lockers, low range 4WD, low rear axle gear ratio really are a boon in tricky stuff, but on easy or moderate off road trails the Sahara will work just fine.

I would suggest that you source rock guards for the Sahara. The gravel sections will throw rocks at the underside of your rig. The Rubicon comes with Skid Plates, but they are expensive, very heavy, and nowhere on the main routes will you ever need them. If you don't plan on dragging the weight of the vehicle on a rock underneath it (i.e. tackling technical trails), then aluminum deflectors/rock guards will protect the underside from thrown rocks and sticks reasonably well instead. A bit more expensive, but way lighter.

GVWR is actually higher on the Sahara than it is on the Rubicon by a bit, too.

The Rubicon, off the lot, is the most capable 4x4 off road vehicle available in Canada by a wide margin. If I were to do a top 5 list, the Jeep JK in all it's trim packages would be in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. You really aren't sacrificing much capability by going Saraha over Rubicon, and $18k gives you plenty of time to curate the upgrades you want if you are comfortable with that.

Source: We've done it in a Rubicon. Didn't need any of the bells and whistles. We barely even needed 4 wheel drive -- clearance and approach angle was far more important.
 

wild1

Adventurer
Based on your use case, you won't need the features that the Rubicon provides on your trip to the Yukon and Alaska. Not even close. A trip north will be 90% on pavement as you have correctly identified. There are no "off road" sections that you HAVE to traverse to get up the Dempster or Dalton, both are just gravel roads with varying quality that any Jeep Wrangler can handle with relative ease. A new, warrantied Sahara will likely serve you FAR better than a used Rubicon -- the trouble with used Jeeps is that some have been Mall Crawlers with hundreds of thousands of KMs left, some have been rode hard and put away wet and are a bad day away from major part failures. It's tough to tell the difference after the Detailers have had a crack at them.

If you want to be doing some trail runs, I would go so far as to suggest that a Rubicon isn't necessary for all but the most difficult and punishing off road tracks where vehicle damage is likely. Lockers, low range 4WD, low rear axle gear ratio really are a boon in tricky stuff, but on easy or moderate off road trails the Sahara will work just fine.

I would suggest that you source rock guards for the Sahara. The gravel sections will throw rocks at the underside of your rig. The Rubicon comes with Skid Plates, but they are expensive, very heavy, and nowhere on the main routes will you ever need them. If you don't plan on dragging the weight of the vehicle on a rock underneath it (i.e. tackling technical trails), then aluminum deflectors/rock guards will protect the underside from thrown rocks and sticks reasonably well instead. A bit more expensive, but way lighter.

GVWR is actually higher on the Sahara than it is on the Rubicon by a bit, too.

The Rubicon, off the lot, is the most capable 4x4 off road vehicle available in Canada by a wide margin. If I were to do a top 5 list, the Jeep JK in all it's trim packages would be in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. You really aren't sacrificing much capability by going Saraha over Rubicon, and $18k gives you plenty of time to curate the upgrades you want if you are comfortable with that.

Source: We've done it in a Rubicon. Didn't need any of the bells and whistles. We barely even needed 4 wheel drive -- clearance and approach angle was far more important.
I know this sounds like heresy but I think you would be better off and happier with neither of the above. I have a 2018 Ram ccsb 3500 Cummings and a 2019 Rubicon Jlu. I lived and worked in Alaska from Prudoe Bay to Fairbanks and made the drive from Montana many times. If I was leaving tomorrow it would be in the Ram. While I really like the Rubicon any jeep is a spartan choice for this kind of travel. The Ram rides and drives better ,gets about the same mileage and has huge range and cargo capacity. I got great deals on both of them but they both cost about the same which was not much more then the Sahara that you quoted.
 
