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Old 03-18-2018, 10:02 PM
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My new 2018 JKU on a budget build

I got my first JK Unlimited (Had a 1995 TJ back in 2005) and Iím on a fairly tight budget. I spent what I had getting the Jeep and a few upgrades to start. Iíll keep track of it here. Feel free to offer suggestions or show me your own budget mods.

Here it is the day I picked it up at the dealership

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Old 03-18-2018, 10:07 PM
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This past week I had an iLX-207 installed to upgrade the stereo. Along with that was the installation of the backup camera. I chose this stereo because it was built for the Wrangler, and has Apple CarPlay. So far I really like it. Someday I will have to upgrade the speakers and add a small subwoofer, but that day is REALLY far down the line.

And lastly that day, I had them install my car starter and Drone Mobile attachment (taken out of my previous Nissan Maxima and put into this Wrangler...thus only cost was the install time).

Iíll post pictures of that tomorrow.

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Old 03-18-2018, 10:14 PM
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And the final bit of my budget build was, along with the backup camera, focused on safety. I added some rollbar grab handles and some Smittybilt SRC Side Armor. The latter was to provide a step for my daughter (6 years old) and eventually my son (1 year old) to more easily get up into the Jeep. Additionally, I feel as though these may provide a bit more protection should some kind of side impact occur.

As absurd as it turned out to be, I was a little nervous to try installing these myself. Having not done any work on my new Jeep, and not being terribly mechanically inclined when it comes to vehicles, I wasnít sure what I was getting myself into. Then I watched a YouTube video, realized it was removing four bolts, sticking on the step sides, and replacing the four bolts...and it turned out my anxiety was all for naught.

Again, Iíll try to post some pics tomorrow to keep a nice log of any improvements I make. I think the Smittybilt Side Armor steps look pretty sharp.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by imnotreallyscott View Post
This past week I had an iLX-207 installed to upgrade the stereo. Along with that was the installation of the backup camera. I chose this stereo because it was built for the Wrangler, and has Apple CarPlay. So far I really like it. Someday I will have to upgrade the speakers and add a small subwoofer, but that day is REALLY far down the line.

And lastly that day, I had them install my car starter and Drone Mobile attachment (taken out of my previous Nissan Maxima and put into this Wrangler...thus only cost was the install time).

Iíll post pictures of that tomorrow.
Hereís the stereo and backup camera.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by imnotreallyscott View Post
And the final bit of my budget build was, along with the backup camera, focused on safety. I added some rollbar grab handles and some Smittybilt SRC Side Armor. The latter was to provide a step for my daughter (6 years old) and eventually my son (1 year old) to more easily get up into the Jeep. Additionally, I feel as though these may provide a bit more protection should some kind of side impact occur.

As absurd as it turned out to be, I was a little nervous to try installing these myself. Having not done any work on my new Jeep, and not being terribly mechanically inclined when it comes to vehicles, I wasnít sure what I was getting myself into. Then I watched a YouTube video, realized it was removing four bolts, sticking on the step sides, and replacing the four bolts...and it turned out my anxiety was all for naught.

Again, Iíll try to post some pics tomorrow to keep a nice log of any improvements I make. I think the Smittybilt Side Armor steps look pretty sharp.
Hereís the side armor and backup camera placement.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:36 PM
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At this point Iíve created an Amazon gift list with various items I hope family will consider in the near future. Any suggestions I should consider?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/w.../2RY9EH92Z91DW


These are mostly upgrades that are cosmetic. A couple of years down the line I will start the off-roading upgrades.
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Old 05-19-2018, 06:42 AM
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Added a bit of fun...

Added some step protection and some door lights.

Got more fun in the mail; headlights and rear wheel third break light. Work to do when I find some free time. Maybe next weekend.
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Old 05-19-2018, 08:38 AM   #8
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Great mods, I always liked Alpine equipment, good job so far
looks like you might need some front mud flaps, I hate them but......
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:40 PM
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Got started on the lights today. Figured out the headlights with help from a friend. The fog lights will come soon. That could prove trickier.

Also, added the angry birds look. I like it and my daughter really likes it.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:43 PM
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Great mods, I always liked Alpine equipment, good job so far
looks like you might need some front mud flaps, I hate them but......
Theyíre on my list. Took it off-road this past weekend. The need became clear.
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:54 AM   #11
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Took it off-road this past weekend.
Be careful with those rails off road. I have them on my '14 as does one of my good friends, we both have body damage from them bending.

Build is looking good!
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:38 PM   #12
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Lookin good. I bought mine around the same time as you. Good looking amazon list, gave me some ideas.

Which headlights did you go with? How easy were they to install to install?
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:14 PM
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Lookin good. I bought mine around the same time as you. Good looking amazon list, gave me some ideas.

Which headlights did you go with? How easy were they to install to install?


I got the Sunpie set as a gift. Install is fairly easy. A friend who knows his stuff helped a bit.


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Old 05-27-2018, 04:15 PM
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Be careful with those rails off road. I have them on my '14 as does one of my good friends, we both have body damage from them bending.

Build is looking good!


Wow. That sucks. I will be pretty pissed if that happens. Sorry it happened to you.


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Old 07-23-2018, 09:51 PM
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A couple more low cost, fun, and aesthetic additions as well as one biggie...but still budget.

First off, took off the hard top and put on the soft top. This was a much bigger challenge than I expected. Notice the massive scratch on the back side. Tried to set the hard top down for a friend to re-grip and we were off alignment. Ugh!! So this was pretty expensive, but not at all. I got it on sale because it was the old style from Bestop. So instead of $1,100, I got it for $599. Not bad. And then, I used my credit card point for the purchase so I paid no $ out of pocket. Go me.



Then I added this guy thanks to the wife. Little bit of fun.



Lastly, Iíve finally got all four halos up and going (fogs no longer work but Iím working on that). Trouble is these arenít street legal in CT unless the halos or white or amber. Thatís boring. So far Iíve been pressing my luck with blue, red, and green. Weíll see how long it lasts.

Iíll grab some pics of those shortly.






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Old 07-23-2018, 11:51 PM   #16
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Added some step protection and some door lights.



Got more fun in the mail; headlights and rear wheel third break light. Work to do when I find some free time. Maybe next weekend.


Go Sabers lol. Fellow Buffalonian here.


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Old 07-24-2018, 09:12 AM   #17
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Looking good so far.

Rather than buying a stubby antenna, you could just remove your existing one, cut it, and relocate the ball that is on the top. The ball on top pops off with a little force then can be re-glued on the the newly cut portion. I then just got a rattle can of hi-temp black paint and spray painted it.

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Old 07-28-2018, 07:09 PM
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No kidding? Iíll have to look into it. Did the ball fit ok? Any soldering needed?


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Old 07-28-2018, 07:39 PM   #19
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You’ll have to grind some of the tip you cut away to fit the ball. I did not solder anything.
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:45 PM
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Time to update the build...

I’m pretty proud of what I’ve added this summer because I did it all myself. I watched some YouTube videos and installed new headlights, a light bar and small front mounted lights, a new bumper, and a winch.

I have the Tuffy license plate mount for the bumper. I’ll try to get to that today or tomorrow. After this, there’s nothing left (for now) that I want to add except for wheels, tires, and a lift. But those things aren’t in the budget and won’t be for a long time. I’ll keep dreaming and being envious of everyone who has them though.
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