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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I thought I should start this build thread to document my planned escapades with this beast. I bought this 2015 JKUR Hard Rock a few weeks ago after a long search across the country. In the current pandemic, it's made car buying an interesting challenge. Used car prices are insanely high in general right now, and JK's obviously hold their value much better than most vehicles. My original plan was to buy something on the lower end. This is not going to be my daily driver, nor is it going to be a monster crawler. It's a 3rd vehicle for our household, meant for fun. However, I did come to realize that when I do want to hit a trail, they are all 2+ hours away from me, so that means spending a lot of time on the road. Being that I've been spoiled with very nice vehicles for the past 20 years, there's certain creature comforts that I've become accustomed to. And with a family in tow, I want to make sure that everyone enjoys it.

As I began really diving into the search & research, I decided that I wanted more factory options that would be difficult to obtain later. One of those things was the Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags. You can argue the merits of having them, but to me that argument is akin to wearing seatbelts or not. It's an additional safety feature that could save your life. Why not have it for a tiny expense? Seriously, it's a $500 option. It's 2021, and this is a 2015, you'd think this would be a very common option. You'd be very wrong. It was actually very difficult to find them. Not only is it a somewhat rare option, but it's not necessarily something that gets listed in the feature listings on the car search sites. So I had to find the sticker for each Jeep and see if it was there. Luckily though, that made me much more aware of what I was looking at. There's a pretty recent phenomenon of importing Canadian vehicles into the US and reselling them. It's a super shady practice. Many of the stickers I found were Canadian. It calls it out that they were made for specifically for Canada, and cannot be sold or registered outside of Canada. Totally different regulations.

Anyhow, after much searching, I got it in my head that I wanted a Hard Rock. I love the way they look, and they're pretty much loaded with almost every option, so why not (other than the ridiculous cost)? Once I narrowed it down, I found a few that I liked, and started talking with the dealers to get more info about each. I chose this one in the end, and it was 500 miles away. Under normal circumstances, I would have just made a road trip with a friend, spent the night in a hotel, then drive it back home myself the next day. That was not happening right now, so I needed to hire a transport service to deliver it to me. This turned out to be quite the challenge, as the dealer was in a rural area way outside of the more popular routes. So without spending a small fortune, or going super shady, I just had to wait it out. My broker finally found a driver to pick it up on Thursday, and I got her delivered to me on Friday. I don't have any great pics yet, because the weather has been crappy. Here's a pic of her being loaded up for transport.

4483809


I have a lot of things planned, and have already started sourcing parts. Wheels/Tires, Suspension, BBK, HD Tire Carrier, Lights, Stereo, and other little things. Coming from the rust belt, she needs some love on the undercarriage, but I need to wait till it gets a little warmer to treat it. Nothing major, just want to deal with the existing surface rust and make sure no more appears.

Stay tuned!

-Dan
 

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Well, I thought I should start this build thread to document my planned escapades with this beast. I bought this 2015 JKUR Hard Rock a few weeks ago after a long search across the country. In the current pandemic, it's made car buying an interesting challenge. Used car prices are insanely high in general right now, and JK's obviously hold their value much better than most vehicles. My original plan was to buy something on the lower end. This is not going to be my daily driver, nor is it going to be a monster crawler. It's a 3rd vehicle for our household, meant for fun. However, I did come to realize that when I do want to hit a trail, they are all 2+ hours away from me, so that means spending a lot of time on the road. Being that I've been spoiled with very nice vehicles for the past 20 years, there's certain creature comforts that I've become accustomed to. And with a family in tow, I want to make sure that everyone enjoys it.

As I began really diving into the search & research, I decided that I wanted more factory options that would be difficult to obtain later. One of those things was the Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags. You can argue the merits of having them, but to me that argument is akin to wearing seatbelts or not. It's an additional safety feature that could save your life. Why not have it for a tiny expense? Seriously, it's a $500 option. It's 2021, and this is a 2015, you'd think this would be a very common option. You'd be very wrong. It was actually very difficult to find them. Not only is it a somewhat rare option, but it's not necessarily something that gets listed in the feature listings on the car search sites. So I had to find the sticker for each Jeep and see if it was there. Luckily though, that made me much more aware of what I was looking at. There's a pretty recent phenomenon of importing Canadian vehicles into the US and reselling them. It's a super shady practice. Many of the stickers I found were Canadian. It calls it out that they were made for specifically for Canada, and cannot be sold or registered outside of Canada. Totally different regulations.

