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theksmith

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

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yes, i've finally joined in with the JK herd!

 

...and yes, Lafawnduh will be for sale :eek: in a few weeks once i get her shined up and in tip-top condition. i'll be selling her as a turn-key expo rig with everything intact except for my tools and the ham radio (nothing like starting completely fresh)!

 

without further adieu, here's the new 2016 Wrangler (JK) Unlimited Rubicon in Granite Crystal Metallic Clearcoat, the morning after we picked her up:

 

IMG_8072.JPG

 

it happened the night that Brady and I came back from the Turkey Creek trip. Aimee and i went in to the dealership because we'd been talking about possibly getting one later in the year and we wanted to see #1, what was the cutoff date for ordering a 2016 before they changed over the assembly line for the new Wranglers? and #2, what exactly would the 1% below invoice price be (FCA affiliate program for Tread Lightly $100 members).

 

like any dealer, they wanted to sell us something on the lot - but it turned out they really did have exactly what we were looking for with only 1 extra option (upgraded sound system). after a little haggling, we had the price below what the affiliate program would have given us if we ordered one and soon we were signing our lives away. it turns out that was Aimee's plan all along ;) - a huge THANK YOU to her for making this possible!

 

 

the real test drive...

 

3 days later was my birthday, so i took a couple hours to run Camp Creek Wash, trying out all the shiny new buttons and levers and letting that new car smell mix with some desert dust!

 

IMG_8103.JPG

 

i didn't even air down, but hey that push-button sway bar disconnect is kinda neat ;)

 

 

plans & why?

 

this will be an epicly slow build thread. i will lift her eventually, but nothing much is happening for a while as we recover from the down-payment.

 

i know i'm going to get a lot of "WHY WOULD YOU SELL YOUR HEAVILY MODDED WJ FOR A JK?" - let me just say i want to refocus on my career and so having a vehicle that doesn't consume as much of my time but can still do 75% of the trails i enjoy makes sense right now...

 

as a used vehicle, the WJ of course requires a little more maintenance, but moreover it's always been a custom project vehicle. for example, there are only 3 or 4 production tire-carriers for the WJ, none of which i love - but for the JK there are probably 25+ variations available. i will miss the uniqueness of Lafawnduh, and one day i may have a really custom rig again (SAS'd 4 door Taco maybe?).

 

of course i'll still be doing some custom projects, and trying to "make it mine" - but those will be mostly little afternoon endeavors instead of major fab work - at least that's the plan for now!

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Overview Timeline

 

this post has the major mods listed for those with no patience to read through an entire thread!

 

 

03/2016 - debadged:

 

IMG_8221.JPG

 

 

04/2016 - comms and accessory wiring/switch-panel in place:

 

IMG_8559.JPG

 

 

05/2016 - 2.5" budget boost:

 

IMG_9387.JPG

 

 

08/2016 - stubby bumper caps:

 

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10/2016 - fridge, rear storage/organization, and tailgate table all completed:

 

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01/2017 - sleeping platform complete:

 

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02/2017 - rock lights:

 

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04/2017 - on board air:

 

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07/2017 - Pioneer 4200NEX stereo & trail cameras:

 

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07/2017 - she has a name now: Gadget!

 

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08/2017 - Teraflex 3" short arm lift:

 

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01/2018 - Garvin Wilderness rock rails, Teraflex diff covers, Rock Hard evap canister relocation, sway-bar motor flip:

 

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02/2018 - 315/70-R17 Cooper Discoverer STT Pro's, black lug nuts, 1.25" Teraflex wheels spacers:

 

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03/2018 - front lower coil retainers, OME front 10mm passenger coil spacer, Teraflex VSS steering stabilizer, Barnes 4WD heavy duty crossmember, Uniden CMX760 CB:

 

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03/2018 - Expedition One Geri water container & fabbed custom bracket:

 

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05/2018 - BOLT hood lock:

 

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05/2018 - removed exhaust spacers, replaced with Dynomax/Tenneco mid-pipe:

 

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08/2018 - left cylinder head replaced under warranty, removed engine plastic cover & all foam insulation around intake manifold:

