Jeep® Heritage | 2003-06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ)

2003_Jp_Wrangler Rubicon_frnt_color

Each Friday on the Jeep® Blog, we explore the Jeep Brand’s iconic heritage by highlighting a different historical vehicle. This week’s vehicle is the first generation Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ).

First introduced in 2003, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon TJ was named after the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This Wrangler was designed for ruggedness and was the most capable off-roading Jeep vehicle at the time.

To help with its off-roading capabilities, the Wrangler Rubicon TJ featured Dana 44 front and rear axles with electronically controlled locking differentials. There was a switch that allowed for both the front and rear axles, or just the rear, to be locked to help with off-road performance.

2006 Jp Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon frnt lft

As for the transmission, the Wrangler Rubicon TJ used a standard five-speed manual transmission through 2004. In 2005, the transmission was changed to a six-speed manual. If manual wasn’t your style, there was an optional four-speed automatic transmission for all the 2003-06 Wrangler Rubicon TJ models.

2005 Jp Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon rear rt

The Wrangler Rubicon TJ also came standard with 31-inch tires and a factory lift.

The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon TJ received an upgrade in 2007. It is now the Jeep Wrangler JK that you see on the roads today. A 10th anniversary edition of the Wrangler Rubicon is now on the market.

Did you have a Wrangler Rubicon TJ? What do you think was the best off-roading feature? Share your thoughts below.

8 Responses to “Jeep® Heritage | 2003-06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (TJ)”

  1. Jason Halsted

    I’m the proud owner of a 2003 Rubicon. I love my Jeep. It the first of its kind, and it started a revolution for the automotive industry. Im proud to own one of the first ( most offroad capable 4x4s ever produced ). Oh yea, I love to go Jeepin!

  2. Sam Deaver

    I have a 06 LJ Rubicon, in my humble opinion the best Jeep ever made. I don’t ever plan on selling this Jeep. After 7 years and 95,000 miles still going stong takes me every where I want to go and place I shouldn’t go. 🙂

  3. Clint baxter

    Best time off road was in roush creek pa. And I still have the old girl with 36,000 miles on her

  4. tim hamilton

    wish i had one to keep my ’94 company! didn’t it also have a different ratio in the transfer case?

  5. Herminio

    This was a game changer in the Jeep family (used Jeep in our family since I was a kid in the late 50’s): locking diffs was a big plus, so was disengaging sway bars. Tires and wheels remained way too small, though. Had a 2003 and we changed to 285’s. Very nice vehicle.

  6. A friend had a Jeep Rubicon, He loved it. Keep up the heritage. We love aftermarket parts and the whole Jeep heritage. Love the 4 door jeeps.

  7. Rick Fisher

    I had a heavily modified Wrangler YJ when the Rubicon came out. I always said “Why doesn’t Jeep offer some optional improvements so we don’t have to throw out new parts?” So I put my money where my mouth was and ordered a 2003 Rubicon. My first disappointment was I could not get a light colored soft top with a light colored interior and exterior paint. Toledo did not understand southern California sun. I loved the four speed auto trans and the improved transfer case with 4 to ! reduction gears but was again disappointed in the axles. They are NOT Dana 44s. Oh the center casting is, sort of, but the axle tubes and knuckles were the same as an ordinary TJ. Wimpy!. After bending the tubes and the knuckles I had real 44s built. I also liked the locking differentials but the rear was chewed up when I bent the axle tube. The front finally gave up this year. Now of course Jeep and the dealers offer more serious upgrades and this was the start of that trend. I do love my Rubicon!

  8. Dixie Eagle

    I ownd a 1991 Jeep Wrangler YJ Orangle InLine six 4.0. To me it was the most rare Jeep. It was a Renagade.The fenfers where flared out on front and back. I sold it and boubht Jeep Grand Cherokees for the next few years. Then I bought a 2006 Jeep Wrangler Hard top Power stering Brakes,Air. Six speed manual. 4.0 inline six.As it turns out the last year of the in line Six. It is my favorite six cylinder Engine. I am not crazy about the New v6. But that is a p-ersonal choice. I love my 2006. It just turned 50,000 miles on it. Tahnk you jeep for putting Fun in off roading. You are the King of Off roadi ng Bar NONE. Second to NONE!!!!!!Be Proud, Be Strong, Be JEEP for ever.


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