Owen_TJ's budget onroad/offroad daily driver build - Jeep Wrangler Forum

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Old 10-23-2013, 01:47 AM   #1
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Owen_TJ's budget onroad/offroad daily driver build

Hey, everyone!

I've decided to start a build thread from the day I got my 99 until now and will then update with the future progress which I definitely plan to accomplish. I'm hoping to have it at a nice build before the end of next year so we'll see how it goes (I usually get impatient and get things done quicker than i should lol). This may be a bit long winded but oh well!

Anyway, without further ado...here we are!

In August of 2010 I started searching for a TJ because for years it had been a dream vehicle of mine. I was living in Iowa which proved to me that finding them in good shape wasn't the easiest task due to salt on the roads every single year. I knew i wanted an unmodified TJ with a manual tranny so i looked at rig after rig. Finally in October of 2010 i found one that was newly listed on a dealers website so i immediately drove over. The only things listed were "red, manual, 99, all stock". When i got there, the rig was immaculate with only 61k on it. The big catch to this was it was a 2.5L 4cyl.

The following day i went over after work and drove it for an hour or so...looked everything over...drove it some more...and then went back to the dealership. It had everything i wanted minus the 4.0 which was almost like a unicorn to find for a decent price where i was. After about 20 minutes of negotiations i signed the paperwork to my new TJ.

Quick specs were as follows:

1999 Wrangler SE
2.5L 4cyl
61,000 miles
Mostly Stock (bushwacker flares)
Cruise
A/C (which i never use)
Soundbar
2 piece hard top
manual tranny
alloy wheels
zero rust

Even with the 2.5L, I had zero regrets buying it after i got it home (did fine in Iowa on the hwy due to being extremely flat lol).

Here are a couple pics the day i brought it home:





Like everyone else who falls victim to the wrangler, i started thinking of allllll the stuff i wanted to do to it.

The first week i had it read up on a few posts here and then did a full tune-up, repainted the faded hardtop, capped the bumpers, removed the rear seat and belts, removed the steps, and a few odds and ends such as tightening the ebrake and bedlining the rear. I also went topless for the first time which was fantastic and just brought the cloud of debt and mods closer towards my wallet.

After some touch-ups





Soon after that i ended up stopping by the dealership where i bought her and picked up some paperwork...while i was there, i decided to look at some rims they had in stock and found some i absolutely fell in love with. A set of 15x8 Mickey Thompson Limited Edition Signature Series (what a mouth full lol). The list price on them was like 145 a wheel at the dealer so i was basically just window shopping at the time. Well, while i was standing there the shop manager came up to me and goes "you're the one that bought the red TJ, right?" so i told him yes and he said "i've got two sets of 5 of these wheels in stock i'm trying to get rid of due to the new JK wheels coming in. How about i knock the price down to 75 a wheel for you"...an hour later i showed up with cash and bought both sets...one set i mounted on my own jeep and the other i sold 2 hours later for 250 more than i paid for it...an hour after that my stock wheels were sold for 200. When you do the math, i actually made 75 dollars by going with the new wheels. I also added a magnaflow muffler and magnaflow cat at this time.

Here are where the mods started:



Shortly after installing the wheels (which the shop accidentally mounted white letters out), i moved from West Des Moines, IA to Denver, CO. Right when i got here, i noticed how everyone was tinted (Iowa was strict on this) so i went over and tinted my front windows to match my top and put in a new alpine deck.

Slow start but here she was tinted:



About 3-4 months after being here in Colorado, i really started planning of how i wanted my jeep to look and began my plan to have a great onroad vehicle with great capability offroad. I know they're able to do this stock, but i wanted to be able take down some heavy trials and then still drive home and drive the same vehicle to work the next day...i then ordered my 3" SL with a set of 32x11.5" tires. Once that was installed, it started to take a slight shape for what i wanted.

Lift and tires installed:







I was completely happy with it for the time being and held off a while before i did any more "actual" mods to it. I then focused on the fact i loved being able to just throw the top down when i wanted so i turned to craigslist and sold my 2-piece hardtop in favor of a trektop NX which i still currently have and absolutely love.

This was now around September of 2011



Now fast forward a while because i was broke from moving and doing the slight mods i had done so far (i was 24/25 at the time of this). I decided to start the smaller mods for what i had in store so i ended up getting rid of my tcase drop and going with a 1.25" BL and 1" MML. While i was at it i also threw on a set of quick discos. My thinking was i eventually plan on a tummy tuck and also wanted to throw some 33's on there in order to complete some tougher trails and just further the offroad ability of it while maintaining a decent onroad ride.

