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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everybody!


Marn here. Maybe you remember my ol JF build of my 97 TJ? Maybe you remember my logs about my Wagoneer from all over the interwebs? Maybe, most likely, you've never heard of me! Either way, here I am.



After cruising around the nearly 10 years in a 1973 Wagoneer that has served my wife and I very well and always got us home (albeit sometimes against its will) we came to the realization that we need to get out FURTHER and LONGER than we currently do. The Wagoneer has too many short comings to allow this to happen, and it had become the limiting factor in our ability to live our best "outdoor" lives. Poor fuel economy, ancient technology (even though its fuel injected), harsh ride, rough interior, no AC, no seals on doors/windows, somewhat poor off road performance, and questionable reliability all make for an interesting, yet nerve racking back country experience. Sure, it looked epic in pictures, and sure, everybody on instagram and other forums loves it and many comment about feeling inspired....but none of them are the ones who have to drive it and maintain it.



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All that said, we decided it was time the Classic jeep was relegated to lighter duty. My wife has been driving a Challenger for the last 8 years, and that was getting up there in miles and was far from an ideal winter vehicle given that she regularly travels up to Tahoe. Enter a new 4x4. Woohoo! IT had to be "newish" as in new enough to pose an advantage over a 2011 Challenger, and it had to be "nice" enough for my wife to daily for the next few years.



The only other requirements we had were that it was 4 door. We owned 5 registered and insured vehicles, and the wagoneer was the only 4 door which meant any time we had company or wanted to bring the dog, we took that rickety old thing. Nothing like going out to dinner and reeking like gas and exhaust!


So, with those requirements, we started looking at the options and landed hard on a 4Runner being the best choice. We headed off the the toyota dealership on a Friday night, drove one for 5 minutes, and she hated it. Hard No.



Well, crap. I had no idea what we were going to do because I never really thought a Rubicon would be attainable or something that would be best for us. The next morning we drove to the jeep dealership to potentially look at a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk as well as a Rubi. 3 Hours later we came home with a 2019 JLU Rubicon in Billet Silver with the 3.6L V6. It checked all the boxes and unlike the 4runner, it will serve us perfectly well in stock form for the next few years, and it wont REQUIRE much of anything from us in terms of modifications. That right there closed the gap on pricing between the 4Runner and the Rubicon pretty quickly.



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This thread will serve as a log of the (minor) work I do to the jeep. The plans in the immediate future as quite minor. A few upgrades are going to happen, but mostly the jeep will be outfitted with the boring stuff (safety, recovery, a little armor and protection), and it will get USED.



Stay tuned for the THRILLING continuance of my "basically not a build" build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So the initial boring crap is getting done.

Added a fire extinguisher. Basic ABC mounted in the rear because it’s not intended for use on the jeep itself. As we know an ABC dry chemical extinguisher will pretty much ruin whatever vehicle it’s used on. This is for camping fires
Or anything I may happen upon. I will be getting a halotron extinguisher to mount somewhere up front.

Also took my typical first aid kit and put it in a new MOLLE mountable pouch. Mounted it to the factory tailgate panel. Works perfect and tears free easy. Threw some other MOLLE straps on there for light stuff like gloves.


Also in the back is an air compressor and tire repair kit. Not sure what to do for mounting this as it’s just loose right now and that really doesn’t thrill me.

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Under the floor panel is my recovery strap and other basic emergency car stuff for my wife. A fleece jacket, hat, gloves, emergency food, glow sticks, a knife, some cord, duct tape, shemagh, lighter, matches, etc. similar to the kit I carry every day between a backpack and my vehicle.

Added a large flashlight to the back of the passenger seat, wanted a good solid ‘full size’ flashlight that has crazy throw. This is an older light I’ve had for several years and it was cheap enough for me to not worry.

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Also stuck a harbor freight wool blanket under the drivers seat. These things are like $9 and pretty awesome. They are always Useful on camping trips and if you ever get stranded.

Exciting, right?
 

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Yes! Welcome to the Forum. Loved the build of your Wagoneer and off to a great start here!


+1 for the Harbor Freight Blankets. Probably one of my favorite items in our Jeep.
 

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The the rig and your off to a great start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes! Welcome to the Forum. Loved the build of your Wagoneer and off to a great start here!


+1 for the Harbor Freight Blankets. Probably one of my favorite items in our Jeep.

Thanks! Glad somebody has seen my junk before!


And seriously, I own like 6 of those blankets, every car has one, both trailers have them, and I keep one with my sleeping bag. You never know when you need a good blanket!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, the day we bought it we made sure to get some dirt on the tires before we even got home. Headed up some trails directly behind our house before we allowed it to enter our driveway. Hey, we had to set the precedent!



As it sat in our driveway, my wife asked me "Is this thing ever going to be clean?"


I replied "no, not really."


She said "Oh. Well, thats okay, its a jeep."


I knew there was a reason I married her! :worthy:
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I needed to make sure my trailer would pull right behind this thing, so I mocked everything up in preparation for a trip.



I built this trailer up about a year ago. It's a 60's M416. I built the rack with the help of a buddy, built a battery box holder, and built a spare tire mount attached to the rack. There are 8 holes drilled into the tub, with all the weight sitting on the rail of the tub. I pulled the tub, stripped and painted it, painted the frame, then bed lined the inside of the tub.



