2005 LJ in Maine - Refreshing & Improving - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
en480c4
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2005 LJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
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2005 LJ in Maine - Refreshing & Improving

After a few failed attempts at finding contentment in the JK world, I've managed to get back into an LJ. With a toddler and a greyhound, a JK just didn't have the room I needed and I didn't want another JKU

As it sat at the dealer:
2005 Deep Beryl Green LJ w/ Hardtop
4.0/NSG-370 w/ 119,000 one-owner miles
Crunched DS front fender & dent on DS of windshield frame
Otherwise clean and free of rust... Looks like it was garage-kept.




Before picking it up, I had a 2.5" lift and 33x10.5 BFG KO2's installed.

When I brought it home:




So this is my starting point. I'm very pleased with the stance. I love the 33x10.5's, and considering I just wanted a cheap 2.5" lift in to fit them with plans to upgrade later, I've been fine with the RC coils and shocks.


Plans involve refreshing some things that need attention and making some choice improvements along the way. It's too new (and in too good of shape) to really qualify as a resto-mod, but that's the kind of spirit I'm shooting for with this build.


Initial to-do list:
Remove hood bra (Complete)
Install new steering stabilizer (Complete)
Install rear track bar bracket
Install double-DIN stereo I pulled from my JK (Complete)
Install rocker protection
Address damage to DS fender and windshield frame


Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #2 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 08:03 AM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
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So, one of the first things I was able to do was install an Alpine iLX-007 Apple CarPlay head unit that I pulled from my JK. Going from that unit to the stock LJ stereo was a bit of a shock to the system, and with local hands-free laws, I needed to do something fairly quickly.


Instead of spending hours modifying the stock center bezel, I decided to order the double-DIN bezel from custominstallparts.com through Amazon. The piece looked like a factory piece, and swapping the coin tray from the factory bezel to the replacement bezel was a piece of cake.


Installed:



Up and running:



For now I have the microphone friction-fit between the instrument cluster and center bezel, and I have the lightning cable come out so I can put the phone in the coin tray in front of the shifter. I had it in the JK's glove box, but the LJ's is small enough that I don't want to have to put my phone in there.


I'll probably upgrade to (4) 5 1/4" Polks at some point, but the head unit couldn't wait.

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #3 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
Posts: 221
And with some nice weather finally on the way, it was time to find a soft top. I kept my soft top from my JK and have a buyer lined up. So the plan was to either buy a new top or pick up a like-new one from the place I bought the Jeep for $600 or so.


Then I came across a deal on craigslist that I had to check out... Complete soft top in good shape for $250 about an hour from home. After speaking with the seller, it sounded like it was worth checking out. Well, it didn't disappoint.


Here it is loaded on the Touareg's rack:





I haven't had a chance to switch over yet, but it's ready to go on as soon as I get some help for the hard top removal and figure out how I want to store the hard top for the winter.

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #4 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
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Finally, I started collecting parts for a few other projects. I picked up a replacement OPDA, ordered a new alternator to address a squealing bearing at start-up, and most importantly, some of parts required for the CJ tailgate conversion.


Test fitting:



Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #5 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 11:07 AM
esad_b
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Location: Fredericton
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Nice looking LJ! Can't wait to see where you take it.

I'm waiting for my 31s to wear out until I upgrade to 33s. How do you find the 33s and stock gearing?
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post #6 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 12:11 PM Thread Starter
en480c4
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I've been pleasantly surprised with the 33x10.5's and the 3.73's. I remembered the 265/75R16 MT/R's w/ Kevlar on Moabs having a much bigger impact on drivability on my previous '05 6-speed LJ. Starting in 1st is fine, and I can still use 6th at 70 on the Interstate.

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #7 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
en480c4
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So, a few other things to add.


I looked into rocker protection....
I know the factory Mopar guards aren't particularly stout.
I also know they're out of production.
But trying to put a 2 1/2 year old into the back seat would be made more difficult with any of the aftermarket options with bars/steps. I can just reach back now and my knees/thighs hit right where a bar would be. And I don't care for most of the plain ones and didn't want a logo cut in. So I put a few WTB threads up, knowing lots of Rubicon LJ owners had swapped out their guards for aftermarket pieces. I got a hit on another forum from a member who was willing to send a set to me for the cost of shipping, which was a pretty generous offer. If all goes according to plan, they'll be on their way next week. I was able to dust off my McMaster-Carr order from 2010 when I installed a pair on my last '05 and needed the fasteners, nutserts and nutsert tool. Looks like I have the list of everything I need.


