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Unread 04-15-2009, 11:18 PM   #1
colgatefootball
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WJ-Road Trip, skids, lightbar, V8 upgrades

Hi,
I have a 2004 WJ Columbia Edition, HO 4.7, Dana 44 3.73, all stock, 80k miles. This is my baby, my first new car ever and maybe the last! Ive pampered and babied it, all services, all synthetic, no wheeling. I have a lifted 98 TJ for that. Also building a Silverado with minor mods for a hunting rig for my dad and I. So, anyways this summer I might go coast to coast road trip with the WJ, DC to LA. Long story, but I am in middle of medical retirement from my police job, and might be heading to LA to work with a friend for the summer and possibly a little longer until I hopefully can get in a PhD program. Im thinking of zig zag roadtripping to visit friends all over and places Ive never been before and might never have the chance again. I am out of cash from the continual TJ money bucket upgrades, and the Silverado build to surprise my dad. Im thinking of a few things and would like some input. Since I still owe on this, I want it to last forever, and its going to be for long distance road trips, Im not looking to lift it. I just spent a grand on new Bridgestone Revo ATs a few months ago. and although a BB may look cool I dont want to risk affecting any ride or handling, and I wouldnt be able to afford getting another set of new tires in bigger size. Want it to ride good on highway, if possible with any bolt on's improve gas mileage and give it some more pep, light protection if I do some trail riding, lights up front for bad weather (fog and rain in WV mountains has dang near killed me before, stock headlights and fog lights arent enough), and open to other suggestions.

Here is what Im thinking:
-Mopar front skid and t-case skid
-PIAA 520 ion fog lights, possibly Hella Black Magic driving lights
-shock and steering stabilizer upgrade (any favorites specifically for the WJ? I have RE on my TJ, and Bilstein on the Silverado)
-need tow hooks, but read cant have a rear one with the tow package, but do need some front tow hooks, go with Mopar?
-why can I not find a light bar for this thing???!!!! I do not like the Westin light guard thing at all. N-fab, KC, no one even makes a simple lightbar/brush guard of any type with light tabs??? I do not like the soccer mom brush guards that are all show and no go, and I cant afford an ARB front bumper
-anyone do good tunes for the 4.7 HO, or chips, or plug and play modules?
-might do the luggage rack thing that plugs in the hitch

So, any ideas? I need some protection underneath, for sure need some fog and driving lights, and if there are some simple upgrades for more MPG and guts, tow hooks, and ?? Keeping this one simple, just a road tripping machine! And any ideas on sites I should see, scenic roads that are beautiful, cool places to visit, The Alamo, Grand Canyon, etc, this might be the only time in my life I can pull this off with no time frame or responsibility holding me down! Ill probably be sleeping at friends houses I know along the way, or camping out to save money wherever I can, or sleeping in the back in rest stops.

Thanks!

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Unread 04-16-2009, 02:50 AM   #2
jeepheller98
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OK
cause you have the tow hitch get something like this for a rear recovery point http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f67/hitch-recovery-tow-hook-641919/ cheap and very effective

for the front you can get them on Ebay, or from the dealer an ARB bumber is OVERKILL anyways not to mention stupid heavy and will murder your ALSO you cannot have a brush guard AND front tow hooks, cause they bolt up in the same location and you NEVER EVER use a brush gurad as a recovery point

dont forget to get a recovery strap, NOT FROM WALMART, you want at least a 10,000lb http://rustysoffroad.com/mm5/merchan...y_Code=rec_too dont get the one with hooks, attaching a hook to the hook on your jeep is very dangerous and if it slips off, really bad things can happen

as for your lift, a BB and some new shocks will be fine even for the highway and your steering will be fine

for your lights, i would suggest you buy 1 roof rack bar drill holes in it and mount some lights, 2 lights will be suffecient even then the $40 at like autozone will be surprisingly bright.
maybe change out the bulbs for really nice bulbs, silverstar ultras maybe cause im sure you dont want to do and HID conversion

for your skids http://rustysoffroad.com/mm5/merchan...y_Code=zj_skid $110, im sure mopar wants alot more money for it if your just running around some back country roads you dont have to get crazy with protection but better safe then sorry this is where the BB comes in handy to get your stuff a nice 2inches away from everything

forget the chips and stuff, the computer will adapt to it, its a waste of your money

for your gas mileage, get a tune up before you go, spark plugs, clean the throttle body, ect. maybe think about a cold air filter, good oil (i got my best gasmilage out of my WJ with Qtorque power.) but sense you are traveling all over the place maybe an oil that goes over 3,000 miles, perhaps the new castrol Edge 15,000 miles.. or mobile 7,500.. or Amsoil

and i am selling a rear luggage rack if you are interested
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Unread 04-16-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
colgatefootball
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Cool I appreciate the feedback!



I have one of those hitch hooks on my TJ, so I know where I can buy that easily. Tow strap is good idea as well. I doubt Ill get any brush guard since none of them are functional that Ive seen...probably get the tow straps and possibly end up bolting some lights right into the front bumper I guess...thought about roof racks, but was turned off by the possibility of noise and didnt feel like drilling the roof for lights, although the thought was tempting. I drive with the sunroof open ALOT even in colder weather, Im a fresh air freak, and would be annoying if a roof rack or light bar up there was noisy. As for lights Ive had some of the name brand lights on various 4x4s of mine, and a few of the cheap lights, and although the price difference is huge, I have seen a tremendous difference with buying more expensive lights, especially when in the mountains. Good advice on the chips/modules, Ill stick to a thorough tune up before I take off, and I always do use full synthetic, its been Mobile One every 3k since new, with the past two changes being Castrol full synthetic because I bought tires at a dealer that has some special on oil changes if you buy the tires there.



