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

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@scottL and i took a quick trip up Camp Creek wash on Saturday.


thanks for the photos Mr. Scott!







the only shot i got was a blurry one while airing up:



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It was the most beautiful weather.. eat your heart out rest of America!

& the clouds had me in a trance.

Good times Kbro






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my front bumper had a lot of rock chips so it got a full repaint this week.  i used the same texture as on the rear bumper this time around.




i'm working on repainting the rock rails and touching up a few other satin black areas still.



i also bought "Santi's Caps" from eBay this week - they cover up the chrome key-holes on the front doors and tailgate. it's just a silly little thing, but i like the look. their color and texture match the factory handles perfectly. 










even though they seemed to clip on tightly, i added a single drop of glue to try and keep errant branches from sending them flying. i should still be able to pop one off if i ever need to manually unlock the rig though.










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i've noticed when Amazon gets down to just a few of an item "in stock", the price often changes quite a bit - sometimes going up, other times down. last week the Teraflex Falcon shocks i had saved in my cart for months suddenly dropped from their normal price of $1,150 to $888 with "only 1 left in stock" - so i jumped on that deal and ordered myself an early Christmas present!




they are the 3.1 version, meaning they have external reservoirs but no compression adjustment. i could upgrade them later with the 3.3 fast adjusters if they seem to soft or stiff.


the design of the valves and reservoirs make for a lot of travel. i can actually fit the ones meant for a 5" to 6" lift with only a tad more bump-stopping... meaning i'll gain over 2.5" of droop in the front, yet only need to reduce my up-travel by about 1/2". i should also gain around 2" of droop in the rear. 


my current front shocks are leaking and not doing much dampening at all right now, so i'm sure i'll notice a huge difference with these!



in prepping for the new shocks, i bought MetalCloak's DuroSpring jounce bumpers and installed those this weekend. they snap in just like the factory bumpers, but are longer and much stiffer. the idea is that once you have a heavier-than-factory rig, the stock bumpers bottom out way too easy.


front factory bumper, versus the DuroSpring:




they also add about 1/2" of extension when fully compressed, which is exactly what i'm thinking i'll need to prevent over-compression of those new shocks.




i also installed some extra stock front coil isolators and rear 3/4" coil spacers George had given me a while back... so i didn't actually lose any up-travel! the spacers also leveled the rig better since the ass had a slight sag before.


i'm so excited to get the new shocks next week - and can't wait to see what other goodies Gadget might get for Christmas today!

Edited by theksmith
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40 minutes ago, theksmith said:




You really don't need to be jealous of my rig at the moment you know.

Edited by mesach
I'm dumb
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my awesome @aimee gave me a K&N snorkel for Christmas!


it said 60-90 minutes for the install, but it's more like 4 to 6 hours... the whole side of the Jeep has to come apart and there was a lot of finagling to get the final fitment right.




i love how it looks! it's high enough to be functional but doesn't stick above the roofline or off the side, so it shouldn't be too much of a limb grabber.




the kit replaces the entire factory intake, all the way to the throttle body. i'm not a big fan of aftermarket filters and thought about adapting the snorkel part to work with the stock air-box, but for now decided that was too much trouble. 




you re-use the side inlet from the stock box so that it normally breathes through there as well as through the snorkel to get maximum air flow. however, if you plan to get stupid in the water, they give you a little chunk of closed cell foam that you wedge into that side port to seal it up.


the kit is supposed to add nearly 7 HP and just over 9 ft-lb of torque... which i don't think anyone's butt-dyno can feel, but i'll take it. there's a nice little growl when i floor it, which puts a smile on my face!






Edited by theksmith

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my other Jeeping christmas present was a set of tiny Rigid Ignite diffused led pods which i wanted for cornering lights (A.K.A. alley lights or ditch lights). i mounted one at the bottom of each a-pillar using one of the factory windshield corner bracket bolts.




each light is rated at 1,000 raw lumens, which is bright enough to see what i'm turning into at lower speeds but shouldn't be blinding to other people on a group night run.





my rock lights were great for my spotter, and i'm very happy with my headlights for straight in front of me... but i couldn't see jack squat of what i might be turning into on a night run!


before (just low beams + rock lights):




after (low beams + rock lights + new ditch lights)





during the day they are barely noticeable, which is exactly why i wanted these tiny Ignite series.




i ran the wires in front of the door and then up under the cowl to my fuse/relay box under the hood.






i had already wired a couple extra switches when i made my switch panel, one of which just had a placeholder "Pirate Lights" rocker in it... but i think that kinda fits, so i'm going to leave it saying that! i mean, if i want to come up beside another rig to board it, i'll need these ;)






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my new shocks came Friday (Teraflex Falcon 3.1 for 5-6" lifted JK 4-door)!




the fronts were a quick install today.




i bought a complete set of new Crown JK Extended Brake Lines for 3-6" lift but actually didn't need them up front, so I'll install those a little later - i wanted to finish with the shocks in time to go do a flex test before it got dark.


i gained about 4" of droop over my previous shocks.




the rear was just a little more complicated because of the shock/control-arm skids i previously had welded on which interfered with the out-board mounting style of these Falcons.


@Bradywgn71 was nice enough to cut off the outer gussets on those skids with his plasma cutter. i ended up having to take just a little more off with a grinder after that to clear the Falcon reservoirs.




i did install the longer brake lines in the rear to accommodate the increased droop. i already had brake line extension/relocation brackets but they weren't enough.



on first test, nothing is hitting or binding while flexing and the current bump-stopping and shock length seem to be working together just right.




the new brackets where the rear brake hard-line meets the soft-line need to be repositioned slightly, they are a little too close to the tire on full stuff.






i could not be happier with this combination of Teraflex Falcon 3.1 shocks and MetalCloak DuroSpring jounce bumpers for hauling ass in the desert!. i ran gadget a few miles up and down a rough wash at 35 to 40 MPH and she ate it up. i never got a full hard bottom-out even when purposely nailing small ledges at speed. i was also happy to not experience that bucking-bronco feeling when hitting several minor whoops in a row.


the compromise is that they are a tad stiff for just putting down a rocky trail or even on a gravel road with heavy washboards and pot-holes. they responded predictably on the gravel though - and i didn't get that back-end hopping and sliding-out that i often would when trying to speed down Cow Creek Road before.


Teraflex told me these fixed-valve 3.1 series are equivalent to somewhere in the "2" range on the adjustable series, so i could see myself using the "1" setting fairly often if i had those adjusters. i'll put that $400 towards something else for the time being though - as of right now i'm very satisfied with these shocks and we'll just have to see how they do over time.


Gadget's gotten a bunch of mods all of a sudden this winter and i love how she's looking and handling right now!


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1 year lookback...


December 2018, around 62k miles:




December 2019, about 89k miles!




at first glance she looks pretty much the same, but there have been some major upgrades... front & rear bumpers, winch, snorkel, shocks, front drive-shaft, tie-rod, and the whole rear cargo/sleep-platform redo just to name a few.


and that's 27k miles on Gadget this year! happily a huge portion of those were while out exploring.


i'm truly thankful to be able to go on so many adventures with such great friends. here's to getting out even more with you all in 2020!



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