What's that phrase... "if you cant beat them... join them?"
FIRST... a picture to draw you in.
well... i had an xj. for 4+ years. i sank thousands of dollars, and probably an equal amount of hours into it..But at the end of the day, I still wanted the wrangler i always pictured myself in since i was a wee lad.
The time had come for a change. So i put the xj up for sale. sold a few other vehicles that i will post pictures and details about later. But before i get into the long story of how i got to this point. let me tell you what im working with, and what my plans are so you can decide if you want to stick around for this build thread/adventure documentation, Or if you want to crawl over to another thread.
Heres what ive got as of right now.
-2013 JK Rubicon, 10th anniversary edition -3.6 pentastar with a 6 speed manual -the following mods have already been installed prior to my purchase, 10th anni warn 9.5 cti-s winch (installed from the factory), sPOD overhead panel with 6 switches, rigid industries 6 led pods on both a pillars, 1000 watt inverter installed under the pass seat. and thats it! (for now )
Here's what im planning for those of you wanting to either support or argue with!
-metalcloak 2.5/3.5" gamechanger lite with dual rate springs, old man emu shocks, duroflex joints with all the metal cloak control arms and track bars.
-for the underbelly artec's full skid system. (aluminum) with their hd cross member.
-artec lca skids
-arb diff covers (maybe ruff stuff depending on steering clearances)
-Metal cloak full overline system, which includes
-rocker skins, rock rails/sliders, rear quarter armor, with the overline flares and extensions which should clear 35's/37's no problem
wheels and tires
-Hutchinson rock monsters or raceline rt-231's
-pitbull rocker radials or km2's (the stock 32" km2's have really changed my opinion of them)
-undecided on brand of driveshafts/gears or gear ratio atm.
Here's to money wasted and to much time spent on the web!!!
stay tuned for more
Well, i had the xj that some of you may have remembered "stroked Grocery getter
2000 xj limited. 4.6 stroker, hp 44 front from a 79 ford, 8.25 rear, 4:56's, lockers, beadlocks, 35" mtr kevlars, tnt long arms, tnt rock sliders. etc. its all on my old build thread here.. picture here.
i had that 2000 xj. i had just built the stroker 1200 miles earlier, i had a slight rms leak, and while i was doing the first axle swap (stock dana 30, for a built dana 30) i figured.... Hey, the axles out of the way now.. oil pan is super easy to get to. why dont i just change the rms while its already down for the time being. little did i know, that somehow while wiggling the oil pan back into place. that the transmission lines bracket (the one that holds the lines to the oil pan.) would somehow fall into the oil pan while i was lifting it up into place. which was then bolted on and the bracket would be sealed away unbeknownst to me. Well i found out two weeks later when i started the engine for the first time and it sucked the bracket up into the number 3 piston jug and broke the skirt off... luckily i heard it immediately and shut it off.
needless to say, like most projects... i had reached my breaking point. i literally sat in my garage on the floor, considering weather or not to roll my jeep into the street and Molotov it. It won, i was defeated in that moment.
Now, that the xj had crushed my will to build. it sat in my garage for a few days, while i contemplated the action i would take. I was pretty much sold on parting it out and getting back what i could. I figured i could move myself into a wrangler for all the cash i had sank into my xj.
I looked around locally, and im not sure about most regions of the country/world. But in sc, i can tell you people think that jeep wranglers, and toyota tacomas. are worth their weight in gold. 1997 4 cyl wranglers beat to death with 175,000 miles and bald tires and they still wanted 6000$.
So i started to think... if i can get around 10,000 $ for all my parts... that would be a pretty good down payment on a jk. But of course once i started looking into the options the cost started adding up. Of course i wanted the rubicon, for the xfer case, and the dana 44's front and rear already 4:10's with lockers. not to mention the few parts i did want to replace right away, stock rubicon parts would sell to partially pay for the upgraded ones.
I joined a few different forums to see more of what people had to say about their jk's.. what they liked, what they didn't, same stuff you do with any other jeep. it quickly became apparent to me that the jk was incredibly well designed from the factory, and once they added the 3.6 in 2012 it really helped with it feeling like a dog. ( i was anxious to see how it compared to my stroker )
so im browing online and i see this thing.. the 10th anniversary rubicon that jeep plans to sell. sweet baby jesus... its beautiful.. now dont get me wrong, im all about performance>aesthetics.. but this one had them both. and then some.
I hopped into my jetta and took off down to the dealer after i spent about 3-4 hours looking at them online.
40,000$ for the two door!!! ARE YOU EFFIN KIDDING ME!!!??? at that point i had around 14,000 into my xj (i spent more later on) and it was more capable than a Rubicon. The price seemed absolutely outrageous. and being an active duty enlisted service member, im sure other prior service members on the forum here can agree. when your in the lower 6 ranks. The pay is.... not enough to justify a 600+$ a month car plan. i couldnt do it..
that being said, i also have an issue with settling for anything less than exactly what i want.. which lead to 2.5 years of hard work that im about to detail (pun intedned)
now before i start sounding like the girl who cant stop talking about her ex. let me stop about my xj love, and move onto pictures of the 10A jkr.
I found it down in florida, bought a 1 way ticket, and drove it home.
Within an hour of getting it from a photographer that didn't know what was so special about a Rubicon over a regular wrangler.... i took it down a trail somewhere in florida to quickly establish dominance over it. It had been garage kept and driven less than 4000 miles a year. so i wanted it to know it was about to be brought into the wilderness, and tamed to do what i want it to.
After that, i drove it back 6 hours to my place in Charleston. whoever complains about flightiness or bad handling on the 2 doors.... or people who complain about road noise in soft tops..
