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  • Metalcloak Gamechanger install and thoughts and first 200 miles of driving!

    Over the last week my Rubicon has undergone some significant changes, the most important being the installation of Metalcloak's Gamechanger 3.5 inch suspension lift with 6-pack shocks. The Gamechanger offered me 14" of wheel shock travel in a bolt on system - which is unheard of and unmatched as far as I know. Anyway. I thought I'd share some pictures of my install process here and there. Extensive testing and off-road use will follow, but this is day one of having it on the road. Just had to share!

    Here is Jesse's girl pulling into the bay preparing to lose some parts!



    This is the Gamechanger 3.5 inch system's components



    Wheels off, and stock axle coming down!

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Metalcloak Gamechanger install and thoughts and first 200 miles of driving! started by Snarf77 View original post
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      I'll be going through and sanding the finish off of the skull surface on the diff cover to bare metal, then using some chemicals to get a brown/red rust patina. Then I'll spray clear over the rusty skull! That's sure to add at least 10 horsepower.

      Seriously though. What are people doing about replacing the steering stabilizer? Does the stock one hold up well with 37s?
    1. JeepLab's Avatar
      JeepLab -
      Quote Originally Posted by Snarf77 View Post
      Seriously though. What are people doing about replacing the steering stabilizer? Does the stock one hold up well with 37s?
      Black Betty's components have been dealing with extra horsepower for the last 10k miles, and 37s for the last 4k. She still wears the stock steering stabilizer.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      I have to think about the pinch seam sooner than later with these 37s too. Probably should start a new thread when I get to that.
    1. Rexx19's Avatar
      Rexx19 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Snarf77 View Post
      I have to think about the pinch seam sooner than later with these 37s too. Probably should start a new thread when I get to that.
      Bring out the JB WELD! and make sure not to get moisture in that hole when cut them.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rexx19 View Post
      Bring out the JB WELD! and make sure not to get moisture in that hole when cut them.

      Good idea. I'll be sure to do the work indoors and maybe hit it with the heat gun first to ensure I didn't get any water in the open space. JB weld to seal it all up then paint. Should be good to go.
    1. JeepLab's Avatar
      JeepLab -
      I did this recently.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      So I put another 90 minutes of highway driving on Jesse's girl, at speed. I have to say now that the gamechanger lift actually handles better than stock. Mainly in the body roll arena. Its much more level around turns than I would have thought considering how much taller she is. Tomorrow I'll begin the fender installation process.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Having just had Jessee's girl xpel wrapped, I'm actually delaying the install a couple days. I was doing some thinking about how the bolts may affect the xpel when I crank them down on the exoskin. I'm thinking that if I don't do something to separate the xpel from the turning bolt, that I'll twist the xpel wrap under the bolt head.

      Attachment 466

      I went ahead and ordered some 1/64 thick low friction PTFE washers to put under each bolt head, and also in between the exoskin and the rivet nuts that are all over the side of the jeep. The are far from flush and I'm thinking the daily vibration of driving would eventually cause the rivet nut wear through the finish and begin the corrosion process in between the OEM body and the inside of the exoskin. Overkill? Maybe, but other than time, its will only cost a couple bucks in washers.

      Attachment 465
    1. JeepLab's Avatar
      JeepLab -
      Quote Originally Posted by Snarf77 View Post
      Having just had Jessee's girl xpel wrapped, I'm actually delaying the install a couple days. I was doing some thinking about how the bolts may affect the xpel when I crank them down on the exoskin. I'm thinking that if I don't do something to separate the xpel from the turning bolt, that I'll twist the xpel wrap under the bolt head.

      Attachment 466

      I went ahead and ordered some 1/64 thick low friction PTFE washers to put under each bolt head, and also in between the exoskin and the rivet nuts that are all over the side of the jeep. The are far from flush and I'm thinking the daily vibration of driving would eventually cause the rivet nut wear through the finish and begin the corrosion process in between the OEM body and the inside of the exoskin. Overkill? Maybe, but other than time, its will only cost a couple bucks in washers.

