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Old 07-31-2011, 03:35 PM
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Adventure/Expedition Jeep

Bought my JKU a month ago. Besides being my dd, it's my work vehicle. Work entails going off road, camping, searching, camping... sometimes for a few days, sometimes a few weeks at a time. btw..... the searching part is not for rescue, but rather for light/view/etc. I'm a b&w photographer.

I had a Garvin Wilderness rack built and installed. I'm now looking for a wee bit more clearance, and better support for the weight I pack. (No, not me... my gear)...

Funds are limited.

I'm thinking about following daggo66 (Tom's) footsteps with shocks and coils. Looking for 2". Currently it's got the stock *normal duty* suspension (sport, with trailer tow package - stock tires - 31's).

Thinking 19/60 for the coils... and don't have a clue about the shocks. Suggestions most welcome.

I am not going to putting different tires/wheels on, at least until these wear out, or prove bad in the snow. (Live at 8000' in the Wasatch Mountains above SLC, UT - Big Cottonwood Canyon) in the winter/spring. We average well over 500" snow fall per season. And I'm on the west coast of CA and Northern Baja for the summer/fall.

BTW...... love my Wrangler Moved up from a Commander...



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Old 07-31-2011, 03:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CG3
I'm thinking about following daggo66 (Tom's) footsteps with shocks and coils. Looking for 2". Currently it's got the stock *normal duty* suspension (sport, with trailer tow package - stock tires - 31's).

Thinking 19/60 for the coils... and don't have a clue about the shocks. "
Don't. Your JKU is hundreds of pounds heavier than Tom's JK, and probably already has stiffer coils than he started with. I put 19/60s in my 4 door and only got about .75" of lift. Maybe 1".

If you've got $700 or so, get the OME 2" lift kit. If funds are tighter, get a 2" budget boost by just about anybody. You need either shock extensions or new shocks.

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Old 07-31-2011, 11:53 PM
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Thanks for your input Mike. Appreciate it.
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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Just checked out your website, great pictures!
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:43 PM
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Just checked out your website, great pictures!
Thanks TONS! I'm fortunate that *work* for me includes being in the back-country, camping, hiking, snowboarding... trying to make connections with nature..... and make that photograph..... then printing... it's all magic to me. And my new partner in crime here (Marshall) I'm sure will get me many places that my last jeep didn't dare to tread
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:21 PM   #6
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Just checked out your website, great pictures!
Ditto... great work!
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Old 08-03-2011, 03:35 PM   #7
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I used to have mine set up as you describe. I had a 2" Mopar spring lift with Bilsteins, but put 33" GY Duratracs on for the snow (I, too, live above 8000'). I found the ride rather stiff so I replaced everything with the AEV 3.5" premium lift. This would be too big with stock tires though (I ended up going to 35"ers).
On my son's rig, I just had the 2" AEV spacer lift installed but used Bilstein shocks instead of stock shocks with the provided extensions. This is a great combo and rides really nice. Sounds like it would suit your needs as well.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:22 PM   #8
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You can get tons of ideas and advice on an expedition/adventure rig here....Expedition Portal Forum
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:23 PM   #9
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You can get tons of ideas and advice on an expedition/adventure rig here....Expedition Portal Forum
I second the recommendation for ExPo ---- but I'm a little biased...

Look at what Scott did with the OJ Jeep from Mopar's Skunkworks. I've seen it up close and in action a few times and it works.
Take the same concept and make it your own. That Jeep and the JK Habitat from AT are great vehicles to draw inspiration from.

OME springs/shocks would be a good start but would need other pieces. My money would go into a Rock Krawler 2.5" midarm with Bilsteins. Get wheels and 33s when your stockers wear out. Bumpers/winch to follow.

Also consider attending an Overland Rally/Workshop (see my link) or go to the big show, Overland Expo. You'd get to meet some very skilled photogs there.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:21 PM
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Ditto... great work!
Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:33 PM
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I used to have mine set up as you describe. I had a 2" Mopar spring lift with Bilsteins, but put 33" GY Duratracs on for the snow (I, too, live above 8000'). I found the ride rather stiff so I replaced everything with the AEV 3.5" premium lift. This would be too big with stock tires though (I ended up going to 35"ers).
On my son's rig, I just had the 2" AEV spacer lift installed but used Bilstein shocks instead of stock shocks with the provided extensions. This is a great combo and rides really nice. Sounds like it would suit your needs as well.
Thanks for the input Vince. Nice living up in the mountains. I'm always a bit sad when I head for the coast in the summer, but once I'm here, this is great too! *The mountains call, and I must go* John Muir....

