2005 Jeep Wrangler Guide: Should You Buy It?

The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic vehicle, a spiritual descendant of the dependable Jeeps that carried the American flag during World War Two. Basic, durable, and born to conquer off-road environments, the Jeep Wrangler made its name as an accessible 4×4 vehicle that could go anywhere.

There have been several incarnations of the Jeep Wrangler throughout the model’s history, starting in the late 1990s. Each version has added to the model’s loyal following, with its classic round headlamps and beloved boxy build. From cruising along the beach with the soft canopy down to fording streams out in the wilds, the Jeep Wrangler endures virtually any driving activity.

The 2005 Jeep Wrangler is a popular version on the used market. This version has seven trim levels to suit any driver’s needs and continues the fantastic off-road pedigree of the Wrangler badge. Hunting through the classifieds can net you a real bargain with this dependable sports utility vehicle.

In this comprehensive 2005 Jeep Wrangler guide, we’ll delve into the specs, standard equipment, and trim levels of this model. We’ll also explore some of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler’s most commonly encountered problems to help you avoid a bad deal, as well as some of the best upgrades available for these cars.

Pros

  • Dependable durability
  • Brilliant for off-road driving
  • Iconic appearance
  • Decent handling for an SUV

Cons

  • Uncomfortable ride on standard roads
  • Noisy while driving Sub-par fuel efficiency
  • Unrefined, spartan interior

Best For

Off-road driving enthusiasts looking for a bargain or anyone traveling regularly on rural roads

What Came Standard On The 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

2005 Jeep Wrangler

The 2005 Jeep Wrangler series is a range of back-to-basics 4×4’s with little in the way of creature comforts, but this simplicity speaks to the blue-collar durability of these vehicles. With seven available trim levels, standard equipment can vary slightly between each version. Let’s delve into the standard features of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler lineup:

Engine

The entry-level SE model is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine. This engine specification gives the 2005 Jeep Wrangler access to 147 bhp @ 5,200 rpm and 165 newton-meters of torque @ 4,000 rpm. In terms of fuel economy, this engine can achieve about 18 mpg when driving around urban areas and approximately 21 mpg when cruising on the highway.

On all other models of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler, the engine is a 4.0-liter inline-six-cylinder. These models can generate 190 bhp @ 4,600 rpm along with an impressive 235 newton-meters of torque @ 3,200 rpm.

Transmission

Most versions of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler employ a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. This system also comes with an overdrive feature to help make the vehicle more fuel-efficient when driving on the highway. There was a postal version in production that came with a four-speed automatic gearbox, but these weren’t available on the general market.

Drivetrain

Wrangler

As you would expect, 2005 Jeep Wranglers are four-wheel-drive vehicles. This allows Wranglers to tackle treacherous off-road terrain and perform pretty well. Some trim levels of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler came as standard with a limited-slip differential on the rear axle and an open differential on the front axle.

Exterior styling

Depending on the trim level of each 2005 Jeep Wrangler, there are slightly different exterior appearances on the market. Almost all 2005 Wranglers featured Jeep’s iconic manual soft top as standard. Only the right-hand drive postal version came with the hardtop as standard. The more entry-level trim versions of the 2005 Wranglers featured 15” silver steel wheel rims as basic equipment, while more upmarket trim levels can with 15” or 16” silver aluminum rims.

Interior equipment

The standard interior equipment doesn’t vary much between the various trim levels of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler. Most models feature a CD player and changer stereo with an AM/FM radio mounted on the dashboard, working through four speakers. Manual air conditioning is also standard across the range. The basic SE model featured vinyl seats, while all other models upgraded this to cloth-covered seating.

Passengers and safety features

Jeep Inside

All models of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler have seats for four people. These consist of two full bucket seats in the front and a bench seat with space for two in the back. In terms of safety features, all models of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler employed driver and passenger airbags and height-adjustable seat belts in the front two seats.

