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Old 02-06-2014, 06:31 PM   #1
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Jeepin Jesse's Billet Build

I figured it's time to start my build thread. I have the core build decided and most of the parts in already. I will start this weekend on some of the smaller items myself. Then it goes into the shop on Mon for lift and wheels/tires. I thought about tackling the lift on my own, but I just moved last weekend and do not need a 20hr project right now!

My goal in this thread is to share the info and experiences I have along the way so other members can learn from me and the research I do, as I do from them (giving back to the community ).

Here is my canvas. A new 2013 Billet Silver JKU Sahara with a loaded interior and max tow (3:73 gears).




Here is the initial build list and most will get executed in the next week. I'll add a few notes on why I chose each.

Lift: AEV 3.5" DualSport SC w/ Teraflex front swaybar quick disconnects
AEV because it will be mostly run on road and I want "better than stock" handling, ride, etc. It seems like AEV has put a lot of engineering work and time into this system (I'm a Mechanical Design Engineer so I know what that takes). It is a system including progressive rate springs, custom tuned shocks, high steer, Procal, and all necessary suspension geometry changes. I went 3.5 over 2.5 because I don't want to regret not going high enough and I want extra off-road capability and option for 37's. I went SC instead of RS (remote res shock) because I found them unnecessary for my use. I added the swaybar disconnects for easy off-road transition.

Rims: 17" Fuel Trophy's (black wheel with Anthracite ring)
I was suck on 18's for a while, but all the shops talked me out of it due to performance, cost, and tire availability. Trophy's...because they look Bad A$$!!

Tires: 35" Goodyear Duratrac 315/70/17
These were a tough decision and ultimately I went the practical route. I really like the look of the BFG KM2's, but they cost about $100 more each and have about half the life, are louder on road and bad in snow and rain. The one shop highly recommended Duratracs and I read lots of good reviews. They are aggressive looking, long lasting, perform great off road, and reasonably priced. I was considering Toyo Open Country MT because the shop I ended up with runs them on everything, but they were not available.
I chose 35 over 37 because I didn't want to have to start beefing up axles, joints, Diff, etc right away too. Can always upgrade!

Tire Carrier: Teraflex HD Hinge Carrier and Adjustable mount
I didn't want a bumper mount because it's just one more thing to open.

Other Misc:
Front Grabars
Jeep Fuel Door cover
Spyder Black LED Tail Lights
Shorty Antena
Polyfill in speaker bar and sub enclosure
Plastidip the inside of the tailgate and maybe the grill

Future wishlist:
3rd brake light
front side window tint to match rear
Full width Front Bumper with tube - either AEV, RockHard, or OR-Fab
Matching rear bumper
matching steel step/rock rails
LED bar on front bumper
Soft Top or bikini top
Rigid D2's on A-pillar
Grill inserts
Fuel caddy on TF tire carrier
Banks or Airaid air intake
some kind of exhaust system (if I can find one I like the sound of)
speaker upgrade

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Old 02-06-2014, 06:48 PM   #2
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I wanted to add one issue I found notable to mention or open for discussion. First a little background…The initial shop I chose and planned my build with had horrible response time. In short, I called them about 4 times over a 2 week period AFTER I had stopped in and planned the build. They didn’t make any progress in checking part availability and pricing. So I just stopped calling (so did they, go figure) and went to a new shop that had great customer service, but………The sales manager tried to steer me away from the AEV Geometry Correction Brackets. He said that he had seen them come in to the shop loose and causing noise numerous times. This was a safety concern of his and he also “thought” the right way to correct Geo was with adjustable control arms.

So I then decided with him on the AEV lift, but scrap the Geo brackets and add TF 8 Adjustable Control Arms. I was excited to have the beefy TF arms added. Then the Engineer in me started thinking about the Geo and wondering if these would counteract the design work AEV put into their system. After some research and a long phone call with AEV, I decided to stick with the brackets and ditch the CA’s. The CA's would have added brake dive, reduced ride quality, increased wear on linkages and drive shaft. I wont go into technical details. You can just follow the link to AEV site below to read more. Also the AEV rep said he had never heard of the brackets loosening up. He was actually pretty unhappy with the shop's bad advice.

American Expedition Vehicles - Brute Kit, V8 HEMI, Aftermarket Jeep Conversions, Products, Wheels, Accessories and Highline Kits for Jeeps (TJ, JK, WK, XK).

Lessons learned and shared: Don't trust the shops advice. Do your own homework and make your own decisions. Use the forum and product manufactures to help you fill in the technical gaps. Also the AEV Geo Brackets are not a cheap replacement or corner cut for Adj CA's. They are a different option depending on what you want to get out of your rig and your application.

