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  #1  
Old 05-28-2013
matt@expaz's Avatar
matt@expaz matt@expaz is offline
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Default Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
It’s been three years since I bought my Jeep and although I don’t think it will ever be one of those tricked out vehicles, I hope to do some interesting upgrades to it in the next year or so (it’s paid off in two months and I want to put the monthly car payment towards the upgrades).

From the dealer:
2010 Jeep JK Rubicon Unlimited
Flame Red. I wanted a yellow one (to match my 1977 CJ5 I had for 13 years, but alas, 2010 they decided not to make it in yellow. Of course, 2011 had that as an option). Though I have to admit the I’m liking the red


My old yellow Jeep CJ5

Automatic (Auto is easy. I had manual for a long time and it’s too much of pain in the butt)
Hardtop (although I liked going with the soft top down on my old CJ, I wanted the security and the protection the hard top offers. Also, I didn’t want to worry about scratching / puncturing my soft top)
Mopar 2.5 inch lift (I was hoping to forgo the dealer stating any future problems were from my aftermarket lift. The verdict is still out on that. I also didn’t want to go much higher at the time, but I think I should have probably gone with a 3 -3.5 inch lift)
Mopar “Rock Sliders” steps which were put on about a month after I took the Jeep home (the dealer talked me into an upgrade to some rock slider steps, sight unseen. Bad me! They were aluminum steps that were light and nice except when they met a rock and then they scratched and crumpled)

I think that’s all the pertinent information regarding what I took home from the dealer.

New BFG KM2 Tires

The first thing I did (really) was to put new tires on. I drove it straight from the dealer to Discount Tire where they put on new 33 inch tires (that’s why I don’t have any pictures of the Jeep with the stock tires). They thought I was a little crazy (and rightly so) to put on new tires with only 26 miles on the “old” ones. At the time I was concerned about going any taller and pulling my tent trailer (without having the additional expense of regearing). I went with 255/80 – 17 BRG KM2s (33” x 10”). I also did not want to increase weight by much and these narrow tires were actually a pound lighter than the stock tires. Finally, I had heard that tall, narrow tires performed better than their wider cousins and thought I would give them a try. I don’t know if I made a good choice. I have recently bought new tires.

Here’s some pictures of my Jeep with less than 1,000 miles on the tires





Here’s my full review of the KM2 tires: http://www.experience-az.com/gear/reviews/BFGKM2review.html

Rock Slider Steps

As I said above, what a joke! I know I was still very sick when I bought my Jeep and the salesperson really took advantage of me on this one. These are not rock sliders in any sense of the word. They are very light aluminum. I don’t even think they made great steps. They last about a year and a half before I got tired of them and put on some real sliders.

But they did allow one good thing…




Here’s some pictures of when I got stuck and damaged my “rock sliders” out a Charouleau Gap






Trail damage

Smittybilt XRC Rocksliders

I wanted something to replace my aluminum steps the dealer had told me were rock sliders. Although I rarely do advanced four-wheeling and don’t do extreme trails, with only a 2.5 inch lift and a long wheel base, I was banging quite a bit and wanted more than the stock rails. I don’t expect to be using them much, but wanted something fairly heavy duty and not super expensive. The Smittybilt XRCs seemed like a great choice. Clearly not the most heavy duty (lacking a middle support for the rail for the longer Unlimited version is a clear design flaw), but I loved the look of them and the price seemed right. I still am concerned that if I take a big hit along the middle of the tube, they will flex and it’s not going to be good. Still, I love ‘em.





Here’s my report on them: http://www.experience-az.com/gear/reviews/smittybiltrockslidersreview.html

Rugged Ridge Front Bumper and Winch

I don’t care for the plastic front bumper on the Wrangler and couldn’t wait until I could replace it with one that looked more “rugged” … and hold a winch. I decided on the Rugged Ridge XHD modular bumper. I love it. The winch is recessed, the end caps can be removed if I go to 35” tires or more and the D-rings are wonderful. The Rugged Ridge 8500 lb winch slide right in and everything installed very easily. And the price was right! I don’t have anything bad to say except for their customer service was TERRIBLE!!



