"Bruce" the 2014 Jeep JKUR Build Thread

so how are you liking the KO2 s so far? looking at the same tires. I do a lot of highway driving in utah with weekend trips to the forest and Moab
They seem to be working great. The only time they haven't worked as well as I'd have hoped was trying to climb up these two ledges at the same time. But this is probably one of the 10 hardest trails in California if not the state.

 
Haven't updated this in awhile because I've been in the process of selling and buying a new house. But in the midst of that, Bruce completed his hardest trip to date. My goal for this Jeep was to make it as comfortable and reliable as my old Land Cruiser for overland/touring/family camping duty, but also possess enough reserve capability to handle the hardest trials. This trip helped to prove the later. My friend @Lone_Wrangler and I went up to Swamp Lake trail in the western sierras the weekend it opened. This trail is supposedly just as hard as the famous Dusy Irshim trail, but 12 miles long instead of the Dusy's grueling 30+ miles. It usually takes 2 days to complete the trail but we took our time, drank too much, slept too late, and tried to wheel as much as possible during golden hour. Also, if the Rubicon, and the Dusy are any indication, California's wet winter made for some of the gnarliest Sierra trail conditions in decades.

My Jeep made it through the trail on 35s and the AEV 3.5 suspension relatively unphased. I easily kept up with and got stuck less than Lone Wrangler's JKU on 37" Toyo MTs with 16" coilover suspension, but that's more a testament to my lower gearing and lockers. I hit the front diff and tie rod, landed on the control arm bracket a couple times, scraped my rear bumper, both sliders and exhaust, and have pin stripes for days. But the only real damage was hitting the fender on a stubborn sapling that popped out a few of the plastic rivets. It's amazing what these Rubicons can do in mostly stock form. I did have to use my winch for the first time to get up a moondust-covered, boulder climb. I might've been able to power through, but with those big boulders caressing my doors and 5 miles of hard trail in front of us, we both decided to winch.

Taking photos during golden hour nearly necessitates driving in the dark. So I added 2x VisionX-style 10w LEDs on the windshield to help fill out my peripheral vision. There's nothing more annoying than settling for a lame camp spot in the dark, only to wake up right next to an awesome one you missed. Between these, my Trucklite headlights and my 20" light bar, it was like wheeling in a flood lit stadium.

At lone_wrangler's urging, I installed a quick gun rack with some left over quikfist clamps. Held my Mossberg 930 perfectly throughout the trail. Luckily we didn't need it. But we did have one very odd and curious, pistol-wielding fellow wander into our campsite at 9:30PM for no apparent reason other than to scope out our Jeeps. We defused that tension with a Corona, but I was glad I'd brought the shotgun along.

My set up is working perfectly for it's intended use. I may switch to 37s, 4.56 gearing, and AEV's 4.5 lift next year, but only because I no longer need to daily drive this Jeep and I want to run the Rubicon or Dusy next summer.









 
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A quick tour of the inside of Bruce. This is how things stood after a day of wheeling and night of camping. When solo, I try to spread things out for best weight distribution. When my wife and dog come, the 85lb dog stays in the 60% rear seat, and the ARB recovery bag goes in the middle of the bask-seat foot well. Camera bag goes off the back of driver seat headrest on top of the fridge.

Frontseat: ARB recovery back in PS footwell, Camera bag and sun hat hanging from passenger seat headrest, ram mount holds my GPS on the windshield, 2m Ham radio mounted in front of the shifter, baseball hat tucked into the hard top, headlamp on headrest. Tuffy drawer to hold spare headlamps, radios, and ammo.



Footwell: Maglite mounted to seat rail, ARB tire deflator, inflation hose, tire chuck, air gun, bear spray under the front seat. Rubber floor mats, and carpet replaced with bedtred rubber mats. Aux switches on A-pillar, leather seats to make the interior more dog fur-proof. Map in door pocket.



Backseat DS: 50cuft fridge in rear seat strapped down with ARB tie downs, spare fluids, parts in bin in footwell, spare axleshafts and drive shaft under seats. Atlas in back seat pocket. Cargo net on ceiling for holding jackets, sleeping bags, etc. Door covers to protect interior from dog saliva.



Backseat PS: Dog hammock to separate footwell from seat and keep things out of sight. Swag tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad rolled up in back seat. Firewood in the footwell. Tripod and spares under the rear seat. Trail books in back seat pocket.



