Build Thread Purpose
The purpose of this thread is to have fun. I will use it to keep the build on track and to hold myself accountable for the build. I also hope it serves as a source of information to other people that are new to Building Big!
Just like many other threads, my continued posts will be pics and info of the build. I will post complications encountered, and solutions to those snags, in as much detail as possible. Please feel free to chime in with recommendations, possible complications I should prepare for! Thanks for reading guys!
So when I purchased my JK, I knew I couldn’t wait to get it topless, go for a cruise on the weekends, and every other spare chance I got. I imagined taking it down in the creek beds and hill sides of my Southern Ohio home town. I have been around fairly stock jeeps my entire life. The majority of add-ons I have helped with were slightly larger than stock MT tires and VERY mild bolt on lifts. These jeeps were a great time and capable of taking me many of the places I wanted to go. Theeeeeeeeen came my JK.
My original plans were to build it like all the old jeeps I’ve always been in and around. Keep it near stock, place a little bit of money in suspension upgrades, go with 33”-35” tires, and install a mild lift. I then found online forums. They sucked me in with numbers, specs, and possibilities. I read and watching people with these insane (in my mind at the time) lift systems that were capable of running 37”, 40”, and even 42” tires. I couldn’t quit reading of the changes they made to accommodate these upgrades.
Then came all the horror stories and failures from improperly building their rig for the functions they wanted it to perform. Many of these failures were due to shotty aftermarket kits and parts that were built for looks and not function. Many were from going too big on a budget and breaking parts (i.e. Axle tubes or inner knuckles) they could have saved by taking their time and “building it backwards”.
Building it Backwards
As I continued to read I realized that to properly build my rig, I needed to consider the next part “upstream”. Larger tires place stress on the knuckles and axle tubes. They often require an upgrade in gearing to make up for the loss in torque and fuel economy. A lift system (that is lacking proper components) will misalign the track bars, drive shafts, draglink, etc.
Then you will have to think of all the future added weight. Add a sport cage, heavy bumpers, winch, roof rack, heavy full sized spare tire, etc. and you will place added strain on these components that weren't designed for extreme use.
My original thoughts of 33”-35” tires went quickly to 37’s. I started to think out the build and my mind began flirtting with the possibility of 40’s. I know myself all too well, and that I will later regret not building it capable of handling bigger. I also know that I hate to spend money twice! I then made my mind up to build it for the magic number 40!
Building it Bolt-on
I looked at the required components to make an extremely reliable rig and the numbers started to add up. I knew I wanted a Long Arm lift and began noticing that there were MANY good lift systems. Some were bolt-on and some were weld on…..(disclaimer--> I know how to wrench but when it comes to welding and electrical work, my skills are TREMENDOUSLY sub-par. So for anything weld on I would require a professional’s assistance)
I next began contacting shops and quickly realized the labor cost involved in installing the weld on lift kits would range up to and even over $2,500. That’s sometimes more than the cost of the lift itself!!! I could buy my front and rear bumpers with a winch for $2,500!!! Then you factor in other components and you quickly see the cost of install adding up.
This has driven me to research my build for a year. I want to build the best rig I can, while taking all the money saved from installation and reinvesting it into upgraded, more capable, parts.