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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm starting this thread to track the build of my 2014 Rubicon.
Right now she is stock, but I have bumpers (Smittybilt SRC Stinger front and Rancho Rock Gear off road bumper and tire carrier) going on this weekend with a hitch, as well as an A-pillar light switch panel with 2 Hella Optilux 4-LED cube spots for the windshield and 2 of the driving lights going on the front bumper. I decided to do bumpers first to weigh it down a bit since the Rancho system I chose is for either a 4-door or a 2-door and I just put it on a friend's 4-door, so I want to make sure I don't over-lift off the bat.
Next step will be the Rancho 3" Trail System lift kit with Bilstein 5100 shocks and 315/70-17 Duratrac on some 17x9 wheels that I haven't decided on yet. After that, a winch, flat fenders, etc. Who knows what else.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
New parts came in and were put on this weekend!


Got the front bumper off and started drilling out the holes in the frame mounts. The instructions said to drill them out to the size they already were, but failed to mention that the problem was that the holes won't match up with the studs on the new bumper, so filing and drilling was done.



Finally got the front bumper mounted, and attached the Hella Optilux driving lights. Just cut the wires to the OE fog lights and attached the wiring harness for the Hella lights, and it works like a charm! The skid plate provided with the bumper probably should have been mounted to the bumper before the bumper got put on, because it was a pain in the rear to get to the bolt locations. We chose not to drill into the crossmember and attach the final three carriage bolts, since the bolts into the bumper kept the skid plate super solid, and the access areas were difficult. Maybe I'll bolt them on when I get a winch.



Removing the rear bumper was the easiest thing ever. Attached Qtec's rear receiver hitch, and the bolts extended 3/4" past the welded nuts on the front, making contact with the new rear bumper, so we had to cut the end of the bolts off. Drilled out the necessary holes on the rear crossmember and bolted on the new rear bumper. Didn't know I'd be able to reuse the OE tow hook! (bottom bolt doesn't quite go in, but it will still work for powersledding. I have the receiver hook for towing).

Installing the tire carrier was a pain as well. It all went well until it was time to close the swing arm and put the pin in. The pin didn't fit. The bushings get pinched by the bracket and won't let the pin in. Then once the bushings had been filed down, the hole didn't match up on the bottom of the bracket, so we had to drill that out to get the pin to fit. It finally went through, and is still very tight in there. Threw some Li grease on it and called it a day. Still need to figure out a way to fab up a 3rd brake light.



We were in the middle of a record winter storm when we did the install, so I got to play in the snow a bit after bumpers were on.





Then I wired up the windshield spotlights and the A-Pillar switch panel. The switch panel was a pain to get to pop in, but I finally got it and only bled a little from it.





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rear bumper bump stop mod

Forgot to include this, in case anyone installs this rear bumper without a Hi-Lift jack.

We noticed the jack mounting location was going to slam into the tailgate when I open the tailgate...
So I grabbed one of the factory tailgate bumpstops from the spare, ripped off the nipple, and put the bolt for the jack inside it with some washers, and bolted it on. Problem solved!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This weekend, I was finally able to install my Rancho 3" lift, RS9000xl shocks, Mamba M13 17x9 wheels, and 315/70-17 DuraTrac tires. I'm very pleased with the result. I also painted the D rings and installed a tuffy hood lock as well as some Trek Armor seat covers.

Tire Automotive tire Wheel Alloy wheel Rim



Land vehicle Vehicle Car Tire Automotive tire



Land vehicle Vehicle Tire Car Jeep



Land vehicle Vehicle Tire Car Automotive tire
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It occurred to me that my image links are all broken on this post:

New parts came in and were put on this weekend!

Got the front bumper off and started drilling out the holes in the frame mounts. The instructions said to drill them out to the size they already were, but failed to mention that the problem was that the holes won't match up with the studs on the new bumper, so filing and drilling was done.

Finally got the front bumper mounted, and attached the Hella Optilux driving lights. Just cut the wires to the OE fog lights and attached the wiring harness for the Hella lights, and it works like a charm! The skid plate provided with the bumper probably should have been mounted to the bumper before the bumper got put on, because it was a pain in the rear to get to the bolt locations. We chose not to drill into the crossmember and attach the final three carriage bolts, since the bolts into the bumper kept the skid plate super solid, and the access areas were difficult. Maybe I'll bolt them on when I get a winch.