What Trims Are Available On The 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

There are seven trim levels available on the 2005 Jeep Wrangler. Each trim level is listed below, along with its most prominent standard features:

2005 Jeep Wrangler SE

    • 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine
    • Six-speed manual gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Manual convertible soft top
    • 15” silver steel wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Vinyl seat trim

2005 Jeep Wrangler X

    • 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine
    • Six-speed manual gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Optional limited-slip differential
    • Manual convertible soft top, optional hardtop
    • 15” silver steel wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Cloth-covered seats

2005 Jeep Wrangler Sport

    • 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine
    • Six-speed manual gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Optional limited-slip differential
    • Manual convertible soft top, optional hardtop
    • 15” silver steel wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Cloth-covered seats

2005 Jeep Wrangler Sport (RHD)

    • 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine
    • Four-speed automatic gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Standard limited-slip differential
    • Hardtop
    • 15” silver steel wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Cloth-covered seats

2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

    • 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine
    • Six-speed manual gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Standard limited-slip differential
    • Manual convertible soft top, optional hardtop
    • 15” silver aluminum wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Cloth-covered seats

2005 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon & Unlimited Rubicon

    • 4.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine
    • Six-speed manual gearbox w/ overdrive
    • Standard limited-slip differential
    • Manual convertible soft top, optional hardtop
    • 16” silver aluminum wheels
    • AM/FM radio & CD player
    • Cloth-covered seats

2005 Jeep Wrangler Specs

Jeep

Although they might seem relatively basic, the specifications for the 2005 Jeep Wranglers make these vehicles pretty serviceable for everyday use. But their underestimated simplicity allows this version of the Jeep Wrangler to really shine when driving off-road.

Most versions of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler use a 4.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine, giving you 190 bhp and a decent amount of torque when surging around in the mud or towing a trailer. The basic SE version uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 bhp.

With a relatively modest MSRP of just under $18,000, the 2005 Jeep Wrangler offers decent value for anyone who enjoys off-roading.

Engine

  • 2.4 Liter I-4
  • 4.0 Liter I-6

MSRP

  • $17,970

Fuel Economy/ MPG

  • 18 mpg (City)/ 21 mpg (Highway)

Transmission(s)

  • 4-speed automatic w/ overdrivee
  • 6-speed manual w/ overdrive

Towing Capacity

  • 1920 to 2000 kg

Differential

  • Standard, with optional limited-slip differentials on some models

Rear Axle Ratio

  • 3.07
  • 3.73
  • 4.10
  • (depending on trim)

Axle Types (Dana #)

  • Dana 35
  • Dana 44

Stock Tire Size

  • 215/75R15 (SE, X)
  • 225/75R15 (Sport, X)
  • 245/75R16 (Rubicon, Unlimited Rubicon)

Common 2005 Jeep Wrangler Problems

When buying any used car, it’s always helpful to be aware of any commonly reported problems associated with the model. Here are the five most common 2005 Jeep Wrangler problems:

Suspension scares

One of the most infamous issues that affect most generations of the Jeep Wrangler is the so-called “death wobble”, and the 2005 Jeep Wrangler is no different. This scary problem usually occurs when the vehicle hits a bump in the road at high speed. The front axle shudders violently, drastically affecting the steering.

For several years, this issue seemed irreparable for many owners without a major rebuild of the vehicle’s suspension. Recently, Jeep has stated that replacing the stabilizer and steering damper with an updated component should resolve any lingering issues.

Faulty fuel systems

Another commonly reported issue with the 2005 Jeep Wrangler is a problem with filling up on gas. Due to a design flaw with the fuel system, owners consistently experience fuel overflow problems as the petrol leaks back out of the filler cap. This often ends up dripping down the side of the car and onto the person who is filling up the car. This is a major fire risk

The problem is likely down to a failure of the automatic fuel shut off within the vehicle and cannot easily be fixed. The issue can be mitigated if you don’t fill the gas tank full.

Engine issues

Inside

2005 Jeep Wranglers can also suffer from a few engine issues. One of the main engine problems reported by owners is a failure of the oil pump and its drive assembly. This can cause engine failure and can be identified by grating metal sounds coming from the engine. This often occurs in the 4.0-liter six-cylinder engines of most 2005 Wranglers.

Camshaft failure is also another common engine problem, which can be indicated by a knocking sound coming from the motor. Several components in the engine bay of 2005 Wranglers seem to wear out very quickly. The main solution is often a full engine replacement.

