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Old 23rd March 2012, 10:48   #1
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Default Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

Here is a story of how I got my Jeep and how it has evolved over the years. I have had tremendous fun with this Jeep and continue to enjoy it more as time passes.

Back in 2004 when we were going to have our first kid my wife would not let me ride my R6 due to worries of accident, so I got tired of looking at it sitting in the garage like a show piece and sold it.

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Fast forward to 2007; three years have gone by driving the Accord V6 and Camry. V6 Accord was nice and sporty but it was a 2001 and I had been driving it for a while. BOYS NEED TOYS, so it was time for me to acquire a new bike. Problem was we were expecting our second kid. Wife had same worries but she knew that I was restless and I had to have something, she has known me since I was 18

That's when we started talking about my second love (after bikes) "Jeeps" which would be a nice compromise and much safer than riding bikes in US. Also the whole family could enjoy the Jeep vs. Bike would be enjoyed by just me. Today I think that was the best decision made based on how much I have been enjoying the Jeep for last four plus years.

Buying a 2006 Jeep Rubicon in 2007 was not easy, JK 2007 Jeep Rubicon was already out, I test drove one and did some other research and realized the engine the new Jeeps cam with was not most desirable. A non Rubicon was easier to find and plenty available but I wanted a Rubicon as I would get the upgraded axles (Dana 44 with 4.10 gears and lockers) along with one of the best production transfer case you can buy NV241.

After searching for few weeks I found one that was one year old with very low miles and still under factory warranty. Moreover it was not abused and had no modifications. We worked out the price and got wife on board.

I picked this 2006 Jeep Rubicon day before our second child was born. Still remember the day my super pregnant wife and my father in law who was visiting from India dropped me off at the dealership. I remember thinking that my father in law must be thinking I was crazy.

Now I will stop typing and let the pictures do the talking:
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Last edited by Gujarati : 23rd March 2012 at 10:49.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 11:17   #2
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

@Gujju - Rubicon looking great, however, we need more pictures of 4 wheeling related mods and some pictures in action.

I see an accord sneaked in, in one of your pictures!
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Old 23rd March 2012, 11:36   #3
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

You are really crazy to buy the Jeep a day before your child was born . Awesome vehicle, in fact jealousy inspiring vehicle. Waiting for the evolution to happen.

BTW, I had the same model of the Accord when I was in USA and it was a manual shift.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 11:44   #4
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

For the first year I did not do much with the Jeep. Just drove it around and enjoyed it. But I did start to do my research. I wanted to do the mods right cause if you do not do them right the results are not fun.
I wanted to build something that would not take away from the street ride quality and still make a very good off road rig.

Took it out for some excursions without any mods, I did disconnect the front sway bar.
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Last edited by Gujarati : 23rd March 2012 at 11:51.
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Old 23rd March 2012, 22:48   #5
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(Lot of typing so apologize in advance for any grammatical errors and spelling errors)

After a year of using the Jeep; researching and reading up on various Jeep forums; seeing other Jeeps in the local Jeep club and at the events, I knew what I wanted to do with my lift and tires.

I wanted a very strong tough Jeep not necessarily the biggest and tallest Jeep. The taller you go with the lift you gain a little in terms of clearance on the rocks but you also have higher center of gravity and more chances of flop.
When you put lot of lift it is also not fun to drive on highways where the speeds are much higher. Various people have had issues with death wobbles.

There were lot of options and lot to consider between various suspension lifts and body lifts. There are multiple chain of thoughts about body lifts as well. Finally I came up to a conclusion that I wanted a combination of suspension and very little about 1" of body lift. As this thread progresses you will see why I need body lift and why it is a great idea on these Jeeps. Also I wanted to do it right the first time and wanted my suspension system to be dialed in right from the get go. When you lift Jeeps with solid axles the axles loose the alignment with the frame. The factory track bars keep the alignment by attaching to the axle and the frame. These track bars are not adjustable. So you need adjustable track bars.

