Wrangler Unlimited JK - custom Rubicon

Nikson

Explorer
Hey Guys,
Some of those who watched on Instagram and Youtube, asked to post up here.
After all the plan is to overland the Wrangler.

So to start with, plan was to build a JKU thats functional as an Overlander and a weekend warrior.

As those who know me from before, I like to take the more wierd/unique/different way as some might put it.

Since the project has completed its first stage, time to post... Feel free to ask questions, I'll do my best to answer.

After weighing out the options for the build, I took a quick look at what was available at the auctions.
I've found this JKU Sport with minor imperfections (to say the least). I think this thread might open up some eyes to those who are afraid to purchase anything that has previous "accident" history.

So here it, 2013 Sport JKU, runs, damage to front axle & suspension components, no frame damage, oh... and it has clean title (for those who always wonder about that).

This is how I picked it up from the transport company's yard...

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Nothing major, and most of those parts I've considered replacing (as far as suspension/axle upgrade)

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Being that this is supposed to be a proper build with right capabilities, I went ahead and gotten Rubicon's Transfer case and D44s

This is a picture of the original off the Sport and the Rubi T/C

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and its made its way to the lift in the shop...

I had the privilege of using all the necessary tools in the shop that Max from CAtuned Offroad uses for his work. For anyone who knows CAtuned, Max is running the Off-Road branch of things. His current project is a FJ62 with a Mercedes diesel swap.

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Nikson

Explorer
the big plan

after working with the numbers of the budget and components I wanted to be used, I came up with this list...
Most of the parts I've acquired through 4WheelParts as I have an account with them, rest were based on Max's references of folks he knew like Ryan from Accutune and guys from RareParts, as well as some of the component from RuffStuff.

Custom JKU valved & tuned front coil overs & rear shocks by AccuTune Off-Road
Fab Series Tie Rod & Drag link kit by RareParts, Inc.
TeraFlex LCG Long Arm kit
TeraFlex tirecarrier/tailgate swingout kit
37x12.50R17 Nitto TrailGrappler tires
Hutchinson True Beadlock wheels
Rubicon Dana44 axle (regeared 5.13) & NP242 transfer case swap
Upgraded front/rear drivelines (1310)
Axle truss kits by Artec Industries
JWSpeaker headlights
Rigid Industries LED lighting
Deep cycle X2 blue power cell
Diff covers by RuffStuffSpecialties
SuperChips programmer
Warn VR10-S winch
 

Nikson

Explorer
Wheels / Tires

Wheels had to be beadlocks as I like to snow wheel and for that low PSI is a must have.

Whats better choice than Hutchinson Rock Monster beadlocks,
Tires I wanted to keep the true 37in. size, always like BFGs KM2s, but always wanted to try the TrailGrapplers... thus this was a perfect opportunity...

First wheel & tire put together... took me about 30 min to mount a set of 4 (considering I had all the right tools at hand)

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Nikson

Explorer
TeraFlex LCG Long Arm kit & brackets

Although JKs are considered to have a MID-arm style control arms already, I thought about going simple route and just getting a lift kit from Metal Cloak, but that wouldnt be right, right?! :)

Long arm kit after all should have a better ride quality and I've never done one...

Thought about all the available choices on the market, TeraFlex made most sense to me as far as quality, durability & pricing...

Nothing to it, turn on the Youtube and watch their videos on all the install stuff... Its pretty simple, cut off the factory stuff and weld on the new ones, pretty simple stuff as long as you know how to run a welder and a grinder.

Some images of the front...

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Nikson

Explorer
TeraFlex LCG Long Arm kit & brackets (rear)

Attaching the rears...

Extra brackets are used to reinforce the new add-ons

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Main thing is to do right prep and clean up with grinder, so you get a nice clean weld...

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Nikson

Explorer
Axles & Trusses

Picked up a set of used D44 axles that are off Rubicon... All got to do is to regear and strengthen them with some trusses...

Factory eLockers and regeared to 5.13

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Main concern that I've seen that most have is not to overheat the housing/tubes/sleeves, etc. So, when trussin the housing, just do it nice and slow, take your time, make sure to use leveled supports and a blanket to let it cool slowly (steel & cast) afterwards... There are plenty of videos on Youtube on how to do it right, take your time, dont rush it.