Cargo Area: Front runner interior rack holding camp chair, stove stand, partner steel stove, toilet paper, bungies, papertowels, extra firewood or campfire in a can. First aid kit between rollbar and window. Fire extinguisher and 5lb propane tank on roll bars. Camp table/sleeping platform on top of tuffy cargo drawer. Tool rolls beside drawer, clothing duffle on top. Fly rods tucked between roll bar and side panel. Drawer holds all cooking equipment, food, spare tent steaks, guy lines, matches, etc. Under the drawer we have the AEV jack base, and spare fuses and tools. Tailgate table/drying rack. LED light spins around for camp light. White/Red LED camp light mounted on wiper motor and tied to aux battery.


Ceiling: 3 person flip pop tent above roll bars, hi lift- mounted to roll bar. Brackets off hi-lift hold ax, shotgun, rigged fly rods.


Tailgate: Trasharoo with upgraded buckles holds siphons, spare 1lb propanes, trash, tarp, shop towels, buckles. Exo Rack holds gas and water rotopax with spout for hand-washing and dog bowl filling. AEV mast holds two reverse/camp lights, 2m Ham antenna, super slim LED brake light, shovel.



I hope this helps someone else figure out how to maximize their space.
 
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Had my HL mounted inside but got tired of the rattle. No matter what combo of handle isolator, quick fist, bungees etc it still made noise. Found an aev mount on CL for $125 and it was worth every dime. Btw, amazing pics. That pic of the bloom - damn!
 

Comanche Scott

Expedition Leader
So cool to see you getting the chance to put your rig through the paces.
You've done an excellent job to build a very usable vehicle. :beer:

In thinking back between your Land Cruiser and the Jeep, what do you miss and what are you glad for?
 
So cool to see you getting the chance to put your rig through the paces.
You've done an excellent job to build a very usable vehicle. :beer:

In thinking back between your Land Cruiser and the Jeep, what do you miss and what are you glad for?
It's funny you mention that because I was just scrolling through pics and was thinking the same thing! Klaus - do you ever miss the additional interior room of the LC? Have you ever considering something like a Tacoma? I am spoiled now I have the best of both worlds - an older 200 for a DD and a Tacoma with AT Habitat for exploring. I liked my JKUR, but I love the 200!
 
So cool to see you getting the chance to put your rig through the paces.
You've done an excellent job to build a very usable vehicle. :beer:

In thinking back between your Land Cruiser and the Jeep, what do you miss and what are you glad for?


It's funny you mention that because I was just scrolling through pics and was thinking the same thing! Klaus - do you ever miss the additional interior room of the LC? Have you ever considering something like a Tacoma? I am spoiled now I have the best of both worlds - an older 200 for a DD and a Tacoma with AT Habitat for exploring. I liked my JKUR, but I love the 200!
I miss being able to fold the seats down and having enough room for two people to lay down. I miss being able to sit on the tailgate. And I miss being able to open the sunroof and rear windows while driving. And I miss being active on Ih8mud. But that's about it. The Jeep is a lot more fun. It goes places my 100 never would. And it's way less dramatic to drive off road. My 100 never handled well. So the Jeep's sketchy highway manner don't even really bother me.

The Jeep's just a very different experience. It feels much more like driving in nature instead of driving through it.

As overlanding keeps getting more popular, I find myself doing more mountain rock crawling to recapture that feeling of being alone in then middle of nowhere. To that end, I want to switch to 37s, regear to 4.88, install rear corner guards and upgrade my power steering. But I need to decide if I'm keeping the JK or getting a JL first.

Thank you! I'm watching resale values and car loan interest rates. Trying to decide if I'm going to buy a Turbo Diesel JLUR this year or not.
 
As overlanding keeps getting more popular, I find myself doing more mountain rock crawling to recapture that feeling of being alone in then middle of nowhere. To that end, I want to switch to 37s, regear to 4.88, install rear corner guards and upgrade my power steering. But I need to decide if I'm keeping the JK or getting a JL first.