Also when vehicles are lifted the drive shaft angles changed and the pinion angles need to be adjusted to keep the nice smooth drive. The factory control arms are fixed so that is not possible. Thus you need adjustable control arms. Without going in to too much detail the body lift and combination of suspension lift also helps some what with this.

When you install body lift you are lifting the body up from the frame but the engine is mounted on the frame and other things like radiator and fan shroud are mounted on the body. So what I am saying is it creates havoc in the engine bay as well. So I had to install a 1" motor mount lift as well.

I decided I wanted the best lift money can buy and I can afford. So I settled on Old Man Emu for shocks and springs. All the other stuff would be JKS manufacturing and couple items like bump stops from Rubicon Express.

So besides 2.5" OME suspension lift and shocks. Here are other things that were ordered to get the things done right.

JKS 1.25" Body lift & JKS Motor Mount Lift
All 4 JKS HD adjustable lower control arms
All 4 JKS HD adjustable upper control arms
JKS Quicker Disconnects (to disconnect the front sway bar quickly)
JKS front & rear HD adjustable track bars

Also attaching a picture for stock control arms vs. JKS control arms. The picture is from JPMagazine website.
Here is the picture of all the goodies I bought:
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Last edited by Gujarati : 23rd March 2012 at 22:58.
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Old 24th March 2012, 03:25   #6
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And this is how it all began Talked to few buddies who said they would help and we could install all those goodies in one day.

First we installed the body lift and the motor mount lift. After that we started on the suspension lift, control arms and track bars. Smaller stuff like front bump stops took more time than some of the big stuff. We did finish installing everything in one day. It was dark by the time we were done. There were many areas that were very hard to reach and we had to use old school tools in awkward positions. It is not easy to work on the Jeep on the floor.

Here are the pictures of the install:
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Old 24th March 2012, 03:41   #7
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Some more pics, lift install complete;

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my 33" BFGoodrich KM2 mud tires and new Ion Alloy wheels with 3.5" backspacing showed up few days later and were installed by a local shop.

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Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon-baer106.jpg

Last edited by Gujarati : 24th March 2012 at 03:48.
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Old 24th March 2012, 04:09   #8
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

That's cool! Nice to see passion, material and resourcefulness come together. Good luck with your off-roading adventures!
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Old 24th March 2012, 04:45   #9
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

Very nice ownership report. The mod pics are fab. Good to see you enjoying Jeep the way its supposed to be used.

My friend recently bought a 2012 Wrangler Sport. We hope to do all these sometime in future when the warranty expires.

Post more pictures of your excursions if possible.
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Old 24th March 2012, 06:47   #10
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Thanks for this fantastic report .
Congrats to you & your helping friends ,who were there for you

This is indeed a rare sight for us ( Indian off roaders ) to see a Jeep owner actually carrying out all the desired mods , getting his hands dirty & crawling under the Jeep .

Thank you very much for sharing & best of luck for future developments

Awaiting eagerly for more such pictures

Sudarshan
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Old 24th March 2012, 10:28   #11
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

Quote:
Originally Posted by spawnofsatan View Post
@Gujju - Rubicon looking great
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
You are really crazy to buy the Jeep a day before your child was born . Awesome vehicle, in fact jealousy inspiring vehicle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinadJoshi View Post
Nice to see passion!
Quote:
Originally Posted by chevelle View Post
Very nice ownership report.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudarshan View Post
Thanks for this fantastic report.
Congrats to you & your helping friends, who were there for you
This is indeed a rare sight for us ( Indian off roaders ) to see a Jeep owner actually carrying out all the desired mods , getting his hands dirty & crawling under the Jeep .
Thank you very much for sharing & best of luck for future developments
Awaiting eagerly for more such pictures
Sudarshan
Glad you guys like the report and pictures. Appreciate your great comments; keep them coming. I wasn’t sure how to approach this thread; too much details; too little details! I have been on various forums since 2002 and I have understood one thing there is no perfect recipe. So I just decided to go with my gut and do a report from the heart.

