Diesel Build - 2020 Sting-Gray JLURD

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Themistocles

Themistocles

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'03 Ram 2500 Cummins / 20 JLURD
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Well, it has been a while. Just completing a pretty crazy 3-months at work. I haven't had time to do much on the JL and zero time to post anything. However, to keep myself sane I have been puttering a bit and have accomplished a few things.

I pulled a set of old Baja Designs Fuego HIDs off my Ram, restored them and switched them over to the JL. I really like the color of light from the Fuegos. I am sure I could play around with LED colors and come pretty close, but the Fuegos were the easy button, plus I hate spending $500 - $700 on a new set of lights to replace ones I already have...so a little elbow grease and now I have one set of my HIDs transferred to the JL.

I pulled all the internals from the light, stripped them down and then used Sting-Gray color match touchup paint to repaint them. I am not great with a spray can so the paint work isn't perfect but from more than a couple feet away it looks great...at least I think it looks great...which is what counts, its my JL.

First picture is one of the lights as they were on my Ram. That these lights are still running strong after pushing 12 years mounted...time running chase and rescue in BitD and Mojave Desert Race, crawling around the mountains deer and elk hunting in Idaho and Montana, and the general abuse of sitting in the weather on my bumper for nearly 12 years really is a testament to their build quality. Kudos to Baja Designs (@BajaDesigns)...hell of a product. When I pulled them apart the interior was even still shiny and clean...no penetration of dirt, dust, or water at all. The only real wear (besides paint) was that all the bolts were frozen and I had to cut them off.
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stripped down.
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And now painted
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I then shot it with clear coat, replaced the bolts, and mounted
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and another
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They look like they are a different shade than the vehicle, but that is just the sting-gray...it seems to change colors based on the angle you look at it, and the lighting. When put side by side the colors are identical. I really like how it turned out. I got them all wired up using weatherpacks so they can quick disconnect if needed...worked perfectly and still just as bright as the day I bought them. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I currently have them wired to Aux 1 with my Rigid light bar. Not sure I will keep that setup, will see how it works.

Now I just need to decide on which SAE driving lights I am going to put in and then bite the bullet and buy a Warn Zeon...and my bumper will be done...all the rest of vehicle to go.





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Themistocles

Themistocles

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'03 Ram 2500 Cummins / 20 JLURD
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Completed work a bit early today, so figured I would tackle another electrical project. The Roam bumpers come with cutouts for sensors. I very specifically did not get the safety/assistance package with my JLURD...so I had no sensors to mount. The result was 4 sensor holes in the back bumper and 6 in the front. I could have just put bolts in them or popped on some covers. But that would have been too easy. So I thought about putting running lights in the sensor holes. My daughter, who has recently gotten the Jeep bug, was really excited about this idea. So I ordered some waterproof LED running lights from Amazon, that they exactly fit the sensor hole size makes me think I am not the first person to have this idea.

I am not sure I will stick with this. I may end up just popping on covers...but for now the running lights were a fun addition. As with pretty much everything electrical, I used weatherpack connections to make sure they were disconnectable and pretty well water / elements proof.

These are very very low amp draw lights...so I just used the license plate light OEM power. Seems to work well.

First picture is my daughter pulling the bolts out to take off the back Roam bumper.
20210311_165043 (2).jpg


Second picture is my 8 year old daughter carrying the Roam bumper back to put it back on after we did the wiring. Gives you an idea of how light the Roam rear Pioneer bumper really is.
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Final picture is the lights installed and on.
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Themistocles

Themistocles

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Another minor addition I put in over the last couple months. Two Molle Platform Solutions (MPS) molle panels. One rear overhead and one driver's side panel for the back. They were really easy to install. The most difficult item was needing to unbolt and slide the hardtop back about 3 inches. Nothing challenging in that, just took a few minutes to do. Both panels are very secure, and allow me to use some of the footlockers of random molle gear I have from deployments. Overall very happy with them. The kids love having pouches in which to put their power cords, masks, earbuds, etc. I like immediately being able to see if my gear is in place...using 9mm mag pouches for multi-tool, folding knife, and tactical flashlight. They work great and fit tight enough to prevent items falling out.

Also, I added an Element fire extinguisher to the rear overhead panel. The way the rear panel is positioned I can reach back and grab the fire extinguisher and the gear I have in the first row of pouches from the driver seat. The larger pouches in the back require being in the rear seat to access.

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Themistocles

Themistocles

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I figured I would take a few minutes and provide a quick recap of the build so far. I have entries for many of the things I have done, but also multiple upgrades that have not ended in an entry in the build journal.

