"Joyride" Hydro JLUSA Build Thread

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rcadden

rcadden

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I'm actually glad to hear this because I've been thinking I will want to lift and change wheels soon after I get my Jeep. Seeing your pics they don't look all that bad. The advice I keep hearing is to drive it stock for awhile before making big changes so hopefully the stock tires won't bother me too much.

Thanks for sharing. Keep the updates coming!
Stock off the factory, my Sahara Altitude sits ~1 inch lower than my '07 GMC Sierra w/ a 3-inch lift sat, so it definitely has some clearance.

While my budget is on hold, I've been putting some more thought to this. Now that I've had this a few months, and hit the local off-road park a few times, I'm less interested in "rock crawling" and that sort of thing. I see my primary usage being more "overlanding" and that sort of off-road.

Which of course changes things quite a bit. I also have a hard limit on the height - being able to pull in and out of my garage is a non-negotiable, and my 5'8" wife being able to get in and out easily is also a consideration.

So...my key wants/needs are:
  1. No more than 2" of lift *overall* (suspension+tires)
  2. On-road manners trump off-road performance (it's still my DD with mostly highway)
  3. I'd like a *little* bit of poke, just from a looks standpoint. (<=1")
So with all of that in mind, I'm leaning towards:
  1. 33's, with a more aggressive AT tread (KO2s or similar)
  2. New hub-centric rims (still need to figure out the backspacing/offset/etc)
  3. Spacer lift <2". Maybe even just a 1"
The Sahara Altitude comes with 255/70R18, which is ~32.1", so going up to 33"s will give me ~0.5" of lift without sacrificing as much power and other considerations as 35"s would. A 1" spacer lift will get me the rest of the way without requiring extra "stuff" to fix things.

The smaller spacer lift will also free up $$$ to be able to invest in wheels/tires, as I'll have ~$4K to knock out all of that stuff with. Some would probably say that this setup is leaning closer to "mall crawler" than "off-roader", but I've been pleasantly surprised by the off-road capabilities even bone stock, so getting some more aggressive tires and a little bit more height will only add to that. I'm unlikely to try to tackle Moab or the Rubicon Trail anytime in the next few years, tbh.

I'll probably go down to 17" rims when I do all this. I really actually love the stock rims with the Sahara Altitude package, but I can't get poke without spacers, and I don't want to go spacers, nor do I want to try to cram a wider tire on there than is recommended.

Bit of a long explanation, but after ~3 months of driving, a few off-road trips, and hundreds of hours of research and calling a few local shops, talking to local Jeep club members, etc, that's where my head's at.
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rcadden

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Ordered with the tow package, so this weekend we went on a little adventure. Rented a Coleman Dutchman 17B through Outdoorsy (great experience) and headed out to the local state park.

The Dutchman 17B is right around the 3000lbs mark, so loaded with our crap was pushing pretty close to the Jeep's max tow capacity.

PXL_20211105_153346244.jpg


TOWING EXPERIENCE:

I remembered that I despise towing. The Jeep handled it mostly well, especially considering that it wasn't *really* properly kitted. Some rear airbags or something probably would help if I was actually going to purchase a camper and use it regularly - this was just an experiment.

Towing this thing basically cut my MPG in half, roughly - 10-12 MPG average. Basically dropped my normally-400-miles-on-a-tank range down to a little over 200 miles. Also, it absolutely killed my shift points - I never saw past 6th gear. Using cruise control I think actually made it worse, too - the Jeep really struggled to maintain speed, and was constantly either working harder to get up to speed or working to slow the whole thing down.

Stopping wasn't an issue at all (though I didn't really push the limits here). My Sahara Altitude has the HD brakes kit too though, so probably benefitted there.

I bought these cheap-o sideview mirror extensions at Wal-Mart, and will be promptly returning them. They did basically nothing, because the camper is way wider than the Jeep. (https://www.walmart.com/ip/TowSmart...g-Mirror/332117984?fulfillmentIntent=In-store). They fit fine on the Jeep, just don't extend far enough to be useful at all.

I also made the poor choice of leaving on Friday afternoon and heading East - straight through Dallas traffic. Bonehead, I know. Basically ~2hrs of white-knuckles. The drive home was significantly easier on Sunday AM with little to no traffic.

CAMPING EXPERIENCE:

This was our first camping trip in 6 years, and our first with a camper. Overall, the Coleman was nice - it's just four of us, so we had plenty of room. Hooking everything up was pretty straightforward, though I wish I'd gotten a pull-through spot - we arrived in the dark and backing this thing in was a little stressful, lol.

The Coleman has 2 small bunk beds, a dining table that converts to a ~full size bed, and then a "camper queen". We never converted the table, since it was just us four.

OVERALL:

I don't think I'd try towing something this big again. It was pretty stressful, and I could tell the Jeep, while she had it handled, wasn't super pumped about it. IF I had the need, I'd invest in some rear airbags or something to balance the load out a little better, and better mirrors or a rear camera or something.

We'll definitely try a teardrop, and an overland camper setup. I also want to try a rooftop tent, but maybe without the kids.

Also, while I am unbelievably appreciative of the existence of our nation's State Parks and other protected lands which make it easier for people to get out into nature, this was a particularly poor experience. There was a LARGE group of men/boys in the adjacent loop who were excessively noisy the entire time. They [mostly] respected the posted quiet hours, but otherwise, they were a constant source of noise pollution. And I'm pretty sure they had a rooster with them.

