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Introduction..... Project PearlJ
January 25, 2017

Sometimes, the things we find are not things we are searching for at all. They just, kind of, happen. And so I present Project PearlJ - my 2005 low mileage Jeep TJ Wrangler. I was not looking to get a white TJ, but when I came across this one I quickly realized it checked off all the boxes for me. This will be a Jeep build-up project using non-drill quality parts that I feel are the best possible options from my years of experience here at Quadratec. Project PearlJ will not be a trail build - more of a 'mall crawler' that I'll use to take to shows or events throughout the year. I have other vehicle options for wheeling, many of you probably do as well, so Project PearlJ will be a perfect build-up demonstration of what things you can add to your vehicle, while keeping it clean and manageable.

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When I first started looking at buying another Jeep TJ (for those who know me, yes, my third Wrangler), I knew I wanted a certain year and level of options. I also knew I wanted to modify the vehicle, but not to the extent I've done in the past.

See, I've loved these vehicles since I was a teenager, when my first vehicle was a 1997 Wrangler TJ. I eventually totaled that one and quickly purchased another TJ - this time a 1999 - and went modifying crazy on it, to the point where it was no longer fun to drive back and forth to work. So I ended up purchasing a 2004 Grand Cherokee Limited as a daily driver, and gradually lost interest in the '99 Sahara until I eventually sold it to a good home.

A couple of years went by and I started looking at my dream Jeep vehicle, a 2010 SRT Grand Cherokee which most of you can appreciate. I purchased it used and with low mileage, so gone went the '04 Limited and in came that vicious modification cycle again. However, I didn't want to keep putting mileage on this Jeep because the SRTs are so limited, and the miles per gallon (obviously) was not great.

So what to do? Well, I decided to purchase a 2001 XJ Cherokee from a co-worker, and begin yet another build process so I could daily drive this one, as well as take it off road. After a couple years of doing just that, I eventually sold it and replaced with a 2016 Ram 2500 Diesel for a tow rig because I knew I wanted to drive the SRT at the race track more often, and then build up another Jeep down the road.

This brings me back to Project PearlJ.

Like I said, I wasn't searching for a white TJ specifically, but I knew I wanted something other than black and I wanted it with some sort of forced induction because, well, why not? Right? I also wanted the installation to be a very easy, plug and play, type. So, I decided to narrow the search to 2005-2006 Wranglers because you can re-flash the PCM using a handheld tuner. Other important features for me were a six-speed manual transmission, Dana 44 rear axle with the disc brake option, and a seven speaker sound system with sub-woofer. A hard top was a plus, but not a must.

I stumbled across the TJ which would become Project PearlJ, while surfing the internet. And while white, again, was not my first color choice, I quickly grew to like the Jeep. For a vehicle over a decade old, the mileage was only an astonishing 22,000 - with a price that reflected it, unfortunately. So I contacted the seller, and we emailed back and forth to make sure the TJ had all the options I wanted. When we talked on the phone, he told me "this is the cleanest Jeep you will ever find. I'm the second owner and I purchased it with only 4,700 miles from a local dealership. It has been garage kept, never saw rain, drove it one time in the snow and didn't like it because of the short wheelbase. It's a secondary toy I keep for use on weekends."

The seller sounded older, so I figured the Jeep was not beat up. I met him the following weekend with my truck and trailer, looked around the Jeep, and could not load it on the trailer fast enough. This thing was super clean; like brand new clean. Seats, interior, both hard and soft tops. All in perfect condition. Then we came to the frame, which was the best part. As we all know, Jeep frames like to rust away because there are no drain holes on TJ models. Well, this 2005 TJ's frame looked showroom new - not a spot of rust anywhere - and it even still had the dealer-performed body undercoating. Finally, the Jeep even had a rare 'MOPAR Performance Cat-Back Exhaust' which he was not aware of. I could not let this Jeep just sit around any longer. I had to have it. He even still had all the OEM speakers, radio, and fog lamps to give me which told me this guy was very particular and that I could trust him. Of course, I tried to negotiate a better deal, but the seller knew what he had. I made the deal and took Project PearlJ home.

