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Old 11-21-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
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Mistakes of a Noob. If I can help future noobs, I'll be happy.

This is a bit of a rant... just a fair warning.

If I may, I'd like to preface this with a little bit about myself. I'm 36 years old, and a professional land surveyor in CA & NV. Never really grew up in an "outdoorsy" kind of family outside of work, although I fell in love with camping and everything that goes with it in a big way. I'm a big motorcycle enthusiast, which is to say I have one of almost every type in my garage, all heavily modified. That being said, I've never been a car modify type of guy. My 1st vehicle was a 1970 Chevy, had a Geo in my early 20's (say nothing...) and a Tacoma that I drove for 13 years. All of which, I simply changed fluids and brakes myself, you know, general maintenance and upkeep. My wife has an F-350 4-door long bed, and up until my JK, that's the most I've ever modified a vehicle. Tinted windows, nicer rims and some running boards.

About 18 months ago, I was looking at my Tacoma and realized that it didn't work for me and a family of 4. We went on a trip into the Sierras where my father in law let me, the wife and kids take his TJ up some of the trails just to mess around. That was it for me. The search was on for a Jeep, what a blast. I ended up finding an 09 JK that already had a winch and roof-rack with a 2.5" Teraflex coil lift installed, and it was perfect. At the time...

I said, "Don't need much more. Don't want any more. Period." Then I went wheeling a bit on my own. Tires? They needed to have more tread. And they needed to be bigger. The stock smaller tires couldn't take the trails I was trying to go through. Well then guess what, the stock gearing didn't work well anymore. 3.21's? No. I need 4.10's to go with the larger 255/75R17's KM's that were put on there. Wait, the guy at 4wheelparts said I would have an even better time with differentials... Really? Okay, yeah. I'll buy that. But I'm not a rock crawling guy, not really interested in that. Besides, doesn't the JK already have a brake-lock diff that helps with loss of traction? He say's "yeah, but it's not very good." It seemed a bit rough, but it also seemed to work. So, I asked around on the forum a bit, the TT's seemed like that they would work and probably get me through some tougher stuff. A few guys mentioned spending the money on lockers. Pfft, I'm not a rock crawling guy so $2,500... dropped. 4.10's and TT's, done.

I wheeled some more, and learned more about my Jeep. A lot more. The more I took it out, the bigger and larger things I wanted to try. It was like my younger days on the 2-stroke Kawasaki. I saw a jump, had to hit it. Saw a bigger jump, well I had to hit it too.

Now I'm noticing that the bigger and harder trails that I'm trying, it's dawning on me that it might be nicer with a bit bigger tires. More traction, a little more cushion, yeah. Definitely. Well, need to get some rims with less backspacing, or I'm gonna be rubbin' a ton. Wait, what's going on with the TT's? ooohhhh... they don't work when a wheel is off the ground unless you modulate the brake a ton. SO, I spent $1,200 bills on something I basically already had in the stock JK. And money on gears that I want to replace already to accommodate bigger tires. And now I want a better suspension upgrade to handle larger trails with bigger tires, and a NV241OR is starting to sound nice as well...

w...t...f...

Guys, take it from a Noob s&%thead. Be honest with yourself. I dropped a lot of coin absolutely convinced that I didn't need or want anything more in a Jeep than just to get me around and up a few trails, and it very quickly grew into a lot more. I didn't wheel my Jeep enough from the start, and I rushed into a lot of things without putting any serious forethought into it, or seriously considering the advice that some of the Vets on these forums were giving me. Long story short, I didn't think there is any way a Jeep was going to grow on me to the point that I would want to tackle trails like the Rubicon, or Miller, or even Sherman Pass here in CA. and that it would become such an addiction. Yet here I am, gearing up to spend even more coin because I didn't take the advice of those who had been there and done that, and most importantly, I wasn't honest with myself.

If you even have to ask/say to yourself, "am I gonna want more?", "Man that guys Jeep looks hardcore, I kinda want to try that" or you find yourself watching a ton of YouTube videos on rock crawling, the answer is unequivocally YES, you will. Take your time, listen to yourself, and listen to the guys who have been doing this a while. But mostly, wheel what you have from the start, as much as you can. You are going to learn more doing that on your own and with a group than any questions you can ask of a shop or forums until you get into the real nitty-gritty and need technical advice. Do this. You'll save yourself a lot of time and $.

Sorry for the long winded email, I had to get it off my chest and the absolute last person I can vent to is my wife. Accomplishing future goals with this Jeep is going to be one seriously delicate operation with her... I'll get there. With or without my ass remains to be seen.