I'm still contemplating what I'm going to do on my front fender. The passenger side is fine. I was originally going to go with a set of 3" MCE's (or 4.5" with 1.5" spacers), but now I'm leaning towards replacing the fender and painting it to match. Unfortunately I waffle on this daily.


I also forgot to mention... I installed heated seats in my '04 Rubicon, '05 Unlimited and '12 JKU, and had the factory ones in my '11 JKR and I'm not afraid to admit that I love having them. Living by the coast, nothing tops a cool night with the top down and heated seats! Long story short, I got a $50 referral Amazon gift card from Casper and picked up a cheap heated seat kit. Add this to the list of things that need to be done. It's a solid half-day to get them installed on the seats, and another couple of hours to wire them up and install the switches, but it's time well spent.


So finally, this leaves me unsure what I'm going to do about all the painting that needs to be done. I rattle canned my '62 CJ-5 with great results, but I'm not so sure I can do the metallic Beryl Green justice. And since I need a fender, potentially part of the windshield frame (post repair), the tailgate & hinges and the spots on the tub where factory the tailgate hinges mount (and aren't painted, for whatever reason), I'm thinking it may be worth reaching out to some local body shops. I've done a bunch of reading about shooting color with HPLV guns in DIY paint booths, but I just don't know if I have the patience to do a good job.

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #8 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 05:07 PM
reichard117
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Jeep looks great! Thats the head unit I have been wanting to get as well. I'm starting to feel that I am one of the guys that can't get used to the JK, I really miss my TJ and would love to have an LJ.

'14 JK - Current
'00 TJ - Sold
'00 XJ - Sold
Follow me on Instagram - @thereich
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post #9 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 05:14 PM
esad_b
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The stock jeep rocker guards are okay if your more for looks. If your looking for them to actually do something, then look else where. I had them on my previous TJ an I liked them as their OEM and looked great.

I'm contemplating whether to put any on mine LJ just can't get myself to drill into the body..
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post #10 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Posts: 221
Most of my wheeling is pretty tame. And between my '04 Rubi and my previous '05 LJ, I tested the stock rocker guards as much as I'd expect to. Mostly scrapes and drags with no big drops. So I'm thinking they'll be enough... For now, anyway.

And I can't recommend the Alpine enough if you're an Apple person. The integration with the phone is great. That fancy a stereo both looks a little out of pace in this era vehicle and looks totally stock thanks to the bezel.

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #11 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 06:54 PM
reichard117
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I have many apple products. I've played with the 007 at best buy and I love it. The $500 price tag is what I can't get with. I have an axle, lockers, winch, and much other on my higher priority list.

'14 JK - Current
'00 TJ - Sold
'00 XJ - Sold
Follow me on Instagram - @thereich
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post #12 of 43 Old 04-18-2016, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
Posts: 221
I agree... The price wasn't easy to swallow. Best Buy open box buy saved me $200! I had planned on selling it and getting something that went into an LJ with less effort, but I realized I wouldn't have been as happy with something else, especially after taking a loss on it.

Ian
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post #13 of 43 Old 04-20-2016, 08:45 AM
kvesi122
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Location: Sudbury, Mass
Posts: 216
How do you figure on addressing the dent in the windshield frame?
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post #14 of 43 Old 04-20-2016, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
Posts: 221
Well, Beryl Green appears to be a reasonably hard-to-find color at local wrecking yards. And as yet another thing that needs paint, I'm considering a couple of options.


1. Get it into shape as best I can, shape it with filler and touch it up with spray touch-up paint and clear.
2. Get it into shape as best I can and cover it up with A-pillar armor either in black or painted to match with above paint.


Way down on the list of options is to get a new (or new to me) frame, get it painted and swap it out. I'll keep an eye out for one the right color, but that's probably pretty unlikely.


First order of business is to get my replacement fender ordered!

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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post #15 of 43 Old 05-01-2016, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
en480c4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: York, ME
Posts: 221
It's been a good week for the Jeep... Not so much for the wallet. I haven't had a chance to do anything, as I was traveling for work. But parts are starting to roll in.

2 cans of PGV spray touch-up and 1 can of clear from Automotive Touch Up fit the tailgate and tub hinge area.
Swag Offroad CJ tailgate conversion kit.
Hood pins... For securing the tailgate. More on this later.
Replacement fender, painted to match.
Replacement flares.
Replacement DS side directional lens.
LJ Rubicon rocker guards.
Replacement rocker guard hardware.
ARB Intensity knock-off driving lights.
Quadratec fog light harness.

Last thing I need to save up and order is the Genright rear cross member with D-rings and the 2" receiver.

I'm hoping to have some time this weekend to start putting things together!

Ian
2005 Unlimited
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