Bootlegger-6

Some Random Guy

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Ok, I've been through a few revisions. I'm trying to recapture all of my plans and thoughts so that anyone else interested in similar things can see why I did or didn't go with the parts:

Concept 1) Stock. I planned to custom order a Sahara, I didn't think I'd need much at first. I figured I'd just enjoy it as is, conquer trails, and have fun.

Instead, I ended up buying a used JLUR. A doctor bought it for his wife, drove it home, and she rejected the manual transmission. He drove it to a land rover dealer and bought something. I test drove it with under 75 miles, and ended up buying it. Steel bumpers, M/T Rubicon JLU, heated seats/wheel, HD Electrical/Towing group, hard top. I originally was interested in leather seats, but thought I'd go Katskin for cooled leather seats in addition to heated.

Concept 2) Clayton Offroad 2.5" overland+, 37" Irok Radials, Hutchinson Rock Monster 17x8.5" wheels, 5.38 gears, Apex Badlands 12k winch with synthetic rope, Maximus-3 Winch plate, Smittybilt 2781.
I was still new, I hadn't thought much through and was trying to find my way. The mod bug had bit me. I got through one gatekeeper and didn't feel I could handle much on my own. The winch was most important, to get me out of trouble. To be clear, I don't think poorly of any parts I didn't end up using/planning. They all seem phenomenal, but I ended up doing some adjustments in what I wanted. Also, I bought a soft top from another forum member. I still haven't used it as of the time I posted this, waiting to install the hoist in my garage.

First Steps) Clayton Offroad 3.5" overland+, 37" Irok Radials, Hutchinson Rock Monster 17x8.5" wheels, 5.38 gears, Apex 12k, Maximus-3 Winch plate (purhcased), Iron Cross tire carrier plate, ViAir 400p Automatic (purchased) with 7-pin adapter
At this point, my wife's family farm came up for sale and I had to stop purchasing things. The winch plate sat in my garage, and I was basically back to concept 1. I had bumped to the 3.5" lift because I thought the flexibility would be nice of exceeding 37" tires. Some of my first outings I was already dragging my belly. I was starting to read about driveshaft issues with 3.5"+ lifts. I thought I'd operate as-is until I tore my CV boot, then upgrade.
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Next Steps) Maximus-3 3.5" geo lift, 37" Irok Radials, Hutchinson Rock Monster 17x8.5" wheels (ordered), 5.13 gears, Apex 12k (purchased), DV-8 JL tire carrier, RSE Sliders with drop steps.
I had my CB radio installed at this point. The Maximus-3 Geo-lift convinced me that the drop-brackets for the front control arms helped pinion angles enough I didn't have to worry about a new driveshaft. I chose to drop to the 5.13's because of the slightly higher strength (to my understanding), and I realized to push beyond 37" tires would put me in a position I would need to consider axle upgrades. It seems 37" tires can be handled with the JL D44's if you're careful, but I'm not so confident in 38.5 or 39.5 sizes. The DV-8 tire carrier didn't require a new bumper, so that seemed prudent. I also bought the hi-lift brackets from Dominion Offroad for tucking under the hard top.
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Origin of Build Log) Maximus-3 3.5" geo lift w/ Falcon 2.1 Shocks (ordered), 37" Irok Radials, 5.13 Yukon Gears (scheduled for install in July), Maximus-3 JL Sport Tire Carrier (ordered), Poison Spyder JL Knockers (+ steps), Artec aluminum full skid plate system.
My wheels have shipped, my lift and tire carrier might have shipped Friday (waiting for confirmation), my re-gear is scheduled for 5.13's. I went full Maximus-3 because I'm originally from the metro area of Detroit and like supporting a local company. The tire carrier allows me to keep the steel bumper I have, and will transfer the weight to the tub; so all the things I liked about DV-8, but from home. I have an inquiry in with a "local" Washington company about the Poison Spyder Knockers to replace my Rubicon rock rail. 4WheelParts has the steps in stock. I think the quickly removable steps are a small price to pay vs the fancy Rock Slider Engineering steps with their sensors and things plus the $500 skid plates for the sliders. Especially for the savings. I'm hoping to head down to 4WheelParts Lynwood store soon and talk tires. I might do the Bias Irok's, or just stick with BFG M/T's. I've got an inquiry in on the geo lift thread to to see what other people are doing, and at which offset. I've also got balancing beads on the way for my stock 33's to move them onto my wheels, but I might just buy/install 37's right onto the Rock Monsters. I'm a bit worried I need to install some mesh to keep the beads in the tire chamber and make sure they don't end up between the rim and the beadlock. I've also read about high-steer issues with frame contact for some people. I think they all had excessive sprung weight, so I think I'm safe. If not, I'm thinking of adding some spacers and shock extension brackets, but still have research to do. I also considered the MORE steps, but since they seem to require partial removal of the rock rail I'm thinking I'll just switch totally out to a more robust solution. Also, my off-road group is considering switching to GMRS after I asked and installed a CB since that's what the leadership insisted they used. I've got some FRS hand-helds to tide me over, but now I might put a MOLLE panel overhead to hand all my radios and handsets from.

