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Unread 08-16-2011, 10:48 AM   #16
shortstax33
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Working the fest Sat night, and I have weekends off!! I'm just a lucky guy I guess.

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Unread 08-18-2011, 01:14 PM   #17
shortstax33
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Update time! I got all the hardware mounted and got some pictures. Also got the tires mounted!

New overall.

I know it's a trick of the eye, seeing as I went from a 31" to another 31" tire, but it just seems like the TJ is taller and there's more space under the fenders. I've put alllll of 60 miles on them so far. For those who don't know, or in case I'm just that retarded and forgot to post it, I got Hankook DynaPro M/Ts in 31". My review so far is pretty strait forward. They drive and handle great! Better than my old crappy A/Ts. I haven't noticed an increase in road noise, and I've driven it completely buttoned up, and completely topless. Also gotten a little bit of highway time back and forth to work, fastest i hit was I THINK 65mph, at least according to the speedo. I'm pretty sure when the tire size was boosted to 31" from stock, the speedo wasn't changed so the speeds are probably higher. The lack of road noise is a bit of a surprise because the tread pattern is pretty aggressive. I didn't think of photographing it, especially seeing as all you have to do is google it to see it. Buuuut, maybe I will later, just for the sake of thoroughness, adn post it up later. Annnnnnd end the first review. Time to put some miles on, drive it in the rain, mud and snow, and a little more highway time.

The new tire itself, mounted.

My only issue is with the crappy wheels the jeep came with. Lovell's told me the center caps were rusty and crappy, and they broke one of them during the mounting process. I'm not really concerned. When I have some liquid cash on hand, I'm going to replace them with a cheap set of steal rims anyways. They'll survive for now at least, and that's all that matters.

Oh, and I will be posting my old tires up on here as soon as I get some pictures. Lots of life and tread left on them, so hopefully I can get a few dollars to help supplement the cost of the replacements....or purchases new rims.

I also got the light brackets mounted up, though I haven't had a chance to spray the hardware yet.


And my mirrors, though you can kinda see them in the previous pictures. I'm going to have to sand em and paint them again I think. You can definitely see oil spots where I touched the mirrors prior to priming...and probably after priming. Note. Don't touch painted surfaces with bare hands.


And because I don't Think I ever showed one of my more noticeable vehicle features.

Yup, the doors are off colored. The guy my buddy purchased the Jeep friend originally told us he had his doors stolen. These were a junk yard replacement set. They fit and work just fine, so I don't mind.

Next step. Road trip to Indiana to pick up the new top. Looking forward to it.
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Unread 08-20-2011, 10:29 PM   #18
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Alright, sooo I didn't make it to Indiana. On the ride back to my folks place the night before, I started hearing some kind of whistling, or scraping sound. Dropped it off at my mechanic. My idler pulley took a dump. For a $100.00 it was installed in 2 hours. Glad I didn't risk the drive. My mechanic advised me if the pulley crapped out, the belt could have seized up, causing me to lose alllllll my belted equipment. And would have been stranded. Probably at the farthest point out. So I'm glad I got it fixed, even if it means not getting the replacement top yet. I'll get there sooner or later.

Since I was stuck in suburbia, I went to Radio shack and finally got a CB antenna. One more thing I don't need to worry about!

Well, tomorrow going to the Cliff's!! Can't wait! Hopefully meeting a few other jeep forum members!
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Unread 08-26-2011, 01:17 PM   #19
shortstax33
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Well I made it to the cliffs, and let me tell you, it was an educational experience. I learned how to replace a valve stem in a tire, that I absolutely hate mud, how to remount a tire on a rim in the field, that a 90amp alternator CANNOT power 2 jeeps simultaneously, I'm pretty sure my jeep hates me, and a whole series of other thing I'll get to in a few minutes.

Well we get to the park with minimum issues. Forgot to coordinate with other JP folk, so I ended up not meeting with anyone, but I did bring my buddy Jake. So we got to the park, hooked up my flag, and up the trail we went. Stopped off early and aired down to 14psi in my brand new mudders.

