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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up a 2015 JKUR in Hydro Blue. I say it's Bass Ackwards because generally a build starts with suspension, rims and tires. Well I am currently in Germany, and with shipping issues, legality/inspection issues, and being less likely to do much offfroading while here my plans are different. I plan to hold off on suspension, tires, and wheels until I return to the US, the stock tires wear out, or I lose me resolve. It would be an easy bet on which will happen first.... So with that being said I really am not interested in hearing "you got X and still running stock tires/lift."

So here here is what this thread will be. I plan to document everything I do with photos, description of the process, thoughts/tips about each process, and my "review" on parts etc. There will be LOTS of pics, because I like to take pictures. It will be a slow "build" but will hopefully give others some help. This is my third Jeep, first JK. I was a Journeyman Tech at a Jeep dealer for several years back when the Rubicon was a new thing, and have been turning wrenches my whole life. I have worked on motorcycles, Diesels, Semi's, cars, trucks, Army Track vehicles, Army Wheel Vehicles, whatever.

Ok enough babbling lets get it on.

Here is the window sticker


And Few pics from day it came home bone stock










Ok enough of that most of you know what a stock JKU looks like :happyyes:

Day 1: 19 May 15
Installed the Quadratech Liner combo with all 4 pieces. 2 Front mats, middle mat that is one piece, and rear cargo liner. Took the two front mats with me to pick up the jeep, and installed them first thing installed the others once I got it home. These seem like nice sturdy mats as far the fronts and rears go. Nice rubbery feeling, and they are pretty deep. So far they seem to stay in place nicely. I am not a fan of the logo, but not that serious. Not a fan of the cargo mat. It is a different material, and is more of a plastic than a rubber. It also didn't line up in the rear cargo area as nicely as the fronts did. If you look at the second you can see where I leaned the rear seat forward, installed the liner, and then closed seat which in turn had the rear loops on the seat push the back lip of the liner down. This was the best case scenario in my eyes for fit.
Rear

Cargo Liner


Fronts



Brought it home, and first thing I did was install the Rugged Ridge Billet Grill Inserts. The first time I saw the Hydro Blue was on a Polar edition, and I loved the blue with the black grill, and headlight accents. I didn't take pics of the inserts before install. Too excited as I had literally just gotten home with it.

The outer section of the inserts are plastic, and the inner slot portions are metal. They are heavier than expected, and feel sturdy. Install is simple, but the first few I put didn't feel like they were in all the way. So I kept messing with them, and found if you push them in, and slide them up and down slightly they seem to seat in better.
 

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Day 2: 19 May 15
Started by installing the Rugged Ridge Headlight Trim. When these arrived I almost didn't install them. I wasn't a fan of them being mounted with 3m tape, and wasn't a huge fan of the large lip around the bezel.



But I rough fitted them, and liked them after all. They do have a little tab on the top side to help hold them in, but otherwise double sided tape all the way around. Cleaned up the grill especially around the mounting surfaces, and installed. I made sure to press really hard around the entire trim. Be sure to hold the bottom half corner of the grill when pushing on the trim to prevent pushing the grill back too far.

The trim ring has two of these little indents in the trim. I lined them up perfectly with the indents in the grilll/bezel to line up properly for install.

Trim and Grill




Next up was the a fuel door. I originally ordered the Rugged Ridge fuel door. It arrived, I opened it, and decided immediately it was not going on my jeep. I did not like the finish, the quality, or anything else about it. It was just cheap crappy looking part I was not installing on my Jeep. I got lucky, and found a local guy who was interested, and he bought it from me. My wife did me a solid and found this Amazon.com: Fuel Filler Door Cover Gas Tank Cap for 2007-2014 Jeep Wrangler JK 4 / 2 Door Black: Automotive
I was skeptical, so I did my research, and everything I found about this thing was positive despite being a knockoff, or blackmarket, or whatever it may be, so I took the $30 risk as opposed to spending 4x that for the Mopar one. I wish I had taken more pics of this thing before install. It looks just like the mopar part. Instructions it comes with are mopar, but still suck. Either way install super easy. Removed left tail light, remove gas cap, remove locking tabs for stock part, and work it out. Videos online for this easy install as well. So the part I received had 2 locator pins, but my jeep only had 1 hole for 1 locator pin. I broke the other one off. Many reviews on Amazon said they accidenlty broke the other during install. Simple tip, take it slow and easy. The hardest part of this was getting the rubber gasket back around the filler nozel while installed on the new part. I could not be happier with the way this fuel door turned out. Looks great, and I would guess if I hadnt told you, you wouldn't know it was a knockoff.



