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Third Time's the Charm LJ

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Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/8/2014, 6:12 pm

After a rather brief and unfulfilling foray back into the sports car world (Scion FRS), I am back where I belong. As the title eludes to, this is my third Jeep. I made sure to find exactly what I was after this go around. Without further ado, my 2005 LJ!


The game plan is to get a few spots on the body cleaned up and painted



Once that is done, I want to drive it for this season, as is, to shake out any problem areas. Some of the basics such as lighting and tunes will be addressed immediately. With only 48k on the clock and one older woman as the only previous owner, I'm not expecting too many surprises. After I know I have a solid build platform, the fun will begin. The build plan as of now is:

This Changes Too Much To Keep Updating!


Last edited by dongalonga on 4/7/2014, 10:58 pm; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  AquilesT on 3/8/2014, 7:40 pm

Enjoy! good look'n jeep.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  desertzj on 3/8/2014, 9:42 pm

nice man...honestly lj is where i want to go next. Have fun!
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/9/2014, 11:17 am

Thanks guys. I'm very happy to be back. I told the wife to pistol, whip me if I even make an utterance about getting rid of this one!
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Mark on 3/9/2014, 11:35 am

Hey Shaun,, good to see you back behind the wheel of something that you don't have to worry about scratching up.

Plus it being white it's hard to see the scratches (first hand experience with that).
Scoring an LJ is like in the movie mad max,, when the guy says, this is the last of the v8 interceptors, lol
Not many of them out there.

Does it have any Dana 44's in it ?
Mark,
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/9/2014, 12:44 pm

Thanks Mark. White is our favorite color for a Jeep. All of the LJs had D44 rears. This isn't a Rubicon so only a D30 front.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/9/2014, 2:09 pm

First mandatory Jeep mod...proper 550 cord zipper pulls
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Tonellin on 3/9/2014, 2:58 pm

Hell yeah another LJ to the group! Glad to see you came to your senses and got rid of that scion haha You'll definitely enjoy this more than the JK - at least you will be able to drive this down the road faster than 25 mph if the drag link is off more than an inch haha
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/9/2014, 4:15 pm

Hahaha yeah that was ummm interesting. Can't wait to hit so e trails again. Although my JK was a beast. It will take some time before the LJ is as capable.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Jake on 3/9/2014, 5:59 pm

Looks like a great score!
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/10/2014, 12:10 pm

Ordered a bunch of stuff. Parts should start trickling in soon.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/15/2014, 10:18 pm

Today marks the beginning of the Jeep modding. Nothing major, however, no less wonderful. 


First off something had to be done about this




Nothing Crutchfield and Nailin couldn't help solve




With the Crutchfield wiring and Nailin adapters this was a simple pull out the old and bolt in the new affair




Best part was the lack of the bar a lot of folks have to cut on the passenger side



Next on the docket was a much needed lighting upgrade. I sourced a set of 27 watt LED work lights in flood pattern from amazon. I then pilfered the wiring from the stock fog lights. 


Hella your sacrifice will not be forgotten




Night shots will be posted ASAP.


Night shots as promised. 


Stock headlights only....these will be addressed shortly



LED lights only. I made sure to aim them low so as to be able to use them without blinding people. 



Headlights and LEDs. Nice fill from the LEDs. More lighting upgrades to follow. 
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/16/2014, 2:14 pm

It is indeed great to be back and for the record itis still winter in New England :p


Today's Jeeping:  Finished up the stereo install


This head unit is pretty trick. No CD player. All streaming through Bluetooth or USB. I love tech. 



What do we have here? Bluetooth! The one creature comfort I refuse to live without
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  CrawlingForward on 3/17/2014, 4:52 pm

Nice! Glad to see you back!

Two very uncharacteristic of me questions:
1) I'm surprised at the disappointment of the Scion, actually. I had heard such good things.
2) Only 33s? I'm normally the first one to talk someone into more reasonable sized meats, but an LJ just doesn't look right to me until it's on 35s.

Oh....and totally agree with you on the Bluetooth!

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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/17/2014, 6:23 pm

33s for daily drivability. 35s require too much compromise to be viable in my eyes. I will get everywhere I want to be on them with a flat skid. 

The scion was a disappointment because it wasn't a Jeep, I live in New England, I can only afford one toy, and it couldn't go over things without major problems. For all of those reasons the scion couldn't stay. Not to mention the wife absolutely despised the little turd.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/19/2014, 4:25 pm

After several folks told me to skip 33s and go right to 35s, I decided to do some more research. The cost associated with going to 35s wasn't all that much more than my original plan for 33s. I've decided I may as well go for broke and do this in one shot. The build plan has been updated to reflect this revelation.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Tonellin on 3/19/2014, 5:06 pm

Hell yeah - I think that's a good decision. I really regret not jumping to 35's right away especially since I've got a currie connectlync in my basement that needs a new joint before getting installed.

