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Old 10-06-2013, 08:09 AM   #1
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Rubicon Sahara build - chronicles

I am relatively new to the Jeep world but not new to the offroad world.
My last toy was a Suzuki Samurai that was setup nicely for about anything I was willing to drive it over or through. I had a guy contact me with "name your price cause I want to buy it" approach. So I went from a completely built up Samurai to a completely stock Jeep.
From this :

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Once the Samurai was sold I found my current 2005 LJ Rubicon Sahara the next week. The first and only Jeep I've ever driven or even looked at buying. It just seemed like a decent start so I was done shopping for a Jeep. It didn't have a scratch underneath it and appeared to have never been taken off road.
To this :

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:14 AM   #2
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First order of business was a new top. The original top had a small golf ball sized hole in the corner of it.
I went with the Softopper LJ01 top.

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Initial thoughts on the top was that it fit good and was pretty decent.
Now I am doubting my choice in tops as it is loose fitting and flaps when driving on the freeway. I will have to see what other options are available when the top needs replaced again.


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Old 10-06-2013, 08:20 AM   #3
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Next order of business was dumping the SmittyBuilt tube bumpers and side step.
I was able to sell the front bumper and the side steps. The rear bumper I couldn't even give it away until the recycle/trash guy stopped and took it away for me.

I had a local guy build a front bumper for me. Came out pretty decent for what I wanted.

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While he was building the front bumper I can across plans on another forum for a LJ trunk. I wanted something to keep items secure in the back area and also to keep things out of sight. I also added some clamps to the roll bars in the back to attach a High Lift jack horizontal across the back.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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Next was fitting 35" tires. I went with GoodYear MTR tires and ProComp 15" steel rims. The steel rims were warped and wouldn't balance so I ended up with a set of cheap ProComp alloy wheels in the end.

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To fit the 35" tires I installed Metal Cloak Overline fenders front and rear. I also did the Metal Cloak sliders.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:32 AM   #5
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I like your lock box. what gauge of metal did you use?
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:33 AM   #6
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I set it up for flat towing with a Reese A-frame type of tow bar.
I used a set of Warrior Products tow bar adapters to be able to tow it by the D-ring shackle points.

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and wired the lights using a plug in harness from etrailer. Complete plug in setup and works great. It uses the factory lights when towing.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:40 AM   #7
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The Currie 4" lift with Bilstein 5100 shocks. Also did the AntiRock and CorrectLync at the same time.

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Bestop Highrock rear bumper was added next. I liked that it would hold up to a 40" tire so I figured it would be plenty strong for my current 35" tire and would hold a 37" tire if I ever went up to that size.
It also attached to the rear door with a cam making it one motion to open the tire carrier and the rear door. Works great and very glad I went this route.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:48 AM   #8
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Because of this forum I figured out my Rubicon Sahara was a limited edition.
A few phone calls and some researching revealed I had #0090 of 1000 built.
I found this website about them : 2005 Rubicon Sahara Edition

A few weeks later I had my correct dash plaque from Trish at Imperial Marketing.

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I went through my local dealer to get the correct "Sahara" side decals. Expensive but with only 4 showing on hand for the entire US I figured I had better get them now as they may not be available later.

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Old 10-06-2013, 10:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltsrapcon View Post
I like your lock box. what gauge of metal did you use?
Can't remember exactly. I think the guy said it was 12ga and when I measured it was close to .09 thick, so guessing that is correct.
I couldn't get a good thickness measurement due to the edging on it.

I've seen some made out of aluminum diamond plate as well. A lot of different ideas out there for something like this.

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Old 10-06-2013, 11:00 PM   #10
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Front SkidRow steering box skid on now. It worked perfect with the split in the front edge of it so I could press it straight and bend it to fit with my aftermarket front bumper. 20 ton press straightened it out nicely without even messing up the powder coating.

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Forgot about my Cobra 29LX CB install. I mounted the antenna on the rear tire carrier. Routed the coaxial cable through the vent on the tailgate and then up the roll bar all the way to the front. I hard wired the CB directly to the battery.
The little rack mount is made out of 3/4" square tube. I used rivet nuts on the header of the softopper and the b-pillar to mount it up there. Works great and is a solid mount.

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I found a picture of the rear HighLift jack mounted across the back. Works great and serves a double duty as a tether point for the topple strap on my munchkin's car seat. I lost the factory tether mount when I installed the rear cargo cover.
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Old 10-07-2013, 02:26 AM   #11
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Does that HighLift jack get in the way of the frameless soft top? That would be a great place to mount a high lift on my LJ.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkfx View Post
Does that HighLift jack get in the way of the frameless soft top? That would be a great place to mount a high lift on my LJ.
Nope, top fits fine.
I do have the base plate of the jack removed and I did trim a couple of inches off the top of the jack.

