My long winded bull**** story from when I bought the Jeep, up until where I am now, read at your own risk.
I got into wheeling in the spring of 2010. I originally had a Hummer H3 Alpha w/ the Offroad package on 35’s. For what it was, it was pretty capable and a lot of people were shocked it went the places it did. It had a mild shackle lift, a torsion bar lift, Bilsteins, Magnaflow Catback, AirDoc intake, a PCMForLess tune.
I loved my H3 dearly, and if I had been able to keep it I would. Most people are not aware you could get the H3’s with a 5.3L V8, 4:1 TCase, and F/R Lockers from the factory and saw them simply as girly grocery getters. It was one damn good looking truck in Birch White with all the chrome removed including the front grill. To this day I still miss just how comfortable of a vehicle it was, it had one of the most brilliant traction control systems for snow I’ve ever had the luxury of driving. Even with the mild lift and 35’s it rode like a Cadillac.
But I digress…after two seasons of wheeling I came to realize it was just never going to be what I wanted it to be. It was simply too bulky, and the body/fenders/bumpers far too delicate to do the things I wanted to do and keep up with my friends on the trails. After paying to have all the body damage fixed included caving in the driver door and nearly ripping the fender off it was time for it to go, and when it did it lasted less than a week at the dealership. It tore my heart out to see it go, I just hope whoever bought it is having as much fun in it as I did.
This was the H3 as it sat shortly before letting it go:
Around the same time I was considering a Jeep a close friend of mine texted me while I was sitting at work with a link:
“Check this out, 06 LJ Rubicon w/ 73k sitting at a dealership an hour away, 100% stock except for a Warn 9.5ti on the front, look at the price too.”
“I’ll pick you up after work, we’re going to look at it tonight.” I responded.
I drove down with two friends, and we went over it with a fine tooth comb. No marks or scrapes on the underbody from ever being wheeled, lockers worked fine, trans was smooth as butter, and someone was even dumb enough to leave a $1,300 winch on the front before they traded it in? The Jeep was completely stock minus the winch, and a Tuffy slide out trunk, and a Tuffy overhead CB compartment. I was back to buy it the next night. I even beat them up on the price and then got them to shave another $200 off the price because the winch remote was missing.
I ended up finding the winch remote under the rear seat once I got it home.
All three of us ended up at a nearby BW3’s for beer and wings. I felt like I had just gone down a rabbit hole and as we were sitting there I said to my friends, “You guys are going to help me lift this thing right?” with a grin. “Of course” they said, and so it began in October of 2011.
I did not do as much research as I should have, and many things would have been done differently if I know now what I knew then. I wanted it lifted, and I wanted to go wheeling, end of story. I made what has now turned out to be the terrible decision of buying the 6” Rough Country Long Arm kit. I figured why not, the price was about what I had in my pocket to play with at the time and the install looked simple enough. I can honestly say I will never buy anything RC again at this point. The folks there have been nothing but great, every time I’ve broken something they have sent me out parts no questions asked. At this point I’ve replaced the brake lines once, the front track bar twice, the rear track bar once, and I am on my third rebuild of their wannabe Johnny Joint “X-Flex” joints. The lift had been on for less than a year at this point. At the same time I got the lift I traded off the factory wheels and tires plus some cash to a friend who had the five 35’s KM2’s on 16” American racing wheels. I never would have ran 16” wheels but for the deal I got and what I had in my pocket I wasn’t about to pass it up.
While out wheeling in April of this year, bad luck combined with inexperience resulted in me laying the Jeep over on the passenger side pretty violently. Lucky the top and doors were not on. The steering, front sway bar, and most of the control arm joints were a total loss. There was fender damage, the tub was dented up pretty good, my windshield frame took some loving, and I soon had a leaky steering box thanks to the damage done to the steering during the roll.
After putting it on its side I realized that I wanted to start playing at a higher level. During the roll I bashed my head hard enough on the Tuffy Overhead rack to have me throwing up and disoriented for about a week. The Tuffy Overhead came out and got sold, the Tuffy slide out trunk went back in, I bought a fire extinguisher mount and an extinguisher, called Leo at Twisted stitch for a set of seats, welded in a harness bar, grabbed some 5 points, and started looking into beefing up or completely replacing the cage.
At that point it also got the Currie Steering, Antirock sway bar, Lee MFG steering box, control arm joint rebuild, lowered to 4” on Currie springs, Bilstein shocks, and a few other things. I also had come to realize just what a terrible design overall the RC lift kit was. The bolt on control arm bracket acting as a TCase drop, and not having any vertical separation at the frame on the rear had to go. I went with the UCF brackets, did a BL/MML, and threw on the Jeep Medic Tummy Tuck skids I had picked up used from a friend. Also during that time it got all of the body armor to cover the tub damage, and I fixed a couple normal wear and tear things I was eating up while wheeling.
After the roll I picked up a set of Dana 60’s, one being a mint condition 79 Ford HP out of a running driving Snofighter F-250. It had like new brakes and flanges on it. I also picked up a set of 39.5 TSL’s on H1 beadlocks. Sadly after sitting on the parts for a few weeks, researching, running some rough dollar figures, and looking at my current work space situation I decided to hold off on going one tons for now. During my research I really started figuring out exactly what I wanted to do, and an axle swap turned into “Well, I might as well run ORI’s if I’m doing all the work, I better find a 14b for the rear, and heck, why not stretch it and go full hydro, etc.” and sadly, all of that was not in the budget and I wasn’t going to slave over something that wasn’t what I wanted it to be.
I unloaded the parts to some friends who would put them to use quicker than I would and committed to learning to wheel what I had better, and improving on what I could. I figure at the absolute least I need to get my roll cage situation sorted out before thinking about an axle swap.
So, all of that in the last year since I’ve owned the Jeep leaves me where I’m at now. I love my Jeep and probably won’t be getting rid of it unless life forces me to. Someday it will be sitting on tons, when and where is still up in the air and I’m content to wheel what I have for now.