Lil' Bear The Black Jeep: A 2016 2 Door JK

#1
[CUE EPIC BACKGROUND MUSIC]

[FOOTAGE OF BATTLE TESTED JEEPS ROLLING THROUGH FOREIGN BATTLEFIELDS BEGINS TO PLAY]

[NARRATOR:]

GP. General Purpose. Jeep

A legendary name forged in the fires of war.

On the battlefield, the Jeep was fast, nimble and tough, serving in every....

[RECORD SCRATCH]

WAIT A DAMN MINUTE! That's @Dave's intro for his Jeep build...we can't do that. :D

Let's try something different.

[CUE SOFTER, LESS EPIC BACKGROUND MUSIC, BANJOS FADE IN]

Meet Lil' Bear, The Black Jeep:

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The Sequoia has moved on to greener pastures. I could explain why here, but anyone who really cares to know will probably bring it up around a campfire. In the meantime the interweb wants to see halo lights and angry eyes installed on this thing!

Not going to happen. :rolleyes:

Let's start with what Lil' Bear's got:

2016 Jeep JK Sport w/ 56,000 miles
2 Door w/ factory soft top
Terraflex leveling kit w/ OEM shocks
285/70r17 Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ P3's
American Racing ATX AX201 17x9 Wheels
Unbranded upgraded tire carrier
Kenwood Headunit and upgraded speakers

Pretty basic and a good platform to start with.

My only immediate concern is getting rid of those Mickey Thompson tires. I'm going back to the BFG KO2's. This will be my third set and to put it simply, they just work. Good traction in all conditions, great tread life and good looks. What more could you want.

After that I'll be looking to address the suspension since it's a bit rough with the budget lift it has on it. I'm currently leaning toward OME's 2 inch lift since I won't be running anything bigger than 33's on Lil' Bear.

The CB and 2 meter radio from the Sequoia build will be finding their way into the jeep and there will be some other small items short term I'll document here. Outside of that I'll use it for a while and see what happens.

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#3
Jerk.

Congrats, now get them angry eyes on there! ;)
I liked your intro...very educational and well written. But plagiarism is wrong according to some english professor I once knew so I had to put a spin on it. :D

And I'm also going with the NFW brand of angry eyes and halo lights so they match. :rolleyes:

Don't worry, @Scott B. will be along any minute now to make fun of me for buying my 37th vehicle. (That's the official count Scott, as best I can remember....I feel like it's higher though...) And I am already planning on a Bronco if Ford doesn't ruin it.
 
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#5
First modification: fixing things that were already modified.

After pricing 285/70r17 BFG KO2's I've decided to live with the Mickey Thompsons for a bit longer. :D Tire prices appear to have gone up a bit since I purchased my last set. I'll keep an eye out for a sale as they're full price locally at the moment. In the meantime I needed to update the Jeep to let it know it wasn't running stock tires. Driving around the past couple of days I was able to verify that the speedometer was off and the Jeep was shifting at funny times, nothing horrible, but not quite right. I ordered the superchips flashcal calibration tool to fix this.

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I used the previous version of this device when I had my last JK. Plug it in to the OBDII port and you're able to change all sorts of OEM settings in the ECU. I updated the tire size and after about a minute of calibrating the settings were locked in and I was good to go. The speedometer now reads correctly and the transmission shifts at more appropriate times.

After this I did some digging around looking at some of the aftermarket electrical goodies that had been added by previous owners. Always a good idea to know what's going on before heading out in a new to you vehicle. I discovered the jeep was upgraded at some point with a Viper alarm system that added power locks and remote start. Sweet! The batteries in the provided key fobs were dead so I headed to the store for replacements. Once installed I hit the lock button and the system came to life, locking all the doors and arming the alarm. I unlocked the jeep, got in and attempted to start it. Nothing happened.

What happened next was 45 minutes of research and phone calls regarding the viper alarm, some swearing, a phone call to road side assistance, some more swearing, and finally a little investigation into the health of the battery. Turns out it wasn't an alarm problem keeping the jeep from starting, it was the battery. The seemingly brand new battery under the hood wasn't holding a charge and apparently arming and unarming the alarm was it's final gift to the world. I called the dealer I purchased the jeep from and was pleasantly surprised when they offered to handle the problem even before I asked. A quick jump start and short drive later and I'm now the proud owner of a new battery.