I DISAGREE ENTIRELY! it rides so smooth... and handles so well. even with 32" km2's @ 43 psi. more than tolerable for road noise at 75 mph that i cruised for 6 hours.
Of course after getting it home, i stopped to see a few friends who had no idea the xj was gone and that i had flown 2 states away that morning @ 5 a.m to buy my dream jeep.
by the time i got home, i figured i would give it a proper detailing and take some glamour shots for the forums (dont worry, i took it wheeling the next weekend, and i have pleeeeenty of pics from that too)
without further adieu here's some 10th anniversary pRon.
SO... being in sc, specifically in the low country area, i dont have alot of trails around here. just mud. AND I HATE MUD! (unless im on a 4wheeler) not in my vehicle though if i dont have to. and as built as my cherokee was, with so many custom parts. i was always sort of worried to take it on a 5 hour drive to an offroad park and hammer on it. well, lessons learned i should have. And i needed to establish early on with this rubicon. that i bought it to enjoy it. and make trips in.
that being said, i signed up for a 4x4 competition with it lol.. (stock class) which i will give more details on later. When i get home from work tonight i will upload all the pictures from last weekend where I
1)learned how to wheel a manual offroad
2)placed 4th in a competition
3)learned a new found respect for km2's and the capabilities of a stock rubicon... holy hell.
4)got it dirty as hell
and most importantly 5) had the best weekend ive had so far in 2015!
The past 4 years of jeeping, have been essentialy local. at most an hour or so away. dont get me wrong i still had fun, but i wanted to try going to an actual off road park, somewhere thats maintained that i wont get in trouble for pushing my vehicle to its limits..
what better place than our very own Gulches orv park in laurens sc.
My jeep buddies/coworkers had been talking about a gulches orv trip for the past 3 years. getting 4-5 vehicles up there to go crazy and really shake down our vehicles. needless to say the job i worked previously at one point or another one of us was on call status/couldnt leave the local area for whatever reason. multiple attempts just always fell through, maybe it was for a reason.
Anyway, this past weekend. may 9th and 10th my good friend jay and myself went up to gulches to take this monster offroad for the first real time. and what better way to do it than enter it in a competition against other vehicles with one tons and roll cages!
whatever, we didnt want to win, just have fun. and thats exactly what we did. soooo much fun! our only goal for the weekend was to have 2 clean runs in the competition with zero penalties, and we succeeded. The object of the contest is commonly reffered to as the "tennis ball thing"
basically three courses were set up for the differnt classes of vehicles
stock (anything with 33" or smaller tires) which is kinda bs, because some guys took their 37's off their buggies/tube frames and threw on 33" tires to compete against the few of us with actual stock vehicles.. but whatever!
of course i fell under the stock class
now the object of the contest was..
enter the obstacle course where there are 4 cones. 18.104.22.168. respectivly and two tennis balls.
the tennis balls were placed on cones 1/3 and needed to go to 2/4 you and your spotter could not leave the vehicle. could not touch the ground. could not drop the ball. or penalties would ensue. (dropped ball 10) touched hand to ground 25 (touched foot 25) touched both feet 50. etc
started with a score of zero, and were timed. each penalty added to your score. at the end the lowest score one, if people tied for score it went by time.
anyway, heres some pictures of us having a blast!
retrieving the ball off cone 1
placing the ball on the final cone to end our timer.
A few more glamour shots from the weekend to include our awesome campsite right on the river. (should have brought fishing gear)
(of course my nemo brand tent that i ordered two weeks earlier arrived via brown santa the day we left to go up here), so i just used this old ozark trail 20$ tent. which honestly did just fine. the nemo tent is for an upcomming two week off road trip up and down the east coast. for all the readers who want to meet up sometime soon
thank god for the tornador interior detailing tool!
the always necessary middle finger.
this trail was one of my favorite at the park, its called heartbreak
ended up pulling a couple quads out over the weekend.. that warn 95 cti-s is amazing so effortless.
heres a pic of one of the wild guys getting creative to retrieve a ball.
Here's me getting up on a soapbox for everyone else doing what ive done for the past few years on here..
STOP READING BUILD THREADS! AND GO WHEEL!
SEE WHAT YOUR RIG NEEDS < FIX BROKEN STUFF< UPGRADE STUFF repeat..
and remember you can choose two of three things.. Cheap in price, strong, Lightweight.
these vehicles. (not just rubicons) are known for their offroad abilities because they are very capable as is!
Let the stock skid plates do their job, they're stronger than they deserve credit for, be patient, choose your lines well. keep your tires on the rocks and know when to use a little oomf of throttle to get through an obstacle is not the same as just hammering at 4000 rpm to make it over something. that's how stuff explodes (watched a guy try and get his open/open xj up a dry slick rock this weekend, couldnt make it so decided to hit it faster and faster, then wondered why his front end exploded when it caught traction.
and most importantly.. IMO... Dont let other people on the trail try and bully you into trying something your not ready to. I cant tell you how many people at the orv were like " man its a rubicon! its only brand new once" yeah.. im not going to take it down a trail described as "the quarter panel ruiner" just to impress some 18 year old with a 800$ beater.
you can still have fun without putting yourself or your vehicle in danger. and as you become more comfortable with your vehicle, and build it to handle the terrain your going into. then push it more and more. dont go out the first day expecting to be the next randy slawson. you dont have in disposable income/fabrication tools. and for most of us (myself anyway) this is my daily driver. It did more than enough to give me an adrenaline rush, and at the end of the day i got to drive it home and more importantly i was capable of driving it home because i wasn't injured. be safe out there!