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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

Just purchased my jeep! 2009 JKU Rubicon. I'm in love with it already. So I have $1100 to spend on my first mods, and I am curious to know what you would do first. At first I was thinking front/rear rock crawler bumpers ($730), and a 2.5" budget boost (spring spacers.) After driving it for a couple days (60 mile daily commute) I would consider doing something to enhance the engine performance. But is there really anything I can accomplish with $1100, as far as engine performance? Let's just say you got a Rubicon and had $1100 to spend on it, what would you do?
 

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Super charger or v8 swap is really the only way to get more usable power.

Personally a winch or skid plates would be my first mods but you should drive the jeep for a while and find out where the shortcomings are for your particular situation.
 

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Honestly spending money on engine performance would be at the very end of my list of things to do. I'd get a bigger picture of what you'd like to do with your jeep before spending money. What "goals" do you have in mind for it? How do you plan to use it?

Without telling us this info all you're going to get is what we'd do to your jeep with your money. I'm guessing you don't want that :)
 

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If I had to guess, I'd bet you have 3.21 gears. They make the JK feel a little gutless. Changing them out helps make it feel a little faster.

But if you're going to increase the size of tire, it's best to wait to change the gears until you know what your tire plan is.

Personally, the first thing I would upgrade are the godawful stock headlights to LED lights. They make a night and day difference (pun intended).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I want to make a rock crawler since there's a crawler park about an hour from my house. Now keep in mind it's my daily driver. I think it came with 4.10 gears stock, but I'll double check when I go back to the dealer this weekend.

End game:

Rock crawler bumpers front and rear. I'm thinking full width up front instead of stubby.
2.5" lift (spacers or springs) since 3"+ is where you get into questionable angles for all the steering components. Then wear and tear comes into play; maintenance costs.
Dual exhaust
Intake
Rock sliders
Half size fender wells
New tires on stock rims (285/75/R17)
LED lights all the way around
LED light strip up top
LED spot lights for the pillars
New radio with Bluetooth for iPhone, and back up camera
 

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Lift and tires. That's usually first stop. Especially for a crawler.

I suggest a 2.5" suspension lift and a 1.25" body lift. Like you said 2.5" is close to max without having to move other stuff. The 1.25" body lift doesn't change anything for suspension, but gives you more tire clearance for up to 37" tires.

If you have auto trans the body lift should only take a couple hours max to do.

Then tires. If you have manual then you have 4.10 gears but auto might be 3.73. 35" will work for both but less favorably on the 3.73.

A 2.5" teraflex lift with springs, shocks and steering stabilizer is $800 on Amazon. The springs with adapters to use stock shocks is $522. I wouldn't go with spacers on a rock crawler, better flex with springs.

Personally, if I were in your situation, I'd get

#1. Teraflex 2.5" lift with springs and adapters for $522

#2. Rock sliders that you can step on, like smittybilt for $317

#3. Sway bar discos $60

#4. Skid plates $200

That should be a good start for a crawler.

Next get big tires and cut the stock fenders to flat, that mod is on the forum under cheap mods.

Then a bumper to take a winch. Remember those bumpers are very heavy and with a winch they lower your clearance and slow you down.

I nodded the stock bumper to save weight and if it gets hit I don't lose paint and don't care that it takes a beating.

I'll stop there since my 2 cents has tuned into a dollar.
 

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Granted you might save time by going out and beating your jeep with a hammer then throwing a bunch of money in the trash.

But that isn't nearly as fun.
 

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If you plan on going to Hidden Falls, I would suggest an oil/tranny skid first. Next work toward sliders and a lift/tires.
 

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If you are going to play on the rocks, your first step should be armor, and lots of it. Engine/trans skid, LCA skids, diff guards/covers/sliders, rear shock mount skids. You may find the stock x-fer case and gas tank skids good for now, but if you play hard they will eventually need upgrading. You will also need to get the steering stabilizer out of the way so it doesn't get crushed, so relocate it.
 

