More pre-Moab>Rubicon mods

As June approaches, I’m crossing off more and more build items from my todo list.

I had a blast last August when I went to Moab. But I do regret not having lockers. I had to pass up some of the more difficult climbs like Hell’s Gate, the famous climb that resembles a groove on a massive LP Album, on Hell’s Revenge trail. I’ll be better prepared for my June trip to Moab>Rubicon.

Rubicon take-off Dana 44 (M210/M220) axles have replaced my Dana 30/35 (M186/M200) axles. They had <7,000 miles on them, and they come with Rubicon’s electronic lockers and 4.10 gearing. Given the tires I have installed now are 285s, I’m back to Jeep’s recommended gearing for the tire size. Well, hiya 8th gear! I haven’t seen you on the highway since I moved from 245s to 285s! Welcome back! 🙂

I’m on the fence on whether I’ll put the 35s on for the June trip. If I do, I’ll need to re-gear to 4.56 (Jeep’s recommendation). I have watched a bunch of Rubicon Trail videos, and have talked to friends who have done it multiple times. From what I’m learning, there are bypasses for the most treacherous sections.

I might change my mind later, but I’m leaning toward sticking with the 285s. Mostly because the trip will be 7,000+ miles of a combination of on and off road driving. With lockers and the Mopar Heavy Duty Brakes we installed, I should have the right combination of up/down hill capability…watch out Hell’s Gate, I’m coming for you!

So the 35s are leaning in my garage, with the Hi-Lift and RotoPAX fuel containers…waiting for my Dirtworx Rear Bumper and Tire Carrier to arrive (that’ll be its own blog).

I finally installed the Rugged Ridge Max Terrain fender flares, which I wasn’t happy with in the beginning (seem flimsy) but they’ve grown on me. They look awesome and I get asked all the time about them. They weren’t hard to install. I eventually replaced them with Smittybilt liners. They’re made of aluminum and are easy to clean, compared to plastic.

It took a while for me to figure out what kind of switch to go with. I needed 5 buttons, so I went with the sPOD Mini 6, which is another brilliant design. The button panel mounts to my CBBAR, and connects to the junction box by way of extremely durable sheath covered Ethernet cable. The junction box mounts to the side of the engine compartment and that’s where you connect your stuff to. Each of the 6 switches can provide 30A.

I now have both CB (President Bill) and GMRS (Midland XMT115), since the Jeep community is transitioning to the later. I remember folks at Moab were mostly using GMRS when I was there. Both are mounted on a Way Of Live CBBAR. I just need to finish hiding the wires. Ignore the upside down antenna, I replaced it with a Bingfu PL-259 antenna mounted next to my Wilson Flex (CB) antenna.

The two white switch buttons are now assigned to my front and rear lockers and the wiring is getting there. I used some weather proof connectors so I can remove the CB/GMRS when I’m not using them.

Lighting took a lot of research and planning. I knew I wanted spotlights and cornering lights. I ended up going with Baja, since they’ve got the features I wanted. I want to add SAE fogs. They are bright, though I needed to spend some time testing the positioning, and even the lens color (cornering lights came amber, chagned to clear). I’m thinking of stealing a buddy’s idea and going with Diode Dynamics Worklight SS3 Sport Yellow SAE Fog lights (these will be in early 2021).

I was also able to swing a great deal with Oracle on a set of headlights. They were happy to slash the price once I produced the total loss paperwork. These are the headlights I had on my first Jeep, so happy to be able to see at night again! Not as bright as the Baja lights, which are only legal off road. 🙂