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Old 01-30-2014, 07:17 PM   #1
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How can I accomplish this concept?

I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do with my JK, but I don't know if what I want to do is feasible, at all practical, or possibly even contradictory. I could really use some advice on how to go about building the Jeep I want.

So here's what I want to do. First, I absolutely have my heart set on Rock-Slide Engineering's Rigid Series bumpers and rock sliders. This is what they look like:




Of course, my Jeep is a 2-door and dark green, so it'll look different, but equally awesome. The thing is, the RSE stuff is designed to work with the stock flares, which I like quite a bit. I don't want to do flats or any other brand. Like I said, my heart is set on this profile. It's very sci-fi looking, and I know that's not everyone's taste, but I totally dig it.

I'd also like to run 35" tires, so I'm pretty much assuming I'm going to need a lift kit. I know jack about lift kits. I know that lifting my Jeep could require changing the gear differential, reinforcing or replacing the axles, whole lot of stuff that I know very little about.

The reason I'd be installing heavy duty bumpers and rock sliders, plus putting 35s on it is twofold. I want to be able to drive this here:


That's a trail and the play area at the Walker Valley ORV park, the closest ORV park to me. It's pretty burly, and I'd like to be able to tackle terrain like this without breaking down.

I also want to be able to do this:


Being able to drive across a river is just awesome, and I want to be able to handle a Washington mountain river, which tend to have a lot of fallen logs and big river rocks.

How big should I go? What tech should I be looking at? This also needs to be street legal, and I'd like it to be comfortable to drive in the city, so not too crazy.

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:19 PM   #2
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Anything is possible given time, money, and research.

I don't really have any input for you but I do wish you luck.

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:39 PM   #3
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I think a 2.5" lift and 35s will do just fine. Factory axles will also be fine.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:42 PM   #4
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So first of all if you want deep water with onstacles, a snorkel is a good idea for you as well as extending axle breathers. Both aren't hard. Lifting a jeep is much easier than you think. A good 2.5-3" lift would do well for you.

If you read the stickeys at the top, you'll be a able to learn a bunch about lifting jeeps, the importance of extending breather tubes, and any other question You could need.

Also welcome to the forum!
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:46 PM   #5
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Welcome .. Read/research as much as you can. You've come to the right place

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:51 PM   #6
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So first of all if you want deep water with onstacles, a snorkel is a good idea for you as well as extending axle breathers. Both aren't hard. Lifting a jeep is much easier than you think. A good 2.5-3" lift would do well for you.

If you read the stickeys at the top, you'll be a able to learn a bunch about lifting jeeps, the importance of extending breather tubes, and any other question You could need.

Also welcome to the forum!
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:11 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard! It is great that you have a plan and that your Jeep knows what it wants to be when it grows up! I do like that front bumper too! I actually like the whole profile on that red Jeep. And my Jeep happens to be red 4 door too lol!

I don't think a small lift is as "everything changing" as when you get into the bigger lifts.

What kind of gearing do you have to be pulling 35 inch tires plus armor (I think you mentioned in another post), a bunch of big heavy bumper stuff and so on, up big hills, rocks, mud and water? Is the Jeep also your daily driver?

Very curious to see how you go with this build!
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:44 PM   #8
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What kind of gearing do you have to be pulling 35 inch tires plus armor (I think you mentioned in another post), a bunch of big heavy bumper stuff and so on, up big hills, rocks, mud and water? Is the Jeep also your daily driver?
Right now it just has the stock gearing, and I'm assuming I'm going to need to go up in gearing. I'm not really worried about the mileage lost -- as long as I stay above 12 mpg, I'm a happy camper. And yes, this will also be my daily driver, for at least a little while. I'm a writer though, and work from home, so I don't have a daily commute or anything.

I just watched the Teraflex video in the stickies, and I see why folks are recommending the 3" lifts, but I have a pretty outrageous budget for modding this Jeep, and I think I just kinda want to go bigger than that for the sheer hell of it. Maybe even go up to something that would let me run 37s. I'm thinking that Teraflex 4" system looks to be about the right size fit for me, which will mean modifying the driveshaft (and installing steps!). I'll have to look at other companies too though.

Thanks to everyone for their advice and the links!

