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BroncoHound

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Part 6 - stepping off
Well, I finally got moving today and now, finally, the Jeep is loaded and we're ready to head out. This is the current stowage plan and is guaranteed to stay this way at least until the end of the driveway.
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Hard to tell from the angles in the image, but the Jeep is definitely squatting from the weight. And the tailgate is sagging about 1/4" when opened due to the added weight of filling the gas cans. Total weight on the tailgate right now I'm estimating at ~ 155lbs with the 35" spare, 6 gallons of gas, and the tailgate table and pouches. Once the tailgate is closed there is no flex or movement though, which is good. I just need to be gentle opening and closing I think. C'mon, Teraflex. Release a hinge and tailgate reinforcement kit!
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Bear and I sure are ready to escape this heat and find ourselves a cool mountain lake to nap beside.
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If you see a squatty little green Jeep headed towards the mountains, don't forget to wave at the dog! I'll update upon return. Northbound!





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JEEPIDON

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Phenomenal. Dogs make great shop supervisors and Q.A. techs.

Just a great post!
 

Dkretden

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@BroncoHound

i am totally digging your build, your enthusiasm, and your routine updates. Keep posting.

that said, as a recent ex-HoustonIan (moved to Colorado in May) the shots of your driveway look distinctly like the First Colony/Sugarland area to me (we have owned two houses there over the years) and have a sister in Sugar Creek still.
 

ObiMatt87

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Howdy from San Antonio and a retired Air Force/current civilian Air Force dude. Thanks for your service! Really enjoyed reading your posts, and your Wrangler looks awesome. Love that color, and the overall build-out is great-looking. And Bear is also one awesome-looking travelmate. All the best as you hit the road.
 

donmontalvo

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Gooseisdead

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Great write up and story telling. Enjoy getting out of this Texas heat! Thank you for your service and for sharing your build. Looking forward to reading more.
 

Alienwrcsshop

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Part 2 - the early mods, part 1
So, I got back to the Houston house around noon with the new Jeep. What to do? Why, mod of course! I mean, I'd owned the new Jeep nearly 4 hours at this point, it was time to start taking things apart!

Day 1:
First off was some of the really low hanging fruit. I took the Weathertech front and rear mats with me to the dealership and installed them before I left the lot. I didn't bother to photograph them. But upon getting home, I needed to prep the interior for Bear. So first off is folding the rear seats down and installing the Canvasback cargo liner. This took all of 10 minutes, super easy, and a great product. I had one in my JKR and, after 6 years of dog traffic it had sun faded from all summer being topless but otherwise had no tears, no rips, no damage. And the carpet underneath looked brand new.
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Next up was the outside. The folks at Mac Haik were great and all, but I'm not one to advertise unless I'm being sponsored, so the graffiti had to come off:
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And now, adding a little personal touch (though I really need to get a new license plate frame as this one is looking pretty ratty:
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Next was the antenna:
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And then to remove the front license plate frame and the side wings off the front bumper:
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Next was to remove the tire carrier and add the Teraflex Alpha adjustable tire carrier. This probably wasn't absolutely necessary for the size wheel/tire I was choosing, but I intend to spend a bunch of miles on bumpy mountain trails and wanted the spare tire to be as close to the tailgate as possible and as supported as I could get it. Some may say this is overkill but with the amount of weight i intend to have on the tailgate, I feel more comfortable knowing it is appropriately supported:
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Then came the appointment that afternoon to install the new wheels and tires. This was a gamble for me, I really wasn't sure how the bronze wheels were going to look on the green Jeep with red accenting. Thankfully, I'm very happy with how it turned out. I'm sure the aesthetic isn't for everyone, but I enjoy it and I think the dirtier the Jeep gets, the better the combination will look. These are 17"x8.5" Method NV's in bronze with 0 offset/4.75" BS and 35x12.50R17E LT Goodyear Duratrac's. I wanted the load range E Duratracs for the sidewall toughness and larger size vs the 315/70R17 they offer in a C or D range. And Duratracs are the only tire I would consider because I flat LOVE how they perform in snow and ice. On my JKR, I went up and down some stuff that nobody had any business in without needing to chain up just by airing down my Duratracs and letting them work. GREAT snow and ice tires:
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Took the Jeep home, adjusted the Alpha tire carrier, and mounted the spare tire. The tire sits against the stock tire bumpers (I had ordered some Energy Suspension extended bumpers just in case but returned them to Amazon when I found they weren't needed) and, on the middle height setting, sits just about 1/2 inch above the stock steel rear bumper. A perfect fit and WOW does the spare tire sit so much lower on the JL than the JK! I can actually still use my rear view mirror with a 35" spare, incredible!
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Took a little driving around to familiarize myself with the feel of the Jeep with the new wheels and tires (which didn't feel much different than the stock KO2's aside from being slightly harsher due to the load range E) and to dial in the speedometer with the Tazer Lite. The 34.41" tire setting has me under 0.5mph off at 75mph, which is close enough for me. I also adjusted the TPMS threshold down to 20psi while I was in there, then disconnected the batteries (both) for 30 minutes and performed the top gear relearn procedure to prevent the "ESS disabled" code from throwing. Speaking of ESS, the ESS is turned off at startup now, thanks also to the Tazer Lite. And that wrapped it up for Day 1 of ownership.
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Day 2:
Before it got too hot (which is an oxymoron in Houston, TX in August), I wanted to knock out some of the interior changes. First was the dash. I honestly wasn't as put off by the red Rubicon dash on the first day of ownership as I thought I'd be, but it still is just a little too much red for my taste. So I decided to swap out for the black leather w/red stitching (Mopar part # 6AC261R3AD-6AC241R3AA) dash panels in their place. Following some guides on YouTube, the removal was super easy and straightforward. The hardest part of doing this by yourself is getting the airbag released from the old passenger side dash panel. You really need 3 hands for this, but I managed to coax it out with a couple trim removal tools to pry the clips apart enough to allow myself to slide the airbag out one-handed. It also would've been easier if I wasn't drenched in sweat at 8:30am. Houston weather is not for me. Everything else on the dash panels went super smooth and, while I was up there, I went ahead and installed the '67 Designs single driver's side mount with MagMount base for my cell phone:
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Then came time for my window tint appointment. I went with a highly rated shop in Houston, TX called Royz Window Tint and they did a phenomenal job. I had both front windows coated with a LLumar Ceramic film at 25% to match the rear privacy glass with a front windshield eyebrow to match. I chose the LLumar film because it carries a nationwide warranty so, if I have any issues with the tint down the road, there are a couple LLumar dealers in Montana and Idaho that I can have warranty work done at:
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Now you may notice the eyebrow looks a little low. These are all computer cut pieces nowadays, and this was the size eyebrow the computer kicked out for a 2020 Jeep Wrangler. I drove it around for about 30 minutes and, while it looks cool from the outside, the cutoff line was DIRECTLY in my field of vision while driving, so I was constantly either ducking my head down or straining it upward to see above or below the cut line. This just wasn't going to work, so I drove back to Royz and they recut me an eyebrow and replaced it in about 15 minutes with one about 1-1/2" shorter, which doesn't look as cool from the outside but is far less intrusive while driving. I should note I'm 6'0" and generally sit fairly straight up and down (from a lifetime of driving pickup trucks I guess) so my head line is in the upper third of the windshield. If you are fairly short or sit fairly low or laid back in the Jeep, the old eyebrow might not have bothered you.
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And that was it for Day 2. I had some other appointments to attend to so that was all the time I had for the Jeep for Wednesday. Day 3 was a busier Jeep day, however.

