Set - 2021 JLURD (3.0l EcoDiesel) build thread

drick

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Coming over here from another forum, hoping build thread here doesn't require that i am the one building. Looks like a lot of you are handier with tools than i am.

5 years after my entry into Jeep land, the original rig I wanted is about to become a reality - my 2nd build thread is OPEN! New truck has been "named" and ETA is likely for mid Q1 - pending on what happens with COVID.

This was my original intent on the order:
  • 2021 JLUR
  • 3.0l Diesel / AT
  • Body color HT / Mopar headliner
  • Mopar hinge gate reinforcement
  • Integrated off road camera
  • LED lighting
  • Trailer / tow HD electrical group

Learning from my mistakes on my 2016 JKUR my original upgrade sequence was intended to go something like this:

Phase I
  1. Trek Armor / Bartact seat covers
  2. Weathertech floor mats
  3. ARB storage drawer system for rear
  4. Prewire the ARB wiring harness for my frig when the drawer goes in
  5. Tuffy underseat drawers for both front seats
Phase II
  1. Lift kit - doing something prepackaged this time and that includes shocks - more on this later
  2. Hutchinson Rock Monsters & BFG KM2's - 37's again
  3. Full Rock Hard skid plate system - steel again
  4. AEV Procal
  5. Regear to 4.88's again (if pumpkin geometry is the same)
  6. New HD diff covers F&R
  7. New HD drive-lines F&R
Phase III
  1. Metalcloak complete overland fender / rock slider kit
  2. If they have vented internal fenders will use theirs - if not will use the poison spyder
  3. LOD shorty bumper F
  4. Maybe LOD shorty bumper with rear tire carrier + jerry can mounts - more on this later
Phase IV
  1. Another shorty Rigid LED light bar for F bumper
  2. Warn Zeon 10s Platinum
  3. ARB dual air compressor - this time likely under rear passenger seat and will do a custom mount so the seats fold down flat
  4. Either add second battery & a better battery isolator than used on Artemis -or- look at pulling the OEM battery and replace with a Optima or maybe go LiioN
  5. SPOD to control all the wiring
Phase V
  1. Full RockHard cage - including sides and 3rd row again
  2. HAM radio install on the cage - likely something custom this time
  3. Shorty firestik antenna install / wiring to to the rear bumper
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drick

drick

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and this is where i ended up:

Phase I
  • Trek Armor / Bartact seat covers
  • Weathertech floor mats
  • ARB storage drawer system for rear
  • 3.5" - 4.5” Long Arm lift kit
  • Hutchinson Rock Monsters & BFG KM3's - 37's again
  • The RH skid plate kit wouldn’t work, had to swap over the MetalCloak to fit for my use case
    • Adding some additional skids to protect the diesel bits
  • Went with the Tazer programmer, but am not sold on it
    • Would prefer to get an analog option like the AEV to do the simple stuff and not have to worry about the dealership giving me crap for the Tazer
  • New HD drive-lines F&R
  • Metalcloak complete overland fender / rock slider kit
    • Inner fender liners on order / on the way
  • Currie CurrectLync Steering system + Fox ATS stabilizer
    • Synergy never showed up and couldn’t get me a lead time
  • LOD Destroyer shorty bumper F
  • LOD Destroyer shorty bumper R
    • Tire carrier + 2 "jerry can" mounts
  • Full RockHard roll cage - including sides and 3rd row again
  • ARB dual air compressor
    • Had to mount under front passenger seat, which now doesn’t slide back all the way. Likely going to move this to the tailgate next
  • Another shorty Rigid LED light bar for F bumper
    • Is too big and blocking the front camera – not sure what to do here yet
  • Warn Zeon 10s Platinum +
    • Added Factor 55 Ultimate hook
Phase I.5 (things I missed when I collapsed the whole build process)
  • Factory sway bars are hitting the suspension and need to go
  • Likely going to do Currie Forged Antirock F&R (with the .850 / heavier sway bars)
  • Also waffling on adding a set of RCV axles as now this FAD as a new weak point is in in head
  • Can’t decide between the two piece and the one piece – likely going to do the one piece if I do it
  • Would also add the Evo truss kit when I do the axles
  • D44 M210 ADVANTEC AXLE TRUSS KIT FOR JL/JT
  • F&R Diff skids before I decided on what to do on regear
Phase II
  • Explore battery isolator options and(or) look at pulling the AUX OEM battery that comes with diesel and replace with a Optima Yellow Top or LiioN
    • On the Genesys dual battery waiting list for the JLURD
  • HAM radio install on the cage - likely something custom this time
    • Maybe see if the Wayoflife mount will work
  • Shorty firestik antenna install / wiring to the rear bumper
  • Regear to 4.56 (not 4.88’s)
    • Unclear on how the new transmission will work with the 37’s or if it's needed. Initial results are really good, need to see if I have lost 8th like others have reported
  • New HD diff covers F&R - align to item above
Not sure if I need to do it / Phase III
  • SPOD to control all the wiring
    • If needed, will try wiring into the upfitter that came from Jeep first
  • TF Big brake kit
    • Likely use the same TeraFlex kit I have now
 