And yes, I'll definitely be putting in a snorkel. I'm thinking the Rugged Road modular model, as I like how it can be switched back and forth from the roofline snorkel to the more subtle hoodline snorkel.
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Old 01-30-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
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I have a pretty outrageous budget for modding this Jeep.
I hate you. Not really. Maybe a little.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:07 PM   #10
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The equipment is only a small part of the equation. Developing the skill to drive in those conditions is 90% of it. Start small and learn.
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Old 01-30-2014, 10:46 PM   #11
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I have the 3.5" Metal Cloak OME lift and it is just awesome. Street riding is better than stock and off-road it is awesome. Can't be happier. Spend lots of time doing research. My next mod is the Tom Woods drive shaft and artec armor on the from axel.
This is addictive, and it is nice to have deep pockets for this.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:48 PM   #12
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There is a wealth of knowledge available to you in the Sticky's. So just take your time and read them, and or watch the videos! This will help you to do it right the first time!

Good Luck on your build!
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:15 AM   #13
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I have the 3.5" Metal Cloak OME lift and it is just awesome. Street riding is better than stock and off-road it is awesome. Can't be happier. Spend lots of time doing research. My next mod is the Tom Woods drive shaft and artec armor on the from axel.
This is addictive, and it is nice to have deep pockets for this.
This one? The video advertising for that suspension is sick. That is exactly the kind of performance I'm looking for.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:43 AM   #14
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This one? The video advertising for that suspension is sick. That is exactly the kind of performance I'm looking for.
Yes. That is the one. Took me and a buddy about 10 hours to install. He had done about 5 other lifts before. I love it!
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Old 01-31-2014, 09:43 AM   #15
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I have the Rse front and rear bumpers and the powered Rse rock sliders. I have the aev 3.5 lift running 315 duratracs. I even have the Rse light bar mounts. I'm running

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373 gears. Drives great on and off. Will be rehearing to 456 this summer. I installed everything and am glad to help. I'm standing on the power step in the carwash picture. It's very stout.

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Old 01-31-2014, 10:07 AM   #16
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You are gonna have so much fun. I looked at your jeep. You don't have much info on it. I have the RSE step sliders and love them. I agree on research. A lot is going to depend on what your looking for as ride quality. My buddy has a Old Man Emu 2.5 spring and shock setup on his JK with 35's and it is so much smoother on the road than my Rock Krawler 3.5. But on the trails I can handle the rough stuff faster than he can. It is a tradeoff. I have 35's and stock flares on mine and it is just about into the flares at full flex. I don't think I could get a 37 on there and not hit. Any good CA kit is gonna let you stuff your tires pretty high into the flare. You can bump stop to keep them out though. My jeep is a 13 with the auto. I went from 3.73's and 32's to 4.56 and 35's. Since it is a Rubicon I have lockers. I love it. It is my daily driver. My worst mileage is about 15 and best is about 20 on total highway runs. And there has been so much good advise about the vents if your gonna do water.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:11 AM   #17
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JThrasher: How is the power step? I looked at that thing, and it's three times the cost of the rock sliders alone, plus it looks like it would break easily. How well protected are the mechanisms?

Also, does the light bar interfere with running a rack? I really like the look of the light bar, but I want to be able to mount my kayak up there, and I want to put a snorkel in, and and at some point too much stuff is trying to mount to the passenger side frame corner.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:29 AM   #18
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Right now it just has the stock gearing, and I'm assuming I'm going to need to go up in gearing. I'm not really worried about the mileage lost -- as long as I stay above 12 mpg, I'm a happy camper. And yes, this will also be my daily driver, for at least a little while. I'm a writer though, and work from home, so I don't have a daily commute or anything.

I just watched the Teraflex video in the stickies, and I see why folks are recommending the 3" lifts, but I have a pretty outrageous budget for modding this Jeep, and I think I just kinda want to go bigger than that for the sheer hell of it. Maybe even go up to something that would let me run 37s. I'm thinking that Teraflex 4" system looks to be about the right size fit for me, which will mean modifying the driveshaft (and installing steps!). I'll have to look at other companies too though.

Thanks to everyone for their advice and the links!