 

apjKB9kUvAlrp4S33ohf7S_AseaZK0O53GG6B0fdEGKBxdf69QVC7SbZdHxCx4MrcLhI3s-Is5iRQU8v4saFMhET0B5By_gLq0wU88Qs92nI1JWpWYVmfY0eIgA9-yYGsvUe9141JtihIuC5lCjMqlo4Gcth0dIISHcAroj_hDff0KwBejnw7EuEP3XVmQZTTbQGkb-skVNUW7s1Uc8SR5Iskh3fNszFoqJaEAHWI07M8gtGT0zCMzYUPHNBKIn81I2a4u6J-DpSYd5nVNcX_7x2fm-oySoL0l-mOKVxSR8pVwT7d7JAdejEDAbNwd7XN9FOB0HyaWHs1fkc89uglYPB3n6y2yRqEr-QjZpbMasmS5bBsJS40SXjwFznAPs4MC4mAADPL9-1Mmbt5oc7A7OUiKFKL30WqZx8bCWXc7Qj-qZfDMHKbhUnno5F4VOEpKphVZKm94u3y-1g3EJg6LYJXWUeiyCz7ZZfTzANIL46ccbEyh5D9wYbf3NEWyh5ko5SqsMRfUHUkYVrHExtoUCiyoQ_tu0DFVNERrihG4IKOnHR_RXrp4xU5jJ1HlMdQosYIKdfHcVj9Ik20iiD45qSiWnKDGr_R_I1u9ZnhfoD7fYUMYieWuLKnWBpxzYT08LXk-eAQ0_IVbfpq7DpzhXdQMOkwh3lr1yGj6adxbl4Gh8W7If25vHV=s800

 

 

10/2018 - Pro Comp LED headlights, PIAA horns, locking hood latches (remove BOLT lock), throttle pedal spring mod, LED fog lights, blacked out front turn signal and marker lights:

 

1HtDuR3BFL7X66pFjBa88JJ4VK0Fk3_MhUMTkiNk6n5--KINtCs19yevGmHW_b1sYwhI5kzIMRExaq09tl_ND7aLRXt-A_BYLjBkvzizqcpoCwhrurtcDVZ1BcziQ3ZY2lc7csUBlQGwR_tCywXWAOZAe3_weuLf3YonQzwx4HRkeMAPDrIvfWZrTbk_Las0ri_TYqlP1Dbbls1g0LBtqPmlKekqEr-ZA-YqLnbc79E0menUeX-RJPrqnO6wFVk9KdZMC-e5RORSrLcuDIuFeEpDmcX8AZ8a0lkHqFlfRoxCIJGz7cUZEGjXCa9pxpkQOsXHPs1gjsjrogooIZSpWqQiOp2uGNdGT3cVqBlibvqyUrA369VETMmXQnNUhDtofQA5oYj0y2Iyby3hUc8f5b0Obka_4Dkwdjsg4euTKeEvSIaagWLrNFZGPaWXPnml6ikhXM07ABMG-eDNP7ewszD1eBp_OHMOU9mG4qN4KoKBoR9shCVqvK_ufYzhTn8z6IfD_ZWgIDYR6mtV29wUAyzHxEpuc9NAzk8fHlw_zO4X5SVIxTRjLMI0QjJtUCKzo1ZdVaaPL9SMINX2FU9s8JtQ2_0CJxoTYVrX-JBqSmyjBHnowNr9HhvwR9J2enXUtX5vp5TZwU-Md9fERzOYePAx1CEPldbcxWlgJM4TLA5QXwv4fYlaTjG3-q1bueaU2Lan8hyT8YGJoqueYA=s800

 

 

11/2018 - Easyguard push-button-start and passive keyless entry system:

 

