Well after a lot of questions and opinions I went ahead and placed some orders over the last few days. So here is my build up thread. I know I will have a ton of questions along the way so hopefully some of you more experienced guys will check in from time to time to lend your expertise!
The upgrade list:
Ordered from Metalcloak
Overline aluminum fenders (ordered bare metal)
Aluminum full corner armor (ordered bare metal)
4" fender flares front & rear (ordered powdercoated)
Low profile LED marker lights
Ordered from Savvy Offroad:
TJ Rock step sliders
TJ Aluminum gas tank skid
Ordered from Rickridge4wd.com:
4" clear lens flush mount LED tail lights
Warrior Products spare tire license plate mount w/ 3rd brake light
I am also planning on Line-X'ing the tub (sorry no DIY on this job). I am just trying to decide now where to fit it into the process. My gut says to pull the stock flares and rubi rock rails, ditch the factory nutserts and then take it for the Line-X. But I'm not sure if I should go ahead and mock up all the armor prior to having it sprayed or not. My reasoning is the new nutserts. Should be easier/better to do them all before spraying to keep from cracking the line-x once its down. Surely the nutserts would be easier to deal with when they were spread on bare metal?
When doing the fenders I also plan to replace the front grill. I am planning on having the new grill and all the armor painted to match the Inca Gold. Then just the flares and the steel step of the rocker guards will be in black.
I'll need to drop the tank to install the JCR frame tie-ins for the tire carrier so I will install the Savvy Gas tank skid then. I plan to powder coat the frame tie-ins, steering box skid and tire carrier. Not sure what what finish, if any, to do on the gas tank skid.
As you can see, lots of work ahead of me. Doing it all in the proper order will be my biggest battle I think. (I hate having to undo/redo things!)
Well thats all I got for now. I'll update the thread and ask questions as I go..
Savvy Sliders are in. they sort of got beat up a little bit in shipping which kind of sucks. Some pretty good scratches in the aluminum I'll have to sand out before getting them painted. I also didn't receive a nutsert tool with them as others have indicated.
Also got the license plate bracket/3rd brake light and led tail lights in. Seems like a very quality product!
I have also set out a build plan. I had to really think about how I needed to plan this build up. It's my daily driver so minimizing down time is pretty important. I also hate having to do things twice. In all honesty the best plan would be to wait for all the parts to arrive and park it and tear into it. But with waiting for parts to be delivered, paint time, etc it's just not feasible. I think this plan will allow me to do the whole build in about 4 phases (weekends) hopefully. Which should allow me to have it back together for driving during the week.
Here is my outline:
1. Install Rear Bumper & Tire Carrier:
a. Remove existing rear bumper & carrier
b. Remove gas tank
c. Install inner frame brace brackets
d. Install JCR bumper & tire carrier
e. Move on to #2 gas tank skid plate
2. Install Gas Tank Skid Plate:
a. Install gas tank skid plate to tank
b. Reinstall gas tank
3. Install Steering Box Skid Plate
4. Install Metalcloak Rear Corner Armor
a. Cut holes for 4” LED tail lights
5. Install Savvy Sliders:
a. Measure up the front Metalcloak fenders
b. Measure up the rear Metalcloak corners
c. Measure, mark, cut the alum Savvy slider mounts
d. Install the slider mounts
6. Prep Parts for Paint:
a. Remove corners & slider mounts
b. Cut new grille for JK style turn signals
c. Drop parts off for paint at Buckner Collision
7. Complete Wiring:
a. Wire LED tail lights
b. Wire 3rd brake light
c. Wire license plate light
d. Wire backup lights
8. Install Painted Metalcloak Rear Corners:
a. Install Corners
b. Re-install tail lights
9. Install Painted Metalcloak Front Fenders:
a. Install fenders
b. Install Metalcloak LED fender marker lights
10. Install Painted New Front Grille:
a. Install grille
b. Install JK style marker lights
I'm sure all that stuff cost you a pretty penny. I know from experince because my jeep is all Cloak'd out. Front bumper, Front Fenders, Rockers, Full Corner Guards, and Rear fenders. Just the one downside of going to school 20 minutes away from there shop.