Thank you! I'm watching resale values and car loan interest rates. Trying to decide if I'm going to buy a Turbo Diesel JLUR this year or not.
Agreed. To get back and away either takes more time, which always works, or if time is short, you need to be able to go where most can't. We did a 2016 JKUR with 37s and 4.88s in large part for that reason. We're very happy with it. Haven't upgraded the power steering. I'm watching that to see if it's needed long term. A friend has 50,000+ miles on his 2012 JKUR on 37s with stock steering and hasn't had any problems. He wheels pretty hard though and has bent several rear axle flanges.

The JL looks kinda nice. Some aftermarket stuff will take a little time before it's ready to go for the JLs though.
 
Agreed. To get back and away either takes more time, which always works, or if time is short, you need to be able to go where most can't. We did a 2016 JKUR with 37s and 4.88s in large part for that reason. We're very happy with it. Haven't upgraded the power steering. I'm watching that to see if it's needed long term. A friend has 50,000+ miles on his 2012 JKUR on 37s with stock steering and hasn't had any problems. He wheels pretty hard though and has bent several rear axle flanges.

The JL looks kinda nice. Some aftermarket stuff will take a little time before it's ready to go for the JLs though.
Totally. I haven't been getting out as much recently. And part of the reason is that everywhere we used to go seems packed now. I can't believe that every campsite at the end of Monache Meadow was taken the last weekend of October when it was 15F outside.

I have 34k miles, probably half of that are with 35s. My power steering fluid seems to boil over on more technical trails. I assume that turning a 35 and 37 isn't much different since they have almost the same weight and contact patch. Full hydro seems like overkill for a daily driver and light (BFG KO2) 37s.

I like a lot of the improvements on the JL. Especially that extra two inches behind the front seats. I can finally sleep back there. I'm bummed about the price increase. A turbo diesel seems like it'll be $50,000 easy. And I can't believe they added all the electronic safety devices but didn't add forward emergency braking. For years, I've been writing ads for $23,000 Nissans that have it. That's the only safety nanny I wish I had with all the stop and go driving in LA. I like that a lot of the aftermarket parts I added are now standard or optional like the 4 aux switches, side airbags, LED headlights, grab handles, big brake kit, retractable headrests, etc.

I also don't love the new front fenders. They look goofy being that much higher than the rear and dwarfing decent sized tires.
 
After a lot of number crunching and hoping and dreaming, I've decided that the state of California makes it too expensive for me to buy a new JLUR. Also, it's not different enough from my late model JK to justify the price. I've already addressed most of the upgrades that JL comes with. So while I wait for the mid cycle refresh, it's time to take Bruce to 11.

I've lost track of what stage I'm on. But whatever the next one will be geared toward increasing rock crawling capability/reliability and improving known weak points.

Over the winter it's developed some slight death wobbly and the steering requires a lot of input on the highway. I bought some HD ball joints. And I've started looking into regearing. I also learned that breaking an OEM axleshaft isn't really a field servicable repair. So when you combine the cost of upgraded shafts, regearing and ball joints, you almost end up at the price of a Dana Ultimate 44 complete front axle. So that's the next big upgrade on the way.

Similarly, the power steering likes to overheat on the trail. And it's not loving the 12.5in wide tires and the 3 point turn I have to do twice a day to get into my driveway. So instead of wasting money on snake oil sector shaft braces, I'm going to go with a hydro assist steering set up and a power steering cooler.

I haven't figured out the order of these yet, but this is the tentative plan:
WTOR Ram Assist Steering
AEV Rear corner guards
Ultimate Dana 44 complete front axle with 4.88 or 5.38 gearing, and included cromoly shafts.
37x12.5r17 BFG AT KO2s. I'm hoping to sell my 35s and basically do an even trade for the 37s.
Maximus 3 Roof Rack
Building some new drawers and a fridge platform/storage chest to replace the 40% rear seat.
Advanced adapters transfer case linkage upgrade (replaces the plastic bushing)

I'm also interested in a sport cage, but I wish someone made one that didn't block so much of the sun rider top opening.
 
You know, you could always get the JL and leave CA........ just saying. Shoot keep the JK and still leave CA. A lot of of already have..........
 
Same boat here in keeping the JK. Right now the JL, at least on the surface, doesn't seem like a big enough upgrade from the JK to justify the price.

I've got an Ultimate Dana 44 so just a word of advice, the axle has a stem Steering Stabilizer mount instead of the common loop-to-loop. Not sure if this will hinder running ram assist but just a heads up.

Good luck on the next phase of the build!