Although with the tummy tuck I'm doing in the spring (I've got the UCF ultra high but in steel) it will more than make up the ground clearance I'm losing by only rockin 33's. If you go 35's with a tummy tick that thing is going to be awesome.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/19/2014, 5:08 pm

I want this rig to be at least as capable as my JK Rubicon was. More capable would be nice.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/25/2014, 3:04 pm

Some new hotness...



I picked up a Genright rear crossmember bumper from Clay with frame tie ins and rock lights for $100! Thanks again Clay!


I also have my CB setup now. Cobra 19 Ultra III, rugged ridge dash mount, and firestik 3' antenna with all necessary mounts and wiring.


I have decided to keep the stock front bumper. I will add a RC winch plate and most likely an Engo winch with syn line. I'm all about keep the weight reasonable.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  CrawlingForward on 3/25/2014, 3:26 pm

Nice! You'll have to document the rock light install well, I'd love to see that!

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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Tonellin on 3/25/2014, 3:42 pm

Really like that rear bumper. One of my favorite builds on JF is NYGLT56's TJ, he had/has a similar build it looks real clean and has great departure angle.

You gonna trim the front bumper and cap it or keep full length?
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 3/25/2014, 10:02 pm

I will need a hand with the rock lights, as I am not great with wiring. 

I really like this style of bumper and with the Exogate it will look very clean.

The front bumper will just have the milk jugs removed.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  dongalonga on 4/7/2014, 10:56 pm

Headlight Upgrade Stage 1

Yesterday marked stage 1 of my two stage headlight upgrade. This stage included H4 conversion housings and a BiXenon HID kit all from DDM Tuning. The reasoning behind the cheap H4 housing will be apparent in stage 2.

Right off the bat things didn't go smoothly. The bulb bases didn't want to seat in the housings flush. Nothing a light sanding with the dremel couldn't fix:


Like a glove:


One nice touch were the supplied boots. These will do the job of keeping crud and moisture out quite well:


Next up was sorting through the wiring. Looks like it is all there:


Out with the old:


And not so quickly on in with the new. As you can see in the next pic the locating tabs were no clocked properly on the new housings (they are marked with masking tape):


This left me with two options. Either bake the lights and reclock the (which is what I should have done) or use the aforementioned dremel and make new locating holes on the headlight buckets (which I did because I like to do such things). I transferred the approximate location of the mounting tabs using the previously mentioned masking tape as a guide and a sharpie:


I did this in increment as to not remove to much material and make for a loose fitting headlight:



Eventually I removed enough material to allow the headlights to locate and sit flush in the buckets. I waited for it to get dark before aiming everything. I did this at 25ft using my other car with properly aimed HIDs as a reference. Normally would use the horizontal centerline measurement at the headlight to do this, but the glare made me uncomfortable. Our other car is a Prius C and thus the headlights were at a much more bearable level for oncoming traffic.

I nearly forgot to mention, the little lady even got involved in this project. I was blessed with neither three nor small hands. Therefore, her assistance in holding the lights in place and fishing wires through small spaces was greatly appreciated.

The high beam on the driver side currently is inoperable. This was determined to be a harness issue and DDM Tuning is sending out a replacement as we speak. I have to say this is the first time I have ever received a defective unit from them. I will update this when the replacement harness arrives.

I will say this. If I were to do this again, I would spend the extra couple of dollars on Hella ECode housings. This would eliminate two issues: mounting alignment and excessive glare. However, stage 2 of the build with remedy the glare issue all together. For now, my wife can see better at night without blinding the bejebus out of everyone. Therefore, I am content for now. I will post pics later of the overall light output and the craptastic pattern .

As promised, output and pattern pics.

Output is great, but the pattern leaves a lot to be desired:


These will be very nice after stage 2 is complete:


As you can see the pattern is quite scattered:


The LED flood lights are less obnoxious:


On the road:




While I would not recommend people who drive a lot in the dark do this, it is a start. We do very little night driving right now. By the time we are ready to drive the LJ more often (good weather), stage 2 will completed.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Andrew Miller on 4/8/2014, 12:44 am

The LJ will look beast on 35s, i wish i had waited and saved the money to build my rig up for 35s. Looking forward to seeing stage 2 of your headlight upgrade!

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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

Post  Mark on 4/8/2014, 7:58 am

Boy are those lights bright or what! great job Shaun.
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Re: Third Time's the Charm LJ

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