And yes, I'll definitely be putting in a snorkel. I'm thinking the Rugged Road modular model, as I like how it can be switched back and forth from the roofline snorkel to the more subtle hoodline snorkel.
It's good to see you know exactly what you want. That is half the battle in the beginning. The other half is budget and it sounds like you have that handled.

Given that you have a 2 DR and you really plan on pushing it hard off road I would reconsider the 37"s and 4" lift at least as long as it's your DD. TF is a very good choice in brand but the impact on the stress on your steering and driveline will go up more than the off road capability specially if you are just starting. You'll probably want to drive to other parks that are farther away and reliability will become more important.

Enjoy building your Jeep!
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:38 AM   #19
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JThrasher: How is the power step? I looked at that thing, and it's three times the cost of the rock sliders alone, plus it looks like it would break easily. How well protected are the mechanisms? Also, does the light bar interfere with running a rack? I really like the look of the light bar, but I want to be able to mount my kayak up there, and I want to put a snorkel in, and and at some point too much stuff is trying to mount to the passenger side frame corner.

There are very well built. When closed the steps fit inside the slides. Nothing to tear off on rocks. And the motors are inside. I can post a video later when I get home. The hardest part was drilling holes thru my rockers. I mean it drilled easy. I just cried a little on the inside.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:50 AM   #20
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When you say outrageous budget...what are we talking?
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:56 AM   #21
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There are very well built. When closed the steps fit inside the slides. Nothing to tear off on rocks. And the motors are inside. I can post a video later when I get home. The hardest part was drilling holes thru my rockers. I mean it drilled easy. I just cried a little on the inside.
They fit inside? Oh, that's totally not what I imagined. I thought they came down from behind the sliders, and it would be one jagged rock and there goes a thousand dollar investment.

Hmm. That changes my opinion of them.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:15 AM   #22
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When you say outrageous budget...what are we talking?
Well, my options were to buy something like a new Ford Expedition or a new Jeep with modifications equal to the cost of a new Expedition. So that was an easy choice.

But realistically I'd like to keep it in the $35k range. Originally I'd planned on spending $24k on a new Sport, but I don't like the new green, so I got a used 2011 instead of a new 2013 which saved me 4k right there, plus what I got on the trade-in. Hell, that choice alone -- used vs new -- basically pays for the 3.5" Metal Cloak, which is looking like the winner so far.

So yeah, basically about $15k to play with. And before anyone gets too jealous, my dad passed away last year and left me some money. If it were the sort of thing one got to choose, I would definitely choose to still have my dad over a shiny new off-roader.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:23 AM   #23
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I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do with my JK, but I don't know if what I want to do is feasible, at all practical, or possibly even contradictory. I could really use some advice on how to go about building the Jeep I want.

So here's what I want to do. First, I absolutely have my heart set on Rock-Slide Engineering's Rigid Series bumpers and rock sliders. This is what they look like:




Of course, my Jeep is a 2-door and dark green, so it'll look different, but equally awesome. The thing is, the RSE stuff is designed to work with the stock flares, which I like quite a bit. I don't want to do flats or any other brand. Like I said, my heart is set on this profile. It's very sci-fi looking, and I know that's not everyone's taste, but I totally dig it.

I'd also like to run 35" tires, so I'm pretty much assuming I'm going to need a lift kit. I know jack about lift kits. I know that lifting my Jeep could require changing the gear differential, reinforcing or replacing the axles, whole lot of stuff that I know very little about.

The reason I'd be installing heavy duty bumpers and rock sliders, plus putting 35s on it is twofold. I want to be able to drive this here:


That's a trail and the play area at the Walker Valley ORV park, the closest ORV park to me. It's pretty burly, and I'd like to be able to tackle terrain like this without breaking down.

I also want to be able to do this:


Being able to drive across a river is just awesome, and I want to be able to handle a Washington mountain river, which tend to have a lot of fallen logs and big river rocks.

How big should I go? What tech should I be looking at? This also needs to be street legal, and I'd like it to be comfortable to drive in the city, so not too crazy.
Sounds like you know exactly what you want, which is good.

Since you want to keep the stock fender flares, I'd actually recommend going with a 3.5'' lift kit rather than a 2.5''. Once your steel bumpers are on and you're running 35 inch tires, you will rub the stock fender flares with a 2.5'' kit when doing harder offroad stuff.