I know this sounds like heresy but I think you would be better off and happier with neither of the above. I have a 2018 Ram ccsb 3500 Cummings and a 2019 Rubicon Jlu. I lived and worked in Alaska from Prudoe Bay to Fairbanks and made the drive from Montana many times. If I was leaving tomorrow it would be in the Ram. While I really like the Rubicon any jeep is a spartan choice for this kind of travel. The Ram rides and drives better ,gets about the same mileage and has huge range and cargo capacity. I got great deals on both of them but they both cost about the same which was not much more then the Sahara that you quoted.
I don't disagree at all! I think there are better options for long distance overland travel than the jeep, for sure, and we've upgraded recently to a small truck for some of the reasons you describe. However, I think there is something special about Jeeps (which I'm sure you can relate to, given you own one). They aren't comfortable, aren't efficient, can't carry much, and aren't terribly reliable.

But we loved the one we had, with our whole hearts, and we think that love matters-- especially on longer trips.

For a lot of people, a Prudhoe run or a trip down the PanAm, or any extended adventure, may be a once in a lifetime experience. It becomes part of a person's story of how they chose to live their lives. Our vehicles are often very important characters in these stories, and I think when committing to a once in a lifetime adventure, you have to love the cast of characters. Jeeps are characters, right off the lot, in ways that some other vehicles are not. The thing is, each person decides for themselves how they will 'cast' that story, and which rig 'speaks' to them on that level -- and it strikes me that the OP is casting a Jeep, he is just not sure which one yet. It's a deeply personal decision for a lot of people, but that "special something" that makes us really love a car is important, and Jeeps have 'special somethings" in spades.

From an objective "what is better for a run to Alaska" perspective, I think a full size pickup is actually the ideal platform. Great on the highway, more than capable off road, and loads of payload to bring a camper or slide in as one desires. But I've never been given a wave in my Silverado from another guy in a Silverado when driving down he road just because we are in similar vehicles, and there's something undeniably special about that when it happens behind the wheel of a Jeep. I don't believe a person ever buys a Jeep. We build relationships with them!

When I'm old and grey, if I'm lucky enough to get that way, I will hopefully remember the stories of my wayward youth and think back fondly to the adventures I've had -- and I know it will make me smile a little bit wider remembering the ones we did in our Jeep.

(But our Truck is way more comfy and capable for Overlanding!)
 
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Lucky j

Explorer
I don't disagree at all! I think there are better options for long distance overland travel than the jeep, for sure, and we've upgraded recently to a small truck for some of the reasons you describe. However, I think there is something special about Jeeps (which I'm sure you can relate to, given you own one). They aren't comfortable, aren't efficient, can't carry much, and aren't terribly reliable.

But we loved the one we had, with our whole hearts, and we think that love matters-- especially on longer trips.

For a lot of people, a Prudhoe run or a trip down the PanAm, or any extended adventure, may be a once in a lifetime experience. It becomes part of a person's story of how they chose to live their lives. Our vehicles are often very important characters in these stories, and I think when committing to a once in a lifetime adventure, you have to love the cast of characters. Jeeps are characters, right off the lot, in ways that some other vehicles are not. The thing is, each person decides for themselves how they will 'cast' that story, and which rig 'speaks' to them on that level -- and it strikes me that the OP is casting a Jeep, he is just not sure which one yet. It's a deeply personal decision for a lot of people, but that "special something" that makes us really love a car is important, and Jeeps have 'special somethings" in spades.

From an objective "what is better for a run to Alaska" perspective, I think a full size pickup is actually the ideal platform. Great on the highway, more than capable off road, and loads of payload to bring a camper or slide in as one desires. But I've never been given a wave in my Silverado from another guy in a Silverado when driving down he road just because we are in similar vehicles, and there's something undeniably special about that when it happens behind the wheel of a Jeep. I don't believe a person ever buys a Jeep. We build relationships with them!

When I'm old and grey, if I'm lucky enough to get that way, I will hopefully remember the stories of my wayward youth and think back fondly to the adventures I've had -- and I know it will make me smile a little bit wider remembering the ones we did in our Jeep.