      Attachment 465
      This move is brilliant. I have twisted the wrap when someone who didnt know what they were doing tightend my flare on. Im planning to replace the whole section of wrap in that area because it drives me nuts.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      The whole process worked out pretty well. I was able to get both rear exoskin pieces installed after work today. Probably about 3 hours to do them both. With the rivet nuts, you have to spend some time getting every single bolt lined up, then there are aluminum stand offs that have to get installed and various complication. I have a rather large hand and you have to wind your hand down into the fender through the tail light area to get some nuts and bolts tightened, and then get a wrench in there to keep it from spinning. All said and done, it turned out well. Once the exoskin installs, the fenders/flares take only a couple minutes to pop on.

      Attachment 469

      Finished:

      Attachment 470

      Now I have to get my fender wells lined and do the fronts tomorrow and Thursday!
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      To anyone attempting to do the exoskin install I highly recommend getting every single bolt in and threaded before fully tightening any single bolt. If you don't there is a good chance one of them won't get started and you'll have to back them all out anyway! Start tightening in the middle and work your way out and down.
    1. Pznivy's Avatar
      Pznivy -
      what did you seal the nut certs into the body with? some kind of glue right?
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pznivy View Post
      what did you seal the nut certs into the body with? some kind of glue right?
      The nutserts crimp themselves onto the body as you mount them. I painted the inside of the drilled holes and each hole was an EXACT fit, 17/32nds. The tighter the hole, the better the rivet nut would grab onto the body. It takes a LOT of force to install a 3/8 16 rivet nut!
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Its been a crazy busy few nights trying to knock out these fenders and fender liners. The first fender took me almost 3 hours to knock out. Partially because I got mostly done with one then had to remove it to enlarge some previously drilled holes. Ugh. The second one only took about an hour. Adding to the delay was me being extremely careful not to bang up the jeep or fenders. I'd rather do that on the trail!

      Attachment 514

      The driver's side metalcloak aluminum wheel wells and splash guards went in pretty well. You have to drill through the front body mount to add in a stand-off for structural fender support. That was a nightmare as I assume my bit was not super premium. Took quite a while to drill a small hole, and then enlarge it to the require 3/8". Once done, it looks nice and protects most everything!
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Got the passenger side done in less than half the the time. Turns out the 2012 has a new wiring harness right on the firewall that doesn't allow installation of the rear fender well piece directly. I went on metalcloakinstructions.com (a new forum for issues) and it appears I have to remove the harness and re-mount it a bit higher in the body to clear the aluminum wheel well. I'll get to that another day, but before I go driving through puddles.

      Attachment 515

      Just can't squeeze it in there. The hole in the picture below is supposed to be about 2 inches to the left!

      Attachment 516

      Passenger side fender and front splash guard installed!

      Attachment 517
    1. Pete's Avatar
      Pete -
      Did you change drive shafts?
    1. Rexx19's Avatar
      Rexx19 -
      I truly do not like the dark cherry color, but this jeep is very well done. I can't wait to see the finished product.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Pete. I didn't Chang the shafts just yet. They aren't making any noise and I figured I let the front get close to failure before replacing. I did have to add spacers to the exhaust to clear the front driveshaft boot. The angles are a bit harsh with this much lift so I will 100% have to replace them.
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rexx19 View Post
      I truly do not like the dark cherry color, but this jeep is very well done. I can't wait to see the finished product.
      Deep cherry wasn't my first choice. I wanted a very specific package of which 3 were available within 300 miles. The other two were colors I didn't want! But to each his own!
    1. Snarf77's Avatar
      Snarf77 -
      Had my rear wheel wells plasti-dip coated by a local shop that does this type of work. He'll do a whole car in custom colors and finishes (pearl, metalflake, etc) so matte black in the wheel wells was a simple operation.

      Attachment 538

      He did the fronts too..just the visibly red portions not covered by my aluminum fender liners.

      Attachment 539
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