So I decided it's time to start a build thread. This is not going to be an exciting thread for most folks. What I plan for my Jeep is pretty tame. I'm mostly interested in documenting what I've done for me to review in the future. But feel free to watch along if you're interested.
I picked up High Maintenance this past summer. A list of things I've done to her before starting this thread include:
-New stereo head unit
-New front speakers
-Install subwoofer and amp
-Build trunk (I built a custom trunk that fills the entire back of the Jeep. It's carpeted and houses the amp and subwoofer)
-Take off the milk jugs!
-Installed mirror movers
-Took off the doors for the Jeep’s first time. (I'm proud I got to deflower her!)
-Install seat covers
-New floor mats
-Build and install interior light defeat circuit
-Install cruise control (This was a high dollar item and probably the first time I really did any wrenching on my Jeep. It was scary but a really easy install)
-Install bottle opener (a necessity on any Jeep)
-Change manual tranny fluid
-Change transfer case fluid
-Change rear diff fluid
-Changed blower motor and resistor, fixed switch
-Installed new steering stabilizer
-Painted headlight bezels
-Installed LED interior lights (HIGHLY recommended)
-Had the rear end rebuilt ($$$!) (This was most likely a mistake. For what I put into rebuilding the 35, I easily could have found a 44 or 8.8. But, at the time, I just didn't know enough to pull it off)
-Installed side steps (and I took the damn things off just a couple days ago. Another mistake.)
New tires ($$) (General Grabbers, I love 'em)
-Install trunk organizer
-Install tow hooks
-Installed new rear bumper (Olympic Wrecker)
That's it so far. Actually, today I did the BL, MML, and BB. I'm going to write that up in the next post...
Not long after joining the Forum, I found the "what did you name your Jeep" thread. I only needed to think about it for about six seconds before I knew her name. She is High Maintenance. I soon found a picture that embodies everything my Jeep is to me: she's hot, difficult to manage, sultry and alluring, tempermental, hard to work with, and worth it all! Here she is:
So today was a productive day. We installed the JKS 1.25” body lift, JKS motor mount lift, and Crawler Ready 2” budget boost with some Rancho shocks I got at the local Advance Auto. In all honesty, I cheated in TWO big ways.
First, I had this:
It’s the repair bay of the firehouse where I volunteer. During the week it’s used to repair the apparatus that the Fire Department runs; on weekends the chief allows firefighters to use the bay for their personal vehicles. It’s been AWESOME to work on the Jeep in this bay, and I have no doubt that I’m spoiled for life.
Second, I had this:
This is a Jason. He’s one of the firefighters at the station today. Before he was a firefighter, he was a mechanic. Not Jeeps, Toyotas I think, but hey, nobody’s perfect! His help was indispensable today. Thanks Jason!
So we started off with the BL. We thought we were done in about two hours:
AFTER the lift was complete, we decided that even though the directions from JKS said we didn’t need to use the TC lever relocation bracket because we were also about to do a MML, we noticed the lever was in a real bind. It did still shift, but it was really rough. Putting in the bracket after the lift was done (as well as some frozen bolts on the factory bracket) cost us at least two hours. My suggestion: even if the instructions say it isn’t required, put in the bracket and do it when the directions tell you to.
The motor mount lift was AWESOME. It took about two hours and went off without a hitch.
Immediately prior to doing the budget boost, I discovered the only major problem for the day: Advance had given me two of two different part numbered shocks, but they were all front shocks. I called them up, they apologized, promised the new shocks will be in tomorrow at 0900, and gave me nearly a 50% discount on the two shocks they screwed up.
So, we did the rest of the BB install except for the rear shocks. They should go on easy tomorrow with plenty of time for the Super Bowl.
Here’s how she looks after. It’s funny how it doesn’t look too different in the picture, she has a MUCH meaner stance now in person:
And here’s the “yardstick” with three lines: stock, after the BL, and after everything. Top to bottom is EXACTLY three inches. NOICE.
Took her for a drive today once the rear shocks were on, and not a hint of driveline vibrations could be found! Just a quick trip to Hershey Tire for a front end alignment and she'll be ready for the road and the trail!
Well, to answer the previous question: today we did an oil change and added front and rear Four X Doctor differential guards:
Nice, easy installation. Neither one leaked (more than they already do) when I removed the bolts to bolt them on. The only problem was resolved prior to the start: the manufacturer included an obviously incorrect bolt with the rear guard. It was metric instead of SAE and the wrong length, so it was easy to pick out. But it was so easy to pick out I'm a little disappointed they couldn't catch it before they packaged it. A walk to the corner Ace hardware and $0.45 solved the problem.
And so, NOW what next? Well, the first thing is a LONG road trip. She's going to catch a ride across the country to her new home: Tucson, AZ. I got a new job and I'm heading out there in the next couple weeks! Sorry I won't get to hang out with the Staunton folks watching the thread. Once she gets there and settled in, I'm planning on an oil pan/tranny skid and a gas tank skid. Then, who knows?
One significant lament: I won't be able to use my fire department's repair bay from Tucson. It's a bit to far to drive to answer calls or wrench. I'll need to wait until I have a garage to do any more mods. Hopefully that won't be too long...
No problems at all. Interestingly enough I had a couple inches of clearance, I dunno what all the fuss is about, I easily could have installed a full cover if I had wanted to. Although I haven't had the time to wheel her since the BB, so I may find problems then.
On Monday, High Maintenance and I headed out for our first real Arizona wheeling experience on a trail called Chiva Falls. HOLY CRAP! Definitely more extreme than anything I'd ever experienced. To most folks it would have been relatively tame but it was still a great time for us. Nothing got torn up too badly, other than the arrival of an intermittent knock from under the floorboard that got more and more frequent throughout the run until it was almost constant by the end. It seems to only happen in 4LO though, I'm wondering if it's just the TC shifter assembly knocking around.
To answer a post upstream: no apparent articulation problems with the differential guards.
Oh, and I also found out (the hard way, or some would say the RIGHT way) that the XRC sliders can take a really hard knock without denting. Money well spent. I would have seriously FUBARed the body without them on the way back up Three Feathers.
No pics, sorry. The guy I went wheeling with was going out of his way to take great shots of me all day, but noticed well into the day that he'd left his memory card out of the camera (and at home). Oh well, just a reason to do it again!
Plans for the week: buy a creeper and see if I can find where that knock/rattle was coming from
Plans for the near future: CB radio, oil pan skid, and gas tank skid.
Plans for the summer: hope that the bank accepts our offer on a new home for me and the wife with a three car garage, a new home for High Maintenance!
...aaaannnndd starting to research what to do about that D35.
I know, I know. Like I said, the other Jeeper was being uber cool trying to take lots of pics, then just walked up all sheepish and gave me the bad news about just noticing that he'd been taking pics with no memory card in. Oh well.
Here is one pic of the trip in a way, it turns out the stock skid took one for the team:
and while I was fooling around under there I set myself up some budget disconnects:
Man, I dunno about these. They're really loose, and are not nearly secure as the bolts I took out. I understand they don't need to be crazy tight because they don't see terribly big forces on the road and will be disconnected on the trail. I also understand that this is how LOTS of folks get started when they're new to wheeling, but they just don't sit well with me. As I mentioned in a past post, I'm closer and closer to pulling the trigger on an aluminum oil pan skid (UCF probably) and aluminum gas tank skid (Savvy, probably) so the cost of a real pair of disconnects on top of all that wouldn't even be a blip on the credit card balance...