Olga's 2021 Hydro Blue JLUR

Olga

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My intro

My jeep is not a rig for rock crawling, but the means to take me to beautiful places that my old sedan couldn't get to. Lifestyle trails - that's for me.

I don't plan to put bigger tires or lift, but there are still a lot of minor mods that are needed to be done in order to get it in ship shape for travel.

I was actually going to buy a toyota, but...

Build:

2021 JLUR Hydro Blue 2.0L/8-spd auto, black hard top, proximity keyless entry, safety, advanced safety, front camera, 8.4 radio and premium audio, LED, trailer tow, cold weather group, HD rock slider w/step assist.

5/17/21 - ordered & VON
5/19/21 - VIN
5/25/21 - framing
5/31/21 - build sheet
6/1/21 - JB status "shipped to body vendor" (for HD rock slider w/step assist)
6/2/21 - KZ S status "second move to rail station"
6/3/21 - window sticker
6/18/21 - delivered to the dealership

Mods:

recovery & emergencies:
shovel + tire repair kit + gloves + gorilla tape $65

protection & covers:
door hinge covers + plasti dip $35
cloth seats scotchguard $10
all-weather floor mats $130
clear vinyl tape + plastic door sill guards $105
locking gas cap + locking hood latches $110
windshield sunshade $30

convenience & other:
disable horn sound when locking $0
funny license plate frame $10
center console organizer + glasses holder $30

returned items:
valve stem covers
walmart windshield sunshade
gear tray aka "saddlebags" organizer

Trips:

4th of July 2021 in Lassen and Tahoe National Forests

Miscellaneous:

I washed my cars wrong my whole life
registering an out-of-state jeep in California
free money with BonusDrive


jeep-2nd-photo.jpg





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Olga

Olga

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First things first - paint protection. After reading several threads about chipped door hinges (and that it can happen even after a few hundred miles on a highway) I bought Rokblokz mud flaps (front only) and door hinge covers + plasti dip while my jeep was being built.

My husband took the mud flaps and plasti-dipped hinge covers with him when he flew out to the dealership in Idaho.

Guess what - the mud flaps didn't fit! They come with the partial cutout for the standard rock rails, but if you got the heavy-duty rock slider w/step assist they will require additional trimming. Not something to be done at the dealership's lot. So he installed just the door hinge covers and drove about 650 mi from Idaho to the Bay Area.

Interesting fact: the distance between the dealership in Idaho and Winnemucca, NV, where he spent the night, is around the necessary number of miles for the engine break-in, so it was easy to remember.

Speaking of the engine break-in, I read the manual and took these notes for the engine break-in procedure: no cruise control until 300 mi, vary your speed, don't accelerate hard in low gear, brief full-throttle acceleration at 50+ mph after initial 60 mi.

Oh, and avoid driving behind big trucks if you care about your windshield.
 
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rcadden

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Mine's a Sahara Altitude, but otherwise, very similar, and I think you and I will have similar build preferences, as well. I definitely want to take it out, but it's my DD first and foremost, and I really like the "stock" look.

The hinge covers look great! If you're considering the steel bumper, check out DV8 - they have an OEM steel lookalike that includes the winch plate and a few other niceties (and is cheaper than OEM) with a matching rear. It's currently at the top of my bumper list.
 
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Olga

Olga

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Every time I lock my jeep it honks. I find it annoying, and it will definitely bother people I camp next to if I need to go get something out of my jeep during quiet hours.

I found a way to disable it in the owner's manual (p. 245 of the digital version):
Uconnect Settings -> Doors & Locks -> Sound Horn with Lock: "Off"

And while I was there, I also unchecked "Sound Horn with Remote Start".

horn-off.jpg
 
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Olga

Olga

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I have cloth seats in my jeep. I prefer cloth seats to leather ones, and it also felt good to "save" $1500+ when building my custom jeep ;).

