The Pioneering Spirit's Expedition JKU Build - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-20-2015, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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The Pioneering Spirit's Expedition JKU Build

In preparation for our upcoming trip from South Africa to Morocco, we are building our '07 JKU . Our goals are increased durability and improved reliability. To that end, we have sent the Jeep to Bruiser Conversions for a Cummins 4BT among other changes. Full Build Sheet is below.

Though we do have a couple of gear sponsors, the goal of this post is not advertising or marketing for anyone. Brand names are included for the items on the build sheet so people know the details of our build.

I spent a lot of time researching prior to choosing a 4BT Jeep for the trip. With gasoline less available than diesel, and the diesel they do have is not the low sulfur, clean diesel we have here in the states, the 4BT is a great choice as it can handle a wider variety of fuel "qualities" than newer engines. On top of that, it is the only platform I have found that has a proven track record of working in the JK. I have heard of Mercedes and VW diesels installed into Wranglers, but not with nearly the frequency and success of the 4BT. I am always excited to discuss the Jeep, the parts and services we chose, and learn more about how to make this Jeep a reliable and durable vehicle to get us through our journey.

Bruiser should start on their part just after the first of the year, unless we get lucky and a spot opens up in the shop earlier than that. Given the timeline from Bruiser, we should get the Jeep in mid February and drive it home to Oregon as a shakedown trip. We will have a few items to add after we get home. Once here and complete, we will ship the Jeep to South Africa and start exploring. Check out the trip, and our prep thus far, at www.thepioneeringspirit.com.

Started With:
Pronghorn Overland Gear MFES-JK C1
Warn 9.5 XP-S Winch
Gobi Rack Roof Rack
Road Shower Solar Hot Water System
Bundutec Bunduawn 3-Side Awning
HiLift Jack
Shovel
JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 LED Headlights
JW Speaker 6145 LED Fog Lights
Mac's Custom Tie Downs Black Box Cargo Drawer
Bartact Seat Covers w/Mil-Spec PALS Webbing
Drake Off-Road Turnbuckle Hood Tie-Downs
Bolt Hood Lock
Daystar Upper Dash Panel Organizer Tray
Jeep Rubber Floor Mats
Blue Ridge Overland Gear Expedition Organizers
Jeep JKU Attic
JK Door Handle Pouches
JK Grab Handle Pouch
JK Headrest Panel and IFAK Bag

Bruiser will add:
Cummins 4BT conversion
Moderate power increase, ~150 HP, ~400 ft-lbs torque
NV4500 Transmission
Transmission case breather extension to raise level of transmission case breather, with large gauge hose
A-Pilar Gauge Group
EGT Gauge
Engine Oil Pressure Gauge
Lift Pump Low Pressure warning light and alarm
Rubicon Transfer Case (4:1 Low Range)
Transfer case breather extension to raise level of transfer case breather, with large gauge hose
Ultimate Dana 60 Rear Axle
4.88 Gearing
Eaton E-Locker
Axle case breather extensions to raise level of axle case breathers, with large gauge hose
New Drive Shaft to fit Larger Axle, Retain Stock U-Joint Sizing
New Parking Break Cable to fit Larger Axle
Ultimate Dana 60 Front Axle
4.88 Gearing
Eaton E-Locker
Install axle case breather extensions to raise level of axle case breathers, with large gauge hose
New Drive Shaft to fit Larger Axle, Retain Stock U-Joint Sizing
Larger master cylinder for brakes, due to larger rotors on the new axles
Gen Right JK 20 Gallon Dual Gas Tank
Rock Hard Sport Cage
Snorkel, with cyclone dust separator
Metal Cloak Overland "Elite" Suspension, 2.5", RockSport Edition
Currie Anti Rock sway bar
ARB CKMTA12 Dual air compressor
Braided Stainless air lines run to both front and rear bumper
Genesis Off Road Dual Battery Tray
G-Button included
Optima Red Top for cranking battery
Optima Yellow Top for accessory battery
Heavy gauge lines run to front and rear bumper with Anderson plug, for winch and trailer power
Convert trailer lights plug to South African standard trailer plug to rear bumper.
S-Pod 8 switch solid state power control module.
Front and rear lockers wired to S-Pod
Compressor wired to S-Pod
Wire in electric fan shut off switch to S-Pod
Hutchinson Rock Monster Wheels, to fit axles above (silver color for Chevy HD Trucks per Rock Monster web site)
BF Goodrich T/A KO2 tires, 35X12.50R17
Include spare (total: 5 wheels & tires)
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 08:53 AM
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Thats some list man I like . Dont take this the wrong way by why the wimpy tires?
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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I chose those tires due to the fact that our trip will be mostly on roads, bad roads, but roads of some sort. As such, ATs are the best choice. If this were a dedicated off-roader, I would pick a more aggressive tire, but as an overland rig, these will do just fine.