Yes, I know the rack is super high, and yes I'm sure it'll violently flip over if I so much as hit a speed bump, and go careening into a bus full of nuns or lawyers kids on their way to a Junior Litigators of Tomorrow club meeting. But, I'm 6'3. I made it so the bottom of the tent is at 6' when opened, so I can stand in the annex. I haven't drug it through anything crazy, but when its loaded there is something like 400-500lbs in the tub, plus the weight of the tub. The tent weighs like 200lbs max. Anyway, it has handled great on the road and on the trails I have taken it through.


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On my Wagoneer, I need to run a straight (level) pintle hitch to get the trailer to sit nearly level. The rear end of the wagon is high, plus my receiver actually angles up a little. The JL hitch is way lower. I had to flip the hitch and raise the pintle 2", and my hitch still sits 2" lower than the back of the trailer. I figure I could come up 1 inch more, but That would require me to lower the lunette to the lower hole on the trailer, then re-adjust the hitch to be level. If i did that, I'd then have to get a drop hitch for the wagoneer. Really 6 of one half dozen of the other, but presently I have a level hitch I can use for the wag or my ford when necessary.



So, this is the way it will sit for the time being.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, we bought it on a Saturday, the next Friday we loaded up and headed for some dispersed camping in Plumas National Forest. For a number of reasons we cut our trip short and only did 1 night, but we still got in a few hundred miles of towing and some exploring and wheeling.



Let me tell you. Wheeling in this thing is practically cheating compared to the wagoneer. Climbing crazy grades with the windows up, ac on, satellite radio, sway bars disconnected and lockers in, not so much as a single wheel slip while in complete comfort. Same trail in the wag I had to keep pulling over to let it cool down, was eating dust, went through some moguls and got a wheel off the ground while just kinda sorta skidding down it....


Anyway, put in some miles on some trails up in the sierras. Not even registered yet, but covered with dust and a mess inside!


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And lastly, I placed an order yesterday for a set of ROAM Offroad frame mounted rick rails. They should fit the wife's need for a step, as well as being a huge upgrade over the factory rocker guards. Here's a stolen pic:


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I'm aware there is plenty of evidence showing the factory guards being plenty strong, but there is also evidence of it causing damage to the body beneath as well as not protecting too well due to being really close in to the body.



Anyway, excited!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So, today I started finally putting together a ‘better’ mobile tool kit. My Wagoneer and my ford have a super cheap harbor freight tool kit in them. I have broken Two ratchets in these kits. They are the cheapest tools harbor freight offers.

I wanted a more comprehensive kit that would be better quality but still be cheap enough to not care. I ran across a Super coupon for a much better quality kit from Harbor Freight, and picked it
Up. This is the same as their individually sold tools. Lifetime warranty, much better quality than the other stuff without the cost of craftsman or husky or whatever. Perfect for what I needed.
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Then I picked up a tool roll from amazon.
Canidae Dog breed Dog Snout Bag

Everything fits great and it’s a super handy package. I still have room for some items I need to add but it’s off to a good start.


Tan Khaki Bag

Quick video:
 

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Hey Dr. Marn!

Wow! Nice Jeep! Let's see,

IFSJ
FSJN
Jeepforum
ExpeditionPortal
Facebook groups

I don't even know you...

You will enjoy that new Jeep. You have been through the FSJ fire brother. You have earned this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey Dr. Marn!

Wow! Nice Jeep! Let's see,

IFSJ
FSJN
Jeepforum
ExpeditionPortal
Facebook groups

I don't even know you...

You will enjoy that new Jeep. You have been through the FSJ fire brother. You have earned this.

Yeah, I tend to get around. Don't forget Reno4x4 and Overland Bound!!!



Thanks, we have been enjoying it!



So, we had it for like 3 weeks, I figured it was time to go topless. The wife was hesitant, she's never cared for "convertibles" and never imagined she'd ever own one. She didn't ride in my old TJ too too much because it was back a few years before we became an item. Anyway, she enjoyed it, and multiple times said "This is fun" so yet another step in the right direction!



I'll have to try it doors off next time. We cruised around saturday and sunday as such. I was surprised at hoe easy it was to remove the main portion of the top. I feel like the one on my TJ was a way bigger pain. Maybe I'm just used to removing the camper shell from my old dodge.



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If she would camp with you in that old pop up, I don't see her having an issue with the top off. Are you going to get tube doors so she doesn't freak out?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If she would camp with you in that old pop up, I don't see her having an issue with the top off. Are you going to get tube doors so she doesn't freak out?



Camping in a pop up doesnt put 70mph winds in your face, nor does it put you directly in the sun, nor does it mess up your hair or contribute to dehydration, nor is it super loud.




Probably no tube doors, I don't see the point. I don't think they're going to do much in the event of an accident. I think I'll just get the doors off one day and see how much she freaks.
 

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And lastly, I placed an order yesterday for a set of ROAM Offroad frame mounted rick rails. They should fit the wife's need for a step, as well as being a huge upgrade over the factory rocker guards. Here's a stolen pic:


View attachment 4166933



I'm aware there is plenty of evidence showing the factory guards being plenty strong, but there is also evidence of it causing damage to the body beneath as well as not protecting too well due to being really close in to the body.



Anyway, excited!
Wow those look great. Did you install then yet? Is a DIY or do they need any special installation?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Wow those look great. Did you install then yet? Is a DIY or do they need any special installation?

They havent arrived yet. They were back-ordered and should ship in another 2 or 3 weeks.



They don't require any "special" installation. There are body mounted versions as well as frame mounted versions. I went with frame mounted.
 
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