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Elarson 10-01-2012 04:24 PM

Elarson's Widowmaker build
Hey Guys/Girls,

Just wanted to start a thread where I intend to document the build up of my Black 2012 JKU Sahara over the coming weeks, months, and hopefully years. My intention is to start literally with the window sticker, and then document things I have already done and add the new changes as they occur. All of this in the hopes I may be able to answer questions or spur someone elses ideas as all of you have done for me since April when I first picked up my new Jeep!

I've nicknamed it "Project Black Widow" because I am moving towards a blacked out look and with the time I have spent my wife now refers to herself as a "Jeep Widow"!

I started this project after selling my highly customized 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T. I spent a couple years building it into a show car and eventually got board with it and moved on to a new project. Note that both the Challenger and my Jeep are my daily drivers for some 20,000 miles per year here in my home state of Michigan!

I hope you enjoy or find it helpful! :punk:


Elarson 10-01-2012 04:35 PM

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Knowing that someone would ask I thought I would share some photos of my Challenger first!


Elarson 10-01-2012 04:36 PM

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Elarson 10-01-2012 05:03 PM

1 Attachment(s) is the baseline...just your normal 2012 JKU Sahara. Well optioned but not absolutely loaded.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:11 PM

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One of the first things I did at the start of summer was replace the head unit with a Kenwood DDX419. It includes bluetooth streaming, cell phone integration, garmin iPhone NAV integration, and all the regular bells and whistles.

I also added a Kenwood backup camera, replaced the front and soundbar speakers with the Kenwood Mopar replacements, stuffed the soundbar with polyfill, and replaced the stock Infinity sub with a Kicker 8" CompVR.

Sounds SO much better!!!!!!!!!!!!

I also took the Escort Passport 8500 from my car and put it in tucking the 12v cord behind the dash from the 12v outlet and then out the top behind the radio to keep it as neat as possible.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:20 PM

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Next up was replacing the stock radio antenna with a shorter black aftermarket one. Note the reception is not as good however I almost never listen to the actual radio in lieu of my iPhone.

I also removed the factory step bars from both sides as they will be replaced later with some rock slider protection!

Finally I removed all of the badging including the WRANGER DECALS, SAHARA DECALS, JEEP LETTERING, AND TRAIL RATED BADGE. Note the full picture include a ton of other add ons I didn't have back then but I didn't take a pic back then.

Also of note is when I bought my Jeep I had the dealer put Wrangler Rubicon Tires on it with some 17" wheels off a sport. I just liked the look alot better and knew it would be a few months or longer before I took the next step.

lolpetewtf 10-01-2012 05:28 PM

you broke my browser.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:29 PM

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Next came the front bumper change! This is the Body Armor JK-15931 with the optional JK-5123 optional skid plate.

And for lights, two sets of KC Highlight Off-Road and one set of KC Highlight Fogs! Each set is switched seperately using the Rigged Ridge A-Piller switch Pod.

The winch is a Harbor Freight Chinese special I had and am using as a placeholder so it doesn't look to bad until I get the WARN I want. I wouldn't trust my truck to this winch, but for it's current purpose it's fine.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by lolpetewtf (Post 2849691)
you broke my browser.

Sorry for doing this all at once but trying to document the summer projects and get the build caught up! It's ok to hate.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:33 PM

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Almost caught up I promise!

Added the Mopar hood scoop and Mopar Taillight portectors.

lolpetewtf 10-01-2012 05:38 PM

No one is hating! It's just the pictures are not formatting the way they usually do. Looks good so far

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:39 PM

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This weekend I installed a Smittybilt XRC Rear Bumper System with the included tire carrier (will accomodate up to 40" tires).

I also slipped on a Mopar chrome exhaust tip and added black Smittybilt Rings to the front/rear bumpers.

Elarson 10-01-2012 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by lolpetewtf (Post 2849718)
No one is hating! It's just the pictures are not formatting the way they usually do. Looks good so far

really?? they perfect on my end....maybe I need to take a look using my Ipad or another computer. Can you tell me what's wrong with them? Didn't think you were hating..just dry humor... :facepalm:

Coyote_94YJ 10-01-2012 05:41 PM

Doh, I thought this thread was going to be about Blue Torch Fabwork's Project Black Widow. Oh well. Nice jeep btw. I like that front bumper setup, though I like mine a bit narrower.

And that Challenger.....I want it. :D

Elarson 10-02-2012 11:16 AM

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Just left the ACE factory getting some new side protection installed!

Elarson 10-02-2012 07:16 PM

Started the install of my sPod tonight. Really easy install and looks great. The tough part will now be removing the massive amount of wiring, relays, etc. that are part of the wiring harness that KC gives you with each pair of their lights. I have three sets and I intend of removing all of it down to the pos/neg leads and then wiring to the sPod. Nice clean install as compared to what they are now. Pics to follow!

