My Official Jeep Build Thread
Okay, I've got numerous threads out there about my Jeep build...most with only 1 or 2 photos, if any. I have actually taken numerous photos of my progress however so I'm going to post it all here...in at least 3 parts...because I'm pretty sure I recall the software only allowing me to post 10 photos at a time. lol
So let's get to it...
I won't get into the story of how I was able to afford all this stuff because half my replies were advice on that minor detail...so let's just say I came into a decent chunk of money and decided to build up my Jeep into the perfect cross between a daily driver and weekend warrior. It's mostly a mall crawler for now because I'm still paying it off for another 3 years and don't have a secondary vehicle...but once it's paid off, I intend to pick up a new daily driver and continue building the Jeep up and wheeling it whenever I can...plus cruising around town on nice days.
My intended build included a Zone 3" suspension lift, 1.25" body lift, motor mount lift to avoid the tcase drop (which I ended up having to do both due to major vibes--sooooo SYE has been added to the list of future mods), 33" Goodyear Duratrac tires, and Cragar Soft 8 wheels. Because of this setup...I also needed to pick up some steps/rock sliders (I'm not very tall plus the girl I was dating at the time had a hard time getting into the Jeep...as well as her daughter...of course we broke up before the lift went on...lol) and a spare tire carrier that could handle the 33" spare tire. Because I like to waste my money, I also invested in a few other items... new muffler, rear bumper, Herculiner kit, rear seat cover, paint for the interior (converted from tan to black), cb radio setup, paint for the D-rings (oh come on...red D-rings are obviously MUCH stronger than unpainted D-rings! :thumb:).
Once I got the money I started placing orders...my Christmas began in May. This was the first of multiple Christmases.
First up was the muffler, rear bumper, rear seat cover, and Olympic Revers-a-Bars which i put in the step position because like I said...my Jeep doesn't go off the road much currently (though for the record, it DOES see mud and some light off-roading!).
Dropping the skid plate alone was not something I cared to do...so I improvised...bungee cords made this job VERY easy. I had to drop the skid plate in order to access the bolts for my muffler.
New rear bumper - went with a cheap Pro-Comp bumper. It may be cheap but it's much higher quality than the stocker and it looks pretty good regardless! You can also see the exhaust tip in that photo...looks pretty much stock, has a lil more rumble, but it's not much louder than stock. I chose the Dynomax Super Turbo and I highly recommend it for those who want a subtle but pleasant change in exhaust sound.
New rear seat cover installed - I chose the Bestop one. It's a two-piece seat cover, installs nicely and and looks great. I already had the front seat covers and I love them.
New steps installed - these are advertised as being easily reversible. Trust me...put these in the position you think you're going to use the most and never try to reverse them. They're not difficult to install, but it's kind of a pain in the butt as well as time consuming. Once you install them you are NOT going to want to reverse them!
While installing my spare tire carrier, I learned something new about the minor surface rust in the back passenger side corner when I put a hammer through the wheel well...it wasn't surface rust!
That put a bit of a damper on my plans...intended to just bondo it but decided later to do it right. My buddy Hazzo1 (check out his build thread on the CJ forum...he has a BADASS CJ-5 he and his dad restored!) went to welding school and offered to help me out with welding in a patch...so we worked that into the build a little later.
Stripped my Jeep down to prepare it for the Herculiner project (sorry...I apparently didn't get any photos of my tire carrier when I installed it)...
While the console was out, I decided it was the perfect time to replace the sub in my center console...up until recently it was problem free, but the past couple weeks it had started vibrating and buzzing terribly. I picked up a Pyramid 6.5" sub for like $21 shipped off Amazon and went to work on installing it. The install was cake. Now that I have my Jeep back together, it sounds SOOOO much better than the stock sub...it's quite impressive honestly.
Empty enclosure...you have to grind down the little plastic 'C' in the very center because the new speaker is a little deeper than the stocker.
Surround was dry rotted all the way around the speaker...that had to be where my buzzing was coming from!
New sub next to stock sub...slight size difference.
This is the point where I decided to paint my dash...Herculiner project was put on hold due to Hazzo and I's schedules not meshing very well and I needed that rust hole fixed before I Herculined the Jeep.
Stripped the dash out...as well as the airbag cover...which was a BIIIIIIITCH!
My apologies again...but I apparently took not one single photo of my freshly painted dash while it was out of my Jeep! :facepalm:
A day or so later we decided to start on the lift...first up was the 3" suspension lift. We split the lift process up into multiple days so my buddy made sure he kept his bay available the following day. We installed the 3" lift and new wheels and tires first...and in place of the MML, I just installed the tcase drop with my 3" lift with the intentions of removing it once the body lift was installed.
Old 31" BFG A/Ts on Canyon wheels next to 33" Goodyear Duratracs on Cragar Soft 8's...huge difference!
