In October, the real fun began. I bought the BDS 3.5" lift kit ($800), a new steering stabilizer, and a couple pairs of MORE 5/8" boomerang shackles to clear the military wrap. I called a few places and was quoted around $400 to install the lift, so I did it myself (with some help). I removed the track bars, replaced the shocks with the BDS from the kit, replaced the springs, installed the drop Pitman arm, replaced the sway bar links, installed the brake line relocation brackets, and installed a 1-5/8" transfer case drop.
I also installed the MORE boomerang shackles.
The lift looked a little silly with the stock tires, so I promptly got a set of 5 Toyo 33x12.50R15 Open Country MTs and installed them on some Cragar 15x8 soft 8s.
Bigger tires meant a new speedometer gear so I installed a 34 tooth gear. I also ditched the brake line relocation brackets for some extended braided steel lines from Crown Performance and got my first experience in bleeding brakes.
In mid-November, my parking brake seized up, so I took the tensioner out and ran without a parking brake. I replaced all the springs and parts in the drums as some added insurance.
At the end of November, I continued my mission in replacing fluids and replaced the gear oil in the front and rear differentials and installed a Lubelocker reusable gasket in each.
In early December, I finally took care of a squeak by replacing the serpentine belt. No more squeak and I kept the old as a spare.
My girlfriend gave me grab handles and floor liners for Christmas to complete the set, so I now have floor mats in front, in the cargo area, and in front of the rear seats.
Since I hate working in the cold weather (and it does get cold here in NJ), I didn't do much at all in January or February. In March, I could not even move out of gear. I replaced the clutch master and slave cylinders and the problem was solved. I also installed the steering stabilizer and a Tuffy glove box. I also lubed everything I could fit the grease gun on.
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A few days later, it was raining and when using my wipers, the rubber came off the wiper arms so I replaced the wipers. I also replaced the fluid in my AX5. Like every other fluid I've drained out, it came out black and had probably not been changed in a long time.
At the end of the month, I finally installed the rear bumper & tire carrier I bought from Eddie (Besrk) with a fresh powder coat finish.
I also took care of the slight rubbing issue I had at full lock by adjusting my steering stops.
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April brought the first car wash, removal of my fender flares, installation of a third brake light, painting of the driver's side floor pan to take care of a slight rust issue, replacement of the windshield gaskets to take care of a leak, radiator replacement, cooling system flush (more black fluid!), and replacement of the upper/lower hoses, thermostat, and radiator cap. Busy month!
In May, I bought some center caps for the Toyos, but I soon removed the 33s to put the stockers back on in a Bronx-proofing effort. I was taking the Jeep to work again because of issues with my Ranger, so I didn't want to risk damage to the tires.
In June, I installed a soft top with soft doors.
I also installed some JKS Quick disconnects and replaced my bump stops (most of them were broken or breaking).
I also removed the factory mirror mounts from the doors to give it a bit of a cleaner look.
After school ended, I put the 33s back on and installed my new front bumper (another from Eddie).