Now that this thread is starting to gain some momentum, I figure I should include a quick synopsis here for new-comers. This is the story of Alice. My 2005 Unlimited Rubicon, Limited Sahara edition #431.
stock front bumper
LJ stock soft top with hardware - tan/khaki
Stock Rubicon unlimited rocker guards
Stock marker light set with bulbs
Rubihara tire cover
Stock 31" tire with Rubicon 15" wheel
Perhaps a full carpet setup for an LJ
Set of 5 Rubicon Moab wheels/ 4 Goodyear Kevlar 33" tires if wanted (1/2 tread left)
List of mods:
Tires: 33" Goodyear MT/Rs / first upgrade from stock, looking to put 35"s or larger eventually
Lift: Entire Curry/Savvy 4" suspension kit / done
Shocks / Bilstein 5100's / done
Steering and stuff: Currie Antirock, WJ tie rod and drag link / done
Front Bumper: Rokmen Mercenary - powdercoated / done
Rear Bumper: A to Z fab - powdercoated / done - just have to do the frame tie-in
Side Protection: A to Z fab with custom step - powdercoated / done
Recovery: Engo 12,000 lb winch with synthetic line
Other Armor: A to Z fab diff covers, BL and MML will probably be ordered soon and then skid plates all around!
Top: Besttop Trektop NX
Little things: Smith&Wesson shift knob, rain guards, all-terrain floor mats, grab handles, clear marker lights, stainless hood latches, Monstalinered tub, PIAA fog beams
Since this thread is gaining momentum rapidly- I am taking advice and starting a thread index. I would of course suggest you read all of it, I tend to enjoy the humor in here. Then again, most of it is mine. For those that want to just flip through because they are at work and don't actually have the time to read 100+ pages... Ta-Da!!!
Lift kit discussion: page 2
Lift kit install: page 4
Bumper discussion: page 5
Discussion of handling with new suspension: page 7
Finishing a bumper discussion: page 9
How little mods can help broken people when you least expect it: page 9
Bumper and winch review: page 10
Bumper and winch install: page 13
First breakdown: page 15
Alice on Great American Jeep Rally Poster: page 16
Rock slider discussion: page 18
Why Massachusetts laws are ridiculous: page 19
Discovery of the Jeep cancer: page 20
Jeep vs. Subaru- Alice wins: page 21
Trac bar/ alignment issues: page 26
Rear bumper discussion: page 27
Highline discussion: page 28
Seat Covers/new seat discussion: page 29
Rear bumper and slider discussion... again: page 33
Jeep vs Expedition- Alice wins. A lot: page 39
Sliders discussion: page 48
My attempt at making Hump day just a little funnier: page 49
A big purchase!: page 50
Interest in a drop-down tailgate: 51
Driveshaft being rebuilt - not by me :( 53
Excessive winch rust: 60
New steel! To powdercoat- or not to powdercoat: 61
Possible root causes of my DW: 65
U-joints, ball joints and all the likes: 68
Another big purchase! 74
What should I put a "my other ride is a Jeep" sticker on: 76
The first meeting of the CT Jeep Posse: 83
Issues with so-called "bolt-on" ZJ tie rod upgrade: 85
I find out what a very bad U-joint sounds like: 92
The stagnation of Alice: 107
My first real repair job: 117
Removal of the hideous nerf bars: 119
Found my first missing important bolt/fender rage: 123
Alice vs. JK and fun with rattlecans: 126
Interior upgrades planning - bedliner and security box: 133
Mid-week getaway to Vermont with my lady: 135
Coolant flush&fill and carpet removal after some wet wheeling: 138
Videos of Alice's first water crossings: 140
Details of rocker guard installation: 142
Now, If you do choose to read it from the beginning.. pardon my ignorance the first few months. I was brand new to this and asking a lot of questions and doing side research. Bear with me, it gets better - I promise.