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Old 11-21-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:40 PM   #3
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Great.. Setting realistic expectations.. I my self baught a 08 jkur about 2 months ago and it came with a TF 2.5 BB .. Tires are low on tread and first choice will be throwing in 35s but sticking with 4.10s in there as long as possible ... Between mods like rockers, bumpers , winches (all in the future) i know ill ultimately need a bigger lift ... Ill be riding her until i cant any more and then decide
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:54 PM   #4
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I know how the op feels. My Jeep can empty my wallet quicker than my wife. And she can empty it pretty dam quick.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Great post!
People really do need to be honest with themselves. The hard part is that we can't see the future.

I'm the opposite.
After several years of owning a KJ, I purchased my JK knowing I would do very little wheeling. A year later, I've found that I use the Wrangler exactly the way I thought I would....and that includes very little wheeling.

But I also know that if I were to ever get into off-roading....it would probably be in an old YJ instead of my DD JK.
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Old 11-21-2013, 10:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for being honest with the forum. Great read and very funny (in a good way).

Drive it, research it, plan it, build it.

Step 1-3 to repeat until you're ready for step 4.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:27 PM   #7
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I love your rant, well done. The only advice I can offer to someone else caught up in this downward spiral is make damn sure you have a comfortable couch. Or a spare room, believe it or not "Spare Roomed" is an actual term in our house.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:03 AM   #8
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Been there. Done that.

My first real "off road" experience was the Rubicon Trail. Took my friends wife's new stock TJ out for a Saturday. Had no idea what we were doing. Didn't bring any supplies, we actually planned on making the whole run in a couple hours. After getting stuck sideways between a rock and a tree, and using the scissor jack, we made it only about 1.5 ,miles into the trail before we turned around. Took 5 hours to go that far.

So, got educated fast on differentials, tire pressure, bead locks, sway bars, skid plates, articulation, fuel management, rock bars, winches, hi-lift jacks, come-a-longs, recovery straps, body armor, transfer cases, gear ratios, etc etc

Built up a 72 Blazer that I used for several years to great success, that was 20 years ago.

Now after running sports cars for the past 15 years, I am back in the Jeep world. I am telling myself that I am not planning on rock crawling this time, but . . . . . . . .

So, good advice.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:58 AM   #9
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Yup. Bought a 99 TJ 3 months ago with a 3" body lift. I was OK with the body lift because I didn't plan on off roading. Wrong!

I went off road once and am now looking for a suspension lift. Problem is the Jeep has 173k on her and not sure if it's worth it...engine runs super strong but not sure if I should make the investment. Yesterday I started looking for 2006 TJ with low miles that I can keep forever.

Anyone want to buy a 99 TJ with 173k? :-)
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:05 AM   #10
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Hahahahaha!!!!!! Welcome to the club!!!!!! Been there, done that!!!
Ain't going back!!!
Come, follow me!! Note my license plate... I am real good at spending other peoples money on their JEEP's
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:41 AM   #11
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Cool Off road vehicles?

It seems to me the original concept for a 4WD, WAS off road. Willy's Jeeps, Toyota Landcruisers, etc, everything in this genre post WWII was meant for heavy duty, no frills, work.

Now it's road first, creature comforts, and if you're willing to spend the $40k off the bat you get the Rubicon, but 4 Door option? for an off roader? Sure if you want to carry a squad into the jungle, but I don't think you'd taking the wife, kid(s), and the dog(s) rock crawling .

The Rubicon comes with A/C!, Leather Seats!, Anti-Theft!, Fuel-Injection!, ABS!, Traction Control!, Stability Control!, BLD!, it's ELECTRONIC! OMG What is the world coming to!



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Old 11-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Undermoose View Post
It seems to me the original concept for a 4WD, WAS off road. Willy's Jeeps, Toyota Landcruisers, etc, everything in this genre post WWII was meant for heavy duty, no frills, work. Now it's road first, creature comforts, and if you're willing to spend the $40k off the bat you get the Rubicon, but 4 Door option? for an off roader? Sure if you want to carry a squad into the jungle, but I don't think you'd taking the wife, kid(s), and the dog(s) rock crawling . The Rubicon comes with A/C!, Leather Seats!, Anti-Theft!, Fuel-Injection!, ABS!, Traction Control!, Stability Control!, BLD!, it's ELECTRONIC! OMG What is the world coming to!
Back in the day there wasnt much pavement so most of those things you mentioned werent of much use and drivers could DRIVE unlike many people now-a-days.. And for DD my self i like the added features for comfort (dont have leather though) .. Off road i can care less
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:40 AM   #13
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For the record....I love stability control and ABS, ask me how I felt when my 1998 TJ (neither of the nannies) went sideways on an icy bridge and through a sheer act of god was not seriously injured. I was out playing with the ABS and stability control in the snow and ice this am on my new Rubi...wonderful stuff!

