2009 Rubicon Unlimited JK Build

This page is dedicated to the build and the memory of my Silver 2009 Unlimited Rubicon. My name is Chris Vincent and this was my first Wrangler. After being an avid 4×4 enthusiast my whole life I purchased this Jeep brand new in November 2011 from a Chrysler dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona.

(Quick Side Note: I now own and drive a White 2005 LJ. Check out this build at 2005JeepWrangler.com along with similar info like this site.)

Listed below are the features that came with my 2009 Jeep when I bought it at the dealer. Not all of these items were stock.

  • Trim: Rubicon
  • Wheelbase: Unlimited
  • Color: Silver
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • Added Accessories (Dealer Add-ons):
    • Mopar Enhanced Rock Rails with Tubular Rub Rail
    • Mopar Off Road Front Bumper with Winch Mount
    • Mopar Steering & Sway Bar Disconnect Skid

The Dealer Negotiation

One of the key things I remember about buying my Jeep was the extensive and exhaustive dealer negotiation. I was not in need of the Jeep but rather wanted it and was willing to wait and haggle with the dealer for the best price. At the time I thought of it as sort of a challenge and was looking to beat the dealer down as much as possible.

After about a 2 week period of day in day out negotiation I was able to haggle the sticker price of $36K down to $31K without the dealer add-ons. My plan was to negotiate on this further when I made the appointment to have them taken off. I was able to, and I got those for a $200 discount off of retail value.

My Stock 2009 Rubicon Unlimited

My Jeep on Four Peaks Trail a few weeks after purchase


Modifications, Customizations & Accessories

What happened next was a complete obsession over my Jeep and in particular modding it, adding on parts/accessories and customizing it. From the minute I drove it off the dealer lot I became enthralled with the prospect of turning this 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon into the ultimate off-road camping/hunting/zombie apocalypse vehicle.

Listed below are the major modifications, parts, accessories and customizations added to the Jeep, including the total cost and time frame. In less than one year’s time I spent over $10K on my Jeep, with plans to spend more the following year.


Mods List

  • December 2008

    • WeatherTech Floor-mats – $260
    • Hi-Lift Jack & Recovery Gear – $220
    • Mopar Front Splash Guards – $35
    • Custom Grille Insert – $40
    • Mopar Door Sill Guards – $30
    • Mopar Front Grab Handles – $20
  • Q1 2009 (Jan-Mar)

    • Daystar 1.75in Front Spacer (Solve Front-end Rake) – $105
    • Bestop All Weather Trail Cover – $173
    • Marathon Seat Covers – $472
    • Mopar Floor Liner – $260
    • Hardtop Custom Storage – $50
  • April 2009

    • Light Bar Lamps (PIAA 520 ATP) – $202
    • CB Radio (Cobra 29 LTD BT) – $126
    • CB Mount, Coax, PA Speaker & 3FT Firestik – $140
  • May 2009

    • Jeep Pack Rear Seat Storage – $25
    • Front Bumper Lights (PIAA 540) – $160
    • License Plate Relocation – $20
    • Air Compressor – $65
    • PIAA 580 Windshield Mounted Lights – $293
    • 5FT Firestik & Flag – $71
    • Mopar Gas Cover – $101
    • Hi-Lift Mount – $45
    • Dynamat Line Speaker – $40
    • Jeep Towel Covers – $71
    • Rear Grab Handles – $19
    • Front Seat Back Storage – $70
    • Fire Extinguisher Holder – $26
  • June 2009

    • Warn XD9000i – $839
    • Winch Isolator – $35
    • Mopar Rear Bumper – $473
    • Rear Bumper D-rings – $40
  • July 2009

    • Rock Krawler 3.5″ w/ Pro Comp MX6 – $2,000
    • Blackout Headlight + Signal Guards – $40
    • 35 in Baja Claw Tires / 17″ XD Addicts – $2,500
    • Rugged Ridge Mirror Relocation Brackets – $45
    • Mopar Windshield Grab Handles – $16

Check out more photos of the Jeep in action at various stage during the build on the Wheeling Photos page.


The Fire That Destroyed It

A hot summer day in July of 2009, less than a year from the purchase date would prove to be the end of this Wrangler. I was riding home from Las Vegas on a 110 degree day. When I got home I parked my motorcycle next to my Jeep (directly next to the gas tank). What happened next is unknown but after hearing screams I ran outside to see my Jeep engulfed in flames.

Somehow the motorcycle had caught fire and spread to the Jeep, my roommate’s pop-up trailer and my neighbors van. The fire was so devastating that the Jeep was completely totaled, not to mention the motorcycle and trailer. The van on the opposite side of my Jeep did survive.


Lessons Learned

It is hard to summarize the impact of that fire on my life in this short post, however I can’t stress how monumental that event was at shaping the next 5 years of my life. It might be hard for non-Jeep owners to believe; but once I purchased that Jeep it became the sole focus of my existence. Literally I spent almost all of my free time and money on it.

Instead of balancing my time/money or investing it in something that is long lasting like myself; I was putting it into a material possession. The fire taught me that this was a poor choice as material things can be taken in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I have and enjoy material possessions today and have a decent build on my current Jeep; but the level of obsession is a lot more in line with how it should be.

My priorities were way out of whack. When the fire happened I was more concerned with my Jeep than the loved ones around me that could have been harmed. The monetary impact was a non-issue as insurance paid me for most of what I had invested; but what I couldn’t get back was the time I spent both physically and mentally on the project.

I needed to shift the focus onto investing into myself, something that cannot be taken away by anything or anyone.  I also learned from that experience that my life is short and you can’t wait around for things to come to you, when at any time things can end. I could have been on or near the bike when it caught fire and either maimed or killed.


The New Me

The whole experience turned out to be the most positive thing that could have ever happened to me. It spurred me to leave my corporate job and to start my own business. It also led me to start investing in myself and my own skill-set along with other things that can’t be taken away such as experiences and relationships with others. Without that fire I am not sure if I would have ever taken these steps.

You can learn more about me at 83CV.com

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