Here’s my report on the front bumper: http://www.experience-az.com/gear/reviews/ruggedridgebumperreview.html

Transmission Oil Cooler

I was “four-wheeling” along Bloody Basin road one cold winter night and my transmission overheating warning light went on. WTF? It was about 45 degrees out, the road was 2WD (though I had it in 4-High). We let it cool for a while and it was fine for the rest of the trip. After doing some research and taking it to the dealer, I found this was a common issue and Jeep’s “fix” was laughable. Since I was still pulling my tent trailer at the time, I thought it a good idea to put in a transmission cooler. I bought a B&M Super Cooler and installed it shortly thereafter. It installed okay, though it turned out a little crooked (my fault). It has performed well and I like having it. I hope to do a full write up sometime soon.







Cobra WX ST CB Radio and Tailgate Mount
I wanted to have a CB radio that I could connect and disconnect quickly. I probably should have gone with the Midland, but I didn’t. The CB radio went in fine. I bought a kit from Cooltech, LLC that included everything, CB, antenna, mounting kit and versamount for mounting the CB near the radio. I wanted everything from one company so if things went wrong, I only had to deal with one person. And things did go wrong. I bought the kit with the license plate mount. Big mistake. It was difficult to install and I think it would have been ripped off the first few times I took it out in the Arizona brush. Also, after all the installation headaches, the wire was bad. I told them I wanted a new wire and asked if they could swap out the license plate mount for the tailgate mount. They did. What a difference. The tailgate mount was super easy to install and works great! I like having the all-in-one CB except that the speaker is a little bit small. I need an external speaker (this system is set up for that, I don’t believe the Midland is as easy to do). I hope to be getting one shortly.


Cobra CB with Versamount


Tailgate mount



New Goodyear MTR Tires and MB TKO Alloy Wheels

I replaced my KM2s with only 23k miles on them, mostly due to chunking. I went with a 34 inch tire, though I really would have like 35’s, but going to 35’s brings about a lot more money and work (usually a new rear bumper and tire swing since the stock spare tire carrier is not set up for tires this large and regearing). I wanted something taller and wider than my old 33’s, so this was a compromise. A couple of reasons I went with the MTRs. One, they were the only ones offered in the size I wanted (305/70-17). They offered an $80 rebate. And I wasn’t sure I was happy with the KM2s and I wanted something to compare them with. I really like the look of the TKO wheels. We’ll see how they hold up.


Old tires and wheels


New tires and wheels







Future Upgrades I hope to do

- Rear facing back up camera
- Two spotter cameras (aimed at the front and rear tires)
- Additional storage (lockable) for under the driver’s seat and in the cargo area
- A better attachment system for my GPSs
- Rear bumper and tire swing (I damaged mine with a trip up Ruby Wash earlier this spring)


Trail damaged rear bumper, it got pushed back about 1/2 inch and creased. Not too bad, but it sort of gives me an excuse to by a new back bumper

That’s all for now. I will update as things happen. Thanks for going along on this ride with me.
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  #2  
Old 05-28-2013
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UnderlyVerbose UnderlyVerbose is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Sweet! Congrats on starting the build thread Matt!
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  #3  
Old 05-29-2013
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91AzXJ 91AzXJ is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
The new wheels look great!
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  #4  
Old 05-29-2013
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theksmith theksmith is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
welcome to having a build thread! it just fuels the addiction since you now need to do more mods to keep updating the thread!
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  #5  
Old 05-29-2013
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SSRx7 SSRx7 is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Looks great with the new tires and wheels, Matt!
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Old 05-29-2013
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Hey Matt,

Your JK looks great!