(But our Truck is way more comfy and capable for Overlanding!)

We plan to do Alaska and Prudhoe and The Northe west To Tuk and it will be sone with my Wrangler LJ al the way from the Quebec North shore area. Just because of what you have mentionned. And I drive that thing top less to all my travel when possible. I would never get that with a full size. :)
 

billiebob

Well-known member
There is one HUGE difference between a Rubi and every other Wrangler and that is the 4:1 Rubi transfer case VS the 2.79:1 transfer case in everything else. The Rubi has a CRAWLING transfer case. I have an '05 TJR and I HATE it. But I use it to haul my work trailer and for that, I can live with it.

Drive one in 4LO before you decide. If you can live with never getting over 15mph in 4LO... you might like it. But I doubt you will. For the past 70 years EVERY 4WD came with a 2.70s??? transfer case. ONLY the Rubi has a transfer case to climb a waterfall. On the beach, thru a mud hole, you NEED wheel speed. The Rubi cannot give you that.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Sport/Sahara transfer case has better/superior 4LO ratios.

Lockers are an easy install.
 
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jacobconroy

Hillbilly of Leisure
My Sahara came stock with 4:10 gears. Thank goodness...it's gutless with 4:10s and all the weight it has to deal with.

I don't really know anything about gearing though. Is that ratio referring to the transfer case, or the gearing in the pumpkins? Or are they the same thing?
 

billiebob

Well-known member
Last point, the Rubi comes with D44s front and rear since fully locked all the torque could end up going to one tire. Every other 4WD for the past 70 years has come with a stronger rear axle since in 2WD all the torque goes to the rear axle, but in 4WD only 50% of the torque goes to the front axle so the front axle does not need the same strength as the rear axle.

Lockers and rock crawling change that. Never going to climb a waterfall? The D35 or D44 rear axle and D30 front axle are a proven combination for over 30 years.
 
Thank you every one for the time you have spent . Interesting and respectful comments. I do not plan on rock crawling , and hopefully will start the trip the first of next July. (wife is a teacher ) This year is the east coast of USA and Canada .would this be a good compromise ? I have found a low millage Willy's addition that came with the 373 gears, and Rubi wheels and tires . It seems to be outfitted in the middle of a sport and Sahara and Rubi . used it is only about a grand more then a sport .
 
I'm not super familiar with the Willy's trim package, but in terms of "Must Haves" in an overland Jeep, if it checks these boxes and you like the interior then I think you have a winner. The big things to be wary of is Air Conditioning and Steering Wheel Controls; both appear to be 'optional' in the Willy's but are significant quality of life improvements when you are living out of it for an extended period of time.

I'd also suggest be mindful of the model year. I think 2015 is when they changed it but older JKs with the fancy audio package have a subwoofer that extends out into the cargo space, and robs you of several cubic feet of storage because it also makes the bit between the rear seat and the subwoofer enclosure nearly unusable. Ideally, get one newer than '15 as the sub on those is located in the floor panel of the trunk area.

If it's a used Jeep with a manual trans, one of the known failure points is in the driveline, specifically the throwout bearing. The best way to know if it's good is to start the rig, put it in neutral, and see if you can hear a whistling or chirping from the transmission bell housing; thats a sign of a failing TOB and if you have the dealer fix it, it's $$$. If there is evidence of a failing bearing, you can perhaps make that part of the sale deal to have it fixed.

Otherwise, nothing wrong with the Willy's that I am aware of.
 
Thanks ks . yes the first thing i ask new or used is does it have air and cruse .two things I wont be without . I never liked the clutch in my 2012 . It is the hydraulic . no clutch engagement feedback . If you read the build sheet on a Willys ,it looks like they start off with a sport add half the options from a Sahara then some bits of a Rubi .the big thing seems to be the 373 limited slip with brake control.O yes and stickers . I have found both standard and auto , think i am leaning towards auto trans .
 
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