I bought #431 of the Sahara edition of the '05 Rubicon in June of 2012. This is my first jeep and I don't have a heck of a lot of experience with hands-on mechanic work (though I am an engineer, so I find it fascinating. I cant wait to get my hands greasy).
Feel free to add comments, suggestions and give me some advice. It will be much appreciated. Let me know if you have any questions!
This is the jeep as it sat at the dealers- completely stock, under 80k miles. It was love at first sight. Below is a teaser shot of how she sits now.
The first few posts will be slightly retroactive- but who really cares? My first course of action was to get some beefier tires to put on it, and what a difference it made. Right now, I have 33s with an aggressive tread. They actually JUST started making a bit of excessive sound on the highway after a few months - but that's half the fun, isn't it? Either way, the tires were my first mod and they cost more than the blue book value of the car I traded up from. It was a little step, but a huge win in my book.
I was a bit hesitant to take it through some tougher trails- since it is my DD, however these pictures are from my first trail run on it. Words can not describe how I felt after conquering obstacles I never thought any vehicle would ever be able to undertake- never mind the stock vehicle I had only been driving for a month. :rolleyes:
Well, now that we have the beginning of this adventure down- perhaps a little back-story and direction?
First of all, my name is Kate- I am a Chemical Engineer from New England. I work at an adhesives company and I absolutely love my job. I will be starting school again in a few months and I think im going to go all in and go for the dual Master's degree. Why not, right? Its free.
In the mean time... its been roughly 3 months since I bought the Jeep. I havent found the perfect name for it yet- so its still "The Jeep" until further notice. Feel free to make suggestions. My last car was a '07 Mercury Tracer. Its name was Great White Buffalo. I need to find something more epic than that.
Either way, Im sure like most of you I bought a jeep because I wanted a good vehicle that I could take though a little mud now and again. However, I quickly realized it is much more than that. Even though I was commuting 160 miles round trip a day for that period, I would STILL find any little reason to drive it around even though my gas bill was through the roof.
I couldnt be happier with my choice. It is my new hobby, and my new reason to come into work every day so I can afford spending more money on a vehicle than any 21 year old should ever spend. Also- it looks like the Jeep bug is catching on in my family a bit?
Excellent start. That is a very nice Jeep. Any plans for first mods?
Down to business - I have been crawling this forum since I first decided to buy a jeep and my favorite thing to this day is " you know you own a TJ when you buy the most capable stock off-roading vehicle... to replace everything on it"
Well, thats what Im about to do - with your guidance of course. Remember now, I am new to all of this but afraid of none of it and I appreciate any tips or suggestions.
First off.... the chrome is GOING! There was a mishap at the dealership that left me without the original chrome bumper, a free stock one and a check for $300 to put towards my tires. My nerf bars are a tad rusty, and my back bumper prohibited me from going though the mud trench at the Great American Jeep rally last month. Must be dealt with. I was seething the entire way home.
Either way- I have decided that for a person with my lack of patience in my financial position... I have the freedom to apply and hope to get a credit card with a high limit. Then I can get all the work I want done before winter.... ACTUALLY done before winter. Lets face it, does anyone who put themselves through college have a spare $7,000 lying around?
To do list before winter:
New front and back bumpers
Thinking of going with a superwinch winch... gotta show the new england pride
Teraflex LCG kit... whole 9, 4" suspension lift, 1, maybe 2" body lift sway bar disconnects, long arm control arms, adjustable track bar and all that fun stuff
Belly up skid plate to free up some clearance and make me feel a little better about taking a $16k gamble every time I pull it off the road
Lastly... hardtop. It appears the previous owner never took care of the soft top very well. The first time I put it down, a tear started in a corner and half the zipper components I discovered were corroded and fell off. I do live in new england, and think a hardtop might be the best choice.
With that being said, its an LJ - anyone who has one Im sure knows that if you can even find a used one they are insanely priced. However, in my searches- I found the company wild boar... who makes a fastback hardtop with a sunroof for my jeep for only $2400 - only $400 more expensive than a used one that I wouldnt love. So that is definitely the direction that I am going with.
