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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Since my old build thread is no longer showing the photos and I’ve not updated it since 2013, I think I should start fresh with a more narrative script….

When you live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, there is no excuse for not getting up into them as often as you can. Sadly, for our family, many years went by when we really just really looked at the pretty mountains as we went about our daily lives. I’d take my Yukon Denali on a few “trails” before, but those were years apart and never amounted to anything.

In 2013 the wife and I decided that we need to take better advantage of living in Colorado. We kicked around the idea of picking up hiking as a hobby, but with two younger girls and 2 year old Little Guy, hiking as a family would be… difficult. One day driving around town the wife mentioned that she liked the looks of the newer four door Jeeps. Even before we had a Jeep, only the Wranglers were “Jeeps” to us.

I had already been admiring some of the Unlimited Jeeps that I saw around town, so that was all I needed to start researching. Little did she know that within a week I knew what I wanted in a Jeep to replace her Nissan Armada daily driver… A silver JKUR with color matched hard top, lifted with black rims.

Fast forward a couple of months and we were returning from the aquarium up in Denver with the Little Guy. He almost never took naps and had fallen asleep on drive home… of course just before we got home. So instead of heading to the house and waking him up, I said we should drive down to motor city and just have a look around. The third dealership we came to had a 2012 silver JKUR with color matched hardtop, lifted and rolling on black rims wrapped in 35s and 14k miles on it.

Sorry son, nap time is over!!

Being that the Little Guy was a huge car nut, he did not mind too much when we woke him up to look at the Jeep. He was even more excited to take if for a test drive! We were very surprised at how smooth and quite the ride was in that “off road beast” and liked it right away. The sales lady of course offered to let us take the Jeep home for the rest of the weekend, but we had been driving my car that day and wanted to trade the Armada in if we decided get it. So we passed on the offer. About 2 miles from home, the wife asked what I thought about driving the Armada back down and barrowing the Jeep for the rest of the weekend. Right then I knew it was over… or rather, that it had just begun.






That is how he looked that first weekend. It had a Rancho 4” lift, 35” Duratrac tires, MB 17” wheels and the stock fenders and Rubi rails had been bed lined. He had also installed a Uniden CB inside a Tuffy Overhead console and mounted the antenna on the center of the stock spare tire carrier. Over the course of the next three years as I learned more about Jeeps, we would learn that the previous owner had also installed aftermarket fixed lower control arms and 4.56 gears.

One of the first things the wife wanted in her new Jeep was some place to hold her phone. She loved the Jeep but was not crazy about it not having hands free calling like her Armada. Since this was not going to just be your average family Jeep (at least in my mind), a regular old cell phone holder would not do. Searching around I found the X Grip by Ram Mounts and the Vector Off Road Dock.





She also did not like the Overhead Console “crowding” her, so I had to pull that out and the CB along with it. Since the antenna was mounted up so high, it was always slapping into our garage door. So that had to be removed as well. Knowing we would want the CB for out on the trails, I picked up a Cobra 75WXST, a new red antenna and mounted it to the license plate housing via an UltraMount setup.

Around this same time I was able to find another good forum deal on some Rugged Ridge tail light guards.





This allowed us to have a longer antenna for better comms without it hitting the garage door. The smaller CB with only one quick disconnect cable also meant that I could put it in the Jeep only when we were running a trial (she did not want it in there all the time).

Next on the list of mods was something to make it easier for her and the kiddos to get in and of out if. The ACE Engineering rock sliders did the trick nicely. Of course I had to bed line them to match the fenders and Rubi rails.



 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Up to this point, we had really only run dirt road trails and always by ourselves. The wife was worried about us getting stuck someplace with the kids. With visions of starvation and bear maulings, she made the mistake of saying we had to have a wench and Hi Lift jack before doing any “real trails”. Oh how I loved those words!

Since you can’t just throw a wench and a Hi Lift in the back of the Jeep, I had to find a way to mount them… safely of course. To accomplish this, safely of course, nothing short of steel front and rear bumpers would do. After much research and mind changing, I finally decided on the Warn M8000-S for the wench and JCR Crusader bumpers (bed lined to match everything else). And since safety was our goal, we just had to have a Factor 55 safety thimble to put on the synthetic wench line. I mean, she would not want my hand to get caught in the line and crushed would she???





Now properly kitted for some real trails, it became apparent that with the top off, the sun would beat down on us pretty hard over the course of a day. That problem was solved with a Spyder Web Shade.



And to make it easier for me to remove the top by myself, a hoist was needed. I was able to find a very nice used Harken Hoist (200# model) here on the forums.



Another early edition to the Jeep was some slightly used TrekArmor seat covers so that the stockers would stay nice and fresh. Between kids and trails, without covers they would not stand a chance. Again I found these here on the forums.