Next up where a set of front and rear Quadratech Entry Guards. I chose these frankly due to price, and not really concerned with what they said on them. Once again the Mopar parts are just too much $ for something so simple. These entry guards are pretty nice. They attach with 3M VHB (the thick black super sticky stuff), and come with some alcohol swabs. I cleaned up the door sills and started lining them up for install. I started with the rears, and while trying to determine exactly where they mount that the cut of the plastic lines up perfectly with this line in the body panels

So I installed the rears to line up perfectly with that line.

Unfortunately the fit is a little off. After install I noticed the rear stick up a little bit farther than they should, but no interference with doors was noticed.


I then installed the fronts. They line up a bit easier due to the bump that covers the bolt for there the fender mounts. I just lined them up, and dropped them on.

 

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Day 2: 19 May 2015 Cont.

After that I installed the rear grab handles that comes with the Jeep, but had something special for the front.


My wife had some issues getting in and out of my TJ, and so I wanted to make sure straight away she had a good way in and out of the JK as it grew. I am sure many of you have read how great the Grabars are, and how strong/sturdy they are, but I assure even after hearing all those opinions you will still be impressed when these arrive. I was surprised at how heavy duty they really are. Install is super easy. So here we go.

You will need to remove the 2 circled bolts on each side. 1/2in socket for these guys.


I assume depending on model/year/options it would be wise to note this wiring in the driver side pillar. Be careful not pinch it when installing the Grabar


Looking at the parts you wouldn't assume there is a right and left bar, but it seems they are different. I can't tell you now how to tell the difference by looking at them. I tried on handle, and the holes didn't line up right, so I switched to the other simple as that. As you can see the parts in the above pic the bolt goes through the handle, then through sleeve, and then into bolt holes. Short bolts and sleeves on top, long on bottom. Instructions are good, and very straighforward. At any rate I installed drivers side no issue. Moved to passenger side, and thought I had the top bolt started, put the ratchet to it, and out it came. This of course worried me. Upon inspection it looked like the threads in the nut were a little buggered. The threads on all old bolts looked fine, and the new bolts thread looked fine, so I go for a tap. Of course my 8mm 1.25 tap is broken in half.... So I take the stock bolt which has a little nipple with no threads before the threads start, and I ran it up tight no issues. Removed and ran it up again. In the long run I think the nut was just installed at an odd angle, and the nipple on the stock bolt made it easy to get it started. I eventually got the new bolt started, and passenger side mounted up. Says to torque to 25in lbs, but I just gave a nice German Torque (Gutentight), and called it a day.



I can't express enough how impressed I am with these Grabars. Simple design, look decent (would have been happier with a matte finish), and STURDY. I am a big boy, and I gave them a good test. Highly recommend these.

After the work was all done I took it up the road to a little area for some poser pics in it's natural habitat.







I still have a Teraflex leveling kit to install, and I plan to remove the muffler, and paint it black, and maybe some plasti-dip in some choice locations.
 

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Looks good! :thumb:

For what it's worth, Mike and I both painted our mufflers on the jeep. Just stood up some cardboard around it and went to town.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
23 May 2015

Got the Teraflex leveling kit installed. It was pretty straight forward, and it took me around 2-3 hours to complete with hand tools, floor jack, and 2 jack stands. pretty straight forward. Just like doing springs and shocks minus top shock bolts. For anyone with interest I took measurements before and after at 6 different points on the vehicle in same parking spot before and after. Measured all 4 fenders center of wheel, and at middle pillar bottom of rock rail each side.