One thing I know is everyone likes pictures. So thru out this thread you will see lots of them. About pictures: I am trying to keep the size bare minimum because I know not everyone in India have the fastest internet connections. Don’t want to make the pictures too small where they are not enjoyable.

I have lots of American friends but they will never understand a story/report like this as they did not grow up dreaming like we did. They are great and love them to death but certain feelings only come from experience (experience of growing up in India or place like India). I have made some really dear friends due to my passion for 4x4s and Jeeps here in US as you will see from the pictures. It is hard to enjoy these kinds of things without friends.

I know I titled this thread as “Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon” but it really should be “Evolution of an Indian Off Roader and his Jeep Rubicon”

It is not easy to follow once passion for such things as we grew up in a society/culture which for the most part considers passions like these wasteful expenses. It is especially hard when you are a self made normal working class person and did not come to reaches due to family inheritance. For us practicality always wins due to various spoken and unspoken pressures from life and everyone that you are surrounded with family, friends, neighbors you name it. You are called childish and immature if you dare have fun in things like this, you are asked to grow up.

If you get a nice bonus at work you are thinking what mod I am going to do to my Jeep and your desi friends are thinking how many more shares I am going to buy of RIL. Anywhere you go here in US; any desi event, party everybody is talking about money, shares etc. It is so easy to feel that peer pressure and give up your passion, any passion not just cars. Regardless whether your money is appreciating or not you are just supposed to mindlessly follow the conventional wisdom.

I am a Gujarati right I am suppose to believe in “Paiso Maro Parmeshwar”

Not saying saving money is bad but there has to be a balance. There has to be room to follow your passion. World is changing fast and who knows what tomorrow is going to bring.

If you are still reading and will continue to read you will see last four years of ownership of my Jeep and pouring money in it was not without its challenges. It was hard from get go. Like I said earlier I got the Jeep a day before out second child was born. I found the right Jeep and I had to buy it cause this was the one. Our child was born normal and everything was great for a month and than the whole hell broke loose. Little one had some complications and doctors sent us to a hospital immediately with a label on our little one that said failure to thrive. We spent a month and a half in the hospital with our little one not knowing what will happen. My wife decided she was going to quit her job. Every time in the past I bought cars only good things happened (pay raise, happy events etc) but most of them were needs and thus practical purchases. But this one was not, this one was a true toy, a third vehicle in the family. It was not a need. The whole time our kiddo was in hospital I was thinking is this a sign from god that I am wrong, is this vehicle bringing bad luck to my family.

I cam myself down thinking I live in America I cannot be superstitious. This is a tough time and we are going to get thru this. I also saw how our older one was enjoying the Jeep except only complain she had was why I did not buy a red Jeep. Things got better, our little one got better and times changed. I started enjoying my Jeep with my family.

Last edited by Gujarati : 24th March 2012 at 10:32.
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Old 24th March 2012, 12:52   #12
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

Installed a CB Radio in the Jeep as well. Here are some wheeling pictures after installing the lift and tires.
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Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon-web2.jpg  

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Last edited by Gujarati : 24th March 2012 at 13:01.
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Old 24th March 2012, 13:33   #13
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Default Re: Evolution of my Jeep Rubicon

Awsome story of an awsome Jeep, gives me a heart burn
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Old 24th March 2012, 14:41   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gujarati View Post

I cam myself down thinking I live in America I cannot be superstitious. This is a tough time and we are going to get thru this. I also saw how our older one was enjoying the Jeep except only complain she had was why I did not buy a red Jeep. Things got better, our little one got better and times changed. I started enjoying my Jeep with my family.

Sir, Very well and true words direct from heart, I am following your another threads as well and frankly thought that he is another guy enjoying life in Amrica and showing us pictures from there however I found from this thread that you are true passionate common man about Auto and Jeep.