Newly installed BL/MML/Quick discos:



A couple months later i started thinking about my articulation and how i'd like to be able to flex when needed with the larger tires so even though i wasnt a big fan of tube fenders at the time, i put on a set of smitty tubes in front...relocated my turn signals to the grill...and ran a pair of 6" flat xenon flares in the rear. I didnt quite get the look i was wanting with this but now that it was done, i kept on thinking of things to do in order to balance out the look and the function offroad as well as onroad as my daily driver.

Not quite the look or function i was wanting:



Now...fast forward about a year...i've been in Colorado for quite a while and my jeep plan had been put on hold due to going overseas to the Czech Republic and Germany for 2 weeks. Keep in mind i was then 26 (about 6 months ago) and wasnt exactly making it rain lol. Also, the previous year i had modded my 2003 R6 a bit more as well as my 1991 Mustang so that took some funds but i actually sold the motorcycle in June of 2012 and then sold the mustang in december of 2012 so those funds then went to pay my trip (as did my credit card lol). As soon as i got back, i was itching to mod the jeep and continue my goal of a great onroader/offroader on a budget.

I scapped my plans for 33's and decided that even with my 2.5L, i could DD a set of 35's because i rarely ever highway drive. So, being impatient like i usually am, i just threw a set of 35's on there without building for them first (even though i was very versed in what i needed to run them reliably). During this time, i also fully tinted my windshield 35%, threw on a 4.0 TB for some better midrange, and went with a set of sliders in flat black.

She is now starting to take shape:


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Old 10-23-2013, 01:48 AM   #2
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Well...now that i was impatient and stupid by throwing a set of 35's on there thinking i could go 6 months to a year before i needed to upgrade things, i found my shopping cart full of a new HD steering setup, some black magic brakes, chromoly D30 axle shafts, a Ford 8.8 rear axle, and some 4.88 gears just 3 weeks after having the 35's on there.

Once everything was on, i thought "finally...i can just drive it and wheel it without any problems"...nope...due to the 8.8 axle being much lager than my d35, i then found myself needing a SYE and CV shaft because it kept binding and giving me HORRIBLE vibes.

So, the day i got it home from where the axle was installed (shop a few miles away)...i sat down and started planning the next stage for what i'd need to further my onroad/offroad DD build. After i wrote things down and planned it out, i then ordered:

SYE
CV Shaft
4.5" front coil springs to level it out from the rear axle install
Upper adjustable control arms front and rear
Lower fixed arms front and rear (was going to go adjustable but didnt have the funds but the specs on them worked perfect for my current setup)
Extended front brake lines for flex
Chopped front bumper for full approach angle
New set of Nitro shocks
Diehard P4 battery

This was the biggest and most costly "stage" for my build so far...at the moment i can pretty much hit any trail thrown at me and still daily drive her since its my only vehicle.

Here is how she sits currently





Well...that is how she has progressed so far since owning her. I've read tons of threads here on the forum and frequent this every single day. I constantly learn more and more and am constantly tweaking my plans in order to accomplish what i want to build. So far, I'm happy with my progress and think i've got an extremely capable daily driver for both onroad and offroad which hasnt cost too terribly much to build, especially working on a now 27 year olds budget (turned in august). I also feel like i've got one of the nicer built 2.5L's which i just further plan to modify in order to achieve my goal

I'll update this with every new "stage" and will also post pics of course...

I know there are tons of ways this could have been done such as getting a winch first and so on and so forth, but thats ok...tons of ways to get things done

For those of you wondering what the future plans are, these are pretty much concrete for what i plan throughout the next year!

Bestop highrock front stubby bumper with grill guard
Engo 10k winch with synth line and wireless remote
Exogate with 35" spare (currently sitting in the garage)
UCF ultra tcase skid in aluminum with cable shifter and aluminum gas tank skid
Poison Spyder hood louvers in flat black
New 6.5" speakers in the soundbar
AX15 tranny
505 performance turbo system (was originally planning a 4bt but have decided on the turbo for a few of my own reasons)

Well, I'm sure I've forgotten a few things but that's it so far from start to current as well as my future plans!

Any questions and all comments welcome regardless of them being positive or negative...

thanks for reading and definitely stay tuned!!!

