The "I've finally decided to start the build" build

Chris

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Sep 28, 2015
33,268
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Salem, Oregon
#21
@Chris reminded me of the old adage, "It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission." Just buy the parts without telling her! I bought my OME springs on Sunday. Still haven't told the wife. I think I'll just wait till they show up at the door...LOL. This will be fun...Then employ her to help me install them. LOL!
I do this more often than anyone could know. It works like a charm every single time. Getting forgiveness now has gotten to the point where it's almost effortless!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#22
Hi all,

I'm reviving my old, dead, thread. It died early last year due to changes in where, and how I saw my life going at the time plus an extremely heavy workload both at home and the office. When I picked up the TJ, I had full intent on building a toy that I could play with on weekends while using something else as a daily. The reality kicked as I really started looking at how having 3 teenagers (two of which are now driving) were going to change the landscape of what I needed vs. what I wanted.

You will see where my changes lie now vs the earlier posts in the thread. Over the course of the next few posts (as time allows) you'll see how suggestions, and wisdom I received here have directed my actions with what I've done in the meantime. I'll also lay out clearer points and milestones of the direction I'm now going.

Thanks!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#23
I'm posting from the phone, so please forgive my formatting or grammar if it gets wonky.

As I said in my last post, a couple of things changed my focus on what I really wanted out of this Jeep due to cost and time. The biggest change this brought about on my build came from a nugget of wisdom that I thought long about. I read on here that I need to build the Jeep to suit what I used it for. With helping my kids get on their feet, money gets slim, and I found that if I really wanted to hop in it and head to Arkansas where my dad and brother are, doing so in a lifted rig might not be the best case scenario. This brought on the first big change, which was to bring it back down to factory ride height. I got hold of a buddy at work that had been eyeing my wheels and tires and brokered a deal. He could have the wheels and tires if he wanted them, I just want his Rubicon Moab wheels, and some boot money for suspension parts. He complied, and the result was a set of new Moog Rubicon springs and the various sundry parts needed to lower it. Once down I got hold of some Falken Wildpeak AT's at 265/75 16 and mounted them on my new/old wheels. Let me say it hurt a bit. I've always been a fan of the lifted Jeeps, and it decidedly changed the look of my rig, but I think it was the right choice. I'll post a pic when I get on my laptop tonight later.

I'll also see if I have any pics of my favorite change so far. I think it was Jerry in here that suggested the Dirtworx bumpers. They're awesome!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#24
Here's some pics of the stuff I've done, and how the Jeep sits now.
IMG_20171210_191438.jpg

This was at her annual bath time. She gets a bath once a year whether she needs it, or not. Sorry for the quality of the pic. It was taken with a ruggedized potato.

IMG_20181214_071859708_HDR.jpg

As I said, I went with the suggestion of the Dirtworx bumpers from the valued members here. They've been fantastic! Robert did a great job on them, and if I recall correctly, I received them earlier than expected. I did order them as bare metal, and I refinished them myself (I used to do body work in a previous life). I'm still using the cube fogs for now. I've come to not like them. They work well enough for what I do, I just miss the round ones. The winch is still missing, and has become a point of contention with the War Dept. (my wife). She doesn't like the look of a winch for some reason, and therefore they can have no possible use. Fortunately, I have my own savings that I use for my toys, and veto rights to outside consulting suggestions. :)
IMG_20181214_071945991.jpg

I did the option with the hitch receiver for the bike rack, obviously.

When lowering the Jeep, I decided to keep the CA's that went with the lift since they had the poly bushings that were still in great shape. I measured eye-to-eye to be sure that they weren't going to cause any issue, and they were same as the Moog ones I had bought. They do have a different shape in that they have a crook in them whereas the factory's are just straight. It doesn't seem to have any ill effect thus far.

IMG_20181214_071843595.jpg

IMG_20181214_071850596.jpg

I need to take a brush wheel to the welds made on the slider where they attach to the frame and re-weld them. I'm making a trip to see dad in the spring. He's got a shop and a welder I can make good use of. While there I intend to repaint the grill and fenders along with windshield surround, and probably the doors since they need the hinges and pins worked over.
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#25
Here are some pics of the bumpers and my work to them.

