Big Tuna Presents: Pegasus Rising

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BigTuna117

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Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
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1813

Hello Friends!
I'll be making a few rather long summarized posts of previous work to my rig. I also have a buld thread at OffroadPassport : http://offroadpassport.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3365
The reason I'm linking it is because I will probably miss a few things summarizing the build so far. If you have any questions about anything that I've done with the rig, feel free to ask, or check out the other build thread. I plan to keep both active and updated.
Cheers!
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

All right, so in early 2012 I bought a white Grand Cherokee WJ to replace an old Grand Cherokee ZJ that had been rear ended. It had been meticulously cared for by a couple who had originally bought it as a vehicle to tow behind their MotorHome. It was a bit too heavy for their tastes, and was eventually phased out for a lighter vehicle. It sat in their garage for several years before they sold it to me. I bought it with 45,000 Miles on the odo. They scraped all the tow equipment out of it, dropped it on some new Big O Bigfoot A/Ts and changed the fluids, and promptly handed the Keys over. They were the original owners, and had equipped it with a 2" Budget Boost, Rancho RS series shocks, and a Westin Safari Bar. I kept it like this for a long time. In Fact, it wasn't until 2013 that I first rolled it off the pavement. It is likely that that was the first time in the vehicle's lifetime it had even been off graded road.

Little modifications were made here and there, Head unit changed, speakers replaced. Eventually the stock Rezeppa-rezeppa front driveshaft died, and I converted the rig over to a double-cardan/ujoint driveshaft. Good choice. The... more regular DC/U driveshaft is quieter, more durable, and handles better.

It wasn't until November of 2013, when Northern Arizona University's 4x4 club invited me on a run of Backway to Crown King, that I really caught the 4x4 bug. It's not only the challenge and the incredible places you find, but also the people you meet, that make these trips so memorable. The trip was plagued by 5 days of rain in the week before, which caused the normally dry trail to be absolutely saturated in mud. This is still one of the most memorable trips I have ever been on:

IMAGE00035 copy.jpg

Also, here's the video from that:

 
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BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

It was at that point that the formal "build" of my vehicle began. That trip changed my perspective on what I wanted the vehicle to be. Ideas started to form on what I wanted the vehicle to become.
Basic additions were made, CB radio added, a few tweaks here and there before my 2nd trip. Slightly more technical, some of the trails in Sedona. I don't remember which ones, unfortunately.

DSCN0056.JPG

At this point, not a whole lot had changed from before, and this is ok. I was still getting a feel for the rig, and as she was she was extremely capable. I really began to network with people and made some good friends in the group. A few months later, I had the opportunity to drive down to Flagstaff to volunteer at Overland Expo 2014. I bought my Rola rack used from a buddy of mine. I also learned a lot about what Overlanding was, and found that the community as a whole was very friendly.

IMG_20140518_165215.jpg

(note: I don't know these people, haha)

It was camping when I found out one of the other WJ owner was planning on further lifting his rig, and he offered to sell his IRO 3" lift with bilsteins to me. It was an easy acceptance. The Jeep's shocks and trackbar were pretty well worn at this point, and even the used lift made (and still makes) one heck of a difference in how it rides. Shortly after the lift, she got a set of BFG Rugged Terrains at 265/70/16 (30.6"). The ride difference was Huge, and the overall ability of the vehicle was much improved, both on and off road. And it was then she became PEGASUS, named after the Battlestar of the same name.

Then, I got to test out the new setup at Crown King again in November 2014. It was much improved, and once again, quite memorable. It was also the shakedown run for my MK.I tablet setup, which B A R E L Y functioned for music and Maps. It did it's job well enough though, lol

20141122_103712.jpg
(Blurry action shot!)
 
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BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

In January of last year (2015) I began the MK.II Tablet setup, using a bolt-in mount and a Samsung Galaxy Tab|Pro 10.1".
PANO_20150108_153320.jpg

This tablet is MUCH more efficient than it's predecessor, and even though it's now nearly three generations old, it's still a beast for 4x4 ops. It is very very power efficient, and uses a dual-quad-core CPU setup that allows one quad core to utilize basic functions while the other performs the more advanced. Because of this, and newer specs, GPS is very accurate, refreshes fast, and renders quickly. All of this with music being streamed to the Head Unit via bluetooth. It still is a beast of a tablet. And, thanks to a few of Samsung's (now improved) software changes, you can even dual-screen apps to fit more info on at once!
20150108_153936_BEST.jpg
 
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BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

Around this time, I was also receiving parts for my next big install, a T-Max dual battery system. This would be utilized in future refits and upgrades. as far as isolator solenoid systems go, it is the least expensive "Smart" system available. Because the second battery was to be in the tire carrier hole, I upgraded the wiring from the 6AWG it comes with, to 0AWG, with 250AMP fuses at each battery, as a failsafe. It's a handy system that has served me well, and has already paid for itself on more than one occasion.

I also pulled the inner plastic fenders out, and re-painted down in the wheel wells. what a difference that makes!
 