After much debate whether to cut this thing up and wheel it, or just modify it and keep to pavement use, I decided on the latter. I didn't want to build this thing up and then realize it wasn't fun, or that I no longer had interest. Plus, the TJ was just too clean and would get ruined as a trail vehicle. Especially for what I paid. So, getting back to what I said in the opener, Project PearlJ will utilize a 'Mall Crawler' build. Basically, I want to make a really clean, solid, and powerful Jeep that I can take to various shows and gatherings during the year. I have no intent on wheeling it, or driving over snow-salted roads, because I really don't have that need. I have my Dodge Ram for those things. And I think many of you may be looking for a similar set up.

I'll hand pick what I feel are the best quality parts we have to accomplish this goal, and we'll get them on the vehicle so you can see how they look. One requirement for the products I have is no drilling onto the body. It just makes things easier for everyone. With that said, on to Part 1...

Part 1: We need more power!
January 31, 2017

 

When I started looking for forced induction, I knew I wanted to have a bolt-on product with no required exhaust modifications. I am a huge Turbocharger fan, but my SRT already has one, so I decided to try a supercharger for Project PearlJ. The only choice was obvious to me - a Sprintex Twin Screw unit. I didn't want a centrifugal-style charger because they take time to build up boost and are more for top-end power like a turbocharger. The Sprintex twin screw is designed perfectly, has great drive-ability, as well as low end power which is exactly what you want in a Jeep!

The Sprintex unit was definitely an easy install, and no harder than replacing your throttle body, fuel injectors and serpentine belt. It also has room to expand on other areas under the hood, which we're definitely planning to show you for Stage 2. I added the Design Engineering Fuel Rail and Injector cover kit, just for piece of mind and to prevent any dreaded misfire codes. Since I was already changing the fuel injectors, I felt now was the perfect time.

The parts used in this video were:
Part 2: Air Intake, Throttle Body & Oil Catch Can
February 10, 2017

 

So back under the hood we go in the quest for more ponies, yes its a wrangler but we all know everything with horsepower is more fun. Going into the supercharger installation i knew that the OEM intake system was a huge restriction so an air intake was a must but i was limited on choices because the Sprintex supercharger uses the OEM filter box. The AIRAID intake system however not designed for my 2005 Wrangler i knew would bolt right up to the fender and sprintex intake tube. In 2005 Jeep moved the air intake temperature sensor from the intake manifold to the intake tube. In doing this they also moved the valve cover breather tube from the intake tube to the air box lid. So the AIRAID intake would not have a port to hook that back up, no big deal. I knew this could easily be resolved just by installing a valve cover breather filter, which also looks pretty cool, so i went to who else but K&N Filters.

I am a big fan of the larger throttle bodies. In my past experience they provide huge acceleration gains and easier to maintain highway speeds. With the supercharger it would just be an added bonus because it could suck in even more a volume of air and have very little restriction. Painless Performance provided a completely new 62MM billet aluminum unit. I wasn't really a big fan of others that use a stock one and just bore it out, plus just looking at it you cant even tell that it's an aftermarket unit.

Oil catch can was a MUST, even in naturally aspirated form. They keep oil blow by from getting in your intake tract, clogging valve seats, and creating carbon build up. This was very important to me considering the supercharger will be sucking vapor from the valve cover even more now. I did not want to clog up the supercharger, intake and or loose octane rating.

The parts used in this video were:
Adding a Teraflex Slip Yoke Elminator, 2WD Low Range & Tom Woods Driveshaft
March 20, 2017

So knowing that I was going to be lifting PearlJ I decided to take care of the required drive line modifications first. I turned to Teraflex because that is the suspension i'm going to be using. A slip yoke eliminator is normally required on lifts 2" and above unless you want to run a transfer case drop kit which I did not want to do especially because mine is a manual transmission. The manual transmission jeeps with a t-case drop kit always have issues shifting into reverse gear which can be a pain. The 4wd linkage also can be clunky and pop out of gear. So I wanted to keep the stock belly pan in the same location and the Teraflex SYE and Tom Woods CV Driveshaft was the obvious solution for me. Tom Woods has been building driveshafts for over 20 years and that's all he does, so choosing Tom was pretty obvious. I have always used his brand with great results. They include quality, greasable 1310 u-joints, double cardan constant velocity joints and installation hardware. Tom also has all the measurements figured out already so there is no vehicle down time after installation trying to measure for a custom shaft length.

