Colorado Daily-Driven Trail Warrior V2 - 2006 LJ

Funny Colorado beer story since we are already side tracked on that!

I was at Copper Mountain and went to Eagle BBQ for some awesome ribs, brisket and chicken, and they have a nice selection of quality beers to go with the food. The guy in front of me ordering asked “beer … do you have like a bud light?”
The cashier shook his head and said “dude, this is Colorado. This is Coors country.”
The guy said “oh right, of course, sorry. Can I have a coors light?”
And the cashier said “nope. We don’t serve that crap!”
😂😂
It was pretty funny for us but I’m sure the customer was confused!
 
Funny Colorado beer story since we are already side tracked on that!

I was at Copper Mountain and went to Eagle BBQ for some awesome ribs, brisket and chicken, and they have a nice selection of quality beers to go with the food. The guy in front of me ordering asked “beer … do you have like a bud light?”
The cashier shook his head and said “dude, this is Colorado. This is Coors country.”
The guy said “oh right, of course, sorry. Can I have a coors light?”
And the cashier said “nope. We don’t serve that crap!”
😂😂
It was pretty funny for us but I’m sure the customer was confused!

LMFAO.

Yeah, it's like that at most places around here, unless you're in a larger "chain" style restaurant.
A ton of breweries, local/craft options. I usually just find something weird to try.

Honestly at this altitude, you only get to try a few before you're in the floor anyways. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Sure. I moved to CO about 3 years ago, and my family/friends still live East Coast.
I don't have friends or family here, so I'm always down for a beer with a stranger..:ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

Not to side track further but what brought you out there? We went to Colorado for the first time 2 years ago and absolutely love it. We also went last year and planned to go yearly but plans change... We feel like we'd love to move out there, or at least stay out there for extended periods of time.
 
Not to side track further but what brought you out there? We went to Colorado for the first time 2 years ago and absolutely love it. We also went last year and planned to go yearly but plans change... We feel like we'd love to move out there, or at least stay out there for extended periods of time.

When my wife (girlfriend at the time) graduated college in Tennessee, we decided to just uproot and find somewhere WE wanted to live.

Both our families live in South Carolina, and we had already been together for 4 years in TN while she went to school. So, once the school ties were cut we realized there was nothing tying us to any specific location.
Families being from the South, it's pretty deeply engrained that you're somewhat "expected" to just live close to home.
Go to college, have your fun, and come back home.
We both hated that. There's a whole world to see.

So we rallied up a list of employers/jobs that she was interested in, with no real guidelines, and flew out for her to interview, and us to get a look at the areas.

Two of the places she got offered contracts for were in Denver, and her current Colorado Springs facility, which just happened to be one of those places that she almost immediately said yes to.
It only pushed the agenda more that we both loved it here.

3 years later, and we're still here!

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-

Side note of living here, it's absolute HELL on financials.
(for example, we're 29 and 27. Over 60% of our gross income goes to our home payments alone.)
General consensus is similar for others in this area.

This is a heavily military populated area.
In turn, there's not much in terms of affordable housing market, because realtors/real estate management companies realize that they can boost the prices of housing through the sky, due to Military stipends.

Buying a home here is highly difficult and leasing here is highly inflated, again due to military demand.
(1,200 sq/ft neighborhood home w/ attached 2 car garage is in the ballpark of $400k+, and an 800sq/ft apartment will run you in the ballpark of $2k a month)

But we manage to slide by pretty happily, because we're the type to not hold debt, and not blow through credit cards.
So the "extra money" is truly extra money. I just wish we could find a few reasonable housing options to look at buying.

Aside from that, I absolutely love it here.
The only thing we DONT have within a 2 hour drive is a beach.
 
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When my wife (girlfriend at the time) graduated college in Tennessee, we decided to just uproot and find somewhere WE wanted to live.

Both our families live in South Carolina, and we had already been together for 4 years in TN while she went to school. So, once the school ties were cut we realized there was nothing tying us to any specific location.
Families being from the South, it's pretty deeply engrained that you're somewhat "expected" to just live close to home.
Go to college, have your fun, and come back home.
We both hated that. There's a whole world to see.

