1320quick's 03 Rubicon build - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
1320quick's 03 Rubicon build

In February of 2012, I decided to purchase a Jeep Wrangler. I did a lot of reading and research on this forum and others before deciding that a TJ Rubicon would be the best option for me. About a month later, I came across this one owner, very clean low mileage Rubicon at a dealership in Longmont Colorado. The Jeep looked all stock other than the Warn M8000 winch and it didn't look like it had ever been used. A quick test drive and she had a new home. This is how she looked day 1.







03 Rubicon, 4.0, 5-speed, D44's with factory lockers and 29,xxx miles

In the past, I've built, modified and drag raced several old Chevy muscle cars so I know my way around a wrench. I know from experience that having a solid long term plan and sticking with it are important to reach your goals. I can't count the times I've made modifications and then later had to remove them for something better or stronger. I've also learned that I'm too poor to buy cheap parts. It's way cheaper to buy the best one time than buy inferior parts 2 or 3 times only to have to still buy the good parts later.

So that being said, my goal for this Jeep is to be a solid, dependable go anywhere vehicle. I want to be able to drive it to work or the grocery store. I want it to be able to take me off-road to all the beautiful places Colorado has to offer whether a mild dirt road or more difficult rock filled trail. For me, that will be a mild lift, 33's and most of the drive train that Jeep built her with.

I have several upgrades done to it over the past year so I'll post them up in upcoming updates to bring it to current day.

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post #2 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
The very first thing I did to the Jeep was to upgrade the stock stereo. Driving it home from the dealership, I noticed the bass was turned all the way down so I turned it up some and realized it was down because the sub in the console was blown. While not a huge audio head, I do appreciate a good stereo and I couldn't deal with the stock stuff.

I ended up having a Kenwood KDC-X396 deck installed and Kicker speakers in the factory locations. They disconnected the blown sub and it sounds pretty decent now.
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post #3 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
I like my hardtop for the winter but let's be honest, what good is a Jeep without a soft top? My next project was to build a hardtop lift in my garage and buy a soft top for the Summer. So in May of 2012, I undertook that project.



I installed a Harbor Freight 120V winch in the rafters of my garage. I used 1 1/2" square tubing to build a T and then used rafter hooks to get a hold of the top. It seems very secure but since I used a HF winch, I decided that 4 ibolts in the rafters and some straps would make a good safety.


Topless for the first time.

I decided that a Bestop Supertop NX was right for my Jeep. Funny story about the top. I ordered it from 4-Wheel Parts here in Denver. When I went to pick it up, they didn't offer to help me out with it. The box, while not being super heavy is awkward and as I stepped off the curb in the parking lot, I stepped in a small hole and down I went. Terrible sprained ankle and 3 weeks in a boot on crutches.



When I finally healed up enough to limp around the garage, I got the top installed.

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post #4 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:00 PM
LeeMasterGT
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Location: Provo
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Fantastic looking Rubi! I'll be watching as you prepare this for what I hope is a pilgrimage to Moab.
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post #5 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
No reason to have a Jeep just to commute to work in. I like my stuff to look good but I also use it as intended. Here are a some pics from the first couple of trips off-road with it. Being a bone stock Rubicon, I was pleasantly surprised at the places it would go like that.


Pickle Gulch - April 2012


My dad playing in the mud in his LJ. It was my first outing so I opted not to try that big hole.


Miller Rock - May 2012
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post #6 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
At the end of May 2012, I decided it was time to proceed with a 3" lift. After a lot of research and helpful responses on this forum, I decided that a complete kit from Savvy Off-road was in order. Aluminum adjustable control arms, 3" springs, both track bars an Anti-rock and all the other goodies to make it work.


Look! UPSclause made a visit.



I got to work on it right away. For the most part, it was very straight forward. The few questions I had were answered here on JeepForum.














