Ok - I've had my 2012 Wrangler 2 door Sport-S for 2 months now. I've got 6,000 miles on it - and have taken it off road into some pretty decent trails, so I figured it was high time I did a write up on what all I've done to it & my thoughts/opinions.
Starting with the "easy" stuff, I rattle canned the antenna black.
I had the 2 door windows & the hard top windows all tinted, as well as purchased tinted Bestop soft top windows.
I put in Jeep door sill guards.
I had a ProComp 2 1/2" lift installed. I know this lift gets a lot of bad reviews, but, if I had to guess, most of those were from people who use their Jeep as a daily driver and don't appreciate the stiffness. Well, I can say after taking it off-road, I'm very thankful for this lift. It performs absolutely AWESOME offroad.
I also put 16" ProComp 98 black gloss steel wheels on with 33" Nitto Trail Grappler tires. Those tires are VERY aggressive and very heavy. Once I aired them down from around 60psi that the shop inflated them to, my road smoothed down a lot. I'm still running around 38psi, but I believe I'm getting full tread use (did the chalk mark thing to check for even wearing). Balancing is a bit of a chore. Tried to have them balanced conventionally twice with wheel weights, and wasn't happy. Too much vibration at varying speeds. I went to the Dyna Beads - off road size - and now, they're decent, but still occasionally get a bit of vibration, usually around 70mph. For the most part - they ride smooth. They're also very quiet, but, with the added weight and what not - the ride is a bit rough at times, and I definitely notice some robbing of power. I do have the factory TPMS sensors in these tires and have zero issues with the beads and what not.
Off road - these tires are the bomb. The side wall tread makes it almost impossible to get stuck in mud.
In order to accomodate the larger tire, had a $75 spacer put onto the stock spare tire carrier on the tail gate. Not real crazy about all that weight on their, but it was do-able for the time being. This was short lived as I picked up a dedicated tire carrier, which I'll speak of shortly.
When its time to replace the tires, I "may" give the Duratracs a shot, if only to soften the ride, and increase mpg.
I used the AEV ProCal module to adjust my speedomoter. I'm dead nuts on as far as accuracy.
About 2 weeks into ownership, I noticed wetness on the driver side floor. This occured while the vehicle was standing still, parked in the driveway, while it rained. One trip to the dealership and a visit by their "specialist" and problem solved. He replaced the full door gasket on the driver side.
Had the Smittybilt SRC Side Armor side rails installed. Installer said there was zero wiggle room to get them on. Of course, he used a lift, which helped, and he did NOT have to make any grinds/cuts/modifications to get them to fit. They look great & are solid and functional. Used a heat gun to remove the big gaudy yellow Smittybilt logo piece that was affixed to each.
Ordered the Smittybilt XRC front (M.O.D.) and rear bumper, as well as the swing out tire carrier from Quadratec.
Rear bumper & tire carrier showed up a few days later. Installation was a bit fuzzy - as bolt measurements listed did not match up to what was sent - but we got'er done. 2 people in a driveway and a few beers. HOWEVER, the rear bumper was hitting on the passenger side corner of the tub. Not aligned - and we could not get it to align properly. A trip to the shop I use, and they removed the bumper, flipped the frame mounting plates opposite of what the instructions say to do, and they bored out all of the center mounting holes so there was plenty of adjustment room. Clearance is perfect on both sides now - and it looks and functions wonderfully. I do NOT reccomend the "washer spacer" fix I've read about people doing for this clearance issue, but, instead, yanking off the bumper and boring out your mounting holes to give you adjustment room so that it's mounted properly instead.
Swing out tire carrier was also lacking in directions, but we figured it out. There is "some" mild resistance when opening and closing the swing out carrier, but I imagine it will loosen up over time. I also anticipate adjusting it over time as I feel it will sag a little. The "pinch bolts" on the corner hinge piece are were the adjustment will be made. Tightening it will angle the swing out up; loosening it allows it to drop. Very snug fit when closing/locking it - and I anticipate the bushing may wear out sometime down the road, but for now - it holds the spare fine. No major rattles or anything like that. I chose to NOT use the 3rd tail light mount they included. It's not a requirement in Ohio - and it's one less thing to worry about.