Truth be told, I really want to stick to 33's, but Eaton doesn't have a locker/carrier to allow for the gearing that would make that feasible with these Dana 60s. The axles don't take standard Dana 60 carriers, and are new enough that no one else is making a carrier/locker for 4.10 and down (numerically) gearing, so I compromised and will run 4.88 and 35" tires.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsek29 View Post
I chose those tires due to the fact that our trip will be mostly on roads, bad roads, but roads of some sort. As such, ATs are the best choice. If this were a dedicated off-roader, I would pick a more aggressive tire, but as an overland rig, these will do just fine.

Truth be told, I really want to stick to 33's, but Eaton doesn't have a locker/carrier to allow for the gearing that would make that feasible with these Dana 60s. The axles don't take standard Dana 60 carriers, and are new enough that no one else is making a carrier/locker for 4.10 and down (numerically) gearing, so I compromised and will run 4.88 and 35" tires.
All good man just figured since your running 60s geared and locked front and rear you'd be taking on the rocks a bit. Those are some serious mods for a street queen and bit overkill for an undersized 35" AT tire. That money could be used for more useful mods to fit your needs. Just my 2 cents
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-22-2015, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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No worries, I'm always glad to discuss the Jeep. I don't know if I'd call it a street queen, we're driving through Africa, from South Africa to Morocco. Between 30k and 60k miles, where Jeeps are rare. If we were just staying in the States, I would have been fine with 44s. Since parts and knowledgable mechanical support will be hard to come by, so I overbuilt to minimize any chances of breakdown.

In short, you're right, I could have saved some $$ on lighter duty components. I didn't because of where our trip will take us. I don't want to tear up a R&P in the middle of Africa, we'd never get replacements. I would rather spend the money now and not break down later than go cheap now and lose more money, and time, on the road. Plus, we will tow a camp trailer through the trip further stressing the need for sturdy running gear.

Check out our trip at www.thepioneeringspirit.com
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-29-2015, 12:35 PM
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Wow very nice build sheet, looks like you've put a lot of thought into it!
Bruiser has done a few of our dual battery kits, but I don't recall if one of them went into a 4BT JK. If they run into any fitment issues, let me know. I have other options that could work for you. Also, I see you're running on board air. I am about to launch a new digital air pressure sensor as an optional add-on for the G Screen that I think you'll like. More info on that coming soon. Good luck on your build and on the trip, sounds epic! -Shane


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post #7 of 14 Old 12-30-2015, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!

Shane,

Thanks for reaching out to us. I spent most of a year researching this build, down to the little details. im glad that others find it as fantastic as I do.

I will keep you posted on the progress of the build, and will for sure reach out to you should the Bruiser team run into any snags with your Dual Battery Kit. As for the air pressure gauge option, I'd love to take it out and test it for you. Care to sponsor us? I'll send you a PM on the air pressure gauge.

Check out more details of our upcoming African trip at www.thepioneeringspirit.com

Jared
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-30-2016, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Update with Photo

Bruiser has the lift on it, axles swapped, Currie Anti-Rock installed, and new wheels and tires on our Jeep. They also gave it a good wash before pulling it into the engine shop to install the 4BT.


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Pretty, right?

Last edited by jsek29; 01-31-2016 at 01:52 AM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-17-2016, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Power train going in!

The Cummins 4BT, NV 4500, and Rubicon transfer case are installed!


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post #10 of 14 Old 05-01-2016, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Some more photos of our build from Bruiser

[IMG][/IMG]
Installing a sportcage for additional safety on our trip.

[IMG][/IMG]
Sitting tall on our MetalCloak lift.

[IMG][/IMG]
They make it look like it came off the assembly line with a Diesel engine.
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post #11 of 14 Old 05-02-2016, 07:22 AM
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Looking great!
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post #12 of 14 Old 05-09-2016, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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We finally got the call from Bruiser, it was time to book tickets to fly to Florida and pick up our Jeep! The guys at Bruiser offered to pick us up at the airport, which they did, in our Jeep. It was quite a thrill to see our Jeep, in it's new form, come around the corner at the Tampa airport. We could hardly believe it was the same Jeep we had loaded onto a truck the week of Christmas. It sits taller, with a wider, more stable stance. On the ride to the Bruiser shop, we both commented about how it now rides better than stock. Thanks to MetalCloak's Overland Elite lift kit. We also noted how it had more body roll than we wanted, more on that later. The other thing we noticed on that first ride was how the engine noise was relatively quiet. Sure, the stock engine was more quiet, but the Cummins was still tolerable, especially at a cruise.



Once at the shop, we got a quick tour of our Jeep before taking the keys. Dave showed us the work they had done, both inside and underneath. We got to see the custom fabbed air box, how the 4BT fit into the engine bay, where the air chucks are located, and how the drivetrain fit. As it was nearly 7 PM, and we had to get across the bay to our home for the next couple of days, we took our leave with the plan to return the next day to meet the team and go over the build with the head mechanic.