y1SeYwu8cCHDCSlS_e5lWTdnNmSVa2SHzWbwF7RakC1WIE6K7sRa0rxaPKwIA-CNpNylQOhuK8UJ0FPKSm6_f2S6Jyx52ST8EqoJTF6-W1nDcujK8gvh4viVRS2l5bfWY5I0qRwpieUEqy4eEVAlm72a5ExJwiPlkVvMjLf8XZmAFhQwDgU17hH2mWFIZLlck1D7MoFAEgDm3ZmwFwPVAMmSMBzwkr0ohOJ6RGhdMB1mt7oXOx42dp9WxtCXgEaVfwjWcAtC_bAwP0hQAqrOibQKHu1HXzpR0a7ngAmJ2tqFz5aTGwx53m6LbWg4rI-UcAA1rwQu9bpvU9WV2SlmVGaNcv667P_lvQjKaof27vrMrDMCfu8IROayhUvzGxauSTHRVvBJmwKx6oNPxozoCDzpQTwqkCTy8WH-HUThT6fjM9NSaYnZJFRvC9gYjdhJr4ZvY0M37rn1CFNOLgXYaL3XoMuyKmg9zvKHjG7KjslPJvAcS7_u2vRoFzjWFyWyjv_E9p9-y06RY7p5fg2Q6_t2jeOS14jGptOVgDgbvCgi9lWsCDWmJImMdq32baH0r-5445B3lJ0gzpmkmLu9-k1Cw1N6ii3BZO4MHC9pCNARgV5p-DKihhYwJiBP1uQi0nfVHlKxKX4zYhVLn5ASYs3TZx5y_mV-C9xOEUTb7jyPtq3SyhiiOuNZ=s800

 

 

12/2018 - 4" Teraflex coils, front & rear JCR axles trusses, control-arm & shock mount skids, Artec rear track-bar bracket, Teraflex ball joints, new upper control arm bushings on axle end, Clayton drag-link flip and matching raised track-bar bracket, new upper drag link TRE, dialed-in the alignment:

 

5fF7jyakLR3oCGiGNGUG6u1HV-pPOD-w8VT_yjFUsIdrD3YvdZA_WFDrY3JWAYuKSDDGQMdpodnSqfF0k0PjD0qEk-n_iGPdWw3iohG0bD38hf9G7Zk3Kx7ESzIB1Y26M5WdDlZeIhniM9FeLRRo7dgBrC0cu0vGyYpa1sedbXUwsDg7E2n0ePDiHiZ0w3gT7hyGwmvkdxnrvr_A7MUCKOYYFxL7uSULy1ARfnlIA7fhC5_hNPdCz7kCYMYennBYPj-nzmi8STcNPe82hiVlkueHoJg3N5MVuYo0gU3GfBI3kZQy3a5YNVdeNZVTzLAXZ1dTOCMhc1Mvka_6AKXeSQLD442Ctm56ShMVr2ekNo9Dfair5aJA4FF-TSDKHPCzswJECWCSnv_u4r5OuAvkkb9RYVKmcS7mOf0r2JI7-Z3vgrpvffSJ68IVJ1LN9pIUoOOOQ2EKjTZpxNIhDToxb_Nb0uHk5DDU89AyHXlirQYMZQWGNIVoIP3xK4Lko0sGLG1BoSynWjlgoStRXUNUlwmOKG-gejsfEMj4bpJ1aWv3ZmXs21Vs0mbVUFzIlFH8aUdKG7jj7eGF4PV7cWxRRsafJIGINCoVubuE719SC3RIfJb72WCAzRwqhAcvgFbo-cKu-xHgfb7piNmQ_D_rH22jU06slV099QYiR4ge-3wgwwE_GzfLrND8zufmr2a67Peye7jsKn-dVmuOOA=s800

 

 

12/2018 - updated my automatic-air-up system do 2 tires at once:

 

5AWaMwOPNUXCi3px4IghSfY9c57Ar2PrZ0f14P4RfSkyfyJoZw3JGR_CV2J7I6HtaOC9KgHRo3hatCM5avejZJNWQZWMjKwq7Zo3_xyWp0JCSfbwNddNV99RZfT_1CAd92hgrrD23Dw_yzwCcfkvlsHJZ73oLxUHl8dUHzXjnkEj_sApQU9WfL8bnjBdkNdRRoBFV-pAo0kY5yoty4Ja_roSAVo62LHyLkkZ2LEbrQVJVkdQcKFk5luZ9gpx06U_wKiPNng7X2ZDSZqi2pO61pPk8dSz8lF40lq5yZmbr_Yf4uZCa6UIj1NjLErBEHz02vHo_ljYJmDVeRmknrRVdyMDuaxoNnaFchHQD2JGE2mnvHLPhtLOpqdsGd22czZX7eBR0LUjvlYk-D1rnE0Km_ct9sHyQvlMquW8L9OBlnqHBrhotnj4s_UinMLT8YXfkXu1X2yQ0XF6iM5Id60rKjkS03MEQg1-0L7YJX8_6tnhReyx7tcaABYpFutwzZWYsvjhnIOwmMVZfAPQAlO-c0iKOaEAbDCbcOuI3RjFAMGa1l5WNwfWdL2zdozRPnIXTBqdL681D2bKKHk2DbIrm-tYx7elrEdwtJDKEv13pgzlmSQKwkUH1dcM5SaIO4Z6_NzPiJmOpKujZUPECnyH0oSkT_K2xCWEGN0WLaycY-nkbcv5dzrMV-o3nwe30s7Z1o-wjigCwbqSb4GXaw=s800

