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How about you spend my $4k on my LJ?

1820 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  rmeredit
Howdy everyone. I've been planning my LJ build for a while now but haven't spent a cent, except for the tires which I got at a killer price (BFG Mud Terrains, 255/85r16). I have set aside $4k for right now, can do a "stage 2" at a later time. It is an '06 LJ, 37k miles, absolutely stock still. I want more of an expedition-type build as I'm not a huge rock crawler. Camping, hunting, moderate trails, etc.

What would YOU buy for this? After I hear from a few of you, I'll post the list that I came up with.
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For an expedition rig:

OME kit (LJ version) with all new control arms
1.25" JKS body lift
1" MORE bompproof motor mount lift
garmin rear tire carrier/swingaway bumper
rokmen merc front bumper
warn 9.5ti winch
rokmen gas/engine/tummy tuck/steering box skid plates
highlift jack

And that will be ~ $4k.
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I'd do something along the lines of what I already did after two tries at it now, and working on a third here shortly...

Skip OME springs/shocks as for an expedition rig, you'll likely wind up too heavy and they'll be too soft/sag over time. Mine did, that was my first go around. Great for light rigs, not so much for heavier LJ's. So-

AEV/Nth 3" progressives-mine have held up great and are working great for the mild lift. Happy with them overall

Rancho 9000XL adjustable shocks-if you get the free myride deal, great-I like mine. These have been very handy. I'd recommend keeping your manual adjust knobs as trail spares in the event you break an air fitting. I did on the Rubicon trail, called Rancho and they sent me exactly what I asked for without question-free of charge. Two steel air fittings for the shocks and 4 new manual adjust knobs. I should have asked for 4 fittings and would have had I known the replacements were steel. Mount the shocks with the knob inside towards the axle and you won't have the issue I did. Nice to have spares in an emergency though...

Currie CA's throughout with JJ's at all ends, and front upper JJ housing kit to eliminate ALL rubber bushings. Huge improvement overall.

Off-road swaybars including either an anti-rock up front or Blaine's new dual-rate version, AND a rear universal currie anti-rock out back. With the LJ you have plenty of room to mount it as far rearward as you an, tons of room behind the tank-I love mine.

Vanco brakes-I've been running the 15" original test kit since '05 I think and love it. As I need new pads again, I'm actually upgrading rotors, calipers and pads to the most current 16" kit-not because I need more, but because I'm curious to see the difference between the two kits and with new rubber coming soon, will be a good idea what both kits can do. I LOVE the 15" setup if the 16" really is better, yeah for me as you can never have too much brake.

Currie steering upgrade-my stocker failed early on due to 255/85/16's...

You MIGHT be OK with that size on the factory Moabs, but I rubbed badly on LCA's, swaybar and spring perch in rear so I'd recommend Spydertrax spacers to widen things up a bit and make it more stable with the added height.

For armor, having had all steel stuff in the past, I am REALLY liking my Savvy aluminum stuff now. So, call Gerald at Savvy and order up an aluminum tank skid and their up-armor TT/engine skid. It comes with the BL and the engine lift is part of the front support structure so you kill two birds with one stone with this kit. Blaine's still working on the Rubicon version mount setups but will be done shortly. Huge advantage is all the protection without the weight, easier on the rig overall keeping it light weight. Being an expedition style rig, this is a huge advantage over steel armor due to the added weight you'll be carrying in gear. Save it anyway you can, armor is a HUGE killer in adding weight that you don't need when there are suitable alternatives in aluminum to do the same thing. Also swapped out my ARB bullbar for his front bumper, have shaved over 200 lbs in the rig with just a few changes of armor selection-and not done yet... Corner armor will be next for another 120 easy...

Now, for my third go around and depending on how far you want to take your build, highly recommend outboarding the rear shocks if you have the means. Poly kit is great, Gen-Right has one similar, both are excellent. Everything above is all basically bolt-on, this requires a little more fab work and welding, but is well worth it. While you're at it, relocate the rear upper spring perches back a bit to get the springs more vertical. Be doing this to mine before too long.

Winch-I highly recommend Warn. Something in the 8-9500 lbs range.

Cage-I built mine, but lots of folks like the Rockhard bolt-in.

Air supply-I have both compressors and C02 tank. I like both for different reasons. Co2 takes up a little more room, but is fast and portable.