Transmission trouble

Transmission problems are also common with 2005 Jeep Wranglers. These issues range from full transmission failure to broken shifter cables, along with reverse gear refusing to work. Another commonly noted issue is the hesitancy for the transmission to get into gear. Some of these problems can reoccur frequently, such as shifter cables failing. This is seemingly caused by excess heat.

Grinding and jumping gears can be clear indicators of these transmission problems. These issues seem to affect both the manual gearboxes of the majority of the 2005 Wranglers as well as the automatic transmission of the right-hand drive Sport models.

Electrical problems

The interior systems of 2005 Jeep Wranglers also suffer from various electrical problems. One of the main ones is that the heater system seems to only work on its highest setting, which is caused by a failed blower resistor. This issue can be a repeat problem even after being fixed. Some owners have also reported that their fog lights suddenly fail or get stuck on the high beam setting because of a dimmer switch failure.

Best 2005 Jeep Wrangler Upgrades

Wrangler Jeep

2005 Jeep Wranglers have a reputation as good off-road vehicles, but without much refinement for standard driving. Upgrading components on your Jeep can either improve the vehicle’s off-road ability even more or mitigate some of the design problems with the model.

A great upgrade to perform as soon as possible is to swap the factory LED lights for aftermarket alternatives. As headlights go, the standard lights on 2005 Wrangler’s are a bit underwhelming when driving at night. Replacing them with more powerful aftermarket components can help make night driving much safer.

Improving the toughness of the interior trim for the rigors of rural driving is also a good plan. Replacing the floor liners, grab handles, and kick guards around the doors allows your Wrangler’s interior to cope with muddy boots and bumps while driving.

Improving the off-road ability of the 2005 Wrangler, even more, is a popular pastime for Jeep owners. Adding bigger off-road tires and installing a lift kit helps to improve the ground clearance of your Wrangler, making it even better at tackling boulders and other hazards. Bigger springs or solid coils can help give you better traction while driving over rough ground at higher speeds.

One of the design shortcomings of the 2005 Jeep Wrangler is that you can be left without a towing device if you’ve added a cargo rack to the back of the vehicle. To get the best of both worlds, aftermarket hitching 4×4 accessories allow you to still tow a trailer even if you’ve installed a bike rack at the rear of your Wrangler.

Winches are another sensible addition to your 2005 Jeep Wrangler. They don’t have to be heavy-duty machinery, but even a relatively simple winch can help you get out of problems while off-roading, especially if you’re driving in the wilderness with other vehicles.

Continue reading our full guide on how to find the best accessories for Jeep Wrangler.

People Also Ask (FAQs):

Question: What size do tires fit on a 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

Answer: Although a 33-inch tire comes standard on Rubicon models (the largest tire on any trim for the 2005 Wrangler), suspension or body modifications will allow you to install a much larger wheel/tire combo. 37” and 39” monsters are not uncommon out on the trails. 

Question: Does the 2005 Wrangler have 4 doors?

Answer: No, the 2005 Wrangler did not have a 4 door option – only an extended wheelbase option known as the Unlimited. 4 door models debuted a year later in 2006. 

Question: Is the Jeep 4.0L I6 a good engine?

Answer: Ask any Jeep lover, and they’ll give it to you straight. The AMC I6 is a legend in the world of Jeeps. Punchy, reliable, and damn near unkillable. If you have the option, go for the 4.0L High Output 6. 

Bottom Line

Well, that wraps up our 2005 Jeep Wrangler guide. By now, you should have a good idea of whether a used 2005 Wrangler is the right vehicle for your needs. These iconic 4×4’s are good vehicles for off-road driving enthusiasts who want something that can stand up to a bit of punishment.

However, for anyone looking for a comfortable SUV for driving around town, the 2005 Wrangler probably isn’t going to be the best bet. These vehicles have pretty bare-bones interiors without much refinement. They can also suffer from some debilitating mechanical issues that can be expensive to correct.

If you can live with its flaws, a 2005 Jeep Wrangler is a basic, dependable off-roader. To get your hands on one of these vehicles, search online or flick through your local classifieds. There should be plenty of these charismatic cars available for anyone who wants one of Jeep’s most recognized vehicles.

Can you tow with a 2005 Jeep Wrangler?

Yes, properly equipped, some models of the Wrangler can tow up 3,500 pounds. 

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