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Old 08-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Jawest12's Evolving Build Thread

I've had this Jeep for a year. Should have started one as soon as I got. But will attempt to add everything I have done.

I traded in a 2014 Silver four door for a 2017 Big Bear Edition two door in chief blue. I was looking for ways to reduce expenses at the time due to a life change. Stopped by the dealership just because and the Chief Blue captivated me. It crawled up inside my eyeballs and wouldn't go away.

I debated for a bit, as it was close to JL release. But decided on not wanting first year run, and I could move many of my mods.

First is the previous Jeep.

Second is the removal of the stuff, with the new Jeep in the background. The dealership let me have both at home overnight to transfer stuff.

Third and fourth are of the new Jeep in the showroom.

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Old 08-20-2018, 11:55 AM
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The old Jeep had:

AEV 2.5 lift
16" wheels, 33's
Smittybilt front bumper
Engo winch
Smittybilt Atlas side armor
Windshield lights
LED Head Lamps
No name brand LED tail lights.
Hard and soft top
Rancho doors with spiderwebshade inserts
Bartact/Trek Armor seat covers
Ham Radio
CB
Pioneer Avic-5000 NEX
Amplifier, speaker replacements and sub box
Tuffy security cover
Grabar handles up front
Rugged Ridge Hood Louvre (wont do that one again)

That's most of what I can remember. All of that was moved, except for the lift, hood louvre, wheels/tires and side armor.

I debated on the wheels and tires. But they were half worn. The new one came with KO2's factory. And I didnt want 16" rims this time.

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Old 08-20-2018, 11:58 AM
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Here are a few pictures after getting everything installed but the audio and light wiring.

Additional note, the blue trim was from my last Jeep. So it doesn't match. When I got the silver one, i REALLY wanted Hydro Blue. But none were to be found at the time, and I had to get something relatively immediately.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:16 PM
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Then there was an issue. After only having this Jeep about a month, I did something I have NEVER done with any of my previous Jeeps.

Its a nice day out, getting ready to do a drive to a client's office. I decide, hey, I only have two doors now, lets just take them off real quick. Take off first door, set in garage. Happily singing a tune to myself, probably something Jeep related, remove the second door. As I am carrying the door, I step into the garage side door. Go to raise my right foot, its stuck. Immediately my mind goes into Matrix slow mo time. The new freshness of my door's life flashing before my eyes. I quickly throw my left foot forward for balance. And it is stopped short by something I can't see.

I then realize, this is it, I'm going down. With my door. Common sense would say, drop the door, save yourself. Jeep sense says, screw that, save the door at all costs. So here I am, door life flashing across my eyes still, crashing to me knees, trying to hold the door up. Then falling to my hands, with said door in hands. Thinking I can do this...

Then WHAM, I fall directly onto the door. At 6'2" and a lot of pounds, I am not a small man. I was carrying the door with the metal facing me. Said large man has now fallen onto the said door.

I quickly rise up, start inspecting the door. KNOWING I have caved it in, we all know how thin that metal is. So I'm inspecting, but slowly, as I dont REALLY want to see any damage. Surprisingly it looks... fine. I get up. As I do, body parts are popping, knees, back, etc. And my right hand hurts a tad.

I look over to my work gloved right hand, both were, I always do when doing doors. Because my hands are babies, and the bottom edge of the door hurts my baby hands. As I hold my hands, there is a GUSH of blood coming from the glove. My mind starts screaming many words of cussing and such.

I cautiously, but not really, RIP the glove off. I see parts of my index finder I shouldnt. I try to press all the stuff back together. Meanwhile flinging blood everywhere. I quickly make way to the house, still throwing blood everywhere. Garage floor, door jambs, concrete parking pad. It's practically a murder scene.

Fortunately my father was in his shop across the street. I walk in, face white a sheet. Hand held to my chest. He immediately thinks its a heart attack. He then proceeds to get me to the emergency room.

After much waiting, I finally get seen. No tendons cut. Nothing broken. But huge tear in the joint of the index finger. Requires 12 stitches right in the joint.

