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Old 07-18-2013, 11:45 PM   #1
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flipmeover's 2013 JK Build Thread

I purchased my first Jeep in March (a 2013 JK) and have been slowly building it up as I go. Finally this week, I bought wheels and rims so I wanted to start a build thread to capture my progress. This forum has been invaluable to me every step of the way so Iím going to try to give a little back. Iíll list the URLs and prices for every product Iíve bought or used, and a brief review of how itís worked out. Iím pretty green with a lot of this so please feel free to make comments or suggestions.

This is how it all started...


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Old 07-19-2013, 12:09 AM   #2
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Grill Guard and Lights

I wanted to put on an aftermarket bumper and driving lights, but the one that I wanted (the AEV Premium Bumper) was a little rich for my taste at ~$1300.



After looking for several weeks, I stumbled across the Maximus-3 grill guard on a couple of threads on WF. The Maximus-3 hoop has the same look as the AEV grill guard, but bolts on to the stock bumper and is a lot less expensive. Iím not in a rush to get a winch, so this seemed like a good option.



GrillGuard
Maximus-3 Grille Guard (Hoop Only)
From: Maximus-3
Price: $259.99
URL: http://maximus-3.com/-jeep-wrangler.html

The original Maximus-3 thread can be found here: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f146/factory-front-bumper-bar-hoop-light-bracket-grill-guard-235075.html

Most people on this forum who have ordered the Maximus-3 grill guard elected to get the Maximus-3 auxiliary light mount that attaches to the grill guard. I didnít love the look of M3 light mount, so I opted to go with Quadratecís house-brand bumper light mounts instead.

For the lights, I went with the 100W KC Apollo driving lights. They were significantly cheaper than the IPFs, PIAAs, and others that I looked at. The Apollos (and the KCs in general) had stellar reviews, so I decided to give them a shot. I looked at the Daylighters as well, but the Apollos were significantly cheaper and had the stone guards built in. I figured I could live without the additional 30W.



Light Mounts
Quadratec Bumper Light Mounts
From: Quadratec
Price: $69.99/pair
URL: http://www.quadratec.com/products/12110_201.htm

Lights
KC Apollo Pro 6Ē Driving Lights (100W)
From: Amazon.com
Price: $113/pair
URL: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006V7TBBA/



Delivery day


The Maximus-3 grill guard came very tightly wrapped will all hardware required and instructions. The hoop is ~1/8Ē steel and seems solidly built. The mounting hardware is 1/4Ē steel and very robust.




There had been some negative reviews of the light mount brackets, claiming that they were scratched or chipped right out of the box. I had no such problems. The brackets are 3/16Ē steel with a powder coat finish and seem pretty indestructible. Theyíre solid and much heavier than I expected for something as simple as a light mount.




KC Apollos in a box. Not much else to say...





Installation


I set up shop under a popup canopy to stay out of the Florida sun and set out to take the front end off. This is all the hoop and light mount hardware.




The grill and front bumper were surprisingly easy to remove. To remove the grill you just have to pop a few plastic clips on the top, pull the plugs to the headlights, and pull forward on the grill to pop the bottom clips. The front bumper is only slightly more challenging to remove. Again you have to unplug the lights (fogs), remove the air dam, and unbolt the bumper from the rear side. There are some wire guide clips inside the bumper holding the wires to the fogs in place. You have to pull those out of the bumper to fully remove it. I wasnít able to remove the clips gracefully, so I just cut them. Hereís the jeep with the front end off.



The Maximus-3 installation brackets connect directly to the backs of the recovery hooks on the bumper and to the bumper mounting blocks on the front end of the jeep. I forgot to take a picture of the mounting hardware attached to the bumper, but hereís a shot of the mount points on the backs of the hooks.



There are actually two bumpers in that pic. The original with a squished crush-can from a love tap I got on the way to the store, and the replacement I bought off a guy for $40. What other vehicle can you buy just about any stock part off of craigslist for under $100

Some of the Maximus-3 directions were a little hazy and I ended up putting some of the mounting hardware on backward. It wasnít until I had the bumper balanced on my knee, trying to thread the bolts back onto the mounts that I realized something was amiss. Had to pull it all apart and try again. The second time through worked like a charm.