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Old 02-09-2014, 05:58 PM   #3
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Installed the Grabars yesterday and filled the sub enclosure and sound bar with polyfill. I'm pretty happy with the Grabars. I was worried they would be too big or disrupt sightline, but they don't. They will definitely be nice once lifted! One note for future installers....the bolts go in a little tight because of the leftover threadlock from the factory bolts. So if it gets too tight, just back it back out and clean out the bolt threads. It might take a couple iterations, but eventually it clears up and goes in.

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I don't think the Polyfill really made much of a difference. It is hard to compare though. If anything it maybe softened up the sound a little so you get a fuller sound (if that makes sense) and not just open hard notes. It may have muffled the sub a little too. I will leave in for now. I plan to upgrade sub eventually. I'll post pictures of the speakers below. I'm not too excited with the sub build quality. I don't see how this is Alpine! The sound bar speaker quality looks a little better with a poly cone, not paper like the sub. See pics below.

Here is the Alpine sub.
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Here is the sound bar speaker.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:48 AM   #4
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Installed the Teraflex HD Tire carrier and Hinge tonight. I won't post any pictures or many details since there is plenty out there already.

The TF directions are about as detailed and good as they can get without any pictures or diagrams. I should have looked on the forums and Youtube first though, as it would have saved a little time.

The one thing I didn't anticipate was needing having to press the studs into the carrier. Since I don't have a press, I had to improvise as the TF video showed. I ended up using an old open end wrench as a spacer with 2 fender washers on top. Then I used an air impact and the long lug nuts in the kit to pull the stud through. I had to be careful not to ruin the threads which required backing out and checking multiple times. This method worked fine, but I doubt doing it by hand would be very fun. You would need a pretty large vice and breaker bar or tire iron.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quick question:

Do the GraBars on the driver side block the microphone grill in the top left corner?
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quick question:

Do the GraBars on the driver side block the microphone grill in the top left corner?
Nope. It's pretty close, but shouldn't affect it unless your hand is up there on the Mic.

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Old 02-10-2014, 06:40 PM   #7
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Dropped out off at the shop this morning for lift and tires. Should have it back tomorrow evening already. I can't handle the anticipation!!
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jeepin Jesse View Post
Nope. It's pretty close, but shouldn't affect it unless your hand is up there on the Mic.

Attachment 753193
Thanks for the pic !!
Much appreciated. Finalized my decision to get some of these.

Look fwd to following your build.
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:45 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jeepin Jesse View Post
I'm pretty happy with the Grabars...
Question for you. I like these and I've been eyeballing a set for some time. I like your pics and explanation of fit/finish.

Is your primary intention to use these to assist in getting in/out of the jeep once lifted, or as alternative OS handles when off road or what? Trying to figure out if I need these or just want them.

I already have some roll bar velcro grab bars but these are more elegant.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:23 PM   #10
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Is your primary intention to use these to assist in getting in/out of the jeep once lifted, or as alternative OS handles when off road or what?
Snarf, my intention was for assistance with enter and exit once the 5-6" of lift was added. I didn't want my wife to bitch every time she got in, and I didn't want myself to be sliding on the leather and wearing it out.

I already have the Jeep grab handles on the roll bar. I assume these are like your velcro's. To me, these are almost nonfunctional (maybe as a light duty OS handle) since they are not rigid and sit back too far on the door frame. The Grabars will work great as OS handles too.

I was actually going to add the Synergy handles, but wasn't a fan of the install process. I didn't feel like chopping up the plastic, though I have seen some people do a nice job with a hole saw and rubber grommet and I still really like this look. I just wanted something quick. Also I think the powder coat and rubber handles look a lot cleaner.
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Old 02-11-2014, 12:29 PM   #11
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I forgot to mention that my shop told me that all the proceeds from Grabars goes to charity. I tried to verify this online quick, but couldn't find anything. So not sure if it's true or not, but that would be pretty cool and another reason to buy them.

If only we could tell our wives that all our jeep upgrades were for charity! LOL!
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jeepin Jesse View Post
I didn't want myself to be sliding on the leather and wearing it out...

I was actually going to add the Synergy handles, but wasn't a fan of the install process. I didn't feel like chopping up the plastic...Also I think the powder coat and rubber handles look a lot cleaner.
Sold! Ordering a set today. I like the look of the powder coat and reverse-ability of the procedure if necessary. My leather is already starting to wear a bit though I'm cautious every time I get in and out and clean/treat it regularly with Lexol products. Sigh. Maybe these buy me a year or two of nice looking leather.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:34 PM   #13
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Lift Installed!!
I don't want to post a review on ride and handling just yet since I just drove it home from the shop and to work this morning. I will wait until I get a little more time with it. The one thing I notice right away is there is literally no brake diving! This is thanks to AEV Geo Correction. Road noise is increased a little from tires and more wind resistance, but barely noticeable.