So we rallied up a list of employers/jobs that she was interested in, with no real guidelines, and flew out for her to interview, and us to get a look at the areas.

Two of the places she got offered contracts for were in Denver, and her current Colorado Springs facility, which just happened to be one of those places that she almost immediately said yes to.
It only pushed the agenda more that we both loved it here.

3 years later, and we're still here!

-
-

Side note of living here, it's absolute HELL on financials.
This is a heavily military populated area. In turn, there's not much in terms of affordable housing market, because realtors realize that they can boost the prices of housing through the sky, due to Military stipends.

Buying a home here is highly difficult (1,200 sq/ft neighborhood home w/ attached 2 car garage is in the ballpark of $400k+)
and leasing here is highly inflated, again due to stationed military demand.

Aside from that, I absolutely love it here.
The only thing we DONT have within a 2 hour drive is a beach.

we had the same outlook on it. The south has a leash that just pulls people back. It was a great adventure but as we had a second kid and they got older we started to recognize the value of having family around. Spring break of 2021 was the tipping point when we came back here to visit and saw how much they enjoyed their grandparents and cousins. I had worked from home since before COVID so I could live anywhere, so that summer we sold our house in Monument (for a gain of 40% :oops: ), packed up and moved back to the town I hadn't lived in since 2002, within 10 miles of both of our sets of parents.

It hurt, and it still hurts...I'm third generation Colorado born and still feel more at home there even though I grew up mostly here, but my dad did the same thing I did and married an Oklahoma girl. This is the third time in my life I've moved from CO to OK. I suppose it's time to let go and just embrace that I'm going to stay here. I've got a new house on 4.5 acres in the woods for half of what an equivalent place would be up there. Things tend to even out when the housing market crashes, so maybe there'll be a fortuitous decline around the time around 2035 when our kids can transport themselves and the 4th time in CO will stick. 🤞
 
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we had the same outlook on it. The south has a leash that just pulls people back. It was a great adventure but as we had a second kid and they got older we started to recognize the value of having family around. Spring break of 2021 was the tipping point when we came back here to visit and saw how much they enjoyed their grandparents and cousins. I had worked from home since before COVID so I could live anywhere, so that summer we sold our house in Monument (for a gain of 40% :oops: ), packed up and moved back to the town I hadn't lived in since 2002, within 10 miles of both of our sets of parents.

It hurt, and it still hurts...I'm third generation Colorado born and still feel more at home there even though I grew up mostly here, but my dad did the same thing I did and married an Oklahoma girl. This is the third time in my life I've moved from CO to OK. I suppose it's time to let go and just embrace that I'm going to stay here. I've got a new house on 4.5 acres in the woods for half of what an equivalent place would be up there. Things tend to even out when the housing market crashes, so maybe there'll be a fortuitous decline around the time around 2035 when our kids can transport themselves and the 4th time in CO will stick. 🤞

Lmao, that was a SOLID way to put it.

If we had kids, I would be a bit more inclined to move back closer to family.
There's times where I miss being around family, and being within 15-20 minutes of family, but for now, it's just a plane ticket away. I also drive back/forth a fair amount.
Again, just because its only us two, that trip is super easy to make. Quick little 5 minute chat about it, and we wake up and just go.
Throw an air mattress in the back of our Tiguan, I'll drive through the night while she sleeps, then crash in the back while she drives the remainder.
It's not the "best" in terms of travelling, but we don't mind a little cross-country adventure. :LOL:

The ONE thing that has tension pulling me back to SC is the housing.
As you said, an equivalent house to what we're in now (1,800sq/ft , 2 stories, 2 car garage, nice neighborhood) is about $450k here, and about 1/2 that price in SC.

But despite the financial gains, we've pretty much established 'who we are' here. Things we like/dislike, and hobbies we enjoy.
Just certain things the South and family can't offer us.

Who knows where life will go in the next few years.
Maybe we push back closer to "home" or maybe we push somewhere else entirely.
The no-kids thing has us living like nomads. :ROFLMAO:
 
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Side note of living here, it's absolute HELL on financials.

