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County98 07-11-2013 04:18 PM

County98's Desert Explorer mods w/ Pics
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Finally back from deployment and bolted on all the boxes the wife had stored in the garage from my internet shopping, lol. Having a freak cloudy day here in Vegas, so decided to do the 6 month wash and wax and go take some poser pics!

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Bought my girl on my last deployment to Africa and the Dealership shots are here...

Did a speaker upgrade and poly/dynamat that works good enough for me and that's here...

AEV 2.5" Dualsport w/ geo brackets
17x8.5" Method Race 301's (4.5" backspacing)
285/70-17 Duratracs
Rampage grill inserts
Northridge Bolt kit
IPF 968 driving lights
Trailgater Table
Rockhard Oil/Trans/Exhaust Skid
GPS mount
Midland 75-822 CB w/ 4' Firefly
Hotheads Headliners
Ace Rails
Q-tec "Tread Lightly" floormats
Mopar tail light guards
Mopar fuel door
AEV Hood
Teraflex Hinge/Carrier w/ Hi Lift and CB ant mount

Had good experience with alot of company's and venders, so THANKS!


Just to name a few. Everyone was helpful and got good prices and shipping from the vendors.

Still some little stuff to do:

Tune CB
Maybe rear bumper water tank mod?
Extend Breathers
Install Spiderweb Shade (when it cools of some from this freakish heat)

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chcg12 07-11-2013 04:24 PM

Like to hear your opinion of the lift-ride quality etc... looks really nice. And thanks for your service.

County98 07-11-2013 04:33 PM

Hood, Grill, and Lights
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I love my AEV hood (as I've mentioned before, lol).

I've seen the desert heat coming from the vents, but do I believe it has a SIGNIFICANT effect on underhood temps? No idea.

It looks badass though and with the spoiler shape on the leading edge, I have NEVER had any noticeable hood flutter like I've had on my older Jeeps.

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I like the Rampage contoured grill insert overall. Pretty heavy duty mesh and I like the contours. That being said, I wasnt crazy about the install brackets. There was some bending involved and I'm pretty detail oriented on this stuff. I always think stuff I pay a premium for should fit EXACTLY and PERFECTLY, lol. I'm often disappointed.:whistling:

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I'm not a fan of stepping stone mods, but I have no idea which way I want to go on lighting and dont have the budget for a full upgrade. These IPF's are nice, just not earth shattering for $150 or so. Not LED or HID, just halogens, but I did swap in the included 100w bulbs and they will be fine for awhile. No issues, chopped off the big fancy harness and wired to sPod.

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stad33 07-11-2013 04:55 PM

Looks badass!

County98 07-11-2013 04:58 PM

Rails, Wheels, and Lift
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The ACE rails are everything they're cracked up to be. Very solid and have no issues. Budget friendly and functional. If I could nit-pick one thing, I would say to ship with already trimmed washers. Was it a huge deal? Nope. Would it have been nicer to not have to mess with it to cut down washers? Yup!:D

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Man. Wheels and tires. I went through about a month of mental masturbation on this one.:nonono: I'll be the first to say that I'm getting tired of the black wheel look and still sometimes wish I would have went silver. In the end I chickened out and went with the "safe" choice, lol. I'm good with it, I still like 'em!

Went with the Methods and Duratrac's in the 33's because at the end of the day, they suit my needs. This combo weighs in at barely more than the factory setup, looks better, and sits wider.

Also doesn't kill me for big commutes, stress the C's as much, rides nice, AT's are quiet, and D ratings are comfy.

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Did a bunch of research on the lift as well, just like everyone else...:thumb:

AEV for me. I like little tracks through the desert, family exploring, etc. No rocks for me thanks, I'll go around and meet you at the lake.

Install wasn't TOO bad. Straightforward really. Only thing was I was by myself in the garage, and torquing those sumbitches laying on the floor was a treat! Also, I was doing the Northridge bolt kit at the same time, so I had factory sizes, Northridge sizes, and AEV size wrenches and sockets rolling around under there that I had to continually find and change out. At the end of the day (second day really :doh:), glad I did it myself and learned alot. Ride is stiff, but not harsh to my mind, and the geo brackets are great. Perfect for my needs and I like it.

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County98 07-11-2013 05:14 PM

Rockhard Armor and Trailgater table
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With smallish tires and a 2.5" lift, I wanted a little protection. Looked at alot of stuff including full aluminum setups, etc., but had to do some cost vs need assessments.