It definitely highlighted why I'm so keen on trying out overlanding/dispersed camping in the near future.
 
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FINALLY got my lift in. Decided on just a small spacer lift for my current needs, so I did the 1.5" Teraflex pucks. Install only took ~3hrs, not too bad. You definitely want an impact wrench.

They're actually 2" up front and 1.5" in the back to fix the factory rake, but I didn't have any rake to begin with, so I may have to add their little 0.5" pucks to level it out.

Overall, though, I love it. Next up: 285/75R18s and bumpers (Dec/Jan). I think I've decided to stick with my factory wheels for now. When I wear out the new tires, I'll probably go down to 17s, but for now I'd rather put the budget on bumpers to finish out my initial look.

IMG_20211120_135432~2.jpg
 

DB2

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First mods came in from Amazon last night!

20210721_164952.jpg


Clearly, the first thing that had to go was the antenna. This one is a few inches shorter than I thought it would be, but I still like it.

20210721_165213.jpg


Next up is some organization in that teeny-tiny console. Also not sure I'm going to keep this one - it *barely* fits my phone plugged in. But the light-hole is nice, and it's deep enough (takes up ~half of the height)

20210721_165441.jpg


After driving from Nashville back to Texas, I definitely needed a dead pedal. This is the Hooke one - SUPER easy to install and adjust. However, it came with *zero* instructions. Just 3 metal pieces in the box with a handful of nuts and bolts. Had to google to figure out how to assemble/install

20210721_172019.jpg


Last for this batch was a set of black plastic door handle inserts. Admittedly, I haven't actually "installed" these, as I need to clean the spots and prepare the area, etc. But you can set them in to get an idea of how they'll look. I think I like them.

Without:
20210721_165631.jpg


With:
20210721_165652.jpg


I also got a roll of 3M PPF, but am waiting to use it.

Arriving in the next few days is:
1. Weathertech mats (front, back, cargo)
2. Sunrider (Black Twill)
3. Uconnect screen protector
4. Brawlee LED Light Bar for the Rear Glass
5. Rugged Ridge entry guards
6. Black Hinge Covers

Getting the cheap(ish) cosmetic stuff knocked out this month. August is bumpers and possibly a small lift/budget boost.
@rcadden, How do you like the antenna mod? Notice much difference with FM channel coverage? I’m wanting to do the same and been looking at different companies. Haven’t purchased anything yet.
 
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@rcadden, How do you like the antenna mod? Notice much difference with FM channel coverage? I’m wanting to do the same and been looking at different companies. Haven’t purchased anything yet.
I love it, but I never use FM radio. 100% use my phone. So probably not a good sample, lol.
 
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SoCal JLUS

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Picked up the full set of Weathertech last night. I'm pleased with the front, unsure about the back, and mostly pleased with the cargo mat.

Front Passenger:
20210723_184820.jpg


Front Driver:
20210723_184840.jpg


Rear. I don't like that it only covers up to the edge of the seat. Would prefer it go all the way back. I may be returning these for the SmartLiners that go all the way back:
20210723_184855.jpg


Cargo. This fits well with great coverage, but the lip along the tailgate doesn't go *under* the tailgate when you close it. It gets crunched up against it. I've put some weights on it to try to "train" it down, so I may give it a week or two and see if that helps.
20210723_184915.jpg

20210723_185000.jpg
Did you ever switch out the rear Weathertechs for the Smartliner? Like you, I was concerned about coverage under the rear seats so I originally ordered the WeatherTech HP for the front and the Smartliner for the rear (did not order the cargo..for now). When I received them and installed, I did not like that there was a major difference in finish from the WeatherTechs and the Smartliner. The Smartliner looked....a little cheap and plasticly (perhaps I had higher expectations?) I also felt that maybe extending the coverage past the end of the seats were not as important as fit and finish so I returned the Smartliner and ordered the WeatherTech HPs for the rear. They arrive this weekend so hopefully I made the right choice for me.
Great looking Jeep and thanks for documenting your build!
 
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rcadden

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Did you ever switch out the rear Weathertechs for the Smartliner? Like you, I was concerned about coverage under the rear seats so I originally ordered the WeatherTech HP for the front and the Smartliner for the rear (did not order the cargo..for now). When I received them and installed, I did not like that there was a major difference in finish from the WeatherTechs and the Smartliner. The Smartliner looked....a little cheap and plasticly (perhaps I had higher expectations?) I also felt that maybe extending the coverage past the end of the seats were not as important as fit and finish so I returned the Smartliner and ordered the WeatherTech HPs for the rear. They arrive this weekend so hopefully I made the right choice for me.
Great looking Jeep and thanks for documenting your build!
I did not. I've kept the Weathertech, though honestly, I'm not in love with them. They hold up well and all that, but the fit is awkward.

The front ones are a pain to get out, and if you've got loose dirt/dust/etc in them, it almost all spills out while you're trying to pull the damn mat out. I've yet to take the back ones out cause they seem like they'd be a nightmare to try to.

The back one has settled down a bit and I do actually kinda like that one.

But I'm beyond the return period on them all, and I have a bajillion other things to spend money on for this Jeep, and they *do* protect the interior pretty well, so I'm just going to stick with them for now. :)
 
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