While happy with the stock capability, after a year of abusing the Bluebicon I feel that I have felt out what its limitations and strengths are. More importantly I found out what I would like to improve on the rig.
Hopefully this is helpful to others with JLs and JLUs who might want to modify their rigs. I like to only modify based on something that I found I was lacking through use rather than trying to predict what might need changing.
So here is a thread for all the stuff I will do over the years to the "new" Jeep.
I have a few things already:
1. I think good communication on the trail is a must so before even getting out to the first trail, a CB setup was installed
2. Before my first real trail, I threw on a relatively cheap stubby steel bumper with a bull bar. I also wired up some lights I took off of the Grand Cherokee I had (which lives on as the Beast!) and power for my action camera. This bumper continues to work for me although I'm sure my mpg is suffering, my smiles per gallon remain through the roof.
And some things that I actually have some pics to kick off this build thread with, starting with a lift I installed a few weeks ago. I researched a few kits based on the criteria that I'd come up with after a year of wheeling "Bob":
- I think 2" was a good number to reach, 2.5" would do as well. I didn't want to have to change out every steering and linkage component for a lift. Mopar offered a 2" kit that was only shocks and springs that kept the factory warranty, so I think 2" was the butter zone for what I wanted.
- Related to above, I wanted to fit at least 35" tires and be able to go full flex with no rub
- While happy with the stock Rubicon suspension, I noticed that lighter sections of the trail had a ton of body toss in the "cab", so I wanted something that could handle those sections better
I started by looking at the Mopar 2" lift, because who would know better about lifting a Jeep than the official parts supplier for them? Well it turns out almost everyone else, because I haven't seen a single example of the installed Mopar lift online that didn't have very noticeable and concerning "bowing" of the front coils. No thanks!
Then I turned my attention to the aftermarket suppliers, and specifically found this video to be helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJgpmwuDi-k&t=341s
I liked his description of the Dynatrac Endurosport 2" lift. Fox performance series shocks and coils sounded like what would fit my criteria. They also said it seemed to have the best value, and I found these opinions echoed around the internet on JL forums, so I went with it.
I've never installed an entire set of suspension components before, but I had pulled out and put back in coils and shocks on my Grand Cherokee IFS.
Things I learned from the install:
- Release the parking brake you bonehead (once its on jack stands)
- Just get the loaner spring compressors before you take the thing apart and have to take your old half put together truck to AutoZone midway through your install
I only got a few pics before I started to get worn out and just wanted to finish the job, should be posted below.
After initially backing it out I heard a funny noise, the left rear coil/spring wasn't centered correctly. As the spring compressed it would hit the lip of what I will call the "coil surround" for lack of knowledge of the actual name. I took off a tire, drooped the axle to take some pressure off the spring, and prayed to the Jeep gods while twisting the coil. It snapped into place and now there is no more noise there. I'm going to test out the new suspension this weekend and I'm excited for this season of wheeling. Stock Rubicon suspension did great but boy did I really drag that frame along the harder trails. Maybe 2" (3" when I get 35s on at the end of these 33s life) will help that out!