off-road the major downside is the departure angle and the breakover angle. a high clearance gas tank skid and tummy tuck are pretty much requirements if you play where clearance matters. otherwise the off-road difference is minimal. on-road difference is noticable. the LJ rides a lot better if its properly setup.
other than that, the long wheelbase is awesome. the extra room makes the jeep a lot more functional.
Originally Posted by Another Guy In A Jeep
I imagine the longer wheelbase would affect the offroading quite a bit
It does. Makes it a whole lot more stable capable, if properly set up
Well, also on the cons, there’s some things you just can’t buy for a LJ and have to fabricate yourself, like a security shelf system for the area behind the back seat.
So anyhow, upsides: Room, rides better on the highway *than a TJ* (not better than a JK — a JK is smooooooth on the highway by comparison), climbs like a monkey (I can climb things that have the SWB TJ’s and YJ’s and CJ’s skittering around like cockroaches and needing the hook).
Downsides: it’s physically longer, thus needs more cuts at some obstacles. If it’s a daily driver you’ll need to take a cut at parking spots that SWB Jeeps can just vroom into, and offroad you’ll need to carefully take into account the extra 15 inches of length (10 inches in wheelbase, 5 inches behind the back wheel). In reality the breakover angle isn’t a big deal, I never got hung up because of that. The length definitely took some adjustments. It was never enough to keep me from doing the trail, but I did have to stop and take cuts in some places where SWB Jeeps don’t.
The extra weight may affect gas mileage, though we’re talking about a Jeep Wrangler so gas mileage is almost a non-starter anyhow. It also makes it feel stable on the road, but less sporty for some reason.
BTW, regarding gas tank skid, it has the exact same gas tank in the exact same location as the TJ (the gas tank is *not* pushed backwards, there is 5 inches of extra empty space behind the gas tank that you could, e.g. put an air tank into). It does tend to clang when you fall off a ledge but that’s because of the extra weight of the extra 15 inches of Jeep being on top of the back wheels, I eventually did put a Savvy gas tank skid and gas tank tuck on the LJ to stop that.
Which would I prefer, TJ or LJ? Well, clearly, the LJ, since I bought one . I feel it’s a better all-around vehicle than the TJ, though the rarity means that I worry long-term about availability of tops. Luckily tops are the only thing there will be a problem with, since everything else is either shared with the TJ or is easily fabricated or repaired.
Comparing LJ to JK: I wouldn’t have a 2007-2011 JK. The minivan engine is completely overwhelmed by the porkitude of this bloated piece of shortened pickup truck frame with Jeep-like body placed atop it. The LJ is far better offroad than any JK because it only has one thing hanging down in the middle — the shovel for the transfer case skid — while the JK has a massive gas tank *plus* the transfer case skid *plus* a transmission crossmember/ skid (for the automatic) all hanging down below the Jeep, as well as the massively tall pickup truck frame that hangs down about 3 inches further than the TJ frame. Plus I haven’t found *any* rock rails for the JK that are sturdy enough to satisfy me yet (note that I’m running Savvy’s aluminum/stainless combo on my LJ, which are Hammers-tested and *stout*), due to the boat-like curve of the JK’s body and the fact that the body swoops down to a pinch seam a couple inches below the body proper to try to hide some of the humongously tall frame from public view, a horrifically weak scheme that has to be seen to be believed .
So why do I have a 2012 Wrangler Rubicon? Because a) 285 horsepower (vroom!), b) I’m male, and c) I’m an idiot (but I repeat myself ). But if I had any sense, I would never have bought the ‘012. What can I say, moh powah! (cue Tim Taylor grunt).
Needless to say, I think the 2012 Wrangler is a much better *car* than my 2006 LJ — more powerful, rides smoother, *much* more comfortable interior (electric windows even!), and so forth — but the LJ is a much better *Jeep*. If I were building a hard-core Jeep for regular wheeling, my LJ is the basis I’d use for that. Unfortunately, I need a daily driver and really don’t wheel often enough to have a dedicated wheeling Jeep, so. (shrug).