I'll try to get caught up with pictures of my progress on individual installs and edit as I make further changes. This rig was originally only my poor-weather commuter and weekend rock crawler, but my car got rear-ended and I'm trying to get rid of it now (after repairs). That's changed a bit of my outlook on the Jeep, but I'm hoping once supply comes back up I'll be able to order a Camaro to use as my daily driver in fair weather. This made steps more important, since it's already hard to get into when I'm having a bad back day, and my wife is a bit shorter than me. She has a nice crew cab Colorado that we can use with company, and on truly bad days I can ride with her to work. We're blessed enough to work in the same building.
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Some Random Guy

Some Random Guy

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Got my wheels installed. That was a workout dismounting those tires. I'm glad I never have to fit a bead over a wheel again.
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I started by doing a spare tire during the week. I discovered that the new wheels don't fit on my stock spare tire carrier. The stock rims do though. It looks like I have a bent lower bolt.
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The new wheels are reduced in backspacing, so they do stick out a tad. Here are some photos when I only had the rear wheels mounted:
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I've still got to do a shakedown run to make sure TPMS is working correctly. I had a brief period where I thought one wasn't, but I just had to restart the jeep and keep going. Once I had the next wheel on, the rear driver started working correctly.
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I forgot to take a photo, but with the wider wheels I think I the tires run taller now. I had 2 next to each other and it looked like I gained about 1/4" to 1/2", both were aired up to 40 lbs.
Working on an incline was a bit scary, but I found the flattest part of my driveway I could and used wheel chocks. Now I'm smoked. That was a lot of 100lb+ bolts to torque multiple times. To anyone else thinking of doing these wheels, I'd recommend suspending the Jeep on stands or a post lift while in 4WD. It would have been a lot easier to torque the beadlock bolts on the Jeep than just loose on the ground like I did.

Maximus-3 has been working with me, so I'm hoping my tire carrier and lift ship soon (so I can mount the 5th tire). They had a few inventory hiccups, and I was second guessing my shock choice. After the second delay I called to try and upgrade shocks for the extra inch of travel. There was too long of a wait on their recommended step up (7 months I think), so I'm sticking with the Falcon 2.1's for a while.
I can't find the Sliders/Steps I want in stock, so I'm thinking of going with some $300 Amazon ones to hold me over until Poison Spyder is back in stock. However, I might delay the 37's long enough it's not an issue. Regear is in the end of July, so now I'm thinking of waiting until after that.
 

PacNWJLGecko

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Hey you're local to me! My Wrangler might finally show up in July or August. I have a Gecko green JLU Sport on order. I've already bought Rubi takeoff suspension, rubi wheels, rubi sliders, front and rear bumpers, winch, ARB twin compressor and have Katzkin seats ordered for it.

I haven't decided on which lift kit and wheels I want yet. Thinking a 3.5 inch lift and 37s. I'm debating a metalcloak game changer or a Clayton Overland kit.
 
