Jeep Garage  - Jeep Forum

Jeep Garage - Jeep Forum (
-   Members Rides (
-   -   jlewissystem's Build Thread (

jlewissystem 01-16-2012 05:26 PM

jlewissystem's Build Thread
Had to join in the fun here, but try to keep up with these sweet Jeeps at the same time. For all of you ADHD ppl out there - you're going to like this thread....there's not really a nice flowing story line here.....just a bunch of "hey I want to do this" ideas that become reality :) I want to take a quick sec to thank everyone on this forum: this is a great place for ideas, trials/errors experience - 1/2 of this stuff would not have been possible for you guys. At the same time - that's where i place all of the blame for the MOD BUG :p

In the past I've owned a TJ, ZJ and now this WK. I've loved all of the past flavors and figured i wanted to try the ZJ's grandson - new and improved, with HEMI.

This Jeep started off a 2006 5.7 Limited. I had a great experience acquiring this Jeep:
At the time the only thing i new is that I wanted a JGC, BLACK, HEMI with lower miles....dont care about anything else. After searching nationwide for about 2 months, my Mom calls me up saying that she passed one where she lives (Chicago). I live in STL. Got the background on it (35K miles - 1 leaser) clean past. At the time my ZJ was on it's last leg - 210K (not all from me). The day before XMAS eve (2 years) ago, i got to Chicago to check out this Jeep. It looked great and i took it out for a spin (it was a Chicago winter): test drove in ice/sleet. I floored it all over and this thing grabbed and didnt loose control. I bought it right there.

After the purchase, i drove to my Mom's house to get her luggage, cuz we were due in Detroit for XMAS. The beauty was that we took this Jeep (first ride ever) through a 5 hour ice/snow storm up to Detroit and back through a different storm. I had no idea on expectations and with all stock equip, had no issues there or back - i was SO impressed. So impressed, i couldnt wait to see what this thing could do all MODDED up :D:D Let's get to work:

Before i get to "modding" i need proper lighting - at least something better than what was in my garage - so a few garage LYTES to setup shop:
I really dont have any "before" pics, so i'll have to start with this one - only mods showing are window visors, painted calipers and brush guard and rear tail light guards:

Speaking of - the 1st mod on this thing was a brush guard. The only reason why this is the 1st one is because i hit a deer with my ZJ. That wasnt it's ultimate demise. Crappy story too - I'll make it short - was coming home from a buddy's house (in a rural neighborhood) (going 20mph) a deer popped out of a street and tucked into someone's shrubs. As i slowed down to look where it jumped in, it jumped out in front of me. I hit it doing about 12-15mph. It bounced off my grille, hit the ground and popped back up like WTF. WTF to you deer - i have 2 guns on me and can't use them! :) Anyway - that cost me about $200 for new header panel, grille and headlight.

Not to be made a victim like that again (and soon to take my revenge on deer in Missouri) i put the Aries brush guard on :) and took some time to do a grille mesh (JJ helped and added the same mesh to her KJ :)). We took gutter guard, cut it, plasti-dipped it, cut it to grille hole length, bent them a little for better fit and glued the edges with Gorilla Glue. At the same time, i did the rear Aries tail light guards.
After some light protection on the outside, i took it inside: i could not handle the stock radio! Did a little upgrade: ordered the DVD NAV bezel - $75 eBay, i think and a Pioneer AVH-4200. It's a double-din with DVD, SD card...AUX inputs, camera - yadda, yadda. When i put all this in, i also wanted to watch movies when i drove (of course), so referenced this link for the DVD override.

At the time of radio installation, i ran an input (for iPhone) through the center console and up along side of the drivers seat. I also ran a video/red/white wire into the glove box, in case we need a console system on a long drive :thumbsup:

While i've been liking the driving experience, i wanted to give it a little better sound than stock, so researched and ended up going with the MagnaFlow 16631 cat-back. Here's a comparison to the stock - i believe same diameter piping:
Side by side:
Tip comparison ;)

JeepCoop 01-16-2012 05:55 PM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Very nice J!!! Can't wait to see more! :w00t:

jlewissystem 01-16-2012 05:57 PM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Stock exhaust sound


After exhaust, i added a Airaid MIT tube to compliment. Further intake customization to follow..... :D At the same time, i did my BTT catch can. With Jeepy breathing harder, i wanted to keep that excess oil outta there AND IT DOES HELP! :D This is the only pic i have of this, which also has my painted strut bar - SPOILER!