Jake helping me out. Note: a screwdriver works better than the crappy little valve on my tire gauge.

Started off by playing on a rock pile. Seemed like a good idea and it really was a lot of fun. Scary as hell, but fun. Not used to driving on a pile of objects with sharp edges. I was just praying I didn't pop anything. I did finally get to stretch a little



Played just a little bit around the edges of the pile, I wasn't yet feeling brave enough to clear the top of the pile. Sat and watched a bunch of ATV's playing for a bit, then continued our adventure. Worked our way around the park, bypassing the big mud trenches that appear to be there so people can get their mud fix if they feel the need for one. I did not at this point in the day. Did a full lap of the exterior path of the park with no major incidents. Never got stuck, didn't break anything, didn't need to even look at the winch. It was almost too easy, still a lot of fun though. But we couldn't go through just one lap and NOT play a little more.

So back to the rock pile to play some more. I was feeling a lot more comfortable at this point so over the top we were going. I wish there were more pictures, you think since all Jake had to do was ride shotgun he'd have been all over taking pictures, but alas, there are very few. Anyway, so over the pile I start to head, get to the peak, a rock shifts, the jeep slides to the left a bit....and I hear a rush of air. : I look at the tire from my door, I don't see anything yet. I back her off the pile as quick as I can trying to avoid breaking anything else. I get her back down to the dirt. I find the problem right away.

Looks like the valve stem on the front driver's side tire hit a rock and tore half around the base of the stem and it was releasing air. I check my jeep for my lug nut wrench...and can't find it ANYWHERE. (In hindsight, I brought a full set of wrenches so we could have gotten it off in a pinch, but disconcerting nevertheless) That did not help the situation. So we start try to tie it off, pack it with anything and everything, and the tire just gets flatter and flatter. Not really surprising, but it was an act of desperation. To our GREAT good luck, a black Cherokee pulls up and asks us what's going on. Pat and Phil are the names, and they just happen to be mechanics.

They let me know we can probably fix the stem if they have spares at the pro shop. We get the Jeep jacked up, they lend me an impact wrench to remove the wheel, and they also lend me a full 31" spare instead of having to use my 28". Sweet! We decide to stick together for the rest of the day, Pat is definitely eyeballing my winch, and as it turns our they have more wheeling experience then me, so I'm all for it. So we start heading back towards the pro-shop and run across a stuck jeep, a stock TJ who's only mod was a winch. Low and behold, there's nothing in front of him to winch off of for 150ft. So Pat hooks up a tow strap, gives him a tug and our marry band has now expanded to 3.

We get back to the pro shop, I get the last valve stem they have, and we get to work. Breaking the bead was a bigger pain than we thought. Pat ended up having to drive onto my tire to do it. But he did it, we put in the new stem, used an in car compressor and with a little finagling, reset the bead and re-inflated the tire. It seemed to hold air, so we were good to go.

We continued on, climbed some stuff, drove through some puddles, then arrived at the big trenches. Apparently Pat's a mud person, because he dove right in. I figured, hey, I got new mud tires, lets see what they got. I played right along. Made it through the water hole no problems. The thick mud however... I needed a tug.


And our new friend getting good and stuck.

And the playing continued, our very intelligent stock friend just watching. I started getting cocky and stupid. Went through a bug mud pit, got through no problem, then there was a hump and another one right in line. I barrel into it full speed....and hit something. I'm completely stuck. I pop my head out and this is what I see.

