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Old 02-23-2016, 09:25 PM
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Bear's Build Thread

Meet Bear! A 2016 JKU Black Bear Sport. These first set of pics are more of a starting point, but include the addition of the Sherpa Rack Kit from Rugged Ridge. It was down to the Sherpa kit or the Warrior Renegade rack. I decided on the Sherpa Rack due to the fact that it seemed easier to maneuver when messing with the Jeep's tops, and with the Sherpa, you can easily remove the rack while leaving the window bar in place to serve as a light bar.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:29 PM
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Bushwhacker Flat Fender Flares

Over this past weekend, I installed flat flares. I don't think I needed them for the tires I was getting, but I like the look and openness, and they are future proof!
I did the first front one by myself, then recruited a friend to help with the final three!! I really dig how these turned out.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:35 PM
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BFG KO2's in 34x10.5x17

Yesterday, Bear got new shoes!! I was settled on the KO2's, and wanted the biggest increase I could get with keeping the stock rims, and not have to worry about rim width issues. I heard all the warnings about them not being a true 34" tire, but they still measured 2" greater than the stock 245/75/17's, proven by before & after measurements, and I'm happy with that!
So far no rubbing issues. The fronts are very close to the sway & bumper parts at full turn. Rears clear fine even at full compression against the bump stop. I'm seriously considering wheel spacers for some more wiggle room and a bit wider stance. I'll be adding a " coil spacer to front when I prepare for a new bumper & winch.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:36 PM
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KO2's continued

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A little backyard flexing to check clearances, and just for fun!!
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:48 PM
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Next Up

- Uniden CB Radio kit from Quadratec, sitting on the dining room table awaiting install
- 1.25" to 1.5" Wheel spacers...possibly, wheeling this Sunday may determine
- " Coil Spacers in the front
- Warrior Products Mid-Width front bumper
- Warn VR10000-S winch + accessories
- Skid plats for oil pan, tranny & diff.
- Bestop Trektop NX Twill
- Bestop soft doors
- Some type of side mirrors for when doors are off
- Wet Okale or Bartact seat covers, haven't decided, leaning to Bartact
- Custom roof baskets to utilize the space on the Sherpa rack not taken up by my Thule cargo box (if a welding friend can/will make them for me)
- DIY paracord grab handles & rear seat belt stays (have all the parts, just need to take the time!)
- Lock boxes under front seats, possibly a Tuffy 275 trunk box

I think that will be enough.....for now!!
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:43 PM   #6
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Good luck on the build
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:01 PM
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Thank you!
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:02 AM   #8
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hey nice Jeep, I just got my 2016 Willys Wheeler, I was gonna go with the same as yours...where are you located? I may need your help with a few things....
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Old 03-08-2016, 09:40 PM   #9
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Nice ride time to take some pics off roading Lets see some good pics
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:57 PM
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Thank you! Here's Bear taking a break during lunch after about three hours of trails at Rausch Creek
Front tires rubbed the sway bar at full flex and turn, spacers are coming soon!
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Old 03-10-2016, 05:40 PM   #11
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Nice looking Jeep. I like the look you are going for very much. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us and have fun off roading in the best of health in this beauty.

Thanks
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Old 03-10-2016, 07:49 PM
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Nice looking Jeep. I like the look you are going for very much. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us and have fun off roading in the best of health in this beauty.

Thanks
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Thank you don!
More coming very soon!!
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:29 PM   #13
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very nice. I have the Canadian version of yours... also getting KO2s soon!
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Old 03-31-2016, 09:21 PM   #14
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Nice build man! It's coming along great!
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Old 04-01-2016, 08:14 AM
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very nice. I have the Canadian version of yours... also getting KO2s soon!
Thank you, that's awesome! I love the KO2s. They have made such a difference on the trails. And they are much quieter on the road than I expected.

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Nice build man! It's coming along great!
Thank you! I need do to some updates to this thread, there's been a little more, and hopefully even more after this weekend!
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:22 PM   #16
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BFG 265/70R17 on 2016 Black Bear

RuDawg, looks awesome. I hit the magic age and finally bought a 2016 Black Bear three weeks ago. I'm also interested in replacing the stock Goodyear Wrangler 245/75/17s with the BFG KO2 265/70/17s. If I'm not mistaken, this is exactly what you did. I'm really new at this, so I'm leery about adding spacers at this point, but the stock tires look too small.
Did the change in tire size look significantly better for your Jeep? What did adding the spacers do for the look and drive? Any issues with the spacers?
Sorry about the long message, but I'm learning. Thanks for any response, it'll help me make a decision.
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Old 04-12-2016, 09:48 AM
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RuDawg, looks awesome. I hit the magic age and finally bought a 2016 Black Bear three weeks ago. I'm also interested in replacing the stock Goodyear Wrangler 245/75/17s with the BFG KO2 265/70/17s. If I'm not mistaken, this is exactly what you did. I'm really new at this, so I'm leery about adding spacers at this point, but the stock tires look too small.
Did the change in tire size look significantly better for your Jeep? What did adding the spacers do for the look and drive? Any issues with the spacers?
Sorry about the long message, but I'm learning. Thanks for any response, it'll help me make a decision.
Awesome, congrats!
I went with the 34x10.5.17 BFG KO2's (metric equivalent would be around 265/80/17). 265/70 isn't going to be much taller than 245/75. tiresize.com has a calculator you can play with to see the differences.
The 34's measured 2" taller thank stock when mounted and loaded. It did change the look significantly, the height for sure, the width, not much wider than stock. But the tread, man that tread!! No issues adding the spacers. I went with 1.5" black Spidertrax. It actually improved the feel in cornering. To me, adding spacers, as long as you buy good ones, is no different to the vehicle than getting new rims with less backspacing. Stick with Spidertrax, Synergy, US Alloy, etc.. and you'll be fine. The spacers to avoid are the ones that don't have studs, they just slide on between your hub & wheel...those are the no-no's!!(I have never seen them for sale on any of the reputable vendor's sites)