I may be looking at tires if these stockers don't get me home when the snow builds up. I'm not on county maintained roads - the fellow that owns the local lodge plows... as he gets to it... and in the Wasatch, it's not unusual to have 20" dumps...

That said, I may go to 33's, tops. Definitely want to beef up the suspension, and take a bit of lift as it comes. What you have described looks good. Bilstein's and 2" AEV spacer... I don't mind a stiff ride though
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:35 PM
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You can get tons of ideas and advice on an expedition/adventure rig here....Expedition Portal Forum
I've been poking about that site for a few days now..... more up my line than pure rock/mud/see if I can make it kind of driving..... although, after camp is set up around the Moab area - it's always fun to go out exploring. I'm pretty much a barney when it comes to tougher stuff though.....

Thanks Joel
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:43 PM
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I second the recommendation for ExPo ---- but I'm a little biased...

Look at what Scott did with the OJ Jeep from Mopar's Skunkworks. I've seen it up close and in action a few times and it works.
Take the same concept and make it your own. That Jeep and the JK Habitat from AT are great vehicles to draw inspiration from.

OME springs/shocks would be a good start but would need other pieces. My money would go into a Rock Krawler 2.5" midarm with Bilsteins. Get wheels and 33s when your stockers wear out. Bumpers/winch to follow.

Also consider attending an Overland Rally/Workshop (see my link) or go to the big show, Overland Expo. You'd get to meet some very skilled photogs there.
OK..... now Scott's jeep..... that's the real deal Nothing wasted, everything gained. Thanks tons for that link. And yes, I'm finding my way around there...

For sure... bumpers, suspension, tires (maybe wheels if I sell enough photographs by then ) Just sold a couple, and that paid for my rack - stoked.

The habitat is interesting, but doesn't hold appeal for me. I use a tent, or a bivy sack, or just sleep inside time/weather dependent. And I've got a single wall tent for the snow loads... if need be. I need that space on top for gear, and to set up my tripod to photograph from if I want to eliminate foreground...

Thanks again guys I my jeep!
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:45 AM   #14
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Check out some of the pics from Brian Slobe, Holt Webb, & Ben and Beverly Edmonson. They're all "adventure photographers" that we've gotten to camp with through ExPo; you'll like their work.

Time to subscribe to Overland Journal I think. Another place to sell a picture, a story...

See this link for contest: Expedition Portal Forum
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #15
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Slightly off topic:

Overland Journal is one of the best looking magazines available today.

I get a bit tired of (to me) overly long in-depth reviews of obscure equipment ("14 sand ladders compared!" "The best 12 volt refrigerators!"). But it's a great magazine, full of awesome photos and great arm-chair adventuring.

I think my comp subscription has run its course. I may need to actually pay for it this time. :-(
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:50 AM   #16
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Slightly off topic:

Overland Journal is one of the best looking magazines available today.

I get a bit tired of (to me) overly long in-depth reviews of obscure equipment ("14 sand ladders compared!" "The best 12 volt refrigerators!"). But it's a great magazine, full of awesome photos and great arm-chair adventuring.

I think my comp subscription has run its course. I may need to actually pay for it this time. :-(
Some of us do actually live the lifestyle and buy that crap, you know.

Living out of our little trailer for weeks on end in the wilderness is what gives our life meaning. Glamping (glamour camping) just makes it better.

In the NM mountains:


High atop the Glorieta Baldy:


Fleeing the wildfires in Palo Duro Canyon:


Drinking beer by the Rio Chama:


You really do have to come out and play some time, Geoff. Life is short. Enjoy it!
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:30 AM   #17
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You really do have to come out and play some time, Geoff. Life is short. Enjoy it!
Hotels have really nice towels. Frequently, they have a bar.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:13 AM   #18
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Yeah, but there's nothing like camping in the snow at 12,000ft. Hotels are for wussies!
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:23 AM   #19
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Thanks for the input Vince. Nice living up in the mountains. I'm always a bit sad when I head for the coast in the summer, but once I'm here, this is great too! *The mountains call, and I must go* John Muir....

I may be looking at tires if these stockers don't get me home when the snow builds up. I'm not on county maintained roads - the fellow that owns the local lodge plows... as he gets to it... and in the Wasatch, it's not unusual to have 20" dumps...

