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Old 11-17-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
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MnJK's 2014 "Timber Wolf" Build Thread

Hi Gang,

Couldn't be happier to be back in the saddle of a Jeep Wrangler once again! My last two Jeeps (Cherokee and TJ) were driven stock and am excited to customize this one. Have spent more hours than I care to admit reading through other build threads, WF posts, watching YouTube videos and reading catalogues under the covers with a flashlight to plan the mods. A big thanks to everyone who has freely shared their ideas, knowledge and especially their "how-to" write-ups and videos. For several mods, I had the laptop at my side talking me through various removals and installations. I'm not as mechanically inclined as many here but do OK with the great tutorials found throughout the web.

So, here is Day Zero, after pulling in the 2014 JKS on October 28, 2014. New rims were installed at my local garage on my way home.

Thanks,

MnJK, a.k.a Steve
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Day 1: Thought I'd start nice and easy with ACE Rock Rails. Appreciated the other write ups on the install and I wasn't surprised that vice grips were needed to pull the body mount bolts out after they were unscrewed.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:41 AM   #3
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Now that I built a little confidence with the rails, decided to pull off the front bumper and install the Rampage Recovery Bumper. Well, mostly it was because I needed to get this stuff installed to get much needed space back in the garage!

Again, removal and installation was not too bad as there were great write-up available for both stages. The bumper weighs in at 130 lbs so I used a floor jack and the jack that came with the jeep to raise the bumper to the right height (set them up on wood blocks to provide extra height for the Jeep jack). Took a bit of wiggling around to get it aligned just right and then *bingo* it slid right on and bolted up pretty easily. Just re-used the stock fogs for now….another mod for another day, right? The nice thing is that I should be able to replace them without taking the bumper back off as there appears to be sufficient clearance to get in there.

While the grill was off, also plasti-dipped it black. As much as I love the Anvil color, breaking it up a bit looks better IMO. Figured I would just peel of the plasti-dip if I didn't like it. But…loved the way it turned out.

The whole job took about 4 hours solo. As stated in my intro, I'm not much of a mechanic (yet!) so I just take my time, and go one step at a time. I'm sure a seasoned Jeeper would have done this in considerably less time.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:47 AM   #4
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Looking good MnJK!!
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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Moved to a few simple cosmetic changes. Removed the side panel "Wrangler" and "Sport" decals, plasti-dipped the door hinges (again, to add contrast/break up the mono-tone) and also drilled a drain hole in each mirror to expedite drainage and reduce the likelihood of corrosion (read that on a thread somewhere).
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
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Planning on adding a timber wolf decal on the side panel (in place of the Wrangler Sport decal) to customize it to Minnesota. Have searched through quite a few on the web but haven't found quite the right one yet….
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
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Moved on to the rear bumper. Removal was a piece of cake….just a flimsy cover that weighed in at about 16 ounces. Not exaggerating by much…could literally lift it with one finger. Of course, it is just a cover and I don't think is meant for impact.

Installation of the ACE JK Pro Series Bumper with Tire Carrier and LED Back-Up Lights was not bad at all. It is a monster at 190 lbs! I wanted to get the weight/strain off the tailgate knowing that bigger tires are coming which is why I went with the version with the tire carrier. The company has an installation video on YouTube which is excellent and made the install go very smooth.

The only thing that was not on the video was how to splice in the lights. I found a thread on here and emailed AJ, sent him wiring pics of what I thought were ground and power and he emailed where to splice (I had first spliced in at the harness but I should have done that right at the back-up light. Oops! The lights are super bright but no pics at night to post yet. Will do that sometime when I'm out in the woods without street lights.

The white/green stripe wire is hot/power. Black is ground.

Initial impressions of this bumper/tire carrier is that it is extremely well made and the components are high quality. Very happy with the purchase. Oh yeah, the stock tire carrier gets removed along with the 3rd brake light. So, for now, spliced in a couple round LED lights that fit into the open lug nuts on the spare tire (found them at the local auto parts store). There is an aftermarket 3rd brake light bracket that can be attached and may go with that later.

