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"Oki": 4x4tographer's 2018 Jeep JLUR

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@johnpa here is some grainy surveillance footage of me frantically digging through my glove box today for my registration outside of my emissions inspection.


The Jeep passed with flying colors. I should have my new tags soon.




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A few favorites from our recent trip to Utah:




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Maintenance Day - 63,800 miles!


Ran up to the brand new Autozone that just held its Grand Opening today in our neighborhood. There was a mini car show that was organized by the local car club here in the neighborhood. Spotted this pretty CJ that is owned by the guy that runs the local car club.




Avert your eyes, purists!






Picked up some materials to perform an oil change, air filter, cabin filter, and the front/rear differentials.

The Autozone was nice - running a lot of grand opening deals. Ended up with a free oil filter and a free bottle of Orange Clean hand cleaner.


All pretty routine for the most part. A few things I noticed:


Oil - The 3.6L consumed about 1/2 quart of oil since the last change 5,400 miles ago. Still using Mobil1 Extended Performance 0w20.


Cabin filter was disgusting (I didn't write down the last time I changed it). I might have skipped it my last oil change.


Differentials - I've been running Royal Purple front and rear (75w90 and 75w140) since I bought the Jeep in 2018.

My last fluid change, I couldn't find any locally, so I used MotorCraft. My last differential fluid change was 21,800 miles ago.


The front fluid was pretty predictably dirty and stinky with a good-sized blob of very fine sludge on the magnet. Pretty typical.


The rear surprised me, the fluid was VERY clean looking and I had minimal sludge collected on the magnets. I can only guess that maybe the front is still "breaking in" as it gets used far less than the rear since the JL has the front axle disconnected unless it's in 4WD. The rear must be very well broken in (just my unprofessional opinion).


Pumping fluid in the front:





Here's the rear draining:




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Massive thanks to @kaspily/@Bradywgn71 for these great photos of the Jeep in action in Smasher Canyon ❤️










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Upgraded my Rugged Ridge rockers/sliders with some new beefy Metalcloak Overline sliders that should be able to take more abuse and offer better protection.


My big complaint about Rugged Ridge's design is the way they mounted. They came in a 2 piece design that utilized a bracket adapter at the frame. This installed with a u-bolt through the frame with the thread/nuts pointing down. This location took quit a bit of abuse over the years and I've had to create several new replacement u-bolts out of threaded rod. 


Here's a photo of the bracket/bolts just before I removed them. These two nuts/u-bolt and 1 flagged-bolt are all that secured the front of each slider. I used a pry-bar to get them as straight as I could in order to remove them. One side I was able to get the impact on and remove pretty quickly, the other side I had to use a grinder.





The Metalcloak Overlines were pretty straightforward to install. It installed much like the OEM Rubicon sliders along the pinch seam along the bottom of the body. There are a few extra bolts that go into the bottom of the body as well. Metalcloak has you drill 2 extra holes and widen a few others. 


All in all, once I had the drivers side figured out, I got the passenger-side installed in about 30minutes. Overall about 3 total hours on the project, including the removal of the old sliders.





These sliders have a lot more clearance than the previous set. The Rugged Ridges had a 2 tube design, with the bottom tube being at the same level as the frame. These sit a lot higher up, snug to the body, and I'm expecting I'll actually hit/drag them less due to the extra clearance.




I'm digging the new look!





Edited by 4x4tographer
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Another project in the books!




Thanks to @Yodamom, who gave me an early birthday gift, we've got a new high-clearance exhaust set up! ❤️




This is Hooker Blackheart's "high-tuck" axle-back exhaust kit for the JL. 


I've never replaced a muffler before, and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was. As with most things, it was supposed to be one of those 30-minute jobs that turned into 2 evenings. 😝


First was the removal of the OEM "giant diaper" exhaust. Overall VERY easy. 4 total bolts for the 2 exhaust hangers and 1 bolt for the OEM exhaust clamp. Some PB Blaster, WD40, and a little twisting and turning and I had the factory muffler removed in about 20 minutes. 




I wrestled the new muffler into position, bolted the hanger brackets into position and went to tighten the exhaust clamps - but ran into a problem: 




As you can see, the clamp is fully tightened, but nowhere near tight. Turns out, Holley sent over a 3.5" or 4" clamp with the kit. The JL pipes are 2.5". 


A quick search on Amazon and I had a pair of 2.5" clamps on my doorstep by 9am the next day. *GOD I LOVE CAPITALISM*


Another quick 20 minute wrestling session and the muffler was in position!




I ended up trimming about 4-5 inches off of the tailpipe in order to get it to tuck up under the bumper and out of the "smash zone".


As you can see, it's LOW profile. You can barely tell it's there. 




Another view from slightly below the bumper's "line of sight"




The tone is nice. After listening to @theksmith's JK version of the same exhaust set-up, I was sold on the fact that it has a "near stock" sound/volume to it. You can get some grunt out of it when you floor it, but at highway speeds it's comparable to the OEM. No rasp, very smooth tone. 


You can listen to some expert revving by my garage assistant here.


Here's a photo of my assistant, posing with her work!

Ignore the tan XJ to the right of my JL. 




All in all it was a fun project, and I learned something new!

Edited by 4x4tographer
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ALWAYS good to have backup assistance in the shop...   ;)   Well done Brynna...   ;)

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Began working on a water storage solution leveraging the Hi-Lift Trail Trak system I installed last year.





The Trak system came with an interesting mounting bracket that allows you to vertically mount accessories like Rotopax and Power Tanks. 








Mounting everything up was quite easy. The track system allows you to move the mount up and down easily. 


After getting everything adjusted how I liked it, I discovered an issue with the Rotopax mount that came with the water tank. No matter how tight I cinched down the locking handle, there was some slop and movement in the tank. I imagine on the trails, a 2 gallon tank rattling back and forth could be a problem. 


The solution ended up being a "premium" Rotopax mount that has a better tightening handle.


Here's the original: 




Here's the "premium" mount. It basically has a longer threaded rod and a "spacer" handle. You can really crank down and tighten the handle on this one. The "slop" in the mount is completely gone now and the tank has no movement left. 




Here's a final shot of the tank through the window. 




If everything goes well with this solution, I'm planning to add a 2nd tank to the passenger side for double my capacity to 4 gallons.


I plan to modify the cap on the Rotopax to allow for a tube to be inserted to the bottom of the tank. I will use a pump, like the Dometic Go for easy access to the water without needing to remove the tank.




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how will you remove the tank once you have a hard-top? ;)

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