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Old 04-04-2012, 02:37 PM   #91
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Thanks Vinman. No major updates but here's what I've been up to:

Rebuilt the front track bar JJ


Slimmed-down gusset


Bolted up


I linked up the axle so that I could see where the tires actually sat and so that I could start to look at travel. Pinion is a bit high so I'll turn down the uppers or lengthen the lowers, we'll see. It was plenty good for a pretty accurate mockup













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Old 04-23-2012, 10:55 AM   #92
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Worked 9 hours straight yesterday. Frame mounts are burned in, axle is done and the upper link length has been determined. Funny how all of this wasn't even on my initial list a month ago.

For my first front suspension, this has been surprisingly easy. When starting from scratch, you've got to be conscience about the 'order of operations', ie what determines what.....so for those that are interested in doing something like this, I'll recap how I went about it. After the frame and axle were bare and clean, I first determined where I wanted to put the frame mounts. There's nothing scientific about it--I knew that I didn't want the arms to be too long and I really liked the length and placement of the rear mounts....so I mirrored them. I put the axle down under the frame and roughly centered/squared it and put it pretty close to full bump (used the track bar as a visual reference to help me here). I mocked up the axle mounts and measured 23" out to the frame, which put the frame brackets dead even with the back of the front side body mounts. I tacked one in and moved to the other side and tacked it in. I cross-measured from the skid plate bolt heads to make sure the mounts were even and I was within 1/32"....good enough.

So, the frame mounts define a couple things--the angle of the arms and the placement of the axle mounts. I was dumb and made the arms 1" too long to start out with so we'll skip that. What I should've done is just tacked the arms together. I bolted them up and swung them up to the axle with the axle mounts bolted up. That ensures that the mounts are in line and the joints are neutral. The frame brackets mount inboard of the frame and are at 10* and the Clayton brackets were in the 5-7* range so after a little grinding on the inside bracket, they were right and I tacked them up. My control arm bracket location defines the coil plate and track bar bracket location with these so I had to make sure that the locations would work, and they did very well. After I determined the angle of the coil brackets, I tacked those up and pulled the axle again. Lastly was the 1/2" steel bridge for the upper mount. Conveniently enough, it butted up right between the diff and short side link bracket so they are all tied in together. Throughout the day, I burned in the brackets slowly to avoid over-heating the housing and all went well.

I took this before much welding was done. Most items were just tacked.


After that step, I worked on the lower coil mounts, which required a little modifying to get the right width (37" center to center). I also got some new hardware for the bump stops (Currie) and welded the nut to the coil base plate so all I have to do is thread in one 7/16" bolt for the entire thing. By that time, it was quite heavy and was getting to be a PITA to throw back under but it had to be done to ensure the upper and lower bump pads were centered.....they were. :highfive:

So with it under there, at approx ride height, lowers and track bar bolted up, I determined where the upper would sit at both the frame and the axle--it will end up 1" longer than the lowers and will be angled about 10-15* from the frame inboard to the center of the diff. I made a cardboard template of the frame and axle mounts and cut them out of 3/8" plate.





And I called it a night. Next crappy pictures will come when the front is done.

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:09 AM   #93
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Don't mind the bowed coil, I moved the lower mounts a bit to get that taken care of. This weekend I spent hours and a whole lot of effort making minor changes and dealing with fractions of inches.....very annoying but needed and worthwhile. The front is together and cycles beautifully. The axle drops straight to the ground with no resistance, which is pretty fun. Full bump is perfect with the axle moved as far forward as I can get it.....and one also couldn't ask for an easier way of adjusting pinion angle/caster. RH/LH threads and one upper arm FTW.

I'm gonna have to address the shock mounts, since the lower location is a lot lower than stock but I'll worry about that after she's sat on the springs for a day or two. Speaking of the springs, the lower mounts are about 1" higher off the axle tube than stock so I spent a couple hours trimming here and there to get it to come down.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:10 PM   #94
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Great work, subscribed for what comes next
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:51 PM   #95
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Subscribed! Glad I found this before I succumbed to the LA trend. I've got a bone-stock 04 Rubicon I want to turn into a "daily driver rock rig" and I now plan to use a lot of what you have done with yours.

Great job so far and thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge!
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:51 PM   #96
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Glad to help, and I guess it's time for an update.

Frame is about done, rear bumper/xmember is about done, rear cage tie-ins/body mounts are done, and it's all plenty strong to support weight. I'll post detailed pictures of the frame when it's done......it's pretty darn cool if I do say so myself. Still need to setup the rear shock mounts, redo the front upper shock mounts, mock up the armor, paint, and tie up the odds and ends. Hopefully I'll be done in two weeks.

Side view sitting on all 4's


Snapped this tonight--you can see how high the rear bumper is


I know, terrible picture quality from the ol' Droid. Good pictures will come when she's presentable.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:23 PM   #97
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^ I was just going to say... I'm willing to buy you a new camera.