Chad.
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  #7  
Old 05-30-2013
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Guardrail Guardrail is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Originally Posted by matt@expaz View Post
- Rear bumper and tire swing (I damaged mine with a trip up Ruby Wash earlier this spring)
Thought I saw some paint on that ledge. The JK's looking great Matt. Keep us posted.
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  #8  
Old 06-28-2013
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matt@expaz matt@expaz is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
June 2013 Update: Painting the stock rim used as a spare black

Spending $2000 for the new rims and tires above was way more than my budget allowed and I couldn't afford a fifth, so I went cheap. I kept and old 32" BFG KM2 and the best rim for my spare. But, the stock alloy rim didn't go with the new black on black look the other four tires had. I had seen some posts about people painting the stock rims black and I thought they looked awesome. If I could have kept the old rims with my new tires, I would have done that on all four. So below is my attempt:

I started off using a synthetic steel wool pad to try and remove the coating on the rim.




It worked well, though I should have also bought a much finer steel wool pad to go over it after this.

Next, I used a microfiber cloth to wipe it all down. I also got it a little damp to collect the dust. I did let it dry in the hot AZ sun for about 30 minutes, before I put it back in the shade to cool off.



I had heard that taping the tire off was a real PITA and some people used notecards to stick between the rim and the tire. I had bought some notecards the weekend before for this purpose. Now that I was set to do the job, I couldn't find them. I spent 30 minutes searching the house and garage, no luck. I went and got some old blue painting tape and ripped it into short lengths. Actually, it was very easy and took no more than five minutes.


Ripping the tape into short lengths makes it work really well and it goes fast


First row done


I did two rows, then put some old T-shirts and towels over the rest of the tire for overspray


Don't forget the valve stem

Now it came time to paint. I did two really stupid things at this point. First, I did the painting. With my MCS illness, this was really dumb. I didn't think it would be that bad. I was wearing a mask and I was at the end of the garage with good air flow (this would be the second stupid thing). But, not being the sharpest tack in the garage, I began to paint.

I started with a Rust-Oleum flat black primer and it went on really nice.



I probably should have done two coats, but I was starting to get sick, so I just did one. Then I let it dry for about an hour before painting it with a top coat of Rust-Oleum satin black paint. Again, this went on amazingly nice. I was really beginning to feel ill, so I only did one quick coat.



Not more than a minute after I had completed painting the rim (and it looked really awesome in my opinion), a huge dust devil swept by the garage, depositing sand and leaves all over the garage and sticking to the freshly painted rim (see bad idea two above). What a bummer. I did what I could and pulled off the larger leaves and pieces of dirt, but by this time, all I could really do is go back in the house and let it go.

The paint left me sick for about 24 hours, by then everything had dried and I ripped off the tape and took a look at my results:




For me, I was fairly happy. I am not good at these types of things, so I count it as a success. You can see some of the scratches left by the rougher steel wool and the dirt/leaves. If it wouldn't have been for the dust devil, I think it would have came out awesome. But for now, I've learned my lesson and there's no more painting to be done in the near future for me. Besides, it's just a spare that won't be rotated, so it shouldn't be that much of a problem.

My suggestions on how I would do it differently:
1) Use a finer steel wool pad
2) Paint someplace that you're not going to get a crap load of dust and leaves
3) Painting should be done by someone other than me
4) Two coats of primer and two to three coats of top coat
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  #9  
Old 06-28-2013
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PMA4x4 PMA4x4 is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Looking good Matt!

What was the final decision to go with the Wrangler MTRs?

The wheel painting is something I plan to do myself when I put the new wheels on this winter. I plan to paint them white using an epoxy paint which is much more durable to scratches. Either that or I may actually have them refinished in powder coat white.
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Old 06-28-2013
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matt@expaz matt@expaz is offline
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Default Re: Matt's Experience Arizona 2010 JK Unlimited Build Thread
Originally Posted by PMA4x4 View Post
Looking good Matt!

What was the final decision to go with the Wrangler MTRs?

The wheel painting is something I plan to do myself when I put the new wheels on this winter. I plan to paint them white using an epoxy paint which is much more durable to scratches. Either that or I may actually have them refinished in powder coat white.
Thanks. Three reasons:

1) I wanted to try something different
2) Wrangler MT/R's were the only tire available in the size I wanted
3) Goodyear was offering an $80 rebate on the tires when I bought them

Agree with your paint plan. I'm not worried about mine since it's only the spare and I hope to be able to get the final tire and rim in another year or so.
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