In june of 2010, I found myself looking for a set of wheels for the wife to drive for a while.
I was mostly looking for a wj for her. We went to look at one, but it was sold.
While we were there, she mentioned an lj or 4dr jk could work for her. BONUS!
So looking at wjs went out the window, and the lj search began! Jks need not apply.
I wanted to spend about 15k, and it have pretty low miles. That was tough to find.
Not long after the search began I stumbled on to an auto trader add, at a local toyota dealer.
drove there immediately! They had no idea what they were selling. To them it was just another jeep. They were about to close. I walked in and said "I want the wrangler, here Is a grand to hold it". "Where are the keys, I wanna drive it" . The next day I picked it up for 16k out the door. Every other rubicon lj I saw was over 20k, most near 25k. It was exactly what I wanted! Loaded, dual tops, new kenwood tuner, new tires, and brakes. The best part was, it was traded in the day before, by an older guy from colorado. so no michigan salt!
Here it is at the dealership, the day I picked it up.
Im trying to build it right, yet stay on budget! That is not easy!
I have been buying parts for about 3 years, and the build is just starting.
When I bought it, it had 70,000 miles, was bone stock, and had never been off road.
I met the previous owner at the toyota dealer when I picked it up.
he was having some service done to the fj cruiser he traded it in on.
Nice guy, in his mid 60s. He never took the top or doors off. The soft top was brand new, never installed.
This will b a slow build, updates will be slow too. Just wanted a place to save pics and stories.
The first think I did was buy the complete set of husky liners. Pricey, but the carpets are still mint.
The next thing was rugged ridge seat covers. Cheap junk, but they fit like a glove!
While the seats were out, I added a 1.75" seat riser kit. I hated the low slung seats, im too short already.
While I was at it, I added four roll bar grab handles. Cheap, but helpful when getting in the back seat.
The first real trick was to get my wife out of it, before winter.
I did not want it to see michigan salt! She was not happy about this part!!!
So I bought me a beater to drive to work.
she got to drive my tow pig. V10 lariat superduty.
she hated driving my truck, so after a while I got her an 03 wj limited.
its stock, except for some jk moab wheels.
its a vin "j" h.o. v8, tow package, quadra drive, leather, and moon roof.
This is the reason my rubicon stays nice!
its an old beater, but it performs really well.
It was built by a friend of mine, he was not using it.
traded a 97 tj on 1/2 ford axles for it.
The tj was really clean, but the axles, suspension, and steering were a total mess!
3 link front. Triangulated 4 link rear.
Hp 60 front, lp sf shaved 60 rear.
5.38 gears, detroit front, spool rear.
race runner coil overs all around.
8274 with amsteel on front.
42" iroks. All cromo 35 spline shafts.
4.0L-aw4-flipped 4 to 1 d300.
was a t18 creeper 4 spd when I got it.
the engine is a 2001 cherokee c.o.p engine. Brand new, not reman.
I was looking for bumpers. I did not wanna drop the coin on them though.
Im no fabricator! I have basic welding skills, but never did it much.
I wanted a very stubby front bumper, with 2 d rings, a 2" receiver, and a winch mount.
I started by buying an a to z fab bumper mount kit for the front, but it was a little wide.
I bought a bunch of 2x4x3/16s steel. I then narrowed the mount.
I cut the 2x4 tube to my desired width, then counter sunk the d ring tabs, and hitch.
The hitch and d rings are welded to the front and rear of the bumper, then also the bumper mount.
they aint coming off! I dont have a close up picture in my phone, but here is a pic.
its got a bunch of stone chips in it now. gonna monsta line it, the rear, and the sliders soon.
I have been collecting parts for about 3 years. Alot of used stuff, but mostly high quality stuff.
during that time I got extremely lucky! Jcr off road makes some great stuff, and are really nice guys!
They were designing rock sliders for the lj, and needed a test mule for a few days. I happen to have one I can spare!
I dropped off my lj to them. They make, fit, and install a really nice set of sliders with tube steps at no cost!
They really were not free, they are quire a distance from me. I paid for gas. Im guessing about $150 in gas, and a good portion of two days. Definately the best $150 I ever spent! They actually used pics of my rig on their site for advertising.
I usually dont think much of product reviews from people that get free parts, but I really like them!
I guess im a complete hypocrite! Sue me!
Dont look at the tires, rims, or back bumper. Those come later.
one of the first things i did was start on front and rear bumpers. the front was done pretty quick. the rear took much longer.
i finally finished it (almost). it is mounted, and being used. still gotta get a destaco latch for it. thinking about dual jerry can mounts.
also gotta add a cb antenna mount. it will be monsta lined after all the rest of the changes are made. u will notice on the sides my bumper kick forward.
the extra rear length of the lj in the rear makes them a little more likely to be damaged. it stops at the edge of the rear flare, and is cut at the same angle.
im not sure if i like the look yet, but it is functional, and strong. in the future the sides will be tied into the rear bumper tie in brackets.
i did put a zerk fitting in the dust cap for the spindle so i can grease it easily, kinda like a bearing buddy. the main part of the bumper is 2x4x3/16s steel. it uses an a to z fab heavy duty spindle to support the swing out. the swing out lower bar is 2 x 3 x 3/16s steel. the upper a frame is 2 x 2 x 1/8th steel. it has a hitch receiver, and 2 d rings.
i have pulled about 6k lbs with it. had about 800lbs tongue weight. the bumper did not budge. its a work in process, but it does what i need it to do.
Looks like im buying a currie tjs front track bar off the classified on here. Was gonna go metal cloak.
Im getting close on the suspension parts.
Parts i have so far:
Rubicon express 3.5" springs f&r (I tow).
Front upper currie control arms.
Front lower currie control arms.
Front currie tjs track bar. (Should b here soon)
Jks front sway bar "quicker disconnects"
Currie 1" poly motor mount lift.
Prothane poly trans mount.
Prothane 1" poly body lift.
Teraflex revolver rear track bar.
Rubicon express angled rear track bar bracket.
Rubicon express extended braided brake hoses front and rear.
Tera flex rear upper shock relocators.
Four 12.5 x 37 x 17 bfg km2s ( need a matching spare ).
Five 17 x 9 american outlaw buckshot wheels.
savvy aluminum gas tank skid.
Things I still need to buy:
front and rear shocks.
Rear extended sway bar links.
rear upper currie control arms.
rear lower currie control arms.
currie tie rod and drag link.
black magic front pads.
ebc rear pads.
I have 4 fabtech lower flex arms. (Not adjustable length)
The knock off johnny joints in them can b rebuilt with currie parts if need be.(they are fine now)
I may use one set for a while on my rear lowers, not sure yet. Or I will sell them.
I got a manik grill guard I cant use. Wont fit with my home brew bumper. Probably sell that.
got an extra set of rusty old jks discos, for spare parts.
body lift, mml, and trans mount should b in very soon.
Bought a currie tjs track bar used off the classifieds here for 235 shipped.
It has taken 3 years, but I have run across some great deals on parts!
I think my snowmobile is sold on saturday. Gonna buy an older cheaper sled.
The extra cash will fund the last few parts I need for the suspension lift.
Im gonna miss my sled though! Its a 2008 yamaha apex ltx gt 40th anniversary edition.
150 hp 4 cyl 4 stroke. Just a blast to ride. Kinda heavy, but torque like no other sled ever made!