I don't plan to put any aftermarket covers on the seats, but I decided to spray a couple of coats of scotchguard on them. Scotchguard "gives fabric repellency, and thus prevents spills from penetrating deep down into the fibers and becoming stains". (Although I *think* that the cloth on the seats has already been treated with something similar at the factory.)

I followed the recommendations (thanks, @Rhinebeck01 !), and after spraying the seats and all the carpeting twice, and the front seats three times, I still haven't finished a 10 oz bottle. I bought a set of two, but since the instructions on the bottle say "reapply annually to maintain protection", I might use it up in the future.

Wear a mask when spraying and have a cloth or a paper towel handy to wipe up any plastic or leather parts you might accidentally spray over.

P.S. I should've used scotchguard auto.
 
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Olga

Olga

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I haven't ordered all-weather floor mats from the factory ($165 MSRP), so my jeep came with carpet mats. They are impractical for me, so after a lot of research I chose Smartliner Floor Mats for $130.

Since I'm not going to drive a lot in snow or deep mud :fingerscrossed:, I don't need floor mats with a deep pattern or a drain plug. I chose these ones because they have good coverage: high sides in the front, and they go far under the rear seats. Also they'll be easy to clean. And the logo isn't too intrusive. They are not rubbery though, but flexible textured plastic inserts.

Now I have to find a place to store my "free" carpet mats somewhere inside my home (I don't have a garage).

floormat_front.jpg


Rear right side:
floormat_rear.jpg
 
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Olga

Olga

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After reading the thread about door sill protection I decided to apply a clear vinyl tape and also attach plastic door sill guards.

Tape

I could've bought it pre-cut for $70, but I opted for a cheaper way - to buy a roll of tape and cut it myself. Now that I've gone through the tape application process I can tell that cutting is an easy part; applying is much harder. I chose a wider 12"x72" tape ($40) because I wanted the protection to go all the way down to the rock sliders.

I found the application instructions in this video very helpful. That guy made it look so easy!

So, here we go (rear left door):

vinyl-tape-incorrect.jpg


Well, mistakes were made.

As I tried to cover as much of the door sill as I could, I cut a long piece of tape that goes over the groove in the door sill. I didn't think it would be a big deal, but for the life of me I couldn't make the tape conform to that groove. Then I just taped the piece straight over the groove as a bridge, but it came out looking horrible, so I later cut the tape along the groove with a razor. It turned out OK, but not great.

Lesson learned. For the remaining three doors I adjusted my design and cut the long pieces into two parts to be applied on each side of the groove. I also re-watched the video and noticed that the guy's water was soapier than mine, so I added a bit more dish soap to my spray bottle. That made a big difference. Yet another improvement was the addition of a small spray bottle with alcohol solution (70% rubbing alcohol to water 1:3) to be applied on edges and stubborn corners - it makes the tape stickier.

After these adjustments it took the same amount of time to do the remaining 3 doors as it did the first one.

The result (tape, front left door):

vinyl-tape-done.jpg
vinyl-tape-done-text.jpg


When you buy pre-cut pieces, you only get part A. My part B adds about 4" of coverage for the front sill and 2" for the rear one.

Guards

The following day I installed the door sill guards. My husband insisted we get the original Mopar ones ($65), but I think the knockoffs for under $30 would've been just fine.

The final result (tape+guards, front left door):

vinyl-tape-and-guards.jpg



Phew :whew:. After all this problem solving and intensive squeegeeing I feel proud of myself as if I upgraded a part of the drivetrain or something. :)
 
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Olga

Olga

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I added first recovery items & tools to my jeep: folding shovel, tire repair kit, gloves, and a roll of gorilla tape.

If this can't fix any possible problem I might encounter during my 4th of July trip, I don't know what can :)

recovery-basics.jpg


P.S. I also borrowed jumper cables, first-aid kit and a good-for-nothing air compressor from my old sedan for the trip.

P.P.S. More recovery items are on the way, but they didn't make it in time for my trip.
 
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Olga

Olga

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4th of July 2021 trip to Lassen and Tahoe National Forests, part 1 of 2

6 days, ~1100 miles.