I want to know how the JCR rear bumper stands in your opinion. Been looking at for a while but can't decided if I want the MC new rear bumper or go with JCR.
The JCR bumper/tire carrier is high quality! I have their front bumper as well and the work they do is top notch! I really really liked the idea of the roto-pax setup with their bumper. Plus a built in back-up lights, jack mount, antenna mounts & the bomb proof spindle, hard to beat. JCR is an outstanding manufacturer!! You wouldn't be disappointed.
I am dropping it and some other parts off at the powder coater on Monday. Hoping to get them sand blasted then coated by next Friday so I can complete Phase One this weekend!!
I took off my old bumper tire/carrier today, infact my best friend and jeepin buddy just came by and I gave it to him to try and fit up to his YJ!
Speaking of roto-pax, Fed-Ex dropped mine off today! Looks like they are getting the back orders moving! And yes my locks are both keyed alike! Woohoo!
Weather was crappy today but I had to get everything ready for drop off to the powdercoater tomorrow. I had the bumper out to load up and figured since the old one was off I would mock it up real quick to see how it looks:
It's gonna look real nice I do believe!
I did however run into a small problem so I am glad I did the mock-up. While eye balling the holes in my frame cross member and the holes in the new JCR bumper, I noticed the bumper holes looked off. I measured them up and sure enough the holes in the bumper are 1" further apart then the holes on the frame. Not sure what the deal with that is. If you look at the proportions of the bracing on the bumper to the holes JCR has it looks right. Doesn't appear to be a mistake. I'm wondering due to the '02 - '03 model year split the rear cross member bumper holes are different?
Center to center on the crossmember is 6 1/4", center to center on the bumper are 7 1/4".
When I mocked it up with the bottom frame rail holes lined up, the two outside holes on each side lined up perfect. Not a big deal really, just a mark & measure and drilled new holes. It just wasn't expected. I'm glad I took the time to check it out before I sent out for coating!
When it was all taken care of I loaded everything up. With any luck I'll get it all back by next weekend, and I can get phase one of the build up finished!
Well it turns out after a call to JCR that my bumper wasn't drilled incorrectly. He was suprised that my cross-member had the inner holes already drilled. Must have been something the previous owner did to install his home brew tire carrier. He said the way it is designed is for the installer to drill the inner holes on each side on the Jeep cross-member. So all is well, I just did it backwards!
Got another delivery today, this time from moparpartsonline.com (thanks Benny) I got my new grille in!
Before it goes off to paint I plan to cut and install 2 1/2" marker lights into it like the CJ/JK style.
Also because for some reason I never put up a pic of the shiny Savvy Gas Tank Skid plate here it is:
Well most of Phase One was completed on Saturday! Ran out of time so I wasn't able to get the JCR steering box skid installed. Then we got over 5" of snow Sat night/Sun morning, so I'll try to get it installed next weekend.
I've mentioned before I work at a car dealership, one of the perks of that is they let me use the shop on Saturday to work on the Jeep! Hell of a lot warmer and dryer there then in my driveway this weekend!
So my buddy and I and his son got out there just before the shop closed on noon and got setup on one of the lifts. First thing we tacked was dropping the gas tank to install the Savvy skid. I thought this would be the most difficult part of the day. Turns out it was really straight forward. Pulled the relay and ran it out of gas, ran it up on the lift and pulled the tank. Broke a couple of the retaining clips on the lines but got them replaced, no big deal. Dropped the tank into the new skid and re-installed it. Took about 2 hours total and that includes time messing with the retainer clips that broke.
Next up was the JCR rear bumper/tire carrier. This actually took quite a bit of time to get installed. Not because it didn't fit well or anything like that. Just a lot of time went into getting to and working with all the hardware to install it.
I opted for the frame tie-ins from JCR when I bought the bumper. I was under the impression I would need to drop the gas tank to install the tie-ins, hence the Savvy skid. Turns out this wasn't really necessary to do. My frame rails had access ports in the bottom to get a wrench into for the bolts.