 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
With more and more trails being ran every summer, it was time to address airing down and back up while out there. For the first part of this operation I decided to go with Trailhead Deflators. They are small, simple to use and look the part.

When it comes to air in the tires, what goes out much go back in. After using a fellow Jeeper’s air compressor and then a different Jeeper’s CO2 system, I knew I wanted to go the CO2 route. But at the time, CO2 systems were very pricey and there were not a lot of options out there. After much research and dilemma about what to do, I remember that a buddy of mine had give me two NOS tanks back in our car days. I had a 5# and 10# bottle buried in storage some place. Now, they were polished and had the wrong valve in them, but the local gas supply store was able to sort out the latter for me. To this day they are still highly polished. One day they will get powder coated.

For a year or so I used an Autometer peak and hold pressure gauge to check the pressure when filling back up, but replaced that with an ABR pressure gauge. The ABR gauge allows you to check the air pressure without removing the hose from the tire. Just simply release the lever to stop the CO2 flow and check the pressure. I very much disliked the hard coiled air hoses, so I bought a decent hose from Lowes. It was great until the CO2 froze it, then it became as hard and stiff as the plastic coil type. This hose was eventually replaced with a nice Flexzilla hose. If you have not seen these, do yourself a favor and check them out! Best air hose I’ve ever had the pleasure to use… yes, it’s a pleasure to use. I just wish they offered it in different colors… the fluorescent green just does not go with my Jeep. Lol




When we purchased the Vector Offroad Dock after just getting the Jeep, I had noticed their tailgate table and the following year the wife ordered me one for Father’s Day. It took me about another two years to get around to installing it! I managed to load it up with some MOLLE bags. The left bag has a rather large first aid kit, the right bag has my air up/down gear in it. As of this posting, I’ve still not used the table function yet (I installed it on a warm winter day).





One of the other things the previous owner was nice enough to install for us was Death Wobble! During the process of diagnosing and repairing this, we ended up with Synergy HD ball joints (this was the ultimate fix for our Death Wobble), a new Synergy Track Bar and a Teraflex Steering Stabilizer.



Another issue that came up was that the front drive shaft decided it no longer needed to contain it’s grease, and destroyed it’s seal and slung it everywhere under the Jeep. I local Jeeper gave me their stock drive shaft to use until I sorted out what the issue really was. It turns out that the previous owner had installed aftermarket lower control arms, but they were not adjustable ones. While it got the caster close, it was still a little on the extreme side. This prompted me to order a set of Synergy Adj. Upper Control Arms.

While we are not huge rock crawlers, this is a daily driver after all, many of the trails here in Colorado involve some rock crawling. I was not crazy about the oil pan and transmission lines not having any protection, so I looked to address this. Jason @KrawlOff-Road.com hooked me up with a set of Rock Hard 4x4 oil and tranny skid plates. Wanting to add some color to the Jeep, but not go to crazy, I decided that powder coating them a deeper red would be a nice touch underneath. It ties into the Rancho shock covers under there as well as the CB antenna. I plan on painting the break calipers red as well once summer gets here. I might have some other things under there powered coated in red too. I have to figure out what will be the right balance of color. Not enough and it does not solidify the theme, too much and it’s just, well, too much.



I should say at this point that Jason has been my source for all my major part purchases. He has great customer service and is a friendly guy to deal with. Even if he did not normally carry the part, he would get it for me. It’s always nice to be able to support a small business and a bonus when it does not really cost you anything extra (in fact, he’s always at least priced matched the bigger guys if not downright beating them)

We would occasionally rub the tires on the stock fenders when stuffed at full flex, so I had been researching what options were out there for some flat fenders. I loved some of the metal fenders, but could never bring myself to pony up the cash for them. They sat towards the bottom of my to-do list since it was not a serious problem. Then a local friend of mine got into a very minor fender bender in his Jeep and put at tiny dent in one of his Bushwacker fenders. The insurance company insisted that it be replaced. And since you can’t order just one of their fenders, he got a complete set of new fenders. Instead of swapping out to all new fenders, he decided to just sale the new ones. He made me an offer I could not pass up, so Bushwacker flares is what I ended up with.



 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Towards the end of 2014 I traded my Acura in on a Cadillac SRX that was loaded with all the tech and creature comforts that the wife had been missing from her Armada over the last couple of years. The SRX became hers and I inherited the Jeep!

With the Jeep officially my personal daily drive, I was free to start doing and planning mods without the wife’s approval for them being on “her” Jeep.

With most of the medium sized/priced mods already done, I initially staked my claim on the Jeep by coming up with a theme for it and putting some graphics on (something the wife likes, but never wanted on “her” Jeep).