Also removed the dealer sticker on the back of the tailgate.
Lastly, the two stock rubber tailgate bumpers do not work with this carrier and had to be removed leaving two holes in the tailgate. Emailed AJ at ACE to see if they have plugs for the holes (should have come with the bumper/tire carrier IMO).
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:23 AM   #8
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One more with better lighting
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:39 AM   #9
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Went on a bit of a road trip last weekend and the hood flutter was as bad as I remember from the last Wrangler. A bit unnerving and read a few posts where folks had one side come undone while driving. So, ordered a set of Rugged Ridge metal hood latches and put them on this weekend. Pretty easy install but the but on the fender is a bit tricky to get to. Thankful I didn't drop the new washer/nut during the install as it would have disappeared in the engine compartment somewhere. Whew!!

Last mod this weekend is plasti-dipped the pinch seam. The Anvil color down there was really bugging me and now it is no longer noticeable. Have a set of EVO Rocker Panel Skins in the garage that I was going to install but haven't built up the nerve yet as it requires screwing into the door/side panel. Also, being in Minnesota, we have very hot and humid summers as well as road sand/salt in the Winter. Concerned about ensuring a tight seal to avoid corrosion developing between the skin and sheet metal from moisture and road salt. Have found a few install techniques to minimize the likelihood of that happening but am still sitting tight for now…


All right, that is the last of the mods from the past few weeks. Will be getting rid of the weenie OEM tires. Pretty sure I'll go with 33" Duratracs which would be nice before any major snow. Will look at some interior changes for the winter months and looking forward to other build threads for ideas!
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Old 11-17-2013, 11:42 AM   #10
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Looking good MnJK!!
Thanks GSJ…fun stuff to do!
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:31 PM   #11
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Damn great kick off to your build thread. That thing is looking tough. Looking forward to future upgrades.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:33 PM   #12
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Moved to a few simple cosmetic changes. Removed the side panel "Wrangler" and "Sport" decals, plasti-dipped the door hinges (again, to add contrast/break up the mono-tone) and also drilled a drain hole in each mirror to expedite drainage and reduce the likelihood of corrosion (read that on a thread somewhere).
Hinges look sweet. Did you remove the hinges or paint them while on the jeep. Forgive me if I missed it if you already said it
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #13
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Nice thread Steve,

Your build looks like a lot of fun. The wheels are sweet!

I love the rear bumper and tire carrier. Please give us an update on the solution for the open holes in the tailgate. Once I see that I might have to cave in and do that bumper as well.

How much should I expect to pay for the bumper, lights and carrier? What kind of lights and do you like them? Hurry up and get out into the woods and let me know.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:21 PM   #14
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Hinges look sweet. Did you remove the hinges or paint them while on the jeep. Forgive me if I missed it if you already said it
Thanks, CO! Just masked off about 4" around the hinge using blue painters tape and then peeled off. Put on about 5 coats of plasti-dip. Got a little overspray in a couple spots but it's easy to take off. Should have been better about taking pics in process but didn't have a build thread in mind at the time! Will do better on future mods.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:38 PM   #15
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Thanks, CO! Just masked off about 4" around the hinge using blue painters tape and then peeled off. Put on about 5 coats of plasti-dip. Got a little overspray in a couple spots but it's easy to take off. Should have been better about taking pics in process but didn't have a build thread in mind at the time! Will do better on future mods.
Sweet. Thanks. I'm from Minnesota originally but when I learned what Colorado had to offer I never came home. Lol. From Hopkins, you? How does the paint stay on with the hinge action? Wait...you must have taken the doors off and done then separately right?
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:39 PM   #16
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Nice thread Steve,

Your build looks like a lot of fun. The wheels are sweet!

I love the rear bumper and tire carrier. Please give us an update on the solution for the open holes in the tailgate. Once I see that I might have to cave in and do that bumper as well.

How much should I expect to pay for the bumper, lights and carrier? What kind of lights and do you like them? Hurry up and get out into the woods and let me know.
Thanks B-Man! I went to a couple auto parts stores, Home Depot and Menards but couldn't find any plugs. ACE has plugs that they sent out free of charge to those who bought the tailgate cover/license plate mount product they sell for those who don't carry a spare on the tailgate. So, am hoping they will do the same for me. Given their great customer service so far, I'm pretty sure they will. Will post an update when I hear back from them.

The bumper was pricey, about $975. I didn't have any discount codes at the time so I bet one can get it for less. Lights are extra if you get that option. Originally ordered w/out the holes for the lights and was on back-order for 6 wks and they called saying it would be another month and they would sell me the LEDs at cost if I wanted to switch my order (which I did). Now that I have it installed, really glad to have it integrated. Have to say that it is one solid beast and will no doubt take a beating. Also provides more clearance than stock.

