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Neal5280 04-29-2013 01:17 AM

Neal5280's Build Thread
Well since I just finished some of what I would call major enhancements I figured I start a build thread. I am a novice and have decent mechanical abilities. So enjoy, and if you have any questions let me know and I’ll try to answer them!
Got her last August, 2002 Wrangler X 4.0L 52,000 miles for $10,999 bone stock except for aftermarket rims and stereo. The day I brought her home didn’t even go inside before pulling the doors off!

First since I was broke I wanted to make her mine so slapped on some decals. Dog prints for the pups, Broncos vinyl sticker, ZORT and a few Pro-2nd Amendment for good measure.
Next I despised the “milk jugs” and my neighbor works for a Jeep Dealership and got me the end caps.
In December my wonderful wife picked me up a Warn VR8000 for my birthday.
Took until January to mount, just after mounting I also snagged a Hummer in front of my house.
I also changed the lights in the dash to a blue LED.
Next would be bigger mods, I spent a good bit of time and did a lot of research. I finally decided on doing the Metal Cloak arched fenders and 33s. I ordered my fenders March 15th! It took about a week and they shipped. Thru no fault on Metal Cloaks side, I had a hell of a time with UPS shipping the fenders. They changed dates and also stated they attempted delivery when they didn’t. Anyway once I had them in hand I was excited and ready to put a finish on them. I decided to use Rustoleum “bedliner” it is actually more of a slightly textured paint. I gave them a good once over with 220 grit and red scotch bright pads, washed them with acetone and 2 coats of Rustoleum dark grey primer and 2 coats of the bedliner. They are far from perfect but good enough I didn’t care to go any further.
Unfortunately with working graveyards it can be tricky to find time to do work like installing them, add into that the weather in Denver and the fact my garage is too small to do the work. It ended up being a couple of weeks before I could install them. Well Friday was my day, came home got a quick few hours of shut eye and started. My wife came home and I was at this point, she was a bit concerned but kept the faith!
I had to stop due to Friday night pool league. Saturday morning got right to it. I finished in about 4 hours on Saturday and went directly to Discount to get my 33” DuraTracs mounted and balanced. Here is the finished (for now) product and can’t wait to hopefully get out wheeling next weekend!
Finished with 31s
Finished with 33s
I am picking up a new stereo and new speakers tomorrow and will be installing them this week and have LED Tail Lights that I just need to find time to do.
Next up will be rockers, leaning towards Savvy, but need to save up some $$ first. And that will probably be it for this year for major mods.

Still to come 2.5 OME HD Lift, UCF Tummy Tuck, Dana 44/Ford 8.8, Currie Steering upgrades. I am happy she is where she is at for now but already looking forward to the other stuff too!

All Terrain JK 04-29-2013 06:26 AM

Nice looking Jeep. You should've seen my wife's face when she came out to the pole barn and my TJ was on jack stands. The axles were dangling and parts were every where, it was classic.
I highly recommend the Savvy rocker guards. Save the coin, they're worth it. Good luck and happy wheeling!

All Terrain JK 04-29-2013 06:32 AM

BTW, nice jersey in the first pic. I was an Elway fan since he was at Stanford. Even flew out to Denver to watch him play in 97. A great time and great city. :)

Neal5280 04-29-2013 06:41 AM

Yea her face was classic! Thanks for the complements I am really happy with how it came out! I am really glad Elway came back to the organization it was huge, I love my Broncos almost as much as my Jeep!

Xjman1 06-19-2013 07:49 PM

How you liking the Duratracs so far? I am debating between them at 33x12.5 or the MTR's at 32x11.5? I am just amazed at how much more affordable the Duratracs are but know the performance gap is there.

Neal5280 06-19-2013 08:50 PM

I love them I've only had them a couple of months but they a quiet and have been great for the small amount of wheeling I've done. I am thinking prob 50k miles out of them.

Neal5280 06-21-2013 03:21 AM

So I've got just about everything done for the summer for her...

Last week I put on my JKS discos and CRES top along with the Pirate Flag VDP Cool Breeze Top.

The sway bar link on the drivers side was disjointed and this little bastard was a bit of a pain to get out but finally came out after being doused with PB.

