The Pickle / Jurassic Pickle, Nostalgia Build With My Kids

New Fog lights came in. Going to wire them up to the factory fog light circuit. We are sort of test fitting all of this before we modify the front bumper permanently. The additional piece we are welding in fills the gap to the sway bar cover and adds the fog light mount in one piece.

We put all the jeep work on hold to get some riding in before ‘23 is over.

New problems: blower resistor pooped out, both passenger speakers quit…

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New interior door handle is on! Lock and lever both work. I had to rebend the locking rod back to correct based on pics I could google. Hahahaha! The screw that holds the handle in place was missing so pulled the clip off and used a nut and washer on the backside with 10-24 screw.

I wanted to this project with my daughter but she was busy today and since my truck and JKUR both went into the shop last week, the pickle is my daily for a little bit. Figured a properly working door handle would be nice.

Trucks front main seal gave up at 47,000 miles. The JKUR front driver brake line blew up during hard braking while I was out brake testing after I put a new drag link on and recentered the wheel. I found out in the middle of all that the shop that did my teraflex hub conversion didn’t hook my ebrake back up…last week was a doozy.

Son and I are about to wire up the fog lights. New relays in both sockets behind the glove box fixed the power problem and he’s out there right now wiring and heat shrinking getting ready to actually install the lights. At some point we will have to remove all of that again, finish the front bumper welding and take it in for powder coat. The fog lights will have plugs so it’s easy to pull them off.

Short version: I’m hunting stockish height springs that are heavier. Considering moog options and H&R, open to other ideas.

Long read: The other evening we all loaded up in the jeep and took off to dinner, about a 2 minute ride down a dirt road. I had somewhere in the range of 250-300 pounds of kids in the back seat, my wife and up front at about 365 combined heavily weighted to the driver side (hahahaha) and on a fairly small bump bottomed out the rear suspension. I don’t remember the rear of a stock jeep being such a weak spring. But with around 665lbs of occupants not an extremely light load. I’m down 7 pounds in 2 weeks though so I’m working on it.

It’s a frameless top, stockish spare, rear bumper is a non tire carrier bumper.

Ride height wise the front measures about 12” from the bottom of the spring to the the upper spring seat rear is about 8”. That seems like it’s about what it should stock and the Jeeps overall stance is the rear is higher than the front about 1.5” at the flares when unloaded. I also measured my 31” tires. Typical overstatement on those 29-1/2” with weight on and 30psi….

I’ve read that corrosion can start to degrade springs but I would think they would sag not just be soft and still maintain ride height.

I’ve started hunting and reading and I came across the H&R springs several times. Sounds like they might be the ticket. I’d love to find some LJ, Rubicon, hard top toe package springs so I could still claim stock hahahaha. Probably going to grab some rancho 5000x shocks just need to decide 0” or 2”. Contemplation will ensue until I decide what to do. I have full second set of stock springs but they aren’t anything special I don’t think.



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4am concrete pour this morning so I was out when it was really dark on the road about 2:30am. Pics are low beams, low plus fog, lows and and highs.

Headlights are LX-Light 7” Round from Amazon, recommended by a friend.

Fog lights are Super Bright LEDs, 5.5” Round 60* Offroad Drive lights.

None of this setup is ground breaking but it does work really well especially when you consider it was only about $140 worth of lights when I purchased them. They were on sale at the time. I have never been a big lights guy but as I get older my night vision just isn’t what it used to be and I am becoming one. Even my JKUR will be getting some much needed lighting improvements in the near future.

Flipping quickly through them shows the difference in them.

I’ve seen the hack about folding the one blade of the relay out to bypass the low beam only fog lights. Probably do that just add another light option but I found lows and fogs to be a nice combo lonely dark roads.



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For suspension I decided to get a new round of bump stops and the Rancho 5000x 0-2” shocks. I think I’m going to plasma cut some steel 1” maybe 1.25” spacers. I drew up a set yesterday that would use 3/4” plate and 1/2” plate to stacked and welded for a 1.25” spacer. It just needs a little height. Might knock it down to 3/4” and 1/4”. The new bump stops are are extended/cut to length from daystar.
My morning didn’t go so well, could have been way worse. Narrowly avoided the backend of a Ram pickup only to find a curb and bend something up front. Wheel is turned pretty far driver. I’m betting tweaked drag link out on the passenger end. So a crown heavy duty steering and new crown track bar are incoming. Definitely need to get the old sway bar end links out, disconnects in and the sway bar reinstalled. I think I could have avoided the curb with a less body roll induced steering.
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Updated list of To Do’s:
All new shocks, on the way
All new bumps stop, arrived
New front track bar, on the way
New heavy duty steering, on the way
Rebuild passenger door, parts are here
Rebuild free winch, have it soon
Since this build is all about nostalgia. Today my wife has a birthday, I won’t be announcing which one. Hahaha. This was her first Jeepin’ trip with me 4/16/2005. We had only been on like 1 date at this point. To say she knew from day 1 what she was getting into is an understatement.

Just walking by the little TJ today and decided to shoot a pic of it. I sure love these little vehicles. I feel like they lost something when JK came out but I’ve never put my finger on it. I really like my JKUR too but it’s just not the same. I know people probably said that about the YJ and TJ too. I sure like this little thing but I’d like it a lot better of the heater worked right. Add it to the list of stuff to address. This has nearly turned into a restoration as much as anything.

I set the winch and a little additional weight up front to represent the winch plate. Exactly 1/2” of sag from adding the winch. I think we are going to build a winch mount. I’d like it to fit a certain way and retain the use of the plastic sway bar cover. Maybe it’s weird but I like it better.

Not much new to report directly related to the TJ. Planning a full day wrench a thon soon to get the front end all sorted out. Got some new camping gear I hope to get to use out of this jeep and my JKUR. Dewalt Tough System chests, drawers, and cooler.

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Finally got some work done with the 14YO, all new speakers, connectors, head unit, and mount.

We found another round of “custom” wiring that we cut out and got fixed. This thing has been full of this crap(see pic 1).

Picked up a basic Sony round of equipment, still Single Din head unit. Really nice Chrysler specific mount from quadratec.

2) 4x6 speakers
2) 5-1/4 speakers
1) Sony Head Unit
1) Quadratec TJ head unit mount

We did new interior bulbs and got the interior lighting mostly sorted out. Driver footwell light socket still isn’t working but passenger and dome light are all good.

The driver side reverse bulb was missing so we picked up one of those too.