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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up my new Rubicon Unlimited on March 29, 2014 and I gotta say, I love it. It's a step up from my 98 TJ is just about every way. Yeah, the JK's have lost a bit of the old school charm and become a bit more refined but it's still a Jeep. This is my build thread but to begin, I wanted to document where it all started.

First off, it's a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. Besides the standard Rubicon package it's optioned as follows:

5-speed Automatic Transmission
4.10 gears
Black Freedom Hard Top
Connectivity Group
Heated Seats
Remote Start

My plans, in general, are:

3-Inch Rancho Sport suspension lift w/ CA brackets, exhaust spacer, etc.
35-inch Goodyear Duratracs
Either the stock wheels with spacers or Pro Comp 5029s or 7036s (I kind of like the Rubi wheels but if I run them, they'll get pasti-dipped black)
JCR Dagger Stubby in the front but still looking for a rear bumper to fall in love with
A modest winch (dependable but priced right for very occasional use)
An upgraded head until with touch display
Whatever else strikes my fancy

Oh, and eliminate anything shiny or chrome ;)

I don't do any real hardcore rock crawling, just jeep trails, dirt roads, etc. This is a daily driver as well. I want the look of the lift and tires but I want the off-road benefits too. I can go more places with less worries.

Here she is the day after I picked her up and a few shots of my TJ as well:









 
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Good luck with the build! I picked up my new Rubicon this week as well. I had a 94 YJ for 19 years and the new JK is quite the upgrade. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good luck with the build! I picked up my new Rubicon this week as well. I had a 94 YJ for 19 years and the new JK is quite the upgrade. Enjoy!
Understatement of the day! :D

Thanks, you enjoy yours as well! :thumb:
 

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Looks like a awesome build! Can't wait to see the touch screen display installed as it's something I would love to have in mine too, as for the winch I have a 8000lb smittybuilt that I put through hell and back pulling my 2dr out of a back road with 4feet of snow up hill for 6 hours of constant use (don't ask hahaha), on and off the whole day can't say nothing bad about it, i trust it!
Nickpetten
 

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Looking forward to following along

that's awesome! :thumb:
Nothing like seeing Jeeps out in their natural habitat!

Looking forward to following along with your build. I think we have similar utilization goals off road. :drinks:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Brown Santa came. Too cold to install all the cheap plastic...I mean vital Jeep components ;) but I installed the 24-inch Antenna X and the RR grab handles in the from. The rear handles that use the factory bolts come with shiny washers. Blecht! I have to paint those before they go one. Should have entry guards and Weathertech liners soon too.



 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I thought I'd do a mini review of my Weathertech floor liners I installed today. I've always had Husky's in the past but we bought Weathertechs for my wife's Scion and I like them. The Quadratech liners look nice but I've seen some problems (logo coming off and leaving holes, poorly designed anchors that let water leak onto the floor, etc.).

I have the saddle interior so I ordered tan liners. I thought they would be very light tan but they are closer to my saddle than I expected. Not perfect but close. I like the way they attach to the anchors. Instead of holes in the liner than can leak, they use velcro (loop half) inserts and small plastic fitting that secure to the anchors on the floor. Those have the hook part of the velcro. Whether they hold the liner securely and won't break remains to be seen.

They fit great and the tan has a couple of advantages. First, it helps lighten the interior. All that black on the floor males it kind of a black hole down there. Second, the tan will hide the dust and dirt better than the back. My wife's liners look gray most of the time.

Anyway, here they are installed:



Here's the back seat liners and you can see the difference in color. It's actually not that bad in person:



And the driver's side. Velcro hides under those circular bumps near the bottom:



I took a picture of the velcro anchors. I can't even find mention of them on their website so they might be new:



Just waiting for the cargo liner, entry guards and the Trek Armor seat covers. I'll feel better once everything is covered up and protected
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just bid farewell to my 98 TJ. First guy to come see it gave me a fair price, cash. Kind of sad to see it go but that's life. Someone can enjoy it now. Bye blue Jeep, going to miss you :wavey:

 

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I know the feeling. Kind of empty. Just sold my WJ, and felt the same way.
But it will at least be going to a good home. Maybe you'll see this guy on the trail.

So any trips planned with the JK?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So any trips planned with the JK?
No, not yet. Super busy. Oldest son is graduating high school in May. He's playing baseball and the younger son is in track, different places all that time. This summer, that thing will be all over the Sierras and Western Nevada with the boys, last hurrah before the Marines take over the care and feeding of my oldest.

