View Full Version : High Country Jeeper's slow build

07-02-2014, 02:20 AM
I thought I would share my experience and results of my slow build with you all, so here we go...

A brief history of my jeep:
I bought my 2008 Unlimited Rubicon on 08/23/09 with 23,368 mi from Carmax for $28,991.41 which included the transfer of the vehicle from California to Virginia, where I lived at the time. 2 weeks later I was t-boned by a small ford car 2 days before I moved to Colorado. Because of the rock rail the jeep survived with a popped tire and minor scratches in the body work, however the ford was completely totaled because my rear passenger tire grabbed her front end and wrenched it 90 degrees. I had the tire replaced and on 09/16/09 I started my drive across country to Colorado. The day before I arrived in CO the touchscreen stereo started to stop responding to touches, which made getting to my new home a little challenging. Luckily I had this replaced under warranty at the local dealership.

I moved in with some friends in an old house in Summit County, CO which is 619 square miles, has an elevation of 9,000 feet at the bottom of the mountains, contains 4 ski resorts and a large reservoir in the middle of the county. As you can imagine we have a prolonged winter, approx 6-7 months long of snow and very short but sweet spring, summer and fall. On my first winter season I was stopped on a large hill at a red light when a domino's delivery girl in a ford explorer slid into my driver rear corner. Again my jeep suffered minor injuries, scratched paint, broken tail light, dented bumper while her vehicle was completely caved in on her front passenger corner.

Attached are some stock pics around the county and one in VA when I was missing my spare tire from the accident.

07-03-2014, 02:43 AM
The first "mod" I did was a mirror relocation kit from Mopar. In VA and CO it is required to have 2 rear view facing mirrors and after driving with no doors I was hooked. After moving both mirrors and putting the doors back on I found that the passenger mirror is pretty useless. With the long winters I have the doors on far more than off so I moved it back onto the passenger door.

The first "upgrade" I did was replacing all the lubricants myself with Amsoil products. It was a close call between Amsoil and Royal Purple but after some thorough researching I decided to go with Amsoil. Because the engine had a ticking noise on cold starts and was consuming about 1qt of oil per 1,000 miles I went with 10W30. The 10W30 oil helped reduce the ticking and reduced my oil consumption as well. Since I have a manual transmission I put in the 5W30 synchro mesh which seemed to make shifting in and out of gears smoother and felt less like I was forcing them. With the diffs I went with the recommended heavy weight oil Severe Gear 75W140 for the hot and dusty offroading I was planning on doing around CO. For the transfer case I used the Automatic Transmission Fluid which I didn't feel any difference in. I replaced both the brake and power steering reservoir fluids with Amsoil products as well. Before I replaced the power steering fluid I would hear pump noises on full turns and in cold weather but since I replaced it I haven't heard any noises at all.

At the same time I switched from the stock paper filter to a K&N drop in filter. I can't say I felt any real difference with the K&N filter except at high RPM's where it sounded like it was breathing a little easier. I didn't want to keep buying replacement paper filters and I knew I wanted to eventually go with a snorkel instead of a CAI so thats why I decided on the drop in.

During this time I was getting 16-18 mpg while cruising around town. Sorry for the long and boring update so here are some pics from the local trails. I promise there will be more exciting updates soon!

07-03-2014, 03:37 AM
Beautiful pics, sounds like your jeep is a magnet for bad drivers lol. Looking fwd to the rest of your build

07-03-2014, 04:16 AM
Amazing pics so far..also looking forward to the rest of the build!

Ps..diggin' the color ;P

07-03-2014, 04:36 AM

So I'm doing some quick math....

7 pretty girls + 1 lucky guy + 2 jeeps out in the middle of no where = great times! Good for you man

Sent from my iPad using WAYALIFE mobile app.......

07-03-2014, 10:52 AM
Great pics, I lived in CO 2001-2003, loved it

07-03-2014, 11:48 AM

So I'm doing some quick math....

7 pretty girls + 1 lucky guy + 2 jeeps out in the middle of no where = great times! Good for you man

Sent from my iPad using WAYALIFE mobile app.......

thats my kinda math!!

07-04-2014, 08:06 PM
Haha yeah that was a great jeep day for sure. Of course I didn't enjoy the music selection as much as they did, but hey you cant really complain when your jeep is full of pretty girls.

07-04-2014, 08:08 PM
Great pics, I lived in CO 2001-2003, loved it

Armydog, that is ironic because I grew up in Va before I moved out here!

