JL Sport- Things to Consider When Buying/Building

Jcoke90

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Hey all, I am going to start posting some things that I have learned from building my JLU Sport. There are quite a few things that I wish I had known coming in- and maybe if I was part of these forums back then I could have found out! I considered which Jeep to buy and decided on the JL Sport a little over a year ago and this is what I have to say to those considering buying a Jeep. Feel free to add on or ask questions. This thread might be useful for someone trying to choose between trim levels as well.

Some things I wish I would've gotten as factory options:
The only 2 options my JL came with was a hard top and heated seats (heated seats are also a must in the cold climates)

1. Tow package and auxiliary lights.
I installed the Mopar auxiliary bank myself to go with my KC lights. That process was a MF nightmare.. the bank itself is expensive but I prefer the factory look with no drilling. The hard part was fishing the wires through the firewall which felt like it had two rubber grommets to get through. The video I saw for instructions also did not inform me that simply disconnecting the battery was not enough to stop power. This ended with sparks and a blown fuse in the line which was more of a pain. the process includes ripping out most of the dash and dealing with electronic pins which I am not good with. Save yourself the hassle/anxiety and 3-6 hours of messing around. Get it from the factory if you're going to do it.

Another note: The package comes with a better alternator and battery as well. My Halogen KC lights seem to be okay, but they can give me a battery warning with the ESS and an occasional flicker. I don't know if I would be able to run both a set of halogen spots and fogs at the same time without issues. LEDs would probably be fine though if you wanted to spend a little more. Also, you get a class 2 receiver, so it's definitely worth spending the money on.

2. Alpine stereo
Though it is not AS bad as many will tell you, the factory stereo is quiet and not very exciting. Having test driven a Rubicon with the alpine stereo, I can tell you it absolutely kicks ass. Much more full and buttery that the stock option. The only comparable option to the factory upgrade is alpine's "after the fact" version of the system. This involves putting the sub under the seat. This process is even worse than the auxiliary bank and leaves the system at potential water damage risk. It also costs the exact same as it does from the factory before the install. I couldn't find one with the exact options that I wanted and I went with less than more, knowing I could swap it out if I really wanted to.


Some things you might like that will come in higher priced models or need to be put on later:

1. LED lighting package. The halogen lights suck.. I swapped the headlights to the oracle full sized halo and projector beams. They weren't cheap but it's probably the best thing you can do for the safety of everyone around. Stock JL halogens do not fit with 90% of aftermarket bumpers which sucks too.

2. Big brakes- Big brake kits IMO are a must for those running 37s or over. I run 35s and I don't see an absolute necessity for it but I will eventually do it because even an increase of 10 feet on braking can be the difference between almost hitting something and absolutely destroying whatever is in front of you. I like to be in control of my vehicle.

3. Axels and lockers. If you are looking to go off road and do some serious stuff. Get the beefier axels. They come with lockers and they can handle a little more of everything, including tires, than the stock D30s. I am looking to get some rubi takeoff axels if I move somewhere after college that is more apt to crawling than the Iowa-SD-Nebraska line. You might be able to get away driving 37s in the city with these axels but you won't want to for other reasons I'll get to.

4. 4.10-5.13 Gears. If you are running anything bigger than the stock tire size you may want to regear or go with the axel swap. I am running 35s with 3.43 gears and I have noticed a tremendous difference in road manners. People with the automatics say that they are okay, so if you don't want to axel swap or have to regear, you might be better off with an auto if you are looking to runn 35s or (god forbid) 37s on stock axels and gears. I have the 6 speed manual and when it was windy I literally couldn't keep my jeep going any faster than 70 on flat ground in 5th or 6th. It would not hold speed on any grade whatsoever. Without the wind, I can go 80 on flat ground on I-29 in 6th, but I keep it in 5th for the most part and drop it to 4th or even 3rd in the hills of NW Iowa. it feels really slow after 4th gear and taking off from a stop necessitates a little more clutch slip due to rolling resistance. If I don't get the rubicon axels I will be running 4.10 or 4.56 gears for my 35s so I can get a little pep back in her. 37s would not work...

5. speedometer adjustment
don't go to your crooked dealer to adjust your speedo or for anything but a recall. Get a tazer and do it yourself. I even found a hidden function with mine that turns the camera on when you turn, which is genius because you can't see anything with an oversized spare.

6. Tailgate
If you are doing some higher level trails, get a nice bumper mounted tire carrier. If you are running a 35, get the relocation plate for the tire carrier and if you are a worrier like me, a cheap reinforcement kit. Just allocate some into the budget, because I always heard you were able to fit a 35 with no problems, but there really are some.

7. Soft top upgrade
Hard tops are great for the winter, but I have upgraded to a Trektop for the spring and summer and I love it. I have heard from people that the twill tops are just as good as a hard top in about every measure. I'm a college student so I got the cheap one, but I'm gonna keep it on as long as I can because I love it. Maybe I'll get some aftermarket doors to make the full transformation that much faster and less space consuming. Soft tops are much better than they used to be.