I knew since I was doing the SYE it would be the perfect time to add a Teraflex 2WD Low Range Kit. Do you really need this, no but I was in there already and it just made sense to me. The benefits of 2WD Low range is you can still be in low range while eliminating drivetrain bind in 3 point or standard turns. Also if you don't really need 4WD you can still crawl in 2 wheel drive which i like to do. It can be more fun and challenging as well.

For more information check out the How To Install a TeraFlex Slip Yoke Eliminator & 2WD Low Range on a NP231 Transfer Case article.

Part 3: Advance Adapters 4WD Cable Shifter
March 31, 2017

 

Today we take a look at the Advance Adapters cable shifter installation and a look back at what's been done to PearlJ since the last time we had it in the shop.

The parts used in this video were:
AirAir Intake Filter Wrap
April 28, 2017

Keeping the Air Filter clean is a must on any vehicle. Most of the time you can't prevent it from getting dirty unless you have an aftermarket air intake system such as the AIRAID version i am running on PearlJ. I have tried intake filter wraps in the past with very good results. They are made from a durable water resistant polyester material, which is a huge benefit in the off roading world. The pre-filter helps to provide longer service intervals for the washable air filter without sacrificing air flow and power loss.

The parts used in this Entry were:
Air Fuel Ratio Gauge
May 05, 2017

Making sure your engine is running and tuned properly is very important especially once you start adding modifications such as a supercharger. I am a huge Innovate Motorsports fan and have been using this brand on my Jeep® SRT for many years with great luck. I turned to them again for a new "all in one" PowerSafe Boost & Air/Fuel Ratio Gauge. I turned to Autometer for the mounting solution. They have a Omni-Pod Low Profile Mounting Cup which was perfect for me because it required no drilling. The low profile cup mounts easily to any surface using double sided tape.

The parts used in this Entry were:
Daystar Do Not Flash
May 05, 2017

Just in case anyone was using a OBDII scanner or the Jeep® happened to be in the dealership for any service i wanted to make sure no one flashes the PCM by mistake. The Daystar® Do Not Flash OBDII Plug is the perfect solution. I chose Red so it was easily noticed.

The parts used in this Entry were:
Kicker Speaker Upgrade
May 08, 2017

The original Infinity® speakers that came in PearlJ were really good for a factory sound system but as we know it can always be better. I have been using Kicker Branded subwoofers for man years so i figured id give these a shot. Installation was really straight forward all you really need is a Phillips head screwdriver. I also decided to protect the back of the open dash front speakers with a set of Boom Mat™ Speaker Baffles. The baffles keep moisture and dust out not to mention they enhance sound quality by making the speaker think its in a sealed enclosure.

The parts used in this Entry were:
Part 4: Wrangler Power Products Dual Battery Tray Installation and Updates
July 31, 2017
Hellwig Products Rear Sway Bar
September 25, 2017

Being a Wrangler I know they aren't supposed to handle turns like a sports car would but i was sure there was room for improvement. I decided to try the Hellwig Products Rear Adjustable Sway Bar. The bar is made from 3/4" chromolly and powder coated a nice gray hammer tone finish. It comes with new sway bar clamps, polyurethane bushings and grease to keep the bushings quiet for you. The sway bar greatly reduced body roll in the turns and side to side on highway, even helped the Jeep stay flatter when breaking. Best part of all is the sway bar is fully adjustable. All you have to do is move the links to each hole to suit your needs. My findings were all done in the center hole, neutral position. I highly recommend this product.

The parts used in this Entry were:
Part 5: Suspension Upgrade, Wheels & Tires
April 19, 2018