Budget boost does seem affordable and good point aboiut keeping stuff a little higher, just wondering if I were to do a BB with shocks, that the price might not be too far off from just going with Old Man Emu kit that is roughly 2 inches with new springs and shocks, if it would be worth it?



Skids, Mopar surprisingly is only ~$50 per skid. Does anyone know if Rusty's skid is much heavier than stock?
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Unread 04-16-2009, 07:55 AM   #4
99avant
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You could do a BB with new shocks cheaper than just the OME springs.

Or just add Upcountry springs to lift ~1" and have a little better ride.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
colgatefootball
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Thanks, after looking around I see that the BB is way way cheaper, thats even if I get primo shocks with it. Might be the route to go.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 09:25 PM   #6
jeepheller98
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im almost sure that the rustys skid is thicker and more hardcore then the mopar one

i think i have seen a bracket that uses your front lisence plate to mount fog lights, ill look for it and get back to you
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Unread 04-17-2009, 09:40 PM   #7
tozar
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The mopar transfer case skid is about $50 and not that bad for light to medium wheeling plus it comes with the 4 bolts, 2 nutserts and tool for the installing the nutserts.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 09:45 PM   #8
xJoshxx
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Superchips Makes a Jeep Programmer. Which the PCM doesnt go back to stock unless u make it.
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Unread 04-17-2009, 09:51 PM   #9
aagill225
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My WJ is way way capable and my only real fear is under belly protection. you say that you MIGHT do some wheeling so why spend a lot of money on things you MIGHT use. Strap is good, recovery points good. Transfer case and oil pan skids good. Too much stuff will effect MPG and pretty much negate MPG improvments but still a great idea. free flow exhaust and intake and a chip, in addition to tune up, is a good start. If you have never wheeled it than you are only relying on what other people say about capabilty although credible it's not first hand. run it stock see where she goes for you. build it from there. That is what i whould do. good luck
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Unread 04-17-2009, 10:45 PM   #10
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Kevin's Offroad for the light bar
www.kevinsoffroad.com
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Unread 04-17-2009, 11:00 PM   #11
colgatefootball
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Thanks guys for all the help and input!!

Nope this thing has never seen any wheeling, its seen big snow storms in CT, WV, PA, etc, but nothing in the woods. I have a lifted TJ for that, and am working on a slight build Silverado hunting truck for my dad which I can use to beat on a little when I visit them. The WJ has been my DD, pampered, every scheduled service, and honestly was anal retentive about it being babied because its the first new car I ever bought and way expensive! But since life is changing direction and I could be heading out to the west coast, I want to take my time road tripping exploring the good ol USA...and figured if I could hit some trails and scenic places on the way that would be great, so to prepare ahead of time. My TJ is a soft top with a 4 banger, Id be deaf, with Popeye forearms, and pushing it half the way if I were to take it. Might store it at the parents house in case I come back east next year, or sell it and put money in the bank and pay off this WJ. So if I do head to the west coast, if I want to do any trails on the way, or any while Im living in LA, its going to have to be in the WJ unless I had the TJ shipped out after I got there.

If you find a bracket for the front license plate that would be killer!!! Ive googled myself out on WJ light mounting options for the front end.

This Jeep thing is addictive...bad enough the TJ bug bit me, now Im brainstorming messing with the WJ which I never planned to do!
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Unread 04-18-2009, 01:22 AM   #12
jeepheller98
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found that bracket, deff your cheapest option light bars up top are sweet i made one for my jeep BUT you cant turn them on while driving normal roads, and even out in the middle of nowhere there is ALWAYS someone coming the other way cause you will blind everyone, but if they are on the front, the same height as the headlights they cant do anything about it
http://www.autotoys.com/x/product.php?productid=3582
cheaper one >> http://www.allfortrucks.com/script/n...tegory_id=1282
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Unread 04-18-2009, 08:26 AM   #13
colgatefootball
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nice! might be a viable option for me! appreciate it. Yea I am looking at the lights more for highway bad weather and mountain roads. They are nice off road, but its driving in heavy fog, rain, snow, on winding mountain roads at night, extra lights make a huge difference.
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Unread 04-18-2009, 09:52 AM   #14
matt21484
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if you PM Kolak, he can hook you up with some adjustable MX6 shocks for a good price. I've read great things and you can stiffen them up or soften them for your on road vs off road ride. A BB off ebay is fine, just get polyurethane spacers and they should last forever. Another on road improvement would be an Addco rear sway bar. For off roading, I would get the skids from mopar, if you plan on crawling over boulders then I would get a stronger Diff cover and/or rusty's, kevins, or IRO, skid plates. Also front tow hooks and capable straps are a must. I'm no good with lights so no comment there.
Before your trip, I would change/verify all fluids are up to spec, maybe pack a few extra bottles just in case. I would clean the throttle body & change your plugs like jeepheller98 said. You can go to the dealer and get Mopar CCC to do the throttle body and get the basic champion plugs from autozone, advance, etc. Have Fun!!!

Basically my Jeep is just like yours, '04 WJ stock, and all the above I listed is my plan for the summer. I've got 65Kish on the odometer
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Any one who tells me it "can fit" is the person i ask to find me some one more knowledgeable about what im looking for. I mean, diesel can fit in your gas tank, Trans fluid fits in your oil pan, fat women fit in your bed. Just cause it can doesnt mean you should.
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Unread 04-18-2009, 11:02 AM   #15
jeepheller98
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hes got the 4.7 H.O. i beleive they are special pugs. single prong plugs are best, i got a set of the +4 iridium platinum super plugs and apperently my motor hates them.. waste of $90
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