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Old 03-22-2016, 01:41 PM
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Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

I have been meaning to do this since I bought back in June of 2015, but the reveal of 2017 GC Trailhawk photos has finally created a tipping point for me. (because they basically did what I wanted, less than a year after I ordered; yea I'm thrilled...)

Truth be told, I wanted a Wrangler Rubicon. A Wrangler cannot tow my boat (scaled at 4700lbs with boat, trailer, and gear), so I decided to go the GC route. I saw the 2014 Trailhawk concept, and started waiting. A combination of getting impatient waiting for Jeep to at least commit to building something similar in the future, and getting tired of borrowing tow vehicles to use my boat led me to buy last year.

The Altitude didn't have everything I wanted (better 4wd with low range, v8), but it had a dark interior with silver trim, blacked out badging, minimal chrome, and I saved a few bucks. Plus it could tow my boat. So I went down that path, and decided to add a few items to make it look more similar to the Trailhawk concept.

I will update this thread with more information on part #'s, things learned, and updates in the future, but I wanted to get it started before the '17 Trailhawks hit dealers.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:55 PM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Great start. The Rubicon Hard Rock wheels really compliment the other black accents. Go Hawks!
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:32 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Looks really good, Tristar. Those wheels look like they were made for it. Are you running a leveling or lift kit or is it on stock suspension?
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Old 03-30-2016, 10:52 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Quote:
Originally Posted by MOFSTEEL View Post
Great start. The Rubicon Hard Rock wheels really compliment the other black accents. Go Hawks!
Thanks, it was your thread that also provided a tipping point for going with an Altitude. (grill inserts, etc) Plus the info on the tpms sensors off ebay saved me a few bucks instead of going to the dealer or relying on Discount Tire. Always go Hawks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attitude View Post
Looks really good, Tristar. Those wheels look like they were made for it. Are you running a leveling or lift kit or is it on stock suspension?
Thanks, the wheels turned out pretty decent. No lift or level yet. I might go with the Eibach lift this summer, but I don't want to hurt my ability to tow; it s a tow vehicle first and a mall crawler second....
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:31 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Purchase Day

Again, the Altitude was a compromise, but I was done borrowing tow vehicles and missing boating days because I couldn't find one to use. I bought through a friend, which is the last time I will do that. I was told I was getting a good price, that my invoice pricing was wrong (yea ok...), and I ultimately had to fight to get the price that my exact Jeep was being shown for on the dealers web site. (even though I ordered, it automatically gets added to the web site as soon as it arrives) I honestly don't know how people deal with buying cars often.

I just loved the look of the Altitude compared to other trim levels, and plus with what Mofsteel was showing off in his build thread, I figured lets go for it...
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Old 03-30-2016, 11:51 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Basic Junk

I only include these items for part number references and recommendations for tint. I always hate trying to track these kinds of part numbers down...

Storage Tray
Mopar part #68090826-AA
I wanted to cover the felt lined area back behind the shifter, you know the one that exists because I wasn't able to get Quarda-Trac II. The dealer could not find the part number for me, until we looked at 2011 Jeep parts lists. (Doesn't exist for 2015s apparently) I fought the parts guy for a while because he claimed it wouldn't work, but of course it does.

Rear Cargo Net
Mopar part #82213308
My WJ came with a cargo net, this one didn't. I had one item roll out the back when I used the "open tailgate" button on the key fob, and that was enough for me...

Window tint
If you are in the Chicago suburbs, I recommend Rick at Midwest Glass Tinters. He does a good job, priced fair, and will honestly answer what is or isn't going to get you in trouble.
Midwest Glass Tinters
9731 Southwest Highway
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
708-425-4480

Now the fun begins...
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:08 PM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Wheels/Tires

Wheels: Rubicon 10a/X/Hard Rock
Tires: LT255/75R17 BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM
TPMS Sensors: Mopar part #56029398AB (Thanks MOFSTEEL!)

I always intended to mount Wrangler Rubicon wheels/tires on my Grand Cherokee. I spent a lot of time looking at offsets, and then stumbled on a few threads that covered the subject:

Rubicon wheels with pics

To summarize:
1. These wheels will fit WK2s with the V6, or V8 without the towing package. The V8 towing package adds bigger brake calipers what will not clear the wheels. It does not matter if the V6 has the towing package (like mine) or not, they do not get the upgraded brakes.

2. Even with brand new Rubicon tires, there is NO rubbing. Keep in mind, these tires are 32s, a 2" increase from the stock setup. They are a bit narrower (255 vs 265), but I have every reason to believe 265s wont be an issue.


It really added a lot visually to the vehicle in my opinion. I am not a big fan of silver wheels on a silver vehicle, so I went with the Rubicon Hard Rock wheels. I actually got the wheels/tires before I took delivery of my Jeep; I couldn't pass up $600 for the set of 5, with less than 5000 miles on the tires.