Hereís the bumper with the lights mounted.



The Quadratec light mounts bolt on to a cross member that runs in front of the radiator. They Ďpinchí the rail instead of mounting through a hole, so you are free to move them wherever you want laterally. I actually swapped the left/right mounts from how they are intended to be used. In Quadratecís installation instructions, they show the mounts both attaching near the center of this rail and extending outward, giving the lights kind of a walleyed look. By flipping the sides, they attach closer to the edges of the cross member (which should give better rigidity) and the lights are grouped closer to the center.

Hereís the final product




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Old 07-19-2013, 12:13 AM   #3
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hey thats what my jeep looked like 6 months ago! looking good!

I find that anything black goes really well with the billet.

how crazy do you plan on going with this build?
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Old 07-19-2013, 12:45 AM   #4
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Switches & Wiring

For wiring up the lights, I wanted a distinctive look that was somewhat economical too. As much as I love the sPOD system, I couldnít swing $400-$500 just for switches so I set about doing the wiring the old fashioned way. I picked up a Rugged Ridge A-Pillar switch panel from Q.



Switch Panel
Rugged Ridge A-Pillar Switch Pod
From: Quadratec
Price: $26.99
URL: http://www.quadratec.com/products/97015_0112.htm

I didnít care for the default switches that it was designed to hold so I set about looking for something a little more refined that would fit the same footprint. I stumbled across a thread on WF that showed some custom laser cut switches from OTRATTW that fit the bill. The look of the rockers on these switches is very professional and for a modest price you can actually have custom rocker designs made.



Switches
Contura-V Switches w/ Custom Laser Cut Rockers
From: OTRATTW
Price: $70.75/Set of 4
URL: http://www.otrattw.net/Contura-V-SR/


I contacted Jim at OTRATTW (which stands for Over The River And Through The Woods, by the way) and asked about some custom designs. I wanted some novelty switches, but without the text that most of the standard fare had. He managed to find existing artwork for everything that I wanted, so he charged me the same price as an existing design. Between design discussions, fabrication, and shipping it took several weeks to have the switches in-hand, but I feel it was worth the wait.






Wiring Install


The wiring of the KCs was pretty straight forward. Everything you need for installation is in the box including relay, fuse, and plenty of wire.





Using zip ties, I ran the wire along the cross member and up through to the battery. I tucked in the relay next to the air filter and ran the wires for the switch into the cabin through a hole in the firewall under the passenger cowl.



The hole enters the cabin behind the dash and can be reached by removing the passenger side dash trim panel. I found the easiest way to open this panel was to push on the back to create a small gap at the front and wedge in a plastic putty knife. The plastic putty knife is soft enough that it doesnít gouge the trim.



To provide access to the engine compartment, you have to pierce some foam behind the firewall. I just used a screwdriver and it popped right through. I ran the wires along the underside of the dash through the center console inside some loom to keep things clean. I zip-tied the loom to the hardware or wiring bundles wherever possible to keep the switch wires secure.








Switch Install


Getting the Contura V switches into the A-pillar pod was a bit of a challenge. The switches fit the hole cutouts one-at-a-time, but the overhang on the rockers is too large to put the switches in side-by-side. The solution was to 'stretch' the holes a little bit. I pulled out a rasp and a couple of files and set to work. I ground the most material off of the top and bottom holes and less material off the inner two. This allowed the switches to spread out vertically. Making the holes larger, leaves a little gap around the switches that you can see if you hold the pillar up to a light. After installation though, itís completely unnoticeable.



Wiring up the switches



Getting the original A-pillar panel off was a royal PITA. Thereís a plastic trim screw that attaches the trim to the A-pillar near the top that is damn near impossible to take out. Iíve seen posts were others were able to get these screws out without damaging them, but after 30 minutes of fighting with it, I said screw it and got out the drill...



