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Old 11-09-2011, 04:46 PM   #1
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Stratigizing a very modest Jeep build

First, let me start off by saying this is my second go around with the TJ. I bought a '97 brand new and sank over 30 grand into it before I had to sell it. It had ARB's, SYE, 4.5 Terraflex, spacers, bumpers, the whole shooting match. Sold it because I couldn't keep making the payments, this was back in '01. Time passed, got married, had kids, kids grew a little, and my jeep addiction was apparent. By five the girls could tell the difference between a CJ-5 & 7, as well as a TJ. Last Christmas, Santa got the girls remote control jeeps...my youngest, Kendra (5YO), went to look out the window and said she was checking the driveway for the Jeep that Santa brought me...well that was about the sweetest thing anyone has ever said but it really got to my Wife.

Jeep's are not practical for a family of four, I know that, so I have always said me getting another jeep was a "someday" when we could afford to have a one as a second vehicle...well my Wife had different thoughts. She made it a point to find a local '05 Rubicon with low miles, (I'd been pretty specific in our past conversations about when it was time, this is what I'd be getting...) and scheduled a test drive. It was over...I fought it but since it was end of year the dealership gave us a deal I couldn't say no to.

So what all this preamble has been for is to explain why I want what I want. A rubi is great vehicle stock and it has been great ('cept a case of the DW that I had to cure) as a daily driver. I've got two booster seats in the back and handles on the roll bars to help the girls get in. It needs to stay the safe reliable daily driver it has been and I wouldn't change a thing except...I hit a deer.

Damage was minor, bent the grill a bit, busted a fog light and dented the passenger fender. The grill is easily repairable, the fog light is replaceable..it's the damned fender that is giving me fits. I'm having a problem replacing the stock unit with another stock unit, it's kind of unamerican. Therefore, I have started down the slippery slope of Jeep modification.

I know enough now to pick my destination before I start the journey:
  • I want 33's (or 285's) and have them covered
  • I want to leave the suspension as stock as possible
  • I'm gonna replace the bumpers eventually and mount a winch to the front and a trail-rack/tire carrier in the rear

For the moment, all I need to do is figure out the front fenders. (and here is where I start rambling) I'm looking at two options, the MCE flexible fender and the Metalcloaks. To get to the 33' tires with the MCE's will require a lift. To get to the 33' tires with the Metalcloaks requires a lot of money and rear flat fenders which, aesthetically, I am not a fan of. I am a huge fan of a stock suspension though and if I ever get around to doing the math, the MCE's plus the cost of doing the lift (right) might come close to the cost of the MC's. The other xfactor comes in when I start thinking about the bumpers I am gonna eventually get, they equal weight that the stock suspension will eventually sag under.

So there is the essence of my dilemma. It took me a while and a lot of money to get my previous lift dialed in to where I was comfortable with so I really like the idea of keeping it stock but as I add weight to the jeep, the springs are gonna need replacing anyway.

If you have an opinion, please weigh in. If you feel like I am making some false assumptions please let me know. Got a different idea? I'd be glad to hear it. Discussion about Jeeps is one of the best (and cheapest) things about them.

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Old 11-09-2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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Ah ha,, you learned quit a bit the first time around.. Been there done it, back in the 70's with an FJ 40.. Family came along, and that was that, till 97' and a new TJ,, then I heard rumors of the Rubicon, did no mods on the 97, waited and bought my rubi in March of 04... I decided upon building it as an excursion vehicle, and have since been to Gaspe' twice, Moab, the Rockies, and the Olympic Range.. ( going back to moab in may) I'm running 255/85/16s (33.2x11), keeping rim and tire size correct,, stock suspension with 1.75" Prothane spacers, and 1" prothane body lift.. With JKS disco, and so far no tire rub.. When the springs wear out, and they will, I'll replace them with the Old Man Emu 2" kit.. Here is a shot of my rubi,, goes anywhere I need to go, including some of the toughest black trails at Raush Creek, which for me, is a great place to test my gear.. Vid at utube. Rubicondon04, " Raush Creek what a blast". Good luck

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04' Rubi, with all the gizmos we need for long range excursions, / home modified excursion trailer;

96' Lexus 450, locked, loaded and ready to roll..
'12 VW New Beetle
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Old 11-09-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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Have you considered the AEV highline kit? That lets you run 33s and coupled with a 1" body lift and a Tummy Tuck gives you a good 4.5" more clearance at your lowest point and looks very clean and close to stock. I love the look, don't love the price of the highline kit.
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|2004 Jeep TJ "Green Machine"|4.0L 5 speed Dana44|33x12.50x15 Goodyear Duratracs|2.5" RC coils + 1.25" body lift|OME NitroSport shocks|4.56 gears|Skid Row Engine Skid|BCC Sliders|Currie AntiRock|
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:44 PM   #4
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I'm in a similar situation. My wife is daily driving the TJ. So far I've done a 1.25" BL, 1" MML, UCF Tummy Tuck and a Rockmen gas tank skid and 31s. I've got a bumper and winch plate for the front that will go on once I get a winch. I'm not going to lift it any higher for now. Once it's no longer her dd I may go with the OME 2" springs.
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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Our building philosophy's are very much the same. Looking at your rig, you hit every mark I'm looking to get to including that awesome trailer you are towing! I hope you don't mind but I probably will be picking your brain for a while to come. (Did I mention how awesome your trailer looks??)

