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  1. Wes Couch
  2. JL Builds
  3. Tuesday, 11 June 2019
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After 8 months, about 10K miles, in my JLUR and hitting some trails that pushed the capabilities of the stock rig, I've started thinking about how to PRACTICALLY build it over time. I was VERY impressed with what I was able to do in it stock. I'm looking for advice and thoughts. There will definitely be more mods (shade, camera mount, etc.), but I'm looking for advice on the trail side of a build. This is the order that I'm thinking:

1. Additional skid plates - Engine/oil pan and differentials (front and rear) No damage (yet), but there have definitely been some knocks. I like the idea of diff skid plates over new covers, but will entertain opinions
2. Winch - Warn is $$$...worth it for what we do in WI???
3. Time for new tires - upgrade to 35's. Leveling kit (waste of time/money???) Replace inner fenders. Do I really need to upgrade wheels???
4. Additional armor as necessary; new rock rails, etc.
5. Time for tires again...moderate lift, 37's.

I'd love your thoughts and input. Thanks!
Wes
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You are going to get a lot of different opinions here. Armor is good, but be smart about what you add. It can add a lot of weight.
As far as lift and tires, it depends on what you want to do. I'm happy as a cucumber with my little 32s with a 3.5" lift on my cj. I mostly get though things just fine. The bigger you go the harder it is to get in, it affects gas mileage, and you are more likely to break stuff. I wanted a summer daily driver so I personally wanted to keep it mild. What really helped was adding lockers front and rear. Unless you really get yourself into trouble a lot I really can't justify the price for a warn winch. I know several guys with Smittybilts and they work just fine. I personally have a $279 x bull winch from eBay and it has not failed me. Plus the customer service is great too.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. JL Builds
  3. # 1
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It's really up to you on what you want to do. I know the warn winch is worth it, I bought an xbull and it sucks. I use the winch all the time, trails get slick and winches come out, heck.. we crawl over stuff sometimes just to see if we can make it, winching is part of that life, especially when you're the only rig on the trail (not advised).

Skid plates are usually a good plan. Protect that oil pan for sure.

Lift - I stayed stock ride on the TJ, JK and JL until last week. Personally, I'm doing this for a number of reasons but not really for what most think. I liked the challenge of stock crawling and the skill it took. From classes to laws and town meetings to get trails, I upgraded to show pretty much the largest of what they can expect over the norm of mostly stock. Bigger tires and lifts make one search for larger obstacles and trails, IMHO. So in one respect, you get the looks and function, but in another, you also take out a lot of the challenge and then you need higher level trails (rarer) to get the same kinda challenge.

In Wisconsin a set of 35's and a 2" lift should do just about everything we have to offer here and 90% of what's out there across the country.

Also remember the higher you go, the more hills become a thing to worry about. The pucker factor lost on obstacles will be regained on hills. Look at all the crawlers out in the west, few run past a 3" lift because you want to keep the body and center of gravety low. Jacked up looks cool, but is less functional, so again... it's your preference.

Budget for brakes if you're going larger tires. Being able to avoid accidents can save your life on the road. I personally don't like large rims, it takes out a lot of tire sidewall which is a big part of your suspension on the trail. Get rock rings and stuff to protect your rims too, then when the ring is all rashed up, just repaint or fix/replace the ring over the entire rim.

Keep asking questions, talk with folks... when my rig is done, you can drive it and feel what a 4" lift and 38's feel like. It's easier to make decisions when you can try stuff.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. JL Builds
  3. # 2
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Ryan, did you have the 13,000 lb x bull? If so, what problems did you have? I have been beating the crap out of mine doing yard work up north and its been holding up great for me. If you still have it and want to get rid of it let me know. I may be interested in buying it in case I ever need parts for mine. Thanks!
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  1. Ryan Harden
  2. 3 months ago
  3. #47
I do have that one, in fact two of them. The one that retracts on its own and a second that does the same thing.
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  1. more than a month ago
  2. JL Builds
  3. # 3
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