Removing the rear bumper was the easiest thing ever. Attached Qtec's rear receiver hitch, and the bolts extended 3/4" past the welded nuts on the front, making contact with the new rear bumper, so we had to cut the end of the bolts off. Drilled out the necessary holes on the rear crossmember and bolted on the new rear bumper. Didn't know I'd be able to reuse the OE tow hook! (bottom bolt doesn't quite go in, but it will still work for powersledding. I have the receiver hook for towing).

Installing the tire carrier was a pain as well. It all went well until it was time to close the swing arm and put the pin in. The pin didn't fit. The bushings get pinched by the bracket and won't let the pin in. Then once the bushings had been filed down, the hole didn't match up on the bottom of the bracket, so we had to drill that out to get the pin to fit. It finally went through, and is still very tight in there. Threw some Li grease on it and called it a day. Still need to figure out a way to fab up a 3rd brake light.

We were in the middle of a record winter storm when we did the install, so I got to play in the snow a bit after bumpers were on.

Then I wired up the windshield spotlights and the A-Pillar switch panel. The switch panel was a pain to get to pop in, but I finally got it and only bled a little from it.
So, I'm adding the pertinent ones here and in the next post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Continued, adding pics for broken links in bumper attachment.

The rear bumper, the Rancho RockGEAR rear bumper and tire carrier, is installed but will likely be replaced because I am not a fan. It was the cheapest rear bumper with carrier I found, and I needed something to hold the 35s. The install was a pain, having to file out the holes that accept the pin that holds the carrier swing-out arm. After the install, the bumper was even more of a PITA since the pin barely fit in the holes and it has been cold and snowy. I did bend the flanges out a bit so the swing arm wasn't such a tight fit, so it would be easier to align it with the holes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tested out the clearances while flexing today and everything seems to work together very well. The tires don't hit the fenders or the rock rails at full stuff, and there's no tension in the lines at full flex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks good
I'm a fan of that color
Thanks! I love it, this project has been way too much fun. New rear bumper is on its way, I ordered the ACE bumper since I don't like the one I already installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rear Brake Light DIY complete

I had attempted to wire up some LEDs into the spare wheel's center cap, but didn't do the proper amount of homework so I didn't use resistors. Scrapped that cap and ordered a couple spares along with a bunch of red LEDs prewired for 12vDC. My center caps on the Mamba M13 wheels had a cap that had 7 small bolts and nuts (assumingly to run on a truck that needs access to hubs) and the holes fit 5mm LEDs perfectly. I took them out one at a time and hot glued in one of the 5mm red LEDs with prewired resistors. At the end, I soldered all the red wires and all the black wired together (don't judge my soldering skills, I started learning for this project). Then I shrink wrapped everything and wired it up, and it works great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
sPod, new brackets, new lights

Got the Genesis Offroad double windshield brackets installed and an sPod source only (already had the a-pillar switch pod) and wired some more lights up this weekend. But of course, I forgot to bring my extra switches, so I had to hack up the ones that came with the Hellas and temporarily wire them in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey thanks! I'm having fun doing it.
I was going to finally put on my exhaust spacer and rear sway bar end links this weekend, but I was helping my cousin lift his 2010 Commander so he could take my stock wheels/tires and the lift went awry and took twice as long as it should have.
So instead, I worked on rock lights during breaks from his lift.
Tried to get them to turn on as courtesy lights, but didn't tap into the dome light correctly and they just stayed on when the Jeep was running, so I clipped that wire and left them wired into the sPod.
 

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Hey thanks! I'm having fun doing it.
I was going to finally put on my exhaust spacer and rear sway bar end links this weekend, but I was helping my cousin lift his 2010 Commander so he could take my stock wheels/tires and the lift went awry and took twice as long as it should have.
So instead, I worked on rock lights during breaks from his lift.
Tried to get them to turn on as courtesy lights, but didn't tap into the dome light correctly and they just stayed on when the Jeep was running, so I clipped that wire and left them wired into the sPod.
Really sweet jeep.. Is that a Rancho 3" with the red springs? Very nice build you have going there. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Really sweet jeep.. Is that a Rancho 3" with the red springs? Very nice build you have going there. Thanks for sharing.
Actually just saw that it was a rancho build. Did you you do the geometry correction brackets by rancho? Either way, how is the ride?
 

