I just received my LOD Signature Series bumpers today. The packaging they used to ship them is the best packaging I've ever seen. The bumpers look excellent.

LOD Signature Series bumpers

LOD Signature Series Mid-Width bumper in it's packaging

Unearthing the LOD Signature Series Mid-Width bumper

I
can see some of it now

Front view of LOD Signature Series
Mid-width forkbumper

Back view of LOD Signature Series
Mid-width bumper

I updated the Build List to include the Nemesis Industries Odyssey & Notorious Fender Flares. I ordered the Odyssey Series for the front and the Notorious Series for the rear. I'm not a big fan of the naming system Nemesis uses because it's a little confusing. The Notorious Series rear fender flare is "factory width" but the Notorious front fender flare is narrower than the factory flare. However the Odyssey Series front flare is "factory width". There is no Odyssey rear flare, you just use the Notorious. If you want a narrow rear flare you can get the Crawler Series, but they also offer a Crawler Series front flare, which is even narrower than the Notorious. Confusing. It boils down to 3 widths available for the front but only 2 for the rear. See the chart below:

Nemesis Industries Fender Flares

  Factory Width Narrower Narrower Yet
Front Odyssey Notorious Crawler
Rear Notorious - Crawler
Nemesis Industries Odyssey Fender Flare in Textered Black Powder
Coat
Nemesis Industries Odyssey fender flare in textered black powder coat.
Construction of Nemesis Industries Notorious fender flare with
Skeletos upgrade
Construction of Nemesis Industries Notorious fender flare with Skeletos upgrade.
Construction of Nemesis
Industries Notorious Fender Flare with Skeletos Upgrade
Another view of the Notorious fender flare with Skeletos upgrade.

I received my Bestop Trektop NX in black twill last week. It's made really well and looks great however it is incredibly tight making it very hard to get on the first time. When I went to install it I left the canvas sit in the sun for about an hour to warm up before I tried putting it on but I could not get the front hooks to reach the loops on the windshield, it was about 1/2" short. I also could not zip the side panels to the back window if I had them properly inserted into the B-pillar. In the picture below you can see the wrinkle in the side window caused by the side panels not being inserted. You can also see that the back windows is as tight as a drum.

I left the top sit unlatched overnight and tried it again the next afternoon, however it was no better. I eventually had to use ratchet straps to pull the middle bracket toward the windshield so I could latch the top. I had to pull the straps so tight it was scary. I was worried for the grab handle hardware that I had the straps hooked on. I don't know how you could possibly get the top on without a mechanical means of stretching the fabric.

Bestop Trektop NX Twill
Bestop Trektop NX in black Twill
Getting the top to hook
Stretching the top with ratchet straps
Getting the top to hook
You can see the bracket that needs to be pulled.

The bracket that goes above the B pilar is held in place by a bolt with a plastic turn knob. I could not tighten this enough to overcome the tension of the fabric and when I lowered the top the bracket would slide backward keeping the front from latching. By hooking the strap to this bracket I was able to keep the bracket in the proper position and latch the top to the windshield.

I bought new AOSI 4" LED fog lights to match my Vision X LED headlights. See my review here.

AOSI 4
AOSI 4" LED fog lights with halo

There were a couple reasons I wanted different fog lights. The first one is practical, I'm hoping for something that shins farther down the road. The Vision X highlights I have produce a bright patch of light directly in front of the Jeep (right where the factory fog lights shine) and they are bright down the road but they are lacking in the space between. I'm hoping that the AOSI LED foglight with their better beam control and adjustability will fill in the space that the Vision X misses. Second, I didn't care for the color difference between the Vision X LED and the incandescent.

What made me get these particular fog lights is the mini-halo rings! They are the perfect match to the halos on my Vision X headlights. When I'm driving around town often times I have just the halos and the fog lights on. Otherwise my headlights blast right into everybody's back windows and mirrors and must be super annoying. The factory fog lights don't produce enough light for this to be a safe habit on darker roads so hopefully these fog lights will address all of these concerns while looking awesome!

