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Discussion Starter #1
I did a lot of reading and second guessing myself on which lift kit to buy, particularly because I was on a limited budget and there are so many opinions out there. But most of the less expensive (intentionally not saying cheap) kits seemed to require add-ons that quickly pushed the prices up. I chose the Rancho 4" Sport kit with RS9000 shocks because, well it's Rancho, and it came with braided front brake lines, the adjustable front track bar and geometry brackets. I actually ordered this kit from one vendor, but was seriously let down with shipping and availability promises. I reached out to the Rancho rep here on the forum and he pointed me to Northridge4x4. They took care of me immediately and I had the kit in about a week. It came with great instructions and quality parts. I wasn't disappointed. Everything went together without a fuss in about 5 hours at my brother's shop. His lift certainly helped, but I feel like this could have been done in my driveway if I hadn't had the option. I had one snafu with one shock that was missing it's hardware. Customer service at Northridge had the parts to me within a couple days. The only caution I suggest is to do a thorough inventory of all parts as soon as it arrives in case anything is awry. I combined it with 315/70R17 BFG KO's on the factory wheels, 1.5" Spidertrax wheel spacers, Synergy adjustable rear sway bar links and a Rancho RS7000MT steering stabilizer and I couldn't be happier. My 2013 JKU is quite literally exactly as I wanted it from the day I bought it. Of course that will only last as long as my wife's memory about the money and time I spent before the next modification is underway... Thanks Rancho and Northridge!
 

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Welcome...great start to your build! Now that you have the bug, what other plans do you have in mind?
 

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Welcome...great start to your build! Now that you have the bug, what other plans do you have in mind?

So I cheated on one spot since I don't have plans to be off the pavement for a little bit, unfortunately. I ordered the required exhaust crossover pipe and was ready to put it in the day we did the lift. However, when I looked at the flanges that have to be disconnected in order to cut and clamp in the new part I could see that the exhaust bolts are completely rusted to the point of them being smooth. I knew that meant what had been a smooth build would become disastrous quickly. So I am working on getting her to an exhaust shop to let someone who knows what they are doing get it right for me. I'll either have them cut in the part I have or just do it custom, whichever they think. I think in order of importance to me are exhaust, then bumpers with a bumper mounted tire carrier (I am a little worried about the long term effect of the larger tire even on the upgraded tire carrier I installed). I am sure the future will include wheels and a winch too. Hence why I titled the thread "It started as a budget build..." The lift, shocks and necessary add-ons were not super expensive, but life after lifting is sure to get there eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Took her to a local exhaust shop this week. I already had the Rancho crossover pipe and they did a great job fitting it in for me. I'm sure the clamps would have worked if I had been brave enough to do the work in the driveway, but I do feel a little better knowing everything is welded in and fits up well. Plus, I didn't wreck anything that costs me more to replace. Haha. Gotta figure out what's next...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Inspection month...swapping out likely failing marker lamps and removing fog lamps since one burned out. Got some plans for replacements already in the works. Fortunately swapped out brakes before the lift so should be good there. As always, fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes! One more inspection year under my belt. Now time to troubleshoot the ledheadlight\radio interference issue and install the new fog lights.
 

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Nice start to your build, you may want to lock your wallet away, it will not hate you and yea, we will gladly help you find things to spend money on ;) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Found a loose ground wire that I'm hoping clears up the radio issue. Can't find any other loose connections. Who knows. But I did install new amber LED fog lamps and new LED turn signals to compliment the LED headlamps. I will post photos once I learn how.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Welcome to the forum. Im following this, want to lift mine too. I do not have a shop, will be a driveway lift.

Part of me wanted it to be a complete driveway build, just for the "look what I did" factor. But my brother's offer of some free lift time at the dealership he works at was too good to pass up. Plus it put me right next door to the guy I paid to mount and balance the tires and align it as soon as we finished. I got lucky with that. I have had a lot of fun doing everything else in the driveway. The only advice I have is don't rush it if you are in the driveway. Funny story.


While prepping for the lift, I replaced all the brakes and hardware. While rushing to adjust the e-brake, I jacked what I thought was my shoulder up. Started the doctor/patient song and dance to get fixed up and went on to put the lift in the following weekend after driving halfway up the East coast. Two weeks later, I woke up without the use of my arm and was in very unplanned neck surgery to remove parts of a herniated disk about 8 hours later. Moral of the story, take your time. If it is your daily driver, find a temporary replacement so that you don't feel the rush. It will make the experience better and hopefully help you avoid my mistake. Its all funny now, even the part where as soon as I woke up my wife told me she sold my Jeep while I was in surgery.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Got my sway bar link quick disconnects put in. They seem a little tough to disco, but they also may need a little bit more adjustment. Picked up a few odds and ends too. Some recovery gear and a grab bar insert for my wife to use for her phone. I'm still fighting leaking in the rain, so I also picked up a new rampage cover. It sheds enough water to help. Kind of at my wit's end on the leaking.


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Discussion Starter #13
Got the next step completed this past weekend. I've been looking for a winch for a while, but the budget just wasn't there for a new one. I happened to mention it at work and a co-worker pipes up and said his brother-in-law had a winch mounted on a receiver plate that had been sitting on his porch for two years. So of course I said, see what he would want for it. I figured he'd want new prices, but he surprised me and I ended up with a working 12,000 Badlands winch with all the wiring, controls and fuse block for $200.

Now for the mounting solution. I have worked very hard to keep my build looking like an improved stock jeep. No badges or stickers, no real bolt on mods, factory wheels, factory bumpers, et cetera. But, I could not find a bumper solution that I liked or that was in my price range. I spent hours looking on here, YouTube and the greater interwebs looking for what I wanted. It seemed like every time I found the right plate it was no longer being made. So I found a partial video of how to make the Harbor Freight Universal Winch Plate work. So for $40 I bought it and an angle grinder and went to work. Trim a little here, trim a little there and voila, we have a mounted winch.

Unspooled the wire rope and winched the jeep up and across the backyard to seat the cable, and it seems ready to go. I know it added some weight, but I haven't noticed a change in stance or driving. All in all I'm happy. It's not as refined as some would likely want, but its pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I kinda can't wait to use it, but on the other hand wouldn't really mind if it was never needed. Hahaha.


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Discussion Starter #14
Family surprised me with a pair of bumpers, or bumbers as printed in the stellar manufacturer's instruction pamphlet. I had just done some bumper mods and mounted my winch, but my brother was apparently embarrassed for me. So spent the last two days with Dad morphing the two into a useable and better looking setup. I had been trying to stay as stock looking as possible but, I guess, not anymore. I took the round white lights out of the new bumper and cut them into the rear and wired them in for added reverse lights. Then I opened up the front holes and mounted the Xprite amber LEDs I was already using in their place. I kept those in the fog light circuit and wired the white ovals on a separate switch. Overall it is a lot cleaner than my hack job and since I used the other plate for the winch I think I won't really have to worry about it structurally. We shall see...


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