Daily Driver, Go Where I Want To Build


an honest 4400lbs
Original poster
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 17, 2018
Colorado, USA
My other build threads on other forums stagnated after the Photobucket debacle of 2017. Its almost easier to start from scratch than it is to rebuild, so this is where the new one is going to be. :)

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Awesome. I love your build. Your choices are prime. Can’t wait to see what you do here!
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Don't worry about Photobucket anymore. If you upload the photos directly to this forum (which is easy as can be), they'll be here forever, unlike Photobucket and their b.s.
That's the plan

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The crappiest thing about the Photobucket sh##hole site, besides having to dodge the constant barrage of ads popping up all over the screen, is if you had photos on there that you want to remove and save, you have to do it one at a time. There's no option for uploading an entire album or even a few photos at a time.
June 2013
The day I bought it.

2003 Rubicon
57,000 miles
100% stock except for a filthy K&N air filter, nerf bars and nearly worn out 265/75r16 BFG KO. A factory Goodyear MTR was still mounted as the spare. Within the week I learned about K&N filters and immediately bought a paper filter. Thanks Jerry!

Here is the original window sticker.

I believe this was originally a lawyer's Jeep with all the available options at the time. I am also fairly certain that the Jeep had rarely left pavement before it's time with me. Which one exception, the body and underside were pristine.

This was kind of an impulse buy after another car I was looking at fell through. Growing up in the 80's/90's, my dad had built up a 1976 CJ-5 and was involved in the Minnesota Go 4 Wheelers. I always found the building, the exploring and the driving to be more fun than the club events. That was something that stuck with me long after time passed and other interests came and went. After moving to Colorado many years ago, I had occasionally driven some of easier backroads roads and always really enjoyed finding other ways to get from here to there that don't involve pavement. I wanted to be able to do that more.

My new Jeep was about to be my daily driver that would allow me to see what was at the end of that road.
A month later I found myself above 10,000 feet at the very end of Lincoln Creek Road south of Aspen.

This was terrifying at the time.

Weeks later, I drove Schofield Pass.

Also terrifying at the time.

But I got to see some great things.
First mod was a hand throttle.

I believe this to be the nicest hand throttle out there. Late-80's Shimano DuraAce lever on a Paul Thumbie.

Since this is a daily driver, I also added a pair of USB charging ports.

Then came the locker switch bypass mod. This allows me to activate the lockers in any transfer case position.
I found a used Warn XD9000 winch on Craigslist. Based on the SN, I believe is was originally OEM to an early-90's Land Rover. This led me to buy a Nates 4x4 Model 1 front bumper.


I like this bumper because it looks like something your grandfather might have come up with after a trip to the hardware store. One of the aesthetic goals for the Jeep is to keep it simple, understated and practical. I don't want decorations. If I put it on, it needs to be well placed and functional.

I also began trying to figure out the side mirrors. It seemed odd to me that taking the doors off also takes away my mirrors. I wanted the mirrors to be on the body like an old Jeep. The previous owner had a pair of temporary mirrors for when running doorless. I decided to commit and took off the factory mirrors. I hated the temporary mirrors and bought the Rugged Ridge CJ style mirrors, which were better, but not good. More on that later.
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One of many daily driver mods I made is this phone and GPS mount.


I forget the brands, but this was made from a few different kits with a couple DIY pieces. The phone mount is universal and the GPS mount is a standard Garmin ball. The whole assembly is mounted through the plastic cover to the steering column onto a plate that attaches to the multi function switch.

So far this has survived well over 50k miles of use and hundreds of miles off road. It is still rock solid.

Ultimately, I use the phone mount with a spare phone that runs Torque. This allows me to monitor the OBDII system. Power to the phone is now supplied by another USB port I put inside the glove box so I could hide the power cord.



This will take some time to get all caught up. I have many little projects that are well documented that I want to get consolidated here.

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Somewhere in these first three months, after already having been thoroughly convinced that K&N is garbage and that most CAIs don't pull in cold air, I put in a real cold air intake that uses a paper filter. I built myself a Windstar cowl intake. This lowers intake temps from a pretty constant 190*F to between 5-60* above ambient air temperature, depending on ground speed and wind direction.


The hole into the cowl.

The horn of the air box inside the cowl.

Later on I wrapped the canister and tube in header tape. This reduced intake temps by 5*F.

Three years later, I will confidently tell you that there are little to no performance gains here. I have seen intake temps as low as 0*F and I still can't make the long steep highway climb up to the Eisenhower Tunnels any faster than stock. Eventually, I will make good use out of the extra room that removing the factory air box provides.

While we are on the topic, I also put in Bosch 4 port injectors. The only change I noticed was the smoother idle that many others have reported. Mrblaine once suggested that the smoother idle is really the result of having replaced worn o-rings which fixed a vacuum leak on one or more cylinders.
In December 2013 at 68,000 miles, I bought and installed a used Old Man Emu lift.

OME 932 Front
OME 942 Rear
N67 Front
N66 Rear
Rear track bar bracket

At the time, this gave me about 1.75" of lift. Those coils are gone, but I still have the shocks. This was a good purchase, as it taught me a lot about spring rates, shock lengths, and bump stops.

One thing I learned doing my first full bump test was that without the body lift, even a 32" tire worn down to 30" will scrape the front fenders.

Subtract the 1.25" body lift and this will explain how the front fender lips became bent during my Jeep's previous life.

Here it is with just under 3" of total lift on worn out tires that measure a hair over 30" in diameter.
So does that keep things as they should be temp wise even on those hill climbs we have seen on some of those pics you posted..?
So does that keep things as they should be temp wise even on those hill climbs we have seen on some of those pics you posted..?

Interesting question. I will go into more detail later on, but I will tell you that cowl induction (any true CAI) will result slightly lower engine temps and significantly lower under hood temps. Prior to the Windstar, I was able to cook lunch on the intake manifold. Sadly I can't do that anymore. I miss that feature. Because of the cooler outside air, the intake manifold has become a massive heat sink.