Before After
LF 36.5in 39in
LM 18.25in 19.75in
LR 36.75in 38.25in
RF 35.5in 38in
RM 17.5in 19in
RR 36.5in 38in

The jeep was sitting an angle in both measurements. you will see said in the pics below. After install drives great, no noticeable change in alignment, return to center is good, all seems well. Pleased with the results.

Side by side before and after pics.






 

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24 May 2015

Another day another project. This will likely be my last for a little bit. I decided it was a good day to paint the muffler, and plasti-dip the lock tumbler covers. Both jobs pretty straight forward, and easy.

Eyesore of a muffler underneath


For anyone who wants to do any type of painting remember that the prep is the most important part. I removed the muffler from the jeep. Pretty easy, one clamp with one 15mm nut, and two rubber hangers. Put a little grease on the hangers to make it easier to get them off and on. I then sanded the muffler a bit, and gave it a good wash. Hung it up in the garage and let it dry. While it was drying I wiped off the tumbler covers with alcohol, and masked off the areas around them to prevent overspray. Once the muffler was dry I wiped it down with alcohol. I know people will suggest acetone, and alcohol water mix, and denatured alcohol. This part of the process everyone has an opinion, and we all know about those..... I'm not going to tell you what works best, but I will tell you I wiped it down with alcohol on a clean paper towel. Let it dry, and do it again. second paper towel comes back nice and clean.

Hanging up ready for paint.


Once it was dry It was time to start painting. I used this


Again opinions.... I have used this stuff before, and was pleased. I used the entire can, and did many light coats paying special attention to the tail pipe, and the parts of the can that would be visible while on the vehicle.

Finished product drying


Of course between coats of the muffler I was laying coats of Plasti-Dip on the tumbler covers. Once they were dry I used a razor blade to cut out the middle piece where the key goes in, and then scratched it with a pick, and it came right out. For the covers themselves since you have to cut the Plasi-Dip from the masking tape I ran the razor blade around it in the gap between the tumbler cover, and the little black gasket between the tumbler and the door. This will stop you from scratching the paint.



Subtle, but nice touch...


And once dry I installed the muffler. Goes back on easier than it comes off...




Neither of these projects make a huge difference, but I have always felt the little details can really make a vehicle stand out. It's all about attention to detail.

Current future plans include Bartact seat covers, rear seat recline, JW Speaker headlight, LED Tails, Mopar bumper light bar, 20in LED light bar, ,and possibly some 2x2 pillar lights. When, or in what order I have no clue. Of course eventually plan to start throwing skid plates on as well.
 

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Nice Hydro! I wish you all the best with your build and look forward to what the future brings you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
19 June 15:

So the wife has been wanting a step. After weighing all my options, and figuring out what I could get a hold of over here I decided on a set of Body Armor 4x4 RockCrawler side bars. Install on the Rubicon was pretty straight forward. Remove stock rail, and install the new rails with brackets and hardware using stock mounting points. My opinion on these rails... Well frankly I don't like the fit. I don't hate them, but I don't like them either. They seem sturdy, and the finish is decent. Instructions are not so good, but you can get by with them.

Here they are installed


I expected the bolts to on the pinch seam to not be visible once installed, but there they are....


I am thinking of getting some touch up paint and painting them. They are an eyesore in my opinion.


So as I said finish.... just a tiny of bit of wiggle room would possibly fix this. Why does my pinch seam need more pinching? The gap is no bueno...


Sorry for the crappy pics. Was playing with a new lens.
 

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15 July 15:
Yesterday was a day of LED lights.

The goodies: SMS Rally Harness, JW Evo2, and Spyder Tails


The first thing I did was pull the grill, and the stock lights so I could get to the trim rings, get them cleaned, and prepped for some Plasti-Dip. I pulled the rings, washed them, dried them, and wiped down with alcohol. Once again prep is key. Then I started the harness.