In turn, there's not much in terms of affordable housing market,

Buying a home here is highly difficult and leasing here is highly inflated, again due to military demand.
(1,200 sq/ft neighborhood home w/ attached 2 car garage is in the ballpark of $400k+, and an 800sq/ft apartment will run you in the ballpark of $2k a month)

It is damn expensive to live here. Agree with you there.

And its not any different further north. My wife and I have been here for 13 years. We started in a single bedroom 750 sq ft apartment in Englewood and the rent was $900 IIRC. In the three years we were there the rent had risen to $1700 (in 2016).

Moved, bought our first house out in Morrison for $285k and that was a three bedroom 1700 sq ft house with a single car garage for the same price as our rent we had been paying. It made sense to have a mortgage that we could work towards rather than some slumlord.
 
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Lmao, that was a SOLID way to put it.

If we had kids, I would be a bit more inclined to move back closer to family.
There's times where I miss being around family, and being within 15-20 minutes of family, but for now, it's just a plane ticket away. I also drive back/forth a fair amount.
Again, just because its only us two, that trip is super easy to make. Quick little 5 minute chat about it, and we wake up and just go.
Throw an air mattress in the back of our Tiguan, I'll drive through the night while she sleeps, then crash in the back while she drives the remainder.
It's not the "best" in terms of travelling, but we don't mind a little cross-country adventure. :LOL:

The ONE thing that has tension pulling me back to SC is the housing.
As you said, an equivalent house to what we're in now (1,800sq/ft , 2 stories, 2 car garage, nice neighborhood) is about $450k here, and about 1/2 that price in SC.

But despite the financial gains, we've pretty much established 'who we are' here. Things we like/dislike, and hobbies we enjoy.
Just certain things the South and family can't offer us.

Who knows where life will go in the next few years.
Maybe we push back closer to "home" or maybe we push somewhere else entirely.
The no-kids thing has us living like nomads. :ROFLMAO:

Don't screw things up and have kids!!!
 
When my wife (girlfriend at the time) graduated college in Tennessee, we decided to just uproot and find somewhere WE wanted to live.

Both our families live in South Carolina, and we had already been together for 4 years in TN while she went to school. So, once the school ties were cut we realized there was nothing tying us to any specific location.
Families being from the South, it's pretty deeply engrained that you're somewhat "expected" to just live close to home.
Go to college, have your fun, and come back home.
We both hated that. There's a whole world to see.

So we rallied up a list of employers/jobs that she was interested in, with no real guidelines, and flew out for her to interview, and us to get a look at the areas.

Two of the places she got offered contracts for were in Denver, and her current Colorado Springs facility, which just happened to be one of those places that she almost immediately said yes to.
It only pushed the agenda more that we both loved it here.

3 years later, and we're still here!

-
-

Side note of living here, it's absolute HELL on financials.
(for example, we're 29 and 27. Over 60% of our gross income goes to our home payments alone.)
General consensus is similar for others in this area.

This is a heavily military populated area.
In turn, there's not much in terms of affordable housing market, because realtors/real estate management companies realize that they can boost the prices of housing through the sky, due to Military stipends.

Buying a home here is highly difficult and leasing here is highly inflated, again due to military demand.
(1,200 sq/ft neighborhood home w/ attached 2 car garage is in the ballpark of $400k+, and an 800sq/ft apartment will run you in the ballpark of $2k a month)

But we manage to slide by pretty happily, because we're the type to not hold debt, and not blow through credit cards.
So the "extra money" is truly extra money. I just wish we could find a few reasonable housing options to look at buying.

Aside from that, I absolutely love it here.
The only thing we DONT have within a 2 hour drive is a beach.

Wow 60% of gross?!? We’re like 7-8% here if we paid minimum in a very livable 1200sqft ranch with basement.

Absolutely have considered up and moving but decided we spend too much time with our families plus cost of living here is obscenely cheap while wage’s aren’t much lower at all.

I absolutely envy how much you have local to you.

