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JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:17 AM

JeepDVL45's 'Bruiser' Build -- A Daily Driver's slow build
Every jeep needs to start somewhere....

(I'll try to keep everything in order up to where I am right now with the Jeep)

2003 Jeep TJ X - Freedom package (basically, vinyl seats, Ravines, painted rubi flares and 30" tires).

The good:

Its a Jeep!!
4.0 L 5-speed
no body rust
hard top & soft top
Full steel doors.
outstanding condition

The bads:
D30/35 with 3.07s :thumbdown:

Purchased January 2008 for $12,250
In hindsite - I was looking at a 99 Sahara and should have gone that route for the axle and gears (but I was a jeep virgin, I didn't know any better)

Don't have any pics when I first got it, these are the closest I have to it being "new"

With the girlfriend at the time (fiance now) in the jeep....

Made some 'upgrades' when I first got it....
Red Sox tire cover, and decal <-- two most important ones .

Then some euro light guards (headlights, blinkers, signals and tail lights) and clear signals. Looks great with the patriot blue color.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:27 AM

Not a heck of a lot happened for a few months....I ditched the milk jugs and went wheeling a couple times. got REALLY stuck once. The tires were LOW in the back end, and I was cutting through the field to get to the farm trails. Found out (the hard way) there was a drainage conduit that wasn't maintained (they never dug it out like they should have) and I sunk into the grass to my axles. That stuff was THICK. Took about 20 mins to get out of pics tho.

Hit the trails a few weeks later with a buddy....

Went back out again about 3 weeks after that.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:30 AM

Then I got another 4x4!

Killian he's a 12 year old offtrack throroughbred.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:37 AM

Saved up some cash and made my first 'real upgrade'
Picked up a set of 31x10.5R15 Interco MTs and wrapped them around some Cragar V5s

Threw them in the back of my jeep to bring them to the shop to them thrown under my jeep.
4 in the back of the jeep...

Full size spare in the front...

The tires got rearranged so I cold fit the wheels in there too. Despite what people may say (like my dad) it is possible to fit 5 31x10.5 AND 5 15"x8" wheels in a Jeep TJ

And I ditched the side steps (took HOURS...even after soaking the bolts in PB Blaster for a couple days) and the extended flares.....

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:40 AM

Some before and after shots.....



JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:45 AM

Saved up some more money for another upgrade (lift) when my horse got an abscess in his foot. A BAD ONE.
If anyone is familiar with horses....this is his hoof

We could put a pencil in the cavity up about an inch or so. It was nasty, he was in A LOT of pain. Needless to say, the lift $ went to the vet instead.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:55 AM

When wheeling a couple more times with the new tires....they are AWESOME!!!!!!!!

Then someone backed into me at work (I worked at a bar) and crushed my driver's side corner.

I was ****** after I saw that. But, it gave me an excuse to get some armor...and Christmas was coming.

I was out of $ for a while, so I went with some really cheap modifications.....

painted my hinges...
removed them, sanded the heck out of them and hit them with 3 coats of high temp flat black paint.


JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 08:58 AM

Here is how my jeep stood up until this point....

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 09:07 AM

Time for some armor.....

Picked up a JCR Pre-runner last year during JCR's Black Friday sale..... A week and a half later, THIS was at my door!!!!

Best part about the bumper...

This bumper is BEEFY. My dad left it at the door for me to move because he couldn't lift it (shattered 2 vertebrae his back when he was younger)

I opened up the was a beautiful sight!!!!

but I found a problem.....UPS bent one of the mounting tabs...

Nothing a pry bar and a hernia couldn't fix....

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 09:13 AM

Then, for Christmas/birthday, my parents got me these....

and a set of full corners....
(don't have a pic)

Got everything from Zach at AtoZ. He has GREAT customer service and his products are SOLID

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 09:16 AM

The first nice day in the spring, I cleaned the hell out of all the bare metal and prepped it all for paint. I used the same flat black paint I used for my hinges....

after a few coats of paint...

Now all I needed was time to mount all this stuff up.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 09:20 AM

Summer hit, so it was time to throw the summer top on. I sold the soft top at the beginning of the spring, and picked up a duster, safari top, wrap around windjammer, CJ style mirrors and a used set of soft doors....

After a couple hours my jeep went from THIS:

to THIS:

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 09:27 AM

I installed the front bumper...took about 20 minutes.... It did drag down the front end quite a bit.

Then I got an unexpected surprise......
My first payckeck for the summer course that I taught included an extra $800 as a bonus. I finally got my lift.
I didn't want to go too high with the jeep, so I got a RE 2" BB. Installation was a pain in the ***. My rear shock bolts were toast. I coudn't budge them, so I brought it to a shop and they snapped 2 of them trying to get them off. It turned a 3 hour job into a 2 day job. They had to drill and tap every shock bolt in the back end, top and bottom. It was a friend of a friend, so he didn't charge me much ($350 when all was said and done) and he threw in an oil change for free.

Back end being done...

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 10:01 AM

Then my parent's went on vacation and asked me to take care of their dog. That was going to leave me with 4 days, a garage and another vehicle (for when my jeep was under the knife)....its time to install the armor.....
The night before I went to my parent's to watch the dad's car died on his drive home from work....that put a kink in my plans......but I went on with it anyway.

I figured that it would take me 2 days to to get all the armor installed on my jeep....hahaha, that wasn't even close.....
After 5 hours of cutting, I got my first fender flare off. Ruv-Nuts are EVIL!!! Then I went to work.....the next day I spent another 10 hours and got the other 3 flares off....
Then it was time to install the armor....
the rockers went on real easy....I did them by myself with a few wasn't terrible, but I would suggest recruiting a friend for help.

Then I moved on to the corner armor. These were a little trickier. The riv-nuts they supply with the corners are a pain to install. I would suggest drilling the holes, then putting some thread lock on them (the outside) and then tapping the in carefully and setting them. Then spray the bolt itself with some PB Blaster so they go in a bit easier.
I had some trouble with my first one, I didn't set it correctly and the bolt doesn't go in all the way. I had to cut the head off the bolt. The other ones went in OK....I did snap the head off the installation tool on another one, but I used a set of pliers to get the stump back out.

One side done....

Then I re-installed the fender flares....

The other side actually went smoother then the first, even with the crushed corner...

All done...

In hind site...I should have painted everything satin black. The flat black looks more like a dark grey and doesn't look great on the jeep. Next spring I'll repaint everything (hinges, armor, hard top, flares) satin black.

JeepDVL45 11-29-2010 10:06 AM

The only real issue I had with the corners and rockers is there is a small gap between the two...they didn't quite match up right....the gap is about 1/2"...

I wired up 2 sets of WalMart lights as fogs, painted my dash insert and threw in some blue LED switches for the lights. Simple mod, but the LAD switches are a little bright....



The time now is 10:08 AM.

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