I have yet to add an on-board welder, but am working on it eventually. For expedition use WAY out, would be great to have on hand for emergencies.

Good tire repair kit. I'd also like some tyre pliars-it's a PAIN without.

While I don't have one, I keep thinking a pull-pal would be nice. I've had a few times it would have come in handy out in the middle of nowhere. I made my own dead-man stakes-3 of them tied in series sunk in the ground. Work well, but time consuming and a pain to mess with. Sinking your spare works well too, but again, pain to mess with. I don't think this method works as well as the dead-men anchors, but it works if you put the time into it. Saves a bunch of money over the pull-pal, which is why I don't have one yet, but may have to pony up someday. Time is valuable on the trail.

Granted most of the above is going to run over $4K BUT you can get a good start and have a very well-built rig to handle about anything you want to throw at it for the cash you have on hand. Shop wisely where you buy things for the best deals. Package pricing usually gets better the more you buy at once. Savvy can handle all your Currie needs and armor as well as brakes and a few other things and work a good deal. Northridge can get about anything you could want too and is a vendor here.

Pretty good start above, BUT for some really cool stuff, check out TenaciousTJ's new Tenacious JK expedition build. Ryan has built a GREAT rig that performs very well (granted it's a JK) but he's got all kinds of cool gadgets for expedition use that really come in handy. I had the great pleasure of experiencing just a few of them first hand on the Rubicon Trail with him a couple months ago. Some good ideas there for good use that you could adapt or carry in the LJ.

Best of Luck,

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Stop by the shop and I'll help you!!! :D
I would have to advise on a in cab refridorator, such as arb or others of the like.

roof rack for gas cans, water, tents, gear, etc.

On board air.


Just a start. I dont know much about the expidition type of wheeling. But thats where i'd start.
my build up is an expidition rig also Same as you Camping, hunting, beach fishing, etc.

I shopped around, bought a lot of used but still good parts and I probably have about 4K in the following mods I already did:

Used 35 inch Nitto Mud Grapplers.
4 inch Rough Country X series with the X-Flex Arms,
2 inch coil spacers up front.
1 1/4 inch body lift and a 1 inch motor mount lift.
Rugged Ridge Heavy Duty Tie Rod and drag link kit on it.
stock Moab Rubi wheels
used 1 1/2 inch wheel spaces to bump the offset a little bit.
Rusty's oil pan / transmission skid
Rusty's radiator skid
4wd hardware steering box skid
both axels have Rock-It Diff Gliders.
Skyjacker RockLock Sway Bar Disconnect.
M&P front bumper on with a 2 inch receiver and shackle mounts
HighRock Rear Bumper with Class 2.5 Hitch and shackle mounts.
ARB snorkel
10K lb harbor freight winch,
used Jeeperman rails

It's 25 % of your budget but this is my next mod, Genrights 32 gallon tank ... id=GST600X

it should bump me out to close to 400 miles on the highway before needing gas. I am also thinking a roof rack is in the near future, but I have been getting away without it for 5 years by never having a back seat in it.
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In order of importance, IMHO

Skids, Get Tummy Tuck, oil pan, gas tank.
Lift, I'm switching from OME to AEV 3" springs.
Winch, synthetic line, I like the SuperWinch I've got.
HD Steering.

Then Wheel it to figure-out what you want to do next.

Good luck.
rmeredit said:
Howdy everyone. I've been planning my LJ build for a while now but haven't spent a cent, except for the tires which I got at a killer price (BFG Mud Terrains, 255/85r16). I have set aside $4k for right now, can do a "stage 2" at a later time. It is an '06 LJ, 37k miles, absolutely stock still. I want more of an expedition-type build as I'm not a huge rock crawler. Camping, hunting, moderate trails, etc.

