After being a consummate lurker / semi-stalker on the forum for quite a while, I have decided to finally create a build thread for our 2011 JK. As most of the work on the Jeep has been completed and I didn’t get pictures of everything in progress, I’ll do the best I can to back fit and post in chronological order what we’ve done.
We don’t have a garage to work in so the work has been done in the driveway on weekends and most times late at night under construction work lights. We have a few more things to add when time, money and a good weather window allows. Going forward I’ll try to document things a little more thoroughly.
My husband (TOGM) has done all the work himself with the exception of the powder coating and Rhino Lining. I do help him when I can but it usually consists of holding the dumb end of the tape measure or handing him something while he’s under the Jeep. For full disclosure I am neither a mechanic nor a technical writer. If you have a question about anything I post, I’ll try to answer or if I don’t know, I’ll get the answer from the real expert. Feel free to comment, compliment, critique, criticize, and please enjoy this slightly different perspective on a Jeep build.
We each owned Jeeps before we met, have owned several Jeeps together, but went Jeepless for a few years to focus on raising 5 kids. With an empty nest, we decided to get another Jeep. A lot of consideration and discussion went into determining if we wanted to go back to an old Jeep (Willys or CJ), buy a newer used Jeep (TJ), or buy a brand spanking new Jeep. As TOGM has several ongoing Military Vehicle “projects”, he decided that a new, non-rusted, non-corroded vehicle was preferable for wrenching and I wanted something stable, comfortable, and safe on and off road; we settled on a new 2011 JK.
We “agreed to agree” on all mods so some of them took a bit of time, in fact many hours of lively debate to reach a consensus. I don’t want anything that looks “monster truck-ish” or “hummer-esque” and knowing that we don’t ever want a trailer queen or dedicated trail rig, we are intentionally keeping the modifications and upgrades on the conservative side. We are very old school in what we like and don’t like on our Jeeps so there are a few things you WON’T see appear on the mod list. A few things (not many) were vetoed outright by one or the other of us.
We wanted to start with a Rubicon, manual transmission, soft top only, no convenience package or option frills. I liked the stealth markings (or lack of) of the 2011 COD package and we found one in Ohio … road trip from Boston!
We passed this about 15 minutes before our arrival at the dealership and 30 minutes before their scheduled closing time on Saturday! We couldn’t even slow down for a decent picture but it is an eye catcher!
People often ask what we liked about the COD package and I’d have to say it is the understated markings. No Rubicon sticker, no wrangler, no trail rated badge, etc. The dark wheels, the matt black hood decal, the gas fill cover, the rear light guards, all seemed to be worth the $700 upgrade at the time.
Year & Model: 2011 JK Wrangler Rubicon Call of Duty Edition
Transmission: Stock - 6 Speed Manual
The next urgent mod that we wanted was to replace the full doors. We’d never had a Jeep with real doors and they just didn’t feel right to us. While we were researching soft doors and /or half doors, we ordered Rugged Ridge tube doors from Xtreme Terrain and a mirror relocation kit for the summer. They were selected because of the larger tube OD and they came with a textured wrinkle finish.
Safari Straps Warrior Long Cage Extended Cargo Net
About the same time we installed the tube doors we started looking at cargo netting. We did not want “cut outs” or narrow nylon webbing. Safari Straps are extremely well made and look it. Marel and Hatch are number one in customer service and quality product!
First Off-Road damage to the Jeep happened in a hotel room
We traveled to the PA Jeep Show with the full doors on (6 hour highway trip) and brought the tube doors to install for the weekend. When we arrived at the hotel we took the full doors off, loaded them onto a luggage cart, up the elevator and into the hotel room for storage for the weekend. Sometime during the stay, they shifted and the passenger door left a 1/16” x 3” gouge in the driver’s side paint. I don’t have a picture of it and it has now been touched up, but thought the story warranted inclusion in the thread!
We attended the PA Jeep Show in York, about a month and a half after we bought the JK. We entered it in the JK stock division so that we could park on the fairgrounds in-field (close to the vendors). Never in a million years did we expect to place but lo and behold we took 1st place. The tube doors and cargo nets were listed as our two minor mods for the stock submission. Definitely a cheesy picture but just had to post it!
We had done our research (me lurking on this and other Jeep forums) and had a pretty good idea what modifications we wanted, what products, and what vendors we wanted to go with. After hounding every vendor at the Jeep show for information, technical data, demos, and discounted pricing we made the decision on lift, bumpers, fenders, and exhaust. After getting a first hand look and talking to the vendor reps, we ended up with some different manufacturers than we originally planned to order from.
The show discounted orders were placed for the parts.
Rock Krawler 2 ˝” Lift Kit and Rock Krawler RRD Racing Shocks
The suspension came in first. We wanted to stay at a 2 1/2” lift and had narrowed it down between Teraflex and Rock Krawler, both are worthy contenders. We ended up going with the Rock Krawler 2.5" Full Travel Lift Suspension and Rock Krawler RRD Racing Shocks. This provides a lift with very good flex while keeping all the geometry for the OEM computer traction controls and required no steering modification.
I apologize for the photos, that’s my job and I usually have to play ninja to get any. TOGM was halfway through the job before I knew it.
As we keep the top down much of the time, we invested in good neoprene seat covers to protect from the sun. The Wet Okole got good reviews for fitting and wearing well. In the year and a half, they have not stretched or sun faded. We are 100% happy with them.
Since we still have the carpet and because many of the wheeling trips are in muddy areas, we bought some heavy duty floor mats. They make clean up pretty easy. Eventually the carpet will be removed and replaced with bed liner. Not sure if the mats will stay or not.