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What color seat covers did you go with?
 

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Awesome work with the shrink wrap!! Folks don't fully appreciate custom electric/electronics until it all shorts out. Great job with the 3rd brake light...love it. In fact, you've now planted the seed for a wee bit of fun come spring!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Lonestar: I have the Rancho 3" trail system that came with UCAs, front track bar, and rear track bar relocation bracket. The ride is great! Not sure what the geometry correction brackets are, but I dont think I have them.

Brwolfjr: I got black with the red middle, love them!

Desertsailor: thanks! I would love to see how yours looks when it's done! I was very glad it turned out as well as it did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It occurs to me that I haven't updated with all the random crap I've added recently and I've missed a few pictures.

-Seat covers are installed, and I love them. Ignore the dirty floors.
Car seat cover Vehicle Car Car seat Suzuki swift

-Rock lights are wired up, but I'll probably add more. I used a waterproof LED strip with 3m backing, but I attached it with zip ties. The strips came on a roll of like 16 feet, with a place to cut them every third light. Once you cut them, however, you have to scrape off the 3m backing on the contacts on the back, then solder wires to them. PITA, but nice results. The picture isn't the end result, just a midway progress shot I took. I have a boatload of 3mm and 5mm white LEDs that I'll pepper in certain places to add more light.
Automotive tire Tire Vehicle Auto part Automotive wheel system

-I needed to add $20 to an Amazon order for free shipping, so I got headlight surrounds. Easy install (3m tape) and they look decent. No complaints.
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Headlamp Automotive lighting

-I hated that Rancho rear bumper due to the pin that held in the tire carrier, so I ordered the ACE rear bumper. I got the light provisions, but didn't want to spend $400 on the rear lights they sell for it. So I bought two of the Hella Optilux 6-LED Mini Light Bars for 1/4 the price and had a friend with a welder come help me fab mounting brackets for them out of angle iron and weld them in. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures of the tabs for some reason, but I'll try to remember to take some when I take the bumper back off to put in the crossmember bolts I forgot to install due to no instructions coming with the bumper. It is currently held on to the frame with just the 4 frame rail bolts, so no towing for me until I fix that. The end result was beautiful though! The welding did melt out some of the powder coating on the other side of the bumper, but with a few more coats of bedliner spray, they won't be as noticeable. I watched the install video the next day to try to figure out what size bolt holds on the rear tire carrier, because I didn't have a socket that big and no wrench fits in there. The video said it was a 3/4" bolt, but it failed to mention that you'll need a 27mm socket to tighten it down so you can grease it. Overall, awesome product, but I wish it had written instructions with necessary wrench sizes.
Bumper Automotive exterior Auto part Automotive wheel system
Tire Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper Vehicle

-Not pictured, but I finished the sPod wiring and got the rock lights to work properly with the dome light. I also replaced the dome light bulbs with red LEDs from superbrightLEDs.com so it isn't as annoying when I flip the sPod rock light switch and the dome light comes on... That's what diodes are for apparently, I just haven't installed one yet.

-Also replaced the tail lights, reverse lights, and license plate light bulb with LEDs from diodedynamics.com. I had ordered map lights from them too, but it turned out they were really dome light bulbs, and you can't actually remove my map lights on the rear view mirror. When I finally got the bottom plate of the mirror out, I looked around and it appears the lights are just LEDs soldered onto the circuit board. Oh well.

-Not related- I found a home for my stock wheels and tires! My cousin recently bought a Commander, so I told him if he did the research to find out what he needed to fit my tires, I'd sell him the package for cheap. So he got a 2 inch spring spacer lift and 1.5" wheel spacers and we put them on, which turned out to be more work than we thought. I had never dealt with IFS before, and I snapped off the spring perch bolt (bump stop cup bolt) on his rear frameside perch, so welding friend had to come save the day on that, too. Then we had to take out the fender liners, cut and bend along a foot of the pinch seam, then heat and re-mold the fender liners to fix the rubbing issue. SO, if anyone needs to put a lift kit on a Jeep Commander to fit stock Rubicon wheels and tires, I can offer some advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Extra pictures related to the bumper since I had them, may as well post.
 

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