Now with the original panel finally off, I attached the new switch panel to the A-pillar. The panel felt pretty loose when I put it in place and didnít feel like it would be secure. I took the panel back off and noticed that Rugged Ridge didnít include the metal clip on the post that locks the panel into place (pretty lame). Instead, I gingerly took the clip off the original panel and put it on the new one. Everything clipped into place nice and snug.





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Old 07-19-2013, 12:53 AM   #5
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The 12V power for the switches was directly tied to the battery and the ground was attached to a bolt under the dash trim panel. The only remaining power line to run was for the accessory switch. Iíve read so many posts about issues with the canbus system that I was afraid to tap into anything but the cigarette lighter.

Instead of taking the whole dash off, I was able to pop the window switches out and remove the bolt to the lower dash panel. With a little prying and wiggling, I was able to pop out the lower dash panel enough to access the lighter wiring. I also found that taking out the glovebox made it easier to pipe the wiring up to the lighter.



The finished product




With the current wiring setup, the switches are all enabled fulltime. When the key is in the Acc position, the background lights of the switches are turned on. The blue LEDs in the switches are really bright. Others have complained about the blue being distracting at night, but it hasnít bothered me yet. Plus you can still clearly see the lights in the daytime (which I like).


Apollo Performance.


Headlights/Fogs only



Headlights/Fogs/Driving Lights




I forgot to take a high-beam vs driving light picture, but the driving lights are probably around twice as bright as the high beams at long range and give a better full field coverage.

Very happy with KCs and the OTRATTW switches
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweak View Post
hey thats what my jeep looked like 6 months ago! looking good!

I find that anything black goes really well with the billet.

how crazy do you plan on going with this build?
Thanks! I plan on going as far as I can before I spend all my cash and/or my wife's understanding. I'd love it to be a BadA$$ rock crawler, but I think that's years off...
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #7
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Rims & Tires

Rims & tires are the most expensive mod Iíve made to date, so I took my time shopping around looking for a deal. I had wanted a set of BF Goodrich KO 33/12.5R15, but I decided to go with 10.5s for cost, gas mileage, road noise, etc. I was really happy when I first got them home, but by that evening started to regret not getting the 12.5s. After a bunch of hoopla, I managed to get Discount to take the 10.5s back and give me the 12.5s instead. The upgrade cost me an extra $200, but Iím much happier with the look (although Iíve lost ~3-4 mpg with the swap). I havenít taken them offroad yet, but Iíll post pics when I do.


Before






First Round (33/10.5R15s)







Final (33/12.5R15s)








Rims
Blackrock Vipers 900S (15x8 - 3.75 Backspacing)
From: DiscountTire
Price: $135/each (x5)
URL: http://www.discounttire.com

Tires
BF Goodrich A/T KO (33x12.50R15)
From: DiscountTire
Price: $186/each (x5)
URL: http://www.discounttire.com

Lugs
Gorilla Spline Locking Lugs
From: DiscountTire
Price: $35/set
URL: http://www.gorilla-auto.com/the-system


A TeraFlex leveling kit is coming in the near future, but it may be a while before I make time to install it (considering I'm going to first have to figure out what I'm doing).

For now she may not be tall, but sheís got that fat rear I like on an American girl
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:51 PM   #8
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Looks great and nice writeup's!
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:33 AM   #9
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Thanks! It's a work in progress.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:02 AM   #10
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Great write up and looks great! Switches are awesome!
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:28 AM   #11
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It looks a lot better with the 33x12.50x15 then it did with the 10.50 tires. Great tire!! I've run that same tire and size on my Chevy P/U for over 15 years now and they wear like steel. I've only had to replace them twice over all that time. My first set was from before they were called KO's.

Great work on the switch pod.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:10 PM   #12
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I was going though this and the whole time I was hoping not to see black rims.

Jeep looks good, nice wri teup and pics.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:14 PM   #13
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:11 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone! Yeah the OTRATTW switches are pretty sweet. They're a little pricey for switches, but considering you can have a completely custom look for under $100, you can't beat em.

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