Anyhow, after much searching, I got it in my head that I wanted a Hard Rock. I love the way they look, and they're pretty much loaded with almost every option, so why not (other than the ridiculous cost)? Once I narrowed it down, I found a few that I liked, and started talking with the dealers to get more info about each. I chose this one in the end, and it was 500 miles away. Under normal circumstances, I would have just made a road trip with a friend, spent the night in a hotel, then drive it back home myself the next day. That was not happening right now, so I needed to hire a transport service to deliver it to me. This turned out to be quite the challenge, as the dealer was in a rural area way outside of the more popular routes. So without spending a small fortune, or going super shady, I just had to wait it out. My broker finally found a driver to pick it up on Thursday, and I got her delivered to me on Friday. I don't have any great pics yet, because the weather has been crappy. Here's a pic of her being loaded up for transport.

View attachment 4483809

I have a lot of things planned, and have already started sourcing parts. Wheels/Tires, Suspension, BBK, HD Tire Carrier, Lights, Stereo, and other little things. Coming from the rust belt, she needs some love on the undercarriage, but I need to wait till it gets a little warmer to treat it. Nothing major, just want to deal with the existing surface rust and make sure no more appears.

Stay tuned!

-Dan
She’s a beauty!! Can’t wait to see the transformation


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You are about to learn something you may not have known. Jeep is an acronym.
Just
Empty
Every
Pocket
It’s funny though... most people think about maintenance. But they are wrong . It’s all the cool and useful things you can do


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It’s funny though... most people think about maintenance. But they are wrong . It’s all the cool and useful things you can do


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Yup! It really is ridiculous. Spend a ton of money on a vehicle, then spend a ton more changing it. I'm no stranger to this, as I mod all of my cars, but the Jeep probably has more options/accessories available than any other vehicle. That's part of the fun of owning one though.
 

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Yup! It really is ridiculous. Spend a ton of money on a vehicle, then spend a ton more changing it. I'm no stranger to this, as I mod all of my cars, but the Jeep probably has more options/accessories available than any other vehicle. That's part of the fun of owning one though.
No doubt!!!


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got a couple quick (well the lights at least) mods done tonight. JWS 279 taillights, and some grab bars from some random company on Amazon called RT-TCZ.

I didn't get JWS for the headlights or fogs, cuz I wanted to do the pro comp ones up there, but I like the looks of the JWS tails, and northridge4x4 has a great price on them, so I jumped. They also showed up in 2 days! Meanwhile my fogs are stuck in transit from Washington and headlights are stuck coming from Texas. Too many storms!

Any how, tails are super simple to install. Remove the old by unscrewing the 2 screws holding them on, remove the connector from the harness. Install is just attaching the resisters to the plates, add the clips to the plate, clip it onto the body inside the taillight hole, connect the harness, and screw them in. Seriously a 10 min job.

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The grab bars turned out to be kind of a pain in the ass, up front. Especially the driver side. The combination of the angle and the steering wheel being in the way, made it hard to get leverage. And on top of that, they used hex bolts to attach, and apparently I don't have a set for a ratchet, so I had to use a key, which SUCKS. To top it off, the set I had in the garage was missing the size I need, so I used the new cheapo six key set I just got from harbor freight, and the thing basically unscrewed itself after like 3 turns! I have a good set of allen wrenches in the house, but my garage is detached behind the house off an alley. I didn't shovel the snow back there so it's a sheet of ice and I didn't feel like adding another round trip, so I just suffered through it. Once I finally got the driver side done, the passenger side was slightly less of a pain, but still probably took me like 15 mins to do what should take 5.
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The rears were pretty simple other than the pad sliding slightly, covering the screw holes.
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I like the end result, so it was worth it I guess. They're nice and sturdy and seem like they'll hold up well. And for the price, I think they were a good deal.

Tomorrow I'm gonna install the teraflex HD hinged tire carrier and adjustable mount, in preparation for the new tires/wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Well, I finally finished installing the Teraflex HD hinge and tire carrier tonight. I started on Saturday afternoon removing the old carrier and hinge, and I'm glad I proactively did this. It looks like the previous owner wasn't so careful, and was carrying an oversized spare, cuz this bitch is cracked hard!