First I removed the bolt holding in the large black plastic tray, and worked the wires in behind the tray. Once in I zip tied the wires together to keep them nice and neat.



Once in, and ran towards the front I decided to run the long wire to the drivers side first. I decided to run this along with the other harness that runs in front of radiator, and behind grill. If you removed clips holding the little black shrouds in the pic below you can get decent access to run the wire.

You can see here I ran it down in front of the airbox, and in front of the power steering res.


I then snaked it around through the shrouds.


I then ran it along side the other harness, and snaked it around the horn, and out through the headlight hole.

And here it is routed, and secured.


Once that was done I worked the other 2 harness connectors one at time through the same location in front of air box to the other headlight. The black plug on this harness plugs into factory passenger side headlight plug as a trigger. Unfortunately I could not get this plug to lock into the factory plug, so I broke the trusty utility knife and trimmed the end of the black down until it locked in. It took a little time, and was tedious, but worked.


Once that was done, I connected the power, and ground, and zip-tied the box to the large harness on firewall. I will be finding a better way to mount the box later. I then plugged in the new lights. I found that the plug on the lights, and SMS harness were kind of a pain to get connected. The tabs just didn't line up. So bending the tabs on the light plug and trying over and over until the slid together was really the only solution here. It just took some time and patience.

Once the lights were, and tested I reinstalled the newly black trim rings, and grill.

JW installed


JW On


Next up the Tails. Tail lights super easy to replace. You literally remove the two inner screw, remove light, unplug, and reverse.

Remove the two inner/closest to spare


And unplug this guy.


Tails installed


Brake light


Reverse


Cont....
 

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15 July 15 Cont...

Once it got dark I went and adjusted the headlights. I am not 100% sure that I have completely tuned in, but up and down they were barely off. Comparison shots below no fogs on in any of the pics.

Stock headlights on road


JW Headlight on road


Stock Bright on road


JW Bright on road


Stock Headlight on trail


JW headlight on trail


Stock Bright on trail


JW Bright on trail


As you can see the JW throw a lot more light. They are so bright I am genuinely concerned I am blinding other people even though they have been aimed.

So my thoughts. First the harness. It works... No delay when switching high/lo beam, and no flicker as it's running the lights at a full 12 volts, so good there. The headlight connectors on the harness seem flimsy. While routing the passenger harness the back opened on it, and I noticed the ceramic inside was cracked. Be gentle with these. I am sure this only made my issue of getting the light plugged in even worse. They are tight once in though. Also I have already noted the black plug did not properly fit my '15 JK. I worked it out, but shouldn't have had to.

JW Evo2. So far very pleased. I have to get used to them as they are so bright, but that's the point right? I think I need to get them dialed in better , but they are nice...

Spyder Auto tails. Right now I am pleased. No light out warnings, and they are brighter than they look in my pics. I think where I was standing with brakes applied the 3rd brake light washed out the others a bit. They fit perfectly, and they look good. Time will tell as I have read about some issues with these.
 

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29 July 15

I decided I wanted some protection for the underside of the jeep. Mainly the oil pan, and trans currently. I know many people say that is like the least likely place to take a big hit, but that is also a big better safe sorry for me. So I ordered this guy.

M.O.R.E. JK Engine skid


Installation is pretty straightforward. Didn't take ton of pics due to difficulty of taking good pics under a vehicle. Instructions are simple. Remove stock skid for A/T. Loosen engine mount bolts, and install the brackets.

Best I could do for how they mount to engine mount.
Pass Side


Drive Side


Once I got those mounts loosely fitted I bolted lower end to cross member, and got it loosely fitted in the mount brackets. After that you just tighten her up, and make sure nothing is rubbing.

Installed


So this thing looks pretty sturdy. Weighs about 50lbs. I went with the M.O.R.E offering because it doesn't mount to the oil pan, has a splash shield for oil changes, and is reasonably priced. Install is a breeze. I did it on my lonesome with nothing but hand tools, and didn't even put the jeep on jackstands. I will say that at this time I did not drill the two new holes in the cross member. We will see if I later regret this decision. I don't like drilling holes in stock parts on a brand new vehicle. More to come once it has been bashed a bit, and an oil change performed.
 

