The88thpianoman's life lessons and budget build thread - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > Grand Cherokee General Discussion > The88thpianoman's life lessons and budget build thread

Rampage Bowless Soft Top Oconee offroadAlloy USA Still AvailableAdvance Adapters SYE Kits

Reply
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:21 PM   #1
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
The88thpianoman's life lessons and budget build thread

Well, I've been thinking about doing one of these for a while. I've had my Jeep over three years and it's been through a lot of changes, some of which I happened to take pictures of. Been here on JF less than a year, so I never really thought to document anything before then. I've been on a college student budget the whole time, and I've gotten pretty creative at times, so I'm mainly creating this thread not only to keep everything in one place for me, but to try to help out the many others on here who are wheeling on a tight budget, so I'll be trying to mostly gear it towards that.

The Jeep is a 2003 that I purchased Dec 31st, 2005 with just over 42k on the clock. By coincidence it was almost EXACTLY 100k less than the Jeep it was replacing, within a couple hundred miles. It was also the only WJ local to me that I could find with the 4.0/242 that I was looking for (this was before I'd heard of craigslist). I never took any pictures stock, but here's the closest I have, after adding a 2" BB and Rancho RSX shocks



Thinking back on it, I'm pretty sure I actually purchased the BB from a RRO ebay auction (). The shocks were an amazing deal because I bought them in October, when Monroe does their buy three get one free promo. This also applies to Rancho, and at the time I think it was 4 wheel parts that had the best price on the RSX as well as free shipping. The full set of four cost me $173, and they've held up fantastically.

Probably the first mod I did was the ebay special air intake and TB spacer, before learning that TB spacers were a useless waste of money. The K&N filter was also a waste of money as I've since replaced it with the MUCH better amsoil dry cone filter (thanks, Gabe!). For a while I ran it with the filter exposed, and it got wet if I splashed up enough water, so a friend and I came up with this solution:



Basically, we put the stock airbox back in place, and then proceeded to beat the crap out of the back corner of it with a hammer, allowing the air intake to run back in it and protect the cone filter from getting soaked.




I'd say it's one of the only mods you can do to a Jeep using nothing but a hammer I also noticed a significant difference in power based on outside temp, and realized that the intake pipe was heating up too much. A trip to home depot for some AC duct insulation and aluminum tape solved that nicely. Three layers thick and I can blast the outside with a heat gun and it barely warms up inside.

the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:21 PM   #2
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
So somewhere around this point, I'm asking myself what else is cheap but useful. Well, since most of my trail riding was at night, lights were the obvious answer. I shopped mainly at walmart, since many cheap lights are at least as bright as a couple expensive ones. I also opted for some recovery around that time as well since (like the noob I was) I had wrapped a tow strap around my axles more than once. So I ebayed an aftermarket hitch and some factory tow hooks.

Also notice the mini fog lights mounted to the rear bumper, invaluable for backing up on a trail at night:



These lights across the front bumper put out a surprising amount of light for their very cheap price. I just used self tapping screws directly through the bumper:



Now here's what I was really proud of... With a few bucks worth of steel and aluminum from home depot, I fabbed up a very cheap and effective light bar, threw on a ridiculously cheap pair of lights I got at a tool clearance store, and bam, overhead lighting:



I'll be doing a write up on my newer and cheaper version sometime this week or next. It'll still be just as much of an eyesore, but an extremely cheap and effective eyesore that is less wind resistant than the first version.

Little by little I acquired various stereo components on clearance and such, and eventually was able to put together a decent stereo system. I also picked up a voltage inverter (also on clearance) and decided to permanently wire it into the Jeep and mount it to the passenger kick panel. The power distribution block next to it is also what feeds power to the auxiliary lighting.