Waiting for more updates on you passion and Jeep, I am in the same boat as you however just waiting for my jeep to arrive you can get that from my user name and profile picture here.


Sudarshan Sir, thanks for directing to this thread form FB.

Thanks,
Vishal

Last edited by Thar4x4 : 24th March 2012 at 14:42.
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Old 26th March 2012, 11:30   #15
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Things were going great until April 2009 when US faced the worst recession since the great depression I got some bad news. Our company was being bought out and my whole group was being eliminated.

As soon as wife came to know there was going to be no paycheck first thing she tells me we should sell your Jeep, we cannot afford to keep this expensive hobby. Again this is a natural response to a bad news we need to tighten things down. I tried to convince her by saying look we have enough money saved up we were not hurting to pay the bills and few other logical reasons. Than almost a miracle happened.

In the last days of my job I was at a happy hour and came to find out one of the coworkers had a Jeep Sahara that they were going to trade off for a new car that evening. Being curious about all things Jeep I asked what was the reason. Came to find out it had a bad engine and few other problems. Knowing what I knew about Jeeps at the time it seemed like that was a great Jeep that had become work nothing as the engine was bad. I convinced them to sell the Jeep to me. Mind you I have not even looked at this Jeep yet. I went to the bank/ATM and bought another Jeep that evening.

FROM THIS:
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Yes you guessed it right, it was kinda hard to explain that to my wife Eventually I got enough courage I went home and explained to her what i had done. First thing she asked me how many drinks did you have? I tried to explain that I had a plan, I was going to work with one of my buddies who knew a thing or two about engines and replace the engine with a low mileage used engine from a junk yard. She was skeptical as she knew I had never done any major engine work before, let alone replacing the whole engine, putting new clutch etc.

With the help of another friend we towed the 2001 Jeep Sahara that I had just bought home. Next couple weeks I worked on sourcing a decent engine and worked on replacing the engine. Fixed few other things and made the Jeep look great. This Jeep had few things like a Warn winch that I could have used on my Jeep but decided not to mess with it as I wanted new stuff on my Rubicon. I got the Jeep running and working without issues. Wife was quite impressed. I decided it was time to sell this Jeep and make some money. It did not take long to sell the Jeep Sahara and I made a fantastic profit.

TO THIS AND RUNNING with no issues:
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Thus luck was on my side again and I was able to keep the Jeep. Now I also had more money and time (since I did not have a job). At this point wife was working and I was taking care of the kids and looking for a job. It had been 11 years since I had set home not working. I told me my wife times like don't come often. I am going to take full advantage of this time and not worry. We were not hurting for money, we lived withing our means and we were doing fine.

I planned more mods for the Jeep and started working on them. I found a great deal on font and rear WARN bumpers with a tire carrier and decided to buy it. This was great timing as I had smashed my front and rear bumpers on rocks and they had been damaged. I quickly learned I had to have more heavy duty stuff if I was going to keep taking my Jeep rock crawling. You can also see my Kilby brand upgraded gas tank skid in the rear. I broke my fuel pump that was made out of plastic trying to install this. It was an expensive lesson.

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Rear bumper with tire carrier:
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I also had to replace my diff covers as they would get smashed against rock and leak diff fluid. So I bought Solid brand heavy duty diff covers for the front and rear axles.

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Another issue I was having was getting too close the rocks and ledges and the body had no protection. So I decided I was going to change the week factory rock sliders with some heavy duty custom made wheel well to wheel well rock sliders. I ordered them from a company out of state and they came bare still, I had to get them powder coated.

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Also for the type of offroading I was doing the steering box was way too exposed so put some steering box skid. Another part that was too exposed was the oil pan. One sharp rock hit to the oil pan and you would loose all your engine oil. So I got an engine protection skid plat.
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Last edited by Gujarati : 26th March 2012 at 11:38.
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