Ok, we have better driver experience with radio,exhaust and a little protection outside....took it in the dirt and my antenna was getting whipped around. i asked JR (forum supplier) for a custom shorty:
That thing is great! It looks awesome and i barely loose any radio signal.

Next - JJ got me a bday gift - SRT shift knob! Def improvement! Thank you :D

A D D GO! On to the brakes for some reason....i wanted to spruce up the look against black (have a little contrast) so i went with G2 RED caliper paint - great stuff! Did the front and rears - 3 coats each. So far, it has help up real well!

Next - first BIG project - lift (with wheels and tires):
I went with the OME HD, Moto Metal 951 wheels and DuraTrac 265/70/17's. First, i'm sure like a bunch of you - i didnt like the yellow shocks/struts. I sanded those down to prep for paint (painting red to match the calipers):
Did 3 coats of spray RED caliper paint, from Autozone and 2 coats of spray clear. They came out pretty good and have held up very well so far:
Also painted the strut bar at the same time, to add some contrast under the hood:

Out with the old!
My friend helping - poor guy helped cuz he misses his old Jeep:
Rear shot:
Fresh with the wheels/tires (and JJ :) ):

wkthursty 01-16-2012 11:19 PM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
ah ha yeah Jason. Looks better in person guys. trust me. Well have to get a few guys together and go out. mabye when it snows better?? :) You forgot the 4xguard skid and leds.

jlewissystem 01-17-2012 09:04 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread

Originally Posted by wkthursty (Post 554253)
ah ha yeah Jason. Looks better in person guys. trust me. Well have to get a few guys together and go out. mabye when it snows better?? :) You forgot the 4xguard skid and leds.

Waddup Sean! Thanks man - i havent completed this thread yet, just didnt want to take up my whole night last night :) And to continue the fun....... :)

At this point i LOVED the new lifted BLACK look, so wanted to compliment it:
I followed another procedure on the forum to take my chrome door moldings to BLACK:

Since i'm getting closer to the leve of ALL BLACK i require :), i cleaned it up a little: added a few stickers, de-badged and did my 1st claybar, polish and wax :D:thumbsup: If you havent claybar'd, you must :rolleyes:

Shortly after doing this stuff (in the spring) i obtained another "off-road" vehicle and branded it :p

Okie dokie - things are looking clean on the outside, let's try to spruce up under the hood: starting with intake. At this point, i had the Airaid MIT tube ONLY. I butchered some old K&N FIPK system to use the K&N filter, but i didnt like the sound that was created at WOT, so i tried doing something a little different. Typically, when i do that, it will need to be adjusted in the future, which it will be. SO - here's the start to the custom Frakenstein intake:
As it stood from the last MIT:

Here's the "pieced" together intake:

And installed:

Like i said, i didnt like the sound at WOT, so i decided to try a different filter - something outta some ricer forum, but i liked how the filter was black. I'm currently using this filter (along with a matching breather filter) but i will be replacing these, come this Spring. At the same time, i wanted to jazz-up the tube as well, so thought about matching the red with the strut bar. I'm going to change this around too - going with a red header wrap, as the paint has ultimately cracked. I wanted to preserve the "cold-air" so i wrapped the tube in 2 layers of heat foil and smashed it with a spoon, to try and make it smooth:
Hit it with some primer and smashed it again:
Primer'd and smoothed:
On to a few coats of the RED - like many:

JeepCoop 01-17-2012 09:16 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Loving all the red bra!! SO smooth

How'd ya install the tail light guards? Mine should be in this week!

jlewissystem 01-17-2012 09:32 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Y thank you sir! Figured red would "pop" against the black :) I didn't take any install pics of those, but they're super easy. I like how Omelet move his closer in to the body, but I didn't mind them sticking out. To install, open liftgate and unscrew 2 rear lens screw. Put in 2 screw mounts on top of existing screw holes. The other side of the guard mount is only double-sided tape. So, just pull your lens out slightly (optional) and stick it in there ;)

JeepCoop 01-17-2012 09:56 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Nasty and fun! Thanks maing!!

jlewissystem 01-17-2012 11:04 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
It looked decent at first glance:
It looked so great, i decided to go to a few car shows (not expecting to win) but just to show-off and have some fun. I met up with SweetJeep99 (if he's still on here). He has the blue WK to my left. (And YES, i did clean my engine bay :) It was spotless after following this thread) Sorry - not the best pics here...not a scratch or piece of dirt :D

After going to a few car shows, i picked up on an idea that can add to my engine bay-"spruce-up": Hose Sleeving and Clamps. I got all of them from Amazon and had to send about 4 different ones back - LOL - damn trial and error :)
I did the following hoses:
*Coolant reservoir
*Upper radiator
*Catch can lines
*Breather filter hose
*Power Steering line
At the same time, i decided to revisit the intake, adding a heat shield: from the same FIPK that i already murdered. I also used a piece of PVC to angle the intake filter:
Here's where you can see some of the painted seams coming apart - to be covered by red header wrap later.