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Once I got the old stuff off, I started in on the new hinge assembly. I gotta say, this thing is pure beef compared to the old. Like, its a wonder those things hold the tailgate at all.

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Now I'm gonna vent here before I go on, you'll understand in a minute. I just spent over $700 for the hinge, carrier, and dumb 3rd brake light extension, how you gonna make me reuse shitty stock hardware Teraflex? Really, throw in the $5 worth of screws! So can you guess what happens next?

I start installing the old screws on the body side of the hinge. Get the 2 outer screws n loosely, then go to torque them down. First one I get maybe 3/4 the way there and. SNAP! Broke right off in the bracket. Awesome. Guess I'm done for the night.

Sunday morning I got up harbor freight and grab a screw extraction set. Get home drill out the dead screw, and get back at it. The next one I try torqued down fine. So I move on, and quickly realized that I actually need ALL of the old screws for the new hinge. FML. It's Sunday afternoon, so no chance of getting one. Done for the day.

Monday afternoon I break away from work and run over to the dealer to get bent over at the parts department. I tell the guy that I looked up the schematic for the tailgate, and the parts don't match. It calls for a bolt, like the ones used on the tailgate side of the hinge, and this is clearly not what is in mine. I tell him I think it's the same as the screws on the door hinges. He ignores me and goes looking. Comes back with a bolt. Explain again, he comes back with some other bolt. Finally I ask him to just grab a door screw and compare. He does, I'm right, and out $13 (I got 2 jic).

Back to the garage. Get the rest of the screws in without fuss, and move on to the bolts and the weird spacer/pad things that should probably just be stuck onto the hinge rather than free floating. What a pain trying to line them up while trying to put Loctite on each bolt. Finally got them all in and torqued down, and moved on to the lugs... Just press them in they say.... That's not happening

Tonight I got back at it. Tried pounding one in with a rubber mallet, and had no joy. Looked the video and got the idea to find a big enough bolt to use as a spacer then just crank a lug nut down until it pulls the lug through. Great! Look around, can't find anything big enough to use. Then it occurred to me that I have an old set of wheel spacers for my Audi in the garage. Luckily the lugs for one at a time, so I lubed up, and got to screwing. It actually worked! I was shocked, cuz I read stories of people giving up and taking them in somewhere to get someone to use a press on them. I just slow rolled it with the air impact wrench until they were snug.

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After that, things went mostly well, other than having to undo work to get the brake light extension mounted, and having to undo it again to reroute the wire a second time. But it's done! Hopefully I have the brake light at the right height for the new tire. I think I have it just right, but won't know until I get them. I do know that there absolutely zero chance that I can mount the new one solo! Hoping to do headlights and fogs tomorrow.

4486004
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is not the aluminum one is it?
The carrier/hinge? I guess the hinge/bracket is steel & the carrier is cast aluminum. From the TF descripton:

• Strong and lightweight A356.2 T6 cast aluminum

• Heavy-duty forged steel brackets and high-carbon hardened steel 5/8” hinge pins
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Had a pretty productive weekend in the garage with the hornet. I finished up all the LED lights I started last week. Got a great deal on the Pro Comp HL-7 headlights (thanks @pableezus !), So I also searched for, and found a deal on some Pro Comp 76504P fog lights to match. I also got some LED's for the license plate, and interior dome lights. Also replaced the very weathered full size antenna with a 7" Rydonair antenna. And finally, I replaced the 730n with an Alpine i207-wra and added the hce-rcam-wra backup camera. Rather than have one mega post, I'll make separate detailed posts for the Lights & Stereo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pro Comp HL-7 (76402P) LED Headlights & 76504P LED Fog Lights
After super long shipping delays due to all the storms, I finally got my headlights and fog lights in, and promptly got started on the install. After over a decade dealing with putting Audi's in "service mode", it's so nice to be able to pull a grill in 5 minutes. Super simple! Pulling headlight connectors out was less simple. Unlocking the release tabs seemed to do nothing. These things were stuck in there good, and I ended up breaking one of the retaining tabs. After a few minutes of contemplating ordering a new connector to rewire in, I decided to just double zip tie the connectors, and see how that holds up.

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Reconnect the battery, fire up the engine to test the lights, and success... on that light. Apparently the other light's connector which I thought was fine, was also not retaining the light. So I double zipped that too and tried again. Great success!