Nice part about selling it is now the bank account is topped off and ready to buy parts. Lift and tires, baby! :thumb:
 

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That's awesome! :thumb: Funny how much can get packed into a single day.

A nice lift and tires will be really helpful on a lot of the Sierra trails.
So what kind of lift and wheels/tires are you thinking about?

Man, I don't think there is a better way to spend time, than time outdoors.
Probably see you up in the Sierra's as that's my plan for the summer as well. Want to get back into some of the higher lakes & streams. Started making a list of trails.
Deer Lake, Snake Lake, Henness lake, etc., etc., etc. Haven't had my fly pole out in more than a decade, and would like to spend some time on the streams with it. More into "fishing" than I am catching. It's a great way to slow down and enjoy life. That and photography (which I suck equally at) are two things I plan to really enjoy this year.

So, you'll be way ahead of me on the "build", and I'm looking forward to following along and learning from what you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm thinking the Rancho 3-inch sport lift and 315/75/16 Duratracs. Rancho because they have the rebate going on and I was planning on the 9000 shocks anyway. The lift gets great reviews too. Duratracs because everyone loves them and they are priced pretty well. Those will go on in early summer when the boys have plenty of free time to help me put the lift on.

I've also freed my Rancho 9000i from the TJ winch plate (two seized bolts I had to drill out) I'm going to repaint it and crack it open to make sure it looks in good shape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Grill Mod

Finished the grill mod today. Not hard, just time consuming and tedious but they want like $150-$200 for aftermarket kits. :censored: I spent like $20 bucks max and now have enough black zip ties to last a life time. Anyhow, here's the pictures of the finished product (way too many how to's out there to bother with that):







For posterity, I used the metal rain gutter grating. Plasti-dipped it so the exposed metal left after cutting it wouldn't rust. I removed the foam adhesive backing from the zip-tie anchors since it seems that won't last long by itself and then used JB Weld to secure the anchors. Removing the foam was by far the longest part of the mod but I soaked them in warm water, grabbed a beer and powered through.

I like the way it looks and it should keep debris from collecting there. My biggest worry is the grills get choked with bugs and I can't get them off without tearing up the plasti-dip. We'll see. Oh yeah, removed the emblem too. :D

Build is probably going to stall. Found out my leach line on my septic is dying so I need a new one. $7300 is the quote. That's lift, tires, bumpers, head unit and more worth of money going down the drain, pun intended. Looking for small DIY projects until the savings is refilled a bit.
 

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Grill looks great!
There are a couple of paint safe formulas for removing bugs. One is called Bug and Tar Remover, the other is called Bug-B-Gone. I've had real good luck with Bug and Tar remover (living in dairy and farming area we have lots of bugs). Haven't tried Bug-B-Gone.
So hopefully it will only require a bit of patience during cleaning.
The best part is keeping all those bugs from plugging up the coolers! :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The day I bought my JKUR, I came home and ordered Weathertech liners and Trek Armor seat covers in black and coyote to match my saddle interior. After 4 1/2 weeks, the covers arrived. Based on reviews and the word around WF, I didn't mind for such a quality upgrade. I'm not disappointed but I tell you, about halfway through the install, I was wondering why I didn't just buy some beach towels.

Actually, it wasn't that bad. The first seat, front passenger, was a bit tricky but after I got one done, I learned most of the tricks and the rest went more quickly. Took maybe two or three hours total with some runs into the house to rewatch part of an install video. It hurts to type this from the Velcro. My fingertips are a bit torn up but I might survive.

Anyway, I'm going to let them sit far a week or so, then have my sons come out and help me tug them here and there to make sure they are good to go and cut the holes for the front headrests. For now, I like them. Good fit, look factory and the quality is evident.

As you can see, the color is really more of a tan than coyote but it's not as big a contrast with the saddle in real life. The camera makes it look a lot different but it's close enough.





 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to proceed in the wake of my leach field dying and having to spend $8,000 to build a new one. My Jeep build money is almost gone but I am undaunted. However, my plans must change. I do not want to wait months and months while I save money to enjoy my Jeep and part of that enjoyment is building and modding it (maybe bolting crap on is a more accurate term). So, for posterity here is my plan and reasoning:

By my calculations, wheels, 35 inch tires, 2.5 inch lift, shocks and all the stuff you need to make that work like exhuast spacers or tire carriers add up to something approaching five grand! I don't have five grand at the moment but I think I have found a path forward.

