Growing up my dad had an '89 XJ lifted and locked on 33s that we would always take out. I got the jeep bug early with that, and I was hooked. When he lost his Jeep due to an electrical fire, he was done with the crawling thing and wanted a more comfortable ride to take him hunting and camping. Ever since then I wanted my own Jeep. In January of '09 I picked up a clean, stock, never wheeled '06 LJ with 12,500 miles for $17k.
I knew I wanted to build my Jeep up to be able to handle some of California's toughest trails, while still being a daily driver. I started wheeling it stock and had a lot of fun. I quickly learned that I hated mud
My first mod was a CB. My dad still had his old Uniden 520XL from his Jeep, so I used that. Receipts were still in the box, showing the year it was purchased was 1993. I picked up a Wilson antenna, hooked it up, tuned it, and it worked perfectly fine.
Shortly after that I realized I needed a way to carry 2+ people with snowboards and gear to the mountains every weekend. I found the junkyard roof rack thread and bolted a slightly cut down XJ rack onto my hardtop.
I got a snowboard rack and now have no problems carrying up to 4 boards and people. It worked perfectly.
I also got some Delta Quadbars and painted my bezels black right around that same time. No pics of that really though.
This is when my bad luck started. I was driving to my grandparents' 50th anniversary dinner with my girlfriend, when we were rear ended by a Honda. I was stopped when he hit me at about 40 mph, and never touched the brakes. He pushed me a few feet forward into the rear end of the car in front of me. Total damage done to me: a few scrapes, a busted shock, tailgate was bent, some shot bushings, and my exhaust was pushed in all the way to the cats. Total damage for the Honda: totaled.
I had to deal with insurance companies for 3 months until my jeep was completely fixed and in the same condition it was in before the accident. My back still hurts me from that damn wreck.
About a month later, while Christmas shopping with my girlfriend, my beloved LJ was stolen. It was stolen from a parking lot 3 minutes after we parked it. Reports were filed, claims were made, and I was bummed. Not only did they steal my Jeep, they stole my Jeep that was full of Christmas presents we just spent our hard worked money on.
A few days later I got a call from LBPD and my Jeep had been recovered in.. Compton. They made off with the top, doors, stereo, gifts, some random crap I had in it, CD's, and literally a handful of pennies. Of course it happened to rain that weekend, so the interior had about 4" of standing water in it.
I learned my lesson about dealing with insurance repairs, and since the damage done here wasn't too bad I cashed out and opted to fix it myself. Best idea yet! I got a check for just under $8,000 and started "repairing" the Jeep!
I replaced the top (and roof rack) and doors from craigslist. I've always loved half doors but wanted a hard upper to go with them, so that it's almost like a full door. I went with Bulldawg fiberglass uppers that I scored off eBay. The half doors are black, but for now they'll stay that way. I kind of like it.
Next up was fixing the sloshed interior. I had my mechanic fix some electrical problems from all the water. I cleaned up the seats and the brackets which were a bit rusty now.. Good as new! Instead of carpet, I decided to get the interior coated with line x. I love it!
I also used the money from insurance to replace the stereo, and did the LED interior light mod.
After fixing everything again that needed fixing, I had a pretty decent chunk of that insurance money left over. Time for a lift and tires! My goal is to eventually be on no bigger than 35s, but for now I'm sticking with 33s until I build everything else up. After a ton of research, I knew I wanted the Currie 4" kit with the antirock. I bugged Gerald from Savvy and he hooked me up! Currie 4", antirock, and Bilstein 5100s. I'll be honest, I didn't feel confident enough to install the lift, and I'm glad I didn't. I talked (well, money talked) Gerald and Blaine into letting me bring my LJ to Blaine's house and having him do the install for me. A few extra bucks and I was confident that everything would be set up right, and it was. No TC drop, no SYE, and no vibes. Blaine got it dialed in perfectly. For tires, I went with 33x12.5R15 Cooper Discoverer STT's with 15x8 American Racing ATX Chamber Teflon wheels.
Despite internet bull**** myths, the Currie arms, and kit in general, ride anything but rough. My LJ rides smooth up to 80+ MPH, and it rides great off road too.. whether it's a slow crawl or 40 MPH over bumpy dirt roads. The Bilstein shocks ride great on and off road and really soak up the bumps and dips. Oh yea, it flexes great too. At full stuff the front barely rubs on the flares, and all the tires stay perfectly centered in the wheel wells. Now some wheeling shots.
So last weekend was my 21st birthday, and I decided my Jeep should benefit from that. I called Gerald and ordered some stainless steel sliders, which I should be getting this coming week. I also saw that UCF was having a 15% off sale right now so I ordered an aluminum engine skid. That should be getting here in another week as well. I hate that my oil and transmission pans are exposed. One rogue rock and my day could be ruined. I like that the UCF skid bolts right up to the stock shovel and covers all the way forward.. plus it's aluminum. Only 16 lbs total! Eventually I'll be running a Savvy TT, but that was out of the budget for now, and a long while since I'll need an SYE and rear driveshaft as well. For now, the UCF skid is just what I needed.
Oh, here's a pic in it's current state.
I'm going to paint the flares soon, and might do the hardtop as well. The PO of the top I got used a sharpie to cover up some scratches, and a higher gloss paint in other areas. I'm thinking flat black for the top, but I'm not sure how that would turn out. For the flares I'm debating a spray on textured paint, but I'm afraid that might peel from flexing. We'll see.