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2003 Jeep Wrangler X - 4x Forum

Posted in Features on December 1, 2007
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Send questions, comments, and suggestions to: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility MAGAZINE, Attn: Christian Lee, 2400 E. Katella Ave., Ste. 700, Anaheim, CA 92806, or

Dual-Purpose GPS
Q: I would like to know what you guys think of the new Magellan CrossoverGPS? I am in the process of buying a GPS unit and can't decide on this one or a handheld version for both the road and back roads. I live in France now but have read your magazine for about the last 15 years. I look forward to reading it every chance I get. Thanks for all the hard work you put into it.Fred MorleyLyon, France

A: Fred, though we haven't tested one yet, the Magellan CrossoverGPS looks very cool. Weighing in at just 8.5 ounces and with a 3.5-inch screen, it's a pocket-size unit that can be used in your vehicle or while hiking a trail. It has a rechargeable battery with an 8-hour duration, it's waterproof to IPX-4, and it also features an MP3 player and photo-viewer and can be upgraded to receive real-time traffic updates. Those of us who explore back roads as well as navigate the highways will enjoy both topographical and street-level mapping. The CrossoverGPS will also accept a regional SD card that provides topo and street maps for specific regions such as France, Mexico, Canada, Norway, and others. SD cards with North American and European marine charts are also available. As far as handheld GPS units go, the Magellan CrossoverGPS seems to offer most of the features you'd need for all types of adventure. Thanks for reading.

Which Wrangler?
Q: I'm about to buy an '03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara and was wondering about the difference between it and the X and Rubicon models. Also, what size tires can go on it without a lift? What would be the price range for it in stock form? Earl Utah BartleyPerry, LA

A: Earl, aside from the Rubicon model, which was introduced in 2003, most Wrangler models such the X and Sahara are nearly identical. All come with the same transmission (for that model year) and engine and use the NP231J transfer case with a 2.72:1 Low-gear ratio. The standard axles were a Dana 30 front and a Dana 35 rear. Only special-edition Wrangler X models came with a Dana 44 rear axle, but the Sahara and Sport were offered with an optional Dana 44 that included rear disc brakes. The Rubicon has front and rear Dana 44 axles that include air-actuated lockers and lower 4.11 gearing and an NVG241OR Rock-Trac transfer case with a shorter rear output and a 4:1 Low-gear ratio. The Rubicon model also features extra skidplates and 31-inch tires.

The Rubicon model will be more expensive than the others, and the price will fall proportionally as you look at the Sahara, Sport, and X models. Saharas are often marked a bit higher since they feature more interior amenities than the others and often see less trail adventure than other models. Kelley Blue Book value for an '03 Rubicon in your area is around $15,000; however, I have seen Rubicons up for sale for much less.

The best buy for your buck would be the Rubicon, since you'll be able to take it farther along a trail without spending more money on upgrades such as lockers or lower gearing. All models can be modified in the same manner at an extra cost, but it's a nice bonus to be ready to wheel right out of the box. Good luck.

Old, Familiar Stuff
Comment: Nice job on the "Old, Familiar Stuff" 4Word (Sept. '07). My wife Stacie and I really enjoyed it as we also have a VW sitting under a cover here in the yard - a '72 Super Beetle that she has had for years. Further, that "smell" you talked about of a real car fits exactly her '66 classic Chevy Chevelle Malibu with a hot 350 in it. We KNOW what you mean. Awesome. Thanks for the smiles.Raised TJ FendersDel AlbrightBlueRibbon Coalition AmbassadorTrail Boss, Friends of the RubiconEnvironmental Affairs Coordinator, CA4WDC

A: Del, thanks for writing. Though McNulty's VW is long gone, I still drive my '85 VW Westfalia a few days a week. It's the only 2WD I've ever owned, but I put it on 27-inch BFG A-Ts so I'd feel more at home. It smells like heaven. Glad you know what we mean. Wheel on.

Raised TJ Fenders
Q: On the Sept. '07 issue's Contents page there is a Jeep Wrangler TJ with a uniquely trimmed hood and what look to be raised fenders. How do I achieve this? I want to keep my Jeep as stock as possible suspension-wise, and I think that the setup shown will work great for me. I don't need to run anything close to 40s. Any info would be greatly appreciated.Adam Lefcourtvia e-mail

A: Adam, the Jeep TJ you mention is equipped with a Highline Body Kit from AEV Conversions [(406) 251-2100,]. The kit permits use of larger-than-stock tires without having to complete any suspension modifications. The Highline Body Kit is available for '97-'06 TJs and includes 14-gauge stamped-steel fender assemblies, AEV's Heat Reduction Hood, four sets of fender flares, and battery-tray supports.

Rooftop Tents
Q: In the Sept. '07 issue of your magazine there is an article about a rooftop tent ("ARB Simpson II Rooftop Tent"). This tent is installed on a Jeep Liberty that appears to have a solid-axle conversion. Do you have any info on this Liberty? Specs, details, etc.? Thank you very much.Rodney BrooksAscutney, VT

ZJ Bumpers
A: Rodney, the Jeep Liberty with the rooftop tent shown in the Sept. '07 issue was also featured on the cover of the Oct. '07 issue and again in a vehicle feature article in the Nov. '07 issue. The November issue will offer the most details about this vehicle's construction. The Liberty is owned by Seth Green who works at ARB USA. All J Products in Big Bear, California, completed the solid-axle conversion. Thanks for writing.

Q: You did an article awhile back on the Grand Caddy in which you installed a Road Armor rear bumper and tire carrier (Mar. '06). When I inquired, Road Armor told me yes, this bumper would go to production, just be patient. The last time I called the company, I found out it is not going to happen - ever. I was recently looking at the June '07 issue and saw a great bumper on the rear of the Wheelin' ZJ on page 50. I need a strong rear bumper with the receiver like the one in the picture. Is there any way that you could get me the information for the manufacturer? Thanks for the great mag. It is the only one I read.Jon Owensvia e-mail

A: Jon, apparently Road Armor is no longer offering bumpers for the Grand Cherokee ZJ; however, the company does still produce a variety of bumpers for Jeep Wrangler TJs, Hummers, and fullsize trucks. I believe the bumper shown on page 50 of the June '07 issue is from (, which specializes in Grand Cherokee parts and offers many bumpers, skidplates, and steering components for these Jeeps. Other options for the ZJ are Hanson Offroad [(877) 757-9779,] and TrailReady [(425) 353-6776,]. Both companies offer stout front and rear bumpers that should meet your needs.

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