New Commander Project: Operation UTAH - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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New Commander Project: Operation UTAH

So, I've never been very active in the group here, but I wanted to post up a project I have currently underway. First, some backstory. I got my first XK, a used 06 Limited 4.7 with QDII with 58K miles back in 2009 with illusions of creating an extreme overland vehicle. Alas, life, money, job, wife, other commitments, and mayhem all conspired to keep my XK pretty much stock and limited to mild trail use and hitting the beaches in the OBX. Fast forward to November 2016 and I now have 142K on the Commander and have to make some serious decisions regarding spending a whole bunch of money on it to keep it going or go over to the dark side and get a JK Rubi. I like the Commander, by that I mean I SERIOUSLY LIKE it and decided while a Rubi would be fun, it's not going to be what I want, so Project UTAH was born.

I looked at the the old XK and started planning; wheels, lift, tires, suspension, winches, armor, steel bumpers, power adders, and added up all the stuff and made a budget. The one little issue I kept coming back to was getting more power from the 4.7, I always wished that I had gotten a Hemi. After talking to engine builders, looking at turbos, superchargers, engine swaps, all kinds of crap, and still not coming up with anything good and reliable I was ready to kick the whole plan in the garbage. Then the wife, who is obviously waaaay smarter than I, looks at me and my tons of papers, notes, and assorted detritus, says "Why don't you just buy one with a hemi, build it the way you want, then sell the old one dumbass?"...well maybe she didn't actually say "dumbass" but it was very strongly implied. Trying to find a Limited Hemi with QDII AND fit in my budget wasn't easy as she made it sound, but I eventually got a "new" Commander. Now the project is underway, and if anyone is interested, I'll post up the individual sub-builds and reviews of everything as it goes together.

Vehicle
06 Commander Limited, Hemi, QDII, Deep Beryl Green/Saddle interior, tow hooks, skid plates

Suspension
CB Engineering 2.5"(adjustable) Coil over lift kit (Fox remote reservoir shocks/Eibach springs)
CB Engineering Upper and Lower rear control arms
CB Engineering Heim joint steering tie rod ends
Rocky Road Outfitters UCAs
Rocky Road Outfitters adjustable track bar
JKS QD sway bar links (rear)
ProComp Series 29 La Paz machined wheels, 17x8.5, 4.5 bs
Nitto Ridge Grappler 265/70/17

Amor
JBA 4xGuard Matrix Bumper (full kit)
JBA 4xGuard Rock sliders
JBA 4xGuard Rear sliders
JBA 4xGuard Belly Guard
Steel Armadillo wheel well guards (both sides)
Color matched LineX front and rear bumpers, fender flares, and lower 1/4 of all doors

Performance
HemiPros Reman 5.7L (3yr/36K warranty)
aFe CAI
Magnaflow catted Y pipe and full exhaust
Diablosport Intune i2 programmer
Nitro 4.11 gears
Drilled/slotted rotors

Offroad Accessories
Smittybilt 10K X20 Gen 2 Winch w/synthetic line & Factor55 FlatLink
Smittybilt 2" reciever winch cradle
Warn front and rear QD winch power connectors
PIAA 520 ATP lights
Smittybilt Defender safari rack w/Smittybilt mounts
PoisonSpyder spare tire strap
HiLift jack w/rack mount
Smittybilt 6.5' awning
Garmin eTrex 20x GPS
Viair compressor
Lots of other little bits

Project UTAH is budgeted sub $20K for everything, including the Commander, and when completed it will be going on a two week overland tour of Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase/Escalante national parks and then some wheeling at Moab. I'll be updating as the Project progresses!
lekmedm and luckyse7ens like this.

06 Limited QDII
No Name 2.5" leveling lift
AEM CAI
ProComp Series 29 17x8.5 wheels, 265/70r17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers

.45ACP...because shooting twice is just, well, silly.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 02:15 AM
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That sounds wonderful! consider this if it isn't too late. I saw your "hemipros reman engine" up there, and I don't know what they're charging you, but I urge you to look into "Promar engines" they are legit, as that's where I got my SRT8 from. But I didn't find them until LONG after I went through someone else who used them, so basically he was a middleman and I didn't know, and turns out, Promar's prices are FAR better than anyone else I could even locate on my own for a long block. I already looked it up for you, and they've got your hemi for $3000 remanufactured.


