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Manual 2 Door Rubicon Bikini Build

Creeker

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Ordered a 2 two door Rubicon and it arrived in December of 2019.
Of course the first thing someone wants to do is modify one's Jeep.

The goal is make this a true trail worthy rig.
However, don't think the Jeep will see some of those crazy trails like Carnage Cannon in Colorado.

As much as possible, this will be a DIY build.
As things progress, missteps and success will be covered.
However, some of the big stuff will be farmed out (e.g., I am not the best welder).

So here is what things were like back in December.

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Spoiler Alert:
This build includes unique combination of an amazing Rock Krawler long arm 3.5" lift (T-Rex) and hydraulic bump stops.
This build also includes a installation of the super strong four door aluminum skids made by Artec that were modified by the crew at Stacked Off Road to fit a two door JL.



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Creeker

Creeker

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One of the first things added was some bigger rock sliders.
A set that could offer additional door protection was chosen

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Removal of the OEM sliders was easy.
The new sliders required removing two of the body bolts.
After ready that these bolts can snap, a heat gun was used to soften the loctite.
Using a long handled 1/2" breaker bar, there was no troubles removing the body bolts.

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The rest of the install of the new sliders went well.
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Creeker

Creeker

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Another mod to get the JL ready for trails is to increase the protection for the sway bar disconnect.
The front factory skid is made of relatively thin sheet metal.
Found a stainless steel front skid that would work with the factory bumper.
After removing the front bumper, the install was straight forward

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Therby

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Im here for the rock krawler trex kit on the 2dr!
 
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Creeker

Creeker

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At this point on the build, the thoughts were to do a little bit at time.
Next on the list was a steering damper (SD)
After reviewing the options, the adjustable SD by Falcon seem liked a good option.
The Falcon SD comes with all the hardware and instructions.
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The instructions were straight forward as this was a relatively simple bolt on upgrade
Every thing bolted up fine. Just be sure to use the red locktite included in the kit.

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When installing the SD, be sure that when you rotate the adjustment knob, be sure that the position indicators are pointing towards the front of the Jeep. On the first go around, rotate the SD 180 degrees.
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Thoughts on the Falcon SD.
The soft setting is about like the factory SD and would be ideal for off road stuff.
The medium setting is a little firmer than factory and was used for daily driver duty.
The firm setting is a little too firm for daily use.
In the soft and medium setting, when turning 90 degrees, the steering wheel returns to center as the Jeep comes out of the turn.
In the firm setting, I had to help the steering wheel return to center.
On the highway, the firm setting was OK.
Overall, very happy with the adjustable Falcon SD
 

Biohazard

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Even with 37’s, I’ve found that the firm setting is overkill. Soft works even on the highway, and with a solid lift kit, I have no steering issues beyond the usual small amount of dead space at the center.
 
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Creeker

Creeker

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The build seemed to be progressing at a reasonable pace. Now for tires and wheels.
Since one of the goals was to run 37's, at lift was going to be required.
37's were chosen since the Dana 44's should be able to handle that size tire with no problems.
The fun thing about 37's is the list of stuff needed for a trail rig, some of which is listed below:
  • Lift Kit
  • New Shocks
  • Fender Liners
  • Tire Carrier
  • Tires
  • Bead Lock Wheels
  • Steering linkage upgrade
  • Steering box upgrade.
One of challenges of a build to is to figure out which parts to choose.
There is some really good stuff out there and some not so good stuff out there.
Also, what parts work well with other parts is another major concern.
Being a nube to the JL modification thing, numerous websites. were reviewed, and calls were made to different manufactures and vendors.
After talking to some of the folks at different manufactures, one person's name kept being mentioned as the best guy in my area. Diezel

Diezel owns Stack Off Road, which is located a little north of Charlotte NC. My first call with Diezel was rather interesting. Never met someone who was more passionate about modifying Jeeps. Turns out, not only does he builds Jeeps, he wheels them has well. This is Diezel and his rig.
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Found out that Diezel is in numerous videos (e.g., Kingdom Krawl, LiteBrite, Rock Krawler).

During the first visit, Diezel listened what the goals build were and then made recommendations. He explained the difference in the quality of parts. The quality of parts is a huge deal. His knowledge and experience was greatly appreciated.