Hoping to have some time this evening to update this thread with my latest projects.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:45 AM   #18
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Thank you, RuDawg. That really helps.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:55 AM   #19
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Awesome looking Jeep! How was Rausch Creek? I am considering going there this summer, and making a day of it with my wife.
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:18 PM
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Thank you, RuDawg. That really helps.
You're welcome!
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Awesome looking Jeep! How was Rausch Creek? I am considering going there this summer, and making a day of it with my wife.
Thank you! Rausch is awesome. I've been there 3 or 4 times now, and I have barely explored all of it. They have bare bones camping available if you want to spend the night or two, lots of people do that. Let me know when you go, might be able to meet you there!! It's only an hour from me
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:20 PM
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Ok, finally getting around to updating! Not much of a build pic, but here's with the TrekTop NX Twill on, and a 'before' pic of the rest of the updates.

I LOVE the fastback look!!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:23 PM
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Starting the install on the rear of the AEV 2" spacer lift.


My good friend Carl putting in some wrench time!


Rear lift complete


Wasn't expecting such a dramatic difference!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:25 PM
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Installed JKS Quicker Disconnects

Got a little crazy with greasing the zirc fittings, but it all worked in!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:28 PM
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Starting the bumper and winch installed. Put the winch motor in the bumper inside the house. I can't believe how little is left when you take off the factory 'bumper'!!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:29 PM
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I never got a pic of the lift completed prior to starting the front bumper and winch. So this is the post-lift and bumper preview shot!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:32 PM
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And here's my favorite pic so far! One thing to note, is, that a week or so before I installed the AEV lift, I added 1.5" Spidertrax wheel spacers.


I haven't wired the winch nor installed the rope yet, as I hadn't decided how I wanted to wire it up yet. I've since decided to go with a solenoid interrupt kit, and will be doing that this Saturday. I also have D-Rings for the front, but I was waiting for isolators to arrive so I don't have clanking!
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:41 PM
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For those who may be considering doing their own lift install, if you are mechanically inclined at all, I say go for it, especially with a 2" or less spacer lift. Plan ahead. Know what tools you'll need for your kit. Sockets and wrenches....make sure you have enough of each size. Torque wrench and breaker bar are a must!! My buddy and I did it in about six hours, with one beer break(we prepared for the JKS disconnects too). It's somewhat exhausting work. Being under the Jeep torquing bolts to 125lbs will wear you out quickly!! Afterwards we had to go to his house and setup a new trampoline. I was DONE by the end of the day!!

The bumper was fairly easy, hardest part was getting the Jeep's mounting holes lined up with the new bumper's bolts. I had to do some rotary tool grinding on the holes to get the bolts to line up, as I didn't have a " drill bit, not that I could find anyway. A stone on the Rotozip took care of it after a few attempts.

I couldn't be happier with the way it's turning out so far. When I leave work and walk to the parking lot, I see her at a certain angle that just makes me go "Damn, that's mine!!"!!!
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Old 04-13-2016, 05:15 PM
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Another thought I've been meaning to post. This is my 'build theory"!:

I took my stock Jeep to Rausch a few weeks after I got it. I was instantly bitten. I knew I was hooked! Met a few other new Jeepers there. I went to Rausch again with one of them. He and his wife have a brand new Rubi with 37's. I led and the Rubi followed me. We went through some fairly crazy stuff, for newbies anyway! Very technical stuff for stock, I had to be very careful in many places, choosing my lines properly. I would get through something, then watch the Rubi on 37's just glide through it! I thought to myself, "they aren't really going to learn much bout handling their vehicle". Most was too easy for them. It got me thinking about my build progression. I knew I wanted more than stock, but I didn't want to go crazy right away and muscle my way around the trails. So that's why I went with 34's and and 2" lift for now. I want to learn as much as possible about handling technical trails. I'll add skids and such as my levels increase, and I will slowly prepare Bear for future upgrades. Eventually I know I will go to a full suspension lift with 35's and lockers! And I'll prepare for that. I'll strengthen the front D30 at some point before 35's. Possibly re-gear too. I'll hold out at least until my 34's wear down enough.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:52 AM
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New build item! Bent my tie rod last Sunday...got a little to brave(read stupid) and chose a poor line over some very large rocks, and the rocks won!

So, next up, installing a Synergy Chromoly tie rod this weekend, which arrived yesterday.
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Old 04-25-2016, 10:27 AM
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Synergy tie rod is in! Man, it was a lot more work than expected. Mostly in removing the factory tie rod. I watched several videos, and they all make it seem so easy! Sure, just whack the steering ends with a heavy hammer, the rod ends will just pop out....NOT! I couldn't tell you how many times I whacked that damn thing until it finally dropped out. I was using a 3lb dead blow hammer. Maybe a larger hammer would have made it easier, but that's the heaviest one I had on hand.
Another complication was that in the instructions, it says to remove the u-bolts from the steering stabilizer bracket. Well, let me tell you...a 2016 Wranger's steering stabilizer bracket does NOT have said u-bolts! The bracket is bent around the tie rod, with a single nut/bolt to cinch it up. To remove the bracket, I had to separate the driver's side end, and beat the bracket off with a hammer! After that, it was easy sailing!
Oh and for the castle nuts on the tie rod, they are 1 3/4" nuts...everyone has that size socket, right?!

All in all this seems like a great, solid product. I like that the end boots are serviceable, unlike the factory ones.

I emailed Synergy to let them know of the 2016 discrepancy.

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