Speaking of tires, I cannot wait to get new ones. These things are LOUD! I knew they would be, but I am trying to save anyone the headache that doesn't think it will be that bad. The noise at 50-60 mph is terrible. I look forward to some Duratracs soon...
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:43 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Tow Hooks

Tow hook kit: Mopar part #82212095
Red tow hooks: Mopar part #68192681AA, 68192680AA

Install thread: WK2 Front Tow Hook Installation (pic heavy)

Fairly easy install. Make sure you reference your manual on how to remove the lower part of the front fascia; it still blows me away how easy they make it for removal. Unfortunately to install the red tow hooks, you need to buy the black hooks to get the mounting kit. Anyone need some black hooks?

For the real OCD owners:
The mounting kit comes with brackets and pieces that are nothing more than mild steel, meaning they will rust instantly. I had mounted everything up, and a few weeks later already noticed trails of rust water running down my hooks and bumper. If this sort of thing is going to bother you (bugged the crap out of me), do yourself a favor and paint them before mounting them.

I cleaned them with mineral spirits, hit them with a primer, then a few coats of Rustoleum. It is just a suggestion, one I wish I would have thought before install #1...
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:52 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Black Grill Inserts

Black grill inserts: Mopar part #68143074AD

Install thread: 2014 Grand Cherokee Chrome Grille available?

Yes, this has been covered many times. The "through the top" method vs the bumper removal method has sparked some heated debate. The only reason I add this post is to highlight the method I used; through the bottom.

I had the lower fascia off to reinstall my tow hooks, and it became apparent I could reach the upper grills from the bottom. So I slowly started to pull from the back side, while applying pressure from the front. They all managed to pop off their mounting tabs, with little issue.

I think I might have bent or stripped one tab, because one of the 5 inserts doesn't lock in as strong as it originally did, but it still holds up to a decent amount of force before it moves. Small price to pain for how much easier this was than the other methods. (no pop rivets, no full bumper removal, no torn up hands on shrouds, etc)
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:24 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Damn, man. I really like what you've done on your WK2. I was thinking I wanted to drop mine (already have the Bilsteins, RM Mids & rear upper shock mounts waiting)

Now I'm rethinking the plans for mine. Thanks alot
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Old 03-31-2016, 11:35 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Towing

I thought I would also provide some information on how the GC tows, given that's the main reason I bought it. Towing threads always crack me up. As an engineer, I understand and use the concept of factors of safety, and how they need to be worked into any design the public touches. People often exceed the parameters of how a vehicle was meant to be used, and design teams have to account for that. Except for towing; it seems most Americans will somehow become ultra conservative and create their own factor of safety for that.

"Oh that capacity is 5000lbs? I wouldn't exceed 3500lbs."

I think it mostly is done to justify buying ridiculously sized trucks, but I digress. Here are my real word observations towing thousands of miles with my GC.

Boat weight: 4700lbs on a scale with trailer, fuel tank of gas, and any extra equipment I could load into it. (anchor, wakeboards, cover, etc)

2015 Grand Cherokee V6 w/tow package: Rated to tow 6200lbs; interestingly for 2015 the recommendation for a weight distributing hitch change. On 14's (and possibly 11-13's as well), Jeep said anything more than 3500lbs needed a weight distributing hitch. For 15, that number was raised to 5000lbs.


1. The V6 handles the weight fine. While I would prefer the '14 Hemi I was towing with, I only really notice the difference down low in the revs. Oddly, the transmission runs cooler with the V6 than it did with the V8; hard to understand considering the V8 tow package has a transmission cooler.

2. The brakes are up to the task. I have not noticed fade, or any inconsistencies with the braking. Keep in mind I live in the midwest, it might be a different story if I was towing on steep grades.

3. The sway control works well. Any time sway starts with the trailer (single axle, it happens), it gets minimized quickly.

4. Adding the larger tires (+2") had some effect on getting up to speed from a stop, braking had a small increase in distance as well. These were small changes, most wouldn't notice it. There was no change in ride or handing, as long as I kept about 38psi (cold) in the GC tires. No rub at any point.

5. I thought I was really going to miss having 4low for getting up slippery ramps, but so far it hasn't been a problem. I might owe some of that to the mud terrain tires, they seem to work better in the wet than the Forteras that come stock.

I have no concerns about towing up to the listed max of 6200lbs given my experiences. (with that weight though, I would definitely go with a dual axle trailer) Would a full size truck tow better? Yes, absolutely. I don't want a truck though, and I am happy with how the GC handles my setup. Keep in mind, I am not the guy that tows at 85mph, or enjoys claiming "I can't even feel the boat back there when towing!"

The only complaint I have is the paint on the hitch receiver, that stuff chips way too easily. I have had my Jeep for less than a year, and the receiver looks more like the one on the 14 year old WJ I had than what it looked like new...
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2016, 11:52 AM
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Re: Tristar's Alltitude/Trailhawk wannabe build

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attitude View Post
Damn, man. I really like what you've done on your WK2. I was thinking I wanted to drop mine (already have the Bilsteins, RM Mids & rear upper shock mounts waiting)

Now I'm rethinking the plans for mine. Thanks alot
Thanks! I think that's the best part about the GC, specifically the Altitude. You could go the sportier, lowered direction; or you can lift it up and get more "offroad" with it. Both look great in my opinion.

I liked the Trailhawk concept too much not to try and recreate it (within reason), plus I live too close to MOFSTEEL to copy him and still look unique...
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