As for the front XRC MOD bumper, the center section showed up fairly quickly, as well as the winch I ordered: Quadratec Q9000. Mounted the winch to the bumper before mounting the bumper to the vehicle. A little time consuming, but very easy to understand instructions - and, due to the weight of things, reccomend 2 people do the job. I received a $25 discount & $25 credit with Quadratec because of minor "blemishes" to this batch of winches. I don't notice ANY blemishes once mounted. While I prefer a black winch, the gray color of it does make it stand out & looks pretty bad ass. I center mounted my solenoid.
Winch is quiet and functions great. I've used it "in the wild" when I got my ride stuck in a deep mud hole at the bottom of a hill. Tied to a tree about 25 feet away and winched her uphill just fine. Very happy with this purchase and will remain so as long as it continues to work in the future.
Bull bar JUST arrived. Installed (no pic yet - stay tuned to my gallery uploads over the coming days). Some of the threaded holes were a challenge and needed to be tapped out. But, it's on there and looks good. STILL waiting for the end capss to arrive. Latest is end of my - but I'm not holding my breath. Really wish I had'em already.
First time I had the top off - I realized the factory speakers were shite and distorted to much. Had American Base speakers put into the dash & sound bar. Had a box made for a couple of subs in the rear. 2 amps - 1 for 4 speakers, and 1 for the sub. I've noticed my uConnect (prompts & calls) sounds like garbage now. But, I plan on replacing the tweeters soon and may have to do some tweaking of levels to get that sound quality back up to par. Overall, the sound is AWESOME, but, I noticed some vibration coming from the dome light plastic cover. Polyfill in the sound bar does NOT help with that. I'm using some gooey sound matting material in there now & it helps a bit. Also noticed a bit of a vibration with base in the driver side dash speaker. Have yet to trace it down, and it only happens occasionally, so I'm not too worried. This thing CRANKS now. Yes, I lost almost all of my little storage space when I had the sub box made/installed, but, I can at least still take down the soft top
And yes, I'm still using the factory head unit (the cheap basic one) and have no plans to replace it since it works just fine.
My current MPG's are around 14mpg. Could be worse I suppose. I have plenty of added weight and meaty tires - so it's expected. Overall, ride is ok - not as smooth or peppy as when I drove it off the lot - but, after finally getting it offroad - I will GLADLY trade off some on road comfort for some absolutely amazing off roading capability. This thing is a TANK and I love it!
Washing this thing off road is a bit of a challenge. Mud gets into everything everywhere! But we all knew that would happen, right? Still trying to figure how to get some "mud stains" off of the soft top & windows. I'm sure if I search/read some more, I'll find my answers.
Oh - and I built my own storage system for my hard top. I have a low ceiling garage. So, I took 4 eye bolts, 2 up front & 2 in the rear, mounted them to the overhead joists. I back my vehicle up between those, use ratches straps to elevate the top, pull out from under it - and then fix some padded 2x4's with eye bolts in them and place the 2x4's under the front & rear of the top - affix them to the overhead eyebolts with adjustable chain and there it will sit for the season. Works great and cost me about $60.
Some folks wonder why I'd take a perfectly good $30k vehicle, replace brand new components and then proceed to get it scratched up. My answer is to invite them along the next time I take it off road and they'll see. It's not just a nice looking mall crawler; it's a functional off road machine that gives me GREAT pleasure driving it and getting it dirty.
If anyone has any additional questions or would like me to take any pics of anything in particular, just ask!
PRE-WHEELING (But with at least PART of my XRC M.O.D. bumper)
I <3 MUD
TAKING A BREAK
LAKE COUNTY OFF ROAD GUYS & ME