Since you want to keep the stock flares because they match up with your bumper, a 3.5 inch lift would work much better. I have the 2.5'' lift from AEV on my rig and I have nothing but good things to say about it. I also installed their front control arm relocation kit, which eliminates brake dive. If you get their 3.5'' kit, the control arm relocation kit is included in that, as well as a procal device to adjust your speedometer for when you install bigger tires. I have nothing but positive things to say about AEV - their stuff rides and handles better than stock.

For rims and tires, just make sure you get the correct 4.5'' backspacing on whatever rim you decide on - there's lots of good options out there. Jeep JK Parts & Accessories | Free Shipping is a good resource for rims. Everything on their site has the correct backspacing/sizing that you need. AEV also makes their own rims, so that's another option.

Go with 35'' tires if you want to tackle stuff like in those pictures. It'll give you some extra clearance, as well as some extra height if you plan on doing water fording.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:28 AM   #24
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Well, my options were to buy something like a new Ford Expedition or a new Jeep with modifications equal to the cost of a new Expedition. So that was an easy choice.

But realistically I'd like to keep it in the $35k range. Originally I'd planned on spending $24k on a new Sport, but I don't like the new green, so I got a used 2011 instead of a new 2013 which saved me 4k right there, plus what I got on the trade-in. Hell, that choice alone -- used vs new -- basically pays for the 3.5" Metal Cloak, which is looking like the winner so far.

So yeah, basically about $15k to play with. And before anyone gets too jealous, my dad passed away last year and left me some money. If it were the sort of thing one got to choose, I would definitely choose to still have my dad over a shiny new off-roader.
If you plan on doing what you have in the photos, I'd recommend a Rubicon over a Sport. You get the 4.10 gears right off the bat, perfect for 35s. You can then spend $1500 or so on a quality lift. It will cost you a lot more money trying to get a sport to Rubicon levels (stronger front axle, lockers at both ends, the 4:1 transfercase, and the gears.) All that and it's under warranty. Just my .02

Edit...just re-read and saw you already bought your Jeep. The metalcloak lift is a good choice, but you will need some extra things to make it 100% (like a drag link flip kit if you are going with the 3.5) and definitely a regear (4.88.)
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:38 AM   #25
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And before anyone gets too jealous, my dad passed away last year and left me some money. If it were the sort of thing one got to choose, I would definitely choose to still have my dad over a shiny new off-roader.
I'm very sorry to hear that. You have my sincere condolences.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:45 AM   #26
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Sorry to hear about your dad. I agree that it would be better to have him than the money.

My contribution for your plan is to point you to the "why do I need to regear 101" page I wrote here: Regearing Basics

I also wrote up an "intro to differentials and lockers" page as well: The Basics of Differentials and Lockers

That should get you started for your plan on gears and lockers, which you should include if you're stepping up to 35" tires.

One thing I don't say that I probably should in those pages is that if you're planning on doing both gears and lockers, have them installed at the same time. There's no sense doing the gears first and then doing lockers later. You end up paying for the exact same labor twice if you do.

Personally, I love my selectable lockers front and rear. The Jeep has excellent street manners but flip a couple of switches and I have all the traction I need.
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Old 01-31-2014, 12:10 PM   #27
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If you plan on doing what you have in the photos, I'd recommend a Rubicon over a Sport. You get the 4.10 gears right off the bat, perfect for 35s. You can then spend $1500 or so on a quality lift. It will cost you a lot more money trying to get a sport to Rubicon levels (stronger front axle, lockers at both ends, the 4:1 transfercase, and the gears.) All that and it's under warranty. Just my .02
I definitely hear you on that, but I just don't like all the extra doodads and geegaws that come loaded into the Rubicon. I'm of the philosophy that electronics are just more stuff to break down.

I've only been driving it two days and I'm already annoyed by the extras my JK has compared to my TJ. Like when my dog sits in the passenger seat, the seat belt warning light comes on. I don't need that. Nor do I need my Jeep to tell me that my gascap isn't on right, as it was doing all last night (and somehow, this morning, without me touching a thing, it's fine). At some point I'm going to have to figure out how to disconnect all these warning indicators.

