ElectricWizards 2000 TJ Sport Build

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
In 2014/2015 I was on the hunt for a vehicle that would be capable of exploring the PNW and camping/overlanding in all seasons and conditions. I've always had a love for Jeeps, however, the TJ has to be one of my favorites. It is the perfect blend of modern and old. Among the other reasons, there is great availability of aftermarket parts and add-ons!

After much searching I came across and fell in love with a forest green 2000 TJ Sport. The Jeep was mostly stock and totally rust free :)

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The TJ 'sports' the 4.0 and NV3550 5spd and came with a hardtop. Otherwise it is fairly basic as it has no A/C and Dana 35. It did come from the factory with a soft-top as well; some of the hardware was installed when I bought it, however it didn't have the top anymore.

As great as this TJ was, it did have a few fluid leaks, which did help me leverage the price in my favor ;). I sorted out those problems quickly and easily and then began to enjoy the Jeep!

I went on a number of day and camping trips in the TJ and slowly started to figure out what it needed. Over the years I added mod after mod as I'd see fit. That brings us to where we are today:

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All of the mods were installed by me, on my own, in a driveway, with tons of time spent on these forums researching different options and peoples opinions :). So far I have been very pleased with the build. The TJ has done everything I've asked it do, and more! As of now the build is as follows:

  • 31x10.5 R15 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Tires.
  • 3" TeraFlex Flex Arm Lift Kit w/ Bilstein 5100 Shocks
  • Advanced Adapters SYE & Tom Woods Rear Driveshaft
  • RT OffRoad HD Steering Kit
  • Warn M8000 Winch w/ In-cab Controls (Post #9)
  • ARB Dual Air Compressor (Post #21)
  • KC Gravity LED Headlights
  • Rugged Ridge LED Taillights
  • Garvin Wilderness ATS Front & Rear Bumpers
  • Garvin Wilderness Rock Rails
  • Rubicon Rocker Guards
  • Crown Performance Stainless Brake Lines
  • Rugged Ridge Dual Battery tray w/ Optima Blue Tops & Hellroaring Isolator (Post #9)
  • Sony Headunit w/ Polk Speakers (Post #67)
  • Cobra 75WXST CB Radio w/ 3' FireStik FireFly
  • Dual Switch Panel Mod (Post #183, #187, #203)
  • Tuffy Hood Lock
  • Interior LED Lighting Upgrades
  • Bedlined Tub
  • Custom Yakima Roof Rack
I quickly started with the roof rack, rock rails, and tires; that was enough to get me out and exploring! Eventually I installed a winch as I soon discovered driving snow covered FS roads was one of my favorite activities :D.
The lift, SYE, and steering upgrades were done to allow future upgrades (tires), and to gain some more off-road ability. Everything else was just salt and peppered in as I saw fit, and could afford, of course ;).


As happy as I am with it currently, this is a Jeep, and it's never done ;)! These are some of the important things I'd still like to do:

  • 33x12.5" DuraTrac tires. I've been happy with the 31x10.5" tires, but the wider tires should help more in the deep snow.
  • Regear & Lockers. I've currently got open D30/D35 with 3.07 (I know, I know..), I plan to go with Eaton E-Lockers and 4.10 or 4.56, depending on the tires. I'd love to build up a D44 but haven't found any deals close by. Not opposed to doing a Super 35.
  • Fog Lights/Bumper Mount Lights. I love the KC Gravity LED headlights, they're bright and have a great pattern! However there is a dark spot a few feet in front of the Jeep, it'd be nice to get some extra light down there particularly for FS roads at night.
  • Interior restoration. My interior is pretty sun faded and sports the typical door panel cracks, I'd like to fix those issues and get everything looking nice and new again.
  • Custom overhead console. Eventually I'd like to install a ham radio in the Jeep, and it wouldn't hurt to have a place for another interior LED light up front.
  • Compass & Temp Rear-view Mirror Upgrade. Certainly not a necessary feature but I would really like having the ability to know the temperature.
  • Heated Seats & Bartact Covers. Do I really need to explain myself here? ;)
  • Exogate/MORyde Hinges. My tailgate could use a bit of help; it is a bit squeaky and rattly.
  • Anti-rock/SwayLOC. Not 100% decided on what one I'll go with, but I know I want one or the other!
Of course I will post updates as the TJ continues to be worked on, everything from maintenance to mods!

Thanks everybody! I couldn't have done any of this without the knowledge and inspiration I've gained over the years from reading these forums.

If anybody has any questions, suggestions, or just wants to discuss please feel free to post! :)
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
Damn, that's a pretty TJ. Forest Green is definitely one of the best colors ever released for TJs. Those are some beautiful shots that you captured as well!
Thanks! Photography is one of my passions, it and Jeeps go well haha. I definitely agree about the forest green, I thought I wanted black but totally fell in love when I saw this one.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
35,362
Salem, Oregon
Love that color, and I particularly love that last photo! If I were you, I'd submit that photo for the ride of the month contest next month. That is an awesome photo.

