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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's time to start my build thread.

We bought our first Jeep in October, a 2017 JKUS. That Jeep caused some grief early (thread link) that resulted in a replacement Jeep. Our replacement Jeep was a 2018 JKUS with the following options:

Granite Crystal Metallic on Black
Sport S 24S package
Connectivity Package
Auto Transmission
Max Tow Package
Trac-Lock Rear Differential
Sirrius 12-Months

We picked up the replacement Jeep on January 2nd and have thus far had much better luck with this one (knock on wood). Here's a pic the day after we picked up the '18 JKUS parked at my wife's office. This vehicle is a daily driver and as you can see in the pic, we work in an urban area with tight parking garages, so any mods will need to take this into consideration.



We had a bit of snow that night and woke to the Jeep seeing its first snow.



We had picked up a couple mods to get things started. The first round included JW Speaker Evolution J2 headlights (the best mod we've done to date!), Mopar Slush Mats, a Mopar Fuel Door, and a tire tread arm rest cover.

When I installed the new headlights I rattle put some paint on the ring securing the headlight. I'm glad I went ahead and did that.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have always felt that Sport editions were missing something on dealer lots, and after looking at thousands of pics, I came to the conclusion that it was predominantly those exposed pinch seams.

So, following the initial additions to our JK, I picked up a set of rubicon rock rails off Craigslist and then cut them down to provide the additional tire clearance for the future. I also installed a set of Ace Engineering Rock Sliders at the same time the rubicon rails went on. We wanted to get some steps to help my son have an easier time getting into the Jeep, so I figured might as well get something functional while I'm at it.

Both projects/installs were a good way to ease me into things.

As you can see in the first photo, I used some of the packaging from the sliders to help me prop them up while I bolted them to the vehicle.



I think the sliders and Rubicon rails really compliment each other when installed at the same time.



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We had a single weekend with the first JK in October that allowed us to enjoy that top-off driving experience (we frequently went the sunrider option, but did take the top all the way down for an evening ride once).

With the replacement Wrangler, it would be a little while until we had that opportunity. Needless to say, were were pretty pumped when spring finally arrived (I really should have been independently wealthy so I can "winter" in the south!).



We've since had that top off every chance we get.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
8 months into Jeep ownership (I'm kinda writing off the 3 months with the first JK), we decided to go ahead and move forward with Phase 2 of our upgrades to "Rocky" as my wife and son affectionately refer to our Jeep (a play on the color sounding a bit like a type of rock). Being from WV in the heart of Appalachia, we've decided to create our own Appalachian theme for our Jeep. We ran across this image on the net and loved the Blue against the Gray. So, we'll be accenting with Blue on this one.




I've done some opportunity shopping on Craigslist and FB Marketplace. We picked up a Hard Rock / 10A front bumper a couple weeks ago, and found a set of Rubicon JL take-offs just up the road. We have plans to add a Teraflex Performance Level in the coming months, but right now, to be able to get these rims/tires on the Jeep now, we got a set of Spidertrax 1.5" spacers.



My assistant and I installed the JL take-offs Friday night after work/camp.





The JL Wheels/tires really made a big difference in appearance. We are pretty pleased with the appearance improvement, and of course, the KO2s ride great.



I'm working on getting the Hard Rock/10A bumper ready for install by painting the front tow hooks Blue. I identified a couple missing items, so I'm waiting on a couple bolts and speed nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had a JWM grill insert sitting around for a while waiting for install. I had also bought a grill on Craigslist that I was thinking I'd paint with bed liner before installing the insert. I haven't been able to prep that grill for bed liner, so I decided to go ahead and put the insert on the OEM grill.

What's the expression? So easy a kid could do it?




I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't better clearance for the Bolt Hood Lock, but otherwise, I was quite pleased with the quality, appearance, and ease of install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Another Craigslist opportunity find! While looking around for a 10A / Hard Rock back bumper, I found a set of Granite Crystal painted Fender Flares. I'm personally a big fan of the painted fender flares, so I was pretty excited to see these come up - especially for what I thought was a pretty solid price!

I picked them up on Friday, and after a busy weekend, I was able to install them Sunday evening. It likely would have been much easier with a proper trim removal tool to help with the removal of the Christmas tree style push clips that help hold the rear fender in place.

Left side - painted. Right side - standard


Here's a couple photos with both of them on.





With a little light left, and after stepping back to look at the change in appearance, we decided to remove the "Sport" badging from both front fenders. My wife said she'd wanted to do that for some time. To her the "Sport" decal didn't match the "Wrangler JK Unlimited". Either way, we both like it better without the "Sport" decal.