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drick

drick

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Phase I results - not bad.

Shop only got about 2/3 of the work done, but we have some additional technical hurdles to address with the suspension still that require additional support from Evo & King. I'm super happy with where we are now as it rides great, and the travel is amazing (at least to me).

Next steps on this front, revisit spring rates as the current ones are not stiff enough for the JLURD and we are already at max adjustment. That is before i put any tools, people, or gear in - which isn't going to work. I also am still waiting for the MC skid plate system to come in, and as it is steel - it will also add some additional weight.

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drick

drick

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Some other photos from my usual spot where i do the shakedown runs. The suspension was excellent in current form and will get better once we sort out springs and add the Curries.

Several other observations from shakedown run / driving it on street for a week or so -
As usual, the Metalcloak fenders are awesome, and i really like the updates they have done with the LED lighting - it's excellent.

The RockHard cage is way different than what i did on Artemis, and we had some fitment issues which had to be overcome - but it ended up OK.

The ARB box fits perfectly and doesn't impact the OEM subwoofer or the cargo area power outlet for my fridge, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The tire/rim combo is great as usual - but i wish i would have purchased 38's or 39's as i think they will fit with no issues. As previously mentioned we had to add wheel spacers which makes the tires stick out a bit than on my JKUR, but it's no big deal. I will say that it seems like this setup kicks up about 50% more rocks and creates a lot of noise as rocks smack into the fenders (again glad i went this route as i think it would destroy the OEM fenders).

I love the LOD destroyer in the front just like last time, but am not as enthused about their bumper / tire carrier combo for the rear. I suspect this thing is going to shake itself loose and rattle a lot after some use. I may go back to the JKUR setup with a Genright swing gate if it does.

After figuring out how to get the gear indicator to show up, it doesn't look like i have lost 8th gear which is good. That would potentially mean my concerns about re-gearing can be parked until later

Things i didn't consider that are potential problems

-Front camera now 75% blocked by winch and Rigid lightbar. Unclear on if you can relocate that camera but will look into it later
-Shock/reservoir mounting - i should have bought the MC inner fender liners up front so the shop could mount them properly the first time. Right now it's "jerry rigged" and functional, but not ideal or secure. They are on the way now and will go on when the skids do
-No hi-lift mount on the LOD rear bumper, not sure where i will put this now but need to figure it out
- Don't like the Tazer being inline due to service concerns. Would really prefer to go back to an analog AEV that doesn't give the dealership anything to harass me about
- The ARB air compressor being under the front seat now prevents me from moving the seat all the way back which likely isnt going to work long term. Likely going to move it back to tailgate door and mount vertically to address this.

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drick

drick

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one other interesting learning for me. i recall reading something about fuses being an issue on the JL's, so i opened the fuse box to take a peek and see what i would need for spares - WOW! while i know these new vehicles are all electronics, this really puts a point on it.

the good news, my current fuse parts kit has the 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 needs covered so i had all those. the bad news is i had to to 3 different local auto parts stores to get the 20 (different than previous), 30, 40, 50, 60 options and they don't carry the other ones (which i think are technically called micro relays / labeled 4412, 8474, 8475). had to order those direct from mopar and pay a fortune in shipping to get them.

so hopefully the MR's don't hiccup on our 1st road trip before the spares arrive.

p.s. also interesting that you cannot buy OEM air filter for the diesel anywhere but MOPAR right now - why is that?
 
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drick

drick

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OK, finally got some miles on the rig on a 500+ mi road trip this week. this then followed by another shakedown run off road yesterday. I had some of these opinions before the rig went into the shop, now confirmed. With as close to an identical setup as possible (Rubicon Unlimited, same tire/rim setup, same factory hard top, same factory headliner) i see the following between my 16 JKUR and the 21 JLURD.