Can you smell the fresh metal?
IMG_20170707_181531202.jpg


Cleaned, sanded, and prepped!
IMG_20170708_171044707.jpg


Slimed.
IMG_20170708_173035216.jpg


Painted!
IMG_20170708_175312810.jpg


Now for the rear...
IMG_20170708_140457005.jpg


Slimed.
IMG_20170708_141305092.jpg


And finished!
IMG_20170708_144137843.jpg


The rig I hung the bumpers from made it really easy to paint them and maximize the coverage evenly. It's called a Garage Gator, and I normally use it for the metric shit-ton of mountain bikes I have. I've been contemplating whether, or not I could use one to hoist a hardtop should I acquire one in the future. If I remember right, I think they'll hold around 220lbs. Anyone know off-hand what the TJ hardtop weighs?
IMG_20170708_173153449.jpg
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#26
Actually got something done to the Jeep today. In an effort to modernize it more, I decided to put mobile WiFi in it. I know at first it sounds pretty mundane, and it'd just be easier to get a MiFi from your carrier, and run with it. The only issue that I have with that is that I want signal gain. Where I'm at, we get pretty abysmal service from our carrier, and boosting the signal somewhat can be pretty helpful.

This is the central point from where I based my plans. I present the Cradlepoint IBR900 Router. I work in IT, and we use these to set up temporary locations for folks to work out of. What makes these pretty unique in the IT world is that these allow use for multiple types of WAN interfaces. What I mean by that is that if I wanted to use a SIM card (hint, hint), to host multiple end-user systems, then I simply pop in the SIM from a MiFi that I already have, and Boom! anyone that connects to the WiFi interface on my router can have internet access from that one SIM. MiFi devices usually offer 5 connections, but I've found that by the time you figure in laptos, phones, tablets, and the like, you've used up all the allowable connections for WiFi. Other interfaces to use for WAN includes USB (air cards), and normal ethernet connections that you'd use anywhere. IT also is small, and in a very rigid feeling case. Needless to say, it's a handy device.
IMG_20181216_123924092.jpg


Where the SIM goes. You'll notice the 2db gain antenna next to the SIM slot, and the WiFi antennas on the opposite end.
IMG_20181216_123943185.jpg


Installing the SIM from my MiFi device that I got from my carrier.
IMG_20181216_124134721.jpg


I did have to get an adapter since the MiFi and the CradlePoint use a different SIM size. No biggie as they're cheap on Amazon.
IMG_20181216_124159555.jpg


All buttoned up, and now a look at the Ethernet Interface side.
IMG_20181216_123957723.jpg


To get power, I picked up a $16-ish power inverter that got good reviews on Amazon.
IMG_20181216_124026061.jpg

IMG_20181216_124036620.jpg


I forgot to order an extension for the 12 volt cable. I had to go down to AutoZone to pick one up.
IMG_20181216_134104822.jpg


Now to start running wire.
I ran the 12' cable from my cigarette lighter port down and under my center console, and then under the seat and along the left side of the vehicle following the wire loom already in place. You can see the red from it peaking out.
IMG_20181216_133333572.jpg


For now, this is how everything is placed in the back.
IMG_20181216_133910363.jpg


Powered it on, and it seems to be working great! Signal looks way better than my phone currently.
IMG_20181216_133919036.jpg


Now, I did cheat, and set up my WiFi SSID and router config beforehand. It's not hard, just a little more in depth sometimes than a cheap home WiFi router.
It's broadcasting, and I'm connected!
Screenshot_20181216-133955.png


Now to test speeds with the setup.
Screenshot_20181216-134237.png


Not terrible for here! Now to test speeds without it, and use my phone's connection on the same carrier.
Screenshot_20181216-134334.png


Not too bad! I'm getting better signal from the router via the 2gb gain antenna on it, and I'm happy! :)

I know this is more of an esoteric mod to the Jeep, but it will work great with an Android double din stereo that I plan to put in later. I hope it helps someone, and if you read this and have questions, don't hesitate to ask!
 