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I am not 100% sure what day I actually put them on, but I got some Bartact seat covers. At first I wasn't as happy with them as I expected to be, but they have grown on me. I was displeased with how loose and sloppy they looked. I don't generally use seat covers on my vehicles for that very reason. The colors match pretty good, and they do seem to be super durable.








I have ordered some Tube doors from a small fabricator, and hoping to see them soonish. Plan to do an MC lift sometime this year, and I am sure there will be other small odds, and ends as well.
 

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24 March 2016

Got a few goodies to install. Nothing major.
The goods



Not going to go into any details on the antenna. Just a short Antenna X to replace that big floppy silver thing.

I got the 3rd Brake light from Amazon. Went with the Lite-way smoked lens found Here Pretty simple install. Remove the spare. Remove the 4 screws holding it on, unplug and reverse. Looks good with the Sypder tail lights, and completes the look for sure.





Next up was the LED fogs. Also got them from amazon also from Lite-way found Here. I don't really like cutting into stock wiring, so I got some adapters, and some anti-flicker harnesses found here. Removed the bumper, and splash guard, and hooked up all the wiring and tested the lights. Everything works. So I secured the wiring, and installed the lights in the bumper. These lights are an exact fit for my 2015. No modification needed. Removed the stock lights, and installed these in the exact same way. I didn't even need to adjust them. Threw it all back together, and was done in no time.







The fogs looks more white than the JW's, but I think may be due to being new. Not sure only time will tell I guess. Either way they are pretty bright. Definite improvement over stock.

Plan to be ordering my lift in the next few days, so won't be anything else going on until then. So much for waiting...
 

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23 May 2016

Well my Jeep is just over 1 year old, and that is how long I lasted without installing a lift. I ordered the Metal Cloak 2.5" Dual rate kit, and it arrived Friday 20 May. I spent the weekend getting it installed. Kit contents etc can be found Here



Saturday I installed the exhaust spacer, removed the front track bar, installed the outboard shock mounts, removed and replaced the front springs, and shocks, and installed front bumpstops. The exhaust spacer was a pain because the Y-pipe was siezed. I was working alone, with the Jeep on jackstands, in a tiny garage, and with hand tools, and getting the exhaust spacer job done was about a 2.5hour affair. Needless to say I was not pleased.

Sunday first thing I decided to check the bumpstop heights. I jacked the Jeep up with my 2 ton floor jack using the lower control arm mount, and the jack maxed out while the shock was still compressing. That's 24" of jack, and the other 3 tires were still on the ground, and shock was not even compressed.

I was getting excited at this point...


I started with the brake lines, and had some help show up, so bled the brakes once lines were installed. Finished up the front, and moved to the rear which went fairly fast. Once everything was installed, and all 4 tires back on the ground I set the pinion angle, and installed the front upper CA's.





I took measurements before and after, and I gained about 2 inches all the way around with removing the Leveling kit. I suspect that is because the stock springs had settled some.

I was really impressed with the kit, and would certainly recommend it. I have only taken a short ride so far, so can't attest to any changes in handling yet. All the parts felt stout, and high quality, and the instructions online are pretty good if only to reference some of the odd parts and how to install them (rear track bar bracket, shock mounts). I am taking a weekend long offroad trip this weekend, so I should have some more thoughts when I return.
 

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So I spent the weekend doing some off-roading, and the lift has been on for about a week now. To get to the place I was wheeling, and camping at I had to spend about 3 hours on the Autobahn each way. I have also done some driving on some pretty curvy roads locally. With all that said I can say I am very pleased with the system I installed. There is noticeably less body around fairly fast sharp corners, significantly less nose dive when braking, and it rides smooth on the highway. I had it up to 90MPH, and still felt perfect. Suspension performed great off-road, and I had no issues. I succeeded at everything I tried, and the suspension didn't creek or pop when beating on it. I definitely have noticeably more flex than before.
 
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