There are no words as offensive and horrifying as the slew of curse words uttered from my lips when I saw that. I blew the bead on both sides of the tire, and now I'm terrified a jacked up my brand new tires. Pat drives around to tug me out, if he can and goes to drive through this dinky LOOKING little mud pit, instead of taking thirty extra seconds to go around the pits. He gets stuck. and I mean REALLY stuck. He managed to bury both differentials completely in clay. The little stocker grabbed the tow strap and tried to tug him out, no good. We were going to try the winch, but as it turned out, his winch didn't actually work. No one had a shovel. This was turning out well. Thankfully after maybe 45 minutes of digging, a good samaritan showed up, and tugged me out. We pulled the 31" spare out again, mounted it up and repositioned to help out Pat. A good hour and a half total digging time, finally I parked mine in front, winched up, and tugged him out.

The final damage amounted to 2 of his fender flairs completely broke off, another half broke off, half of his front bumper cover was torn off. We decided enough was enough, we'd head to the creek off of the parking lot, wash up a little, and then call it a well abused day. We made it to the creek when Pat advised me of the next problem. His Jeep was drawing from the battery, and his amperage was dropping quick. His alternator was dieing on him. Apparently it had been a common occurrence, because he had a spare in his jeep. He did a quick splashing lap in the creek to rinse off and parked it for a minute.

Just because even when you get your *** kicked, you need to keep a sense of humor.


I did the same, and tried to clean some of the mud out of my unmounted tire to decide if it would be possible to remount it, or if I was going to half to tricycle home on my 28" spare. Our stocker friend decided to play in the water, and started playing in the deeper section. Low and behold, he got stuck. After rocking back and forth trying to get out for a while, the jeep actually began digging itself lower in the water. After a few more minutes of that, the jeep just died. Sadly he didn't give anyone a chance to get into position to tug him out. Before me or Pat could get into position to tow him out, a nice fella in a Suzuki Samurai back in and towed him back to the lot. Me and Pat decided we'd head to the lot, he'd swap his alternator while Phil tried to get the stocker running again, and we'd all get out while we could. I swapped over to my little spare and back to the lot we went.

This was taken from home,but gives you an idea what it looked like.


So we all powowed, shared tools and did our best to get everything fixed. After a while of cranking the stocker, Phil managed to kill the battery. I hooked up to him and revved my engine, and basically my jeep and his starter trying to get it running.

Finally we have to give up. I unhook, and park my jeep. It dawns on me if we were pulling that much current...maybe my battery needed to charge a bit. Yup...it sure did. All I got were a bunch of clicks. The park was now trying to close, and the last employee tried jumping me with his little S10. It wouldn't do it. We ended up push starting it and getting it going. Our stocker friend got towed back to the garage for the local mechanic to try and fix it. Pat got his alternator in. All parties involved swapped names and number, of which I lost most of on the drive home...stupid cell phone...but it was still a great day, even if filled with disasters.

I did find out later the stocker got back to the garage, had his battery charged, and it started right up. Lucky guy.

Me however, lol. I got home, turned of the jeep and tried to start it again, nothing. Battery was dead. I through the trickle charger on and let her go. I have a thread up in the TJ section to diagnose that one. I'll get to that adventure in my next post.
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Unread 08-26-2011, 01:46 PM   #20
Mazdarx
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Good to hear everybody got their Jeeps home with no permanent damage. That looks like some majorly thick heavy mud.
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Unread 08-26-2011, 02:16 PM   #21
hallsofstone
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That is why I only play in the mud a little bit. I'll get my Jeep dirty and make chunks fly 20+ ft. in the air but I'm not about to totally destroy my daily driver just to splash brown soup all over the place. Now, that being said, I'll totally destroy a dedicated mud truck with an ear to ear grin any day.

This is a really cool build. Really familiar issues being resolved and I like your documentary style of writing. Right now I'm replacing the starter and the power steering box and running my Dad's YJ to work (he needed some fog lights wired).

Good luck with your build! Keep shooting pictures!
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Unread 08-27-2011, 06:20 AM   #22
shortstax33
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Thanks for the comments! Yeah... the mud...was more like clay. My buddies came over today to help with my repairs and such. We're picking softball sized chunks of solid dried clay out of everywhere. I'm impressed everyone's vehicle is still kicking, but they are.. ish, lol.