The OP makes a good point that I would like to expand upon...we went the progressive route with our TJ....doing a Jeep Jamboree 1-2 times per year, and adding a lift, tires, bumpers and eventually lockers. As the difficulty of the trails diminished because of our increased capabilities....kinda, so did the fun. I found myself leaving the lockers off unless I was absolutely stuck, mostly because the challenge is half of the fun.

And then there is a point where you can go to far...after I put a lift and bigger, more aggressive tires on our FJ Cruiser....my wife accused me of ruining its highway behavior (which we use it 90% of the time for). She was right...the mud tires were switched out for NItto Terras which improved the manners a bit. She still hates the lift but I am not going to do anything about that.

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Old 11-22-2013, 10:18 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RMD3 View Post
Yup. Bought a 99 TJ 3 months ago with a 3" body lift. I was OK with the body lift because I didn't plan on off roading. Wrong!

I went off road once and am now looking for a suspension lift. Problem is the Jeep has 173k on her and not sure if it's worth it...engine runs super strong but not sure if I should make the investment. Yesterday I started looking for 2006 TJ with low miles that I can keep forever.

Anyone want to buy a 99 TJ with 173k? :-)
That '99 may very well outlast an '06. '06's have the OPDA issue, and the engines were built with worn out tooling since the I-6 was being discontinued. Look for a low mileage '01 to '04 I-6 with the 5 speed.
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #15
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If you spend any time around any of the more complicated trails, like Rubicon, you start to notice the people that went too far, their jeeps are on a trailer, being towed by their DD, because they have so many mods that they are not comfortable, (or legal) to drive on the road anymore.

I think there is a happy medium. But, the point is enjoy what you have. :-)
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:03 AM   #16
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OP, this is a great Thread.
I have also been there with a 1974 CJ5, which I purchased from a one owner in 1980.
My wallet was always empty, because I always wanted to make my CJ5 better, both looking and performance wise. So that was my big learning mistake.
I had a fortune tied up in it and really took a bath on it when I sold it.
SO I AIN'T GOING TO DO THAT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!

When I purchased my 2003 TJ, my additional spending was only for tires and servicing.

My new 2013 Rubicon is currently Factory stock and will remain stock. It does everything and more as that I currently need in my Ride..........
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Old 11-22-2013, 11:27 AM   #17
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Don't feel too bad; i ended up with my Jeep because my bike rack didn't fit on the trunk of my work car...

-I might has well get a beater so i can haul the bike around without damaging the work car.
<2 weeks later>
-It should be 4wd so i can get to trailheads in the winter or down unpaved roads, maybe an old Tacoma or something?
<2 weeks later>
-Well i want an enclosed cabin so my stuff doesn't get rained/snowed on.
<2 weeks later>
-I've always liked Jeeps, i bet i could pick up a Cherokee or old Wrangler for cheap. I should look for a forum to get info from.
<2 weeks later>
-I think an old Wrangler would be a better fit, they cost HOW much?!
-Well sh*t, if i'm dropping that kind of cash, i might has well get one in decent shape.
-These forum people seem to have fun off-roading, maybe i'll try that...

So yeah. 2 years later I'm riding 2 wheels up a rock face with this stupid grin on my face, and the bike hasn't moved in months!
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:38 PM   #18
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That '99 may very well outlast an '06. '06's have the OPDA issue, and the engines were built with worn out tooling since the I-6 was being discontinued. Look for a low mileage '01 to '04 I-6 with the 5 speed.
Yes, it is very unfortunate, that some of the TJ owners don't understand, or chose to ignore how serious the OPDA issue is in the 2005 and 2006 TJ 4.0 engines.
What's ever worse is that, Chrysler/Jeep has never owned up to my knowledge, that a issue even exists! I'm not sure that there is even a factory reliable fix.

Anyway, enough being said, since we are in the JK section!
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:42 PM   #19
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Smile

You guys are great. I knew I was amongst people who would understand my pains and woes.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rgwinn View Post
If you spend any time around any of the more complicated trails, like Rubicon, you start to notice the people that went too far, their jeeps are on a trailer, being towed by their DD, because they have so many mods that they are not comfortable, (or legal) to drive on the road anymore.