Don't screw things up and have kids!!!

That’s how I felt…. Felt…. We’ll see in 5 months….
 
It is damn expensive to live here. Agree with you there.

And its not any different further north. My wife and I have been here for 13 years. We started in a single bedroom 750 sq ft apartment in Englewood and the rent was $900 IIRC. In the three years we were there the rent had risen to $1700 (in 2016).

Moved, bought our first house out in Morrison for $285k and that was a three bedroom 1700 sq ft house with a single car garage for the same price as our rent we had been paying. It made sense to have a mortgage that we could work towards rather than some slumlord.

We were paying $900 a month for a 1200sqft Townhouse + 2 car garage in Johnson City TN before moving here, and at the time I thought THAT was rough... :LOL:

We've been looking at houses to mortgage in this area, because we love it here, and the wife has an amazing paying job here.
It's looking pretty hopeless, to the extreme that I've considered getting my real-estate license JUST to have access to the local MLS listings to scalp us a home.
(i'm just not entirely sure of the legalities of acquiring a real-estate license for personal benefit)


You think that's bad. In SoCal, an 1100 Sq ft track home with a 2 car garage was $620K a year ago. Fortunately, we were selling it. 😁 Moved to Virginia and got twice the house for half the price.

Oh I know. We went to LA for 2 weeks a few years ago during COVID.
We stayed in an 800sq/ft 2 bedroom AirBnB. Thing was damn near a literal Cinderblock garage that had been converted into a home.
Out of curiosity I checked the address and found where the house had been purchased that same year for 654k. BLEW. MY. MIND.
Wow 60% of gross?!? We’re like 7-8% here if we paid minimum in a very livable 1200sqft ranch with basement.

I wish! One of my close friends back in SC was telling me the other day that his Mortgage is only $550 monthly, and he's in a 1200sqft new construction.
Made me want to cry.


I'm 6ft 180lb.
Doesn't take too many to turn me into a weeble-wobble.
Easier on the wallet too.:LOL:
 
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Got the TJ torn down, and ALMOST ready to sell...

If i'm being honest, I'd love for the LJ to be street-worthy.
But what I would love more is for the TJ to be ready to sell.

After all, the TJ is what is going to put money back in my pocket, to reimburse for the parts I've got planned for the LJ.
So I spent time tonight doing "easy stuff" and tearing it all down to stock.

Starting with the Front Bumper.
I took off the Winch Bumper, and replaced it with the Factory OEM bumper from the LJ.
(Tow hooks are backwards, I know. I'll fix them tomorrow. By the time I noticed, I couldn't be bothered to switch them around...)






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Complete with the Milk-Jugs everyone loves, of course. :ROFLMAO:

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And as much as I hate the Rugged Ridge bumper I have, I threw it on the LJ just so it has SOMETHING until I make my mind up on which stubby bumper I want to get.
Really leaning towards the Motobilt Stubby, as I like the way it looks.

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Decided to pull the spare tire carrier + 3rd Brake Light from the LJ, and mount it onto the TJ.
I have a Morryde tailgate kit that is going on the LJ, as well as a Heavy Duty mount for oversized tires. So I won't need the stock mount regardless.


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Then I got inside, popped my switch panel out, un-wired my offroad lights, and pulled them off with the pillar mounts.
Also un-wired every accessory wire underneath the dash, as well as my amplifier for my sound system, and removed all "extras" from the TJ.

This is how it is currently sitting.

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I've got a few little things to fix/do before the TJ is ready to sell.
The Track Bar is priority #1. Also I am going to replace the busted marker lens, and give the interior a good cleaning.
Then I'll top off all the fluids, give it a good wash/buff, make sure it's in good working order AND SAFE, then throw it up for sale!

(if anyone wants to chime in on TJ pricing, I'd love to hear some numbers. The market seems to be all over the place these days when it comes to TJ pricing)

It's a 2000 Sahara, w/ 4.0 and AX-15 5-speed.
Dana 44 Rear Axle w/ Trac-Lok, Dana 30 Front. 3.73 gear ratio.
142,000 miles, with no mechanical issues.