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Once the headlights were done I moved on to the fogs. Since I have a Hard Rock, you have to take the end caps off of the bumper to access the back of the fog lights. This is done by removing 8 torx screws on each side of the bumper. It's simple enough, but mine are somewhat rusted, so getting them out took a little extra effort (and even some PB Blaster on a couple). After the caps were removed, I pulled the fogs and attempted to mount one. Surprise! You need a special bracket to mount the fogs on the Hard Rock/10A/X bumpers! Maximus-3 (who makes the bumper for Jeep) sells a set of brackets for this, but they're $55, which is kind of insane. So I did a quick search and found a pair on amazon from Xprite that appear to be basically the same, for ~$23.

When the brackets arrived, I went to mount one of the lights to it, and it's super simple. Just the 2 included screws into one side of the mounting tabs on the light. However, the tabs on the other side are a problem. The lights won't fit into the bumper with them. With no ****s to give, I pulled out my trusty Ryobi multi-tool, and took care of the problem.

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Got the lights mounted and connected, but I have no idea how to wire the halos on them. the instructions are basically non-existent, and it's supposed to be a plug-n-play install, so after searching for a few minutes and finding nothing but results saying to splice into some other wires, I decided to just skip it for now and only did the light connector. I just zip tied up the other wire behind it.

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I still need to aim them both, but it's been raining here the past few days, and I have my freedom tops off for doing the GPS antenna & mic wiring. It's not like I'm driving this thing anyway. My temp tag, which is actually just a transport tag is already expired. It's anyone's guess when the DMV will actually send me my registration and plates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Alpine i207-WRA Head Unit & HCE-RCAM-WRA Backup Camera

Another one of those purchases I didn't intend to make right away, but didn't really research much prior to buying the Jeep. For all my planning, spread sheets, and reviewing stickers, I didn't realize that there was a difference in the Uconnect packages between models/years. I knew that there were both 430n & 730n head units, but assumed wrongly that they included a backup cam on later MY JK's. In my naivety, I thought the light on the license plate bracket was the backup cam! So when I was searching, I'd just look for that in pics. So imagine my surprise when I got in the Jeep for the first time and put it in reverse and there was no backup video on my display!

There are numerous reasons why a backup cam or sensors are a must for me. On a (soon to be) lifted Jeep, with an oversized spare blocking the majority of the rear view, there's just no question of the necessity. So I started my research, and found that the "easiest" option would be to get the module + cam and continue using the rest of the system. This would be a few hundred dollars, and still use the shitty Uconnect/730n display! No thank you. I wanted Android integration as well, so I looked at some full blown Android head units, but I've never really liked them. They just don't feel "finished" to me, and there are so many quirks. I've a Linux Engineer and die hard Android user, so I love the idea of being able to tinker with it, but I'd rather have something well integrated with the vehicle, and also not yell out to passerby that there's a big ol aftermarket unit in my open Jeep. So I jumped into the Alpine options. While I love the x409 having the trail stuff with the integrated GPS, there is no way I'm spending damn near $3k on that thing, not to mention, I'm not in love with the looks. So while still overpriced for what it is, I decided I could stomach the ~$1k for the i207-WRA from Quadratec, which included the camera.

Since my carpets were still wet up front, I decided to pull them all to let things dry out, and figured it would make it a lot easier to run any cables as well. When I pulled the driver side, which is where I had noticed the water, it was much worse than I anticipated. I decided right then and there that the carpets are not going back in. Got a 10% off coupon and ordered up the Armorlite flooring for front & rear (I'll detail in another post). So I ripped out all of the carpets in the passenger area, and pilled the trim pieces. Pulled the dash apart, and missed one detail, that there was a screw inside the area where the window module lives. I just yanked it out, and it broke off :oops:. I decided it probably wasn't that important, since there are tabs on either side of it, which is why I didn't expect a screw to be there.

Started pulling the head unit and disconnecting stuff, and had a minor freak out when the Uconnect module was not behind the climate controls. I hadn't tried using it yet, so now I'm thinking that someone pulled it and didn't put it back! After a bit of searching to see if it could be anywhere else, I realized that it's integrated in the head unit on the 730n. Next I found another surprise. Some random module connected to the head unit mounting bracket, and blocking access to the screw. After messing with it for a few mins trying to figure out how the thing was mounted, I took this pic so I could look it up, and get it off without breaking the damn thing.

