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2002 Bella Blue, WJ Build

52591 Views 269 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  snobrdrkid07
2002 Bella Blue, WJ Build

It seems like build threads are a thing here, so here's mine. Meet Bella.

>>Factory Build Info

Table of Contents:


  1. 2.5" Lift: OME HD Springs & Bilstein 5100 Shocks
  2. Addco 684 Rear Sway Bar
  3. Factory 2004 WJ 30mm Solid Front Sway Bar (no pics)
  4. Core 4x4 Adjustable CAs (stock length)
  5. Ironman 4x4 UCA
  6. Kevin's Offroad Track Bar Bushings
  7. Rubicon Express Front Swaybar Disconnects
  1. Stereo Upgrade 2006: Fosgate Power & Infinity Perfect
  2. Stereo Upgrade 2020: DDIN Kenwood and Backup Camera
  3. Dual Battery and Trailer Charging Port
  4. 2awg Battery and Ground Cable Upgrade
  5. Auxiliary Lighting
  6. Mechman Alternator and 0awg Cable Upgrade
Other & Extras
  1. EBC Brakes (good!) & Synergy Spacers (removed)
  2. Whip Flags: Firestik mounts, Tusk holders
  3. 3M Undercoating
  4. Wolf Vinyl Decal (fight me!)

  1. Rear Upper Control Arm
  2. Rear Lower Control Arm (video)
  3. Front Control Arm Replacement
  4. Ball Joint Replacement
  5. Detroit Axle Control Arm Review

  1. Fuel Injector Connectors
  2. Left Valve Cover Gasket
  3. Right Valve Cover Gasket
  4. Water Pump Replacement
  5. Valve Stem Seals & Lifters
  6. Spark Plug Replacement (video)

Other Stuff
  1. Driver Door Wire Repair
  2. Rear Axle Bearing Replacement
  3. Headliner Repair? -- FAIL
  4. Hood Emblem Replacement

I have had her since July 2002, new to me and the only new vehicle I have ever owned.

Aside from the typical routine maintenance (fluids, filters, tires, shocks, brakes, ...), some of the things I have had to fix over the years. Note: at first I had all of my service done at the dealer or quick lube shops, but after a few bad things happened I started doing it all myself. Well mostly myself. Some jobs I still take to a shop if I feel like it's over my head or I just want somebody else to do it instead.
  • Rear axle "failure" and rebuild at 30k. Dealer stated the diff was empty. Odd, since they did all the service for me.
  • Rear axle "failure" and rebuild at 65k. AGAIN!!
  • Right rear TPM sensor replacement. Jiffy Lube smashed the valve stem for me.
  • Passenger side wiper arm replacement. Jiffy Lube strikes again.
  • Power steering hose, I think this was a factory recall?
  • Evap cannister hose leak. Was throwing a trouble code.
  • O2 sensor replacement. Threw a code so I was going to replace them all until I saw how expensive they are, so just did the one.
  • Climate control panel replacement. The A/C would not blow cold air and really had me stumped. Replaced the panel out of desperation and it worked.
  • EVIC overhead module replacement. Display just died. Got one without TPMS capability because I was running BFG E range tires that would constantly trigger high pressure alarms on the highway.
  • Parking brake cable replacement, TWICE. What is this about?
  • Window regulators on front driver & passenger doors
  • Hood, liftgate, & liftglass struts several times
  • Driver door panel replacement due to cracks in the arm rest. Done this twice too and need to do it again.
  • Passenger side power mirror, I suspect a parking lot incident.
  • Thermostat leak, replaced
  • Water pump leak, replaced
  • Radiator leak, replaced (& hoses)
  • Starter motor replacement, solenoid was dying and threatened to strand me.
  • Engine rear main seal replacement
  • Rear axle seals, bearings, pinion seal

Current list of things that need to be fixed:
  • Peeling headliner (failed 09/05/2020)
  • Driver door panel (arm rest)
  • Driver heated seat
  • Heated seat switches, some lights don't work (but the switch does!)
  • Clunks and creaks in the rear end (completed 11/01/2019)
  • Oil seep from valve covers (completed 03/26/2018)
Obviously I am in no hurry to fix these things ...

Here we are exploring the Lost Coast some years ago. We found a remote deserted beach with a fire ring and stopped for lunch.

Follow along with my adventures with Bella on my dedicated thread:
Gman's Adventures with Bella Blue
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Yesterday the Miller Tool 8278 arrived in the mail so I can more easily remove my rear upper ball joint. Picked it up for $40 from eBay. I'll take that, TYVM.

Very much considering the IRO adjustable upper control arm:

If I install the 3" lift, can I run OEM LCAs or do I need to replace them? Think I will contact IRO and find out.
100% stock control arms here with the OME HD lift (3+). When you're ready to pull the trigger on the lift, be sure to talk to @Kolak. He's an IRO dealer, but will help you figure out the best way to go. OME HD springs are stiffer and may be the way to go if you have bumper dreams in your future.

I'm debating the IRO UCA... my bushings are getting pretty worn. Not as bad as yours, but close. It doesn't look like a fun job either way, but neither did an engine swap, and I got through that just fine.

WOW! I am impressed. I have never met anybody who bought a WJ brand new and kept it for so long. I have a million questions. With all the stories about sludge buildup, dropped seats and bad rockers.How is the V8 holding up? Do you still have the original heater core and evap cooler? Any blend door issues? Leaks on the passenger side? These are all the things we read about here and really hard to put in perspective since very, very few of us have owned them from the beginning. You are in a unique position. Oh. And whats with the pile or rocks? Beautiful country.
I bought mine in November '02. Not quite as loaded as this one, but pretty close. I didn't get the vari-lok axles or premium electronics. It's funny though, I put the same head unit, bypassed the infinity amp for the stock speakers, and added a 2nd amp to drive a pair of 10's.

There aren't many of us original owners around, but there are a few of us.
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Most of mine are broke too. I really wanted to rebuild the entire harness while I had my engine out, but time and money...
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