Badger JL Build Thread - 2020 JLURD Bright White

BadgerJL

Member
First Name
Shawn
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
37
Location
Southeastern PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JL Unlimited Rubicon Diesel
Build Thread
Link
Now that I'm finished with the planned phase of the build, it's time to put together the build thread for the Badger.
IMG_20210628_090546__01.jpg


I'll be talking about individual parts in follow-up posts, so I'll just go over the base model details here.

Model: 2020 JLU Rubicon Diesel Color: Bright White
Options:
  • Cold Weather Group
  • LED Lighting Group
  • 8.4" Radio and Premium Audio Group
  • Safety Group
  • Black hard top
I purchased the Mopar Twill soft top from someone on FB marketplace. For anyone looking into soft tops, I highly recommend going that route since it was slightly cheaper than a lot of aftermarket options, it's easy to find new in box from people who got the dual-top group and don't want the soft top, and they honestly did a really good job with the factory soft tops in terms of build quality and ease of use.

It's got an automatic transmission, but at the risk of upsetting the standard-transmission purists (used to be one!), I'm really looking forward to more trail rides with the kind of control the auto transmission gets you. One of the most difficult things on rides with my last Jeep (a manual) was controlling speed coming off a ledge or rock. If you're just a bit short of the top, it's tough to feather the throttle without burning out the clutch *just* enough to crest the top and then get on the brake quickly enough to avoid slamming back down. The main advantage I found with the manual transmission was the ability to pick my gear and the auto transmission in the JLs lets you do that too. I'll report back when I've had the chance to really put this thing through its paces, though.
Advertisement

 
Last edited:
OP
OP
BadgerJL

BadgerJL

Member
First Name
Shawn
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
37
Location
Southeastern PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JL Unlimited Rubicon Diesel
Build Thread
Link
Skid Plates: Metalcloak Undercloak Integrated Armor System
https://metalcloak.com/undercloak-integrated-armor-system-jl-wrangler-diesel-systems.html

These plates are weighty at 235lbs all-in but *solid*. I picked them up because I live in PA and all the offroading around here is rocky Appalachian terrain that will find a way to snag the diesel's exposed emissions components, and this was great peace of mind. The gold zinc coating means I won't need to continuously touch it up, and we'll see how that holds up after running the trails for a while. Install happened over a couple sessions but that was due to early-adoption kinks. I did need some nutserts (which Metalcloak supplied when I asked, good response from their customer service) to mount the DEF skid tank to the rear bumper frame rail but hopefully they'll include that in their kits going forward. Otherwise, I'm really happy with how solid these feel and how well they fit.
A few notes:
  • There's a port for access to the oil pan drain plug. Haven't tested that yet to see if it drains neatly or if I need something else to funnel it through.
  • The fuel filter is covered by the fuel tank skid with no access. That should be a very infrequent maintenance item and removing the skid isn't too tough but it'll add a bit of work when that comes around.
  • This kit removes the front stock crossmember, but I'm pretty sure that needed to come out to clear the driveshaft at full droop anyway, so no loss there and the kit adds so much strength across the frame that I'm not worried about it.
  • The toughest part of the install was getting in at the engine mount bolts to mount the front skid plate. Not a lot of room to swing a wrench in there, but it's totally doable with some patience and you can just pull the plastic inner fenders out of the way.

IMG_20210701_094633.jpg

IMG_20210701_094638.jpg
IMG_20210701_094642.jpg
IMG_20210701_094730.jpg


IMG_20210701_094622.jpg
 
OP
OP
BadgerJL

BadgerJL

Member
First Name
Shawn
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
37
Location
Southeastern PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JL Unlimited Rubicon Diesel
Build Thread
Link
Lift Kit: Metalcloak 3.5" Gamechanger, Diesel version, Rocksport shocks, outboard shock mounts
https://metalcloak.com/jl-wrangler-3-5-game-changer-suspension-system.html