I'm still a bit leery that something in the electrical system of the jeep killed the first battery, but for now I'll carry a rechargeable jump pack for peace of mind.
 
#7
Ok, time to start adding little things.

On the trail the stock FM antenna on the JK gets hung up on branches, trees and the tiniest breeze causes it to beat mercilessly against the hood and fender. It has to go. A quick Amazon order later and I found myself the proud owner of a Rydonair 7" stubby antenna.

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Unscrew the old antenna, screw in the new one and you're done. The new antenna sits just above the top of the hood, is flexible enough to shake off small brush and is rubber coated to minimize damage to the vehicle finish should it make contact. If something is getting close enough to push this into the body of the jeep you're getting trail rash anyway.

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How's the reception? I have no idea, I'm young enough that I haven't listened to FM radio since the late 90's. :D I'll mess around with it this week and update this later.

Next let's take care of those seven gaping holes up front.

From what I can tell it didn't matter what trim level you purchased in 2016, the front grill was wide open across the board. Great for airflow, not great for radiator longevity when commuting on Atlanta highways.

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To prevent the radiator from becoming a target in a highway shooting range I purchased some grill inserts. These are available all over the web and are rolled out from Chinese factories by the hundreds. As you go up in price you're probably getting better quality control, newer molds and possibly some short strand glass reinforcement. I went middle of the road and ordered a set from JeCar on Amazon. These are ABS plastic with small retention tabs and 3M VHB tape to secure them in place. They came well packaged and without any signs of worn out molding or poor production.

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Installation is simple. After cleaning the grill and degreasing it, match up the shape of the insert so that the thinnest part is going into the top of the grill. Peel the backing off the VHB tape and push the insert in at a 45 degree angle so the retention tabs on the left engage first. This allows you to push the right side of the insert in while putting your hand inside the grill to massage the tabs into place. Work left to right across the grill. Only took about five minutes to get these on. It would have been nice to have a retention tab at the top or bottom of the insert to make it easier to line them all up evenly, but it wasn't too hard to eyeball it. Now the radiator is protected from all but the smallest projectiles with perfect trajectories.

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#8
Spent part of the day figuring out where to mount the CB and 2M antenna. Realized after about an hour of holding antennas up to the jeep and browsing the ol' interweb that I was overthinking things. Reused the Diamond K400 mounts I had on the hatch of the Sequoia and just mounted them to the tailgate of the jeep. Cut a hole in the grommet leading into the tailgate and pulled the coax through. I'm going to ride around for a week or so to make sure I like the positioning before hooking everything up and testing the SWR. Waiting on some other electrical goodies so I can fab up a fuse/relay panel before hooking up the radios.

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#9
Added a RAM ball to the driver side A-pillar cover to hold an X-grip for my phone. Mounted low enough and far enough to the left so as to not block visibility through the windshield. Tomorrow I'm going to route the Kenwood's USB connection up there and use a surface mounting USB port to add a charging point on top of the dash where it meets the a-pillar cover. This will keep the charging cable tucked out of the way. I hate wires.

Got a bit dark so I'll finish this post off with some photos tomorrow after the charging point installation. Ran a couple errands tonight with the phone mounted in place running Torque and I'm really digging the placement. Thinking about adding bluetooth control to the relay panel I'm going to fab so I can use the phone as my switch panel as well. Poor man's sPOD. We'll see.

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#10
Took the a-pillar cover off again last night (getting good at this) and added the surface mount USB extension inside. Was careful to place it between two of the ribs on the pillar cover that provide rigidity. Connected the extension to the USB connection the Kenwood head unit and now I don't have to have a cable draped across the dash. Just need to order a 6" USB C cable now.

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Picked up a little squeak from the rear of the jeep. After investigating it looks like I'll be doing rear brakes soon. Fronts look good.

Ordered a set of JCR Offroad sliders for a little protection (stock photo from their site):

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Checked all my boxes for protection, functionality and aesthetics. Made here in the US and not stamped out in bulk. Anxious to get them and put them on. Thinking I'll probably go with their full width front and rear bumpers along with adding their tire carrier.
 