Picture below. Next post will all the things that occurred from one little finger injury.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:31 PM   #5
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Ummm.... OW!!!!!!
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Baby Sound View Post
Ummm.... OW!!!!!!
It definitely did not feel great, lol. What had happened was that hand was right near the hinge pin. When the hand hit the ground with the door, the hinge pin dug in through the glove, hit the joint. The threads of the hinge pin ripped through everything.

I feel very glad that I had the gloves on. Doctor was sure I would have had at least a lot of tendon damage if not.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:32 PM
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Injury cont.

This was July of last year that this happened. To this day I am still dealing with some finger issues. Immediately after injury, they stitched and immobilized. A few weeks after the stitches come out. Dr says that I am now getting a boutonniere deformity, and if not fixed, will get worse. Essentially, my finger would not fully extend. And swelling of the knuckle had caused the tendons the control finger contracting and extending, were being pushed to the sides. Causing my finger to want to contract a little, all the time.

So then began a few months of a tortuous device that wrapped around my finger and palm in different places, and pushed down in the center of the knuckle. Started with wearing at ten minutes a time, ever tightening. ANd I had to work myself up to wearing 24 hours a day. It also did not feel great.

I successfully corrected that issue with the splint. But then had a new issue where i could not fully contract my finger. THis then lead to several months of therapy. 4 to be exact. All to move one stupid little finger. There are WAY more exercises for a finger than one would think, lol.

Fortunately, that went pretty well. The boutonniere deformity did not come back. HOWEVER, I now had developed trigger finer. Which is where scar tissue had built up on the tendons, like a little know. Tendon would not move through the pulleys easily. Causing it to catch. Thereby causing my finger to get stuck when extending. We then spent three months of shots and such to solve it, no good.

So about a month ago, I had surgery to release the trigger finger. They cut a slit in the palm at the base of that finger. Go in and slice open the pulleys, or tendon tunnel, or whatever its called. Close you back up, then make you move it.

Today, its all mostly moving well. But I still have numbness on one side of the finger, and putting any pressure on it is a tad painful, and feels weird.

The only bright side to all of this? I'm left handed, so theres that.

The main downside, I'm a comptur guy. Keyboard, all day long.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:40 PM
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Now back to building.

Next up was amplifier and speaker install. Went with some mid level Focals for dash and sound bar. Its a topless Jeep. Soundstage is crap, just need something loud and relatively clean. Don't need to recreate a concert hall.

Gutted the interior mostly. Installed everything. Tapped into the wires on the b pillar to run up to the sound bar. Using quick disconnects so it can be reverted in the future. Installed the amp in the cubby hole in back. Need to find a better place though due to heat. I can get about 4 hours, then it enters thermal shut down.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:45 PM
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Next up was accessories switches. I only need two switches for now. But went on ahead and ran the wires for 4. Only two wires to relays however. Both wires to only be available when the key was one. I'm a wiring/sound guy in general. I usually mock things up with crimp connections. Then play clean up later.

I used the rugged ridge A pillar mount for switches. Made a color coded wiring harness. Then ran it all to the engine bay on the passenger side. With the ability to wire up more relays as needed.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:51 PM
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Ahhh, lift day. Normally I like to do my own stuff. No 4x4 shops around here to trust. I'm a military trained mechanic. I can do things as long as I have pictures in crayon. But I opted for the dealership Mopar 2" lift on this build. There were a few good reasons for it. The price was very cheap considering. Came with a new front drive shaft instead of exhaust spacer. My Maxcare requires a lift height of no higher then 2". The Mopar actually netted about 3" up front, but is listed as 2", so its good as far as the extended service. And most importantly, kept the dealership happy with me. That relationship is very important when one has a modded Jeep.


Overall, happy with the lift. Added Rancho geo correction brackets for Caster. Performed well offroad. Except for a clunk when hitting big bumps. Mostly like reason was trackbar bracket hitting the frame. But decided it wasn't much, and let it go.
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:56 PM
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Alright, moving a long. Starting to feel like a real Jeep again ;-). Next up new wheels and bumpers. Needed wheels with some more backspacing. I prefer wheels over spacers.

