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theksmith

Late to the Party: theksmith's 2016 JK Unlimited Rubicon (Gadget)

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well looks like Gadget is growing up a little at a time...

 

a good friend and (and member here) traded me most of a used short arm lift and a set of used wheels & tires for an IOU on some electrical work on his rig. you know who you are - thanks man!

 

from looking at the parts, i'm pretty sure it was originally a TERAFLEX JK 4-DOOR 3" LIFT KIT W/ 8 FLEXARMS & 9550 SHOCKS

 

ter1451300_1

 

most of the flex joints need to be rebuilt and the bushings are a little dry rotted as well (everything had set partially covered outdoors for a while), so i went ahead a bought the full joint rebuild kit for $330. hoping to have that all done by next weekend.

 

ter1952200_1

 

then i've got a shopping list for the rest of the items that were missing from the kit:

 

2 Teraflex 9550 VSS Shock Rear

2 Teraflex Coil Spring Spacer Rear 0.5in

1 Teraflex Rear Lower Spring Retainer Kit

? probably sway bar links a well

 

the lift says it requires an exhaust spacer kit, and recommends an adjustable front track bar. i also want to weld in some front control arm bracket skids while installing it.

 

that's about $730+ worth of stuff (including the joint rebuild kit). so i decided to sell the 35" wheel/tire combo that was part of the trade to both offset that cost and to save wear and tear on the factory axles. i feel like i'd need to re-gear to be happy on 35's, and do C-gussets/truss the front axle. i'm going to just avoid that whole can of worms for now and continue wearing down the factory tires. i might upgrade to some 255/80R17 KM2's while still on this setup (works out to be 33.3" x 10").

 

the new lift should only raise Gadget about 1/2" from her current 2.5" budget boost. but it will give me much better flex, more droop, newer shocks, stronger arms, and overall open the door to some slightly more aggressive trails!

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2 weekends ago, Offroad Passport members Kaspily & Bradywgn71 (Sarah & Chris) told me about a run near Prescott that they had seen a Facebook post for. Curly (Tim) and his wife Devon were also attending, so i decided to join the party. also on our run was DGR61 (David) driving a nice older XJ.

 

i'm not sure which actual group had posted the run, but more and more rigs kept showing up at the meeting place (20+) and it was getting later and later, so we decided to bail and run the trail as a separate group with just our 4 rigs.

 

the trail was the Santa Maria Mountains and is in the Backcountry Adventures AZ book. i stole this image from David's Facebook post:

 

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as it ended up, the majority of our run was through an active controlled burn.

 

we talked with some of the firemen before entering the area and they said we were ok to continue as long as we stayed out of the center of our planned loop (where the main burn was happening). there were some places with fire on both sides of the road, which made for a surreal experience.

 

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here are a couple more shots courtesy of David:

 

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the trail was a nice little loop with the higher elevation portions providing plenty of shade trees. definitely much cooler than down here in Phoenix (even with a forest fire)!

 

Tim noticed that there were a lot of Oak and other deciduous trees around the 5,800 ft mark and commented that this would probably be a nice fall colors run.

 

 

the rest of these images were taken by Sarah on her new Samsung S8, which it turns out takes great photos in the right hands!

 

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the large group passed us just after we aired down, then we passed them a little later while they were airing down.

 

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we stopped for a nice long lunch, but never did see the main group again. i'm not sure if they got turned them back due to the number of rigs, took a wrong turn, or chickened out at the "... but of course you do enter at your own risk!" part of the talk that the forest service personnel gave.

 

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just as we finished up lunch, another forest service guy stopped to let us know that an insane storm was headed right for us - "40mph winds, hail, etc.".

 

for about 30 minutes we could really see it building up and rolling towards us.

 

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we stopped to air up just a little shy of the trail's end as the winds started to really kick up. it was just in time as we had barely finished when the sky broke open and let loose!

 

fortunately we only had to drive the slippery conditions for a few miles, and never got any hail. still, it was far enough to really mud-up the Jeeps.

 

here's a great final shot Sarah took looking back at the storm after we'd escaped the brunt of it:

 

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Good story and great pictures, thank you for sharing them.

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did some exploring last weekend of the part of the Mogollon Rim between Forest Lakes and Heber...

 

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did a bunch more driving around the state this weekend again, exploring new (to me) places and getting ideas for future Offroad Passport runs. 13 hours in the saddle on Saturday, and still home in time for dinner!

 

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Seriously diggin' the exploration and group trip pictures! Kind of makes me wish I lived further south.

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Seriously diggin' the exploration and group trip pictures! Kind of makes me wish I lived further south.

 

thanks! the PNW has some darn nice scenery though!

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Number7 and I spent all day Tuesday installing the Teraflex 3" Flexarm lift (thanks for the help G!).

 

i still need to install the exhaust spacers, move the evap skid over, re-install the engine skid, and dial in the alignment.

 

it rides a little harsher due to the stiffer springs and steeper front control-arm angle (i removed the geometry correction brackets), but not bad at all. the 9550 shocks are nicer than stock in terms of controlling bounce.

 

i ended up with about 3.5" of lift as best i can tell. here are photos for comparison...

 

 

Teraflex 3":

 

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Rough Country 2.5":

 

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stock height:

 

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