2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Uberlanding Build

MattScott

Approved Vendor


I decided after writing about Jeeps, working on Jeeps, and traveling in really cool Jeeps for the last few years, it was probably time I bought a Jeep. So that's what I did about a month ago—and I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.

For the last few years I had been working full-time for Overland International, serving as their Digital Editor, in addition to living a pretty gnarly lifestyle, I had the stupendous luxury of driving a wide variety of test vehicles that I didn't have to pay the bill for. Consequently this allowed me to have a pretty huge variety of ridiculously impractical vehicles, including, but not limited to:

  • A 1971 Land Rover 109 Series IIa (affectionately named Ralph)
  • A Vespa 250 GTS (Because I wanted to piss-off dual sport riders, and because of Bruce Dorn...it was mainly Bruce)
  • A 2001 Kawasaki KLR650 (which was insanely boring, but reliable)
  • A 1971 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 (which had no doors, or roof which didn't work out so well when I moved to Chicago at the end of last year)
There was also a lifted Subaru WRX in there, which for the sake of time we won't talk about.

After taking a Field Editor position with Overland International, leaving Prescott, moving to Chicago, traveling a bunch more, and then moving back to Prescott, and then two weeks later moving to within steps of the ocean in California, while focusing on some different aspects of my career, I decided I was tired of driving a beat up used car. I also decided that I missed having a Wrangler and a J8 to drive whenever I felt like it.

It was time to grow up, put on my big boy pants, and get something reliable that I could travel in.



At first, I felt like an idiot for spending $40,000 on a Jeep Wrangler, but then I realized the vehicle I just purchased cruised down the highway at 80mph without complaint, and could also run the Rubicon Trail in stock form. At that moment, I realized all was well in the world.

I was able to spec a pretty specific Wrangler Unlimited. It doesn't have any of those fancy painted fenders, it doesn't have a painted hard top or a leather interior either. However, it does have the Rubicon package with a 6-speed manual transmission, the Max Tow package, and most importantly, Mopar slush mats. With a sticker of $37,275 before taxes, it was the cheapest Rubicon I could find in the entire Southwest. It's literally the bare-bones Rubicon, though it's still well-equipped.

So far, I really like it, I still can't stand the white interior of the hardtop that looks more like a Tupperware container than the inside of a vehicle, and the doors still feel like they're made of tin and they're a pain in the *** to close without slamming. The towing capacity isn't that great either. But I'm in love, and luckily I can modify this one without hurting anyone's feelings.

Stay tuned for some more updates, I have plenty of gear on the way for the vehicle, and some of it will be featured on Expedition Portal's front page.

You can check out my build plans, including the parts I want to use, the things I've purchased, and the my inspiration for what I'm thinking on Pinterest [link]

So far, it looks like the vehicle will be getting Pronghorn Bumpers, a Rigid SR2 Lightbar, a National Luna Dual Battery System, a MORE Off-Road Dual Battery Tray with 2 Optima Yellowtop batteries, an Insul-Liner kit, an Engel MT45 Fridge, and a full set of Maxtrax which will live on the spare tire.

I've learned to buy once, and cry once, so that's reflected in my product choices. I'm hoping to bring some value to this community that has done so much for me, so feel free to email me, PM me, or drop a message in this thread if I can be of any help, or if you have any questions about my Jeep, your Jeep, or why I'm installing this over that.

I'm located in Shell Beach, California so if you're in the area, passing through, or ever need a hand, drop me a line and I'll try to help.

 

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sseaman

Adventurer
Mine looks identical minus the Rubicon package, I also like the black flares and top on the silver


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My buddy bought one of those and after a couple days they had to take it back to the dealer for service, the dealer said they "it needed a software update" an took them 3 days to do. They then traded-in their brand new jeep because the materialistic wife wanted a new beamer. sad!
 