 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm trying to figure out sequencing for the next few updates. The 10A / Hard Rock front bumper is coming along, but I know the added weight will result in the front end dropping 1/2". With the larger tires, that doesn't leave much clearance, and IMHO, would leave the stance even lower in the front with an even more pronounced rake. So, I'm thinking I need to get the Performance Level kit on order.... Because, I'm going to want to put that bumper on as soon as I finish it!

 

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Them wheels and tires really make it look great!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The JL wheels look great!
Looking forward to watching your color combo come together :thumb:
Thank you!

We'll be going about it somewhat slow and subtle. Initially the tow hooks (front and rear), and we're working on a custom decal for the hood with Don at Pixeldecals.

We liked the Mountain Edition hood decals we've seen, so we started with this design as the baseline.


But, the Appalachian Mountains don't really look like that, they are generally more rolling than the mountain ranges you'd find out west. We wanted the mountains in the image to have a feel more along these lines.


On top of that, We wanted it to tie to the blue in our "inspiration Renegade" I posted earlier in the thread.

Through a few iterations and communications via e-mail, Don put together a design that we're pretty excited about. Matter of fact, I'm like a kid running home every day hoping the decals are in the mailbox! LOL!! I'm holding off on reassembling the Hard Rock Bumper because I want to be sure the blue I've painted the front tow hooks ties to the blue in the hood decal. (fingers crossed....)

Future use of blue would be the rear tow hooks, small Jeep decals to cover the red Jeep outlines on the wheels, blue para chord in the interior for handles & zipper pulls, and eventually, blue threading in any seat covers. Our opinion is that sometimes less is more.

We'll see where we get, and how long it takes to get there. Availability of disposable income will definitely determine the pace of change as I'm soon running out of the initial budget that we had set aside for the fun. I'm hopeful that selling some of the original take-offs will fund some additional mods.
 

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I'm trying to figure out sequencing for the next few updates. The 10A / Hard Rock front bumper is coming along, but I know the added weight will result in the front end dropping 1/2". With the larger tires, that doesn't leave much clearance, and IMHO, would leave the stance even lower in the front with an even more pronounced rake. So, I'm thinking I need to get the Performance Level kit on order.... Because, I'm going to want to put that bumper on as soon as I finish it!

Take a look at the Rancho 2" lift w/RS9000XL's - Great kit. Simple and absolutely a home run.
Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Take a look at the Rancho 2" lift w/RS9000XL's - Great kit. Simple and absolutely a home run.
Have fun!
Just when I think I've got it figured out, I see this! LOL! Darn shame those are Red!!

I have now found out what I'm going to be researching for the next few nights! Glad I didn't hit submit on the Performance Level kit last night.
 

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Just when I think I've got it figured out, I see this! LOL! Darn shame those are Red!!

I have now found out what I'm going to be researching for the next few nights! Glad I didn't hit submit on the Performance Level kit last night.
Never worry too much about color - that's ez-pz. The kit is fantastic and rides like a dream.
Biggest deterrent to me getting rid of my JKUR - the fact it rides so nice.

I've had many many lifts of various makes and sizes - this one is/was the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Never worry too much about color - that's ez-pz. The kit is fantastic and rides like a dream.
Biggest deterrent to me getting rid of my JKUR - the fact it rides so nice.

I've had many many lifts of various makes and sizes - this one is/was the best.
So, I'm 30+ pages into your thread on this lift kit, and there's definitely a lot to like about it. It looks like you are running 285/70/R17 with the kit. What is the total height of your JK? My wife's parking garage at work has a 6'5" clearance. I can't do anything to jeopardize her ability to get to work (and she's not about to start driving my truck to work! LOL!)

Back to the reading and deliberations. As they say, the chase is the best part!
 

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Wow, absolutely love where this build is going, the attention to detail and the patience demonstrated to make sound choices. Subscribed!
 

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Wow, absolutely love where this build is going, the attention to detail and the patience demonstrated to make sound choices. Subscribed!
Welcome to the Forum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Welcome to the Forum.
Agreed! Welcome to the forum, Gideon! Warning, it gets addictive and EXPENSIVE! Looking at the many other build theads I've enjoyed reading, I find myself thinking "man that would look great on our Jeep!" far too often. At the same time, what a phenomenal resource for questions and guidance! The Jeep community is truly great.

Wow, absolutely love where this build is going, the attention to detail and the patience demonstrated to make sound choices. Subscribed!
Subscribed
Thanks!

My wife texted me today that the hood decal has arrived!! I'm itching to get home and see it in person. Will I be able to wait until the weekend to get it on the hood, or will I be out in the garage in the 105 degree heat index with humidity you can cut with a knife?!!
 
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