07-16-2014, 01:24 AM
in July 2011 I took a drive from the mountains down to Denver and hitting a pothole I experienced the dreaded death wobble. Let me tell you it was a scary experience! I had noticed slight wobbles at around 55 while driving around the county or when hitting cracks in the pavement but I thought it was just a jeep thing. As is common for early year JK's my track bar bracket had ovaled due to the metric bolt in an english sized hole. I took the Jeep to a local 4x4 shop, Specialized Truck and SUV's, and had them weld on grade 8 washers and retorque the track bar hardware. Ever since then I have not had any problems with the track bar.

My second bad luck experience was during a local offloading trip up Websters Pass in September 2012 and at approx 57,000 miles. I like to call the Websters Pass trail my unicorn because I have attempted it many times but I have never completed it due to one stupid reason or another. Several attempts were cut short from snow drifts, one year was 10 foot boulder that fell on the trail but this attempt was the worst possible outcome. During september it is not uncommon to get overnight snow on the peaks of the mountains and this year was no different except we were getting rain storms at lower elevations. all of this precipitation resulted in high and faster rivers than I had seen. About halfway up the Webster trail is a river crossing that is usually only about 12-15" and not moving too fast, but this year it was up to the rock sliders and coming down the valley in a hurry! I entered the river a little too fast and a large wave of water went over the hood and hydro-locked the jeep in the middle of the river. I climbed out of the jeep and over the hood and opened up the air filter box to unfortunately find water on both sides of the filter. I dried everything out with a rag and climbed back in, making sure not to touch the icy snow melt river. during the restart I heard a loud pop and the jeep started lighting up like a christmas tree. Luckily I was able to limp it back down to the trail head in Montezuma before all the electronics and power systems started shutting down.

I had the jeep towed to the local dealership for a damage report. I had ingested water into one of the piston cylinders resulting in a bent rod which punched a hole through the side of the engine block. Water had gotten into all of the fluids and the entire engine was declared bricked. Luckily a barely used engine from a 2009 was located from a jeep shop in the Denver area that had less than 1,000 miles. The shop specializes in the Hemi swaps for jeeps and had several engines taken out of jeeps fresh off the lot. After about $9,000 for a new engine, clutch, ac clutch and electronic sway bar the Jeep was back in action and running better than ever. I no longer have any ticking on start up or oil consumption issues but I still use 10W30 for the added protection. At this time the Jeep was getting a consistent 18 mpg.

A few more pics:

07-16-2014, 06:10 PM
I forgot to mention that after I had the grade 8 washers welded on to fix my track bar I installed an OME steering stabilizer. Overall I am not impressed with their s.s. and would not recommend it. At full turn it ripped the boot cover right off the end of the shock. I thought maybe I installed it wrong but after some measuring and fiddling I found that the boot is too short for the piston stroke needed. When I install a lift I will be changing it out for a fox shock or something else.

08-07-2014, 11:56 PM
In September 2013 I took my Jeep down to Line-X of Boulder to have my tub sprayed. I chose to do the entire tub up and over the rear rails for the hard top as well as the door jams. To keep the cost low and the spraying in 1 day I did all the prep work myself. This included removal of the sound deadener goop; all soft goods, carpet and roll bar padding; seats and seat belts; and center console.





I think they did an incredible job and I would highly recommend them to anyone in the area. The owner is next to a Jeep dealer and has a lot of experience spraying jeeps through the dealer as well as private parties. He estimated approx $900 just to do the tub and $1200 total for the tub, rails, and sills using Line-X Premium.




Putting the Jeep back together I decided to throw away all the carpet and padding because it was always smelling moldy/musty from getting rain and snow on it. I used wire wrap on all exposed wires to give it a finished look. I also decided to throw away the subwoofer and cut the wires back at the front passenger wire harness. The Line-X added about an 1/8" of material to everything which required dremeling it out for the floor plugs as well as major realignments of all the door hinges/hardware. All of the interior plastic trim fits but it is definitely a tight fit. I am still having troubles with the plastic wire cover on the tailgate door. If I were to do it again I would not recommend spraying up the hinge side of the door sills like I did. It was a huge pain in the ass to get the doors to close and latch again and even now they are still slightly off. I would recommend spraying up the sill to the bottom of the bottom hinges. The door latches on the back sides of the door sills are very easy to reinstall and adjust again so there was no problem at all with those.

08-08-2014, 12:21 AM
Line X looks great, nice job and great pics.............

08-13-2014, 10:16 PM
Thanks. It was a fun project to do and its pretty awesome just having to pull the plugs and hose out the inside. I want to spray the corners of the jeep too instead of using heavy steel corner guards.