View Full Version : NEW 2012 Jeep JK Unlimited Rubicon review and trip report trail testing.

August 19th, 2012, 04:12 PM
This is a combination trip report / product review, the product being our new 2012 Jeep Rubicon JKU. Pretty much with only 200 miles on it, we hit the trails around Silverton to wipe off the excess armor-all the dealer puts on the tires with fresh high country Colorado DIRT!:thumbsup:


We ordered / purchased this new JKUR a month ago down at New Mexico dealer after our local dealership in Durango insulted us with such a lowball offer on our trade-in, I walked and headed 50 miles south for an even better deal.


We bought this rig with the intention of using it for a back country exploratory rig, as well as a daily driver for wintertime. Although more than half the mileage has been off road so far, it really is a perfect commuter for buzzing around town. Easy to maneuver and easy to squeeze in tight quarters.

Before the trip/trail testing report, I want to point out some key features that I love and some that could be improved upon.

The awsomness of this new revamped JKUR are:

-- The new Pentastar V-6 quad cam VVT engine. This engine starts itís redline at 6500RPM. I thing the factory spec limit is 7200 RPM. You can really twist this thing and feel the pull. They also installed an electric fan and the alternator points backwards with the pulley almost dead center with the top of the intake. Keeps it out of the water/mud, but looks like the belt could be a PITA to change.


-- Auto transmission. This is a German built 5 speed. It has the gated transmission lever and a tap side to side once it is drive allows you to select and stay in any gear you choose. The coolest thing about it, besides being a 5 speed, is this is the same transmission they use in the Grand Cherokee with the 5.7 V-8, which leads me to believe it is a stout piece. This my friend also means (and I am guessing) if a person wanted to do a V-8 conversion, you may save a lot of expense for not having to buy a transmission.

-- The Rocktrack 4:1 transfercase. I know some do not like it because the gearing is too low for high speed sand or snow bashing, but here is my experience, this transfercase along with the 5 speed auto works perfectly for descending loose rocky shale trails such as Blackbear. There was almost no breaking input from myself on any of the trails we did a couple weeks ago. As a side note though, the Rubicon does come now with a standard 3.73:1 axle ratio, which I almost screwed up when ordering this rig. I wanted 4.10:1 so itís easier to pull a small project camper especially up mountain passes and trails.

-- The Sirius radio/navigation/DVD/hands free system. This thing rocks! It has 40GB of storage for music, pictures, and videos via USB or disc. You can also add onto it with a product called a lock pick and add two cameras as well as unlock other features that Chrysler has disabled. The hands free function is pretty awesome. You can make phone calls, change radio stations, and navigate etc with a push of a button on the steering wheel and your voice. We also opted for the sub-woofer and amplifier. Sounds pretty good too.

BTW, its all touchscreen too, which is a nice feature.



-- Heated leather! Thatís right! We have a couple little Morkies that get dirty paws a lot when out camping and wheeling. The leather cleans up very nice & easy and the heated feature is just plain bad ass for the wintertime or that sore back after a long hike. I do plan to get matching seat covers like the ones in my tow rig.

-- A couple other notable features that the Jeep has that we enjoy are:

The A/C works like a champ.

Built in 120v inverter. Perfect for charging camera batteries.

Hill decent control. Nice, but all it really does is apply the brakes for you in low range only.

Remote start. Yea, it rocks on hot or cold days. The range is pretty insane. Something like 100 yards.

The easiest oil change in the world was built into this engine. The oil filter is a cartridge that you remove from the top of the engine. There is absolutely no mess.


This is all you need to change the oil in style and comfort:


The hood actually has gas charged hood struts as well as a hood prop rod.


There is quite a bit of room under the rear seats, and the seats fold down nicely to make a pretty large cargo area. Also in the cargo area in the back, there is a 12v outlet plug for accessories like coolers, tire pumps, mattress pumps etc.

We opted for the factory floor mats also called ďslush matsĒ in Mopars book. These are actually really nice. They have the molded tread pattern of the BFG MTís that the Rubicon comes with.

We also opted for the auto temp control for the HAVAC system. As well, we got electric and heated mirrors. I like the electric adjustable mirrors for the fact on the pass side; you can move it down easily if you need to see where your pass rear tire is or going to hang up.

Looks like if a person wanted a dual battery set-up, there appears to be plenty of room.

And just like the other Rubiconís, the push button sway bar disconnect as well as the factory lockers are just plain cool!

A couple items that could be addressed:

-- We opted for the max tow package which gave us a nice hitch, 3500# tow rating but only a 4way trailer plug. An RV style 7 way would be nice for campers with batteries, trailer brakes, backup lights and such.