Coming up with the right theme was not as easy as I thought it would be. I liked all the zombie themed Jeeps out there, but felt that they were kind of played out and did not think me doing another one would really stand out. I’m a gun guy, but not a gun nut (I’ve got a .38 ultralight with laser grip from when I worked the biker circuit, a 7mm WinMag for reaching out and touching someone, a Glock 19 for everyday defense and an “AR-19” that I custom built to shoot 9mm and share magazines with the Glock, for those zombies I was talking about earlier ;) ). As a gun guy, the 2nd Amendment is important to me and while not quite a III%er, I do lean that way… at least in a covert manor. The Molon Labe themes do appealed to me, but again, there are lots of Jeeps out there with that theme and I don’t always want to advertize my guns. Knowing that I at least wanted one Molon Labe decal on the Jeep, I started thinking down that rabbit hole.



Leonidas I was credited with saying the phrase Molon Labe and it is often written in the ancient Greek block lettering. This got me to thinking that view point was similar to the Hoplites of ancient Greek. Citizen (I’m actually a vet, severed in the USAF) warriors that did their normal jobs in society, but would answer the call to arms to defend their city-states and all of Greece when called upon. That mindset seemed to tie into the Jeep mindset. The silver color of my Jeep along with the steel bumpers and skid plates leant a kind of “armor” feel to it. And in few red accents I’ve added to the Jeep and I came up with using a Corinthian helmet as my main logo/design.



With the foundations of the Greek warrior theme settled on, it was time to really make the Jeep my own. Replacing the Rubicon decals on the hood was the first order of business, but I needed something to replace them with. Again I wanted to try and tie my personality and mindset in with the general “Jeep’n” mind set. I’m not a Prepper, but I do like to be prepared as much as I can for whatever I can (without it taking over my life lol). So what I needed was Greek word that would convey this. Asking an Italian friend of mine that speaks Greek and studies ancient Greece, it turns out they have a word for “being prepared” or “one who is prepared”. That word (in ancient block lettering) is ETOIMOS.



I’m not a big fan of putting company names and logos all over my Jeep, so I had to come up with some other ideas to solidify the Greek warrior them. Then like a Spartan backhand, it hit me: a trail list! Finding a font that had a Greek look to it, but was still readable to us “Amuricans”, I went about listing my favorite trails that we had done over the past 3 or so years. I also had the thought of using a combination of xiphos (the Greek short sword of the time) in sort of a Roman numeral style to mark the number of times we had ran a certain trail. I quickly realized that would lead to a lot of decal changing each year as there are several that we run all the time. Liking the idea of the sword numbers, but not the idea of constantly updating the decals, I decided to instead to use the swords to donate the trails high end rating as per TrailDamage.com



Adding all those decals had the Jeep looking like this…




Several years ago I purchased a 60w CO2 Laser Engraver/Cutter for a game accessory business that I had. I immediately started pondering what I might be able to use if for on the Jeep. I was not able to give any of the ideas much importance as I was just too busy with work I already had going with the laser (and my real career and family). Towards the end of 2015 things started to settle down enough that I could revisit the Jeep ideas. The first and foremost idea was a set of custom vent covers to pull the Jeep’s theme inside. Making these made me realize that I could do the same thing to the shifter knobs.





From there I just started brain storming on different areas where I could customize both the interior and exterior of the Jeep. With different products. One of the first areas to draw my attention was the trail rated badge. I think there is a lot of room for customization for this part, from the simple design change below to completely changing what it looks like and how that area is used.



Another good area to apply my theme on that exterior was the fuel door. But first I needed a fuel door, so I installed a Rugged Ridge steel fuel door and then made a custom cover for that.



 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Next up was the door buttons and wheel center caps.





Moving back inside the Jeep, I add a custom grab handle cover.





By removing the Rubicon decals from the hood at the start of all this theming, I was kind of bummed that nowhere else on the Jeep did it say that it was a Rubicon. Transferring the door button idea to the inside, I made these door latch tabs.



I have a few friends that also have Jeep related businesses and I like to support them when I can, so I made the below badges to put on my Jeep. It’s a bonus that they look cool as well!

Seven Slot Battalion


JKU World


And just for fun I made these “eject” seat belt button covers.



I’m trying to find the right balance of keeping my theme both clean and intact while using my Jeep as a rolling catalog for the new products that I make… at some point I might have to pull some of these things off just to get back to the roots of the theme.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I wanted to do something to make the Jeep a little more aggressive/utilitarian looking without dropping a lot of cash. I got inspiration from another Jeep that was posted here on WF. It had some aftermarket half doors that had black paddle style latches and hinges. I really liked the look of the black hinges, so I decide to try Plati-dipping for the first time. And since I was doing the door hinges, I thought I should just take care of those chrome key holes while I was at it.