What would YOU buy for this? After I hear from a few of you, I'll post the list that I came up with.
I would leave it stock, use it for a while, then change or fix the things that you found that were not up to what you need. This way your LJ will end up being what you really want instead of what you or, worse yet, what someone else thinks you want. JMHO.
Fridge! One of the best mods I've done. Nothing like having ice cream and steak out on the trail after a week of camping.
TenaciousTJ said:
Fridge! One of the best mods I've done. Nothing like having ice cream and steak out on the trail after a week of camping.
While it's not on my list above, it should be. I have to agree with Ryan here. I saw these in use a lot with the ARB guys in local areas here but didn't really think much of them other than they were neat, but not necessary. After the trip with Ryan to the Rubicon and seeing both his and MTDirks in use, I have to admit, I was quite envious of them with their freezer/fridge. I think I was most irritated and came to the decision to buy one myself when we were sitting at Rubicon Springs and I had to dig through a couple inches of icy water to get my mini-snickers out, only to open the pack, find it soaked with water and the little snickers I was craving was all shriveled, white and water soaked. I was pissed. I can deal with water on the tortelini as it can be drained off and cooked, but this was too much. Ice cream on the trail might be a fun treat to have, but good cold UN-watered food is a must as are cold beverages. The ability to maintain a chilled mini-snickers after hours on the trail in the hot sun is priceless. :rotflmao: One day I WILL have a freezer fridge in my arsenal.

Best of Luck,

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rmeredit said:
Howdy everyone. I've been planning my LJ build for a while now but haven't spent a cent, except for the tires which I got at a killer price (BFG Mud Terrains, 255/85r16). I have set aside $4k for right now, can do a "stage 2" at a later time. It is an '06 LJ, 37k miles, absolutely stock still. I want more of an expedition-type build as I'm not a huge rock crawler. Camping, hunting, moderate trails, etc.

What would YOU buy for this? After I hear from a few of you, I'll post the list that I came up with.
Just copy my build and be done with it. 8) (See link in my sig below)

I had the same criteria as you pretty much. Note that my build is largely what '05TJLWBRUBY suggests, minus a few odds and ends that I haven't done yet, like Savvy skids, etc. There's a reason for that as Mike gave me a ton of input when I was planning my build. You will be very happy if you go this route.
No one is going to recommend dual batteries huh?

I've vote for that and spare parts and tools naturally.

I'm a fan of the Premier Power Welder as well, spendy but slick.

As far as OBA go CO2 or bring an electric compressor to compliment your dual batteries.

My $.02
In all my years unless you're running a diesel, I see no real reason to have two batteries. Not worth the weight or bulk to pack around. Takes up valuable space under the hood, or stored somewhere else, occupies the same amount of wasted space and adds a TON of weight you don't need. I keep an eye on my batteries over the years and replace when needed. Never had one die on me in a place I really needed it or in a position where my security depended on it to the point that packing a second was necessary. I run a winch, off-road lights and a few other things and been fine. Unless you're running a huge bank of lights, massive stereo and a ton of other electrical crap, one battery and alternator is fine. If you ever did really need one in a pinch, steel one from the other guys carrying two... :D

The PPW is a must though and will be on my rig before too long. They're awesome for many reasons. Now that I have my air intake figured out and working good, I think I can finally remove my factory setup to clear up some valuable fender space.

Best of Luck,

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OK Guys - Thanks for the replies so far! I think we're all on the same page here. This is NOT my first Jeep, I've had a few built rigs ('88 XJ, '99 XJ, '02 TJ) and have wheeled them hard. I'm building this one up as I'm going to be moving back out to CO and will actually be able to use it again! I already have a CB/antenna, tools, recovery gear,

Here is what I've been planning:

Stage 1
Currie JJ CAs (front/rear, top/bottom)
Currie JJ Kit for Front Axle
Currie Front Trackbar
Currie Rear Trackbar & Bracket
Currie HD Steering
Currie Bumpstops (front/rear)
JKS Shock Extensions (rear)
JKS Quicker Disconnects (front)
JKS Adjustable End Links (rear)
JKS BPEs (front/rear)
Rancho RS5000 Steering Stabilizer
Rancho RS9000XL Shocks
AEV 3" Springs - Progressive
BFG Mud Terrain KM2s in 255/85r16 (e-rated)
RockHard Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier
Yellow Box
Rokmen Frame Tie-In (for rear bumper)

Stage 2
Front/Rear CV Driveshafts
Rokmen Diff Covers

Stage 3
Front Bumper

I may run wheel spacers if I think I need them, I doubt I will initially. I'm not sure about a cage either at this point. I am concerned about weight so I'm not sure which skids/front bumper/tt I'm going to run. I've been laying the ground work with my wife for a vortec implant. I think it is working... 8)
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I'd not bother with the JKS rear shock extensions-won't be needed really and will get hung up in rocks. Instead, notch your rear spring perch to clear. On mine, only the driver needed it-my passenger is fine and clears without issue.