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Figured out that it's the heated seat module, and that removing the whole bracket with it attached, makes it much easier to remove. There's a couple of tiny little retaining tabs behind it that allow it to slide up and off it's mounting bracket, which is just a christmas tree and a stub that go into the head unit mounting bracket. So I search my tools for a 7mm box wrench to try and get behind it, but no joy. So a quick run to HD to grab one. Once back, I got everything out and ready for the arrival of the new head unit.

Once my order arrived (super fast btw. Ordered at 6:52pm on Thurs, arrived 4:30pm Sat), I flashed the maestro and did the rest of the bench setup Saturday night. I realized that I wanted the brake bypass and for what was probably the first time in months, was able to get "same day" delivery with prime, so it got to me on Sunday around noon. While I was waiting for that to do the install, I went ahead and ran the cables for the backup cam, GPS antenna, and mic. This was all super easy to do since things are so "exposed" in the Jeep. Both the antenna & mic done in a few mins. I ran the antenna up above the driver side of the soundbar, along the roll cage, down the a pillar, then along the windshield at the dash, down between the the weatherstrip and the glass into the stereo area. The mic mounted next to the rear view mirror, on the glass, and the cable routed along the top trim (which pulls right off), into the a pillar, and along the same route as the antenna.

For the cam, I just followed the loom for the sub and stuff along the passenger side, all the way back to the tailgate. Since I have the TF tire carrier, I could not use the trick of running the wire through the tailgate vent, as the TF completely covers that. There's a small (maybe 1/2") gap on a couple sides of it, that I tried with no luck running a fish through. So I figured I'd go through the brake light grommet. Not so fast! That thing is basically molded around the tiny brake light wires, so no way to just squeeze something else through it. I didn't see in the FULL install manual (that oddly is not included with the cam, just a basic sheet, which also has no connection instructions), they say just slice into it with a razor. I just drilled a hole through it, and pushed the wire through.

By the time I was done, the bypass had arrived, so I quickly crimped those wires in, and headed back out to the garage to try and get it connected and into the mount. OMFG this is a lot of stuff to fit in there! I don't even have an XM module, so I can't even imagine how much worse that would make it. Got saved by the dinner bell, so I put the whole thing on the dash and had a beer to work up the liquid courage to deal with this madness.

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After dinner I came back out and and had a battle royal with the harnesses. I somehow managed to stuff all this crap in there, and reconnected the battery to do some tests before bolting it in and putting the dash back together. First attempt, turn the key and click. Oh shit! What did I mess up? I can't think of anything that would interfere, so I go look at the battery terminal again, and realized that maybe it just didn't have good contact, cuz I didn't screw it down. Sure enough, that was the case. immediately turned over. Crisis averted, and success! Got everything bolted back up, and the dash back together. I realized that I didn't test the bypass, so I hope that's working, cuz I do not want to have to pull this thing out again to rewire. I also still need to configure the camera, but I don't have my new wheels yet, so I'm not gonna bother messing with it until then. Android auto didn't appear to be working on the dash, even though it did on my phone. I need to try a different cable, and mess with it more in daylight. But all in all, I'm pleased with how things came out.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Armorlite Flooring & IAT Rear Seat Recline

As previously mentioned. I've got a leak somewhere that caused water to pool (mostly) under the driver seat, but also passenger and rear seat floors to a lesser extent. I haven't had the time to test to figure out where exactly it's coming from, but my guess is the A pillar corner where it meets the freedom top/windshield.Initially I thought it could've been the door not closing fully/making a good seal, since I realized it takes a good hard close, or a hand on the door the entire way to make sure it's fully closed. So I thought maybe it just hadn't been closed up well at the dealer and it was leftover water that I was dealing with. It snowed the week I got it delivered here, and I brought it into the garage a day or two later to start working on things, and it had a good pack of ice on the hood and roof. Once things thawed, the floor was good and soaked. I took out the floor mat on the driver side, and left the windows open thinking it would dry out. It didn't really after a couple of days.