Reflecting- I am glad I got a JL sport. I really didn't have the means to justify paying 50k for a new Rubicon anyway lol. There are a bunch of things that I wish mine had, but at the end of the day you can make your jeep into a rubicon or better from a sport. A sporticon, if you will. The cool thing about that is you can experience and decide exactly what you need. If you just want to run 35s with a 2.5 inch lift for daily driving and light to mild off roading, the sport will get you by, but you'll need to do some stuff where the rubicon is ready to play out of the box. My next Jeep will either be a rubicon or an older CJ for a second vehicle that I can beat the shit out of and not worry about the daily driving aspect.




Thanks for reading all of this.. What did you wish you knew before driving your baby off the lot?
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scrape

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Nice informative post, here are my thoughts about some of your points.

I pull the fuse box and battery tray to install the aux switches. Trying to run the wiring through the fender well sounds like a terrible idea and could lead to damaging the stock harness that’s already running thru there.

Youre right about the stereo, the tech package with 7” screen is probably the most important option to make sure you get on a sport since it would cost way more to add it after the fact, since the climate controls and gauge cluster are different as well.


Mopar sells a $7 adapter to get sport halogen fogs installed on aftermarket bumpers. 68298651AA.

Big brakes make a slight difference in stopping power but mainly it will manage heat and wear better. The same braking power (and more) can be achieved with aftermarket pads at the expense of wear.

Regarding axles, for the price difference between the sport and rubi, you could get a UD44 front and Rubi rear. But there would be no warranty on that stuff.

Tailgate, a 35 on stock wheels is absolutely fine. But if you go with aftermarket wheels with less backspace, it sticks the wheel our further from the gate, putting additional leverage on the carrier and gate. Sports will need a rubi tire carrier to run 35s on stock wheels. The sport carrier sits about 1.5” lower and a 35 won’t clear the bumper.
 
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Jcoke90

Jcoke90

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That Mopar adapter is great to hear about. When I was looking I don't remember seeing that. May not have been a thing when I was doing all that, but in all likelihood I probably missed it.
I think many will appreciate your points on the big brake kit and axels. My argument for the axels would be deferring costs of these help balance out the opportunity cost of purchasing them right away. For me, after crunching numbers, since I do all the work it will be cheaper if I could find a good deal on the parts and they're only getting cheaper and more available.

Also, If you don't like the way that bank is wired you should check out install videos on youtube or pull up the Mopar PDF instructions. Quite a process... I laughed when I read how to do it. It says to take a wire hanger, electrical tape the wires to it, then grease the whole thing. After that you proceed to cut the firewall grommet and fish the hanger through the firewall, elbow deep in the wheel well.

Thanks for your take on this!
 

scrape

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I think many will appreciate your points on the big brake kit and axels. My argument for the axels would be deferring costs of these help balance out the opportunity cost of purchasing them right away. For me, after crunching numbers, since I do all the work it will be cheaper if I could find a good deal on the parts and they're only getting cheaper and more available.
For sure it's a much easier pill to swallow to pay an extra $100 per month for 5 years on a loan than it is to dump $6k on axles out of pocket. Plus the warranty is important to a lot of people.

Also, If you don't like the way that bank is wired you should check out install videos on youtube or pull up the Mopar PDF instructions. Quite a process... I laughed when I read how to do it. It says to take a wire hanger, electrical tape the wires to it, then grease the whole thing. After that you proceed to cut the firewall grommet and fish the hanger through the firewall, elbow deep in the wheel well.
Yea I've installed a couple of switch banks already. When I first read the instructions and it said to fold back the fender liner and blindly run the wires through I said there has to be a better way. So I pulled the battery tray and the grommet is right there easily accessible. It's more "work" to pull the battery tray but it is what I call easy work. Nothing is hard to get to it just takes more time.
 
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ForeOSU

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I just bought my Sport S last week. I can tell you already that I’ll be upgrading to LED headlights. The stock halogen SUCK! I need to research and find decent ones that look stock (hate aftermarket LEDs that look ghetto fabulous).
Mine came with the Tech package which I didn’t feel I “needed” but am so happy I did. The Apple Car Play and upgraded gauge cluster is really nice.
I don’t have a budget for anything more than what I got so I’m super happy for now.
 

jeep1941

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For sure it's a much easier pill to swallow to pay an extra $100 per month for 5 years on a loan than it is to dump $6k on axles out of pocket. Plus the warranty is important to a lot of people.



Yea I've installed a couple of switch banks already. When I first read the instructions and it said to fold back the fender liner and blindly run the wires through I said there has to be a better way. So I pulled the battery tray and the grommet is right there easily accessible. It's more "work" to pull the battery tray but it is what I call easy work. Nothing is hard to get to it just takes more time.
can you explain this a little further? You installed the mopar aux switched and didn’t need to fish the wires behind the fender liner? You just pulled the battery tray and could see the grommet?
 
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