2020 Granite Crystal JLUR build

Ron ap Rhys

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We've just picked up a 2020 JLUR in Granite Crystal. Got it fairly stripped down - V6, automatic, cold weather package, black hard top, all weather floor mats, and the remote proximity entry thing. We did that on purpose because Jeep is a bit too proud of their options for my liking and because I knew we'd be doing enough mods to it that it didn't make sense to us to spend more.

The overall goal of this is to build something that'll let us do well in Moab and other parts of the southwest, the Rockies, and the like. Basically the ability to do mild rock-crawling and get us home without worrying too much about damage, stupid difficult stucks, etc. I've been wheeling a Nissan Xterra for years and did all of those places, but after putting 237k miles on it, we knew we needed a change.

I've been doing some research and here's what I'm thinking we're going to do, but we're open to input:


The more immediate grouping of mods:
  • Suspension upgrade: Teraflex 2.5" Sport S/T2 with the Falcon 3.3 shocks. I only really want to run 35s, so I can't see going bigger at this point. Of the different kits out there, this one looks to be in the top few kits that replaces everything that needs to be replaced for a minor lift and tire package.
  • Rough Country skids - engine, t-case, and gas tank. So far the reviews seem to be good, they look thick enough for our needs, and have an attractive price point. I looked at Artec and they do have one difference in mounting that I like, but the increased cost doesn't seem enough to cover that. It looks like these wouldn't cost me any ground clearance, either - and might even gain some. I've not been able to prove that out, though, so if anyone knows I'd be happy to hear their experience.
  • RedRock 4x4 sliders with step pads - similar to the above. They look sturdy enough for what we want to do without breaking the bank.
  • RedRock 4x4 Full Width Winch Bumper (the one with the halogen lights) - I'm not as sold on stubby vs mid vs full, but this one seems to have most everything I'd want.

Further down the road:
  • Upgrade the sound system. I've looked at couple of options. I'll keep the head unit stock because that doesn't seem to be a limiting factor. Upgrade all of the speakers (Pioneer TS-D65Cs, which covers the woofer and tweeter combo for the roll bars and dash/knee speakers), JL Audio Stealthbox in the back for the sub, Pioneer GM-DX975 amp to power everything, and then all of the necessary gubbins to connect it all. That should dramatically improve sound volume and quality.
  • LED light upgrades - not sure what I'm going with here.
    • Headlights
    • Bulbs for most everything else (looking at Diode Dynamics stuff as they seem to have bunches of plug and play bulb replacements)
    • For the fogs, they've got a nice replacement that should almost bolt right into the bumper.
  • Winch - Warn EVO 10-S. Have used these before and I'm a fan.
  • Will likely also do a roof rack that mounts on the drip rails for when we need the extra cargo space, but not as a permanent mount.
  • Upgrade to 35s. Not sure who's yet, I'll look at that when the factory tires run out of life. Might even get all happy and do beadlocks, though I'll probably never need to air down that much.

Interested to hear different folks opinions, alternate options that I could use, etc. Also, I realized as I'm putting the links into this post I seem like I'm a salesman for Extreme Terrain - I'm not, honestly, but their site is pretty easy to shop, so that's where the links came from.





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Ron ap Rhys

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2020 JLU Rubicon, Granite Crystal Metallic
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Before any mods, just for reference:



Here's what I've been able to get done so far:

Installed the front bumper. Same one as noted above. It does come with halogen fogs, but honestly, I didn't like those (and my clumsy arse dropped one), so I'm going to be installing some Diode Dynamics S3 pods (SAE Fog pattern). Also, as you can see, the winch plate area is empty - that may be a fall project, depending on what's going on. I will say the packaging the bumper came in probably isn't sufficient to hold it for anything other than LTL, but it's certainly tough enough to withstand it. Had to touch up a few spots of the powdercoat due to that. But it seems sturdy enough and the install was pretty easy - did it myself without any help.

One thing - does anyone know of a sway bar disconnect skid plate that can replace the OEM one that's compatible with this bumper? To put the stock skid back on I'd have to start cutting it down to make it fit - I can do that, but I'd rather have something beefier.



I also put on some better rock sliders. These do attach to the factory mounts and not the frame, which I'd prefer, but since we don't plan on getting into stupid levels of rock-crawling, they should be fine as well as giving us a step up. Packaging here was better and the install was pretty easy. Helps to have two people on this one.




The Teraflex lift should get here today (the various components all ship separately), so I may very well be installing that this weekend. I've also ordered a rear bumper, too. We're trying to head out west for a vacation and I'll need to tow a small travel trailer. Skids may even get here for this weekend's activities.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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This weekend I installed the Rough Country skids (engine, tcase, and fuel) - that took a bit of fiddling to get all of the bolt holes to line up properly. For anyone installing these, I'd suggest leaving things loose until all the bolts are started, then tighten everything incrementally. The two nuts that are re-used are on studs that stick through the fuel skid, so you shouldn't have any issues there.