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MattScott

Approved Vendor
My buddy bought one of those and after a couple days they had to take it back to the dealer for service, the dealer said they "it needed a software update" an took them 3 days to do. They then traded-in their brand new jeep because the materialistic wife wanted a new beamer. sad!
Weird!
 

sseaman

Adventurer
I added black headliner panels in the hard top and that helps break up the white plastic look.


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MattScott

Approved Vendor


I've realized that most of the times when I've needed to recover the vehicle I'm driving, I probably didn't need a winch, I just needed a little bit of grip to get me out of a sticky situation. MAXTRAX have often been the solution to my problem, whether I had them at the time or not. With my new build, naturally, the first modification I made was MAXTRAX. I opted to get two sets of them, along with the rear tire carrier.

I had used one of the prototype MAXTRAX harnesses before they hit the market officially, and I really liked them, and honestly saw few if any defects. The production version added a useful silicone mat that rests between the tire and the recovery devices to ensure there's no wear on your wheels or tires. They're held on pretty well by the two ratchet straps, so I doubt you'd see any abrasion to begin with, but it's that attention to detail that separates MAXTRAX from the dozens of ****ty Chinese-made knock-offs.

Living just down the street from Pismo Dunes, I'll surely made use of them.















 

Dan Grec

Expedition Leader
Hey Matt,

Nice Rubicon! I can't wait to see what you do with it and where you go! So close to Baja. Man, I could use some Baja right about now (everything's still frozen solid up here).

I'm been wondering about mounting options for the MaxTrax, and I'm hoping you can get a shot for me.
I've often thought about putting them on the side of the vehicle, at the back, just over the rear flare essentially.
I'm wondering if they're so wide they'll cover the rear window, or (more likely) so long they'll cover part of the rear door.

Any chance you can prop one there and take a quick shot for me?

Thanks!
-Dan
 

MattScott

Approved Vendor
Hey Matt,

Nice Rubicon! I can't wait to see what you do with it and where you go! So close to Baja. Man, I could use some Baja right about now (everything's still frozen solid up here).

I'm been wondering about mounting options for the MaxTrax, and I'm hoping you can get a shot for me.
I've often thought about putting them on the side of the vehicle, at the back, just over the rear flare essentially.
I'm wondering if they're so wide they'll cover the rear window, or (more likely) so long they'll cover part of the rear door.

Any chance you can prop one there and take a quick shot for me?

Thanks!
-Dan
That's a pretty interesting idea, I'll get you a picture, but I need to wait until my buddy Benjy gets here as I can't hold them and take a photo at the same time.

I think the biggest problem will be the swingaway tire on the passenger's side, and the fuel filler on the driver's side.

If you mounted them "on" the fender, as low as they'd go, they would stick up and inch or two above the start of the glass.
 

toxicity_27

Adventurer
If you don't mind me asking why did you choose the MORE battery tray? The strap scares me personally and that's the main reason when funds allow I'm going to go with the Genesis tray. Just want to see if there's something I may be missing.
 

dstock

Explorer
Nice Choice!! You can see why I would agree:



I have the MORE tray and NL setup, works great, strap has not been an issue.



Mounted the controller here:



Congrats on your purchase and if you have any questions feel free to ask!
 

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MattScott

Approved Vendor
If you don't mind me asking why did you choose the MORE battery tray? The strap scares me personally and that's the main reason when funds allow I'm going to go with the Genesis tray. Just want to see if there's something I may be missing.
I went with the MORE battery tray because I wanted to use National Luna's dual battery kit with the in-cab monitoring. I also know Paul from Equipt Expedition Outfitters, and I wanted to support him.

The Genesis tray looks great though, very innovative.
 

GHI

Adventurer
Congratulations to you and this is great news for me. I'm gonna have to hack into my wife's Pinterest account and have her follow you so she can get used to the fact her next vehicle is a Rubicon. On another note, I was close to posting a new thread as to how everyone keeps track of all the cool things they come across. Thanks, perfect timing.
 
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