mots

TJ Enthusiast
May 11, 2018
670
549
OH, USA
#27
Thanks for the heads up on the inverter! I grabbed a black one just now since the price is great and it has the features I was looking for. I need something simple and small that will service the back seat for USB needs, as well as having that sometimes necessary 110V outlet for other small devices. I have an older inverter that is probably 20 years old...it is huge, loud, and without USB ports...I’ll keep that antique as a backup!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#28
Thanks for the heads up on the inverter! I grabbed a black one just now since the price is great and it has the features I was looking for. I need something simple and small that will service the back seat for USB needs, as well as having that sometimes necessary 110V outlet for other small devices. I have an older inverter that is probably 20 years old...it is huge, loud, and without USB ports...I’ll keep that antique as a backup!
Not a problem! I've had no issues with it so far, and I've had that one for a month, or so. I've left the devices loose in the back since I move the router back and forth to my wife's Explorer if we take the kids on a trip. My thought on it was, even if it doesn't last too long, at that price I wouldn't hurt myself by trying it out.
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#29
A few days ago I ordered some cool white LED bulb replacements for my Jeep's interior with the help from Chris' How-To thread. The intent was to have something to tinker with over the Christmas holiday. Well, they came in today, and rather than wait like a sane person, I decided to knock it out in my poorly lit garage.

Everything went super smoothly (only about 45 minutes start to finish), and I only had to pull the cluster and HVAC one extra time to get the polarity correct. One trick I employed for the instrument cluster was to install the bulbs, and then mark them with a dot at the top of the bulb socket with a sharpie. Then with the sharpie I marked the bulb locations 1-5 on the back of the unit from left to right as you look at the face of the unit... if that makes sense. I then plugged the wiring harness in and check with bulbs weren't lit. I found that bulbs 2 and 4 weren't lit, and then simply flipped the dot at that those locations. All done!

Thanks again for the how-to!
 
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Chris

Administrator
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Sep 28, 2015
33,268
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Salem, Oregon
#30
Glad that how-to worked out for you! I put green LEDs in all my interior dash lighting. It looks really, really good! Unfortunately, it's very hard to photograph.
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#31
Glad that how-to worked out for you! I put green LEDs in all my interior dash lighting. It looks really, really good! Unfortunately, it's very hard to photograph.
I thought about going green, so to speak, though at heart, I'm a traditionalist and couldn't help myself. The results were way better than I had hoped. :)
 

Chris

Administrator
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Sep 28, 2015
33,268
20,450
Salem, Oregon
#32
I thought about going green, so to speak, though at heart, I'm a traditionalist and couldn't help myself. The results were way better than I had hoped. :)
I'd love to see a photo of the cool white, since that was my other thought. I know these things never turn out well in photos though. I tried to take photos of mine and they turned out bad every time.
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#33
I'd love to see a photo of the cool white, since that was my other thought. I know these things never turn out well in photos though. I tried to take photos of mine and they turned out bad every time.
Not a problem! My phone has a setting where you can turn down the sensitivity to light, and it helps somewhat with the focus, and over saturation. I did the same with the foot wells, and sound bar lights in cool white as well, but I couldn't get a pic that did them any justice.

They're much more bright and crisp, and it still looks factory-ish. The HVAC looks far more blue than it did before, though I like it because it matches pretty perfectly with the color I'm running on my stereo.
IMG_20181219_205202313.jpg

IMG_20181219_205151714.jpg
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
33,268
20,450
Salem, Oregon
#34
Nice, that looks great!

I'm sure my phone must have a setting like that as well, I just need to play around with the camera.

Damn... I think I actually like that better than my green.
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#36
In my recent "enlightened" state of building to Jeep to fit what I need it for, I've come up with a list items that I plan to move on. This thing is going to continue its duty as a daily driver, and I need to keep some of its more genteel manners for the errant jaunt to Arkansas, but I also want to better equipment it for the occasional trip to the hills to see more of what Colorado has to offer. Unfortunately for me, it's going to be a slow process. Taking care of 3 teenagers isn't cheap.