I'm now planning on a two-ish inch BB, probably Teraflex with the shock extensions. That will give me the height to put on 33s and still flex if needed. Not the 35s I wanted but still bigger than stock. This leaves me the ability to use the stock shocks with the option to add 9000xls in the future. I can replace the relatively inexpensive BB with springs some day but for not I've also got a bit more ground clearance, a better stance and I've set myself apart from the crowd.

There are several benefits. The 15 inch wheels (Black Rock 909s) and 33 inch Duratracs I've chosen are both inexpensive and lightweight. In fact, they are lighter than the stock Rubi wheel at only 68.3 pounds. I get the small wheel big tire look I like in a lightweight and inexpensive package, about $1800 bucks for a set of five mounted and balanced. More importantly, I don't need to worry about a tire carrier for a while saving me a bunch of money.

With the budget boost, wheels and tires, about all I NEED to make it work is a programmer for about $150. Total cost, just over $2300. Whatever I get from selling my take off Rubi wheels and BFG MTs, reduces that further. I could shave a couple of hundred off that too by trading out the BB for a TF leveling kit (pucks) but I want the height. Tire carrier, bumpers, lights, etc. can come later as money allows.

One major but less obvious advantage is I am minimizing the chance of breaking my Jeep. With lightweight wheels and tires, the axles should be safe from damage without C-gussets, sleeves, etc., even if I don't baby it. I could still damage the axle but chances are lower with this set up rather than heavier 35's. That right there is a good reason to do this. I'm less likely to have major repairs or be forced to make other upgrades in the short term to compensate. I might go 35's at some point but I want this Jeep to last and when I go bigger, I want to do it right if I ever do it at all.

I welcome comments or advice. I'm looking to do this after the whole high school graduation, summer vacation (another place Jeep money is going) and all that is out of the way but I want to do this soon, maybe in June or July. This is a compromise but I'm good with that and excited to have some mods in the works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Took care of a few things I've been putting off. First, I stuffed the woofer, sound bar and tweeters with poly fill. No pics. I put some poly batting over that to keep the fill from touching the cones. Marginal improvement...maybe. I'll run it and see how it sounds. I didn't pack them full but I put enough fill in to give some resistance as I put the speakers back in.



While I was doing that, I Plasti Dip'd my grill. Been to cowardly to do it until today. Not sure why since it peels off. It was easy. I had a few spots it went on thick so I fogged the whole thing from about 12-15 inches away to give it a bit of a rougher finish and get rid of the shiny spots. I'm happy with it.



Finally, I'm considering putting on some stickers. My interior is all black and tan so I though some dark sand stars and hood lettering from Pixel Decals might look cool. I've got some on the way to see what it really looks like but I mocked these up in Photoshop. If I go black, I might do a blackout hood decal instead of the star. I wanted a dark sand hood decal but apparently they don't do those. I'll probably add some matching USA flags, DTOM, ETC. decals to the fenders, back end, etc.

Battle Born is Nevada's state motto and it refers to the Jeep's heritage.



 

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Tip: I got an awesome quote for 35" KM2's and 15" Black Rock D Alloys from discount tire- right around the range you're looking at.

As for the lift, I would save up a little more and just get the TF 2.5" lift kit with either TF or Bilstein shocks.

I'm sure if you shop around you can get the entire deal for just under $2500!

Great looking jeep man and congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tip: I got an awesome quote for 35" KM2's and 15" Black Rock D Alloys from discount tire- right around the range you're looking at.

As for the lift, I would save up a little more and just get the TF 2.5" lift kit with either TF or Bilstein shocks.

I'm sure if you shop around you can get the entire deal for just under $2500!

Great looking jeep man and congrats!
Thanks! I'm still debating on the lift. Part of me says just get the coils and be done with it. I can upgrade stuff later (shocks, track bar, control arms or brackets, etc.) But I can get the BB and swap in springs later too.

I'm trying really trying hard to stay away from 35's. I can find them for a decent price but it's the weight. Then I need a tire carrier solution. Those KM2s are 13 pounds heavier than the 33 inch Duratrac (49.3 vs 62.3 lbs). I'm not opposed to 35's in the future but for now I want to stay light until I can do it right.

Honestly, the new BFG TA KO2s look really nice and the original KOs were pretty light compared to the KM2s (only 54 lbs in the 35). If the new ones are about the same, I'll be looking to upgrade to those. An AT suits my needs better than a MT.
 
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