I'll start with some pics of the tie-ins and hardware. As you can see these things are are heavy duty, and with all the grade 8 I put in there this bumper setup is rock solid!
On Friday night I got all the little things I could do ahead of time done. I packed the bearings for the carrier, installed the root-pax locking mounts and cans, and installed the backup lights into the bumper. I'm glad I did as we went up to the wire on time before the dealership closed!
Here is the bumper itself installed:
With the tire carrier installed:
With the roto-pax cans and the spare installed from the inside:
And finally all finished up:
The side profile shot shows how compact this package is! I love how close it hugs the back of the jeep and still offers so much extra with the roto-pax.
Overall I am so impressed with this setup! When I say this thing is solid, its an understatement. There is NO rattle, NO play, nothing. It swings perfectly smooth on the bearings. Very very happy with it.
I do have a couple of very small nitpicks but they are not with the JCR part of it. I'd like to figure out a way to either modify the release handle or replace it with one that I could secure somehow with a padlock or something. And I would also like to find some security type bolts to replace the ones that come with the roto-pax mounts. I bought the locking mounts for security but anybody with a wrench could walk up and remove the two bolts on the back side of each of the mounts. Unlikely but easily possible.
If anyone knows of any way to mod the handle or one that can replace it with the same mounts that has a lock please let me know!
It does have a slight angle to it. It's not really due to the weight of the tire though, as it has the slight angle with the tire off of it as well. I'm not sure if this is on purpose or not. Best I can tell its due to the angle on the spindle, as there is no real play in it at all. I am sure the weight moves it a little bit but not much. I don't think it will be a problem. I hope at least..
Well another shipment today! This time Metalcloak!
Got in the fenders, corners, & flares. 4 big 'ol boxes worth. Tomorrow I am going to strip off the stock flares, steps & rocker guards. I'd like to get the corners on if possible. That will allow me to measure out the alum savvy slider mounts to get those modified. Depending on how it goes I might try to get them mounted as well. This will just be for the drilling and setup of course, once I got everything ready it will all go out for paint.
When I get the corners mocked up, I will also cut and install the LED tail lights while they are mounted up.
I'm quickly running out of room to store all this stuff! Looks like im going to have to sort out some space in the garage to move this stuff out!
Well in standard form for me, things didn't go as smoothly as planned. Spent the weekend trying to get Phase 2 done. Only got about half way through.
I also don't see how my original plan of working the weekends and having it drivable during the week is going to be possible.
I started out on Saturday afternoon two hours later then I was hoping for since I had to go drop off the hard top etc after I got off work at noon. I spent the rest of the afternoon getting all the stock stuff removed, the flares, rocker rails, inner fender wells, and steps. This took much longer then I suspected. The clips on the backside of the stock flares are bastards, add in a couple of stripped factory nutserts in the fenders and things were not going smooth.
Then I spent the rest of the evening mocking up and mounting the passenger side rear corner from metalcloak.
I finally called it a night and cleaned up my mess.
Started out this morning after the easter festivities, finished up some odds & ends on the passenger side, then moved to the drivers side. Repeated the process of mocking up and mounting the driver side corner.
I then spent way, WAY too long fighting with cutting holes for the flush mount LED tail lights. Spent a bunch of time trying to get the Evap can removed to give myself room to cut, and also room to mount the led as I have heard this can be a problem. Never got it removed completely, just moved out of the way as I couldn't get the line out of the big connector to free the whole unit.
Cutting through the aluminum was much more of a hassle then I thought it would be. First I broke a pilot bit, and realized I didn't have anymore. Off to lowes. Got home started in again, finally got through the MC corner and to the tub and couldn't get the 4.5" hole-saw to to cut through the tub metal. Very odd, but it just wouldn't do it. Second trip to lowes to get another hole saw blade thinking it was just dull. Turns out the Irwin brand are shit, it wouldn't cut through the tub, or the other side MC corner aluminum! I put the original hole-saw blade back on and cut through the alum on the passenger side, then got out my jig saw and cut the tub. Worked like a champ this way, however I say again, this whole process took WAY too long. Ate up too much time.