Edit: Out of curiosity looked up the SRT from them and It's $3800 If you'd want to go that route, and being that you've already got a hemi it'd be a relatively simple swap, plus they may give a partial core refund for your 5.7.... please go this route. lol.
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Last edited by SkulhunterM42; 01-06-2017 at 02:19 AM. Reason: Added information
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, trust and believe I've thought about making my 5.7 into a 392! I skipped right over the 6.1, because if you're going to do it, go big right? I was under the impression that the SRT engine would not bolt up to the non-SRT transmission. I know there's issues with the exhaust, but a decent exhaust shop (or even me and my mig welder on a really good day) could work around the exhaust. I even considered Arrington Perfomance crate engines and/or their 392 stroker kit. That route just turned out to be cost prohibitive. As for HemiPros, I can get the Commander to them down in Elon, NC and 4-5 days later they'll have done a complete reman swap for ~$3600 out the door and that includes the warranty. If I could find someone to install a 6.4L or 392 stroker in a 5.7L for around $5-6K out the door with a warranty, I would be screaming "shut up and take my money" at them!!!

06 Limited QDII
No Name 2.5" leveling lift
AEM CAI
ProComp Series 29 17x8.5 wheels, 265/70r17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers

.45ACP...because shooting twice is just, well, silly.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickTheMick View Post
So, I've never been very active in the group here, but I wanted to post up a project I have currently underway. First, some backstory. I got my first XK, a used 06 Limited 4.7 with QDII with 58K miles back in 2009 with illusions of creating an extreme overland vehicle. Alas, life, money, job, wife, other commitments, and mayhem all conspired to keep my XK pretty much stock and limited to mild trail use and hitting the beaches in the OBX. Fast forward to November 2016 and I now have 142K on the Commander and have to make some serious decisions regarding spending a whole bunch of money on it to keep it going or go over to the dark side and get a JK Rubi. I like the Commander, by that I mean I SERIOUSLY LIKE it and decided while a Rubi would be fun, it's not going to be what I want, so Project UTAH was born.

I looked at the the old XK and started planning; wheels, lift, tires, suspension, winches, armor, steel bumpers, power adders, and added up all the stuff and made a budget. The one little issue I kept coming back to was getting more power from the 4.7, I always wished that I had gotten a Hemi. After talking to engine builders, looking at turbos, superchargers, engine swaps, all kinds of crap, and still not coming up with anything good and reliable I was ready to kick the whole plan in the garbage. Then the wife, who is obviously waaaay smarter than I, looks at me and my tons of papers, notes, and assorted detritus, says "Why don't you just buy one with a hemi, build it the way you want, then sell the old one dumbass?"...well maybe she didn't actually say "dumbass" but it was very strongly implied. Trying to find a Limited Hemi with QDII AND fit in my budget wasn't easy as she made it sound, but I eventually got a "new" Commander. Now the project is underway, and if anyone is interested, I'll post up the individual sub-builds and reviews of everything as it goes together.

Vehicle
06 Commander Limited, Hemi, QDII, Deep Beryl Green/Saddle interior, tow hooks, skid plates

Suspension
CB Engineering 2.5"(adjustable) Coil over lift kit (Fox remote reservoir shocks/Eibach springs)
CB Engineering Upper and Lower rear control arms
CB Engineering Heim joint steering tie rod ends
Rocky Road Outfitters UCAs
Rocky Road Outfitters adjustable track bar
JKS QD sway bar links (rear)
ProComp Series 29 La Paz machined wheels, 17x8.5, 4.5 bs
Nitto Ridge Grappler 265/70/17

Amor
JBA 4xGuard Matrix Bumper (full kit)
JBA 4xGuard Rock sliders
JBA 4xGuard Rear sliders
JBA 4xGuard Belly Guard
Steel Armadillo wheel well guards (both sides)
Color matched LineX front and rear bumpers, fender flares, and lower 1/4 of all doors

Performance
HemiPros Reman 5.7L (3yr/36K warranty)
aFe CAI
Magnaflow catted Y pipe and full exhaust
Diablosport Intune i2 programmer
Nitro 4.11 gears
Drilled/slotted rotors

Offroad Accessories
Smittybilt 10K X20 Gen 2 Winch w/synthetic line & Factor55 FlatLink
Smittybilt 2" reciever winch cradle
Warn front and rear QD winch power connectors
PIAA 520 ATP lights
Smittybilt Defender safari rack w/Smittybilt mounts
PoisonSpyder spare tire strap
HiLift jack w/rack mount
Smittybilt 6.5' awning
Garmin eTrex 20x GPS
Viair compressor
Lots of other little bits

Project UTAH is budgeted sub $20K for everything, including the Commander, and when completed it will be going on a two week overland tour of Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase/Escalante national parks and then some wheeling at Moab. I'll be updating as the Project progresses!
So, I just want to understand this:

You wound up buying an 06 XK with a Hemi.

The parts you listed are parts you already have?

Or parts you are going to buy for your new XK?


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Last edited by Big Blue; 01-06-2017 at 12:13 PM.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, bought another Commander with the Hemi. The CB Engineering suspension has been bought, waiting on delivery. The 4xGuard parts, minus the belly guard/rock rails have been installed. Wheels and tires are being transferred to the "new" Commander from the "old" Commander when the lift is installed. Almost everything else has been ordered, just waiting on delivery. I am going to do most of the work in the garage, but I will definitely not tackle the gears myself. Engine work will be completed when I can fit it into the schedule. I know, "pictures or it didn't happen", right?? LOL!!