Still scratch-less and mostly clean at the beginning of the trip:

2021-07-03_DSC_0627_web.jpg


Lake Almanor and a silhouette of Lassen Peak:

2021-07-03_DSC8235_web.jpg


In Lassen National Park. Lassen Peak (on the left) is the largest lava dome in the world:

2021-07-03_DSC8267_web.jpg


Chaos Crags, Lassen National Park. Check out those nature's "decals" on the windows:

2021-07-03_DSC_0681_web.jpg


First time off the pavement:

2021-07-04_DSC_0683_web.jpg


With Lassen Peak in the background:

2021-07-04_DSC_0691_web.jpg


At the top we met a nice fire lookout guy who kindly offered to show his workplace:

2021-07-04_DSC8310_web.jpg


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On the way back I saw a copperhead pearl jeep that made me salivate.

Later that day, I for the first time drove somewhere where I wouldn't even think of going in my 2WD sedan - Willow Lake in Lassen National Forest.

"The lake is adorned along its shores by extensive floating mats of sphagnum moss two feet or more thick. Two species of carnivorous plants, English sundew (Drosera anglica) and roundleaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), grow here." (source)

The navigation took us on the wrong road twice. The first road was closed to the public, the second one turned out to be a dead end. Eventually I just winged it and was able to find my way to the lake.

I walked along the shore, got my hiking boots wet, but didn't find any carnivorous plants. Still, it was a beautiful place and a nice adventure.

2021-07-04_DSC_0754_web.jpg


2021-07-04_DSC_0748_web.jpg


2021-07-04_DSC8421_web.jpg


To be continued...
 
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Olga

Olga

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4th of July 2021 trip to Lassen and Tahoe National Forests, part 2 of 2

On the way from Lassen to Tahoe National Forest I drove to the top of Mt. Hough.

Panoramic view:

2021-07-06_DSC8560-7_panorama_web.jpg


View towards Lake Almanor and Lassen Peak with my husband:

2021-07-06_DSC8574_web.jpg


View from the top of Mt. Hough:

2021-07-06_DSC8581_web.jpg


A good gravel road leads to the top of the mountain, but if you then want to drive to the lake (which we did) you really need a 4WD vehicle.

Later that day I accidentally got my first taste of rock crawling.

My husband and I planned a hike to a small lake in Tahoe National Forest. When we got to the trailhead we discovered that the trail was actually a rocky path we could drive on. I decided to drive it but quickly realized that that wasn't regular gravel road driving I was used to, but more like rock crawling which I'd never done before.

It was getting close to sunset, and the difficulty of the road ahead was unknown to us, and there wasn't anybody around, so my very reasonable husband persuaded me to give up the idea of driving and proceed on foot as we'd planned.

I ended up driving a short distance, but enough to get the sense of what rock crawling was about. It's like a series of puzzles you need to quickly solve to get you from point A to point B, preferably without damaging your vehicle. And if you solve them wrong, you pay. Love it! :)

The road up close looked more intimidating in places than in this photo:

2021-07-06_DSC_0820_web.jpg


After we walked this road on foot we found out that we could've (carefully) driven it. Oh well, maybe next time.

And the lake was beautiful, by the way:

2021-07-06_DSC8625_web.jpg


Breakfast with a view next morning. You can kind of make out a fire lookout on the top of the mountain:

2021-07-07_DSC_0857_web.jpg


Later I drove to Sierra Buttes in Tahoe National Forest.

2021-07-07_DSC_0859_web.jpg


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Got my first scratch from bushes in the beginning of the trail. But hey, at least not from a mailbox! :)

After parking near the top (39.595306, -120.654056), you still have to hike about 3/4 of a mile and ascend 600 vertical feet to the fire lookout.

View of Young America Lake and Upper & Lower Sardine Lakes:

2021-07-07_DSC8776_web.jpg


Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout and a wildfire (drone shot):

2021-07-07_DJI_0023_web.jpg


Beckwourth Complex wildfire:

2021-07-07_DSC8820_web.jpg


All in all, the trip was a lot of fun, despite the expected highway handling/noise issues.

