Like everyone else here I first bought my Jeep to have a nice vehicle to go off roading, plus be able to drop the top on a nice sunny day. I soon realized that although the Wrangler is a pretty capable vehicle when stock there is always the chance to improve it and make it better, hence the build...
Money, as usual, is the limiting factor. Although I have a pretty decent paying job as a 11-year Staff Sergeant in the US Army, I cannot devote all my money to the Jeep ... I am married ... if I was single I'd have this thing built as I wanted in less than a year, but the wife keeps nickle and diming me to death!
I bought the Jeep back in May. I looked around for about two months, looking at the local used car dealers, craigslist, and the local park and sell lots. In the end I was undecided between buying this stock 98 Sahara, or another 99 Wrangler that had 33" tires, a six inch lift, 3" body lift, two piece BEstop hard top, etc etc etc. In the end I did not like the way the lifted 99 Jeep drove, it felt like there was something wrong with it, something I couldn't put my finger to. Plus I wanted to mod my own Jeep, not buy someone else's project.
My 98 Sahara came with a hard top, no ac, auto transmission (I wanted that so the wife could drive it), and I made sure I had the Dana 44 with LSD in the rear. Like other Saharas it also has the 4.0 engine.
I soon joined a local off road club, Frozen Axles
, and started off roading it. The Jeep instantly surprised me, I pushed it to my limits and the Jeep delivered it, proving that its limits were beyond my own. I also quickly realized that the mod bug had bit me, I wanted a better Jeep, I wanted to mod my 98 to transform it into a daily driven trail machine. Not anything too hardcore, but a vehicle that would perform well in the trail while being relatively comfortable to drive and easy to live with.
The build the began...
First day out of the used car dealer lot
The first mod I did was disconnecting the front sway bar. I have left it disconnected since then, I haven't missed it. Talking to Alaska veterans they say I might want to reconnect it for winter. As soon as it starts snowing they will be reconnected. I also removed both front and rear milk jugs.
This is what I bought the Jeep for: accessing hard to reach spots, like this favorite fishing spot/camp site of mine on the Chena River, you need a four wheel drive to get there, especially if it rains.
A month after buying the Jeep I had found a used 2" Budget Boost lift on Craigslist for $20, and had replaced the stock fog lights with Hella 500s I had laying around in the garage. The Hellas are wired with thicker wires and a relay. I also painted the headlight bezels with black BBQ grill paint.
Having fun in the trails near my work
Bathed in the Alaskan 10 pm sun shine
Wheeling with the Frozen Axles