06 Limited QDII
No Name 2.5" leveling lift
AEM CAI
ProComp Series 29 17x8.5 wheels, 265/70r17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers

.45ACP...because shooting twice is just, well, silly.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickTheMick View Post
Yes, bought another Commander with the Hemi. The CB Engineering suspension has been bought, waiting on delivery. The 4xGuard parts, minus the belly guard/rock rails have been installed. Wheels and tires are being transferred to the "new" Commander from the "old" Commander when the lift is installed. Almost everything else has been ordered, just waiting on delivery. I am going to do most of the work in the garage, but I will definitely not tackle the gears myself. Engine work will be completed when I can fit it into the schedule. I know, "pictures or it didn't happen", right?? LOL!!
So most of what you listed is what you have ordered and you're waiting for the parts other than belly guard & rock rails and you're transferring the rims and tires from your old Commander.

I have Steel Armadillo super rock-sliders on my to-do list, along with JBA upper control arms & ball joints and a WAM custom front bumper with a hidden winch when I go home in April.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 01-06-2017 at 05:11 PM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Congrats, you've read everything correctly.

Again, if anyone wants a how to guide, pics, or info on the quality/appearance/installation of any of the parts I'm putting on the Jeep, let me know. That was my intent with the post. Iknow lots of owners don't want to be the Guinea pig on aftermarket parts/mods. If I can encourage someone to improve their Commander by posting some of the build, that's what I'm offering. If no one wants the info or review, no worries. I know there were parts I was interested but I couldn't find anyone that had any experience with the part and I was very hesitant to buy something that was an "unknown". Hopefully, I can add to the knowledge base. Cheers.

06 Limited QDII
No Name 2.5" leveling lift
AEM CAI
ProComp Series 29 17x8.5 wheels, 265/70r17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers

.45ACP...because shooting twice is just, well, silly.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickTheMick View Post
Congrats, you've read everything correctly.

Again, if anyone wants a how to guide, pics, or info on the quality/appearance/installation of any of the parts I'm putting on the Jeep, let me know. That was my intent with the post. Iknow lots of owners don't want to be the Guinea pig on aftermarket parts/mods. If I can encourage someone to improve their Commander by posting some of the build, that's what I'm offering. If no one wants the info or review, no worries. I know there were parts I was interested but I couldn't find anyone that had any experience with the part and I was very hesitant to buy something that was an "unknown". Hopefully, I can add to the knowledge base. Cheers.
Looking forward to seeing the build Rick and the transformation of your XK.

Post as much of your build & pics as you can, you can never have too much knowledge around here, the more the better.


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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RickTheMick View Post
Oh, trust and believe I've thought about making my 5.7 into a 392! I skipped right over the 6.1, because if you're going to do it, go big right? I was under the impression that the SRT engine would not bolt up to the non-SRT transmission. I know there's issues with the exhaust, but a decent exhaust shop (or even me and my mig welder on a really good day) could work around the exhaust. I even considered Arrington Perfomance crate engines and/or their 392 stroker kit. That route just turned out to be cost prohibitive. As for HemiPros, I can get the Commander to them down in Elon, NC and 4-5 days later they'll have done a complete reman swap for ~$3600 out the door and that includes the warranty. If I could find someone to install a 6.4L or 392 stroker in a 5.7L for around $5-6K out the door with a warranty, I would be screaming "shut up and take my money" at them!!!
So that is totally not true, my SRT8 engine is currently bolted to the 545RFE transmission found in 4.7 and 5.7 commanders, just not to anything else because I can't seem to get the motor mounts JUST right. The cool thing about it is that SRT8 models normally have the Mercedes Nag1 transmission which has a separate TCM. Anything with the 545RFE transmission, the TCM is built into the ECU, SO! a simple 6.1 tune on the 5.7 ECU will allow you to run the engine and the transmission without some severely complicated situation between the 2 or losing all your dash info or any other major inconvenience that comes with an engine swap into a late model vehicle that normally doesn't come with it. The 5.7 wiring harness is also either 99% correct or 100% correct for the SRT8 engine as well, but I haven't quite gotten that far yet, it was just conflicting things that I've heard, and since there's really not many people that have done this...
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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That could be very good news. As I said, I'm no expert with computer controlled engines, I'm totally comfortable with an old pushrod V-8. I know I will not be able to do the engine swap in my garage (Height limitations) so I'd have to farm out the swap. I know the newer engines have issues if you don't have the complete set of EVERYTHING or the CANBUS will not be able to control the components. Most of the shops I talked to were quickly exceeding my self imposed budget limit for this project. Any tech info you have would be greatly appreciated.
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