Some negative stuff about my jeep:
  • when I ride shotgun, there's very little space at my feet for my camera bag, so the bag gets dirty from my hiking boots when I sit there, and it has to be taken out every time I get into/out of the jeep because it's in the way.
  • when the jeep is very dusty, opening/closing the tailgate shakes the dust onto the cargo. For my next trip I'll need to get a moving blanket to cover the cargo with.
  • the mesh on the front doors is a joke. I put a small walkie-talkie behind the mesh for a couple of days and now I have a walkie-talkie-shaped stretched section of the mesh.
  • my jeep really doesn't like washboard roads. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think the rear axle has a tendency to go to the right on a washboard (I was driving in 4H).
  • occasionally there's a creaking sound coming from the bottom of the windshield in the middle. If I apply a bit of pressure to the windshield from the inside the sound stops.
  • Sirius XM was very spotty in most places I've been during this trip, but it was fine on major highways. Another reason not to pay for subscription, not that I was going to anyway.

General notes:
  • I'm glad I got the rock sliders with step assist. I use the step most of the time, and when I don't it's narrow enough to step over without bumping my leg against it
  • I don't (yet) see the need to get some of the popular first mods - a stubby antenna and grab handles. They are probably useful for more serious off-roading than what I've done so far. Also both my husband and I were doing fine without a dead pedal.
  • my backseat passengers liked the A/C vents and windows that go all the way inside the doors when rolled down, but they didn't like to brush against dusty rear fenders getting in or out of the jeep
  • note to self: leave the cooler at the campground before going off-road, or else the melted ice water will soak all the stuff in the cooler, even food items on the top that you don't want soaked

2021-07-07_DSC8885_web.jpg
 
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Olga

Olga

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I've recently discovered that I'd been washing my cars wrong all my life. I'd either use an automatic car wash, or just a hose and a sponge without any products or drying (oh, horror! :)). For "my precious" I decided to do things right.

I watched several videos of professional car detailers, took some of their advice and got a bunch of car washing stuff (most but not all is in the photo):

car-washing-supplies.jpg


I also got this towel set from walmart:

car-washing-towels.jpg


Between a bucket + dirt guard, a hose + nozzle, various cleaners, protectants, brushes, and a towel set, it was about $140.

My husband and I got up early in the morning while the jeep was still cool and applied some elbow grease. Here is the before and after:

car-washing-dirty.jpg


car-washing-clean.jpg


Notes:

Now I can't wait to get my jeep dirty again!
 
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Olga

Olga

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Not sure if this fits your aesthetic, but I've had these on my list for step options.

https://amzn.to/3kt1TGf
Thanks for the suggestion.

The door hinge step comes in handy if you have a roof rack or something. But just for the purpose of washing I'm going to try this makeshift device next time :):

mitten-tool-parts.jpg


mitten-tool-assembled.jpg


By the way, I think the door hinge step is not compatible with door hinge covers.
 
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Olga

Olga

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We (my husband and I) bought our jeep out of state - in Idaho. We paid California's sales tax to the dealer who then sent the money to the state of California. The dealer also mailed all the necessary paperwork to our local DMV in the Bay Area.

Two and a half weeks later DMV notified us that we'd need to pass a smog test, verification, and pay some more money to the state of California.

We passed a smog test ($40) yesterday, and today we went to our local DMV. We wanted to get it over with as soon as possible, so we were there by 7 am when it opened. We waited in line only to find out that we needed to pass the verification first.

The verifiers didn't start their workday until 8 am, but we were the first in line. It took them 5 minutes to check our jeep's VIN, California emissions label, and mileage.

Then back to waiting in line, and 30 minutes later we paid our dues ($560) and got our California license plates. We even framed them :)

license-plate-frame.jpg
 
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mikem20

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I went thru all that on my ‘17 Cherokee. It’s ridiculous to get a smog but the adventure flying out and picking up your new jeep was so worth it. 👍🏻
Nice Jeep btw!
 

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