On the JKS BPE's-don't run them unless you absolutely NEED them. This will depend on shock style. I would NOT put them on OME shocks ever, again. I snapped both heads off my OMEs on the original set I had due to the BPE's. That upper bushing must be able to flex/move without bind, otherwise you'll learn the hard way like I did. Thankfully I have good friends in places that were able to overnight air me shocks in the middle of Moab. Had I been out on a local trail here or somewhere further from civilization, it would have been a miserable ride out and back. If you do really need some BPE's I have them sitting on the shelf somewhere still with the OME shock heads still attached. I have front/rears both. If you really honestly need them, let me know and I can send them. Otherwise, save your money. They are not needed on the 9000 shocks.

On the topic of JKS quick discos, my opinion here goes to putting the money you saved on the BPE's and shock extensions, and putting that towards a Currie anti-rock. You'll be much happier in the end, and especially so with a rear as well. As budget is a factor, I'd highly recommend fitting these in somewhere, somehow.

The Currie bumpstop kit is built for the 4" lift and MAY be a bit too much for the 3" AEV/Nth springs. You'll have to cycle things and see. You WILL want a little more bumpstop though to retain uptravel that you'll otherwise loose with the 9000's as they're a relatively long shock body. I plan on stripping my axle down and going with high-clearance mounts, but it may be a bit before I do that. I THINK I just came up with a bracket I'm going to build to bolt-on to my factory shock attachment point that kicks it out a bit and lowers it about an inch and a half or so-roughly. This will be an easy way to retain uptravel without adding unnecessary bumpstops and without the added pain of raising the front towers. I'll let you know once I get them built and have tested them a bit to see how well they work.

Otherwise, good list! You'll have a great wheeling, dependable rig you can enjoy both off-road and on the highway getting to your favorite trails.

Best of Luck,

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Looks good. Questions/comments:

You won't need wheel spacers with this setup.

You didn't mention axle gearing. Are you running an auto or manual trans?

I was fine with my stock rear driveshaft, until I regeared. Then I needed to get a rear CV driveshaft.

Front driveshaft on the Rubi is already a CV, so scratch that off your list.

Mike, I'm using the stock Currie bump stops and they're perfect with the 9000XL shocks that Currie/Savvy sent me which were chosen for the 3" springs. Model numbers are in my build thread.

Oh, and important: Your front driveshaft will most likely hit your tranny skid plate crossmember on full droop. So prepare for that. See this thread.
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Lots of great points from Mike and others... here's a little opinion on accessories...

Yes on the fridge. Get one that has a built in thermometer (I think ARBs newest one does). I love my engel and use it all the time (even when not wheeling).

Yes on the pull pal. You want to be ready to get out of every situation you are in when you are in the middle of nowhere. Get all the appropriate recovery gear.

No on the dual batteries. I've run dual batteries and think the cost is overrated. Get an emergency battery-jump kit to have with your expedition gear.

Yes on the Genright safari tank. I ran it. It's great. But it does create more overhang on the back. If you want to stretch your rig at all, consider your stock tank and take jerry cans or flat packs.

I would do a powertank instead of an on board air compressor. The tank is less likely to malfunction on you and you can still run tools on it if you have to (though getting a small kit of dewalt battery-run tools may be the best way to go to guarantee you have working tools when you need them). I have on board air compressor and it's been great, but I have it because I had airock. I've decided to keep it though I removed the airock but I will also only be a few hours from home so don't need the absolute reliability for backup since my rig will only be rockcrawling and no longer for expedition.
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'05TJLWBRUBY - Thanks for the opinions/info on the BPEs and extensions. I'll scratch those from my list. I would love to get the anti-rock kit, I'll see if it will fit w/ my budget. I haven't seen the rear kit in person.

KingRubiconMan - Yeah, I've seen your build on JF & like the look of your setup. Actually, I got the part numbers for my shocks from your thread, thanks! I'm not going to get a new front driveshaft until this one starts to loosen up.

I'll think about the fridge. I laughed @ first but it does seem like a cool idea (pun intended). I'll report back when I get this thing moving forward. The $ is burning a hole in my pocket.
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