Ever since I installed my new wheels on the Jeep the Tire Pressure Monitoring System has not worked correctly. At no point have all 4 wheels displayed at the same time and some of the wheels are not displaying in the correct location. The new wheels went on with the new axles, so the wheels are pushed out a few inches farther than stock but I can't believe that slight change is the cause of the problem but it could be an ingredient. There doesn't seem to be any way to interact with or manually reset the TPMS system. Any suggestions, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TPMS not reading all the wheels
TPMS not reading all the wheels

When you take a wrench to a brand new vehicle and make some major changes you develop this habit of subconsciously listening for rattles, clunks, and really any signs of imminent doom. Yesterday while driving over some bumps in the road I noticed some clunking coming from under my Jeep. It went from a new sound I'd never heard before to a very noticeable and dreadful sound in a matter of half a mile. I pulled over and inspected everything I can remember having touched with a wrench but nothing looked amiss. I finished my errand and took the Jeep to my shop for further inspection and found that the rear brake caliper mounting bolts on my Dana 60 were never properly torqued from the factory and one had fallen completely out and was lost and the other was hanging on by just a couple threads. The clunking was the brake caliper slapping the inside of the rear wheel.

Loose caliper mounting bolt
Loose caliper mounting bolt

I checked the passenger side brake caliper mounting bolts and found them to be loose as well. Needless to say I am a little let down by Dana/Spicer for not having quality controls in place to ensure proper assembly. This event has definately planted a seed of doubt that some other parts of my axles may be improperly assembled or not torqued to specifications.

New grade 10.9 16mm mushroom head bolt
Thanks True Value!

Luckily we have a True Value store in our small town that has an amazing selection of hardware including grade 10.9 16mm mushroom head bolts in just the right length.

My jeep with the Dana 60's and Method 105 beadlock wheels
My Jeep July 11, 2016 with Dana 60's and Method Racing 105's

Dana 60's are in and my Jeep is drivable again! I'll write the details in the Dana 60 Install page on this site soon. I have not tackled the locker wiring yet.

There are no big hang-up with this swap but there is one problem that needs to be addressed and that is the brakes, or lack thereof. The pedel makes it about 3/4 of the way to the floor before any braking actually occurs, which gives you the horrible sensation that you might not have any brakes. The good news is that Mopar offers the RAM 3500 series booster and master cylinder for the Jeep JK (Part No. P5160050) that should rectify this. I'd say that addressing the booster/master cylinder is a necessity for this project.

After mounting the axles I spent a fair amount of time adjusting both the front and rear control arms. The setup I had with the stock axles perfectly centered the wheel inside the wheels inside he wheel wells but gave the rear springs a bad looking arch because the pinion was pointed up too much. When I installed the Dana 60 not only was the arch still a problem but now the beefier upper control arm bracket on the passenger side hit the swap bar link. I shortened the upper arms about 4 full revolutions and lengthened the lowers about 3.

sway bar link hits bracket
That's not good!

In the front I knew I'd have to adjust for the "designed for lifted vehicles" geometry of the Dana 60's. The instructions (of which there are almost none by the way) say the caster should be set to 3.2 degrees. Without adjusting the arms I was well over 5 degrees. I adjusted the caster by extending the upper arms about 4 full turns until I had a reading of about 3.5 which was close enough for me.

With this set-up the driveline and suspension all work fine however my tires rub in a couple places. The rubbing is caused partly by the increased width and partly by length of the control arms. The biggest problem is the front tires hitting the bumper. That I'll have to adjust right away. The back tires barely buff the back of the fenders when the wheels travel upward far enough.

As far as left and right fit go the rear is perfect and the front is about 3/4" offset toward the passenger side so that'll have to get adjusted as well.

I had a brief scare yesterday...

Front driveshaft CV Joint
Front CV Joint hits this bracket

I put my Jeep in 4WD for the first time since the upgrades and I heard a very worrisome clunking coming from the transfercase. My first thought was that I had done something to the transfer case when I swapped the output flanges. climbed underneath and discovered that the monstrous 1350 CV Joint on the front driveshaft hits a bracket. Luckily it doesn't look too serious and it's something I'll trim or bend out of the way.