Next it was on to the aluminum Savvy slider mounts. I put everything loosely together to see how it was all going to fit, and what kind of modification would be needed. Something has to get cut otherwise the the corners overlap the slider mounts or vice-versa. After thinking about it for a while I came up with what I think was the best solution.
I decided to cut both pieces and put them together puzzle style. I wanted the structure of the slider mount kept intact, so I decided most of the removal was going to come from the corner not the slider mount. So I layed it out in easy straight cuts, sliced the bottom off the corner, and notched out the slider mount to fit it.
(I didn't get any shots of the before cutting, nor did I get any from further back showing the pieces fit together, sorry..)
Still gotta little cleaning to do to tidy it up, but overall I think it came out good. I think I can drill another hole there beside the ball joint and use another nutsert to help hold it. No structural integrity of the slider mount is lost.
I still have the driver side to do now. I have also took a look at the front side of this setup and it looks like I'm going to have to just take the jeep out of commission for a bit. I don't see any other way to mock up the front and get things CORRECT besides taking off the front fenders and putting the MC fenders on, then laying out the slider mounts to them to see what needs to be cut & modified.
I originally thought I'd be able to just measure and eyeball it, but I think that is asking for trouble. After fighting the corners like I did, I think it much wiser to go ahead and take the jeep down, remove fenders, put in MC fenders and mock up the fit of the slider mounts to the front correctly BEFORE sending out to paint. Just sucks 'cus I'm betting ill be down in the jeep for a month or so, but I just don't see any other way..
Well tonight I got the driver side rear corner and slider mount fit and cut. For some reason the edge of the Metalcloak corner seems to be bent outward and doesn't sit flat. Even after cutting and fitting it still has a gap on the edge. Not real sure how to roll that inward enough to make it flush to the tub.
Anyway here are some more pics, got some further out that shows the two together:
My fitting job on this side:
This one shows the gap along the edge I was talking about:
Couple more mock-ups, this time with the rear flare on:
Something else I haven't decided is if I should leave the rear fender edges that are exposed, or whether I should go for the "comp cut". I only have 33's at this point with no plans to go bigger for now. Just dunno if it bugs me enough to cut it or leave it for now and deal with it later if I go bigger.
Damn looks really sick, can I ask how much you just dropped on parts?
A LOT! lol
Tonight I got both the driver and passenger side corners squared away & ready for paint. The slider mounts are all ready to go for the rear end.
This weekend I will tear the front down, fenders & grill. I gotta mount the MC fenders to get the front portions of the slider mounts modified to fit. Then make sure everything is all finished and ready to drop off for paint on monday. Gonna be a long weekend!
Made some more good progress tonight! I got both the front fenders off. Only got one pic as I kinda forgot about taking more, plus it got dark on me. It only shows the pass side but I got both.
Tomorrow I'll mock-up the slider mounts and get the fronts cut so I'll be ready for paint. Then I got a lot of little odds and ends to do. I figure I'll leave the grill for now until I'm ready to do the final assembly. That way the radiator ail be supported. Then I'll pull it and install the new painted one.
Made some good progress today! Got the mockup for all the armor and fenders complete. Got the front of the slider mounts cut out for the metalcloak fender flares.
First a pic of the new fenders on:
Here is the front of the slider mounts before I cut them:
This is how I decided to cut them:
And after the cuts:
And a few of the final mockup:
Also cut the new grill for the JK style front marker/turn signals. And I started in on the wiring on the rear end. Tomorrow I'll finish up all the wiring. LED tails, LED 3rd brake light, license plate light, selectable back up lights in the JCR bumper.
I'll also put on the JCR steering box skid that I hadn't gotten done yet.
Well it was another good day today. Got quite a bit done. Phase One and Phase Two are officially complete! First up I got my JCR steering skid installed. Very easy to do, just something I hadn't gotten around too.
Then it was on to wiring. The LED tail lights I had already wired up to the stock connectors. So today I wired up the LED third brake/tail light & license plate light that is part of the Warrior Product spare tire carrier plate mount.
