Well here's the start to my build up. I've had my jeep for two years or so now and have put a lot of money into it already, but it's still not *drastically* different from stock. I speak namely of a full size lift which I don't have yet.
Follow along as I build my jeep!
edit1: All the images in this write-up can be found on my site along with lots of other stuff like modification write-ups, trip reports, general tech and a big gallery with videos too. http://myjeeptj.com
I started quick on the modifications. A couple of my brother's good friends already had TJs and were into wheeling, and my brother also bought a jeep roughly a week after I bought mine.
We bought CB radios first. We both got the Cobra 75WX handheld unit, and followed the write-up on 4x4xplor.com on installing it.
I mated it with a Cobra External speaker which I think is a MUST. The sound quality and volume are much much better.
I made my own antenna mount from a small piece of angle iron bolted to the bottom two bolts of the tire carrier. I still run this set up today, but I switched it to a stainless version because the rust was killing my ground, resulting in a barely working CB.
We went on our first wheeling trip to some trails we grew up on as kids with motorbikes and trikes. The area is out near Caroline, Alberta.. my grandparents have a cabin out there.
I quickly found out that a/t tires do very poorly in the mud, but it was still a blast.
You can see the full gallery for this trip here: Clicky!
The stock lighting sucked really bad so I added some KCs. I put them in the stock fog light location because my jeep didn't come with fog lights.
I later ditched the yellow smiley covers in favour of the black rock guards. I also added rugged ridge rock guards to my headlights and turn markers. I also bought some white markers and a Hella H4 headlight conversion. Not too much to show for all this, but here's a good shot of all the guards in place with the white markers.
Continuing on with small mods that change the looks of the jeep, I added a leather shift boot from a '05+. IT was a pretty basic mod to do.
The gallery of this is found here: Clicky!
I added LiteDOTs to the rear of my jeep because I didn't feel like ripping the stock ones off on the trail, and I really liked the idea of having an integrated back-up light instead of having it separate. I also had a little accident wheeling the jeep sometime ago and decided it would be a good time to buy a 5th matching wheel and tire.
The gallery for the lights can be found here: Clicky!
The lack of a soft top was killing me... so I bought a Viking!
By this point I had really wheeled the piss out of my jeep. I had nearly rolled it several times, and it had taken me places I didn't think were possible. All on A/T tires.. I was wanting more though. My brother had BFG Mud terrains in a 31" on his jeep from when he bought it, and found a great deal on some Swamper TSL Bias tires in a 31". He bought those and gave me a killer deal on his old tires. I also installed a 1.75" budget boost within a day or so.
The tires were worn a lot more than my A/T tires, but they still performed *much* better on the trail. My brother had them mounted white out, and I figured I would prefer them the other way so I got them mounted black lettering out.
I dropped my transfer case skid a tiny bit with a couple washers, due to a small vibration issue I had.
Write-up here: Clicky!
The same week I installed a cheap quick disconnect system for my front swaybar.
Write-up here: Clicky!
My good friend Kyle used to work at a powder coating shop in town. Him and I both removed our door and windshield hinges, sanded them up and powder coated them. The result was a rust-less hinge, it's very durable, and looks great. This is honestly one of my favourite mods.. I really like the look and they are holding up extremely well to the severe beatings I give them off road. Especially the ones on the windshield which get beat up by trees in tight trails almost every trip.
Write-up here: Clicky!
It's incredible what a couple inches of clearance and better tires will do. It literally transformed my jeep off-road, and I have used it much like this for pretty much every wheeling trip I have been on since then. I've had the same tires/lift now for about a year. Shortly after the coil spacer lift and tires I went out to the Cadomin area in Alberta, and we wheeled right to the top of Cadomin Mountain. This trip to this day stands out as the most amazing trip I have been on. The amazing scary hill climbs, the scenery, the trails that are on the edge of a cliff face.. everything. I urge you check out my trip report of that day here: Clicky!
Here's a couple shots from the trip:
This shot is a picture of Cadomin Mountain itself. The really tough hill climb we came up if on the adjacent mountain, then there is a trail that runs along the edge of it all the way to Cadomin Mountain. From there you go up a couple tough hill climbs and an extremely scary off camber section to get right to the tip. We opted out of the last 100 feet of off camber scariness and walked to the tip. The previous day one of the guys in out group almost rolled on the off camber section, and it likely would have killed him and his passengers.. The tumble down the mountain would not be fun.
I have done a number of small things to the jeep over the last couple years I haven't mentioned..
- I removed all my carpets because they don't smell good after being wet and muddy so many times.
- I removed all the back seat belts and seat because I don't ever use them.
- I removed all the milk jugs of course.
- I dented in my tail gate on a trail.. I was attempting for the a mud hole and needed to back out of it for a second attempt. I couldn't see out my rear window because it was too dirty, and the guy behind me had already pulled up right behind me. No damage to his jeep though.
I added a winch last summer as well. I found a real cheap champion used from a guy in one of the 4x4 clubs I am in. It works great and has served me well. My only gripe is that the controller is cheap and I'm going to have to rewire it so the buttons work perfectly, and it's deathly slow.
Once I get money sunk into other major modifications like a larger lift, etc I will likely look for a new winch simply for the faster line speeds.
These pictures are all from a trip a couple weeks ago out in the Prairie Creek area in Alberta. AMAZING trail, and one of the funnest times I've ever had wheeling. Gallery and trip report for it is here: Clicky!
You can see in this last picture that the remote let me down. It wouldn't make a good enough contact so I couldn't get it to spool in. This was the last part of the trail so I just wrapped it up so I could look at it at home once the jeep was clean.
That's pretty much all there is for now. I haven't gotten to all the good stuff yet, so stay tuned. I have a set of rockers I am building at work that are nearing completion, and after that I will be starting work on some bumpers!
Here's a teaser shot of the front bumper I plan to build:
Yeah I really like it.. I like the way it works, and looks.. but I do have a few major gripes with it, and viking is replacing it for me when they get back into production. I hope the new versions will be better. My biggest issue is that is fits too tight. So tight that the plastic pieces that fit under the edging of the tub are pulling upward out of the tub, which is deforming those plastic runners. It's also so tight that the rear zippers are wrecking themselves from doin up the back window.