So, to date this is what I have done:
  • Wheels: Method 701
  • Tires: 35x12.5x17 Toyo Open Country AT II
  • Front Bumper: Roam Pioneer
  • Rear Bumper: Roam Pioneer
  • Rock Rails: Roam Rock Sliders (frame mounted)
  • Lighting: Rigid 10" D-Series Amber Flood, Baja Designs Soltek Fuego HIDs Spots
  • Controller: Tazer JL Mini
  • Tailgate Reinforcement: Rugged Ridge Spartacus
  • D-Rings (front): Gear America Mega (grey)
  • Rear Tow Point: Factor 55 Hitchlink 2.0 (red)
  • Console Holster: Gibson Leatherworks 1911 holster
  • Console Bag: Gibson Leatherworks
  • Interior Panel: MPS Rear Overhead Molle Panel
  • Interior Panel: MPS Driver Side Fender Well Molle Panel
  • Interior Mounts: CMM Passenger Side Single Mount and 20mm Ball
  • Interior Mounts: CMM Driver Side Grab Handle 20mm Ball
  • Interior Mounts: Bulletpoint Mounting Solutions GoPro Mount
  • Interior Mounts: Bulletpoint Mounting Solutions Diablo M6 Magnetic Phone Mount
  • Interior Mounts: Quadratec Passenger and Driver Side Flashlight Mounts w/3D LED Maglights
  • Fire Extinguisher: E50 Element
  • Hood Struts: Redline Tuning
Except for some minor Amazon stuff that is the list so far. Nothing on the list at this point that I regret or would not do again. I did finally make a decision on suspension and will do a separate post about that.
 
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Themistocles

Themistocles

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Well after 8 months of research, emailing and calling suspension companies, sifting through forums, watching YouTube videos, talking to installers, and doing more pages of suspension math and notes than I care to admit, I finally made a call and ordered a Clayton Diesel Overland+ 2.5" suspension. I plan to pair it with a set of Radflo 2.5" adjustable remote res. shocks. The suspension is ordered, the shocks I am holding on...will explain that below. I am also having a set of motobilt diff covers installed...and am toying with putting in Artec trusses front and rear as well.

As I have noted multiple times in this build log, my initial choice was a Metal Cloak GC 2.5", however two things dissuaded me. First MC simply refused to provide their spring rates to me. I get this, it is proprietary and they spend time and energy developing their own products. However, it is not like they are protecting a huge trade secret. All any competitor needs to do is buy a set of MC springs and put them on a press to measure their rate. Essentially MC is saying, "trust us we know what is best for your rig." Same thing Apple does, and the reason I own all Android. With MC's reputation for building awesome suspensions, the truth is they probably do know best...but it still bothers me, especially as the diesel is new and even MC doesn't have much experience with it.

Second, I just couldn't get past MC not releasing a diesel specific suspension. I was initially hesitant to go with Clayton because they use linear rate front coils and I like the added length provided by dual or triple rates. I was also initially a bit hesitant because Clayton repurposed existing springs (at different lengths) for the diesel kit. However, unlike MC, Clayton was very open about their rates....and the rate they chose for the front is probably about as high as one could get on a jeep without making the ride too harsh...and pretty close to what I hand calculated as the appropriate rate for a built 3.0L I also very much like the build quality of Clayton, I think it is easily on par with MC. Overall, lots of good suspensions out there, but for me its going to be Clayton.

The easy choice for shocks would have been Falcon 3.3s, but even the SP2s are frequently critiqued for riding a bit harsh. With the high spring rate, I did not think Falcon's would be the right combination. Clayton recommends either Radflo or Fox for this suspension. I knew I couldn't go wrong with a set of Fox 2.5 DSC'...I run Fox on my Ram and love them. However, I was fascinated by Radflo. The more research I did, the more fascinated I became...in the end I decided to go with the Radflo 2.5" adjustable. I really like that Radflo hand builds each shock to order. This allows me to provide weights and usage and have them valve the shock specifically for my vehicle...though they are not the only company doing this, in combination with their reputation in the desert racing community and their great customer service it was what pushed them over the top.

Now, Radflo will cut shocks specifically to length for a charge...but offer precut for 2.5" - 3.0" inch lifts and 3.0" - 3.5". This should be a no-brainer. 2.5" suspension the right shocks are the 2.5" - 3.0". But it's not quite that simple. The Clayton diesel kit is brand new and even Clayton can't for certain tell me what actual lift I am going to get out of it. In comparison, MC 2.5s are frequently seeing 2.8 - 3.2 when put on. Radflo was very clear that the range is not just a guide...if my suspension sees 3.1, I need the 3.0 - 3.5 shock. So, currently the plan is to install the full suspension, measure gain and full travel range, then get the Radflo shock that fits. The problem is, as Radflo builds every shock to order, the wait time is around 8 weeks. This means I will essentially have to park my Jeep for two months waiting for shocks. I have asked my installer (OCD Customs) about the possibility of just going with the 3.0 - 3.5 Radflo's and adding a .5" spacer if the Clayton is right at 2.5 or a little extra bump stop (to prevent the shock from topping out) if the lift is between 2.75 and 3.0. Will see where we go on this. I may be back in my Ram for most of the Spring.

But...overall, the decision is made. Clayton Suspension, Radflo shocks...now just need to get it done.
 
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