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Unread 07-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
NC_PreRunner
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2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
Posts: 101
True 2 - The pursuit of a Capable 2WD

Hey guys im Wells, 24, Married, live in Wilm. Nc and am going to school for collision and auto body repair.
I bought my first Jeep a '03 Wj Laredo 2wd/RWD (I know, I know its not 4x4, not a real jeep blah blah) back in march. I had big plans of making a "prerunner style or chase style jeep and taking it down to the desert out to Michigan and various crazy trips.
Well as a newly Wedd I am realizing its gonna be slower build than I planned. I work 40hrs a week and starting back in 2 weeks will be in school 30hrs as well. I will be doing 99% of mods and work myself. So yeah should be slow. Lol
I still plan on taking the trips with it but will be building a slightly dif style build than I originally planned. Instead of a "prerunner" it just is what it is and will become what it becomes. Ill am to make it the most capable 2wd it can be (locker and crap loads of recovery gear coming) & still make my daily comute to work and school.
With that said here is what I have now and my future plans for the old girl.

Currently: 3" lift, 1.5 wheel spacers, 33x12.5 bfg t/a ko's (sitting in back and going on soon), and various poorboy diy things.

Future-within the next year : Aussie locker (next month) 4.5" lift, pleanty of cutting trimming and body mods to fit the 33x12.5s, regearing to 4.10 or 4.56 not sure (3.73 now), gas tank lift gonna try this next month when I get back to school so I can use the shop welder, custom front and rear bumpers with swing tire carrier which I will build myself.

Hopefully you guys can help me along the way with your knowledge and tips.

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Unread 07-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #2
NC_PreRunner
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2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
Posts: 101
Didn't take many stock pics from when I got her back in march but here's one.
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Unread 07-25-2014, 08:24 PM   #3
NC_PreRunner
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Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
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Soon I took out my old scuffed tailight and gave them a makeover.
Sanded them with a fine grit S.paper and then went over them well with a polishing cloth for headlight restoration. Taped off turn signals and such for a unique look.
Did 2 coats of VHT Nightshade waited for them to dry and plugged them in to test darkness. . It was just enough that there wasn't a huge difference in light output but I wasn't comfortable going any darker.
Took them back off and did 3 coats of VHT Clear Coat to protect from scrathes.
Took about 3-4 hrs total but it was all waiting for them to dry.
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Unread 07-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #4
NC_PreRunner
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Posts: 101
Next came Rough Country 1.5" Wheel spacers.
I hated how the WJ has such a tucked under wheel stance. I was planning on getting some steel wheels later but wasn't sure what I needed so opted for the spacers until later.
Here's is my best b4 & after yeah its opposite sides... I take crappy photos
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Unread 07-26-2014, 08:03 AM   #5
NC_PreRunner
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
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Painted Wheels (silver blade #1's) just to see what black wheels would look like.
Used Duplicolor Carbon fiber wheel paint kit. I left off the carbon finish though thought it looked stupid. Sanded them heavily and washed with degreaser. Then 3 coats paint, three coats clear coat.
Didn't turn out as good as I would have liked. Sone nicks and scratches in wheels caused it to look a little uneven.
-The blu painters tape I used caused some jagged edges and paint bleed through especially on the center cap. Grrr
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Unread 07-26-2014, 08:48 AM   #6
NC_PreRunner
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Next I tried my best to get rid of the fadded gray cladding. Tried a restore solution from Auto Zone. But it didn't make much of a dif and was only enough for like one side.
So I I sprayed them down good scrubed hard with degreaser and a wire brush rinsed and waited for them to dry.
Took off the Grill, headlights, tailights etc and taped everything else off.
With 10 cans of Krylon Fusion flat black sprayed all bumpers and side cladding in 3 even coats. Light sanding after the first. Then everything dried in 4hrs.
Looks 10 times better and after all this blacking out I bet I gained 20horsepower lol
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Unread 07-26-2014, 09:05 AM   #7
NC_PreRunner
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Then in july It was time for a lift. Went with just 3" to keep it low cog and reduce as much roll or flip possibility as possible.. Since its 2wd I will have to be using momentum to get me through any sticky situations. Also see myself having to plow through areas at higher speeds than 4x4 guys would, and not being able to break whenever cause of fronts digging in and getting buried. For this I went with just a 3".
Here's the pics of 3" Supreme Suspension (spacers.) - I plan to go back add about an inch coil springs(softest I can find) to front to make front higher than rear. Then I will go back and add retainers to fronts and backs. (Can't decide on straps of the bracket type.) *I plan on putting a 4.5" "real" spring lift on durring tax season.
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Unread 07-26-2014, 09:18 AM   #8
NC_PreRunner
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So i had some death wobble issues after lift.
I checked:
Trackbar - Not loose, not any play to it. Disconnected it and its still lined up right.
Axel - Centered preety close maybe a 1/8" off. Idk for sure.
Tre - No play
Drag link - Nope
Shocks - They were good although new ones are coming in a few weeks anyhow.
Various Bolts and Bushings - Bingo! disconnected the sway bar links, shocks, lower control arms etc. Re attached all and torqued good and tight. No more death wobble. Go figure
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Unread 07-26-2014, 09:28 AM   #9
NC_PreRunner
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
Posts: 101
After that was fixed she was looking good and riding smooth.
Just hoping she looks as good later this week after I start tearing into those fenders.
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Unread 07-26-2014, 11:31 AM   #10
NC_PreRunner
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Yesterday I decided to add some mesh to the old black grill.
I previously painted the grill black with some Krylon Fusion flat black. I sanded that down real well. And spray it with Rustoleum hammered paint and primer black. its not nearly as black as the krylon was looks kinda dark gray to me, oh well.
Then picked up 2 metal (not plastic) gutter guards mesh thingies lol idk what they are called. I painted them with Rustoleum satin metallics in satin nickle color.
Then cut them with wire cutters to the size of grill bar gaps and glued them on with some heat resistant clear epoxy from the local Weirdo-mart.
Whole thing cost me less than $20.
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Unread 07-26-2014, 02:09 PM   #11
NC_PreRunner
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
Posts: 101
Fender cutting should start Mon and go into Tues if need be... permitted it doesn't Rain as it seem to do everytime I have a day off.
I got the (3)33x12.5x15 BFG t/a ko's & (1) trail mark sitting in the back. They have a uneven wear pattern to them and sit at more like 32.5 so I think they should sit closer to 32's with the weight of the vehicle on them.
I got em on craigslist for $150 with some steel rims on them. They were cheap because of the lower tread left and funky wear pattern some have places with less than 20% and upto 40% and the trail mark has mostly 50%. (Which is fine for now better for the sand around here anyhow) and ill get some better ones in a few months.
I was told the steelies were 5x5 bolt but they don't fit and looks like they must be 5x4.5
Ill be looking for some 15x8 steels and getting some soon. And will order my Aussie Locker In about 4weeks.
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Unread 07-31-2014, 06:55 PM   #12
NC_PreRunner
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Wilmington, NC - NORTH CAROLINA
Posts: 101
Well Radiator has been spraying coolant all over engine compartment
There's a small hole near the top. I believe it was a small leak and must have finally cracked I had to replace coolant more frequently than I should (every month or so) but couldn't find a leak.
Local pick n pull junkyard has radiators for $39.99 so I'm gonna replace it. And will post a write up this week.
Not exactly what I'd call fun work, I should have been trimming my fenders instead of dealing with this.

They have axel shafts for $25 so maybe ill pick up a couple spare ones for the d35 just incase.
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