Frankly, I'd rather spend the money to upgrade the Sport than spend the money to downgrade the Rubicon.

And thanks to everyone for the condolences. My dad was a big fan of off-roading, we used to do Anza Borrego in his 86' Ranger when I was a kid (he put 600k miles on that thing, it finally died forever in 2004!), and dune buggy up in the Santa Rosa mountains (when it was still legal). One year, when I was 12, I tagged along with him while he worked on the pit crew for a friend of his team in the Baja 500. That's why I wanted to use some of the money he left me to get a nice off-roader, as a memorial. (Even though I'll never be half the mechanic he was.)

Funny enough, my dad is the one who instill my anti-electrics ethos in me. I remember when he went to buy that Ranger, he got into a pretty heated argument with the dealer over the 4 wheel drive. The dealer really wanted to sell him on the then new automatic switches, and my dad insisted on the manual switches. Because, as he argued, he could fix the manual switches in the field, but if the electrical ones gave out, he was just screwed. He cried bloody murder when my step-mom bought a VW van with (::gasp: power windows. The horror!
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:06 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Spy Seattlite View Post
I definitely hear you on that, but I just don't like all the extra doodads and geegaws that come loaded into the Rubicon. I'm of the philosophy that electronics are just more stuff to break down.

I've only been driving it two days and I'm already annoyed by the extras my JK has compared to my TJ. Like when my dog sits in the passenger seat, the seat belt warning light comes on. I don't need that. Nor do I need my Jeep to tell me that my gascap isn't on right, as it was doing all last night (and somehow, this morning, without me touching a thing, it's fine). At some point I'm going to have to figure out how to disconnect all these warning indicators.

Frankly, I'd rather spend the money to upgrade the Sport than spend the money to downgrade the Rubicon.

And thanks to everyone for the condolences. My dad was a big fan of off-roading, we used to do Anza Borrego in his 86' Ranger when I was a kid (he put 600k miles on that thing, it finally died forever in 2004!), and dune buggy up in the Santa Rosa mountains (when it was still legal). One year, when I was 12, I tagged along with him while he worked on the pit crew for a friend of his team in the Baja 500. That's why I wanted to use some of the money he left me to get a nice off-roader, as a memorial. (Even though I'll never be half the mechanic he was.)

Funny enough, my dad is the one who instill my anti-electrics ethos in me. I remember when he went to buy that Ranger, he got into a pretty heated argument with the dealer over the 4 wheel drive. The dealer really wanted to sell him on the then new automatic switches, and my dad insisted on the manual switches. Because, as he argued, he could fix the manual switches in the field, but if the electrical ones gave out, he was just screwed. He cried bloody murder when my step-mom bought a VW van with (::gasp: power windows. The horror!
Not sure what electronics you are talking about, but everything the rubicon has over the sport/sahara is mechanical...larger front axle, gears, transfer case, lockers, etc. The rubicon doesn't have any extra electronics.

The reason why your airbag light turns on when your dog is in the seat is because it thinks a child is in the seat, so it disables the passenger airbag. It is a safety feature and there isn't anything wrong with it. The gascap light illuminating is due to the fact that the fuel system is sealed, so if the gas cap code is lit, that means your fuel system has a leak (air leak)....which can usually be solved with a new gas cap/gas cap gasket. You are not going to be able to turn off any of these indicators.
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:41 PM   #29
MallCrawler

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Originally Posted by NFRs2000NYC View Post
Not sure what electronics you are talking about, but everything the rubicon has over the sport/sahara is mechanical...larger front axle, gears, transfer case, lockers, etc. The rubicon doesn't have any extra electronics. The reason why your airbag light turns on when your dog is in the seat is because it thinks a child is in the seat, so it disables the passenger airbag. It is a safety feature and there isn't anything wrong with it. The gascap light illuminating is due to the fact that the fuel system is sealed, so if the gas cap code is lit, that means your fuel system has a leak (air leak)....which can usually be solved with a new gas cap/gas cap gasket. You are not going to be able to turn off any of these indicators.
Swaybar :P
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:50 PM   #30
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Swaybar :P
Hahaha, true...the signal is electronic but the swaybar itself is still a metal pin

You can also convert it to fully manual with the EVO unit if you really don't like to push a button.

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