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Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed LineJeep Wrangler Bushwacker Flat Fender Flare Sale at BaselinANOTHER Rockridge4wd Creation!! Spare Tire Carrier Delete

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Unread 08-23-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
JCDubya
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2009 WK 
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: The Garage
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JCDubya's Build Thread (Sparkles the Beast!)

My Jeep is already pretty "built" but I thought it'd be fun to go through everything in order.

Stock!




Sparkles!






ToC:
De-chroming, part 1 (painted headlight bezels, grill, lifgate handle)

"Activating" a switch blank (Passport Escort 8500 SmartCord)

HID reverse lights

Gibson exhaust, Airaid MIT, & catch can install

New wheels: AEV Pintler (custom powdercoated)

Tires mounted: 285/70-17 (33") Goodyear Duratrac

DIY SuperFlux LED bulbs

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Unread 08-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #2
JCDubya
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De-chroming, part 1

My first priority was to get rid of some of the chrome, especially the headlight bezels. I expected the headlight project to be a piece of cake (like most other headlights) but since I was the first to tackle OEM Xenons (as far as I know), it was a learning experience. They weren't sealed with the standard butyl rubber that gets soft with heat, the lenses were basically glued on with a hard black substance that didn't get soft with heat. After much prying, I was able to separate them but the old "glue" had to be removed from the housing with a chisel, and from the lens with a Dremel. It was a major PITA, but totally worth it.

I found someone local with a Brilliant Black Laredo who wanted chrome parts so we swapped grills and liftgate handle/brow pieces. I also tinted the front two windows (20%), and installed yellow 9005 Nokya bulbs in the fogs.









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Unread 08-23-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
JCDubya
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"Activating" a switch black for use with a Passport Escort Direct Wire SmartCord

I like radar detectors but I hate exposed wires. I had the Direct Wire SmartCord but there weren't any spots I could put the control/info unit that I would be happy with. This is the SmartCord in OEM form:


The WK has a ton of "switch blanks" in the center stack so I converted one of those into an active switch to use w/my radar detector. Here's the writeup: How to "activate" a switch blank '08+ (radar detector hardwire remote mute/LEDs)

I added windows for the LEDs to the blank switch. It matches the heated seat button pretty well






I desoldered the LEDs and switch from the SmartCord control box and replaced them with leads leading to my new LEDs and switch




It works!


To finish it off, I added a label. It's the NATO map symbol for radar


Oh yeah, I also added SRT8 pedal covers, which you can kind of see in this photo
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Unread 08-24-2012, 11:01 AM   #4
JCDubya
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HID reverse lights

I can't take credit for this idea, some other guys here had been running them for a while without any trouble so I had to try it! I used the "premium" slim ballast kit from V-LEDS. Back when I used to retrofit halogen headlights with HIDs, I cannibalized OEM HID headlights for the parts. Luckily I had saved 9005 bulb holders from a set of BMW X5 headlights, which worked perfectly for this mod. All I did was epoxied the bulb holder over top of the reverse light bulb opening. Then I could just pop in a 9005 HID plug-and-play kit.







The reverse lights are literally like headlights. No camera trickery was used in the following photos, they were made using the same settings/exposure.
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Unread 08-24-2012, 12:19 PM   #5
Omelet
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Well look who finally decided to make a build thread over here!!! I can't wait for the next updates, Sparkles has come a long way. You have one beautiful Jeep and your attention to detail is rivaled by nun!
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Unread 08-25-2012, 03:28 PM   #6
JCDubya
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haha yeah I couldn't let you guys have all the fun Thanks!
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Unread 08-25-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
JCDubya
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Gibson exhaust, Airaid MIT, & catch can install


The 5.7L is too nice of a motor to be muffled so much so I had to open it up a little. I wanted a nice growl but I didn't want anything obnoxious that droned on the highway. I decided on the stainless Gibson system because it's a full 3", stainless, and had a resonator (no drone). I also thought it looked the best. I don't like how the Magnaflow dual-wall tip exits straight out, it looks ricey IMO. I thought the Gibson's single wall, angled tip looked more at home on a V8. It sounds great in a subtle way. It's loud enough that I can hear it from inside when I remote start it.

I also added an Airaid MIT and BT catch can. If you don't have a catch can on your HEMI, I highly recommend it. It catches so much oil/gunk that would otherwise end up in the intake manifold!

I made the bracket for the catch can









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Unread 08-25-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
JCDubya
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New wheels! AEV Pintler (custom color)

I picked up a set of AEV Pintlers. The argent/gunmetal color was too light for me; I wanted something dark but I didn't want to go with black. After much sampling and deliberating, I chose to powdercoat them in Autumn Black from NIC Industries: Prismatic Powders. Although it looks dark, it's definitely not black. It's more of a graphite color.