First the road trip/general observations -
- doors on the 21 are lighter and feel less solid / sturdy. my wife and i are constantly slamming them as we are used to the JKUR. i wonder if they are going to hold up over time?
-road noise is actually worse on the 21 vs. the 16 (this makes NO sense BTW)
-the diesel is amazing and exactly what i had hoped for. at speeds of 65-85 mph on cruise control, we are in 8th gear at 2k RPM and getting close to 20 MPG (on 37's with a HEAVY overlanding type load out)
-getting around slower traffic or up hills is no longer an issue, the JLURD has tons of power, and again going up steep grades the most adjustment it made is dropping from 8th to 6th to / 3k RPM keep us at speed getting up the hill
-as the wrong padding was sent by RockHard for the cage it's not padded as intended. we got some gnarly rattles happening with the hard top and cage hitting. it was really windy on the trip, and when running at 65 MPH + against the wind (or even worse wind coming in from side) the top made a lot more noise than i would like. this hopefully will be fixed when we get all the cage padding put on and recheck all the hard top bolts and cage mounts
-average MPG across the first 2k miles is 21
-i need to figure out how to get into the Tazer settings and get a few more things turned on / off. the shop made all changes when they sent it home, but there are a few more i would like to get changed
-the LOD tailgate forced the removal of the OEM tailgate reinforcement hinges as it wont fit otherwise. the LOD doesn't rattle yet (Jerry cans and hi lift not mounted, those to follow) but it's way different than the Genright. Again we find ourselves slamming the tailgate all the time trying to get it closed

Second off road shake down -
-both my wife and i drove both rigs back to back. the word we both came up with for the JLURD was "tight". as it's brand new with a suspension that is still a WIP, this not scientific whatsoever but it just felt like it needs to be broken in a bit more
-interesting that the JKUR sits noticeably higher with a 4.5" LA lift kit (shocks) vs. the JLURD with a 3.5" LA lift kit +(CO's) 1" spacers
-4w low is really weird coming from the JKUR. on a relatively steep hill ascent, the JLURD started in 3rd and was constantly bouncing between 3rd and 4th / was really choppy. this makes it harder to drive as you work through throttle control on the diesel / turbo lag to bump over obstacles
-off road + mode. I've read what this does, we both tried it and it seems like something that would be interesting / helpful in the sand (which we have lots of). need some more time on this, but initial results were - MEH
-had the 4wd selector pop out of 4wd low going down a hill, this same thing happens on the JKUR so no big deal - but would be nice if this didn't happen anymore

so we obviously need to progress the build and keep working through the break in period - but overall I'm giving the current status a strong B+, which I'm happy with.

more to follow
 
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drick

drick

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A few more updates on the build process

One - talked to the shop Friday - they finally got a hold of EVO/King and we are going to move to stiffer springs on the CO's. The springs that came with the lift are 200lb's and we are going to move up to 250lb's as the next step. Allegedly this will give me some additional height and stiffen up the ride - which is needed.

Two - finally got around to mounting to LOD horizontal hi lift mount on the rear bumper. The good news is that it works with the Jerry cans mounted in the carrier. The bad news is that with the camera cable, license plate relo kit, Jerry cans, etc. it doesn't mount flush as it should.

https://lodoffroad.com/products/2007-2018-jk-jl-destroyer-hi-lift-jack-mounting-options-2

Three - still waiting on RockHard to ship the correct pads for the cage and for MetalCloak to get the last few skids. This is taking forever as usual and I'm not taking the rig back in until all the parts are at the shop.
 
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drick

drick

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Rig is back in shop this week to get all the phase I stuff completed and to start on phase II.

Things getting fixed:
  • LOD hi lift mount not fitting flush on the rear carrier / at a 15 degree angle and i have about 1 inch clearance when i open the tailgate window
  • Rockhard cage padding kit / storage pouches being installed
  • Metalcloak F&R diff skid
  • Metalcloak FAD diff skid
  • Metalcloak aluminum inner fender liners - F&R
  • Bartact seat covers going on
  • AFE exhaust going on
  • CO spring rates / lift height

Interesting new additions:
  • Adding RCV front axle (i think this phase)
  • Currie Antirock F&R / .850 forged steel version for both

Next phase:
  • Adding RCV front axle (if not done this week)
  • Evo Front axle/FAD truss kit
 

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drick

drick

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So things are getting interesting on the suspension.