Where was that photo taken by the way? It looks like Oregon. I ask because I'm down here in Salem, Oregon.
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
Love that color, and I particularly love that last photo! If I were you, I'd submit that photo for the ride of the month contest next month. That is an awesome photo.

Where was that photo taken by the way? It looks like Oregon. I ask because I'm down here in Salem, Oregon.
Thanks, Chris! I will keep the contest in mind.

Yup, all those pics are in Oregon. Last two are on Bennett Pass in the Mt Hood NF.
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
Very cool, I'll have to venture up there sometime in that case. That's a very awesome photo.
Definitely recommend it, one of my favorite areas around Mt Hood. It's got a bit of everything: dangerous exposure, views, meadows, lakes, you name it!
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
I figured I would make a post detailing some of the mods I've done thus far, and how my implementations might differ from others. Here are the first few:

Dual Battery Setup

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One of the first major mods I did was my dual battery setup. As my main use for my Jeep is for trips to remote areas I wanted to have a second battery purely for backup. The system would be setup to have all normal load on the primary battery, whereas the second is only switched in when needed.

The battery tray I chose is the Rugged Ridge 11214.52 Dual Battery Tray.
I was able to get a good deal on two Optima D34M Blue Tops. These ones worked well for me as they are a deep cycle battery that is also capable of being used for cranking.

Installing the battery tray was quite easy and straight forward: remove the old one, bolt on the new one. The only hiccup with the install was having to slightly relocate the power distribution center; the instructions stated this would be necessary for some models. Guess who had one of those models!

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I had to take a small notch out of the ribbing on the outside edge of the top half of the air box so the distribution center could sit above it. Surprisingly this doesn't make changing the air filter any more difficult, awesome! That gave me plenty of room to modify the bracket and get the distribution center forward more.
I probably ended up moving it farther forward than necessary, but more space is better, right?


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The isolator I chose was the Hellroaring BIC 95300B. I picked this unit because it did exactly what I needed out of the box. The isolator will keep the backup battery isolated unless the primary battery drops too low, or you manually switch it in (more on that later..). The isolator will also maintain the backup battery, keeping it fully charged automatically.

Lastly, I ended up making my own battery cables since I own the proper hydraulic crimping tool. There is plenty of info regarding that online, but if anybody wants details I'd be happy to share.


Winch Isolator

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When I installed my winch I wasn't in love with the idea of having a full-time connection from my battery to my bumper. My thoughts were in the event of a crash, or some "locals" wanting to steal my winch, I didn't want my Jeep to end up creating a spark show or burn down.

I ended up installing a 500A Solenoid in series with the winch power line from the battery. This solenoid is then controlled by my in-cab controls (more on that..) to enable the winch. Mounting the solenoid was simple, since I went with the Hellroaring isolator I had this solenoid bracket left over from my dual battery tray.

In the rare event the solenoid fails the cables are long enough to be bolted together onto one terminal, bypassing the isolator. The tools needed for that are always in my winching/off-road tools bag.


In Cab Controls

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My in cab controls are a customized 12VoltGuy panel. I wired the "WINCH" switch to power my winch isolator solenoid, and the buttons to the right are (top, bottom): out and in controls for the winch.

The switch in the middle will manually combine both the batteries, I'll usually use this while I'm winching.
 
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psrivats

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Jun 4, 2018
1,335
OR, USA
Excellent build and outstanding photos @ElectricWizard !

I've been on Bennett pass (in a Subaru though, doesn't count hahaha) but never been able to capture the beauty the you see in my photos. Your photos are truly spectacular. I'll have to take my TJ up there sometime before it starts raining!
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

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Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
Geeze. And I thought my seat risers were a job.

Impressive Mr. Edison.
Thank you! Complicated electrical projects are my specialty ;)

Excellent build and outstanding photos @ElectricWizard !

I've been on Bennett pass (in a Subaru though, doesn't count hahaha) but never been able to capture the beauty the you see in my photos. Your photos are truly spectacular. I'll have to take my TJ up there sometime before it starts raining!
Thank you too! I'll be sure to share plenty more pics as time goes on, since everyone loves them ;)
At least you were in a Subaru; last time I went up there someone was trying to take a Corolla up there!
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
While I haven't been there yet, I can only imagine how that went! :risas3:
He actually thought it was a different road and was very happy I came across him haha. Guess he didn't see the signs warning about "storm damaged road, high clearance vehicles only".
 
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ElectricWizard

ElectricWizard

Jeep Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Sep 22, 2018
446
Portland, OR
A few notes about your great build.

500A Solenoid
I really like the winch isolator, now another thing to do.

Hellroaring BIC
The Hell Roaring isolators are great. Built in Montana. I put one on my fj55.

This will be fun to watch
Thanks! Definitely one of the other reasons I chose it too.
It looks like very beautiful country up that way, I hope to make it out there eventually.

Chris, if I click on the above links to amazon do they automatically set the purchase to hel this forum?
No I just set those links up for anybody who was interested. Maybe he'll be able to get you a link to do that?
 
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