A plan was made, and like all Jeep builds, the plan was improved. Listed below is list of stuff for the first iteration of this build.
  • Lift Kit: T-Rex 3.5 Inch from Rock Krawler with Long Arm Rear Suspension. Installation: Stacked Off Road
  • New Shocks: Rock Krawler. Installation: Stacked Off Road
  • Fender Liners: Artec. Installation: Me
  • Tire Carrier: Rusty's. Installation: Me
  • Tires: Milestar 37's. Installation: Me
  • Bead Lock Wheels: Dirty Life 9303 DT-1.
  • Steering linkage upgrade: SteerSmart's Yeti Tie Rod, Track Bar, and Drag Link with Griffin Attenuator: Installation: Stacked Off Road
  • Steering box upgrade: Synergy's JL Front Track Bar and Sector Shaft Brace. Installation: Stacked Off Road
  • Skid Plates: Artec's Aluminum Skids modified to fit a two door JL. Installation and Modification: Stacked Off Road.
  • Front Axle Stiffening and Protection Kit: Artec: Installation: Stacked Off Road.
  • Bump Stops: Locked Off Road's Front and Rear Hydraulic Stops: Installation: Stacked Off Road.
  • Fender Chop Kit: American Adventure Labs. Installation: Me.
Now to wait for the parts to arrive.
 
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Creeker

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With the parts now at the Stacked Off Road, time to take the JL to the Shop



First order of business, removal the axles

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Creeker

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One problem with the JL Dana 44 axles is there has been reports of them breaking.
Some of the issues is related to the front axles is the shaft disconnect on the passenger side.
So, it is a good idea to beef up the C's on the axle and weld on some Artec axle skids.

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Creeker

Creeker

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One of the items for this build was hydraulic bump stops.
After looking around, Locked Off Road seem like a really good option (i.e., great product, great folks, made in USA, etc.)

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The threaded bump stops are for the front and are not too bad to install. A portion of the existing bump stump sleeve is cut away.
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The rears bump stops are little bit trickery to install as they must be mounted through the frame and welded.

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The decision to go with hydraulics was based on watching too many video of jeeps going over stuff and how hard the Jeep lands even when going slow. Figured bump stumps are a good investment if it keeps an axle from bending or breaking.
 

SteadyC

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One problem with the JL Dana 44 axles is there has been reports of them breaking.
Some of the issues is related to the front axles is the shaft disconnect on the passenger side.
So, it is a good idea to beef up the C's on the axle and weld on some Artec axle skids.

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Thanks for making me aware of this truss option. Following.
 
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Creeker

Creeker

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One of the great things about bead locks, is that you can build them up yourself.
It just takes a while. No need to rush. Al lot of great videos out there.
It takes about an hour each to install the tire onto the rim and install the TPMS sensor.
On some tires, there a small amount trimming will be needed to get the bead to sit correctly on lip or the rim.
Things were going well using the supplied 5/16" bolts and some anti-seize
.Just taking my time torquing the 5/16" bolts to 10, 14, then finally to 24 Ft*Lbs.
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Thought all was good till this happened

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Well, that is not supposed to happen.
Figured out my mistake, yes 5/16" grade 8 bolt can be torqued to 24 Ft*Lbs... Dry.
Anti-seize was used... The correct setting is 18 Ft*Lbs... Wet.
Of to my local nut and bolt house (they know me by first name there... long story).
Purchased 150 5/16"x 1.25" Grade 8 bolts.
Now torqued to 10, 14, then 18 Ft/Lbs.
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Next was to apply some air to get the inner bead to seat on the rim.
A bucket works really well as well as some spray silicon.
It only took about 4 to 8 Lbs of pressure to get the tires to bead.
Bead Lock Install.jpg
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A neighbor stop by with their grand kids. They approved of the tires.

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Creeker

Creeker

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Since the Rock Krawler T-Rex 3.5" lift kit consist of a long arm for the rear suspension, the original bracket on the frame had to be removed.
I was sure glad it was going to be removed after looking at the weld quality from the factory.

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After that bracket was cut out, the a new bracket was installed.

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Also, new rear shock brackets were installed.

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The guys at Stacked Off Road were doing a really great job.
 

mikem20

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Wow!!! Fantastic build!!!
 

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