Went with the Rockhard oil/trans/exhaust plate and I'm happy. It's bigger and heavier than I though it was gonna be and overall a well made, stout skid for the "just in case" (or for me, "oops") moments. My only picky thing is the front attach brackets are a little funny to get mounted. Even called rockhard about whether they go inside or outside of skid since they dont sit perfectly aligned either way. It's all in there, tight and solid, I'm just picky about things fitting perfectly. Good product.

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I knew I wanted a tailgate table, it was one of the reasons I went with the full Teraflex hinge setup. I almost went with the $100 version, but decide to go a little overboard for the wife. She is PLENTY understanding and DID cart all this heavy stuff into the house every other day it seems while I was gone.:flowers::thumb: Very nice table. Has a VERY small vibration somewhere, but I'll take another look and track it down. Nothing really noteworthy at all.

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County98 07-11-2013 05:26 PM

Hotheads and sPod
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These have both been well covered in the forums, but I want to add my endorsements.:punk: These are both OUTSTANDING products that fit, mount, look, and work perfectly.

I got the hotheads since Vegas gets HOT. My TJ was so bad you couldnt put your hand on the inside of the top in summer without getting burned. Thats one of the reasons I went with a lighter color and matched top. Also knew I was getting HotHeads before I even took delivery of the Jeep. I got the brown to match the interior and it's almost perfect.

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The sPod is great as well. Very easy to wire stuff straight to it and no worries about cutting into factory wiring. I'm a little leary about warranty work on engine or electrical, so trying to leave that stuff alone.

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Decided to squeeze in a quick word about the floormats. The Q-tec ones are pretty nice, fit well and do a decent job. Rarely any water or snow will here, so they do the job. I decided to get the "Tread Lightly" versions for no particular reason other than I think its a good motto when we're out there.

The one thing was that the cargo area mat is a different, more plastic-y material that I was disappointed in at first. Right up until I had to clean up the Jeep and I realized how much easier it is to clean the cargo mat of misc junk and dog hair. Now I'm on board with it.

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landi jeep 07-11-2013 05:29 PM

love it. time for some new bumpers!

County98 07-11-2013 05:36 PM

Teraflex Hinge/Carrier
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This is also a very nice product. REALLY like the hinge and tire carrier. As mentioned before, I got the whole she-bang in case I go to 35's down the road and because I have the table in there. These are well made, good looking, and work well.

Also got the Hi Lift mount and the rotopax mount. Hmmm. While I give the hinge and carrier a raving endorsement, their add ons for everyday campers and trail guys is a little inelegant. The Hi Lift mount is fine, but the rotopax mount is almost like an interim offering until they can get something real on the market. How about it guys? Can you do a AEV Fuel Caddy type thing for some real usefulness to us non crawlers?

I havent looked at it hard yet, but I'll probably try to set up the rotopax mount with some quick fists as a shovel mount maybe. Anyhoo, pics...

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County98 07-11-2013 05:48 PM

GPS. Garmin Montana and Daystar tray
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I tried using my phone and a tablet a few times with the backcountry nav pro app. While the software was really good, the actual GPS hardware was a little weak for me. I decided to go ahead and invest in a nice GPS for offroading that we could also take for emergencies or hiking.

It's like night and day compared to my phone. This thing locks up like 8 satellites in seconds from INSIDE the house. More peace of mind for me even though the learning curve is a little steep and I havent figured it all out yet. It's nice and I give it a :thumb:.

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I looked at alot of mount options, but they were either in the way, seemed ungainly, or looked cobbled together to me. I wanted something to look nice and work well.

I went with the Garmin Rugged mount for the Montana, which is for hardwire mounting and has audio outs, etc. I also picked up the Daystar Tray with the little ball mount and when everything came, they didnt fit together, lol. I had to order a AMP to 17mm conversion plate from The Mount Guys. Cost like 3 bucks. Got it all together and wired to sPod. Works nice and I think it looks good! The cradle stays mounted and then I just pop the unit in and out. When I flip on the sPod switch, it gets charged from the Jeep and when I shut off the Jeep or kill the switch, it throws a warning banner on the screen so I don't run down the battery.

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County98 07-11-2013 05:55 PM

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Went with the Midland 75-822 convertible jobber and a 4' Firefly. I went with the Midland since it can either be auto mounted to a cigarette lighter, or you can slap on a battery pack and little duck antenna and take it with you if you end up walking (God Forbid).

I did a quick disconnect on the tire carrier for fitting in the garage and wired the coax into the center console. I was torn on this.