 

 

01/2019 - changed thermostat and flushed coolant due to P0128 DTC, Clayton engine skid & crossmember:

 

CRfF-d2JTadLy-iPRtCIozbIb7rXgrZZw-c3tj4HUGdzVqER7Z95cAjuh5t8hZOV0Kp58p505SOBKb0NP4eIzKNGFRWKk1UIO9i7dYSWT6k_4RvhgjK2xtlvVkGWvh3z0d25Z9ahXpH0NalFJRElzMt-wEmn51Y5DsYthqA_1JxLxlrJ_HnM-d2FE_JVaq8DZ6cAiGqxUWPeZeoOj8BZynLmO-Sk4JMo8SzrKfPmcAKf1YPGxX7DsZEhBaHpzAKl9Ejyi6H8yklswzOWdIO8PrsMBX7slyE1UyYzwVqKGSQcpLOrGmc34Cx1Gs7g1yPc6svanUUYdgrY8VHvDuyruxUmwn07hBtT7HMyv9IYBo7dZtQTfsDEDA1d6gTl3zDPx5WrRc6evAp2Z46SmK4oTT37hZerSBIkJO19FG4oaacYeXWZqgtQ1u_Ue6XitwxlNYt58E4LCwJduFBZYFm4jMCGHj17xVXwe08iibx4sUJzaig3pfsW7OIHdTVVl-te9L852Pr4O9f_pQjnYm6e8p0lxh1R5MJ02X9cUb-NrMx0omrkL-5hifYP1BlmPSVnOuZgwd3-JeiR9W5zamdTCbQ9MEsGdJqKK4XHdE5Lyc7F3Rj4BLlzfM7xP-q7InZI_REsAEtarMa1WV-2ejou-SYTXY68C1dYSxQk02jzV29dgRAbYkeP_LpPj27WNJ1ianx1NrvuaBmdzRZN4A=s800

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mod #1, debadge!

 

cost: free!

 

as with every vehicle i've owned, step one was to debadge it - i did leave the RUBICON stickers on the hood a couple days, but finally decided they needed to go as well ;)

 

IMG_8153.JPG

 

ScottL got the "Trail Rated" badge and put it to good use...

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WOW and Holy Hare!!!

Many Congrats!!! Sure is a nice looking Jeep!

smiles, ladybug

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WOW and Holy Hare!!!

Many Congrats!!! Sure is a nice looking Jeep!

smiles, ladybug

 

thanks Karen! see you on the scenic runs ;)

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Lookin' GOOD Kris... Congrats... :D;);)

 

And don't think you have to stop Jeeping, just because you might scratch it a bit more than LaFawnduh... It's still a Jeep... ;)

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Congratulations on your new baby! Just like back when we were all newbies, you'll be amazed where a stock Jeep can take you, remember? I think it's a beautiful rig albeit name-less as yet.

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Congratulations on your new baby! Just like back when we were all newbies, you'll be amazed where a stock Jeep can take you, remember? I think it's a beautiful rig albeit name-less as yet.
How about "Kristal-Klear" Or Kristal Pearl . :P;)

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Lookin' GOOD Kris... Congrats... :D;);)

 

And don't think you have to stop Jeeping, just because you might scratch it a bit more than LaFawnduh... It's still a Jeep... ;)

 

yup, the first major gouge or ding is gonna hurt - but it IS a Jeep and we bought it to WHEEL!

 

 

Congratulations on your new baby! Just like back when we were all newbies, you'll be amazed where a stock Jeep can take you, remember? I think it's a beautiful rig albeit name-less as yet.

 

i do remember! i wheeled Lafawnduh several times with street tires and no lift... i was really surprised what the limited slip diffs could do.