As soon as this Track Bar comes in, I'm getting everything lined up for the sale!

-
-

On a good note, the tracking number for my Chromoly Rear Shafts from Revolution Gear, the Lower Bump Stops from @freedom_in_4low, as well as the Track Bar that @Mike_H sent me are estimated to be delivered in 1 day. (Feb 9th)

So IF everything goes smoothly, I SHOULD have BOTH of them running/driving within 48 hours.🤘

Then it's on to troubleshooting, because I KNOW I'm going to have some odds-ends to work out, just given the extent of this project I took on.
 
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On another note, small update from yesterday.

I didn't spend much time in the garage. There's not much left to do.
But I did get my aftermarket speakers pulled from the TJ, and swapped into the LJ.


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I've got a pair of 6.5" Speakers in the TJ sound-bar. It required some extra drilling to make it work.
The TJ had the 'soft' sound bar, versus the LJ having the hard plastic sound bar.

I looked up the cost of those plastic 'pods' and they're well over the cost of properly sized speakers.
I've decided I'm not willing to drill into the LJ plastic, and will just 'downgrade' to 5.25" speakers that fit instead.
So the 6.5" pair will stay with the TJ.

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And the lower bumpstops shipped to me by @freedom_in_4low arrived.
So those will be going on in the next few days as well. 🤘
 
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THE LJ IS ALIVE AND THRIVING!

The day is finally here. The LJ is drivable, operable, and I am beyond excited about it.

The Revolution Gear Chromoly Shafts were delivered earlier today.

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I spent about an hour or so pulling the shafts out, and getting the races pulled out of the axle housing..

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THIS is the extent of damage, of installing Disc shafts on a Drum housing.
There's a difference in the Retainers, which I knew about and tossed in the back of my mind, and it ended up being a costly mistake.

(note, the retainer plate is SUPPOSED to be completely flat...)


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100% the source of my shaft play & seal leak.
Got the new Revolution Chromoly Shafts lubed up & installed within a few minutes.
(this process is soooo much quicker due to Revolution shipping the shafts with bearings/retainer/seals pre-pressed. Mine were also pre-greased on arrival)

I still took some time to lube up the inner splines with Gear Oil, as well as saturating the outer bearings with gear oil before install.






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Then I threw the LJ in the air one last time to double check torque specs on everything, as well as fill the differential fluid back up.
Once everything was triple checked, I FINALLY pulled it out of the garage for the first time in 8 days.

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I drove it about 10 miles total (don't have a tag on it yet, so I can only do so much until I can make it to the DMV)

It surprised the hell out of me during those 10 miles.
Drove straight as an arrow. No pulls, no weird tendencies, it drove as good if not better than stock.
Return to center is great, and the entire driving characteristics were far beyond what I was expecting on the 'maiden voyage'.
Better than my TJ EVER drove, and my TJ drove great!

I blame some of the driving characteristics on how deep I decided to go when setting up the Control Arms, and also learning what I was ACTUALLY doing, and how it would affect the various geometries.

But, there's a few small kinks I'd like to work out before officially calling it "done".

I've got a front passenger brake that is making some 'scuff' noises (assuming I probably under-tightened something, or possibly some fluid on the rotor)

Also I have a driveline vibration around 65mph (blaming this due to the lack of an SYE)

I could adjust some rear pinion angle to alleviate the driveline vibes, but I doubt I'll mess with the rear pinion angle much until I get an SYE ordered and installed.
(if anyone wants to chime in on the SSYE vs SYE debate, let me hear it!)

For now, it's handling far beyond my initial expectations, and I am absolutely STOKED that it is not only back in operable condition, but with how great it felt on the road.

I went into this not knowing what to expect, and even surprised myself some along the way.
I'm no stranger to tearing things apart, but the anxiety of tearing TWO perfectly good things apart, and getting them back together is a shocker to me.
This one deserves a beer or seven. :ROFLMAO: 🤘


(if everything goes smoothly, the TJ should have a Track-Bar installed tomorrow, and hopefully will be in good driving order)
 
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