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Lift and Tire Carrier showed up today. This weekend might be busy, but next up is the tire carrier instal. Jeep is going in for a bad purge flow valve tomorrow. Possible Timber Tamer run on Saturday. Either way I might get out Friday to Rieter for a bit.
Hi-Lift stripped a bunch of its paint off during tire bead-breaking duties. I’m not sure if that’s a defect or a mark that it actually gets used.
 
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I did make it to Reiter on a shakedown run. No leaks on the multi-piece rims. Steering is a bear when down below 10 PSI though. I need to research what to do for a boost. Overlanding type run happened on Saturday before Father’s Day. I kept it at 12-15 PSI.

I ordered my Tazer and bypass extension cable. I also switched over to LOD signature series sliders and ordered them while they were on sale. I discovered my stock rubi rail on the passenger side has rolled into the body tub after watching a video instal of the LOD sliders. Glad I went for frame mounted sliders.

My mother in law is in town, so delay on the projects. I did find a local skill shop where I can rent a lift, so I might try to burn through the whole lift kit install in one shot next weekend. I suspect I need to bring my own tools, but I’ll try to find out tomorrow.

I’m also planning to switch to 38.5” KM3’s. I know they work with my beadlocks, I’m not so sure about the 38” Milestars. I’m finding too many reviews saying the Iroks wear fast in the street, plus the KM3’s are cheaper. I just sold my car, so the Jeep is a Daily Driver now.

Once the ARB twin is back in stock I’m looking at onboard air to speed up inflation. I gave up trying to find a way to mount 425c’s, I’d rather have a proven ARB bracket than try to rig something custom over the wheel well. I can only find Viair mounts for under the Jeep, exposed to water and mud. I want it in the cab.

Hopefully I’ll have some photos next week!
 
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Some Random Guy

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The lift is on! It took me 2.5 days, but it is done. Maximus-3 makes a great product. Instructions were definitely made for someone experienced though, which is not me.
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I think I have to find the bolts that go to the auto transmission crossmember from the dealership. My manual didn’t have them, so I think I need them to finish bolting the correction brackets down.
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It drives better than factory. I can’t explain it, but it “feels right” now. It corners as my instincts say it should, stays more stable, and it squats/dives in a much more natural way.

Only 1 mystery bolt. I think it was supposed to go on the steering stabilizer after relocation. I re-used an original bolt set there.

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Mangled my factory draglink trying to get it off with a pickle fork. Ball joint separator did the trick though! I lost about 4 hours to that because my wife was out with her mom when I realized I was at a dead end.
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KM3’s were ordered today after I verified I would only have to worry about bumpstop. They’ll be here next Friday. Might need to find a step that works with my sliders. It’s novel right now, but will probably get old. I may not clear my garage when I’m done, oh well. Made the hoist a bit of a waste though. I can look into moving it to my storage unit.
This was quite fun. 1 year ago I didn’t know what control arms, drag links, or beadlocks were. Now I did this!
 
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Tires arrived. Sliders arrived. I work this weekend, but I’m off next week. Tazer is all updated and ready to go once I swap tires. I’m hoping to spend 1-2 days in tires and then do my tire carrier. Sliders might happen after work between now and Monday, I think I only have to drill 1 hole through both sides of the frame.
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Thankfully my wife has a long bed truck. It was snug.
 