 

over the past few years we've been on runs with a lot of stock (or near stock) JK's and i've always been impressed at what they can handle. even the non-Rubicon editions are extremely capable thanks to the traction control.

 

IMO, breakover angle is the biggest limitation this one has as it came from the factory. for my first wheeling mods i've ordered a steering stabilizer relocation bracket, and i need to figure out which engine/tranny skid to get (the pans are pretty unprotected even on the Rubicon).

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mod #2, let there be (interior) light!

 

i had some extra LED's already on hand to replace the main interior lighting. the stock bulbs were pretty dim incandescents, so this made a huge difference.

 

the main (front) light uses (2) 912 bulbs (or any T10 base, i.e. 921 or 194): ~$16

the cargo area is a 578 (42mm festoon): ~$12

 

the ones i used did not flicker or cause any weirdness as they fade out, probably best to get "error free" or "can bus" compatible ones to be sure.

 

IMG_8239.JPG

 

 

silly engineers (map lights)

 

the rearview mirror based map lights already use LEDs, but the silly Jeep engineers decided to use really warm (yellow) LEDs to match the halogen bulbs! having 2 different color temperature lights certainly wouldn't do! however, i wasn't eager to de-solder and replace the tiny SMD chips and i read about another person who did but it didn't work as he used replacements that drew too much current...

 

i was thinking i could use a photography gel to tint the light, but then saw someone else online just glued in glass beads to accomplish the same thing. i went red to preserve night vision with the first try:

 

IMG_8115.JPG

 

IMG_8119.JPG

 

IMG_8121.JPG

 

however i didn't really like how that looked...

 

IMG_8129.JPG

 

all of the instruments use the Chrysler signature blue-green color, and the JK even has matching little lights in the cup-holders. i decided that would look nicer and still be ok on a pitch-black night since the map-lights were already pretty dim. i couldn't find the exact color for beads, but used some teal-ish ones and piece of translucent blue-green plastic keychain to get the color pretty close.

 

IMG_8245.JPG

 

i like how they project out into your lap from under the mirror instead of shining straight down - nice job on that part Jeep!

 

IMG_8248.JPG

 

cost for this was ~$12 since i tried a few different bead colors.

 

 

if you thought that last step was getting carried away... (footwell lights)

 

so the footwell lights are also custom SMD LEDs in a very warm tint - who knows why FCA didn't just use a standard socket with an LED bulb. however, you can replace them with color changing lights from Mopar for ~$320!!! i of course just replaced the little custom LED boards with some cheap ones of my own...

 

here's one of the factory footwell light modules, each side has a single module held in by 1 screw:

 

IMG_8130.JPG

 

but wait - why is there a light facing forward and one facing down? the downward ones are the standard ones that come on when you open the doors or turn the dimmer all the way up. but it turns out the ones facing forward are reeeeeally dim lights that only come on at night (when the headlights or running lights are on). you can barely even notice these with typical city light pollution. i guess Jeep has you covered if you forget where your toes are!

 

i wanted to replace the "toenail lights" with that blue-green color i mentioned earlier. so i really geeked out and instead of using some sort of tinting medium, i had some RGB leds on hand and soldered up a couple custom versions of those with just the right amount of blue and green intensities to match the factory instruments and cup holders.

 

IMG_8137.JPG

 

IMG_8138.JPG

 

those resistor values made it about the same brightness as factory, only now in the tealish color. i may replace them with some lower resistance values to brighten the lights, but i want to see outside the city on a dark night if "toenail lights" are annoying first as-is.

 

this would have been about $14 in components but i already had everything on hand in my electronics stash.

 

here's how they came out:

 

IMG_8200.JPG

 

 

for the main footwell lights i used some stick-on surface mount LED's from Oznium that i knew were very bright. these are ~$3.50 each and ready for 12v without any added resistors.

 

IMG_8187.JPG

 

i cut out the old modules and soldered these into the factory wiring, then just stuck them on the bottom of the little plastic housing (one LED per footwell). i always use rubbing alcohol to prep anywhere that i try to use that 3M double sided adhesive on and for the most part i've always had it stay "stuck" even with the wide temperature variations a car experiences.

 

IMG_8195.JPG

 

they are indeed plenty bright and match the new overhead LEDs now too.

 

IMG_8241.JPG

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