And thanks Hall! I like being able to document everything I've done. Lets you see the progression as it happens. And if people are interested in reading about what I'm doing, and somewhere down the line even learn something, then it's all worth wild. Deffinately thinking I'm going to avoid most of the heavy mud from now on...can't afford to keep fixing things! Then again, I'm pretty sure the things that broke were already on their way out anyways. That and getting the tire balanced only costs $6.50 at Walmart. Stay tuned though, had a full day of work today, and it continues tomorrow. Gotta get her ready to pick up the new soft top!
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Unread 08-28-2011, 09:29 PM   #23
shortstax33
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Alrite, it's been a crazy busy weekend for the jeep.

I learned two new ways to mount a tire in the field. One is using a ratcheting strap and an air compressor. The other, which I tested on my 28" spare (and only because I discovered it's suffering from dry rot and I should NEVER have driven on it) starter fluid and a lighter does set a bead very effectively. And a $6.50 Walmart tire balance on my front driver side tire, and I'm good to go!

On to what I posted about earlier. I had some power issues to say the least. So here's the details and my responses. First, I drove home form the cliffs, after having been running two jeeps off my alternator, I drove home, turned off the jeep, and she stayed dead. Through her on the trickle charger over night, unplugged her in the morning, she started right up, turned her off right away. Went to work, came home, she started right up. Drove out to Warenville that night for a little Buffalo Wild Wings, which is about 40 minutes away. Stopped, and she was dead again. Got a jump drove her home...and dead again. On all the trips, about 20 minutes into the ride, the battery gauge would drop to nothing and the heat gauge would spontaneously hit 240. Didn't hear any boiling...but I kept the revs and the speeds low. 55mph(at least according to the dash which I know is off) and in 5th gear. It's an absolute dog, but it kept the temps in check and kept them in the 210 range.

Anyway, so I pulled the battery, brought it to Autozone...annnnnd low and behold it checked out Ok. wtf. I figured since the jeep never died while driving, it HAD to be the battery. While I was there I also picked up a replacement steering box, seeing as this last trip...broke whatever seals were left. Yes, it was leaking out of every seal on the box. I did not purchase a Durango box. The price difference was about $60.00 I believe, and right now, I'm sort of on a budget. Anyway, so we established the battery was good, and I brought home the new box.

Someone mentioned the possibility of the alternator going bad, which I couldn't understand, seeing as the jeep never died while it was running. Well, I'm not above being wrong, so I yanked the starter, and brought that to Autozone. And before anyone else points out the obvious, yes there was mud on/in the alternator, and yes, I washed it off with the hose as much as I could prior to bringing it to Autozone. Side note: pulling it out is a serious PITA. I had to unbolt the AC pump to have enough play to pull the alternator. Anyway, long story short, I bring it to Autozone...and it fails virtually instantly. And I'm proven wrong again. You live you learn, and thanks everyone that gave me advise on it!

So I've also been reading about the Durango 160 Amp alternator. I asked the cashier to look up the part for an 02 Durango 160 amp alternator, as that seemed to be the popular choice for the mod. The associate pulled it out... and the connector was not the right one. I ended up just getting a direct replacement, only a 90 amp. It's cheaper and I really just need to get rolling again.

I get home, open up the new alternator and take a look. Annnnnd one of the terminal mounts are broken. Grrrrrrr.

The busted Alternator.

I'm taking this as a sign from God. To JF I go for more Durango research. After plugging around for an hour, I find that the 160 amp works on the 02 and newer TJ's for sure. I THINK (Don't hold me to this as I have no way to confirm, feel free to chime in if you can corrent me) 99 and newer have a different connection for the alternator. Pre 99 uses a diferent plug and requires a different year Durango alternator. I find that a 98 Durango alternator will fit. Draw back, its only a 136 amp. Still a 46 amp improvement over what I have. I have a winch and a bunch of flood lights.... I'll do it!