BigTuna117

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Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

In March, I got to go to the legendary wheeling town of Moab. This trip really pushed everyone's rigs to the limit, and really showed us our weak spots.


Even doing some of the harder trails, such as Golden Spike, Pegasus faithfully carried on. She took no major damage, except for the Safari Bar, which got mangled in a literal sense, and had to be removed before I could drive home.


Oh, and here's the video from that:
 
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BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

I then started getting some side to side wobble from the Jeep. Time to start replacing Bushings and control arms!
Certainly worthwhile.

I replaced the upper front control arms with Core 4x4 Fab's adjustables & poly bushings. The axle bushings got replaced too, for Ruske Poly bushings.

I also installed rock lights around this time, using bolt- type LEDs from Amazon. They were very inexpensive, waterproof, and very durable thus far.
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

This is the part of the build where things take an... interesting turn. I replaced the Jeep's stock, dying infinity amp with a Rockford Fosgate Punch 300x4 Supercompact 300watt amp. With the doors powered by the amp, I had the dash running off of the Head Unit. I still had 2 channels not being used... I thought, what the heck? I should find a pair of pod style speakers and fit them in the Jeep so that they can be rotated around and used for tailgating or camping! I bought a pair of beat up, used Bose Acoustimass cubes and fitted them in such a manner in the Jeep.


... Oh! I know what they need!


A fresh coat of paint should do the trick!


Mounted, and movable with force.

This brought the Jeep up to 8.1 Channels. Very excessive. At least it sounds good!
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

Then after a long, adventure with Offroad Passport to Safford, AZ, and Mt. Graham,

DSCN0473.JPG
(Pictures at 9,000Ft!)

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(coming down the mountain)
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(tablet in non-nav mode, working well!)

Anyways, after an adventurous trip, Pegasus got herself a pair of Quick Disconnects for the front sway bar!
 
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BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813



Getting into shenanigans with NAU 4x4 in my neck of the woods made me realize that I should probably invest in more armor. I already had IRO's super-beefy T-case skid installed, but the V8 WJ's have a Dana 44 variant, the 44a, in the rear. this version uses a mushy aluminum center housing. One good pokey rock and *pop* goes the diff cover! No bueno.
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

Meanwhile, my Headlights were foggy and useless, and the bulbs were failing. I made the decision to upgrade to a projector style assembly, and try to convert all bulbs (including high and low beam) to LED. Normally the projector style assemblies are for HID bulbs, but the idea of re-directing light is the same. I used Spyder Auto's LED Halo assemblies

Halogen bulbs, still.


Old vs. new.

Overall I think that the outcome was worth it.
 
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BigTuna117

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Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

Now, you've seen on other pictures that I had my spare up on the rack. Truth is, I hated it up there I HATED it up there. It's difficult to get to, and could be really dangerous if it ever got loose. For Christmas I received a Fabcore tire carrier. I paired it with a JKS license plate mount to keep it DOT approved.
 

BigTuna117

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Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

So, shortly after, I set off on one of the most nerve racking mods I've ever done. Trimming, and folding the fenders. Oh boy. Quite a 2 day job. First you cut relief cuts, then bend 'em in carefully. Then you seal them in, which helps make the fender rigid again, and paint the bare metal.


Here's what she looked like completed. Disregard the giant pile of metal on the ground.

 

BigTuna117

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Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

My 44a skit arrived! I did something Cheeky to it:


Now, you are probably thinking, "Why would you do such a thing?" It's actually something of a joke I'm going to play on NAU 4x4 when we go to Moab in a few weeks. Someone always sicks a GoPro in "The Wedgie" on Poison Spider Mesa, and you get a shot like this:


So this year, someones gonna get a good laugh when they check their footage.
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

No we are to only recently. I began the crusade to relocate the washer fluid bottle. On WJs, it dangles down in the wheel well, asking to get messed up or ripped off completely. I know in Utah last year I pulled the pumps out of the bottle by flexing, so it would be wise to relocate the bottle someplace safe. On newer WJs, the EVAP Canister is in the back, but on the first ones it's in the engine bay, so I have to work around that, too. So I set off the make the air intake system smaller and more compact.



I used a Spectre Canister filter with their "Modular" components to make room.


It even fits onto the stock "Snorkel" (if you really want to call it that...)

And retrofitted the pumps and sensor to the new bottle, a Doorman universal coolant tank, (Doorman 603-001) With the coolant line epoxied up.
 

BigTuna117

Rank V
Member

Member II

2,306
Fort Mohave/Bullhead City, AZ
Member #

1813

I am working on getting all of the marker lights moved over to LED. Hopefully that'll be done sometime tomorrow.

I was finishing up my taillights, converting them over to LED, adding the resistor to the blinker circuit... or so I thought.



You see those 3 wires sticking out of the bottom of the assembly? Those aren't stock. Normally, there is a "blank area" on the bottom of the WJ's tail lights. Back in this rigs towing days, these bulbs acted as brake and blinker lights. I decided, since it was there, and this rig will never be towed again, it makes sense to utilize these as part of the standard brake lights. I spliced 'em in and got them new bulbs.


It looks nice!



Looks good!
 

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