OK - the "hood-work" had me feeling like i didnt want to work under the hood for a while :) - i need to do some external MOD - WHERE'S THE BEEF!? In the front skid of course - BEEF up that front end. Ordered the last "4XGuard" front skid, before they were bought.....took off the air-dam (about time) and simply applied the front skid. BTW - it does not interfere with OIL changes at all.

A-D-D moment again: somewhere along the way, JJ got me a backup CAM for my AVH-4200DVD. I mounted the cam under the external liftgate molding (to the left of the handle) and ran the wires through the liftgate, rubber connecting liftgate to Jeep and all the way up to the front. It wasnt a big job, but totally cool MOD!
Looking up at the inside of the open liftgate, with the inside "liner" removed
I bent a few tabs back to allow for mounting screws:
Drilled a few holes in the liftgate handle mount:
Mounted this sucker up and ran the wire:
It works great! Auto turn-on when reverse and everything. I can turn it on while driving....cant really audit the license plate behind me, but i can spy :p

jlewissystem 01-17-2012 01:13 PM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
In the pic - the house is about 40yds away. Id def rather have a cam then not. Comes is handy off-road too...

Ok....back to those photos before the rear cam. i checked some of the flex and found my offset/265 combo rubbed on the back fender. I learned a little lesson, but glad it was just a little :) Checking Omelet's procedure to roll his fenders, i had to do that and i'll also have some extended bumpstops, that i'll be putting in soon. Pics to follow...

Now is when i start getting excited about making this build thread - my favorite part - the start to MOAR LYTES (now search'able :p)
For whatever reason, i REALLY enjoyed doing the lights and wiring for the off-road lights. First off - i started on the inside, replaced (almost) all of my center controls and door switches. This was a factory to LED conversion, using LED's and resistors off eBay.Now - because i was so excited about converting to LED, i just started doing things and didnt actually research what i was doing - not the best way to dive in. What i mean is - i found that the resistor works while using it on the negative side of the LED bulb - INCORRECT! Place the resistor in line with the POSITIVE side of the LED. In all of my circuit board pics, you can use them as a reference for neg/pos. In the pics, the resistors are on the neg side. DO THE OPPOSITE - of the pics - i dont want to confuse anyone, but i had to re-do these over. At least it was faster the 2nd time :lol:
Factory - center:
NEW - center. I still need to attempt the PNRD:
Driver door - all but the mirror control:

Next easy LYTE upgrade - all internal. Took advantage of VLED's sale, just a few weeks ago and did everything on the inside and the license plate - all are very bright and great quality bulbs! These are the 6K ones. Domes are some earlier eBay ones, that aren't terrible.

After the interior, i moved to the cargo area, to assist with some hunting light i needed in the early DARK AM. Thanks to Omelet for turning me on to this LED-by-the-foot. This stuff is great - and doubles for the rock lights. This mod was great - gives me all kinds of light. I took a strip of LED and cut to the length of the liftgate.
Dont have a pic, but i unscrewed the liftgate a bit and cut the wires to the cargo light, which i spliced into for these lights. They have a "3M-like" sticking affect, but I applied a little Gorilla to assist (dabs about 4 inches apart). I might put a little push-button in the middle to control power, but it's very nice so far:
I'll have to grab another light output pic tonight - cant find it, but here's on the garage, not that it helps. This mod puts out about a 10ft radius around the back of the Jeep:

JeepCoop 01-17-2012 10:07 PM

Very nice brother :thumbsup:

jlewissystem 01-18-2012 11:21 AM

Re: jlewissystem's Build Thread
Between the interior lighting and the next section, i had to create the "foundation" for MOAR LYTES- Rola!!!
Per Coop's suggestion - i went to Home Depot and got a few new machine screws to replace the crossbar "hand-crank" screws. This allows the rack to sit lower and to be centered on your crossbars easier. As seen in the pic, i also mounted this 1 section up, where a few of the other guys the Rola sitting 1 section fwd. From what I've observed so far - it helps cut down on sunroof wind noise and it looks more "in-line" with factory rails.
The 2 pics below are before i moved the rack back 1 section.
Now, to my absolute FAVORITE part - off-road LYTES. JJ was SO nice to me for an early BDAY present (conspiring with Coop to get me these LYTES)
These are 2 6" 55W EagleEye Spot HIDs (6K) and the Rigid D2's
Depending on LYTE output on these HID's i'm going to get 2 MOAR - and after seeing what these things can do - I'm DEF getting 2 MOAR. I'll put output pics on here at some point, but 2 of these put light on trees at 500yds. It wasnt daylight, but i could see the trunks. I could see detail at 340yds - awesome considering the cost on these!!!

So - i wanted to so the whole sh-bang here: rock lights (copy Omelet), set of fwd lights, angled out fwd (2nd pair of Eagles - yet to order), rear lights and a roof AUX light (XMAS lights and what not). This makes a total of 5 devices, which means i need five switches - perfect for the Seguaro switch panel and OtraTTW switches:

Got a few switches and switch panel in anticipation

I've wired stereo's in the past and am not afraid to jump in, but i really had to clue how to do all this. I consulted Omelet, since he's always seemed to "have done that" :) Omelet - THANK YOU again for your responses and guidance! I just needed to wrap my head around this wiring concept.
So, i almost have all the ingredients here - i have:
*the lights
*combination of 16AWG wire and 18AWG speaker wire - followed this table to reference WATTS and length (WIRE GAUGE SELECTION TABLE)
*wire connectors
*electrical tape
*Gorilla Glue
*Large and small zipties
*About 35ft of plastic electrical conduit
*Heat shrink tube

I found I was missing a few things:
*Aux fuse block
*Battery leads for fuse box (it was basically the same leads as in the link, but they were in the automotive section and they were 24")
*Light mounts
Ordered 6 PIAA light mounts for all lights on the Rola Rack. Bottom, thick rail is 1.5". Top, skinny rail is 1.0"
Now, this is where it gets fun/wicked:
Following Omelet's wiring diagrams, i need to:
*Run leads from battery to fuse block
*Run (POS) from fuse block to relay
*Run the device (POS) to the relay, (neg) to ground(i chose on fuse block)
*Run swiches (POS) to relay (neg) to ground under dash

Seems simple, but there are many wires to manage and I (Initially) had the wires incorrect at the relay. Here's the pics to support - i tried to keep this a neat and presentable as possible.

Let's start with the rock lights! Same procedure as my liftgate, i soldered (speaker) wire to the pos/neg leads at the end of the "LED-by-the-foot", covered with heat shirnk and applied Gorilla Glue about every 4-6 inches. I'm also using the plastic conduit to run wires from ALL lights to terminals, applying some electrical tape where necessary for water/element shieilding.
Please forgive the dirty underneath, as i didnt spray down after my recent hunt.
Front skid rock light:
Shot of wire run going up into hood:

Here's where i differ from Omelet's install: I only used 2 leads for the rock lights (front wiring and "the rest") What i mean is that 1 side connects to the back, which connects to the other side. So - i only have 2 wires that comprise the rock light leads. Along the side (frame). I tucked this back up in the corner, to hopefully avoid rocks in the future and to not interfere with future rock rails:

Wiring going from side to track bar:
Viewing side to rear (dont forget to leave a little slack for suspension flex :thumbsup:)
Viewing rear, from side:

Here is the rear, which i just glued to the track-bar. If i get a new one, i just need to re-cut the LED and re-attach the wires.

Aright - enough of the dirty work - back to wiring!
This is the famous Omelet wiring diagram. This thing was golden - thanks again bud!! Just FOLLOW it and "you're good" (couldn't find a better pic)

I started on the switch wiring:
Power wires on - still need wires to run from each switch to each relay

I bundled up 5 wires (marking them with numbers) and fed it through the rubber hole to the left of the steering shaft (facing rear of vehicle)
Hooked these up to the appropriate relay, grounded the switch panel under the hood and tapped into the top-right fuse(empty), under the dash using this fuse tap from autozone (sorry, was not up when i was making this thread)- Note:FACE TAP UP :D
Mounting switch panel :)

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 - JeepGarage.Org
The Jeep Grand Cherokee Owners Community