I also had the shop powdercoat my receiver shackle semi-gloss black. I put it on the wheel so you could see how the color compares to a standard black






I forgot to mention it in the earlier posts, but I also have a rear Addco sway bar and front SRT8 sway bar, which was also one of my first mods
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Unread 08-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #9
JeepN4KC
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Man - I really like those Overlands. Nice lookin rig - looks brand new!
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My Build Thread WK
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Unread 08-26-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
JCDubya
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Tires Mounted

285/70-17 (33") Goodyear Duratracs ready to roll!

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Unread 08-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #11
JCDubya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepN4KC View Post
Man - I really like those Overlands. Nice lookin rig - looks brand new!
Thanks, Mike! It basically was lol I think it only had a few hundred miles on it when I started modding. By the time I added the catch can etc., there were about 1k miles. I hadn't sold my WJ yet so I used that to do most of my driving while the WK sat pretty in the garage getting a makeover haha

For those curious, this was the DubJ




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Unread 08-26-2012, 04:12 PM   #12
JCDubya
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I took Omelet's idea and added a table of contents to the first post
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Unread 08-26-2012, 05:03 PM   #13
Static83
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Those wheels are gonna look sweet. What lift are you going with?
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Unread 08-26-2012, 06:48 PM   #14
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He's got the superlift. His jeep is amazing
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Unread 08-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #15
JCDubya
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Thanks, Jordan

SuperLift, and De-chroming part 2 (door handles and molding)

I was going to get the SuperLift with upgraded rear shocks but those were discontinued, so I got the standard kit. I did get new Bilstein front shocks though, which I highly recommend if you like a more precise ride.

I usually do installs/mods myself because no shop is as meticulous and careful as I am. However, the SL isn't a simple puck/BB install. It requires a good bit of cutting and some welding. I had neither a welder nor the space and time to do the install properly so I [reluctantly] handed my WK over to a local shop to do the install. I made some calls and read a bunch of reviews and decided on Mumbly's Offroad in MI. They had the best price and great reviews. I was very happy with the service and the work they did. They said the install was a PITA, and some things weren't complete from SL. For example, I think they said something that was supposed to have been tapped, wasn't, so they had to tap it. Not that tapping something is hard, it was just one of the setbacks they had. I don't regret having them do the install at all.

The SL is perfect! The ride is definitely firmer, but in a good way. In stock form, the WK is too "floaty". I like feeling more connected to the road, not floating above it. IMO the Jeep rides 10x better with the lift, new sway bars, and big tires than it did stock.

Sparkles was sitting pretty in front of the shop when I went to pick her up


Next mod: painted door handles, and shaved & painted door moldings. I sent them to Daniel in TX because he had done a lot of these. He said it's better to use the black plastic moldings & shave the "GRAND CHEROKEE" than to use the chrome moldings and fill the letters, so I ordered some of the black ones. When I got the moldings back from Daniel, I was pretty surprised with the work because of all the rave reviews I've seen on the boards. There were flaws everywhere (pits/bubbles, paint burn through, creases, chips). However, he took care of me. He was more than willing to correct the flaws, which he did. He said he was super busy and had to rush them, which is why he stopped doing side jobs like this.

I purchased the door handles from Just for Jeeps and the Laredo door moldings (and SRT8 pedal overlays, and headlight housing covers) from Mopar Online Parts.

1DG40RXFAB Rear door - Exterior trim - Lower molding - Laredo Black Right
1DG41RXFAB Rear door - Exterior trim - Lower molding - Laredo Black Left
1DG42RXFAC Front door - Exterior trim - Lower molding - Laredo Black Right
1DG43RXFAC Front door - Exterior trim - Lower molding - Laredo Black Left

5290949AC OVERLAY BRAKE AND AC (SRT8 pedal covers)

55157129AA Front lamps - Headlamp components - Headlamp cover Headlamp cover Left
55157128AA Front lamps - Headlamp components - Headlamp cover Headlamp cover Right












The only mechanical issue I had post-lift was grinding/rubbing under hard acceleration. The shop thought it was just the header/down pipe rubbing on the front drive shaft (I told them before the install that I didn't want the pipe flattened too much) so I took it to a guy who makes custom headers and stuff like that and he reworked it to this:


That definitely helped but it didn't cure the problem. Turns out the DS was also rubbing on a nut/bolt on the top side of the crossmember under the driveshaft. A tungsten carbide cutting bit for my Dremel took care of it though. You can kind of see it here:


I forgot to mention my custom AEV Pintler center caps:

I didn't like the yellow AEV center cap dome sticker that came with the Pintlers, I wanted something to match. Because I was powdercoating the wheels, the only way to get perfectly matching center caps was to powdercoat them as well. The actual center caps are plastic so to accomplish this I got a small sheet of aluminum from Lowes/Home Depot then took it to a sheet metal fab shop and had them laser cut some circles the same size as the AEV dome sticker. I then had them powdercoated with the wheels so they match perfectly. To adhere these discs to the center caps, I used a liquid emblem and trim adhesive. So far they're holding up great!
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