Went with the Quadratec Tactik wheels. Pretty new style, not many around. Relatively cheap. I WANTED the level tracker pro type, but those were getting scarce. I also like the Rugged Ridge with the rock rings. But they are way more than I want to spend on wheels. I like the rim protection due to rock rash. I like keeping my Jeep pretty, even when offroading. It is not necessary to beat it up if you dont have to.

I went with Havok offroad bumpers front and rear. They were a GREAT price. Under $1000 at the time for front and back. The rear bumper met all my criteria. Attached to tailgate. Allowed for stock tow hitch receiver. And reverse light provisions.

I also use magnets. Have on the last three Jeeps. Had to make some extra panels, as mine were originally cut for a 4 door.

This also shows my other form of trail protection. New trail doors!. The ranchos were no good for keeping out water. Couldn't add uppers, etc. Wheeling around here means mud at some point. I need something that seals at the bottom. Went with the Strike Force Zebra's. A good bit cheaper than factory ones, and dont have to worry about them getting scratched.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:32 PM
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Next was the uppers for the Strike Force Zebra doors. One of the things that made me choose them. And, got a little trail time in at the same time.

At this time I also installed some Rock Krawler quick disconnects. I wasnt totally happy with the tie up solution, but they were easy to put back on when done for the day.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:40 PM
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In my never ending quest for keeping my Jeep pretty, it was time to add some limb risers. I wanted some that were quick disconnect to remove when not needed. I purchased the Steinjager version. They have a great quick disconnect setup. I did not like the A pillar mount that I saw for any of them however. It requires drilling into it. Living where I do, there is salt, rust is for real. Any hole that I dont need to make, I won't.

The best solution I found was the Off Camber Fabrication light bar mount. This met three of my criteria:

1. Protect the A pillar from branches
2. Provide a mounting place for the limb risers
3. Have "ears" that are removable, so that they arent sticking out all the time.

After all that, got in some more trail time. And ran into my old Jeep in a parking lot.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:45 PM
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With the aforementioned trail time, I learned that I was not a fan of the KO2's mud performance. Sure, they could mostly do it. But my last Jeep had Fierce Attitude MT's on it. Which really did great in all scenarios for me. Street, offroad, snow, and mud. The sidewalls were relatively weak, but I could deal with that.

This time I opted for making the BIG jump to 35's. Something I never thought I would do. I went with MasterCraft Courser MXTs in load D. This kept the weight down a little. My son had run these on his Cherokee, as had some other club members on their rigs. They performed great. The price was definitely right. I did end up cutting the rubicon rails, did not get pics of that.

Got the tires on, and trail ride in. I was very pleased with them.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:55 PM
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This update was another audio upgrade. Saw the thread pop up about the big screen android radios. Bit the bullet, ordered the Dasaita 10.2 Android 6 PX5 unit along with a CarPlay dongle.

Screen - AWESOME
Audio quality - TERRIBLE, definitely needed a line driver, something to increase the pre amp voltage
Bluetooth quality - terrible
Functionality - awesome
On looker reactions AWESOME

The CarPlay dongle helped a bit with audio on phone calls, but added a slight delay. Overall happy with it.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:59 PM
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I decided the next upgrade would be some form of oil pan protection. I just felt like it was waiting to get bashed on something. I dont do any type of crazy wheeling. But I still like to be prepared. Found a great price on skid plate. $169. Had to do a little modification to the oil drain part, but worth the piece of mind.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:01 PM
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Sometimes I just need some time with my Jeep. Cleaning it up, making it all sparkly. Other times, I take it to a new local JeepFest that my club had a hand in. And got it all dirty again. Plus got a little famous.

At this point I had also replaced an item that started me down a very bright, and pocket emptying, path. I changed out the rock krawler disconnects for Metalcloak. My 35's were rubbing the RK's. And I still didnt like the tie up method. The metalcloak required me making holes in the frame. Which I did NOT like. But, once I got over that, they work great. No more rubbing.