I also found a complete leather interior on ebay for $275 and just couldn't pass it up Ironically, the Jeep encountered its first cabin flood just a few days later Of course, I wasn't laughing at the time...
the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:21 PM   #3
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
Now for the life lessons part... Just about a year ago now, the Jeep had a run in with a couple trees. Should have been WAY more careful with a vehicle I'm still making payments on. Since then my focus has been primarily on restoration more than mods. Here's what it looked like immediately after():



The fender was ripped almost completely off (I unbolted it the rest of the way off), and the light bar ended up ripping up the roof rack, tearing the mounting rivets clean out of the body of the Jeep. It was pretty bad. The hood was also dented and it smashed my headlight on that side. The passenger door was also somewhat damaged. Well ****, there was a whole bunch of money I didn't have. It's taken me nearly an entire year now to restore it to what it once was, and I'm still not quite there. There were parts from ebay, a hood from the parts Jeep I stumbled across, some stuff from the junkyard, etc. Once I had all the body parts finally back in place, I was able to save up (mainly from parting out the parts Jeep) and have the body work done. Then I drove around for a few months with bondo before having the paint work done. That parts Jeep (a 2000 4.7/247 limited) turned out to be a wealth of use to me between selling parts that I couldn't use, and harvesting parts I could. I was able to grab upgrades like heated/dimming mirrors and stock trailer hitch/wiring, and replacement parts for the damage mine took, like the roof rack, a headlight, and the front bumper that I'm using now. It was also the starting point for my exhaust upgrade (which I will add some sort of write up about because it deserves its own).

If you've read this far, I applaud you. In the next few days/couple weeks I'll be adding write ups for my next light bar, the very budget friendly exhaust upgrade I'm now running, and a number of other cheap upgrades and mods to get the most out of your Jeep on even a college student budget.
the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:25 PM   #4
CaribouLouWJ
Registered User
2007 WK 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Yermoms house
Posts: 2,282
DAMN, how the hell did you rip the fender like that? How fast were you going??
__________________
2007 WK Overland
5.7 Hemi, 18% tint, baby seats
2000 F350 PSD CC LB
2001.5 B5S4 500awhp gutted track car
2002 WJ Limited
4.7 HO, 6.5" LA, 37's, JK 44's SOLD
CaribouLouWJ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:28 PM   #5
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaribouLouWJ View Post
DAMN, how the hell did you rip the fender like that? How fast were you going??
Not very fast, but it started out on road, slid on sand, went into a ditch, and caught the very tip of the fender on the tree. It had to have been lined up absolutely perfectly to achieve peeling off the fender like that.
the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:44 PM   #6
CaribouLouWJ
Registered User
2007 WK 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Yermoms house
Posts: 2,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by the88thpianoman View Post
Not very fast, but it started out on road, slid on sand, went into a ditch, and caught the very tip of the fender on the tree. It had to have been lined up absolutely perfectly to achieve peeling off the fender like that.
Woah, that's crazy.....Glad you're ok man.
__________________
2007 WK Overland
5.7 Hemi, 18% tint, baby seats
2000 F350 PSD CC LB
2001.5 B5S4 500awhp gutted track car
2002 WJ Limited
4.7 HO, 6.5" LA, 37's, JK 44's SOLD
CaribouLouWJ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:52 PM   #7
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaribouLouWJ View Post
Woah, that's crazy.....Glad you're ok man.
Thanks! It's almost funny looking back on how it all played out... but only because it ultimately led to the Jeep being even better than it was before. Or at least it's almost there, anyways. I'll be adding that bit to this thread tomorrow
the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-26-2009, 11:52 PM   #8
CaribouLouWJ
Registered User
2007 WK 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Yermoms house
Posts: 2,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by the88thpianoman View Post
Thanks! It's almost funny looking back on how it all played out... but only because it ultimately led to the Jeep being even better than it was before. Or at least it's almost there, anyways. I'll be adding that bit to this thread tomorrow
What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger
__________________
2007 WK Overland
5.7 Hemi, 18% tint, baby seats
2000 F350 PSD CC LB
2001.5 B5S4 500awhp gutted track car
2002 WJ Limited
4.7 HO, 6.5" LA, 37's, JK 44's SOLD
CaribouLouWJ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-27-2009, 06:12 AM   #9
Ridin' Around
Registered User
1999 WJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Rochester, Illinois
Posts: 2,212
I think we need to get you a Pre-Filter for that thing as well! Nice pictures! Click Here for the prefilter link.
hughesfilter92kb.jpg  
Ridin' Around is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-27-2009, 04:32 PM   #10
the88thpianoman
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 5,252
Very budget friendly exhaust