Parts list:
- Floormats (not pictured): https://www.weathertech.com/jeep/20...floorliner-digitalfit/?OrderItemId=2109901327
- Canvasback cargo liner: https://www.canvasback.com/index.php/jeep-wrangler-jl-4-dr-cargo-liners.html
- Antenna: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MT1H5DH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Teraflex Alpha tire carrier: https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/...stable-spare-tire-mounting-kit-for-5x5-wheels
- Method NV Bronze 17x8.5 0 offset: https://www.tirerack.com/wheels/WheelCloseUpServlet?autoMake=Jeep&autoModel=Wrangler+Unlimited&autoYear=2020&autoModClar=Rubicon&target=runWheelSearch&wheelMake=Method&wheelModel=MR305+NV&wheelFinish=Bronze+w/Black+Lip
- Goodyear Duratrac 35x12.50R17E: https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tire...25QR7WDT&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes
- Z Automotive Tazer Lite (not pictured): https://www.northridge4x4.com/part/...azer-lite-z-automotive-programming-tazer-lite
- Mopar black w/red stitching dash panels: https://www.mopargenuineparts.com/sku/6ac261r3ad-6ac241r3aa.html
- '67 Designs phone mount: https://www.67d.com/collections/jl-...nt-driver-edition-pack?variant=20845518979175
- Royz Window Tint: https://royzwindowtint.com

This is a fantastic read so far. I will be joining the Jeep crew soon enough and am anxiously looking forward to the weekend getaways with my beast Nero (Black Lab). Looking like a late 2020 purchase or Q1 2021 if some nice options get added to the build guide.
 

ObiMatt87

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This is a fantastic read so far. I will be joining the Jeep crew soon enough and am anxiously looking forward to the weekend getaways with my beast Nero (Black Lab). Looking like a late 2020 purchase or Q1 2021 if some nice options get added to the build guide.
Awesome pic of Nero. Looks like something from a movie poster... :like:
 
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BroncoHound

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Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. It’s nice to see a bunch of other dog lovers congregate. I’m about halfway through the shakedown run (currently in Northern California) so look forward to full replies, trip reports, and TONS of pictures around the 1st or so when I get back to the Houston house.

-Bud
 

RagTopDeluxe

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Abramovich

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Thanks for all the kind words, everyone. It’s nice to see a bunch of other dog lovers congregate. I’m about halfway through the shakedown run (currently in Northern California) so look forward to full replies, trip reports, and TONS of pictures around the 1st or so when I get back to the Houston house.

-Bud
Bud,
I'm sure I'm speaking for many others when I say...We would love an update on your trip.
 

Marman

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Great write-ups, you have given me so many ideas for my new JL. Still happy with the ARB install or would you do something different?

Thanks,
Larry
 
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BroncoHound

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Well, this is overdue. The last 3 months have brought about some changes and I haven't dedicated the time to updating this thread that I said I would. Thanks to @Tellurian though, I realized it was time I made updating it a priority.

I won't bore you all with the details, so the abridged version is as such: I took a severance package from my job in August, fixed up and sold the rental house I owned in Houston, Texas, moved a friend of mine from Texas to Alabama, then moved myself back home to Montana though to an entirely new area in Helena. I'll turn 40 years old in a few days and I'm about to self-fund the next 2 years while studying for the MCAT, shadowing physicians within the VA hospital network, obtaining an EMT cert and volunteering as an EMT, and applying for medical schools. Frankly, I'm not sure I had the tools to do this when I was 22 years old and wasn't getting tired at 8:30pm every night like I do at 40. But, if I don't try, I'll regret it every one of my remaining days, so I'm stepping to the plate for a big swing. Anyway, none of this is relevant on a Jeep forum so on with the Jeep update!
 
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