Since I was about to run cabling for the HU, I decided it would be a good time to pull the door/floor trim and pull the carpet to let it dry out. When I pulled the carpets, I was surprised by how much water was soaked into them, as well as the pool under the driver side. Also, the paint is completely destroyed there from what looks like a lot of time being wet, and the friction of the carpet under normal use. Not to mention, the rust forming because of this. The rest of the passenger area was also wet, but not soaked, so I'm still thinking that it's just absorption from the overflow off the driver carpets. So I pulled all the plugs to let things drain and dry.

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After seeing all this, I decided there was no way those nasty carpets were going back in. I looked at bedtred, but wasn't thrilled with the reviews about fitment on the jku, so I decided to get the Armorlite. I'm a little bummed that they don't have a full cargo area solution yet, but as far as I can tell, I don't have any issues back there. Since the slush mat already does a good job back there, I decided to skip the mat they offer, and just go with the front and rear. I'll re-evaluate once they do release their full cargo kit. They have/had a 10% off sale code, so I jumped on it, even though this was not even remotely in my build plans right now. But timing is right with bonus & tax refund being here.

While I still had everything out, I decided that it would be a good time to do the rear seat recline, as well as install a dead pedal (how is this not a factory thing with that deep of a foot well?). I got the JeCar dead pedal for like $20 off amazon. I was gonna do the MORE pedal, but decided to take a chance on a cheaper one, cuz $20 is throw away money if it ends up sucking. Install was super easy. unbolt the door strap and 2 grounds, adjust the pedal bracket for the distance you want, bolt it back down. As to fit & finish, it's clearly a knockoff. Looks pretty much the same as the MORE. I definitely felt some flex when I put some pressure on it, so I don't have super high hopes for it's longevity, but like I said, for the price, I'll take that chance. Besides, it's not like I'm gonna stand on the thing. It's a foot rest!

I have one kid in a car seat/full back booster for several more years, and a tween growing fast. The lack of recline on the back seats means the head rest on the car seat sits way too upright/forward. The fix is a tiny spacer under the legs of the seats, which provide a 2.5" pitch to the sea tback. While this doesn't sound like much (that's what she said), it's just like an airplane seat in the different classes. Just a tiny bit of pitch makes a huge difference in comfort. There are two major brands that offer the kit that look essentially the same, and use the same delrin. While roughly twice the cost, I went with the Innovative AT (who apparently have a patent on this), mostly just due to next day availability.

I read horror stories about breaking the factory bolts free, and that was no lie. Luckily I have my new air impact gun that had little trouble pulling those bastards out. The hardest part was really just the angle to get to the bolts under the front side of the bench. I had bought a cheap set of impact wobble sockets from HF, so I thought this was a perfect time to try. DO NOT USE THESE! This POS adapter shot the socket off at high velocity. Tried again as slow as I could, and same thing. So I tried just shoving the gun under the seat on the bolt standing straight up. It broke it free, but then I was stuck. Even after tightening it back down, I had to really force it out from the seat. So I looked in my actual impact socket set, and realized I had a wobble socket of much higher quality there. Tried it expecting to lose an eye, and to my surprise, it worked like a champ. no movement at all! Barring the time dealing with the wobble socket, it really only took me about 15 mins to do the whole thing. If you're attempting with just a breaker bar, I feel for you though!

I had planned to do a thorough cleaning and treatment on the floor, but decided to wait on that till it's warmer, and just vacuumed out all the crud for now. Still unsure what my plan is for it. Thinking of sanding down the bad stuff and doing rust reformer or something, but not thrilled with the idea of it not being the right color even though it will be covered. So that's all for another day. Time to get started on the Armorlite install! I watched their video, and the chick makes it look so easy to maneuver into place. They much have a nice worn set they use for the video, cuz mine was not super pliable. The fronts were easy enough to bend into place to get under the center console trim without having to remove the shift knobs. Getting it under the seats was a little more of a challenge, but still not terrible. The back seats on the other hand, were a real PITA! It's one piece, just like the factory carpet & mat. Like I said, it's not super pliable when new, so trying to fold it under and around things was a challenge. Probably took me a good 20 minutes to make it work on both sides.

As far as fit/finish goes, it's pretty awesome! Aside from one spot under the rear bench where the isn't a cutout for the middle rear seat leg, it's cut and molded around/over/under everything including wiring. At first I didn't think all the drain plugs were gonna line up correctly, but with a little movement, and a little persuasion from a rubber mallet, it get them all in. I still need to put the door/floor trim back on, but it looks fantastic!