And the end results of a week of work. I'm so happy with the lift and the quality of all the parts I received from Gerald at Savvy Off-road.
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post #7 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
Here is a picture from Cascade creek on Fathers day. What better way to spend Fathers day than 4-wheeling with your Dad.



My dad is actually how this Jeep addiction started. About 4 years ago, my dad bought an 06 LJ Rubicon to go 4-wheeling with his friend that lives across the street. It's got a 4" short arm Teraflex kit on it with 33's with lots of other goodies. Dad started taking my youngest son along with him on trips and pretty soon my son was addicted as well. Between my dad and my son, it was only a matter of time before I got bit too.
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post #8 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
I'd already ditched the factory front milk jugs but the factory bumper was not doing it for me. I didn't have a ton of money left for upgrades after the new stereo system, soft top and lift. So I decided to see what I could do to improve what I had.


Before


A little cutting and grinding


A little welding


And I ended up with this. While still not any stronger than the factory bumper, it sure looks a lot better to me.
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post #9 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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2003 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
After a fair amount of 4-wheeling and driving around town with top down or off, I decided I needed a way to secure my tools and such when it was parked. I decided to build an enclosure in the back to make things more secure and give our little dog someplace to ride. It had to be easy to install and remove in case I want to use the rear seat.


The top section of the box. It's made out of 1/2" plywood and 2x4's.


Covering the front section in carpet


This is how it's secured on the bottom side.





I later added a few I-bolts to the top so I can secure stuff on the top with buggy cords or ratchet straps. I'm very happy with how it came out.
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post #10 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
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That's basically it for the 2012 upgrades. The rest of the year, we spend out 4-wheeling and enjoying Colorado. In August, we attended the Mile-Hi Jeep Club All-4-Fun event in Empire. What a great week of 4-wheeling and fun. Here are a few pics from the week....


Playing in the water - Kingston peak


Airing down for a ride into Bill Moore lake


Jenny Creek


Jenny Creek


Jenny Creek


Webster pass
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post #11 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
Here are a couple of pictures from our trip to Wheeler lake. This was the most challenging trail we have done up to this point.


Being used as a winch point...


to help recover from this behind me


Lunch at the lake
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post #12 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
From September till the end of March 2013, I let my youngest son drive the Jeep as he had just returned from the Army. Having him use it as his daily driver put a damper on upgrades till last week. He bought this clean 92 XJ for himself.

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post #13 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
Now that I have my Jeep back, a trip to Rokmen was in order so I could get rid of this...



Here is the new Rokman skid and 1" body lift:





I added a Daystar 1" MML as well.


Now we have this. Much better.


Here is what the Jeep looks like today.

I'm very happy with the way my TT project came out. The transfer case linkage works just like it did before since I used a 1" mml and 1" body lift. I didn't have any clearance issues with the exhaust on the upper control arm mount like I've read about. No issues with the nutserts in the frame where the transfer case skid mounts. Honestly the MML was the most difficult part of the project just because the drivers side access is not perfect and they put the motor mount bolt in so it's hits the A/C coming out.


I ordered a Tom Wood CV driveshaft yesterday and it should be here on Tuesday. Then I can rotate the pinion and get that setup correctly as well. My Savvy shock extensions showed up today so that should keep the shocks from hitting the spring bucket. This is another one of those projects where doing things right the first time pays off as I already have the adjustable upper control arms to fix the pinion angle.
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post #14 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
1320quick
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Thornton
Posts: 168
I'm hoping that a set of 285/75 16 Goodyear MTR's are in my near future. Besides new MTR's, I hope to add some Rokmen sliders, steering box skid and engine armor in the next few months. Stay tuned for more updates....
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post #15 of 27 Old 04-05-2013, 10:25 PM
G Beasley
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Location: Eden
Posts: 5,701
Great looking Rubi . I like the parts selection you ended up with , its really well thought out . And the wheeling pics are awesome , keep up the good work .

Free stickers and picture hosting at Jeep-Owner.com
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