Posting this up now that I took a video clip and some pictures today. I wanted my Jeep to have a little (or a lot) more growl to it than the nearly silent 4.0 stock exhaust. I sourced a super 40 and a magnaflow hi flow cat, both 2.5", which totaled around $140 shipped, and there are many cheaper mufflers available as well, like thrush. But the bulk of the cost of any aftermarket exhaust is in the tailpipe. Which makes sense considering it is a long, completely solid, custom routed piece of pipe. But those of us with the 4.0 looking to upgrade to a 2.5" don't necessarily have to shell out that kind of money when Jeep has already supplied us with a high quality 2.5" tailpipe on every stock 4.7 WJ.

I think this looks great, and it works perfectly.









I think it is 2001 and up WJ's that all have the precats and four O2 sensors. The precats make the exhaust a little more restrictive right out of the header, and so this set up is a little less loud than it would be without them. I'll soon be replacing the stock precats with higher flowing magnaflow precats, and will redo this video then, but in the meantime, this is what it sounds like:



It's nice and aggressive, almost no highway drone up to 70-75 mph, and isn't very loud in the interior if I have the windows up. I was worried that I might get sick of it after a while, but it's been over a month and a half, and I still love it. The true test was that it did not get annoying when driving over 600 miles in a single day.
the88thpianoman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-28-2009, 09:31 AM   #11
EisBlade
Registered User
1999 WJ 
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Posts: 1,169
Major kudos! Thanks for taking the time to write this all up and compliment it all with pictures as well. A great resource for others in the future, for sure. Keep the posts coming!
__________________
.
JT
Harley-Davidson Touring Group [35K members]
The largest forum on Facebook for Road King and larger touring models.


Disclaimer:Not responsible for men of weak character.
EisBlade is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-28-2009, 09:58 AM   #12
spife7980
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 3,144
nice muffler

any story behind this exhaust system
__________________
-James
Got to love an ORVIS guy...
IRO 5.5", Front LA & Double Sheer TB, Rear Adj SA and TB, JKS Quick Discos, Bilstein 5125, 265/75/16 Nitto Terra's, Cragar 16x& Soft 8s 4" bs
JCR Stage 2 Sliders, IRO Trans Skid, Carolina Drive shaft, IRO exhaust
spife7980 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-28-2009, 11:06 AM   #13
tennesseewj
Registered User
2004 WJ 
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 2,302
Good move swapping from the aftermarket hitch to the Mopar one. Looks much better.
__________________
2004 4.0 Selec-Trac
BB->Black Diamonds->General Grabbers
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporer65 View Post
You need to learn, there are 3 things that all JF members must like beside Jeeps:
(1) Guns (2) Women (3) Bacon
Quote:
Originally Posted by GraKee99 View Post
I was bored so I forded the river. No oxen were lost.
tennesseewj is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-28-2009, 12:32 PM   #14
-Shoey-
Registered User
2003 KJ Liberty 
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Harrisville, West Virginia
Posts: 1,675
The exhaust sounds great, nice build thread too!
__________________
2003 KJ Limited
USN Jeep Club #115
-Shoey- is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 01-28-2009, 01:24 PM   #15
StrokedWJ
Web Wheeler
 
StrokedWJ's Avatar
2000 WJ 
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,999
Good idea on the 4.7 tail pipe. I had one of those "well duh, why didn't I think of that?!" moments.

If you don't mind saying, how much did it cost you and where did you get it from?
__________________
2000 WJ 4.5L - Stroked, Locked, & Long-Armed

Click this -->Think you can beat me?
StrokedWJ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools


Suggested Threads





Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.