-- We also got matching painted flairs with the matching painted hardtop. The problem is the rear flairs take a hell of a beating by rocks, and being painted, they are chipped up already. The BFG MTís that come on the Rubiconís has a tread spacing that is perfect for launching ĺ gravel into everything in itís path. Whatís interesting is Jeep put a protective clear layer on the door edges to help with door ding chips, but they could have at least put it on the leading edge of the flairs too.

-- The air horn intake is put up nice and high for water crossings, but I am not sure it gets cool air. It looks like it is almost choked off by the hood insulation. I have heard some pretty nice snorkel kits are coming out which eliminate cutting the hood, so this may be a future option.


-- There seems to be a slight delay in the initial throttle response, even though this actually got good reviews from some that it was improved from before.

-- I would prefer to have alternator and oil PSI gauges in addition to the water temp & gas gauge. I will probably invest in the Superchips dash monitor to gain this and all its features.

So thatís it for now, not really anything but small annoyances for issues. So letís get onto the trip report/trail testing the Jeep part of the write-up!

August 19th, 2012, 04:49 PM
We started out by meeting some new friends from Arizona who wanted to spend some time up around the Silverton area. Michele from AZVJC initially had posted she was heading north to Silverton for vacation and anybody who wanted to go, could meet up with her. Naturally with me living here, I responded that I would love to meet some new faces and if needed, I could show them around some trails. Well, it was set, we decided on a couple trails for the weekend of the 4th & 5th, and also Ken from AZVJC would be meeting us as well. There were some other folks coming up later in the week, but they had their own agenda, so it was just the three of us plus my son, JD in his ZJ.


Its nice having only 4 rigs on trail instead of the usuall 10 plus. Makes for getting around alot easier.

John (AKA firegod) from CO4X4 & AZVJC who was coming from Grand junction, was going to meet us on Saturday at the entrance to Blackbear, but as usual (meaning he was working on a Jeep) it gave him a couple issues while he was installing his Howell FI system, and had to take a rain check. No problem John! We can hit the trails in the middle anytime!

On our way to our first stop, we came across a few hundred sheep open grazing on the trail. The sheep dog that usually protect them from unwanted intruders are usually a little timid, but this girl was friendly as could be!


These little puppers are official Jeep interior testers for ride, comfort and window opening view function. They give the new Jeep Rubicon 4 paws up!


Just some JKUR poser marketing shots. Wonder if I can sell this to Chrysler...


Here's the Lake at the Bullion King Mine as well as some Jeep chicks!



Carol, the puppers & I at the top of Blackbear Pass before dropping into Telluride.


More JKUR testing.... Pretty mild, I know.



Lookout point on top of Imogene pass. Someone always has to be standing in an awsome picture somewhere! I don't know how many times I said "get outta the picture" LOL!


August 19th, 2012, 05:11 PM
Our new friend Michele from Phoenix and her built TJ




Our new Buddy Ken from Phoenix and his "1 Bad ZJ"




My Son JD trail testing his 5.9 Limited ZJ



JD Working on his rig almost to the Top of Imogene. His shift linkage kept popping off. Nothing a few zipties could not fix!


Group photo opportunity!


August 23rd, 2012, 11:31 PM
how the hell did you get gas charged hood struts? My 2012 JKUR didn't come with them!

Great writeup and nice pics.

August 24th, 2012, 07:48 PM
how the hell did you get gas charged hood struts? My 2012 JKUR didn't come with them!

Great writeup and nice pics.

Don't know?:shrug: Are they not a factory option?

I just found too that I have an additional alarm system on my Jeep too. Apparently, the dealer my dealer got it from installs them on all the new vehicles. So I called my dealer after I figured out what the mystery switch was, and they are supposed to be sending me the extra fob. I may just remove it since the Jeep has a factory alarm already, but want to see what features this one has. Still though, fawkers screwed into my kick panel for the switch mount and tapped the harness for the other alarm. Brand new Jeep, I WANT to be the one to do the screw'in & tap'in...:tisk:

January 6th, 2013, 07:01 PM
Just found a trick after owning this Jeep for the last 6 months. I played around with the MyGig RHR radio and found it would not even recognize my usb storage device when I tried to download pictures off of my usb drive. Well it turns out the usb storage device needs some sort of mp3 data downloaded on it to unlock and open the feature on the radio.:rolleyes:

Downloading songs to the radio via CD takes a lot of time, but MP3 type music was fast. All 280 pictures took a few minutes too. :cool:

Nice features and easy to use so far. I am looking into a device called the lockpick. It's supposed to open more capabilities of this system including adding cameras.

I really want one of these radios in my '07 Dodge 2500 tow/vacation rig. :thumbsup: