All Aboard.....THE GRAVY TRAIN

4xnaz

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July 26th, 2018 was a day of epic proportions. It was the day the dealership called me and advised that the 2018 JLU Rubicon in Sting Gray, that I ordered the month prior, had arrived and was ready for pick up. I couldn't be any more anxious that day as I headed inside to meet the staff who were all huddled around my JL. It was the very first JL delivered on their lot that was coated in the most luxurious color that one could imagine.....Sting Gray! You see, I took a leap of faith when I ordered it, not seeing this color in person. I've always had a favorite Wrangler color, Anvil, but it wasn't available with the new lineup. As I entered through the doors of the dealership, the only thing in focus was my new Jeep and it felt as if time stood still as I walked around and around and around it some more, admiring it's color and the attention it was getting from the staff. This is where I began my journey as is the same for most everybody else. Build plans race across your mind, research fills your free time, while dollar signs race out from your bank balance. I'm excited to share the route my build has taken me...... mostly good, some bad, but all a learning experience. Stay tuned, you don't want to miss the Train!







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4xnaz

4xnaz

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First order of business was to stretch her legs. I'm not a newbie to the Jeep scene but I'm also not seasoned by any means. Prior to this 2018 JL, I bought my 1st brand new Wrangler in 2012. This build was an entire learning experience for me. I found out what a Mall Crawler was at that time and also found out that I was contributing to the population of that group. The white JKU in the pic below was mine and the gateway to my addiction. Thanks to the amazing Jeep resale value, I was able to sell it for a very handsome sum and put a sizable dent into the $52K JL price tag. Along with the JK's profit, I also brought with me the knowledge of that 5 year build of what I wanted to do, what I absolutely didn't want to do, and some mods that I was still on the fence for. So first order of business, especially in Arizona was window tint. Then I had to change out that horrible radio antenna with a more respectable one of not so obnoxious lengths. The addition of a Cobra CB with a red Firestick antenna and CoolTech's mounting kit rounded out the 1st week of ownership. The transformation has begun!







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Chief_Dan

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Dang, your Rubicon looks a lot like what I will be ordering soon. JLUR in Sting Gray, auto tranny, 8.4" screen infotainment system, cold weather pkg, LED pkg, tow pkg, black freedom top, black fenders, regular bumpers (will just replace them). I will more than likely Raptor line (or something similar) the top & fenders, so just leaving them black. As for other mods, I will drive stock for a little while & then see just what I need. Pretty new to Jeeps, but not 4x4s.

But, this is your thread. Yours looks nice! Can't wait to see more!
 
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4xnaz

4xnaz

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So, the next step of the build was not easy at all to come to a final decision on. What LIFT? What WHEELS? What TIRES? Many factors go into this decision and I had to go with what I thought was best for me.

Lift...3.5" Metalcloak Game Changer
Wheels...17" x 9" Rugged Ridge XHD with rim protectors
Tires...38" x 13.5" Milestar Patagonia
Shocks...2.5" ADS Racing Shocks with adjustable clickers

Once installed, I was blown away! In appearance alone, I couldnt stop staring at it. My JL was instantly transformed and was starting to gain it's personality. I needed to name her and I could tell you that I pondered for weeks and weeks on it. However thats a lie. It came to me right away...."GRAVY TRAIN". The name could not have been any more perfect for her. It's said that if you're riding the gravy train, you are getting the most payback for putting in the least amount of effort. And that is exactly what this JL does. After trading in my JK for her and getting the feel for this new platform, I couldnt think of anything that I wanted from my JK into this JL. It outperforms my JK in every aspect. And "Gravy" is also a play on words because the color is Sting Gray, I wanted to incorporate the word Gray in it somewhere. So "GRAVY TRAIN" is born.

I then added the Mopar oversized tire carrier for my spare tire and had my wheel protector rings powdercoated red.
More to post very soon...,,







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Rdmitch

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Absolutely beautiful.
Love the hood,scoops
 
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4xnaz

4xnaz

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Ok, so the biggest transformation has taken place with the last stage. Now to fix some of the issues that it has produced, an incorrect speedometer reading as well as slight contact from the 38" tires with the front bumper and front fenders during full flex.

The speedometer correction was simple. I purchased a Tazer Lite that simply plugs in under your dash, and by using the arrow controls on the steering wheel and your dash as a monitor, you can cycle through the factory settings and change your current tire size, which in turn, calibrates the speedometer.

I knew I was going to eventually get aftermarket bumpers, so when I ordered Gravy Train, I went with the most basic bumper package available. I searched and searched and searched for a front bumper that included all my must-haves......stubby design, recessed winch mount, specifically made for the JL and not modified from a JK design, fog light openings, lower skid plate and bull bar. Well, 5 out of 6 ain't bad. The Motobilt Crusher front bumper had everything but fog light openings. I live in Arizona. What the hell would I do with fog lights?!?!? The bumper was sent off for coating. I used Cerakote instead of powdercoat or paint due to it's durability and thin smooth finish. Once installed, I added the Quadratec Stealth Q series 10K pound winch with synthetic line, 3/4" red D rings and a Factor 55 FlatLink.

Now to address the rubbing on the front fenders. Looking at all the aftermarket options, I could honestly say that I wasnt much of a fan with any of them. It was either the design, the price, the material or even the availability that turned me away. So I opted for the most cost effective route which also gains the most clearance, other than totally removing the fenders. Rubicon fenders are plastic, two piece units and can be separated from each other with a small amount of labor. However, you will lose your blinker assembly/daytime running lights by doing this because they are attached to the lower portion of the fender that is being removed. At the time, I had used a kit made by Artec Industries that would secure the top fender portion as well as included a LED bolt light to act as the turn signals. Soon after that, a new LED light kit was produced by American Adventure Lab. It was a LED strip that ran the entire length of the lower front fenders and would not only act as blinkers, but also returned the ability of your daytime running lights. I was sold! This kit is amazing and couldn't be any more simpler to install. Completing the front wheel well area was the addition of DV-8 inner fender well liners. Some pics below will show the before/after pics when removing the lower half of the factory fenders.





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4xnaz

4xnaz

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So after 6 months of ownership, Gravy Train has made a lot of progress. Still plenty more plans in the near future.....armor, axles, gears, onboard air, and on and on and on. Just Empty Every Pocket.

The weather in AZ has warmed up a bit so modified up to the Ace trail doors to take in the fresh air.

A new package arrived at my door the other day.....stay tuned for this new addition!!!



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jforse

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How does it drive with the 38's on the stock gears?
 
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4xnaz

4xnaz

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How does it drive with the 38's on the stock gears?
Better than my JK did with 35's. This 8 speed tranny is the game changer. I did lose 8th gear on the freeway and see 7th a couple of times. But mostly 6th gear at 2200 RPM has me cruising at 75MPH. Gearing will come in the future, but isnt a necessity at this point in time.
 

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First order of business was to stretch her legs. I'm not a newbie to the Jeep scene but I'm also not seasoned by any means. Prior to this 2018 JL, I bought my 1st brand new Wrangler in 2012. This build was an entire learning experience for me. I found out what a Mall Crawler was at that time and also found out that I was contributing to the population of that group. The white JKU in the pic below was mine and the gateway to my addiction. Thanks to the amazing Jeep resale value, I was able to sell it for a very handsome sum and put a sizable dent into the $52K JL price tag. Along with the JK's profit, I also brought with me the knowledge of that 5 year build of what I wanted to do, what I absolutely didn't want to do, and some mods that I was still on the fence for. So first order of business, especially in Arizona was window tint. Then I had to change out that horrible radio antenna with a more respectable one of not so obnoxious lengths. The addition of a Cobra CB with a red Firestick antenna and CoolTech's mounting kit rounded out the 1st week of ownership. The transformation has begun!







IMG_20180806_154146_108.jpg


IMG_20180806_154146_109.jpg




20180806_120628.jpg
This will be a fun build to watch! Looks good.

Is that 1st pic taken at 91st and Pinnacle Peak?
 

TxJeepers

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Nice build! How’s that ADS/Metalcloak ride on the road? Already know those ADS are badass off-road! Can you post more pics of the front fender drive lights while powered off. I am interested in maybe doing the same. With the inner fenders removed are you able to run 2” bumps or probably still 3”?
 

BLLFRG

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Thanks!!! The 1st pic is actually taken at the tourist ghost town of Goldfield.
Oh ok! That building looks like that one sitting at 91st Ave lol.. Been a while since I've been home, but I think its still there.
 
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4xnaz

4xnaz

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Nice build! How’s that ADS/Metalcloak ride on the road? Already know those ADS are badass off-road! Can you post more pics of the front fender drive lights while powered off. I am interested in maybe doing the same. With the inner fenders removed are you able to run 2” bumps or probably still 3”?
Thanks!!! The Metalcloak/ADS combo was a winner with me. Very smooth on road manners. I still run 3" of bump stop but I really think I could get away with 2".

Here are a few extra pics of the American Adventure Lab light kit without any power. You will also notice a LED light bolt in the side of the fender. Currently there isnt any power running to it, it's just left over from when I switched out my Artec Industries kit for this current kit.

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Willcbooth

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Great lookin build! Waiting for my wheels to finally come in so I can put the lift on, and our Sting Gray JLUR's will be pretty similar. Are the AAL lights a plug and play, and do they throw a code? I've been back and forth on these and the Road Armor fenders, and the AAL is winning out.
 











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