Builds Built for Family Adventure

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
I have had a few folks ask if I have a build thread, so I figured I probably should start one to document some of my modifications and answer any questions. I'll work on getting better pictures this week and as the build progresses, but this will get me started. I've gathered lots of info and help from other members, so it is only fair if I share what I've done in hopes it helps someone else out. I'm terrible about taking pictures during installs, but I do have some tips I can share on the Ironman if anyone is interested.

I have always had built Grand Cherokees and was toying with the idea of a T4R TRD, when I got to looking closer at the GX and it just made more sense with the creature comforts and the V8. My wife has a diesel MB GL which is our true roadtrip vehicle, so this is built more for camping and beach adventures with my wife and 2 yr old. I am also a SAHD, so lets be honest, I also wanted a cool dad mobile to tool around in that could survive the harsh urban environment and Starbucks drive-thru. I will say that when I bought this in March I told myself I was going to keep it stock aside from some slightly larger ATs, but we all know that was a lie.

2019 GX 460 Premium
50% tint on windshield, 18% front two windows, 35% all windows in rear
MTS Module
Bilstein 6112 w/ 650lb King Springs on 6th clip (plan to swap in 700s soon) netting ~1.75" of lift
BIlstein 5160 w/ 1.52" BIlstein T4R coils & 20mm Ironman spacer in rear to get me back to factory rake (still searching for the perfect coil for my needs, but waiting to see if I add a rear bumper first)
Stock wheels w/ Spidertrax spacers
275/65R18 BFG AT KO2s
Prinsu Roofrack
Rhino Rack Batwing Awning w/ Prinsu brackets (allows for pretty quick attachment)
Ironman Premium Bullbar
Superwinch Tigershark 11500 winch w/ synthetic cable
ARB Single Compressor on PowerTray
Full RCI Aluminum Skids
RSG Flat Sliders w/ kickout
Dometic CFX50w (use this all the time during normal life, one of my best mods)
Kaon Rear Table

(I don't keep the Thule box and awning on all the time, but we were heading out on a 2 week trip to the mountains and beach).

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BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
Here are some pictures and notes from the Ironman install. For the most part, this fit great and the install was pretty straight forward. The Ironman instructions suck, so a lot of it I was just winging it and trying out hardware to see what fit.

I did need to clearance the body pinchwelds around the frame mounts where the power steering lines go through. The Ironman brackets cause these lines to get pushed into the pinchweld and I didn't want them to rub through. I was able to get a sawzall in there to notch the area then used some thick rubber fuel line to sleeve around the metal steering lines to add another level of protection.

The center skidplate must also be trimmed back if you're running RCI skids (and maybe others). No issue with it bolting up after that.

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SInce the Ironman has a seperate winch cradle, it sits out a bit further, which means less trimming on the sides of the spindle, but also some slightly larger gaps between the bumper and insert. This can only be seen if you're looking down from above. I did have to clock the freespool lever forward 90* on the winch to reach it from the access hole on the bumper. I also added an extension for the winch controller so I would have easy access to a hardwired connection. The other alternative is to relocate the control box, but this seemed cleaner and easier at the time.

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(Ignore the scratches caused by shavings when drilling. I should have put down tape first, but most of them came out with some rubbing compound.)
 
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BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
I did mess up by trimming off the grille above the 4th chrome slat and I think it may have fit behind the bumper, but it would have been close. I had to rig it up by drilling some holes in the cross brace and plastic grille so the grille would be supported. It is very strong and you can't see the zip ties unless you really get down and look through the grille. Just a late night whoops on my part, but easily overcome.

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Also, if you will be doing this by yourself, the $99 shop crane from Harbor Freight is a lifesaver.

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Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
135
Location
NoVa
Nice pics, by seeing this and a few guys on the GXOR page hope this won't be too bad, I have a 12' so hope the cutting is easier and simplified a bit. Sensors and trimming the bumper cover right are my main concerns, and the steering lines and buffer added, could you post a pic or two of what you did there? Much appreciated
 

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
Nice pics, by seeing this and a few guys on the GXOR page hope this won't be too bad, I have a 12' so hope the cutting is easier and simplified a bit. Sensors and trimming the bumper cover right are my main concerns, and the steering lines and buffer added, could you post a pic or two of what you did there? Much appreciated
I'll try to take some next time I have the skid plate off. Still need to finish some wiring under there, so hopefully this weekend.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2017
Messages
135
Location
NoVa
I'll try to take some next time I have the skid plate off. Still need to finish some wiring under there, so hopefully this weekend.
Right on, I'm about to get to mine this weekend. Curious how the directions are and how the wiring goes for the signals and all.
 

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
I previously had the KC Flex Single Spread lights on ditch brackets, which I thought were small and worked well until I checked out the Baja Designs S2 Pro in person. These are even shorter, which is great for my application. I went with the wide cornering pattern, which has an incredible output for ditch lights. Here are some pics compared to the KC Flex pods (before adjustment and final wiring.)

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As far as a controller, for now I am just using the $50 wireless Blazer module. So far it has worked great for what it is. A few negatives are no lights on the remote to indicate lights that are on and at night, you must go by feel. Not difficult to know which button controls which lights if you only have a couple sets of lights running off it. I may eventually upgrade at some point, but for now it does what I need it to do.

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BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
I was looking to free up some space in the center of my dash/console for a tablet and my Yaesu faceplate, so I added this RAM mount to the A-pillar grab handle in order to mount a cell phone. Not sure if I'll keep the X-grip or try out the Hondo Perfect Squeeze, but the RAM jointed arm allows for some versatile placement in this position and the X-grip can be rotated horizontal or vertical depending on how you prefer to view your screen.

