Not much in the way of updates. The last 6 months have seen little stuff breaking on a monthly basis. Taken the Jeep camping a couple times, still hauling the family around. I am coming up on the 4 year anniversary and the Jeep has done so much for us but I am (again) considering replacement. Mild reliability concerns aside, it's getting too small for us to do the things we want to do. I put the roof basket back on for camping, but with the 4 of us (wife + 2 kids aged 5 and 2) it is a real struggle to fit everything we want to take camping. Just packing the rig up is a ton of work and my failing body doesn't like to deal with things like climbing up on the roof. As the kids get bigger it's going to be worse, and if we have another it's going to be downright impossible with the WJ.
The good news is that all of the aftermarket stuff I've done over the years has performed and continues to perform admirably. Still no sag from the BDS/Bilstein combination. The Fawkes MiniMax is still awesome and the powdercoat he uses is massively durable; it looks like the day it was installed and has been super handy for occasional winching and also putting a large, heavy trailer in a place it shouldn't logically fit. The Silent Armors are getting a bit worn for snow driving but they have almost 40,000 miles on them and still have plenty of tread overall, more than 1/4" all around. They've been very durable tires for me and worth the money. Never had a flat, popped a bead, and even with lots of wheeling on rocky trails the tread is in excellent shape. No chunking at all like I've seen on cheap A/Ts, just a few minor cuts in the tread blocks that don't affect durability or safety.
If I get a replacement family hauler, I don't know what I'll do with the Jeep. The body is pretty rough but the interior and mechanicals are good, I think it is worth more as parts than as a whole.
I will be replacing both front and rear bumper covers on my 2003, looks like the twin to yours. Torn between which finish to use. Looking at the Dupli-color bumper black, and the Mar -Hyde products. quite a difference in price. do you have any suggestions??
Any updates? Which direction did you end up going? I ended up keeping the FZJ which will be a diesel swap once I get all the parts to arrive. The T4R and WJ I gave to the old man and it ends up the WJ keeps trying to break itself. Wife and kid now have a shiny RX hybrid for comfy daily duties. I can't compromise much now with this bad back of mine.
Well it's been more than a year since I updated the build thread! Or really spent much time on Jeepforum.
Still have the WJ although we have added another car seat to the mix. No issues to report in the last year, just a few oil changes and I took the Rola Rack off since it was bubbling rust under the powdercoating. This, in a salt-free state where I've had it on the roof <50% of the time. Not thrilled. It's still structurally sound, just didn't want it getting worse during the periods I wasn't using it.
So the need is there to add to the stable. We can haul the family of 5 no-problem but actually going somewhere and doing something with it is pretty difficult. Roof and hitch baskets required and it's not super fun for me to deal with. It's barely able to hold all of us and the bi-weekly trip to Costco. A friend of mine might be selling his Suburban 2500 for cheap and that might become the vacation/camping-mobile. No reason to get rid of the WJ though, 17 mpg there is better than 9 in the Burban.
Another thing we are considering is getting a WK2 for my wife whose real estate business is taking off. Usually she drives our VW Sportwagen TDI to meet clients and while it is still like-new it's not very "prestigious" and maintaining the image of success is very important for getting new clients. So there's that. Lots of stuff up in the air, me with a decision-making disorder, and a WJ that soldiers on despite all of it.