Apparently the springs in the CO kit that Evo/King sent are not stiff enough to get me the appropriate ride height. Shop has tested a few different options of springs they have, and it looks like i will need to get new ones from OEM as we are off by 25% it appears. This of course will mean that i have to run it as is in the short term as supply chain issues will all but guarantee that these are unobtainium right now. I reached out to Evo for guidance, will call them Monday when they open up again.

Aside from that, the usual litany of ankle biters to accompany the build process -

Metalcloak sent the wrong skid for the rear, so have to wait on that
Metalcloak DEF skid and Evo LA control arm were not working, so they had to do some trimming / modification - not sure if this is done yet, need to test it on the trail
Metalcloak inner fenders and the King reservoirs are not lining up, we have some interference there currently - likely needing to be clearanced more (will know Monday)
Rockhard padding kits are not working so had to do something custom there
Currie has one AR set at .850 but not the other, so waiting on both
Front truss kit didn't come in, so waiting on that & RCV

More to follow next week
 

BAKNBLK

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Take it to a shock tuner like Accutune or Liberty Mountain Fabrication..IMO best option and do a full test and tune day. You will get the best results the first time . They will get you spring rates correct and valve the shocks for the best performance as ALL kit Coilovers have std off the shelf tuning..
 
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drick

drick

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Take it to a shock tuner like Accutune or Liberty Mountain Fabrication..IMO best option and do a full test and tune day. You will get the best results the first time . They will get you spring rates correct and valve the shocks for the best performance as ALL kit Coilovers have std off the shelf tuning..
I seem to recall seeing somewhere that EVO now has a shop in AZ somewhere, i was planning to ask them this as i suspect they would be ideally suited to do this.
 
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drick

drick

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so first "real" run on the books yesterday - not a good result.. local run on a trail that would be a 3.5 on a good day, 2-3 every other day.

pros:
  • love the diesel / transmission combo on street - it eats up miles (even when limping home, see below)
  • love the diesel / transmission combo in 4wd hi off road
  • metalcloak skid plates seem like they did their job (my first time using them)

cons:
  • suspension is actually worse than i thought, lots of contact all over the place, no where near enough lift / coil stroke, and need much more travel
  • don't love the diesel / transmission combo in 4wd lo - shifting was super clunky and it always seems to be looking for what gear to get and stay in
  • shop did a shit job on last time - front drive shaft spun off and i may have taken some damage on the transfer case connection points (we couldn't get them back on from the trail - had to drop it altogether and drive home in FWD [i.e. 4wd with no rear axle connected])
    • no torque marks on either end of the drive line - so this makes me wonder if it was part of the source of some of our mystery noise in the rig
  • really interesting that the rig couldn't even get up a simple hill without 4wd (even tried using the rear locker - which might have worked) - i know we are heavy, but it's a Jeep on brand new 37 MT's
  • transmission got pretty hot on a easy(ish) hill climb (outside temperature 50, overcast, with a cold wind) and the cooling fan came on 3/4 of the way up. this makes me wonder how it's going to do in AZ weather of 110 in the bright sun
  • exhaust system interfering with the metalcloak skids - needs to be clearanced
  • when limping home and in city traffic,, it sounded like we had developed an exhaust leak or there was some other engine / exhaust related problem. there was a new and loud(ish) sound when sitting at stop lights before accelerating that wasn't there before

so we limped home, and it's back in the shop - again. they have had some staff turnover there and have seen other work boomerang, so one can hope it gets fixed correctly this time.

for this round -

  • go completely back through all the work done to date, check everything
  • replace all coils - redo suspension
  • RCV front axle + Evo truss
  • Evo rear truss
  • Currie RJ F&R with .850 (i.e. stiff) bars

so giving myself a grade for current level of build, i would say it's a C- or D. my plan of trying to re-use as many vendors from the 16 JKUR has worked for the easy stuff (wheels&tires [although i should have went straight to 38/39 day 1], bumpers, winch, body armor, cage, lights, drive shafts) not so much for some others (skid plates). with all the chaos at the local shop, not having a consistent tech working on this, and all the supply chain BS - i guess i should not be surprised.

in summary, very glad i didn't sell the JK as it just works and my wife and i both trust it to tackle pretty much anything - and get us home. at this point, i am no where near that level of confidence or enthusiasm for the JL - which really sucks.

hope that some of this helps others avoid my mistakes and as always welcome any constructive feedback on my litany of issues
 
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