The other nice thing is that my Yakima receiver-mount bike rack works with this bumper. It did NOT work with the stock hitch unless an extender was added in order to clear the spare tire.

Maybe I'll take a drive out tonight and snap some pics with the lights as I'm quite curious. Depends on the weather as it is getting a bit cold and windy today.
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Old 11-17-2013, 03:48 PM   #17
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Sweet. Thanks. I'm from Minnesota originally but when I learned what Colorado had to offer I never came home. Lol. From Hopkins, you? How does the paint stay on with the hinge action? Wait...you must have taken the doors off and done then separately right?
Small world! Grew up in Mound. Now live in southern burb of Farmington. I LOVE Colorado. Bought my first Jeep in Denver! Was out couple years ago for two weeks of camping and hiking in/around Mueller State Park. Was hoping to be back out last year to hike Pike's but didn't work out. Heading there in January for some skiing (Telluride)….yeah! That state will be my home one of these days…just trying to wear the wife down. Will sure miss her if she decides to stay here. I guess we could Skype, haha.

I was wondering the same thing about how the movement of the hinges would affect the dip. Debated taking off the door but then thought, what the hell, if it doesn't work, the dip is easy enough to peel right off and try again. So, left the doors on and went crazy. Works perfectly and glad I didn't pulling the doors off for that. Will see if anything peels when I pull the doors off in the Spring.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:00 PM   #18
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Small world! Grew up in Mound. Now live in southern burb of Farmington. I LOVE Colorado. Bought my first Jeep in Denver! Was out couple years ago for two weeks of camping and hiking in/around Mueller State Park. Was hoping to be back out last year to hike Pike's but didn't work out. Heading there in January for some skiing (Telluride)….yeah! That state will be my home one of these days…just trying to wear the wife down. Will sure miss her if she decides to stay here. I guess we could Skype, haha.

I was wondering the same thing about how the movement of the hinges would affect the dip. Debated taking off the door but then thought, what the hell, if it doesn't work, the dip is easy enough to peel right off and try again. So, left the doors on and went crazy. Works perfectly and glad I didn't pulling the doors off for that. Will see if anything peels when I pull the doors off in the Spring.
No kidding!

It's amazing out here. Enjoy telluride. Cool. I need to do that because my hinges are chipped pretty badly from dirt roads. Lol

Skype her. Ahahahaha.
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:35 PM   #19
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Great progress! Consider dipping the trail rated emblem?
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Old 11-17-2013, 07:39 PM   #20
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Everything looks great, nice thread. What is the deal with drilling holes in your mirrors? Should I be doing that?
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:07 PM   #21
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Everything looks great, nice thread. What is the deal with drilling holes in your mirrors? Should I be doing that?
So they can pee. For instance when you wash your jeep water gets trapped inside the mirror. The hole lets the water drain out.
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:31 PM   #22
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Everything looks great, nice thread. What is the deal with drilling holes in your mirrors? Should I be doing that?
Here's a link to the write up: Mirror drain hole
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:33 PM   #23
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Great progress! Consider dipping the trail rated emblem?
Definitely crossed my mind. Still have a couple cans so may give them a go!
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Old 11-17-2013, 08:47 PM   #24
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Looks great! I love the color and an excellent choice in bumpers. Did you notice any significant change in handling or feel with the massive bumper up front? I'm thinking of splurging for the same one, but am a little concerned about the weight.

Can't believe you got so much done in a weekend. Nice job!
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Old 11-17-2013, 09:49 PM   #25
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Great build thread, Steve! She's a beauty!

Now get busy and pick a coordinating color and put in a grill insert!

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Old 11-17-2013, 09:58 PM   #26
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Great build thread, Steve! She's a beauty! Now get busy and pick a coordinating color and put in a grill insert!
Red would look cool
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:00 PM   #27
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Here's a link to the write up: Mirror drain hole
Thanks
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:11 AM   #28
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Looks great! I love the color and an excellent choice in bumpers. Did you notice any significant change in handling or feel with the massive bumper up front? I'm thinking of splurging for the same one, but am a little concerned about the weight.

