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Now that I have finally begun some mods, I figured it was time to start a build thread. I will freely admit that it took me a few years to commit to some more significant mods, but I had a good reason....sort of.

I bought my 2012 Sahara Unlimited in December of 2011. I had been leasing vehicles for the past several years and was coming out of a leased Infiniti G35. I had always wanted a Jeep. Back in high school that was what I wanted, but never managed to afford. When the Unlimiteds came out, I knew I wanted to have one. But I had gotten used to upgrading vehicles every 3 years. And it had worked out well with two kids - cycling through SUVs, the dreaded minivan era, and finally into some nicer sedans that didn't scream family wagon. So I was determined to lease a Wrangler. If I liked it, maybe i'd buy it. Its not for everyone (leasing) I get that...but it suited my needs.

I had hopped from dealer to dealer looking for a Wrangler with the options I wanted - upgraded interior, NAV, leather, tow package (Waverunner) and the body-color top and fenders. It came down to two colors - deep cherry red and flame red. I had had several black, silver and blue vehicles recently and wanted something a bit different. The dealers I visited had many colors to choose from, but only a few with the NAV and body colored top and fenders. After some deliberation, I landed on flame red. To be honest, I hadn't seen many, if any, flame reds on the road in my area. There was an abundance of black Jeeps around it seemed. I also momentarily considered Dozer and Crush - but that got the family veto. The all-white was interesting but at times I thought it reminded me of a mail truck. I've since changed my tune on all white and think it looks great. After some negotiating, I ended up getting the dual top group with the Mopar chrome package for the same price as the cherry red which didn't have the dual top. The chrome was 'unique' and at the time I thought it looked great. I made my decision.

Anyway......here's my baby on the lot the day I decided to get it. Picked it up the next day in total darkness and in the pouring rain.

More to come...
 

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In the daylight, I loved the color more than i thought I was going to - very bright, and very clean looking. It was unfortunate that the dealer slapped pinstriping on just about every Jeep on the lot.... but mine was at least fortunately applied the right way - I had seen several with the pinstriping applied a few inches down the door by the handles to match the line of pinstriping from the hood. It looked ridiculous. The striping was black at least, and hard to see. But it kind of bothered me. Here are some pics from the next day.
 

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My first "mod" wasn't really a mod at all. After trying to remove my hard top in the spring and install the soft top, I determined I needed a hoist. I ordered the Lange power hoist from Quadratec and installed it in a night. The hardest part was installing the bolts to the garage wall in an area that wasn't too accessible...but it worked out great. However, i have to relocate it now that I lifted my Jeep because there isn't enough clearance any longer...
 

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Ive always been a car / auto enthusiast and have always enjoyed the forums as a way to better understand the cars Ive had and even join some clubs and go on group rides etc. When i joined WF in 2012, I was made aware of a few key mods that I decided were reversible enough if I needed to return the lease and return it to stock. Headlights and stubby antenna were the next minor mods.

Installed the Philips H13 9008 X-treme headlight bulbs. They were cheap on Amazon and were a decent improvement over the stock headlights. Got the 13" stubby Antenna-X through the forum
 

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Mods were easy and fun and I felt myself becoming addicted to (lurking mostly) on WF. At 1,000 miles, I decided to buy some paracord grab handles from Surprise Straps. Loved the look. Excellent experience dealing with SS thanks to this forum for the heads-up.
 

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I made another small upgrade, this time to the soundbar speakers. Picked up the Kicker Kick77's and also filled the soundbar with polyfill that I got at a craft store. Super easy and made a nice improvement in the sound.
 

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By the time I got tired of the chrome package (specifically the grill) and was entertaining replacing it, I also kinda knew I wanted to keep this JK. Found the grill pretty cheap online and painted it myself with the OE paint which I ordered. I also kinda liked it when it was just black plastic...but at the time it didn't gel too well with the rest of my JK
 

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Got caught in a few summer rainstorms with the top off and eventually decided to order some neoprene seat covers from Quadratec. I got the Wet Okole neoprene covers with full piping for front and rear. They gave the interior a nice look and protected the leather seats. The same could not be said for my 430N head unit...but thats a story for later
 

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Oh, and not build-related but I bought a second Jeep. And totally jelly of the bumper lights
 