#13
I hate cables running all over the cabin for devices. It's my OCD. Thanks for the links...I keep forgetting to order when I'm in front of the computer!

To supply power in various places I've used these in the past as well:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Systems-Charger-Socket/dp/B0082CXEI8
 
#14
Let's talk about my plan for cockpit storage and comms mounts so others can point out the flaws and I can adjust. Trying to do this right the first time. :D

My plan is to use a Molle Platform Solutions over head console in conjunction with either a Hot Rod Products radio box, or a box I fab myself to house the Kenwood TM281.



I'm going to extend the mic connection down to the dash and probably mount the mic off a passenger grab bar mount that gets modified to hold 3 mics (TM281, Cobra 75 WX and Midland MXT275). The Cobra and Midland will be mounted somewhere in the passenger's footwell or under the glove box.



With the Kenwood being up top my plan is to use rubber grommets on penetrations into the box and a solid sheet of ABS in an attempt to make the box water resistant. I don't plan on riding around in the rain with the top down...but you never know. Also looking at marine based single din enclosures, but I can't seem to find any low profile ones.

The Kenwood will be mounted as tight to the overhead console as possible to cut down on it breaking into the driver's field of vision. I might remote mount the faceplate again to make it easier to see from the driver's seat. I found myself looking at it more than I thought I would when driving the Sequoia.

The molle overhead panel also makes a good base for mounting any switch panels along with some storage via molle based bags. These will need to be carefully selected as I want them high and tight against the panel and not hanging down. There will also be two rows of red dimmable led's mounted up there because with the Jeep interior being black on black on black it's hard to find things you drop. #nofrenchfryleftbehind
 

Greg

Adventurist
Senior Staff
#15
I hate cables running all over the cabin for devices. It's my OCD. Thanks for the links...I keep forgetting to order when I'm in front of the computer!

To supply power in various places I've used these in the past as well:

https://www.amazon.com/Blue-Sea-Systems-Charger-Socket/dp/B0082CXEI8
Same way about cables. Had 2 Blue Sea USB sockets in the FJ's center console near the shifter with a black anodized aluminum pull handle as a guard rail to prevent stuff from breaking off cables inserted into the sockets.

Blue sea now has a 4.8V USB fast charger.
https://www.bluesea.com/products/1045/12_24V_Dual_USB_4.8A_Chargers_-_Socket_Mount
https://www.amazon.com/Blue-1045-Charger-Mount-Systems/dp/B01DUSNDKM/
 
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TD64

Adventurist
#16
JeepUniq makes some nice mic holders that are working well in my JK.

For antenna brackets, check out the Cool Tech gate mounted bracket (note: I had to enlarge the mounting hole for the Ham antenna).
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I mounted the ham radio under the passenger seat and the CB behind the glove box. The ham detachable face sits in front of the gear shift.
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#17
JeepUniq makes some nice mic holders that are working well in my JK.

For antenna brackets, check out the Cool Tech gate mounted bracket (note: I had to enlarge the mounting hole for the Ham antenna).
View attachment 46296

I mounted the ham radio under the passenger seat and the CB behind the glove box. The ham detachable face sits in front of the gear shift.
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Thanks for the tips. That jeepuniq stuff looks like it might work well.
 
#18
New pad on the left (obviously) pad on the right was deemed ok by the selling dealers service department during their pre-sale inspection. WTF.

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Powerstop Z36 kit (rotors and pads) installed on the rear of the jeep yesterday. The fronts still have quite a bit of life in them so they'll get upgraded in the future as they wear down. Also discovered I need to buy a taller jack! :rolleyes:
 
#19
I liked your intro...very educational and well written. But plagiarism is wrong according to some english professor I once knew so I had to put a spin on it. :D

And I'm also going with the NFW brand of angry eyes and halo lights so they match. :rolleyes:

Don't worry, @Scott B. will be along any minute now to make fun of me for buying my 37th vehicle. (That's the official count Scott, as best I can remember....I feel like it's higher though...) And I am already planning on a Bronco if Ford doesn't ruin it.
Late to the party...

1. Today, it's called "reuse" not "plagiarism".

2. I was close at 38...

I've seen the new Rangers - at a distance. I am not planning on switching back anytime soon. Curious to see the new Bronco, though.
 
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#20
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