These are with the 4 stock wheels and tires loaded in the back dropping the back about 3/4".
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This is this morning with the wheels unloaded
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New Spyder LED taillights I installed last night. Very happy with these! I posted a more detailed review in this thread.
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/po...-328121-2.html
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:44 PM   #14
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Looking good! Nothing better than getting new parts installed. You'll love the duratracs, had mine for 8k miles now and love em'.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:29 PM   #15
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Looks extremely good man, I love that color!
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:34 AM   #16
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Thanks guys!
Here's my latest mod!!
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I was at a show today for work and they laser marked my phone! Why wouldn't I get my WF tag on there?
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:51 AM   #17
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Lol, nice.

Jeep looks great! The Bilstiens will soften up after awhile also. I love my AEV lift. Make sure you're not running max pressure in those new tires from the shop, it will be stiff as hell. I run my Dura's between 30-32.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:10 AM   #18
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Quote"Lessons learned and shared: Don't trust the shops advice. Do your own homework and make your own decisions. Use the forum and product manufactures to help you fill in the technical gaps. Also the AEV Geo Brackets are not a cheap replacement or corner cut for Adj CA's. They are a different option depending on what you want to get out of your rig and your application."


************************************************** ********
You were wise to call and talk to the AEV rep, contrary to what some people think they install their products all day long for builds all over the world for Jeeps only. Their R&D in my opinion is the best in the industry. So I guess it goes without saying they know their products. I am sure AEV was not happy with your installer or sales managers advice.

Personally I would have found a another AEV distributor/installer to do the work and left that shop if you did not trust their work. Not sure what the sales manager was thinking? Hopefully they torqued and installed everything properly. Rolling down the super-slab or out on the trails the last thing anyone wants to think about is was suspension installed properly. For safety sake and the big $$$ you spent it needs to be perfect and dialed in. AEV does not recommend changing their lift components for many well researched & studied "engineering" reasons. Wise decision to call AEV and avoid "Frankenlift" JMO. I am very happy with my AEV 3.5" SC, best of luck with your build.

Great color choice! Time to add the AEV front and rear bumpers!
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:32 PM   #19
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Personally I would have found a another AEV distributor/installer to do the work and left that shop if you did not trust their work. Not sure what the sales manager was thinking? Hopefully they torqued and installed everything properly.
This is a very good point. Actually AEV recommend I switch shops too and suggested a new one. Unfortunately I had already put $4k down and they ordered everything. It did worry me a bit, but I checked over the lift and referenced with AEV instructions and other pics. I think they did a good job and the techs know their $hit. They just are focussed heavy on off road and will sacrifice on road.

One thing I'm not sure about....I had them install the TF font sway bar quick disconnects and these are way long with high steer brackets. So my sway bar is at a high angle. Not sure of this really matters, but I plan on calling AEV about it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:07 PM   #20
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I enjoyed reading your build thread. Nice job! Your Jeep looks great. I'm very interested in reading your review on how the Jeep performs with the 315 Duratracs and the 3.73's. I'm planning the exact same build (except using Fuel Anza wheels) and can't decide if I should regear now or if I can wait.
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Old 02-16-2014, 10:23 PM   #21
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Great looking Jeep! I had a very similar story with supposed "pro" advice in regards to the AEV brackets. Went ahead and installed them on my wife's 13 JK Sport (which came with a 3" BDS lift and 35s from the dealer). The brackets made such a ridiculous improvement to the JK (highway and bumpy road) handling, ride quality, and braking that I added them to the package of products used to lift my 13 JKUR too. No regrets so far. I'll check them periodically and before and after wheeling to make sure they aren't giving any play. The AEV engineering is valid. The brackets do something which adjustable controls arms can't, adjustable control arms do what brackets can't. I will probably add adjustable CAs later on but I will wait until I experience a perceived need before I take that step.
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Old 02-17-2014, 02:46 AM   #22
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Added Delta Lug Nut 3rd brake lights last night.
Install was a little more work than expected. Directions say to splice in inside the tailgate. I wanted to keep the nice grommet coming out so I spliced outside and soldered the connection and used heatshrink to eliminate any water issues. The kit requires you to use some nylon washers to space your wheel out and allow the wires some room. The washers' ID were not large enough to fit over the TF carrier studs so I had to ream them out with a drill bit. I just grabbed all 3 at once with a vice grip. Then since I'm so anal, I decided to readjust the carrier in a little bit to make up for the space the washers push the tire out (3/16"). I should have just left it cause that was a PITA. I'm happy with the way it turned out. You can't even really see the lights when off, and they are plenty bright when on.