-Owen_TJ

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Old 10-23-2013, 02:08 PM   #3
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Awesome jeep! I might have missed it in the post but what percent tint do you have on the windows?
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:01 PM   #4
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Very clean look. How is the tinted windshield? Is it ok at night? And do you like that top? Its the kind that folds up into itself right? Just curious. Nice Jeep tho man I like it.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by rwalk View Post
Awesome jeep! I might have missed it in the post but what percent tint do you have on the windows?
No problem...

Side windows are tinted 15% to match the top which were factory 15 side and back...and the windshield is 35%

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Very clean look. How is the tinted windshield? Is it ok at night? And do you like that top? Its the kind that folds up into itself right? Just curious. Nice Jeep tho man I like it.
Absolutely love it...one of my favorite mods, actually. Its like having sunglasses on when i jump in it, i have zero glare from snow, rain, or lights, and it keeps it a lot cooler inside. I dont notice anything at night unless i'm on a backroad that isnt lit and even then its still not that bad.

As for the top, i love it as well...i can take the doors off, zip the windows out, and then keep the roof on with the visor flipped back and its great. Had it on there about two years.
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Old 10-23-2013, 04:47 PM   #6
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Subbed. Similar Jeeps, and I'm from IA as well.
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Old 10-23-2013, 09:45 PM   #7
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Oh he!! yeah we have been waiting thanks Owen !!
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:31 PM   #8
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Sweet build man. I'm 18 and just starting to save/wait for tax returns to start my build.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:56 AM   #9
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Oh he!! yeah we have been waiting thanks Owen !!
You're the one that pushed me to start it haha...i should have some more stuff in the next month or two to add to the build so i'll post right away

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Sweet build man. I'm 18 and just starting to save/wait for tax returns to start my build.
Good luck, man!

its definitely doable...i've been able to get where i am now with not a "ton" invested. You'll get there...just remember "its never done" lol
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Old 10-24-2013, 01:09 AM   #10
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I figured i'd post up a little cliffs notes of what is currently on my rig:

Removed rear seat
Bed lined interior
Alpine deck
Chopped stock front bumper
Capped rear bumper
Relocated signals to grill
Removed rear plate holder (bent the plate around the tub)
Trektop NX with tinted windows
15% tinted side windows
35% tinted windshield
15x8 Mickey Thompson Signature Series alloy wheels
Rubicon Express steering stabilizer
Iron Rock Offroad HD Steering system
Ford 8.8 rear axle with LSD and disc brakes (discs are stock)
Front D30 Yukon chromoly axle shafts
Black Magic brake kit
4.5" front lift springs
3" rear lift springs
1.25" body lift
1" motor mount lift
Extended front brake lines
Quick discos
Slip Yoke Elim
CV driveshaft
Upper adjustable control arms front and rear
Lower fixed control arms (up to 6" lift fronts and up to 4" rears) front and rear
Adjustable track bars front and rear
Diehard P4 battery
4.88 gears
4.0L throttle body
Magnaflow muffler
Magnaflow cat
KN drop in filter (i have yet to have any buildup in my intake tube which i inspect every oil change - i've read the comments both positive and negative and will say its worked great for me)
Smittybilt tube fenders with no flare
6" rear flat flares
No-step rock sliders
Nitro shocks

I think thats pretty much it at the moment..could be something i'm forgetting but thats a good chunk, anyway.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:13 AM   #11
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Very nice... looks great!
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:55 AM   #12
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What did you paint your hardtop with and would you recommend it?
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:36 AM   #13
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Very nice... looks great!
Thanks man...appreciated

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What did you paint your hardtop with and would you recommend it?
The paint i used was Krylon Fusion and what i did was just removed the top, cleaned it with degreaser, wiped it down with water, and then lightly sanded it (800 grit i think). Painted it with a couple cans and was good as new until i ended up selling it. Worked great!
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:56 AM   #14
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505 performance turbo system cant wait see that I was looking at those as well.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:16 AM   #15
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Awesome jeep. Can't wait to see what's next!
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #16
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505 performance turbo system cant wait see that I was looking at those as well.
I cant either lol...started a separate bank account which i'm putting money into in order to get it a bit sooner...we'll see what i can make happen!

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Awesome jeep. Can't wait to see what's next!
thanks, man!

I'm thinking the next thing will be the poison spyder hood louver's in flat black.

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