Can't believe you got so much done in a weekend. Nice job!
Not to derail the question from member to member but I have an LoD full width that made it ride way different. Different enough where it wasn't bad but took some getting used to. When I mounted the heaviest winch (Warn PowerPlant HP) made onto the front bumper, it was initial unbearable. I hurried to get the LoD rear bumper to counter some of those massive globs of steel. It helped a bit to have that heavy bumper. What really made it seem acceptable was time. Now it feels just right, especially with the hard top on for winter! Then again AEV lifts are specifically designed to incorporate heavy bumpers/winch/gear/etc
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:09 PM   #29
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Looks great! I love the color and an excellent choice in bumpers. Did you notice any significant change in handling or feel with the massive bumper up front? I'm thinking of splurging for the same one, but am a little concerned about the weight.

Can't believe you got so much done in a weekend. Nice job!
Would be amazing if that was all done in a weekend! Actually started after I picked her up in late October and did the work over the past few weeks.

Honestly can't say how handling was post-install because I hardly drove it before both bumpers were on. Certainly is not bad at all on surface streets and highway but off-road I am guessing will be an issue. A bit of nose dive when braking which seems a bit more than before the front bumper. Between the bumpers and rails, it's carrying about another 350 lbs. and w/out a winch right now.

My plan is to get the major things done first, including tires, see how it sits height-wise and rake, and then decide on a lift (per advice I gleaned from other threads). This will also be my DD for the next 3-5 yrs so will only run 33's and won't do hardcore rock crawling during that time either. So, am planning on just a small spring lift to add a little height, get stiffer springs and level it out. Once this vehicle moves to a weekend warrior and not my DD, I'll move to bigger tires and larger lift.


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Great build thread, Steve! She's a beauty!

Now get busy and pick a coordinating color and put in a grill insert!

Hey StarBrite! You know me, I'm all about color…not! (Turchman, I know you're partial to red but not sure if I'll go there on mine like the Rubi 10A's). Thanks and will keep an eye out for yours after you get settled in your new home. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Originally Posted by COStrider View Post
Not to derail the question from member to member but I have an LoD full width that made it ride way different. Different enough where it wasn't bad but took some getting used to. When I mounted the heaviest winch (Warn PowerPlant HP) made onto the front bumper, it was initial unbearable. I hurried to get the LoD rear bumper to counter some of those massive globs of steel. It helped a bit to have that heavy bumper. What really made it seem acceptable was time. Now it feels just right, especially with the hard top on for winter! Then again AEV lifts are specifically designed to incorporate heavy bumpers/winch/gear/etc
Agree with you about the lifts for rigs with the added weight and that's what I am planning on doing. I can see how the front bumper and winch would have really affected things without any counterweight in the back before you added the rear! My dealer if lift friendly for 2.5" and under (won't give grief with warranty) which is the range I'll stay in for now anyway. See my response to SuperT above.
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2014 JKS Anvil, 2dr, manual with all the fix in's
Build Thread: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f314/mn...ad-394330.html

1997 Jeep TJ - sold
1989 Jeep XJ - sold
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by MnJK View Post
Would be amazing if that was all done in a weekend! Actually started after I picked her up in late October and did the work over the past few weeks. Honestly can't say how handling was post-install because I hardly drove it before both bumpers were on. Certainly is not bad at all on surface streets and highway but off-road I am guessing will be an issue. A bit of nose dive when braking which seems a bit more than before the front bumper. Between the bumpers and rails, it's carrying about another 350 lbs. and w/out a winch right now. My plan is to get the major things done first, including tires, see how it sits height-wise and rake, and then decide on a lift (per advice I gleaned from other threads). This will also be my DD for the next 3-5 yrs so will only run 33's and won't do hardcore rock crawling during that time either. So, am planning on just a small spring lift to add a little height, get stiffer springs and level it out. Once this vehicle moves to a weekend warrior and not my DD, I'll move to bigger tires and larger lift. Agree with you about the lifts for rigs with the added weight and that's what I am planning on doing. I can see how the front bumper and winch would have really affected things without any counterweight in the back before you added the rear! My dealer if lift friendly for 2.5" and under (won't give grief with warranty) which is the range I'll stay in for now anyway. See my response to SuperT above.
I am wondering if the JKU springs wouldn't be just the right lift for you? It would counter the weight, plus give you a little lift, since the Unlimited weighs more. They are cheap enough, that it would be worth trying.

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