Funny enough, this is not the first time I got this kit. Had a JL Sahara before the Badger, until an inattentive driver tried to compact my 4-door into a 2-door 🙄 Liked this lift so much that I wanted to get it on the Badger as well. The Gamechanger kit offers a lot of articulation and maintenance-free joints. There have been some fairly gnarly-looking obstacles on the trails that might as well have been flat pavement for how smoothly it handled.
Notes:
  • The kit is pretty easy to install and mostly bolt-in, although it will definitely take some time so don't start on it unless you've got at least a full day to work on it before you need it back on the road.
  • While the instructions are good for setting the adjustable control arm lengths, it's still worth getting it into the shop afterwards for a proper alignment.
  • Don't forget to check your headlight aim afterwards, especially if you've got the LED package.
  • The Rocksport long-travel shocks have a lot of down-travel but are a bit limited on up-travel. I've got 3" of bump stop in the front and back with the stock upper bump-stops. Still looking into whether it's worth going aftermarket for the upper stops.
  • I highly recommend picking up wheels with no more than 4.5" of backspacing. Stock wheels will bring your rims and tires in too close and you won't want to have to set limits on the rig to avoid wheel rub.
    IMG_20210701_094510.jpg
    IMG_20210701_094516.jpg
    IMG_20210701_094524.jpg
    IMG_20210701_094714.jpg
 
OP
OP
BadgerJL

BadgerJL

Member
First Name
Shawn
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
37
Location
Southeastern PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JL Unlimited Rubicon Diesel
Build Thread
Link
Tires: Nitto Trail Grapplers, 37x12.50R17LT, load range D
https://www.nittotire.com/light-truck-tires/ridge-grappler-light-truck-tire/

These tires are certainly among the heavier brands of tire, but they hold up well on the trails and on the road in just about all the weather I've put them through (and we do run the gamut in PA). They're also reasonably quiet and road manners are good. Between the tires and the lift kit, the Badger drives really smoothly on the roads and I've had to really push in slippery conditions to get some slip out of them.

Wheels: Fuel Offroad Anza D558, 17x8.5, 4.5" backspacing
http://www.fueloffroad.com/wheel/4047/fuel-1-piece-wheels-anza-d558/?finishID=847&lugs=5

No major advantages to this wheel, I mainly like how they look and with all the sidewall 37" tires get you, you shouldn't need to worry too much about alloys. They do have the right measurements (17" diameter to comfortably clear brake calipers, 8.5" wide for maximum non-beadlock bead retention, 4.5" backspacing to clear the suspension components). Even though the beadlock ring is simulated, I'm hoping it'll hold up better than a thin edge when I run it up against rocks.

IMG_20210701_095616.jpg
IMG_20210701_095623.jpg
 
OP
OP
BadgerJL

BadgerJL

Member
First Name
Shawn
Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
9
Reaction score
37
Location
Southeastern PA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JL Unlimited Rubicon Diesel
Build Thread
Link
Rock Sliders: LoD Offroad Signature 4-door Rock Sliders
https://lodoffroad.com/products/2018-jeep-jl-signature-series-4-door-rock-sliders

I think this is the part I spent the most time researching. There are a *lot* of options out there that advertise rocker protection but don't necessarily live up to it. The LoD sliders are frame-mounted, which was the most important part. Body-mounted sliders can only spread out the energy of a hit before transferring it to the body, so enough hard hits means you'll probably start seeing panel and door misalignment sooner or later with those. These sliders have mounting points on the body mount bolt brackets (not the body mount bolts, you do not have to touch those!) and on the bottom of the frame rail for additional bracing. Relative to other frame-mounted rock slider offerings, they sit high and close to the body so I shouldn't end up catching too many rocks that I wouldn't have hit without them. They're also built very stout and very heavy, so make sure you've got a couple strong folks on hand when you need to move that box. On the other hand, they do entirely bolt on and they ended up fitting really nicely under the MC skid plates. I believe the MC skids and LoD sliders together will end up stronger than the sum of their components, though I'll need to test that on the trails.

Notes:
  • I recommend installing these before your skid plates, or at the same time. I had to remove and reinstall a bunch of the skid plate bolts to get the room I needed to put these on the frame rail.
  • This is doable with 2 people, albeit difficult. Once you're ready to mount the slider, one person will need to be underneath to tilt and guide the slider into place around the body mount washers.
  • The instructions do recommend drilling out a hole in the passenger side frame rail for mounting the slider. I haven't done that yet and it'll be difficult to get in at with the slider already mounted, but we'll see if that ends up being necessary.
IMG_20210628_090605__01.jpg
IMG_20210701_094609.jpg
IMG_20210701_094616.jpg
 
Advertisement

Next Venture Motorsports
 
Advertisement
Top