I believe I'm starting to have a problem with my love for all things MC.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:08 PM
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One thing I have always wanted for both practicality, and just because its cool, is on board air. Yes, I have a portable one. Yes, it can be shared. But I liked the idea of it always being there. And one that could air up all my tires before needs to rest. I also loved the idea of it being one more thing I didnt have to remember when getting ready to go the trail.

So I bought an ARB single, with mount and such from a local driveline shop. Great customer service. Love onboard air.

Something else I you can kind of see in the picture. I had added the rough country MLC, their version of an SPOD. I was going to do my own, but theirs didnt cost much more than just the parts I would need. Its a good solution, works great for my needs.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:15 PM
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This next set of pictures was from a great experience at the 2nd annual Ohio Jeep Fest. Bartact was there. They had me park my Jeep with their crew. To show off my older version of their seat covers. From back when it was still Trek Armor. It showed how well their stuff holds up over time. They absolutely have held up great for the past several years. Left with some new products! Grab handles, pouches, seat belt cushions, and storage bags. I was also previously given the flashlight holder and fire extinguisher by them when there was a shipping delay. An absolutely standup company with great products.
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Old 08-22-2018, 01:58 PM
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This edition starts a large evolution. I originally had the Mopar 2" lift installed. It kept me happy at first. It was every bit as good as the AEV lift on my last Jeep. However, overtime things changed. I would seem to bottom out quickly on bumps offroad. I had wheels coming off the ground sooner than expected. A then subsequent trial on our Jeep club ramp confirmed that my flex was rather limited.

The final straw was a Jeep event where another Jeep, with an MC lift that was similar in parts time, got a MUCH higher score on the ramp than me. Research showed this was mainly due to the length and travel of the Rocksport shocks. During this research, I soon developed an unhealthy obsession with MC stuff. I really liked the engineering behind their joints, and their approach to it all. Yes, I am fully aware that marketing is a thing. And all manufactures speak highly of their own stuff.

But I then I had the chance to talk to someone who had a the full GC lift that is in our Jeep club. That discussion fueled the flame of my obsession. Which brings me to the first large update. All 8 adjustable MC control arms.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:06 PM
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The MC control arms, with their bushings, made a bigger impact on road feel than I would have expected. They feel great. And no more drop brackets.

But of course, to REALLY take advantage of them, I need some shock with actual travel. The aforementioned Mopar/Fox shocks were for 0-2" lift. The fronts only extended to 22.9 with a travel of approx. 8.5 inches.

So, next up, Rocksport shocks. So far, I have been very impressed with these. The cost is not bad at all.And they work great for my application.

I don't do crazy wheeling, more of mild wheeler. This is my every day vehicle. And I pay for it. However, I like to be prepared, and eventually it will be my toy once paid off. I do not have lockers, so the longer all tires can stay on the ground, the better.

Onto the pictures. With a note, there is another member there with a a 2 door JK, long arm lift, and coilovers. Even he was impressed with the articulation of the MC stuff.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:09 PM
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This one is just a minor update. We have all had hood flutter at one point another. I knew I wanted to replace my stock hood latches. But none of the aftermarkets ones were really calling my name.

Enter the JL. Love the latches and the way they work. I was ecstatic to hear that they could be retrofitted. And cheaper than most aftermarket latches for the JK. Ordered and installed, took very little time. I only need to lengthen the holes on the hood a bit for adjustment.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:13 PM
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Recently it was time to take Jeep (still no official name) on its inaugural vacation run. Lifted Jeep on the road for 8 hours. It did great, other than when their was a strong crosswind, lol.

Although I did discover that when having people in the back, the bottoming out I encountered offroad was even worse. It was a clunking noise. Needed to check it out further.

Had to find a parking spot that would allow me to flex!
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:18 PM
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Back from vacation, it was time to find the clunking noise. Turns out I had two issues. The first is relatively common with the Mopar 2" lift. The rear trackbar bracket can come into contact with the frame. That is picture one. Cut the corner off the frame, painted it, then cycled for testing. All good on that end.

