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Flyboy161 08-28-2013 08:17 PM

I bought my Jeep in December 2007 after my Dodge truck burned up its transmission. On a whim, I went to the local Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealer to see what they had. The salesman asked me what I was looking for, and I said, "How about a Jeep Wrangler, with a 4.0L engine and a manual transmission." He showed me a few bone stock used Jeeps and then I saw her sitting there. A 2004 Solar Yellow Wrangler X with the Rocky Mountain Edition package. 4.0L and NV3550 5 speed transmission and 24,000 miles on the clock. The RM edition had Rubicon rocker guards, painted fender flares (the larger Rubicon flares), logo seats and nice chrome Alcoa rims. We haggled for awhile, and when I say awhile, I literally mean almost 8 hours. Their Jeep came down a little over 3,000.00 and my truck went up 9,200.00. All of us were satisfied and I drove the Jeep home. Here she was that day...

I won't bore you with the next 24 months rather I'll say that I enjoyed driving her in stock form. She is my first Wrangler but not my first Jeep. Previously I owned a 95 Cherokee Sport. Nearly six years later my wife and I were sitting looking at another build "Labor of Love" that I posted on here and she asked, "Do you have one for the Littlebee?" Well, I really had no excuse, I meant to write one but I just never did. So here it is; There's a lot of pics and it's going to take me a few days to get it all in here, but I think you'll enjoy the ride.:tea:

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 08:26 PM

After nearly 2 years of driving the little yellow Jeep and after a promotion at work AND retiring from the Air Force Reserves, I decided to splurge and lift LittleBee. I went with the Rubicon Express 2 inch budget boost because I'm cheap like that. And at the time I just wanted a slightly different look. All things have a purpose and a reason though and the BB would come in handy in 2013. Before the lift...
And after...
Earlier in 2009 I found a set of factory fog lights on CL and wired them in. I added a relay to the power distribution center using an empty socket where the Rear Window Defogger would have been if I had a hardtop. I popped a switch in the center bezel on the dash and wired it it all in. Of course I didn't take pics until April when we had a freak snow storm...

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 08:46 PM

Now we'll fast forward to February 2010. I'm starting to get the bug. Build it, change it, make it better than it was. You know the drill... First up a little hack and re-weld on the front bumper. Remember, I told you: I'm cheap!
We went to Jeep Beach also in 2010. My wife and I had a blast! I'm hoping to do it again in 2014!

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 09:01 PM

Also got a Highrock 4x4 rear bumper. At the time I bought it, it was one of the only rear bumpers with a receiver hitch built in that actually had a tow rating
Around my birthday in November 2011, I got a Bestop Bikini, Duster and wraparound windjammer.
Also joined a local club and started the armor process
AEV oil pan skid

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 09:13 PM

If you plan on taking your Jeep off road, armor is a necessary evil. I opted for the AEV oil pan skid, Skid row steering box and radiator skid plates. I'll post up some pics of the latter skids but here is my write-up on the AEV skid.
I'll start out by saying that this is a beefy piece of metal. And after putting a grapefruit sized dent in my oil pan on the Rubicon Trail in my Cherokee, I knew this had to be one of the most important things I could do.
Remove the two lower transmission bolts
Next locate the two empty bolt holes in the side of the block per the directions. There is one on each side of the block. Not the red one
I cleaned out the threads by running a tap into the holes
The hole marked with a yellow arrow and the matching hole opposite attach to the block
I put the skid in place, attached the rear bolts and then the ones in the block
Instant protection. Some people say that all the force of an impact on this skid transmits up to the motor mounts, well, that may be true, but I'd rather replace the motor mount than an oil pan or worse

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 09:17 PM

I also made a Hi-Lift Jack holder for the roll bars. I saw this in Quadratec's catalog and thought, I'm cheap. I can make this so...

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 09:20 PM

For Christmas I upgraded my front bumper to a Smittybilt Classic, with a winch plate and an XRC 8 winch
Here you can see that buying something off the shelf can be plagued with problems. In this case the three holes do not line up. Nothing a little drill motor can't fix!