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Old 10-07-2013, 05:05 PM   #13
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Today was the UCF gas tank skid / UCF rear diff cover / Barnett front diff cover.

Diff covers were very straight forward. Rear cover was super easy to get to with the gas tank out. I used Lube Lockers for the diff seals. Worked great and no messing with the RTV sealant.

No instructions with the UCF tank skid, heck it didn't even come in a box. Arrived with a UPS label stuck inside of it. One mounting tab was bent but nothing a hammer couldn't straighten out. I watched the Rokeman tank skid install on youtube to get an idea of what connections to unhook and how they do an install. Gas tank was very tight in the skid. It actually shaved some plastic of the gas tank off while forcing the tank into the skid.


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Old 10-07-2013, 09:09 PM   #14
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Went ahead and installed the Novak kit for the transfer case linkage this evening.
The instructions were useless and don't try reading them before installing the parts as it will make you second guess the parts included in the kit.
The parts list is wrong and Novak guys will be pricks about it when asked. Their solution to answering a question about missing parts is to tell a person that they should have just started installing the kit without looking to make sure all the parts were included, then a person would realize the instructions were wrong and it has parts listed that you don't need and aren't included.... my question was then why even included the instructions. Almost worth the stamp to send the instructions back to Novak with some really good and accurate instructions on where they can shove these instructions since they are useless for the install.
The install was straight forward and simple without the instructions making it confusing. Pretty much remove and replace parts. Shifting seems a lot smoother even just rolling forward and back in the driveway. Hopefully this will stop the binding I had when offroad.

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Old 10-14-2013, 06:54 PM   #15
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Installed the Johnny Joint washers today. I just learned about these last week so ordered a set and installed them. They center the front bolt in the lower control arm mount. Without them your axle can be out of alignment as the pics show mine was. Kinda surprised these aren't included in the lift kits.
http://shop.blackmagicbrakes.com/Joh...ashers_c80.htm

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The bolts in my Currie kit were plenty long enough to accommodate the thicker spacers that I was installing. Here is the lower control arm mount with the washers and bolt from the kit.

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As you can see the bolt wasn't centered in the slot.

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The spacers fit exactly in the lower mounts centering the mounting bolt.

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all put back together and you can see the bolts in the lift kit were plenty long enough to accommodate the thicker spacers.
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Old 12-13-2013, 01:16 AM   #16
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UCF "Original Extra Clearance" 3/8 inch aluminum transfer case skid installed this week with the LoPro transmission mount and the 1/4 inch aluminum engine skid.
According to UCF the ground clearance is increased by 2.5", but of course I forgot to measure my before ground clearance with the stock skid.

Keep in mind this fit with NO BODY LIFT on mine !!

The transfer case skid fit fine and no instructions included or found online as they really aren't needed.

No instructions could be found on the install of the Rubicon pump bracket.
The Rubicon pump bracket was the wrong shape to fit anywhere I could find without some grinding/reshaping of it and then I had some scrap aluminum sitting around and made a bracket to fit with the UCF bracket to attach my pumps onto..... for the price of the bracket I could have made my own bracket and probably would have been easier in the end. It did not include any bolts. I reused the 4 factory bolts that attached the pumps to the stock skid by tapping the aluminum skid, worked great.

LoPro mount was simple enough and the online instructions were adequate. It was missing the fifth mounting bolt but no biggie.

The engine skid needed some grinding/shaping to clear the exhaust and one of the front supports needed some grinding to fit correctly. The instructions online were lacking and confusing. I couldn't get it to fit exactly how the pictures showed online but got it to fit good in the end. I figured this would be the easiest part to install but ended up being the most complicated.

Sorry the pics aren't better but hopefully they are good enough to get the idea.....


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Old 12-21-2013, 10:13 PM   #17
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So far I don't see you re-gearing or upgrading axels after going with the 35's. Do you think that will be necessary? Looking to go up from 33's to 35's and just wondering what you think. Thanks
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Old 12-22-2013, 03:37 AM   #18
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So far I don't see you re-gearing or upgrading axels after going with the 35's. Do you think that will be necessary? Looking to go up from 33's to 35's and just wondering what you think. Thanks
I have stock Dana 44 axles front and rear and will eventually upgrade the axle shafts but from my experience more people run 35" tires on a stock Dana 44 axle with no problems than those that have problems. I am in no rush on the axle shafts right now but eventually they will happen.

I have a 6 speed manual and the stock 4.10 diff gears. The 35" tires made 1st gear usable now. With stock tires 1st gear (in high range) is so low it is almost not usable. I still take off in second gear sometimes with 35's. I will probably change gearing some day but with the manual 6 speed the gearing isn't bad at all. I've heard the auto transmission setup is totally different and needs to have some diff gearing redone to work decent.