That said, I may go to 33's, tops. Definitely want to beef up the suspension, and take a bit of lift as it comes. What you have described looks good. Bilstein's and 2" AEV spacer... I don't mind a stiff ride though
RE: the coast...tell me about it, I came to the Rocky Mountains via Laguna Beach, born and raised in the surf. You are very lucky to enjoy both seasonally. I think 33's would be great as you will get added clearance over stock. You don't need a lift to clear them, but 2" helps and a spacer lift is an inexpensive way to go.
RE: the stiff ride...I'm not going to touch that one!
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #20
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I think you will be disappointed with the stock tires, but you'll figure it out after a few trips.

Your work is spectacular. I didn't know anyone was doing this kind of B&W photography anymore. Where can I see more of your portfolio?
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:26 PM
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Check out some of the pics from Brian Slobe, Holt Webb, & Ben and Beverly Edmonson. They're all "adventure photographers" that we've gotten to camp with through ExPo; you'll like their work.

Time to subscribe to Overland Journal I think. Another place to sell a picture, a story...

See this link for contest: Expedition Portal Forum
Thanks for the Links. Looks like a beautiful mag.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:37 PM
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RE: the coast...tell me about it, I came to the Rocky Mountains via Laguna Beach, born and raised in the surf. You are very lucky to enjoy both seasonally. I think 33's would be great as you will get added clearance over stock. You don't need a lift to clear them, but 2" helps and a spacer lift is an inexpensive way to go.
RE: the stiff ride...I'm not going to touch that one!
We used to go up to Laguna Beach every summer for a week. Loved it. I'm down in Encinitas. 3rd gen. San Diegan..... escaped to the mountains about 12 years ago. And yes... very fortunate to have both the mountains and the coast.
Where are your photos from? Ski area just across the way it looks like...
Thanks again for your info.... and here's a couple of my *Living the Jeep Lifestyle...*

The cabin is where I live from November through May or so... This photo was taken in April. Big snow year in Utah. The second one is the road up to my cabin. The road is wide enough for one vehicle, with about a foot and a half clearance on either side... Fellow that owns the local lodge plows. I blow my driveway (or get my husband to do it...) Have a big Honda on tracks...

I REALLY like your jeep!
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:46 PM
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I think you will be disappointed with the stock tires, but you'll figure it out after a few trips.

Your work is spectacular. I didn't know anyone was doing this kind of B&W photography anymore. Where can I see more of your portfolio?
Ha! I'm already disappointed with the stock tires... they just look whimpy... but looks won't drive me to spend as of yet... maybe soon though...

Thank you kindly for your kudos. I had the honour of being invited to exhibit my work alongside of the works of Ansel Adams this past winter in Park City. It was so cool..... and they had me give a few talks over the run of the exhibit about the man and his work. Then, I moved my exhibit and got to hang a solo exhibit in a museum concurrently with the works of Imogen Cunningham. Talk about a great couple of shows. I was thrilled to have been the one chosen to be with the masters.

<<<Where can I see more of your portfolio?>>> Did you go to my website? Did you click on the photograph to *open* the website? Then, there are several (9) different portfolios to choose from, starting with The Elemental Earth, click on the photo representing the portfolio, and it will open to several photographs..... there are quite a few in the different portfolios... Along the top are more links to more info. Including the different galleries that carry my photography. Glad you like it!

Thanks again
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:50 PM   #24
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Vince, I gotta ask -- how do you pull that trailer, gear, passengers, etc. at 12,000 feet, climbing through the mountains? What mods have engine and/or gearing mods have you done? BTW, I love your jeep and that matching trailer is sweet, too.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:47 AM   #25
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Vince, I gotta ask -- how do you pull that trailer, gear, passengers, etc. at 12,000 feet, climbing through the mountains? What mods have engine and/or gearing mods have you done? BTW, I love your jeep and that matching trailer is sweet, too.
Thanks JPT: I was runnng the 6-cyl with stock Rubicon gearing just fine on trails. Remember you're crawling slowly in the snow. It was fine blasting along in the desert at sea level too (pic). Furthermore, the M416 trailers are light, you hardly know it is there, even when loaded up for long trips (mine has a 25 gal water tank, refrigerator, and a solar power system). Where I found the setup unacceptable was on the highway passes, trying to maintain reasonable speed up around 10,000 ft. A local mechanic told me you lose about 3 HP for every 1,000 ft elevation and I believe it. Hence, my Jeep underwent major surgery this summer with a 5.7vvt Hemi replacement. I added 3.5" lift and 35's at the same time. It is a completely different vehicle now. Think of your Jeep as a muscle car...quite a change. I haven't had it in snow or high trails yet, but easily go 80 up steep highways at just 2000 RPM.
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