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 09:39 PM

A late arrival was the Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake.
Step one, remove the factory air box

Step 2, relocate the wiring harness and ground per the instructions
Step 3, remove the cowl
The ground wire attached to the firewall is relocated to the driver's side
Now you see a great big empty space to mark the hole for the pass through duct. Measure twice, mark, measure again, check and the drill.
As it appears inside the cowl:
And voila! Assembled and looking snazzy

*Followup* This is a cool setup. I like it. It doesn't do anything that I can see except move the intake from behind the passenger headlight to up a few inches in the cowl. I had no issues with rain ingestion. If I had any improvements in mileage I didn't see it. The MAIN benefit I see is a bunch of free space so I'd have a place to install "something" later :)

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 10:40 PM

Time for more armor. I went on a trip to Durhamtown Plantation in Union Point Georgia. I ended up high centered on a rock and dented the factory transfer case skid plate, otherwise known as "The Shovel."
So I did some research and decided to got with Undercover Fabworks. Matt Walton was awesome to deal with and very helpful. So I wanted the best ground clearance I could get and he helped understand everything I needed to do. In order to do the high clearance skid, I would need a 1.25" body lift, low profile transmission mount and a 1 inch motor mount lift. I ordered it all. I also decided to lift the gas tank an inch as well and replace the .032" skid there with 3/16" armor
Ah yes, Christmas in January 2012!

ctorres018 08-28-2013 11:02 PM

I'm liking the build. Very simple but you have some good stuff. You should of got aluminim to save weight but non the less UCF is good stuff.

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 11:11 PM

The body lift was pretty straight forward. JKS makes awesome products and their directions really made installation a snap. Motor mount lift was easy as well. Another JKS product and by doing the motor mount lift I didn't have trim the fan shroud...Bonus!
Next up, transfer case skid. Step one, support the transmission
Step two, remove the transfer case skid plate...
Step three, this is the transmission mount. You have to modify this piece to accommodate the lopro mount.
The lopro is on the right. Notice the differences
The upper part of the transmission mount is retained for re-use but requires a little mod to fit the lopro.

In the directions they talk about cutting this support for the catalytic converter hanger. I didn't see the need so I didn't cut it. Happy to report I'm glad I didn't. The muffler would've been pulled down on the the skid plate
Here the lopro is installed. The arrow points to an extra mount hole.
Here the skid plate is installed
Remember the trimming I had to do to accommodate the crossmember? Yeah. I didn't trim enough.
So, here is a comparison before and after
This makes it obvious the gain in ground clearance

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by ctorres018 (Post 15848576)
I'm liking the build. Very simple but you have some good stuff. You should of got aluminim to save weight but non the less UCF is good stuff.

Yeah, I debated aluminum or steel. I knew aluminum was lighter but was worried about disimilar metal corrosion happening. (Probably over thinking it, but like I said I'm cheap and also a hypochondriac)

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 11:21 PM

Last up for tonight is the gas tank skid. Sadly I didn't take pics during the install. Suffice it to say, it is a two man job and I was alone, so after a lot of cussing and skinned knuckles it was installed
Before... The yellow lines give you a reference
And after...
It was a tight fit to be sure. Remember I said this was a one inch lift skid.

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 11:37 PM

Alright, a little more...I live in Georgia and its hotter than blue blazes and the rest of the time it rains. So my top is getting older at the ripe old age of 8, which I am told is pretty good for a soft top. Its also starting to leak, a lot. So I ordered a Bestop Sail cloth replace-a-top. Not cheap, but very good quality, IMHO.
It is February 2012

Flyboy161 08-28-2013 11:43 PM

Meanwhile I decided to upgrade a little more. I ordered a Spartan locker for the front. Super easy, super durable. Best gadget EVER!
Here it is installed
It has really great street manners. I don't even feel it there except for a very slight clicking noise in tight parking lot turns and an occasional clunk. On the trail? WOW! Once it has power applied it pulls my Jeep up the steepest hills. I'm still running an open diff Dana 44 in the rear and haven't gotten stuck since installing this

The time now is 04:32 AM.

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