Thanks much for the tire size, I'm not at that point yet but I was already thinking what would work with my Rubi rims.

With the spacer & body lift, did you need to do anything with the brake lines or t-case shifter lever?

This is my previous jeep back in '97 or '98 going across the Golden Crack in Moab...I did love this jeep!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubicondon53 View Post
Ah ha,, you learned quit a bit the first time around.. Been there done it, back in the 70's with an FJ 40.. Family came along, and that was that, till 97' and a new TJ,, then I heard rumors of the Rubicon, did no mods on the 97, waited and bought my rubi in March of 04... I decided upon building it as an excursion vehicle, and have since been to Gaspe' twice, Moab, the Rockies, and the Olympic Range.. ( going back to moab in may) I'm running 255/85/16s (33.2x11), keeping rim and tire size correct,, stock suspension with 1.75" Prothane spacers, and 1" prothane body lift.. With JKS disco, and so far no tire rub.. When the springs wear out, and they will, I'll replace them with the Old Man Emu 2" kit.. Here is a shot of my rubi,, goes anywhere I need to go, including some of the toughest black trails at Raush Creek, which for me, is a great place to test my gear.. Vid at utube. Rubicondon04, " Raush Creek what a blast". Good luck
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Old 11-10-2011, 03:52 PM   #6
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I hadn't heard of the AEV highline kit so thanks for bringing it up. It does have a look close to stock but it is spendy, 2K is what google came up with. If I compare it to the Metalcloaks I think that the MC's win by about $6-800 dollars. I don't mind the jeep not looking stock necessarily, I just want to maintain the stock drive train/suspension as much as possible.

I think a tummy tuck is definitively in the cards but it will be after I figure out what I am going to do with the fenders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by InvertChaos View Post
Have you considered the AEV highline kit? That lets you run 33s and coupled with a 1" body lift and a Tummy Tuck gives you a good 4.5" more clearance at your lowest point and looks very clean and close to stock. I love the look, don't love the price of the highline kit.
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:43 PM   #7
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I installed a 2.5" OME suspension lift (coils, shocks, tcase drop, bumpstop extensions) on this 06 and it is running the 285/75/16 tires on stock Moab wheels you see pictured.
I would say this would be a great option for you to fit the tires. With the MCE's it would be a great setup overall.

You would have a better than stock ride that does not affect the rest of the suspension too much, room to fit the tires you want, and strength to support heavy accessories.

The "Heavy Duty" kit runs $699.95 from northridge4x4
Northridge4x4 Jeep Parts: TJ/LJ Rubicon & Unlimited Lift Kits


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Old 11-10-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
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You also might check with some local 4x4/fab shops. There is a guy in WV that does an awesome high-line job with custom tube fenders.
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Old 11-11-2011, 06:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whytenoise
Our building philosophy's are very much the same. Looking at your rig, you hit every mark I'm looking to get to including that awesome trailer you are towing! I hope you don't mind but I probably will be picking your brain for a while to come. (Did I mention how awesome your trailer looks??)

Thanks much for the tire size, I'm not at that point yet but I was already thinking what would work with my Rubi rims.

With the spacer & body lift, did you need to do anything with the brake lines or t-case shifter lever?

This is my previous jeep back in '97 or '98 going across the Golden Crack in Moab...I did love this jeep!
No, didn't have to move anything else,, except transfer case lever, and those parts came with the prothane body lift, I also had to move the fan shroud, easy stuff just raise it and redrill the holes.. Also, I did the body lift on a hot day, so the fuel filler line would stretch out without removing it.. I can't think of any thing else.. Later on I will get the OME springs, and most likely some adjustable arms, but hey, why fix it till it's broke? Pm me any time brother!!
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04' Rubi, with all the gizmos we need for long range excursions, / home modified excursion trailer;

96' Lexus 450, locked, loaded and ready to roll..
'12 VW New Beetle
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:10 PM   #10
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Well cyber-Monday/Black Friday had me buying the Quadratec ARB bumper, an Engo 10K winch with synthetic line, and a red optima battery. I went with the MCE fenders, they are in a box waiting for me to figure out a place I can use to install them. (I miss my garage!) Took a road trip down to Denver before Thanksgiving and also bought some Hella 500FF fog lights to replace the existing one. (the other one was a victim of the deer strike)

The OME lift is definitively in the cards...it all depends on how goofy the wide MCE's look on a stock Rubicon and $$$.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rubicondon53 View Post
No, didn't have to move anything else,, except transfer case lever, and those parts came with the prothane body lift, I also had to move the fan shroud, easy stuff just raise it and redrill the holes.. Also, I did the body lift on a hot day, so the fuel filler line would stretch out without removing it.. I can't think of any thing else.. Later on I will get the OME springs, and most likely some adjustable arms, but hey, why fix it till it's broke? Pm me any time brother!!
Thanks for taking the time to respond, sorry I didn't thank you sooner! I'm trying to stick to the "don't fix it until it's broke" philosophy as well but I just ordered a bumper to replace my "not even dented" stock one. I justified it because of the integrated winch mount. I do a lot of solo exploring in the back woods and a winch has been on my "required" list. Still it is a SLIPPERY slope once you start changing stuff!

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