Parts used were as follows:
  • RAM-B-367BU motorcycle ball
  • 6mm x 55mm long SHCS
  • Five 6mm washers
  • One 6mm lock washer
The photos don't really do a good job showing actual view when driving, but my view is already partially obstructed by the ditch light, so no problem having this here. I've also been told the A-pillar airbag blows out above the handle, so I don;t think that would cause a problem either. Tacoma owners have been doing something similar in their trucks for years and I haven't read of any negative consequences.

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r2m

Richard
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
1,559
Location
San Clemente, CA
Clever idea using the A pillar hand grip mount!
Not sure if you've seen how I have my Yaseu face plate and mic on my center console in my build thread.
Here is how I did mine: Builds - R2M 2013 GX 460 Expo
It starts on about post #47
I've been real pleased with it's location and especially the location of the mic. I've never liked mic's with hanging cords swinging around and this is very easy to get to.
 

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
Clever idea using the A pillar hand grip mount!
Not sure if you've seen how I have my Yaseu face plate and mic on my center console in my build thread.
Here is how I did mine: Builds - R2M 2013 GX 460 Expo
It starts on about post #47
I've been real pleased with it's location and especially the location of the mic. I've never liked mic's with hanging cords swinging around and this is very easy to get to.
Thanks! I saw that, but unfortunately the 2019s do not have the blank door there...the controls are exposed for the CD player, so not as easy or clean to cover them with the ham faceplate.
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
4,873
Location
SacTown!
Fantastic build!!! Very similar to what I want to do but I’m can’t get myself to do the cut....yet. Might do the winch behind the grill setup.

My somewhat near future plan is dual battery system and compressor. I can’t wait till the tires to wear out also so I can get some cooper discovery 3 tires, except they look almost new after 10k.
 

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
Fantastic build!!! Very similar to what I want to do but I’m can’t get myself to do the cut....yet. Might do the winch behind the grill setup.

My somewhat near future plan is dual battery system and compressor. I can’t wait till the tires to wear out also so I can get some cooper discovery 3 tires, except they look almost new after 10k.
Thanks! I will say the first cut to the bumper was kind of tough, but if I ever need to return to stock, I'll buy a used one from eBay. I did sell the OEM Fog lights for $700, so that eased the pain.

I am in the process of adding a mobile ham set-up and found that a 5/8" nmo through mount fits the existing bullbar tabs perfectly.

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r2m

Richard
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
1,559
Location
San Clemente, CA
Just looked at your phone mount again, noticed your steering wheel position and realized that you're probably an Aussie?
It didn't hit me until I saw your antenna mount. You guys like having the antenna mount up front on the bumper, while us Yank's like them in the rear or roof. ;)
 

r2m

Richard
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
1,559
Location
San Clemente, CA
Fantastic build!!! Very similar to what I want to do but I’m can’t get myself to do the cut....yet. Might do the winch behind the grill setup.

My somewhat near future plan is dual battery system and compressor. I can’t wait till the tires to wear out also so I can get some cooper discovery 3 tires, except they look almost new after 10k.
Unless there is someone that is now making dual battery mounts, you may want to talk to YotaMasters to see if they can make one for you. Albeit, you'll be relegated to the Odyssey PC1200 batteries (because they're small enough to fit both in the factory battery tray). The Slee compressor mount is great! It can handle any size ARB compressor. Not only does it operate both my front and rear lockers, but I have a quick release for tires and air tools. You can see how the setup is in my build thread. I won't bother with the link on account I know you know your way around this forum like the back of your hand! ;)
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
4,873
Location
SacTown!
Unless there is someone that is now making dual battery mounts, you may want to talk to YotaMasters to see if they can make one for you. Albeit, you'll be relegated to the Odyssey PC1200 batteries (because they're small enough to fit both in the factory battery tray). The Slee compressor mount is great! It can handle any size ARB compressor. Not only does it operate both my front and rear lockers, but I have a quick release for tires and air tools. You can see how the setup is in my build thread. I won't bother with the link on account I know you know your way around this forum like the back of your hand! ;)
I’m exploring the idea of mounting a battery in the cargo area and possibly under the driver side rear panel. I have similar setup on my 80 and it has been great but the 80 has a ton more rooms and I have the Wits’s end rear quarter panel mount. For the GX I’m thinking about using lithium batter due to its size and a small distribution/fuse block, Hope I find a way to get that to fit. Since the GX won’t be able to nor do I want to ever go 35 inch tires I think a good portable compressor would do...for now.
 

BMRisko

 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
145
Just looked at your phone mount again, noticed your steering wheel position and realized that you're probably an Aussie?
It didn't hit me until I saw your antenna mount. You guys like having the antenna mount up front on the bumper, while us Yank's like them in the rear or roof. ;)
LOL, what's up with my steering wheel position? That's just where it ends up w/ the easy exit feature. Also, we've spent a lot of time down under, but not from there. I don't really want a roof mount with my rack and parking garages and can't find a good solution in the rear yet due to our door opening. Luckily the Aussies did make good antenna mounts on the bullbar.
 

r2m

Richard
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
1,559
Location
San Clemente, CA
Boy, am I all wanked up! I think it's because I haven't had my second cup of coffee this morning! Yes, your steering wheel is on the correct side for us Yank's. My mind was focusing on the antenna mount.
My MetalTech rear bumper had a mount already located just behind the spare so that my HAM antenna is still low enough for parking garages, car washes, etc.
 
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