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SonoranWanderer

"Bluebell" Shelley's 2021 4xe (SonoranWanderer's wife)

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It's Shelley's 4xe, but since she isn't here to write it up...

Here she is in stock form, a 4xe Rubicon with the Power Top option:

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If you get the opportunity to press the go pedal on a 4xe, you are in for some real fun. It has the same exact same torque spec and 0-60 as the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392. All from a turbo 4 and Duracell.

We did buy it used (only 6k miles) and the previous owner had installed AMP Research electric steps. So it's mostly stock. We had to go used to get a decent color. All new inventory of 4xe's were mostly white. Not sure who would buy that? We did find a nice Tuscadero Pink 4xe on its way to Cottonwood on-line (via Car Gurus) but alas the nice sales rep at Oxendale quickly informed us that it was a custom order for a special customer in Sedona. Actually, he didn't tell us for who or where it was going, but a coincidental Facebook and Instagram post right after (maybe 48 hours) about a new Tuscadero 4xe quickly filled in the blanks.

 

Shelley went Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping and gave me a "Honey Due" list:

  • Front bumper
  • Winch
  • Snorkel
  • Rear Bumper
  • Mount her new blue Hi-Lift (It's a 4xe and painted Hydro Blue)

 

And here we go...

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Edited by SonoranWanderer
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She’s a beauty! :)💙

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The first item to work on was Shelley's new front bumper. I'm using early mornings, evenings, and breaks from work to tinker on these projects. This one took two mornings and evenings, plus lunches. So maybe I'm not the fastest wrench slinger.

 

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She liked the Smittybilt Stryker front bumper. She got the full-width setup. but for this post I installed it as a stubby. The wings will come later once I get the cube lights installed into the wings and wiring in place. The stubby center section has openings that accept the JL's factory LED fog lamps.

 

The bumper supports standard sized winches and for her Jeep we went with the Warn Evo 10k-S (synthetic rope). She found some light blue D-Rings and we closed out the install with a Factor-55 flatlink in (dark) blue with the Factor-55 rope guard.

 

The first job was to strip off the factory plastic bumper and related parts.

 

Bumper and plastic skid plate cover removed:

 

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Very useful tools in both removing and disassembling the bumper:

 

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Factory skid plate that covers the (anti) sway-bar disconnect removed:

 

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On each side of the frame mounting points is a bolted on brace, the inner braces (still present int eh picture above also need to be removed for the Stryker. The Stryker uses a different bolt pattern and hardware and comes with its own inner replacement braces. You can see the inner brace (looks like a backwards "C" and bolt on the passenger side frame rail better in this image:

 

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At this point, I'll say that the Smittybilt instructions leave a bit to be desired. The bumper can be used on a JK, JL or JT, and the instructions and picture are written for a JK, with extra steps in text only for a JL/JT. And the images are of black metal in not well lit conditions. This made trying to figure out that they wanted that inner brace removed but the outer brace retained. Their instructions are also not well written for someone who has never removed and taken apart a Jeep bumper before. If you have replaced a JL/JT, even a JK bumper before, you would probably not notice the gaps in the instructions. Later on in the instructions, some assembly of the bumper facia and overrider/bull bar is completely left out. You just have to realize there are "extra" bolts and holes that if filled early in the process make life a little easier.

 

Putting on the single piece winch plate and tow points, not see are the SB inner braces. Lying on the garage floor is that factory inner brace, previously removed.

 

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Next is the Evo 1k-S winch. Due to the design of the winch wiring hook-up points and the tight space in which you have to work, and the fact that you do not want your new winch wire touching a hot transmission cooler or radiator, there is not an easy way to hide the red/hot wire. I may revisit that later on.

 

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Once the winch power wires went under the front facia, I followed existing factory harnesses along the frame rail (that stay adequately away from the potentially hot starter motor until I could route the wire up between the air box and battery.

 

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Side note on wiring to the battery, the 3.6L engines come with nuts on the battery accessory terminals to secure accessory wires. The 2.0L engines do not (Internet verified!). The accessory posts are there, just no nuts. for the 2.0L you will need to run to the hardware store or a car parts place and grab a couple M8-1.25 Hex flanged and serrated nuts. Why Jeep does this differently based on engine may remain one of life's great mysteries. The battery image above shows my awesome aftermarket nut on the negative accessory terminal.

 

It also helps if you go to the store and get a high tech wire routing tool. I think I bought this one about 10-15 years ago.

 

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Something I did not get great pictures of is that while the fog lamps unscrew from the intact bumper, to recover the factory fog light harness intact, you have to completely disassemble the bumper into its three major parts. The wire harness goes in through the front and back of the center plastic super structure (left in the image below, harness already removed). That a little bit of desert keepsake in the crashbar and not rust!

 

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Another goodie I added to this installation was a Factor-55 anti-theft winch lock replacing one of the four winch mounting bolts (top of image):

 

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Nothing's perfect or absolute, but it will make a would-be thief work just a little harder.