The list:
Modernization/Creature Comforts (in no particular order):
  • Seat cover replacements: I've seen some of the Bartact covers in use, and they look like a super quality product though I'm open to suggestions for like quality. I had thought of doing the lseat leather upholstery replacement that was showcased in the how-to, the problem is that I just don't care for leather seats. They look good, but too many seasonal issues for my taste.
  • Double Din Stereo Replacement: I've been wanting an Android based solution for quite some time now, and I've just about decided on this head unit, and the bezel seen in the how-to section. That system will tie nicely in with the CradlePoint WiFi install I did last month.
  • Noico Sound Deadening: Self-explanatory. Since it's on the road a lot, why not make it quieter? I'm unsure of doing the 170mil insulation as of yet, but I'm open to it if the right argument can be made. It's a rag top so I'm on the fence.
  • Grabars: I kinda like the solid handle ones. Is there any reason to get the $86 vs another one on Amazon for $30?
  • Armrest Sub Replacement: I've already got one of these installed, but the bigger issue is the sub in the console. It sounds terrible.
Mechanical (again, in no particular order):
  • Battery Cable Replacement: I saw a write-up here about preordering one from a shop that was highly recommended, but I can't seem to find it now.
  • RMS: Dreading this one. It looks easy enough, if messy. I've checked around, and everyone wants about $500 to do it. I can't pay that in good conscience.
  • ZJ Tie Rod Replacement: Too easy.
  • Onboard Air: Seems like a ARB CKMA12 would be about the right fit.
  • Drop Pitman Replacement: While crawling around underneath it doing an oil change I discovered that the PO decided to put one on. I've already got the OE replacement in hand, I've just put off doing it.
  • Ugh axle work: I've decided to go the Super35 route since I can't see me ever going up to a 35" tire. I've decided to go with the RGA kit with the ARB locker. My question there is does that kit include everything I'll need to bring the rear axle up to speed, or will there be other purchases like carrier that I'll need to make?
  • Gearing: While doing the axle work, I'll want to re-gear from the rancid 3.07's, and maybe up to 4.56's (maybe 4.88's). I say maybe because at the moment I'm running 31" tires, and I know that'd probably be a bit steep, but the long term has me going to 33's, and I figure if I'm re-gearing there's only need to do it once.
  • Brakes: I'm starting to get a little wobble from the front rotors, and figure a refresh is in order. the Black Magic kit seems like a great kit to go with, and I'll just refresh the rotors, calipers, and pads all at once. I've also wanted to go ahead and during the axle upgrades convert the rear over to disk while there. I don't expect any extra braking over this, just a bit easier to deal with for pad/shoe replacements in the future. This is, of course, under the assumption that e-brake shoe changes won't happen very often.. which seems logical.
  • CAI back to factory intake: Another leftover thing from the PO was the nice CAI that he had installed. Meh. I'm guessing ebay is my best bet here?
  • Antirock? I really don't know. I've heard it's great both on and off road, and I've read you'll put your eye out, kid. /shrug. I've got time to figure it out.
  • Winch: The M8000 sounds great, but open to anything that would offer like quality over time.
  • IAC cleanup: It's got a bit of a rough idle, and while I changed the plugs recently, I never cleaned the throttlebody, or the IAC. Easy money.

Way ahead machine...
  • 2-2.5 OME springs: About the time my tires start wearing out, I can see going up to 33's, and if I've gotten the axle built to handle it, I prefer being up a little bit. I figure I'll keep the CA's that are on it now until they wear out, and move the shocks over the RS5000 family. I had them before and like them, but they were getting in a bad way and worn out.
That's the list as it stands now. Pick it apart, and tell me where I'm crazy/wrong/needing more time to cook. After getting plenty of time to read on the subject, it seems solid.

Sorry about the wall of text, I just wanted to document it for the sake of posterity, and as time rolls on, I'll want to remember why I was saving my money.
 
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IPerkWVU

TJ Enthusiast
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Feb 11, 2018
544
506
Indianapolis, IN, USA
#37
  • Grabars: I kinda like the solid handle ones. Is there any reason to get the $86 vs another one on Amazon for $30?
I went with the OPAR versions, they've held up well this past summer since install. I have a feeling I'll be reapplying some adhesive in the future but don't know if Grabars are any better.

Have a good build sheet going there!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
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Mar 30, 2017
154
148
Denver, CO, United States
#38
I went with the OPAR versions, they've held up well this past summer since install. I have a feeling I'll be reapplying some adhesive in the future but don't know if Grabars are any better.

Have a good build sheet going there!
Thanks for the info! I love buying USA, where it makes sense, but for more than double the price the dividends need to be apparent on simple devices.

I'm sure my list will evolve again, but at least there's a goal to work towards.
 

IPerkWVU

TJ Enthusiast
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Feb 11, 2018
544
506
Indianapolis, IN, USA
#39
Thanks for the info! I love buying USA, where it makes sense, but for more than double the price the dividends need to be apparent on simple devices.

I'm sure my list will evolve again, but at least there's a goal to work towards.
I agree on buying USA made items where it counts but went the cheap Amazon route for this item. Had to save a few bucks for some other jeep mod
 
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