Second issue was actually a new clunk from after putting on the MC arms, that was made more apparent when having back seat passengers. The new arms centered the rear axle in the rear wheel well. This caused the rear trackbar bold frame side to come in contact with the passenger side bump stop. A simple flip of the bolt orientation took care of that one.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:26 PM
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This update contains a couple fun things, and another evolution.

Stickers and MC hat, woohoo!

Plus, yet another radio change. The android unit started misbehaving. LOVED the screen size. But, bluetooth audio was delayed, especially with phone calls. The audio quality was still terrible, would need some form of DSP. The worst part being sometimes it just would not turn on. No amount of power pulling, or resetting would get it to do anything. Would have to wait a few hours, then it would start up fine again.

I suspect this is due to some internal maintenance routine going haywire. Like it reboots every so often, instead of just going into dormancy. Then it would get stuck in some kind of loop, instead of rebooting. Which had to timeout before coming back on.

Fortunately I had purchased the warranty with it. So, a VER quick claim process refunded my money. Ordered a new Pioneer with the money. Bigger screen than my original Pioneer. Mechless, who needs CDs now adays? Basically all I needed was something that would give me a great carplay experience. THis one does, Pioneer MVH-2400 NEX. It does also integrate with all the ODB stuff, as long as you use the Maestro-RR. So you get tire pressure, door open info and all the little gauges.
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Old 08-22-2018, 02:34 PM
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This evolution has been another favorite. The last wheels I got were mostly to get the right backspacing and be cheap. But didn't have the rock ring protection feature that I wanted. I have scratched wheels offroad in the past. Call me a pansy, but I fully believe in offroading AND keeping your stuff pretty. You can do both!

I also needed more backspacing to accommodate my new shocks and their front relocation brackets. Brackets that keep the shock body from hitting the frame at full flex. These are Vision Nemesis 111 wheels. I strayed from my usually black. Went with a gray that somewhat matches the original mineral gray of the interior pieces. Such as my steering wheel still has.

I LOVE the way the look. More depth than just all black. I may, or may not, paint the rock protection rings chief blue. Haven't decided yet.

While putting the rings on, I noticed a loose breather tube. Im sure from new fancy flexing. Next up I will be extending those.
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:31 AM
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Spent a little time at the Smokey Mountain Jeep Invasion. Had a great time. Although I was ready to install a fake hand on my Jeep to handle all the waves. SOOOO many Jeeps, which made it awesome.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:13 PM
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An update I forgot to post a few ago. Keeping the Mopar springs with the MC arms and centering the axle caused an issue. A slight bowing in the rear springs. Plus I'm sure the Mopar springs don't have as much free length as MC springs. But I need to keep the Mopar to keep my MaxCare happy.

To solve this issue, I ordered the MC coil correction brackets and retainers. As with all their stuff, made very well, and took care of the issue. These are the prices paid for piecing together stuff, as opposed to buying a complete system.

You can also see my breather tube change, had to extend them due to all the crazy new flex.
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:29 PM
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Several updates on this one. Most of it stuff I got from Smokey Mountain Jeep Invasion.

Forever Wave flag mount and a USN flag. I also have my Jeep clubs flag on order. Love the system.

As an extravagance, I bought a set of LED RGB halo headlights. I went with Oracle because the ring was the largest in diameter, and did not have the white diffuser ring over the LEDs. So they are super bright. Love them. Will be doing rock lights next.

Also delivered while I was gone, was the MC stabilizer kit. This relocates it up out of the way, and hopefully stiffens up the steering a bit. I had a dual setup on my last jeep, I loved the way it felt. But in the interest of being consistent, I wanted to give the MC setup a try.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:05 PM
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Jawest12's Evolving Build Thread

Little bit of a bummer today. My Jeep was stolen. I donít leave terribly much inside due to it being a soft top. But still angered me greatly. I did get it back thanks to having a vehicle tracker installed. And fortunately they didnít take it for any joy rides. As mad as I am, definitely could have been worse.






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