I used a 3 wire connector I had a spare left over from something or other. It's setup like a standard 4 wire trailer light connector. I used it to make the quick connect/disconnect to be able to remove the plate to remove the spare tire. I needed the three wire as I also ran an additional 12v wire through the split loom and into the tailgate. This wire is my 12v I tapped off the factory brake/turn/tail connector harness for the license plate light. (black wire w/ yellow stripe).
It took some doing but I got it wired up with a little bit of slack but not too much. This wiring runs through the JCR tire carrier. I ran everything through split loom to the tailgate. So I also used this split loom to protect the CB antenna cable up to the tailgate as well. The JCR tire carrier has built in antenna mount holes.
I wanted a clean instill on the antenna cable so I decided the best thing to do was to drill through the tailgate and run it inside using grommets just like the factory 3rd brake light.
This shows the factory 3rd brake light wire, license plate 12v wire, and new hole for cb antenna cable.
Here is an overall of the wiring from the tailgate out and through the tire carrier. I still gotta clean up one thing. I only had white adhesive backed zip tie mounts on hand. I'll get some black ones and replace them since it kind of bugs me..
This is how it looks coming out on the inside. Enough slack for the tailgate to open up. When the gate is closed the cable in the loom moves out of the way of the factory 3rd brake light contact connectors.
And a closer look at the inside. I drilled and grommeted the hole just to the left of the factory connectors. This is where the 12v license plate tap wire runs over to the brake light harness.
The CB antenna cable runs under the carpet and up to the front of the tub. I didn't get any pictures but I also wired up the backup lights in the JCR bumper. I ran the hot wire in split loom up to the engine compartment through the passenger side frame rail. I haven't wired up anything in the front yet, but the backup lights will be on a switch in the cab for normal use in reverse, and so I can also switch them on. Still need to finish that part of the install, as well as the actual cb install, and when the seats come the heated seat switches. I figure I'll handle all that after the front end is reassembled.
All my parts are prepped and loaded up to be dropped off to paint tomorrow. Once they come back I'll be ready to move on to Phase Three!
Been rainy crappy weather here the last couple nights so I haven't really made much progress. Tried to undo the rest of the grill and ran into the well nuts in the A/C Condenser. Gotta sort out how to get those out, and then get them replaced.
My parts are out to paint. Suppose to have them back by friday. I was hoping to get everything put back together this weekend, but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm waiting on new hood latches to arrive and I don't think they are going to make it in time.
Not only that but I noticed tonight something I had kind of forgot about. I have golf ball sized spot of rust under the paint and breaking through on the passenger side rear of the tub. Right where the corner armor is going to be going. I meant to get that ground down and treated but somehow forgot to get it done. So I will have to mess with that before going much further really. I'm betting it will be down another week before I get her up and running again which bums me out..
Well as per usual, things definitely did not go as planned. I did not get my parts back from paint on Friday so needless to say, she did not get put back together this weekend. I went ahead and pulled the rest of the stuff off the front, and removed the grill. So here is how she looks from the front now:
I decided kind of last minute that I was going to move forward on the Line-X'ing of the tub. So I spent all weekend striping down the interior. I've got probably 10hrs total in cutting, grinding, sanding the ridiculous amount of caulk/sealant that they slathered all over the interior at the factory. I mean they went way WAY overboard with this crap. I bet all total I removed probably 5lbs of the stuff.
Here are some shots of the before:
The two most important tools I used. A "multi-tool" with scraper blades, and mini wire wheels on my drill. These two were indispensable in getting this crap out. I also recommend a heat gun and putty knives to get into hard to reach places.
It was a tremendous amount of work getting it all out. But in my opinion it would have looked like crap if they would have line-x'd over any of it. I think the end result will really show well because of all the effort I put into it. It's not perfect by any means but I think it came out good!
Now with any luck, I'll get my parts back tomorrow night from paint. I'll have to pull a late-nighter to put the front end back together so I can drive it over and drop it off to Line-X on tuesday.