Other than that they went in just fine. I didn't install the posts to attach too when disconnected because I am too cheap to buy a tap and dye set. It works great for now.

This is how she'll sit for the rest of the summer until I figure out if I am going to put the hard top back on or if I'm gonna sell it and go soft top from here on out.

BrutusTheTJ01 06-21-2013 03:26 AM

Looks good. Metalcloaks and 33's with no lift is the route I wanted to go, but because of British laws, it would have been a lot more work than doing a suspension lift.

Neal5280 06-21-2013 03:46 AM

Yea I like it for now... I will be upgrading the D35 and steering and doing a ~2" SL and 35s in the next few years but I am very happy with it for now. How do you like the MC control arms?

Neal5280 10-25-2013 04:57 AM

So I decided to sell the hardtop in favor of the Trektop NX. I couldn't be happier with it and love the looks.

I have been doing quite a bit of research here as well as others and have become pretty set on how the rest of my build will go.

Early next year I will be upgrading to the 8.8 rear end with 4.88 and the front re-geared as well. I am going with a full set of MC control arms, ZJ steering upgrade and 35" MT/R Kevlars. Most likely going with front and rear MC trackbars and a 2" BB. Hopefully by mid summer I'll throw on the UCF Ultra High Clearance Skid with lopro mount and a SYE/CV DS. This will get me thru the next couple of years.

Eventually I'd like to run 37"s and triangulated 4 link rear with coilovers. It'll take come convencing with the wife for the cost involved with all this though :happyyes:

BrutusTheTJ01 10-25-2013 11:19 AM

Treetop looks good. I like my MC arms so far. Hopefully I will be getting to put them to the test this weekend. Going to an OHV park, and it should be better than local trails that are easy for stock rigs.

NJO 10-25-2013 12:33 PM

Just make sure you get the entire MC fender package. You do yourself a disservice by not getting the rocker guards and rear fender assemblies.........

Neal5280 11-11-2013 02:14 AM

I had everything set up this weekend to install my BB and Bilstein 5100s. Well last week my clumsy a** partially tore my left Achilles Tendon. Needless to say I was pissed because our Saturdays are usually booked solid and this was the last one I had open till January. Well my buddy stepped in an told me to bring it by and he'd help... And by help pretty much just do it for me. I reluctantly said no because I wanted to do it for the experience. Well after some convincing by my wife and him I took it over on Saturday. Everything went well and after a few hours left with quite the upgrade! I gotta say that I love the shocks, I was happy to say goodbye to the worn out Rancho 5000. I don't have the pics now but I'll upload tomorrow. Also picked up a set of tube doors for 85 bucks that don't look like they've ever been used.

Neal5280 11-12-2013 10:34 PM

As she sits today.

Neal5280 12-04-2013 02:53 AM

So I have been keeping Brown Santa busy. Received my UCF engine skid to go along with their Ultra High Clearance T-Case skid. MC front track bar and rear upper adjustable CA will be here Thursday. Looking into BDS springs 3" front/2" rear hopefully to order this week.

I need the weather to cooperate so I can get some bare metal covered but it won't be this week, colder than crap for the rest of the week.

After the lift and skids are on then the 8.8 will go in hopefully in Feb/March, will do this and then get the measurements for the CV DS to go on with the SYE.

Gonna be a busy few months but very much looking forward to it!

Neal5280 12-06-2013 06:04 PM

Got some goodies from brown santa this afternoon :)

UCF Engine Skid - Already have the ultra high clearance t-case skid

MC Track bar and rear upper CA

Neal5280 12-10-2013 10:55 PM

So pretty sure the UPS guy hates me/us... He's been to our house every day the last week. At least some of it has been for my wife! Got my springs today, now just need it to warm up and get some stuff painted.

BrutusTheTJ01 12-11-2013 03:25 PM

What height coils did you go with??

Neal5280 12-12-2013 12:43 AM

I went with 2" Rear and 3" front to compensate for the fenders and wench to level it out. I am pretty much set except for the SYE/CV DS but won't do those until I do all of the work here. Just hoping for warm weather so I can paint some stuff and start getting it on the Jeep. I will be doing my rocker guards first, then pretty much all the other stuff will have to be done at the same time unless I don't do the TT but if I am out doing it might as well do it all. I will have to double check all my bumpstoping to make sure I am good. Should be a hell of a summer next year!