Our first problem of the night...front shock bolts wouldn't come off. Tried breaking the shaft of the shock by yanking it sideways with no luck. Didn't have any bolt cutters handy so my buddy got out the cutting torch. Problem was...rubber bushing on the shock was fire happy and kept bursting into flames. Bigger problem...the little plastic cover over the hole above the passenger side shock was actually the bottom of my intake. When the bushing burst into flames, it immediately melted the "plastic cover" and then roasted my air filter...$13 later... (still need to patch the hole before it rains).
Thankfully everything else went decently...track bars were a BIATCH to get back into their mounts once they were relocated, but other than that, we didn't have anything else actually break. Got the lift installed and aside from needing an alignment and drag link adjusted it was ready to go...buuut we ran into a new issue...even with the tcase dropped, I had MAJOR vibes. It felt like I was driving down railroad tracks when I hit 50mph.
Buuuuut...it looked great!
I aligned it myself using the article posted on here all the time combined with Jerry Bransford's recommended method using square metal bars on the wheels the following day which solved all of my issues with it wanting to randomly dart left or right and not track straight at all. I also adjusted the drag link which took me about 8 tries before it finally was straight. Note: I found it much easier to adjust the drag link with the wheels off the ground. Then make changes and drive it down the road and back to see where the wheel is.
Rotating the sleeve counter-clockwise will turn the steering wheel counter-clockwise if I recall correctly.
A couple days later, we were finally ready to get the rust hole patched...it was a Friday night so I was all set for that. I had already gotten permission to borrow our dump truck from work so I could Herculine my Jeep and let it cure all weekend.
Hole with roll bar removed
Jeep Wrangler Pickup Truck Edition (#37 of 100 ever made...:whistling:)
Hazzo1 working his magic with the grinder...thankfully the rust wasn't nearly as bad as it appeared and we didn't have to cut out the nuts where the roll bar mounted. We cut out a square about 4" x 4" and then welded in a piece of sheet metal...ground the welds down smooth and primed the bare metal to prevent rusting.
Later that night I prepped and bedlined my tub (I should say...later that night through 2pm the following day...sleeping 2.5 hours in between coats of bedliner).
Tub before prep work...
First coat of Herculiner on--let me just say, I really like this stuff, but if you do it, be prepared to brush it all on and just roll the texture into it after it's brushed. There's so many crevices and corners, there's not much rolling you'll be able to do.
Got the interior all put back together as well as installed my cb radio...I went with the Cobra 75 which is the one where the entire radio is in the mic. I mounted the control box under the driver's side seat bracket (closest to the console) and then mounted the mic just below my keys on the knee bolster panel. I also installed an external speaker. I wanted the speaker to be in the center of my rollbar, but unless I extended the cord, it wouldn't reach my control box...so instead I mounted it above my left ear on the far left side of the roll bar facing straight down due to low clearance above my head.
Some photos of the interior of my Jeep all re-assembled...also notice I Herculined part of my rocker panel as well as the top side of my steps for better grip. I was unsure if it was going to look okay but I've received multiple compliments on it so I guess I did. :thumb:
External speaker location...let me just tell you, this sucker gets LOUD! It's a Cobra 15 watt speaker if I recall correctly. Cost less than $20.
Here's a couple general photos after the body lift and MML was installed...by the way, the red D-rings look SOOOO much better than the orange. I just wanted minor accents...so I have the Firestik cap and D-rings red. Nothing else will be painted red most likely.
I decided to get a comparison photo of the tractor I mow with at work next to the Jeep...I think I've got a ways to go before it's bigger. LOL
And gotta finish off with the closest thing I've got to an "off-road" pic...
Hope you all enjoyed seeing the transformation...here's a before photo to show my Jeep two days before I bought it.
This one shows the interior pretty well...
No comments, really? God you guys suck...lol
Good looking jeep. I like it a lot.
If you really work at it, set goals and concentrate you should be able to spend lots more money on that Jeep.
Always remember, a fat wallet is an uncomfortable wallet on a rough road.
Jeep looks good. Need to get some black rubber floor mats. The tan carpet ones dont fit anymore. lol
what step bars are those?
This project is awesome wish I had the time and money to do the same. getting there slowly though. My lift comes in Sept. Along with 33's Just built a custom roof rack and I hurculined the inside a few months ago.
Good job on the rig
Looks great and give me a lot of incentive.
Nice rig brah! I like the blacked out look with red "accents".
Nice choice going with the 33's. I want to so bad but I can't see myself re-gearing my 2.5L. I think I need to wait til I get a 4.0.
Thanks for putting it all in ONE build thread....much easier to follow.
Is that a Pro Comp front bumper?
did your sub work with an aftermarket head unit?
Oh and also , looks awsome with 33's. thats my next up grade
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