If I go to the passenger footwell side of dash, then the cord isnt stretched to hang on clip, but if I go to console, it's more convenient to have in my lap or cupholder. Havent used it enough to see which will be better.

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Well, that's it I think. I may have forgotten some small things. Fire away with questions or comments and thanks everybody for all your helpful posts and the good reading while I was deployed!:dance::wavey:

jeepingchester 07-11-2013 06:16 PM

First and foremost, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

Your Jeep looks great:thumb:. I would love to come home from work one day and have a shit-load of packages waiting for me to open and be installed on, in, under, over and around my Jeep. I'm so jealous right now:)

County98 07-11-2013 06:32 PM

Thanks, lol. It was like Christmas in brown paper! I didn't realize how big some of the boxes were, but the headliners, skid, and lift was enough to take up some space on its own, plus all the little stuff and backorders.

County98 07-11-2013 07:04 PM

Bumpers are on my short list. Really like the classic look of the full width ARB's.

Y-Guy 07-11-2013 11:38 PM

Great write up and pics, thank you for sharing all the details. Some great ideas, may borrow a few of them! Sweet looking ride.

JBADV 07-12-2013 05:27 AM

Very nice .

Duckquackers 07-12-2013 05:48 AM

Were you in Bouti? Good looking jeep my friend and glad you made it to see all your brown Santa gifts.

Morgan 07-12-2013 10:10 AM

great jeep, military planning at its finest!

County98 07-12-2013 11:14 AM

Hiya Duck! Yup, in Djibouti from May to Sep last year. They're not kidding when they say "Africa Hot", lol. Never sweated so much in my life.

Thanks for the good words guys!

5150Rubicon 07-12-2013 11:27 AM


Originally Posted by County98 (Post 3954455)
Hiya Duck! Yup, in Djibouti from May to Sep last year. They're not kidding when they say "Africa Hot", lol. Never sweated so much in my life.

Thanks for the good words guys!

Awesome looking Jeep. Recently picked up my first Jeep...also commando green unlimited. Thanks for all the great pics and info

victor1955 07-12-2013 11:28 AM

County98, thanks for all of the pics and info. Also, THANKS FOR YOUR SERVICE in the military! :thumb

County98 07-22-2013 11:34 AM

Okay, so got out on the trails a couple times around Lake Mead and whatnot to wring everything out.

Everything seems to work as advertised so over all very happy. DO have a couple vibration issues though, and that drives me crazy.

The bumper lights are the worst. I had them on for a bit trying to get out to a fishing spot before the sun came up. They vibrate around so much I shut them off, it was that irritating. I used the Q-tec mounts and everything is tight.

Anybody have a fix for cutting down the vibration on these guys? I was thinking of maybe using a little rubber between the mounts and lights (think bike inner tube). Would this make it better or worse? Also, for you guys running the D2's on the pillar, do they vibrate?

The tailgate table still has a little vibration, that I cant seem to isolate. Thinking of pulling it off and coating the back with a layer of dynamat.

Lastly, the GPS mount isnt bad, but vibrates a little. Not unexpected since its basically a weight on a little stalk, but I was hoping it would be rock solid like the dash. Any ideas?

Thanks fellas!

Duckquackers 07-22-2013 12:27 PM

Yes, Africa hot is hot, and even worse when you are in the air... Welcome back and look into a stablizer for the front control arms to help reduce the feed back.

1Topp 07-22-2013 04:59 PM


donmeca2020 07-22-2013 07:58 PM

Very nice jeep and mods. im really digging that table !!

getahemi 08-17-2013 06:46 PM

That's a beautiful rig. I love the color. You've set it up nicely. You should look into an AEV ProCal. Powerful little device that takes care of a few annoying issues.

EDIT: Oooops. You already have one. Lol.

Wrangler60 08-17-2013 07:12 PM

I love that color! I'm sad they dropped it for 2014.

tupper 08-18-2013 08:31 PM

very nice build

legitposter 08-18-2013 09:11 PM

Just read through the whole thread. Awesome.

TurbineGuy 08-21-2013 10:15 AM

I'm retired Air Force too.

Two comments.

1. I also have the Teraflex HD hinge carrier, and I also thought the rotopax accessory was poorly designed. I've been looking at the Vector Offroad Yak Pak. Vector Offroad

2. I tried the daystar with my Garmin Montana, and the vibration annoyed me. I finally ended up going with the Garmin windshield suction cup mount... and it works way better. It holds up no matter what terrain I'm on.

Nice looking jeep.

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