As you can see, I pulled the hinge mounts off the Jeep as well. I probably could have left them on, but I thought I could do a better job with them off since this was my first time using Plasti-dip. Note to anyone that might be thinking about doing this, make sure to mark not only which mount comes from which door, but make some type of alignment marks as well. While both sets of fronts and both sets of back door mounts look identical, I had to play musical mounts to get the doors to actually fit correctly. It’s also a big pain getting the mounts lined up so that the door actually seals correctly. For some reason, Chrysler decided that the bolt holes on these mounts needed be highly adjustable, so they are elongated. This makes them really hard to get lined up just right to seal the door. I’m planning on having the hinges and mounts powder coated black for durability since I really like the look. So this time I think I am going to make 2-3 marks on the body panel and mounts to help with alignment when putting them back on. Because the power coat will cover the marks on the mounts, I’ll probably lightly file a grove on the mount marks.

 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Looking good I'm on the same path Sir. Just used my 1st can yesterday, it's addicting stuff lol


Carry on
Thanks. It was much easier to use then I thought it would be. Took some time though to do all my door parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
With spring coming on here in Colorado, I was able to install some USB charging ports in the back seat area. This allows the kiddos to charge their devices during long trips.

I opted to install the Powerwerx Panel Mount Dual USB 4.2A Device Charger for 12/24V Systems. This one steps down the 12V from the battery to 5V that most devices need. It also has 2.1A per USB port, so two devices can be charging while being used.

The ports are kind of deep, so I had to mount them on the lower part of the B pillar. You could probably mount them in the back of the center console, but I did not feel like pulling that area apart to get into it. If I had to do this install again, I might install them there for a couple of reasons. First, I think they could be mounted higher off the floor and being in the center, could be less prone to being kicked as the kids get in and out. The other reason is that with them installed into the B pillar, they sometimes interfere with the seatbelts retracting once you get out (the door closes on them from time to time). I'm going to see if I can address this last issue with some "cable management" inside the B pillar.

Here is the hole I cut for the port to fit into the B pillar. Powerwerx sell the correct size hole bit for these, but I just used one I had already and opened it up the last little bit with a Dremel tool.



For the wiring, I first tried to tap into the rear door window harness that is right there (easy access for pulling off the doors). Tapping into the ground wire there works great (just make sure you tap into the side that stays on the Jeep when you pull the doors off) and is the only real grounding place nearby. Unfortunately, you can't tap into the power line there. It interferes with the stock electrical system (CANBus I think) and does not deliver the correct power once tapped into. So you will have to run a dedicated power line to either an sPOD type product or directly to the battery (with an inline fuse). In this photo you can see where I pulled the window harness plug up through the seatbelt slot in the B pillar to make it a little easier to work in the confined space. You can also barely see where I taped up my ground connection with electrical tape (over shrink tubing).



Here is a split photo showing the charging ports open and closed (it's nice that they can be sealed to keep out water and dust on the trials when going doorless).



I'm a little concerned about the cords not holding up (my kids kill cords like crazy in just the house) in the Jeep with them getting kicked and such. So, I researched what is supposed to be the toughest cords out there, the Anker PowerLine + series. They have a double-braided nylon exterior, toughened kevlar fiber core, and laser-welded connectors. If you can believe the marketing hype, they are supposed to be 10x stronger than standard cords. Like most cords, they only come in 1, 3, and 6 foot lengths. I got the 6 foot cords as the others would be too short... but the 6' ones are too long. At least I was able to weave them thru the MOLLE to take up some of the slack and keep it looking somewhat nice back there. When I ordered mine, they only came in red or gold (they now have grey and white as well). I really wanted black, but thought the red would stand out a lot more and maybe remind the kids not to kick and step on them (yeah right). Besides, at least red is my color for the Jeep.



They have only been in the Jeep a couple of weeks and only used a handful of times, so I don't know how well they are going to hold up. I can say they do feel really well made, but at $11 a pop, they better feel that way!
 

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Both the jeep and the thread are nicely done. Moved away from the Airforce Academy in 1985 so itś been awhile but the temptation of living on the front range is well remembered.

Used to run up Mount Herman Road (just north of the Academy) in a variety of one wheel drive vehicles including a 1974 Ford Courier. Lost it down a scree slope once and had to hitchhike out and return with a chain hoist in a dodge sedan. Made my poor brother-in-law drive down in the sedan and still remember how big his eyes were the whole way back.

So, I have gone and cluttered up your pristine thread but, I appreciated the trip down memory lane.

Keep us posted,
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Man, that is a really clean build! Like it a lot! Very nice and keep up the good work. If there is ever anything else we can do for you, please let us know!

-Jason
Thanks Jason, now go check your PMs ;)
 

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Your build looks awesome man! Keep it up :beerdrinking:
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
What good is building a trail rig if you don't run it? These are from Chinaman's Gulch two weeks ago...


Take a bow..


Warn gets a workout...


Up the Whale's Tail...


Warn gets another workout...



Up the Rock Pile....


Undercarriage inspection...
 
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