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Nikson

Explorer
RareParts Inc / FabSeries - tie rod and drag links

RareParts makes some heavy duty stuff, rebuildable ends. In my case I needed to get those parts replaced, so why not try their product.
Was very impressed with the quality, and thats not even talking about the packaging... I dont see parts arrived packaged that way to often :)

RuffStuff had a sleeve that I used to convert to high steer, had to use some thicker washer to get that all nice and tight

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Nikson

Explorer
Towers / Bumpstop

Time was to get the coilover towers in place... The usual process, chop off all the stock stuff, clean it up and put the new stuff in...

Easiest way to remove the factory plastics that hold all the stuff on the fender frame pieces (like battery tray/fuse box and washer fluid tank/ABS pump stuff).
Once those out, you can make things happen easier and just trim those on the bottom as needed afterwards.

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Testing bumpstops...

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Nikson

Explorer
Coilovers Fox 2.0

After much consideration, decision was made to go with coilovers...
Ryan from Accutune offroad has been known to do some great work on valving and setting up shocks/coilovers for all sorts of rigs. Anyone considering a "custom" build in a similar manner, I highly suggest to check him out and see what he has for you to work with.

in my case, I chose to go with just a simple setup of the Fox 2.0 with 12in over travel (4up/8down), spring rates that Ryan suggested was 200upper/300lowers, valved for "overlanding and some wheeling" as I asked.

p.s. as I've already had the opportunity to ride around in it, I must say that I'm happy so far.

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Little flex test...

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stuffs in nicely, no rubbing of any sort

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not all yet adjusted, but this is approximately how it will be...

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simple mounts for the reservoirs

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Nikson

Explorer
Tower Bar

being that in most cases its something that is done on similar builds, Max suggested we do it as well...

So bar was bent and RuffStuff's adapters welded on for easy removal

Max and Dmitriy (eurosonic here on forum) talking discussing details

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Nikson

Explorer
1st time out...

First time out of the shop...

Being that JKU had a ProComp lift kit installed by first owner, I ended up utilizing rear spring/shocks in meantime while working on the front.

Research showed that although lift kit was supposed to be close to 4 inches, after loading up some things inside and adjusting front coilovers, I had a 2in overall lift on the JKU.

Rear fox shocks later would be installed, along with MetalCloak's 3.5in rear spring & bumpstops upgrade, wanted to have more lift for the belly clearance, as well as consideration that I'll be loading the trunk with all the overland gear.

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Nikson

Explorer
Flex test / Low PSI test

While being outside, threw some of the old tires on the ground and tried this out...

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Deflate test...

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this what tire looks at 5 PSI

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Nikson

Explorer
TeraFlex hinge kit

I'm not planning to run a heavy duty tire carrier/rear bumper, so I went with the TeraFlex's heavy duty hinge kit.
Sorry, pic is taken from the Instagram post (only one I had on hand for post)

The logo emblem from TF was pretty cool add on to the package...

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Nikson

Explorer
front bumper / winch mount

I've always been my own on the decision of how to approach the whole bumper/sliders situation, along with the roof rack. At times we dont have much option (when tools arent available, or no time) and its easier to purchase than to build. At this time, I figured to just do a simple winch mount style bumper (if you can call it that), I know its not much of a "bumper" but serves its function.

1/4 in. steel, shackle points (by RuffStuff), I figured I can always play with the finish design later and just weld one whatever was necessary to make it more "pretty" :)

Removing all the unnecessary extras

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Came out something like that...

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another Insta pic... Shackle is passed on from one rig to another... this thing has always been with me, since the first XJ... than LJ... LR3... LX.. and now here...

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Nikson

Explorer
Wiring - Lights/Lockers

Time came to finally bring the JKU from shop. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to run the wires, install the switch pod and lights

Same as the shackle, my Rigid LED lights made their way from LX470 (ones I used on the rack) to this JKU build

Pretty simple process... ran everything to its own relay for better reliability... so far everything works and functions as it should

Dremel to the rescue

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One issue I've ran into (for anyone considering these wider switch caps) - all together once 4 slots are used, they dont fit in. Took a little off on the ones in the middle with the Dremel, and all fit in as it should.

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All nice and tidy...

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all systems go... lights working...

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