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Tire carrier is on.
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It is true the Maximus-3 carrier is off center when closed, but that is a function of the carrier being on a different swing axis to the tailgate. Totally worth it to me. I did have to adjust the tailgate after my first install to line up on closure. I also think I cross-threaded the top hinge, but with the reinforcement bracket I think I’m ok.
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Wow, this is WAY off. I’m not sure if Jeep’s QC is the problem or MORE. I went without the insert there, I’ll probably have to jam some padding in there to stop rattles. Twin ARB is mounted though. I temporarily have an M-stud on there. I’ll measure out my lines for onboard air hookups at each rear door another day. I do have the 3/8” OD hose already and all the fittings, but I want to wheel tomorrow instead of screwing with it. Maybe Friday I’ll finish stage 2 of onboard air. I need to find someone to make brackets so I can mount the QDC fittings near the door instead of letting them flop.
Other than the onboard air and my regear to 5.13’s, I think I’m done for a while. Skids will be NOV timeframe. I’m planning artec aluminum. Axles will be after I break a ring/pinion set. I do have to add some grip tape to the sliders so they don’t get slick in the rain. It is sitting on my counter. Maybe tomorrow before I get it filthy.
 
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I spoke too soon. I'm rubbing in the rear. Bumpstop shims are on the way for now, but it looks like I'm going to flex it again to see my clearance on the non-rubbing side will allow me to push the axle back. Metalcloak looks like they're going to get my business for rear control arms.
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The pinch seam is right behind that liner, so this is the front of the rear wheel well.
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Still have room from the bumpstop. So shims for now, I'll see if I can remove some material and re-mold the liner to allow more up-travel. This is before I came down on my exhaust on the way out of Walker. Dented up that tailpipe pretty good.
The real hero of the day for me though were these:
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I made my own locking tire whips so I can level the air between tires. This was just the trial run, but I don't mind the fill time now that I just hit Aux4 and watch my gauge until they hit the PSI I want. Didn't take long with the ARB twin though! I'm waiting on a 90 degree elbow to arrive tomorrow to finish the first stage of the on-board setup. Then I'll have 4-tire inflation! Wiring is a bit amateur-ish, but it is only visible when I have the driver door open. It pops out near the lower seatbelt point and runs under my driver floormat to go out that drain. This allowed me to keep my distribution block inside the cab and out of the elements. Fuse is still off the battery lead (didn't need ARB's fuses). This is 3/8" OD air brake line, so it is rated for plenty of PSI. The whole system is rated for 200PSI+ working pressure, even though the ARB only does 150. I don't need an air tank, now that I'm not squatting over tires I don't care if it takes 2-3 minutes.
 

mikem20

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Nice build!
 
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Pinch seam is cut, fenders are back on, and she’s in for regear. I think I had a ball joint fail on the way there. 4 death wobbles on a 20 minute trip. Felt like my wife’s grand cherokee when she had a ball joint go (while towing). Hopefully a re-torque buys me a few months, they don’t even have 8k miles on them. 4 tire inflation is working too. TPMS ate it again though. It still works, but chimes once per start and the light is always on.
 
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I got it back from regear. Yukon did the job themselves, so fingers crossed. I’m through the first 3 heat cycles. 2 highway cycles to go tonight, then just easy driving until I hit 500 miles and flush. I’m popping it into 4H on straight sections of road to load the front gears. This seems preferable to removing the driveshaft. Plus it loads them, whereas I think removing the driveshaft would just break in the coast side.
They think my caster is backwards from my lift. I bought an angle finder and I am somewhere between 5 and 7 after multiple measurements, so I think they didn’t account for the axle offset from ball joints to pinion angle. I did tighten the bottom ball joints. They were fairly loose, but quickly hit final torque spec before I even got the castle nut to the next gap. I hope this buys me some time without anymore death wobble. I also tightened up my drag link on the pitman arm. I couldn’t get a torque wrench on that when I installed it, so I circled back again in case it came loose. Still just hand tight with a box wrench.
I do about 25 miles a day normally, so about 16-18 days to hit 500 after I do the highway runs. I might sneak in some extra highway miles on some nights to try and finish quicker. I want to have it flushed before my wife returns from overseas. I have a whole week off shortly after that.
 

MORubi

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How much trimming did you end up doing? Got pics?
 
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It didn’t take a lot. This is my clean cut.
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This is the passenger side. The cut came out pretty bad. I drew a line inside those dots. The dots marked where the pieces of the body sheetmetal separate, so I didn’t want to get that far. If anyone does this, I actually recommend keeping the tire on to brace against.
 
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