I also tried to install the Red Rock full width bumper - the frame horn bolts all lined up properly, but the portion that should snug up against the rear crossmember so one can tow with it appears to be a manufacturing defect. After several phone calls to Extreme Terrain and a visit to my mechanic to provide I didn't install it correctly, they're going to replace the bumper. I've got to remove the old one and get it to a UPS store, then they'll ship me the new one (no cost to me). A bit of a hassle, but they're standing behind the parts, which is good.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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Replacement bumper should be here Friday. Also, got the Diode Dynamic S3 Fogs and I need to get those mounted and wired in. Lastly, ordered a license plate relocation kit from Rough Country (the one with the LED to light it, attaches to the spare tire). That'll keep me legal.

As I was playing under there, I did notice a bit of play in my track bar. Nothing side to side, but a little front to back play. I'm going to have that checked out prior to installing the lift - that way if there's something wrong, it's on Fiat's dime, not mine.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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Another random update: I tried the second RedRock 4x4 Rear Bumper and it had the same problem. This makes me think they got a batch of poorly built ones. I know this is more of a budget option, but they should fit. I'd strongly recommend not buying this particular bumper. Also worth noting that Extreme Terrain didn't publish my review of it trying to warn others. Not sure why that's happened.

I did order a sway bar disconnect skid, which will get here today. However, this weekend is a big one - the 2.5" Teraflex lift goes in. Sport ST/2 with Falcon 3.3 shocks. That should more or less have us ready for a jaunt from Mordor out to CO, NM, and UT.
 

_thewick

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I also put on some better rock sliders. These do attach to the factory mounts and not the frame, which I'd prefer, but since we don't plan on getting into stupid levels of rock-crawling, they should be fine as well as giving us a step up. Packaging here was better and the install was pretty easy. Helps to have two people on this one.

Looks great so far. These RedRock sliders are the exact ones I have been looking at. I like the idea of the integrated but out-of-the-way step. I thought they bolted to the frame though... in the pictures and install video it looks like it bypasses the factory holes. When you say factory mounts, are you referring to the holes on the body pinch seam, that can been seen when standing looking at the side of the car? Seems like mounting something there would just end up banging up the body anyway... I think I'm similar to you, I want belly/side protection in case I have to skid over something or high-center, and something sturdy enough if the weight of the vehicle had to rest on them just in case and could take some level of abuse. It's not like I'm scraping over boulders every weekend though.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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The stock bash rails mount up at the holes in the pinch weld plus some welded in nuts on the bottom of the body, 90° off from the pinch weld. That way they're attached both in the vertical and horizontal. I'd rate them strong enough for the occasional scrape up against a rock, holding the weight while sliding over something, etc.

If I wanted to do more hardcore stuff where I was landing on them, I'd definitely go with something frame-mounted. But for what they are, they're solid.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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Tried the Rough Country roof rack, didn't like it. Maybe it was just me, but the front attachment points (which are a goofy pinch set up) seemed to shift a bit if you hit a hard bump (which is all of the roads up here, all the time). That would mean they were loose enough to thump about when we'd hit the next bump. I don't think it was in danger of coming off or anything, but if it can loosen up like that, my thought was it might be able to damage the drip rails eventually.

I'll probably try to sell this one and then get something different.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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We were able to make it out to Colorado and Utah. Unfortunately, my phone died and got wiped, so I lost all of my pics. However, we did Tincup Pass and Red Table Mountain in Colorado. Seven Mile Rim, Tiptoe Through Hells (Hells Revenge without the Gate and Escalator), and the front half of Fins and Things. Also a bunch of FS roads in Gunnison NF and Fishlake NF.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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Now that I've had the Jeep for a bit, I've decided to start some interior mods. Specifically, time to delete the rear seat and get happy with putting in a platform/storage area of sorts. l did look at options from Goose Gear and others, and whilst those are great options, I want to spend money on other things - plus, making stuff is fun.

First things first - had to remove the rear seats. I did find a trick that made it easier. If you remove the bottom bolts first, it's easy to prop the seats up and get to the bolts that are at an angle there (ignore the dog hair there - spring cleaning time and all):

jpjtItX.jpg


Once everything was out, gave her a bit of a vacuuming and all. Much better place to work now:

FHMcF4i.jpg


From there I got happy with some cardboard, scissors, and painter's tape:

AZlpSG5.jpg


uFDciP4.jpg


idFJjv2.jpg


Pretty sure that gives everyone the picture of what I was up to. Lots of cut, mark, fit, rinse, repeat. It took a few hour, but I finally got a template I was happy with.
 
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Ron ap Rhys

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Once I had the template, it was time to transfer that to 1/4" hardboard - I'd much rather make a mistake there than on the nice 3/4" Baltic Birch that I bought.

AjFVxIG.jpg


You can see the painter's tape down on the corners near the end of the doors - even with a cardboard template, things still aren't perfect. Once I had that, I was able to start cutting some side pieces and a crossmember to support it.

i0UJGxM.jpg


rSzCn6t.jpg


You can kind of see where I'm going with this. I'm still going to box in the portion closest to the front row of seats - but that'll come later.

As it stands now, my goal is to have two large hinged lids in the top. The cross member will support those and I'll put in some bracing on the other edges. That way, when I open each lid, I'll essentially have two compartments per side and 4 overall. Should be plenty of storage for recovery gear, my ARB air compressor (OBA set up, single pumper) and hose, plus all sorts of other fun stuff.

It'll be another two weekends before I start cutting the actual plywood. Once that's done, I want to carpet it with something that'll more or less match the Jeep's carpet.
 

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