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Old 12-23-2013, 05:50 PM   #19
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Looks good so far, somewhat the direction I'd like to take mine if I can lol I'll be watching this one
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:52 PM   #20
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I had a problem with only being able to put fuel into my Jeep very slowly. The pump would just click off (like when a person tried to top off a tank) but I had to fill my tank this way. Before I could run it slow without problems. Running the fuel in fast would cause the fuel to spit out and onto the ground before the pump could shut off.

I found a thread over on another forum about spitting gas and filling issues.
Thread here : '05-'06 gas overflow fix - JeepForum.com

I unbolted the torx screws on the body, loosened the camp on the tank, and pulled breather hose off the filler spout. Pulled the entire assembly out to work on and it made it easy.

I figured the plastic plunger "thingy" in my gas tank was stuck closed, thus sealing my gas tank almost shut...... and it was shut -

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I took a screw driver and pushed the valve/ball looking thing and it slid right down. I was hoping it was a tight fit so I could JAMB it down in there and it would stay.... but it slide easily down, thus opening the tank to allow fuel in again.

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While I had the hose off I cut the valve/flapper out of the GM hose (part # 15131046). Of course I tried to fit the valve/flapper in my OE hose and it stuck so I didn't get a picture of it. I used WD40 and my 7/8" deep socket (backwards) and shoved the valve up inside the original hose. No heat needed on the hose on mine (as some in the fix thread used), just WD40.

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Here is pictures of the valve installed in the original jeep fuel tank hose. The flapper closes really easy with just a little bit of air pressure (blowing on it) so hopefully that will also stop all the spitting of fuel. Pictures are looking from the end of the hose that attaches to the gas tank.

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:32 PM   #21
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Haven't posted anything in awhile as I've been spending more time enjoying the Jeep offroad than working on it in the garage.

Here are some random pics from a few of our trips.
Calico and Truckhaven pics below.

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:46 PM   #22
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The doors on my Jeep had never been removed. The paint had never been cracked on them so I figured I would give it a try and see how I liked driving without doors.
I needed to run mirrors but hated the idea of buying expensive mirror especially if I didn't like running with the doors off.

I found this write up and it worked pretty easy. Super simple and cheap !
If I decide I like running with the doors off I may make some sturdier arms for the mirrors to mount on as these seem flimsy.

Here is the link to where I got the instructions for mine:
Jeep Doorless Budget Mirror Mount

and some pics :

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:54 PM   #23
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Looks great man, keep it up!
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:06 PM   #24
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man you are doing a good job looks awesome!
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Old 03-22-2014, 01:00 AM   #25
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Subbed. I want this exact setup.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:22 PM   #26
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Great build man, almost just like where my LJ is going. I'm about to order the same transfer case skid as you. Did you just do the lopro mount to avoid the body lift? I'm wondering if Ill need one, my body is already lifted 1"
Also, it sounds like spending the extra $20 for the pump mount wasn't necessarily worth it?
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:41 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpowell717 View Post
Great build man, almost just like where my LJ is going. I'm about to order the same transfer case skid as you. Did you just do the lopro mount to avoid the body lift? I'm wondering if Ill need one, my body is already lifted 1"
Also, it sounds like spending the extra $20 for the pump mount wasn't necessarily worth it?
I did the LoPro mount to avoid the body lift.
If I had a body lift I could have went with the Ultra High Clearance skid and the LoPro.... but since I don't want to run a body lift I went with the Extra Clearance Skid and the LoPro mount.

The pump bracket didn't fit anywhere good for me and I had to modify it to work for mounting the pumps.... I should have just made some pump brackets from the start but since I had it here I made it work.

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Old 04-08-2014, 11:36 PM   #28
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After reading a bunch of info on fire extinguisher mounts I decided to go ahead and mount a larger 5lb one inside the Jeep.

I have the roll bar mount for a small fire extinguisher but I wanted a larger 5lb fire extinguisher and found a great place for it to be mounted.
It fits under the highlift jack so I don't loose any usable space with it mounted here.

The pics tell the story.... Here are some pics of how I mounted mine :

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Old 04-15-2014, 06:02 PM   #29
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My latest project was installing a Viar compressor. I do not own air tools so I didn't need a large tank. I mostly trailer my Jeep so I needed something I could air up tires with but not something I am going to use every time out.
I also wanted something I could run air lockers off of if I ever have problems with my factory lockers and switch to and ARB or Yukon air locker.

Viair suggested I run the compressor sitting flat//level but said it can by run tilted..... the tilt may increase piston wear on the air compressor.

I ended up moving the windshield washer reservoir which opened up a nice spot on the fender to mount the compressor.

The best price for the compressor I could find was at Home Depot online.


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I got the switch here : http://vh4.nethosting.com/~goldcst1/cart/index.php
I have read mixed reviews on the switches but they fit the factory blanks so I am going to give them a try.

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The Viair sitting next too a MF50 compressor.


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Old 04-15-2014, 06:46 PM   #30
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Did you fab that cam for your tire swing or does that bumper come like that?

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