Back to Autozone the next day. They knock of 10% for the previous damaged alternator, and another $20.00 for having a rewards zone card and another $30 for the core replacement. About $90 out the door. Not to terrible. Get it home and hook it up. It actually went in faster then the old one came out, go figure.

I know you should technically only fix one thing at a time...but I never was real bright. Sooo I got started on the steering box.

I made a little extra space for this project by yanking the coolant overflow reservoir. Thankfully the hose on it has enough play to let me just lay it on the engine.
The new box, still all packaged up.
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Unread 08-28-2011, 09:30 PM   #24
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Start out by disconnecting the hoses from the top. I successfully managed to break the plastic nipple of my power steering pump. Well sunuva........ This project is clearly going well. I call Autozone about a replacement reservoir. They don't carry one, only the full pump unit. I call around town and Napa carries the reservoir for $30. Autozone's replacement pump is $50 after yet ANOTHER discount. New pump it is! I go to Autozone, pick up the new pump and a pully puller kit.

I yanked the pulley off the old pump.
And mounting the pulley on the new pump.
Everything buttoned back up.

And back to my my steering box. I unbolt the steering shaft from the box. I cut off the old cotter pin from the castle nut that connects the pitman arm to the tie rod, and remove the castle nut. I leave the pitman in place on the steering box for now. I have the bench vice for that particular removal. I pull the 3 bolts that connect the box to the frame and pull the box. It's heavy, and it's dripping like crazy. Thank God for air tools. Though I have to admit, with all the remaining mud...it was pretty much raining all over the garage floor from the impacts.

Anyway, so that got pulled and the new unpackaged. Here it is in all its close up splendor.

I toss the old box in the vice and break out my pitman arm puller. I loosen the main bolt holding the pitman arm in place. I leave it in place, but loose. I've read to many stories of flying pitman arms, and have no urge to have a live demonstration. Pop on the arm puller and the arm comes off without to much fuss. Thank God. Here's to the little victories!!

I bolt the hoses up to the new box and thread them through the underside of the engine compartment. I hook the box up to the steering shaft and bolt the box back up to the frame. I put the pitman arm on the new box, line everything up, replace the pressure washer and bot, tighten everything down...and the arm doesn't go all the way onto the box. I torque it down and nothing. The teeth are 3/4 through the pitman arm, so everything still functions. I don't know how important it is to get the arm all the way against the box. I'm getting an alignment in a few days...I'll have them take a look at it. I bolt everything back up, and at least for the moment, I'm good to go.

Here's the gap in the pitman arm. Anyone have any advice how to remedy this? This also shows the castle nut and new cotter pin.

I start the jeep up...and low and behold! Everything works! I fill up the power steering reservoir, bleed it, and everything seems to be working good. I take her for a run around the block, and it all works like its supposed to. Woot! Of course...that ignores the fact that it tends to pull to the right...and when I hit the breaks it pulls HARD to the left. Like I said, an alignment is in my near future. I'm also overheating really easily. I did notice there was quite a bit of mud packed on the back side of the radiator. Ya know, I bet that's the issue. So today I spent a LONG time with the hose cleaning it out. Looks better now. I'll run it tomorrow and see if it fixed it.

While crawling around the old girl, I also discovered something interesting on the front bumper. A little addition if you will from one of the previous owners.

He welded a metal bar from the bumper to the frame. I've been shopping for new bumpers as my next big purchase....guess there's going to be some nasty removal before I can install anything. Thanks again, duesch bag for doing yet ANOTHER stupid thing that I need to repair. Oh well... $2K for a 98 TJ...I'm still ahead of the game I suppose.

It'll be a little bit before I get bumpers though. Well...maybe not too long, want to have some better recovery points for the next wheeling trip.

I also picked up a high lift jack today on sale at farm in fleet. It's a great place for all who shop there.

Next projects I'm going to work on: Painting my fender flairs black with Krylon fusion. Also time to build the hummer style snorkel kit.