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So that recaps some very basic and easy mods that i did over the first 24 months with the JK. I also did the side-marker turn signal mod, which I apparently didn't take any pictures of. Added the Weathertech floor liners, and added an iPhone mount. Right around 25,000 miles it came time to make a decision - turn my JK in or buy it. I loved everything about my Wrangler so the decision was pretty easy. In fact this was the first time that any lease vehicle Ive had had actually retained its value. At the conclusion of my 36 month lease, I had approximately $6,700 in equity in the vehicle. I could lease another JK, but pretty darn certain I wouldn't see that residual equity in any kind of dealer incentive. The JK really holds its value. Besides, I had been bitten by the mod bug. I had a hoist in my garage. I didn't feel like returning my JK back to stock and turn it in. I already knew I wanted to buy it, so I did.
 

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In the early spring I made some space in my garage - cleaned it up, created a good space to work in and started thinking about what I wanted to do with this JK. The chrome was starting to wear on me. So I started to remove it. First the Mopar mirror covers. Then the Mopar chrome side steps. I replied in a thread how to remove the chrome mirror covers here:
 

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In addition to removing the side steps, I replaced the Mopar chrome fuel door with a Mopar black fuel door. And plastidipped the Mopar chrome taillight covers.

I then went after the pinstriping with a heat gun and GooGone. An easy gain of at least 5-10 mph :)
 

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Now I needed side steps. I was contemplating buying the nerf bars and stumbled upon a relatively cheap alternative - Tyger General Stars nerf bars. Got them on Amazon and couldn't argue with the price. They were not the easiest things to install. Heavy, and a bit awkward to line up all the holes. But they look fantastic in my opinion. To those who had asked if they cover the pinch weld - they really don't. But I plastidipped the very bottom of the seam so the 6 black screw heads aren't visible against the red pinch weld. In my opinion, although this isn't more than 3/4" it does give the illusion of additional lift. The chrome tubular side step by comparison, was huge.
 

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Another quick mod was installing the Rugged Ridge aluminum hood latch. I love the look of it, and no more hood flutter! The install was easy enough, but a bit challenging trying to get my socket wrench in there without removing the grill. Note to self - invest in decent ratchet set.
 

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When my side steps were on, I made up my mind on a lift kit, and I had already decided on the Duratrac 315/70/17. I had spent a few weeks on this forum reading about tires, and determined that AT was right for me (DD+ occasional camping) What really took the most time for me was deciding on wheels. I made a few road trips to somewhat local places (hour and half drive) to look at wheels.

Going into it, I liked the Fuel wheel line. I also liked several others, including Ballistic, Monster and MTs. Seeing the Fuel in person (Hostage) in a 17x9, I wasn't so sure. The wheel is very popular, it was on a LOT of Jeeps at OK4WD in NJ. I see a lot of Krank as well. I was leaning towards the Ballistic Jester...but couldn't find it anywhere to see it in person. I had thought it might be cool to put the red accents on the Jester wheels....then literally spent 3 weeks going back and forth trying to make up my mind. A few Google searches later, I saw the Rugged Ridge XHDs and really liked them. So I decided on them. Ordered the lift, ordered the wheels, ordered the tires and then tried to sit and wait patiently .

Finally, the first major mod for my JK was complete:

Suspension:
AEV 2.5" Dualsport XT, geometry correction brackets, OME steering stabilizer bar, JKS track bar
Wheels/Tires:
Rugged Ridge XHD 17x9 satin black (-12mm offset), Goodyear Duratrac 315/70/17, RR matte black center caps
 

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So that brings me to current day - I am awaiting the following, which should be shipping by end of May from JCR Offroad:

JCR Vanguard full width front bumper with lower skid.

JCR Vanguard full width rear bumper with Shield tire carrier and third brake light.


I also ordered (from Zoro, thanks to rtkane] the Zeon 8-S. Should ship in2 weeks I'm guessing....
 

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Coming along nicely! Chrome wasn't my thing but it's your jeep. Then BAM you got rid of it. Love those sliders. I really need to get those hood latches! Love the red / black combo, very nice jeep!
 

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Coming along nicely! Chrome wasn't my thing but it's your jeep. Then BAM you got rid of it. Love those sliders. I really need to get those hood latches! Love the red / black combo, very nice jeep!
Thanks Sleezy.

And if anyone is looking for Mopar chrome... I got some! lol.

No really, I have a lot. Fuel door, side steps, mirror covers, and 7-spoke chrome wheels
 
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