BrutusTheTJ01 12-12-2013 02:10 PM

Nice, can't wait to see how it looks. I'm running 33in duras on 3 inch coils, and I'm curious how it will look with some MCs.

Neal5280 12-12-2013 10:11 PM

Looking at your sig we'll be running a very similar set up. I have 33" Duratracs, 5100 and MC CA. I have a feeling when the lift and TT go on the 33s will look small. Hope to be rolling 35s before summer.

BrutusTheTJ01 12-13-2013 12:33 AM

Yeah they probably will, but hey more reason to get 35s.

Neal5280 12-30-2013 10:51 PM

Order of Mods...
Ok I am getting a little bit of a headache trying to figure out the order of my upgrades for 2014. Everything will be done by the middle of July so want to try to do this in the most logical way possible. I wish I could do everything at once but for me it isn't possible. Please let me know which order you'd go an why...

Mods List:

1. Springs, SYE, Rear Upper Control Arms, TT and Front Trackbar. (Done by a buddy and I)
2. 8.8 & Front Regear to 4.88 (Done at a shop)
3. 35" MT/Rs

Current Set Up:
02 TJ - 4.0l, 5 speed, 3.73 gearing
MC Front Fenders
2" BB
Billstein 5100s

Mod Specifics:
3" Front BDS 2" Rear BDS Springs
MC Rear Upper CA & Trackbar
UCF Ultra High Clearance T-Case Skid

BrutusTheTJ01 01-01-2014 03:56 AM

I would go 2, 1,3.

Neal5280 01-01-2014 04:53 AM


Originally Posted by BrutusTheTJ01 (Post 7109993)
I would go 2, 1,3.

That's what I was thinking as well and 1 & 2 will be done pretty close together... The only thing I am really worried about is the 4.88 gears running 33s for a few months, granted it will be better than running them with 3.72s.

BrutusTheTJ01 01-01-2014 05:23 AM

I think you'll be fine with the gears. I've heard that he 4.88s on 33s aren't a bad combo, your RPMs might be a little higher at highway speeds, but nothing terribly bad.

Neal5280 01-01-2014 05:59 AM

I'll just be happy to be able to use 5th gear again :)

BrutusTheTJ01 01-01-2014 07:35 AM

Hah I use 5th a lot..when I manage to get over 40mph

Neal5280 02-17-2014 06:37 AM

So unfortunately I've had to put the 8.8 on hold due to some other financial responsibilities. Damn responsibilities... So it looks like I'm gonna test out how far my D35 w/3.73 will take me with 33's.

So I am going to go a head with the spring lift, SYE & DS, MC CA and Track Bar, UCF TT, Lopro mount and engine skid. In the last month I've also picked up a front Currie Anti-Rock and Novak cable shifter. I ordered a set of brown dog 1" MML. I ordered it 2+ weeks ago and had not heard a thing, so I sent an email last Wednesday for an update and they said it would ship in 12-48 hours but I have yet to hear anything back... Good thing they are advertised as the last MM you'll ever need.

I also ordered a front bumper from and will finish and install that and the anti-rock ASAP.

I am hoping to get the new springs, TB, ZJ TR, MC CA's and MML (if it gets here) this next Saturday. Especially since my wife isn't liking my parts pile and I gotta keep her happy if I want to keep the upgrades going :flowers:

It will be a month or two before I can do the SYE and DS but as soon as those are in I'll be putting on the UCF Ultra High Clearance T-Case Skid and engine skid.

TXST8tj 02-17-2014 07:47 AM

I really like the looks of your build. You and I have several similar parts and plans.
I am running BDS 2" coils front and rear with a 3/4" spacer up front. The spacer was to compensate for winch and bumper and it did that just fine. With the 8.8 installed, the back end is probably 1/2" higher.
I think your 3" front coils will do well once you get everything dialed in.
After I finish loading my jeep down with the remaining armor and spare tire, I will see if I need to make coil adjustments.

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