That brings on another question for anyone paying attention. The write up online shows using another air box. While I was at Autozone I noticed a smaller conical air filter. I was thinking about mounting that inside of the hat of the snorkel, and then just routing the air hose strait to the intake manifold. Any thoughts or comments on this? Thanks guys!
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Unread 08-28-2011, 11:48 PM   #25
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Couple suggestions:
Stay out of mud. It destroys electronics and causes rust.
Wash your Jeep. Forget the outside, wash under hood, undercarriage, and flush the frame out - EVERY time you wheel. Do it while the mud is still wet, especially with clay. You're gonna get SOME mud on it, but purposely driving through deep clay mudpits is retarded. If you want to do that, build a dedicated mud truck.
Cut those shock boots off. All they do is keep mud and water up on the shock shaft; there is NO benefit to boots. They just prevent you from being able to wash the mud off after wheeling.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 02:43 AM   #26
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Yes I agree with Boodyrider...
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Unread 08-29-2011, 06:12 AM   #27
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Go buy yourself a pressure washer....best investment I ever made. I clean the jeep as soon I can, as I hate that mud crap too. Of course the hillbilly car wash works pretty good too.....just run a lawn sprinkler under the jeep for a few hours before getting out the pressure washer, it gives you a great head start.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 08:57 AM   #28
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Yeah... the mud pits were definately a stupid plan. On the plus side though, I did clean everything up suspension and engine wise, a day or two after the cliffs trip. The day of the trip... I didn't get home till 8 or 9, so that just wasn't happening. I didn't clean out the frame itself yet though, that still needs to be done. So much mud. I do have a pressure washer that I stole from my old man, but I think it's a little underpowered for the application. As for strut boots, I never installed mine. Right after they arrived I read a bunch of posts about boots catching mud water and crap, so they're just sitting on my work bench collecting dust.

Jeff, I'm all about the hillbilly car wash, I might set that up when I get home tonight and finish power washing the rest of the underbody. Meh, we'll see, either way, it's going for the alignment in the moring.
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Unread 08-29-2011, 10:40 AM   #29
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Sell those boots. Been meaning to cut mine off for a while now. Also going to have to bedliner the tops of my front fenders when I get a chance. Keep an eye on yours for rust and kill it fast if you don't have the cash for the pretty Metalcloaks or other flatties. PO let mine go a ways too long.

Hillbilly car wash is on of the most effective quick tricks I have ever run across. Pass that one on if ever you have a chance.

Lets see some shots of this Jeep all cleaned up!
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Unread 08-29-2011, 11:00 AM   #30
Jeffro06
October 2012 TJOTM
 
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2006 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Total, Confusion
Posts: 9,429
I ran shock boots on my YJ for years. Never had one issue with them holding mud or causing the shocks to rust. Now I never did mud bogs with the YJ, but normal trail mud never caused an issue. You just have to clean them like you would anything else, after a day in the mud.
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Member of JGW (Jeff's Gone Wheeling) and IndyORV
My Old YJ Build My Mods My YouTube Channel

Moab Trails I've done: Onion Creek, Long Canyon, Dome Plateau, Top of The World (2), Fins-N-Things (2), Poison Spider,
Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim, Hell's Revenge (2), Baby Lion Back, Cliff Hanger, Moab Rim, Kane Creek Canyon, Strike Ravine

Shortcuts to key points in my build: MTRk's OME 2" HD Lift Antirock Skidrow steering box & radiator skids LoD rear bumper
Rokmen Mercenary bumper w/Superwinch Rokmen sliders Skidrow engine skid Rampage Top CB set up
Custom trunk Rokmen 1" Billet spacers JJ track bar Rokmen Adjustable Control Arms Currectlync Steering
Rokmen Trail Corners Metalcloak Overlines Kentrol Hood Latches JK Turn Signals Xenon 4" Flat Flares Hood Decal Duratracs
Derale Tranny Cooler DieHard Factor 55 Thimble Ten Factory Front Chromo Shafts

Get your build sheet here.
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