All in all, im going to dump over $6k into this sexy beast before snow hits the ground. Any other suggestions of how to spend my money in a fashion my mother certainly wouldn't approve of? :highfive:
Nice rig, love the color. Looks like you have a pretty good handle on what you need. I would definately put rock sliders on the list to help protect your investment.
Indeed! Thank you. Its actually on the list- ill get them when I get the bumpers I just forgot to list it.
I was lucky the other day and picked up a new back window for the soft-top and rock guards for my headlights for $20. I dont plan on keeping this soft top for long, but the zipper on the old one was very broken and it was tinted so I had a hard time seeing out of it. I think it was a reasonable purchase.
First off which front and rear bumpers are you looking into?
What made you decide on the teraflex kit?
Which tummy tuck you looking into?
Well thank you! Im actually brand new to the area- I just moved down from Mass because driving to Torrington and back everyday for work in this beast was getting tiresome and very expensive.
I havent settled on a particular brand of bumper yet - I dont need any frills for the back one, and I would like the front one to be a bit heftier with the exploding deer population we expect to see around here. I do like the tapered look around the edges like the HighRock High Access Front Bumper - but im rather flexible on that.
As far as the kit- I was looking at the teraflex pro lcg system. It comes with the belly up skid plate and the longer control arms. I did attempt to price out the same results that I wanted but once I factored in time and labor the quote I got of $4,000 plus labor and taxes seemed fairly reasonable.
I dont want to go with a budget kit because this is my DD and I will be driving it at highway speeds on a fairly regular basis so I want to be sure that it will handle just as well. Any better suggestions? They are much appreciated.
Also- do you think a cold air intake system is worth it? I have a buddy that is selling a brand new k&n one for $140- but I could probably easily knock it down to below $100.
Nah, don't waste your $$ on a CAI.
And welcome! Love them LJ's!
I decided not to go for it- figured I didnt want to risk getting water sucked up into the engine with the problem I have with the steering. You see... whenever the jeep goes by a big puddle it just happens to swerve RIGHT into the damn thing! Go figure! :shhh:
Is there anything else that I could do to free up some horsepower or get better gas mileage that might be more effective?
In my opinion there are plenty of better kits out there it just depends what your looking to accomplish and how much you want to spend.
I wouldnt necessarily recommend an "all-in-one" kit but figure out your plan for the jeep and tackle one thing at a time ie. lift then armor then bumpers etc
My previous car had less than 100 hp, so if I was that concerned about the gas mileage I would still be driving that. But it would be really nice to have a bit more get-up-and-go, especially on hills.
Mainly- I would like to lift it 4", get long arm control arms, sway bar disconnects and a higher clearance skid plate. As you can see in the picture of the jeep on the rock platform my stock one sticks out way to much and drives me insane.
I have about $2,000 a month to spend on it and I am going for a nice balance between highway driving, mudding and climbing. Is there a particular kit or series of upgrades that you would recommend?
In the long run I do plan to do most of the work myself- but I was planning to throw it into the shop for the first major installation.
Update: After doing some research I am thinking to change my direction a bit.
I have decided to go with a 4" short arm lift kit - I was recommended to go with the Savvy kit, but Ill still do a bit more research before I order it.
I was thinking to go with the antirock swaybar, however I am seriously debating spending the extra for the swaylock one on account of my bad habit of speeding a bit.
I can only afford one of the two this month- so I was wondering if it would be a pain to just do the lift for now and then do the swaybar afterwords.
Also- I had a grand old time this weekend tearing up some field at my buddies house. His truck got stuck, so I took the opportunity to literally run circles around him and plaster him with mud. :hahaha:
I would recomend getting some kind of belly up skid plate. Savvy and Under cover fab have really high quality ones.
Then put in a 2" spring and shock lift. That along with the body lift for the skid plate should get you some extra room for the tires you have. Wheel that for a season or two.
And ditch the side steps and rear tube bumper.
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