Here are some pics. First is a little blurry. Maybe I'll try for a better one in the daylight. and just replace this.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:27 AM   #23
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One thing I'm not sure about....I had them install the TF font sway bar quick disconnects and these are way long with high steer brackets. So my sway bar is at a high angle. Not sure of this really matters, but I plan on calling AEV about it.
Update on this....I contacted AEV and they seemed concerned and suggested going with the stock ones or shorter TF ones (I had ones for 3-5" lift, could get the 0-3" set). Then I called Teraflex and they didn't think it was an issue and that I was better off with long links than too short. The links I have are 10", the 0-3" links are 8" long and the stock rears that AEV kit has you use in front are 8 3/4". So I have 3 options:
1. Keep as is and links will be 1 1/4" long
2. Swap out for TF 0-3 links and be 3/4" short.
3. Put in stock rears and be right on but not have a quick disconnect.

For now I'm going to keep as is with option 1, but maybe have the discussion with the shop. I'm interested to hear others opinions here though. Here are a couple pics of how it looks.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:55 AM   #24
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I enjoyed reading your build thread. Nice job! Your Jeep looks great. I'm very interested in reading your review on how the Jeep performs with the 315 Duratracs and the 3.73's. I'm planning the exact same build (except using Fuel Anza wheels) and can't decide if I should regear now or if I can wait.
Thanks MarksJKU! Thanks to everyone else for the comments too!

I took County98's advice and checked Tire PSI. They were all at 36psi, which isn't far off from his suggestion of 30-32, so I dropped them down to 34psi for now. I'm pretty pleased with the Duratracs. I was worried they would be a little small or not aggressive enough, and this is not the case at all. They handle well on the road and are balanced very well (Could be that shop did a good job. I did see a lot of weights on the spare.) Road noise is a slight hum, but I don't think you could get any quieter with any other tire that size. The noise is just due to running 13" wide tires. I actually get more wind noise from being taller, which I wasn't really expecting.

I want to wait a little longer on the AEV lift review since I really haven't driven it much (I car pool with wife to work in the Accord) and I can already feel it breaking in.

I will comment on the 3.73 ratio for you though. It actually is more noticeable with the larger tires than I thought it would be. The throttle is definitely less responsive. I'm really glad I don't have 3.21 ratio! One thing I'm not sure on yet is the shifting. It seems to shift a little later than desired at freeway speeds. I find myself giving it a lot more gas than when stock just to get it to kick down. Don't get me wrong I think the 3.73 is just fine and working great, but a little more power would be nice. I think you can always say that though, haha! I will probably try to tackle this with an air intake and exhaust system.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:02 AM   #25
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Did you get a Procal when you picked up your AEV lift? It was like $150 I think.

You set in your true tire size and it will adjust your speedo and your shift points automatically. Pretty handy to have in the glove box. Does some other stuff, but one thing I like is when I get a winch I can use the RPM function and when I change tires later on I can re-zap it with the new info.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:42 AM   #26
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Did you get a Procal when you picked up your AEV lift? It was like $150 I think.
Ya I did, it comes with the 3.5" kit. The shop did the programming though. I thought about doing it again.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:04 PM   #27
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So....I bought 5 gorilla spline lug nut locks and the key uses a 13/16 socket. That's not cool cause the OEM is 19mm (or 3/4). Can I get a set that uses the OEM size? Or can I get another key or adapter? I really don't want to haul another wrench around!

I plan on calling the shop I bought from today with same questions, but wanted to see if anyone had other solutions.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:32 PM   #28
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I will comment on the 3.73 ratio for you though. It actually is more noticeable with the larger tires than I thought it would be. The throttle is definitely less responsive. I'm really glad I don't have 3.21 ratio! One thing I'm not sure on yet is the shifting. It seems to shift a little later than desired at freeway speeds. I find myself giving it a lot more gas than when stock just to get it to kick down. Don't get me wrong I think the 3.73 is just fine and working great, but a little more power would be nice. I think you can always say that though, haha! I will probably try to tackle this with an air intake and exhaust system.
Thanks for the feedback. Can I also ask what backspace did you go with on the Fuel wheels. Yours and the Anza's Im considering both come in 4.5" and 5.0" back spacing. I like the look your has.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:01 PM   #29
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Mine are 4.5". The AEV wheels are all 5.5" to give you some comparison. So mine sit out a little further. They are a couple inches outside the wheel well. I definitely like the look, but wonder about rubbing stock wells in an extreme flex.

Here's a good view.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:45 AM   #30
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Excellent build...and great choice in wheels!

I was wondering if I was the only one who made the relation between the silver ring trophy wheels and the billet silver jeep. Looks like you did too!

I wonder how the silver center with black ring would look? I like how the silver separates the black of the wheel and black of the tire...probably better than a black ring with silver center section.

Thanks for sharing
Shawn

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