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You want to build a rock crawler but your list is mostly cosmetic upgrades? Maybe we have a different idea of a rock crawler.

My first $1100 would go into, well actually I would save another 300 and get a 2.5 RK MAX travel with shocks. Then new wheels and tires down the line. Then every other suspension component that makes up a rock crawler. Then last would be all the extra lights, stereos, etc.
But that's my idea and we all have our own. Congrats on the jeep!
 

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I built a Rock Crawler. Skids (including trussing and gusseting the axles), gears, tires, lift to start. And a lot of money.

The stock Rubicon rails will hold up for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You want to build a rock crawler but your list is mostly cosmetic upgrades? Maybe we have a different idea of a rock crawler. My first $1100 would go into, well actually I would save another 300 and get a 2.5 RK MAX travel with shocks. Then new wheels and tires down the line. Then every other suspension component that makes up a rock crawler. Then last would be all the extra lights, stereos, etc. But that's my idea and we all have our own. Congrats on the jeep!
Keep in mind that it's my daily driver. Another member had mentioned that I didn't even have an idea for what I wanted to accomplish, so I made a list off the top of my head. But yea, I think I have 4:10 stock because at 75mph I'm running around 2350ish RPM. Does that sound right? Currently running 255/75/R17 tires.
 

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Keep in mind that it's my daily driver. Another member had mentioned that I didn't even have an idea for what I wanted to accomplish, so I made a list off the top of my head. But yea, I think I have 4:10 stock because at 75mph I'm running around 2350ish RPM. Does that sound right? Currently running 255/75/R17 tires.
Quick Google search reveals that 09 Rubicons came standard with 4.10s. As far as go faster mods, well...nothing short of a bunch of money will fix that. Would of been cheaper to get a 2012 with the 3.6 pentastar. Do lift and tires first.
 

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+1 on armor, boost, and flat fenders - and don't forget some grab handles if you plan on taking passengers

Don't waste money on an intake and dual exhaust. A $40 K&N will serve you well, and a dual exhaust will sound horrible on that engine (my opinion!) AND get beat to shit on the trail. Like was mentioned before, if speed is your game save a couple more grand and supercharge /big brake your JK. Personally I would run that engine into the ground and then go with a 4BT engine swap. I plan on doing that WAY down the line (unless Jeep ever releases a diesel that I could trade in for) - and that would serve you REALLY well on the rocks. Enjoy it.
 

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Skip the stupid LED light bars...waste of money. Get a good quality lift, don't cheap out here. And if you want to rock crawl, you will need some skids
 

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Hey all, Just purchased my jeep! 2009 JKU Rubicon. I'm in love with it already. So I have $1100 to spend on my first mods, and I am curious to know what you would do first. At first I was thinking front/rear rock crawler bumpers ($730), and a 2.5" budget boost (spring spacers.) After driving it for a couple days (60 mile daily commute) I would consider doing something to enhance the engine performance. But is there really anything I can accomplish with $1100, as far as engine performance? Let's just say you got a Rubicon and had $1100 to spend on it, what would you do?

Upgrade your headlights to LED...Trucklites, JW Speakers etc, also look at LED tail lights. Then take the remaining money put it a Jeep savings account until you KNOW what you want to do with your Jeep. Mall crawling, Rock crawling or somewhere in between? Have a 5 year plan, that consists of what think you'll be doing with your Jeep in 5 years to what you'll most likely be doing with it. Do on mild runs with it, ride along on wild runs then decide what you want your Jeep to be capable of doing. The above is what I would do. You'll spend less money in the long run.
 

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My .02, wheel the heck out of it. Find out your limitations and build from there. I wheeled my XJ, w/2" and 30's, and was amazed by the capability. I can only imagine how much more capable our Rubicon's are in stock form. Pick, or be guided, the right line and find out what that Rubicon's capable of. If you're hell bent on spending a grand maybe look for some bigger meats and a procal.
 
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