On our way to the shop the next day, we stopped and bought a fire extinguisher, thinking we would mount it on the front seat while at Bruiser. As we pulled into the store, we saw a spot next to another JKU, in stock trim. We parked next to it and took a couple of photos, for comparison's sake. Side by side, the difference seems both drastic and fairly small at the same time. It's only lifted a couple of inches, and the tires are only a few inches bigger, but it all adds up to a majorly different stance.



We got to Bruiser's shop just after lunch and met with Todd, the chief mechanic. We covered some of the outstanding work to finish on the Jeep with him. While the mechanics worked on these items, Todd went over part numbers and fluid recommendations with us, so we know how to maintain our new baby. We got to hang out at the shop and watch the guys finish some of the last items on our Jeep. They put back the stock rear bumper as our next rear bumper isn't ready yet. They installed the radiator fan shut off, so we can cross deep water without tam aging the fan, and ran power for a winch to the rear of the Jeep. We also called Metal Cloak about the body roll and learned that their lift kit is engineered to work with the stock anti sway bars. I let them know that we could not re-install the stock rear anti sway bar, since the GenRight rear fuel tank was in the way. They said to reinstall the stock front anti sway bar and see what happened with the Currie rear Antirock bar. They thought that we might even want to disconnect that as it is much stiffer than the stock unit. Bruiser reinstalled the stock front bar and the difference was incredible. The body roll was now gone, or at least back to stock levels. The Currie unit is nice, but too flexible for use with our lift kit.




Late in the afternoon, Jeff Garland, owner of Bruiser Conversions, and Jeff's Jeep Yard, rolled in the the JK Supercab Pick-Up and talked to us about our build, about his sweet CJ-6 sitting in the shop, and even helped us put on some decals! Everything was finished in a couple of days, so we loaded the spare tire on top, thanks again to MetalCloak for their Overland Fenders which I can stand on, and hit the road. Over the next 2 weeks, we drove nearly 5000 miles from Florida to New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Lax Vegas, Bend, and finally home in the Portland area.



On the way home, we stopped at Pronghorn Overland Gear to get our radiator guard installed. We also discussed some of the things they a re working on for our trip, but more on that when we get those things mounted to the Jeep!



We finally got to take the Jeep offroad in Bend. We met Jen's cousin at China Hat and played in the OHV area. It is amazing what the Jeep can do. In 4 Low, 2nd gear, it idled up and over everything I pointed it at, and down the same hills and obstacles without running away. Compression breaking is amazing with the Diesel engine and the Rubicon transfer case. These will definitely come in handy in Africa!



After driving it across the country, and some around home, we love the conversion. On the open road, it drives like a dream. Anything over 40 MPH has you in 5th gear anyway, so you pick a speed and hold your foot in it. Small throttle modulation are all that is needed for climbing hills, passing, or descents. While cruising, the engine noise is only slightly higher than stock, with wind noise from the roof rack louder than the engine. I have come up with some observations on how it drives.
Never use first gear, it is just too low.
Even second is little more than an excuse to get to third.
Starting at an intersection in second, I am shifting to third halfway across the intersection.
Third is good for neighborhoods, or getting to 4th.
Anything over 25 MPH is done in 4th gear.
4th and 5th gears are the two most used gears.
It is most comfortable between 60 and 65, with 70 within reach but really used for passing.
The ride is smooth and just a bit better than stock. It soaks up potholes and frost heave without jostling the occupants at all.

Off road, it is a beast! While it won't win any races, it will get where ever you point it, letting nothing stand in it's way. Throttle control is super smooth and easy, allowing for minor modulation to get over any obstacle with ease. Up or down hill at an idle is easily achievable. My father in law put it best when he said "I don't think you will need a winch on this! Take one just in case, but you will probably only need it to pull other people out." I think he is right, it just crawls over rocks and out of holes with ease.

It also gets a lot attention! People constantly ask us about it in parking lots and give us thumbs up on the road. When they hear it, or realize it is a diesel, they get really curious! We have met countless people who want to know all about it and how we got a diesel Wrangler. I even saw one guy stick his phone out of his window at a stoplight to snap a photo of our Jeep waiting for the light to change.
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post #13 of 14 Old 05-10-2016, 04:48 PM
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I'm glad to see it's all coming together for you!

If not for the People's Republic of Kalifornia smog regulations, I'd seriously consider a 4BT swap, so consider me officially jealous!

What kind of fuel economy (MPG) are you getting with the diesel?

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post #14 of 14 Old 05-10-2016, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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We got between 16 and 19 mpg on the way back to OR from FL. THAT IS WITH 4.88 diffs, a 35 x 12.50 spare tire strapped to the roof and us babying it. We've gotten looser with the revs, getting up to 2500, or just short of 70 mph in 5th. We routinely get over 500 miles out of about 30 gallons of diesel.
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