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I have a ton of goodies from JKS that have arrived, so I'll be attempting my first lift kit install in the next week or so. Stay tuned for some colorful commentary! 🤣
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'd consider some POR 15 for the rust on the floor, especially if you haven't sorted out the leak
Yeah, that's on the table along with all the other rust converters/encapsulators. Need to deal with external rust on the undercarriage as well, but it needs to be warmer to do any of it. The Jeep will live in the garage until I sort out the leak(s).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
JKS 3.5" J-Kontrol Lift Kit

I guess I should finally start writing an update on the lift kit. I'll start with a bit of background on my choice, since this seems like every new Jeep owner's biggest question. Firstly, my intended use is for moderate trails, and beach driving. I'm not looking to conquer the biggest obstacles I can find. I live in Northern VA, and there's not a lot of crazy terrain nearby. That means spending a lot of time on the road just to get to any trails. Sure, I'd love to hit the Rubicon, Moab, etc, but they're a couple thousand miles away, so chance are slim for me ever hitting that sort of terrain. And if one day the bug hits to start doing that kinda stuff, then it's easy enough to address the items I need to upgrade at that point. My main focus here is improving the stock ride, while giving a boost to other capabilities. If I'm being completely honest, in stock form the rubicon is pretty capable of what I wanted to be able to do. But, in it's current form, the ride was rough. Part tires, part worn components. So to me upgrading, vs replacing is a no-brainer. And let's be honest, the looks play a big part here.

There are A LOT of options out there, and a whole lot more opinions about each of them, regardless of whether or not people actually owned them. When I started looking into Jeep suspension several months back (before I even bought my rubi), I was overwhelmed by the number of choices out there. Not just by brand, but by components as well. Then there's the cost to factor in as well. I spent a lot of time reading through threads like The Beginners guide to lifting your JK

Like most, I originally had a pretty low budget for doing the lift. I wanted to spend under a grand and call it a day. So naturally, going with something like the Teraflex Most popular lift on WF seemed like a good option. The more I read reviews and more importantly troubleshooting threads, the more stuff I decided I wanted to try address and replace. I obviously looked at the AEV kits, but felt like they needed extra stuff to complete them, putting their price higher. I started looking at the MetalCloak options, and was really close to pulling the trigger on their dual rate system, as it's a high quality kit at a reasonable price, with a pretty direct upgrade path. However, I still wanted to add the adjustable track bar, and some other stuff. So my price was quickly increasing to around the $1200 mark.

While searching, every once in a while I'd come across someone talking about the JKS kits. Specifically the J-Kontrol. For some reason they don't seem to get a lot of buzz around here, but the people who have them, all seem to love them. At this point I somehow lost my damn mind and decided that I should just spend more and replace more stuff under there now, vs later. I figured that since this Jeep was apparently hammered with both road salt and ocean air for it's entire life before me, that these things are gonna die sooner or later, so why not take care of them now?

I again did some comparisons of various kits, but kept coming back to the J-Kontrol kit. There were a few things that stood out for me. First, is that their kits are generally going to provide the amount of lift that they say on the box. This was a huge question mark with most kits out there. Am I going to end up with 5" of lift one a 2.5" kit, because they expect you to be fully armored? I liked the idea of a 3.5" lift, but wanted to be sure I was close to that. Second, this is a pretty complete kit. It addresses castor with some very robust geometry brackets. Addresses steering with the drag link flip kit and track bar relocation bracket. Third, a focus on road performance, while still providing a very capable trail suspension. And finally, while I'm definitely not one of those people, the fact that this is quality gear made in the USA is a bonus. I have no problem buying quality imported parts, but I'm happy to buy American, if the price is reasonable and the quality is there, which sadly don't often go together.

So once I pulled the trigger on the J-Kontrol kit, I decided to replace the stock screen door closer steering stabilizer. I also knew I did not want to re-drill and relocate my rear stock sway bar end links, as the JKS install tells you, so I picked up some of their adjustable end links. To complete the setup, I got 5 x AEV Salta's wrapped in 315/70/17 Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3's. I got everything ordered on 2/23 thinking I'd get everything in about a week. Unfortunately the wheel/tire package had a different idea. I finally received them on 3/25 (after cancelling the original order on 3/5 and reordering elsewhere)!! I'll go into the details of the parts/install in another post.
 
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