Elarson 10-04-2012 12:48 PM

Well my build date has now been set for Monday at Unlimited Offroad in Fenton, MI. They are anticipating having my Jeep 4 days to complete the following:

Paint and install AEV Hood
Complete Regear from 3.21 to 4.88
E-locker install front and rear
AEV 3.5 premium lift including geometry correction add on and steering stabilizer
5 Duratracs in 315 70 17
5 Artillery Teflon wheels in 17x9
New front drive shaft

Before and after pics and impressions to follow next week.

.45acpunlimited 10-04-2012 01:42 PM

Im liking where this is going..... subscribed.

Cons_Table 10-04-2012 01:59 PM

Being a black would only seem right to paint the diff covers red :whistling:

Elarson 10-10-2012 04:06 PM

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The lift is wrapping up and tires going on wheels!! I hope it's just the pic but I am surprised how gray the wheels look rather than black. They are the Teflon ATX AX181 Artillery wheels in black

JKMigs 10-10-2012 05:01 PM

Looking good! I'm also working on blacking out my JKU. I've painted the key holes black and side markets. :) looking forward to some pics after lift.

Elarson 10-13-2012 11:04 AM

Well I was expecting to get my '12 JKU back yesterday after a significant build that included a lift, re-gearing, lockers, and an AEV hood.

After completion my shop took it for a test drive and didn't get far before the front pinion failed. It was trailered back to the shop and tore back down. In doing so it was very clear the pinion (a Yukon) was not properly hardened and simply sheared. In doing so while running it took out the ring gear, new Eaton E-Locker, and damaged the drive shaft.

Sounds like Yukon showed appropriate concern as they would clearly be worried about a bad run making it to the street. The shop has re-ordered all the necessarry parts and Yukon is even covering the installation of a new Tom Woods front drive shaft.

The shop has been nothing short of amazing. Thank you Unlimited Offroad.


Elarson 10-16-2012 12:03 PM

Stopped in to check status on the truck today. I misspoke in my previous note as it was the rear that blew up. Looking at all the parts it's clear either the pinion was defective or the pinion bearing failed. Long story short it snapped, took out the rear drive shaft (smacked the gas tank armored well) and once the pinion was released it got sucked into the axle housing and destroyed the ring, new locker and even shattered the housing.

Yukon is going to examine everything and I am guessing they will take care of the shop as they are into this for a couple grand in replacement parts minimum I am sure.

New housing is in, waiting on the drive shaft to button it back up. Can't wait to get it back.

Elarson 10-18-2012 11:04 PM

Finally got the Jeep back tonight after two weeks and a wild ride. Had it re-geared, lockers installed, new AEV hood, AEV Dualsport lift, and Duratracs/ATX Wheels. Thru the process the new pinion failed and took out the rear drive shaft, ring and pinion, carrier, locker, and axle housing. Thousands of dollars later in parts and labor including a new free Tom Woods rear drive shaft (covered by the installer) I have it back. It rides amazing and looks better than I could have ever imagined. I got it back to late for pics but will snap a couple tomorrow to post along with my s-Pod and CB installs over the next couple days.

In line for next steps is a HI-lift jack, Truck Lite headlights, Recon blinkers and side lights, new led tails, a new Warn 9.5cti-s winch with cover, and a Viair on board compressor....

Cannot wait!!!


Elarson 10-19-2012 04:36 PM

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Well it's already rained on it so its wet and dirty but here she is and man am I happy with how it came out.

Elarson 10-20-2012 10:20 PM

Wee I received several of my orders today for projects I planned this next week or two. First were my IPCW Platnium Smoke taillights. Already had an issue with them right out of the box so returning for a another set. Also on tap for this week:

New laser etched rockers for my sPod panel
Viair compressor
Warn 9.5CTI-s Winch and cover
Hi-lift jack
Recon Smoked LED lights for the side markers and front turn signals
Truck-Lite Led Headlights

And I still need to finish my CB install and adjust my tire carrier for the new Tire/Wheel combo last week as well as re-mount my Kenwood backup camera. Lots to do!!

Potts 10-22-2012 03:23 PM

Looking good. Sounds like you're working with a good shop.

Elarson 10-22-2012 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by Potts
Looking good. Sounds like you're working with a good shop.

Great shop. Unlimited Offroad in Fenton, MI.


suicideking 10-22-2012 04:53 PM


Gotta love black JKU's!! :thumb:

GatesHD 10-22-2012 05:01 PM

Jeep looks sick!!!! Dumping a ton of dough into it. How much you upto without cost of jeep ? Whateverthat numberis you must have a great job ,great inheritance or good method of holding up banks.

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