 

Onward to the bumper facia and skid plate. The facia is held one with 8 bolts that sink into the facia, 4 around each tow point. The skid plate attaches to the facia via four sunk bolts barely visible in the image.


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Now the frustration in the instructions are that while the eight facia bolts also hold the overrider in place there are actually four hidden holes and undocumented bolts that hold the overrider to the main facia, two per side. Knowing that would have made this one-person install of the facia to the winch plate go a lot smoother and quicker.

 

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Not show here and also not well shown in the instructions is for the JL/JT how to secure the back/bottom of the skid plate to the frame using an extra otherwise undocumented part (bar) that bolts to the frame and to the skid plate. the JK does not need this part.

 

Worth noting, the Evo winch with the (passenger side) factory fog lamp with the fog lamp harness plugged in is a tight fit. Crammed and jammed really. Not in the instructions, plug in the fog lamp harness at least to the passenger lamp before installing the facia. Might leave the driver's side unplugged to do harness routing after facia assembly. The driver's side is easy to plug in later.

 

Fully bolted, torqued, and assembled bumper, winch and accessories. I think the lighter, but not flat, blue D-rings set off the appliance nicely. Factor's blue is a close enough match given it's far enough from any blue painted body surface.

 

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Warn was nice enough to include a black hawse fairlead, but not black bolts. Fortunately there were extra bolts in the Smittybilt bolt and parts bags. Given their matching size, maybe for this exact reason? And yes (for the very observant), the winch cable needs proper rewinding.

 

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Edited by SonoranWanderer
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Great write up. Can't wait to see it in the dirt!

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Great looking rig man. I think you should leave it stubby!

 

That hydro blue is an amazing color. It's bold. Reminds me of the Deep Water Blue Pearl JK my wife used to have. Loved it!

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looking good man!

 

 

may i suggest that you wrap that positive lead to the winch with some corrugated loom to help prevent chafing. even if you're running quality welding cable with thick insulation, it's just a whole other level of protection. people don't typically fuse a winch power lead and such a large gauge wire can carry a ton of current for quite a while if there's ever a "short", which means a high potential for fire. just my 2 cents!

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1 hour ago, theksmith said:

looking good man!

 

 

may i suggest that you wrap that positive lead to the winch with some corrugated loom to help prevent chafing. even if you're running quality welding cable with thick insulation, it's just a whole other level of protection. people don't typically fuse a winch power lead and such a large gauge wire can carry a ton of current for quite a while if there's ever a "short", which means a high potential for fire. just my 2 cents!

 Great recommendation. I have high-temp chem resistant loom on order.

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4 hours ago, 4x4tographer said:

Great looking rig man. I think you should leave it stubby!

 

That hydro blue is an amazing color. It's bold. Reminds me of the Deep Water Blue Pearl JK my wife used to have. Loved it!

 

She wants the wings with the lights in them. She has a final vision for the whole setup in mind. 

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Finished the front bumper during the week. Loaded up a set each of KC Hilites C3 series fogs and spots. 

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KC is nice enough to prewrap their wires. Because the Jeep has the auxiliary switch option, I cut the KC wire harness at the battery/power junction point since I didn’t need their switch, and that was more than enough wire to reach the battery and where the auxiliary wires are left terminated from the factory.

 

Auxiliary switches #3 and #4 are 10 amp fused, which is enough for the 110 watts of a set of C3s. Still need to seal up the crimp connectors to the wires in this image.

 

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To keep the battery clear of unnecessary wires, I  took advantage of the ground stud on the interior body (middle terminal in then image below). It was also devoid of a nut just like the battery accessory terminals and coincidentally takes the same M8-1.25.

 

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She can now light with fog and/spot beams from the factory switch bank right of the transmission shifter.

 

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Edited by SonoranWanderer
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Posted (edited)

So over the Christmas break I did some front bumper and winch clean-up.

 

First following the suggestion put forth by @theksmith and others, I loomed the positive cable of the winch. I picked up some loom from Cables Ties and More that meets Chrysler's spec for heat and chemical resistance. 3/8th inch is the right size to be tight fitting with an ever so small sliver of the red cable insulation showing. At all the potential chaffing contact points I zip tied the loom to the cable to ensure the spit is 180 degrees away from the point of contact. I also think the black of the loom cleans up the front end looks since there is no longer any red showing. Now other than the Warn logos, Color scheme consistency is maintained.

 

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Additionally at the battery box the cable along with the lighting wires pops up over an internal engine bay pinch seam. I layered a short run of 1/4th inch loom over the top of the seam for extra protection at the most vulnerable point of contact.

 

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Lastly I added some KC security nuts tot he lighting. It only god enough to keep and honest man honest, but better than nothing considering that the lights' bolts are exposed on this bumper design. (Pardon the dirt/mud I didn't get completely wiped off. We live on a dirt road and well you know the recent weather...)

 

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Edited by SonoranWanderer
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