I think there is a happy medium. But, the point is enjoy what you have. :-)
My JEEP rides on a trailer a LOTprimarily because I didn't spend $500 per tire for off road tires to wear them out going up and down the highway. But it does drive very nice at highway speeds except for out of balance tires start to get annoying over 60MPH
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:19 PM   #21
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Did i mention my recent quadratec shoppin? I always wanted a winch and bumpers but...decided to get a front bumper. But oh i can save 50 bucks with the purchase of a winch. Oh but it has foglight holes. Bought the factory option foglight system. But you have to change a stalk to install it and pull the steering wheel....well i always wanted cruise control....bought that to....

Wtf??

The only good thing i did was paid the jeep payment up 3 months early today... heh
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgwinn View Post
If you spend any time around any of the more complicated trails, like Rubicon, you start to notice the people that went too far, their jeeps are on a trailer, being towed by their DD, because they have so many mods that they are not comfortable, (or legal) to drive on the road anymore.

I think there is a happy medium. But, the point is enjoy what you have. :-)
At what point does this happen??
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:40 PM   #23
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I bought my 2014 2 door so I could fit my RC plane inside. The Miata was just too small lol (traded her in!).
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:03 PM   #24
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Thanks Flyin for your post, this is exactly the type of info I've been looking for. I'm in the same boat you were a year and a half ago.
My recent post. A little different tire/lift question - 37's
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:40 PM   #25
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This thread hits so close to home lol.

Wanted a used JK 2 door... realized how much they were and went with a new one. Went with the most basic (6 spd, a/c, 3.73) since I knew I wanted aftermarket 16" wheels and 33" tires.

I am telling myself no lift. Quadratec and this forum have made me want a winch, bumper, cage/roof rack, and lights.

Oh wait your front will sag with the extra weight of the bumper/winch. Might need a leveling kit. Oh wait again, don't waste your money there, the bug will bite and you'll definitely want a coil lift.

Thanks to this community and jeep resale values, what was supposed to be a 15k vehicle (what I THOUGHT a newer used JK would cost) to 24k + 10k potentially in mods. Luckily I've accepted being broke for this hobby. Ignorance is bliss
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:37 AM   #26
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I'm glad to see that I'm not alone... I have a one month old (to me) 2011 JK Sport. My first Quadratrec mag came in the mail a few days ago and I've already spent a few G's in my head.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:28 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEEPDON View Post
My JEEP rides on a trailer a LOTprimarily because I didn't spend $500 per tire for off road tires to wear them out going up and down the highway. But it does drive very nice at highway speeds except for out of balance tires start to get annoying over 60MPH
I am not sure how I would sell that one to my wife, honey, I now need a trailer and a tow rig . . .


But, I hear you, there were a couple guys that swapped out their wheel sets at the trail head.

I worked with a guy at the South Tahoe PUD that was a past president of the Tahoe 4WD Club. He was a genius Jeep Mechanic, he towed an off road trailer behind him with a welder and enough tools and parts to fix just about anything.

Have to say there is nothing better than watching a nicely setup jeep run through the Little Sluice.
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Old 11-23-2013, 02:31 AM   #28
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At what point does this happen??
Well, hopefully everyday you get behind the wheel and realize you are driving a frigging JEEP!
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:27 AM   #29
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Well, hopefully everyday you get behind the wheel and realize you are driving a frigging JEEP!
Isnt that why it says jeep in big chrome letters on the steering wheel?

But at what point is a modded jeep not streetable? How does this happen? Are these people just weird? What would be the point in a jeep that cant go anywhere? The street is part of anywhere!
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #30
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This thread hits so close to home lol.

Wanted a used JK 2 door... realized how much they were and went with a new one. Went with the most basic (6 spd, a/c, 3.73) since I knew I wanted aftermarket 16" wheels and 33" tires.

I am telling myself no lift. Quadratec and this forum have made me want a winch, bumper, cage/roof rack, and lights.

Oh wait your front will sag with the extra weight of the bumper/winch. Might need a leveling kit. Oh wait again, don't waste your money there, the bug will bite and you'll definitely want a coil lift.

Thanks to this community and jeep resale values, what was supposed to be a 15k vehicle (what I THOUGHT a newer used JK would cost) to 24k + 10k potentially in mods. Luckily I've accepted being broke for this hobby. Ignorance is bliss
I paid 16k for my used jeep. Maybe have 4 grand in mods.

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