Sticking with the 35's or going with a 36-37"?
I like you plan of attack, but at that wheelbase the 35's seem to be a lot smaller.

Unless I over looked it.
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Old 07-11-2012, 01:07 PM   #98
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Well, are 35's too small on an LJ? Now subtract ~3" of wheelbase and all of the tub past the tires and add in a great suspension and a flat skid.

It never was and has never been the tire size holding me back. After this stint, this should be one hell of a wheeler and should drive even nicer than it did on before on the road, which is a nice byproduct. Just wait for the finished pictures, it won't look out of place at all. And I guess I should say that 37's are in the plans. It's just a matter of time. This thing is bullet-proof on 35's and even though I consciencely know that 37's are a little too big for the axles, I'd like to test that myself. There are plenty of guys that wheel hard and even compete on these same axles with no issues. But ideally, I'll be building another set of axles while doing that testing. The next set of tires will likely be 37" MTR's with 17" alloy beadlocks.

Got the wheel well cut:




Started painting this week--and you can see the modified Ford shock towers. Hacked off the stock ones and welded those up. Work like a charm.


The rear recovery mounts are welded up (not shown in above pictures) and I'm just waiting on the drive shaft to show up before I fully burn in the rear shock and sway bar link mounts. Also, TNT aluminum side tub panels and Savvy tub rub rails will be here by the end of the week.
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Old 07-11-2012, 05:41 PM   #99
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Nice rig!! like the LCG build, what kinda axles you running now, and u build the front trac bar yourself?
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:02 PM   #100
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Looking great man. Can't wait to see the finished product.

On a side note, go with the 37's AND the alloys...I know from experience dude. Don't put those heavy steel beadlocks on if you don't want to fight balancing issues. The 37's are awesome, the beadlock is great but the balance is awful.

Keep the updates coming. Great work!
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:44 AM   #101
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Nice rig!! like the LCG build, what kinda axles you running now, and u build the front trac bar yourself?
Rear Rubi 44, 1/2" steel bridge tied into the 1/4" diff cover with 5/16" plate for the link mounts, 4.88 gears in the stock carrier, Superior chromolly shafts. HP30 front, 4.88 gears, Aussie locker, sleeved with 1/4" wall DOM, 1/2" bridge, 3/8" link mount plate, modified brackets from Clayton all around, modified Rockcrusher diff cover (cut down for track bar clearance), Superior shafts and heat treated chromolly body u-joints. The track bar is a Currie 9120TJJ. I'll probably build my own track bar soon. Front suspension is 3 link using 2" x .25" wall DOM all around with 2.5" x 1.25" shank Currie JJ's at all ends. Links are about 23" long. Rear is triangulated 4 link with 2" x .25" wall DOM lowers and 1.5" .120" wall DOM uppers. 2.5" x 1.25" shank JJ's at the lowers and smaller 1" shank JJ's at the uppers. 23" lowers there as well.
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Looking great man. Can't wait to see the finished product.

On a side note, go with the 37's AND the alloys...I know from experience dude. Don't put those heavy steel beadlocks on if you don't want to fight balancing issues. The 37's are awesome, the beadlock is great but the balance is awful.

Keep the updates coming. Great work!
I ran steel wheels for a long time and have no intentions of going back. Alloys are the only wheel I'll buy, especially when it comes to beadlocks.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:09 AM   #102
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Awesome build, man. You have re-instilled my confidence in the survivability of my HP30's. I don't use nearly as much skinny pedal as you... I was worried about putting the 35's on my LJ but now I think I'll be alright with my ARB and alloy shafts. Hell, I've been running 33's on my MJ with the stock CAD HP30 with a Tru-Trac for a couple years now and I've had no problems, either. I spent some time at Ft Wood, MO a couple years ago and there was some good wheeling out there, always wanted to take a trip up to the badlands, never got a chance to though; looks like a good time. Good work and I'll be watching your progress!
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Old 07-12-2012, 02:49 PM   #103
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The HP30 is a stout little dude. We'll see how it holds up to the now-reduced backspacing but I'm not too worried. The housing is stiff as all hell--1/2" wall tube, 1/2" bridge tieing the diff and tubes together, 1/4" mounts--the gears have never given me an issue, chromo shafts, and out of all of the Superior u joints being tested right now, not one has been broken. So that just leaves the unit bearings and ball joints--those will be the 'weaknesses' but since I replace them annually I don't see it as a concern. I'm really not concerned with the axles but if there's one thing to worry about it's the stock Rubicon carrier. It's held up fine so far but if it goes, I've got to either decide on an ARB or a different route completely. I'll cross that bridge when I get there, but hopefully that's not for a while.
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Old 08-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #104
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Getting there....





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Old 08-02-2012, 02:03 PM   #105
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Your Jeep looks amazing! I wish I could get mine to look like that ha.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:07 PM   #106
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Nice build. It is very similar to where I am headed with my JK.

How many gallon fuel cell is that and can you actually use all of the fuel or does the pump sit up off the bottom? It looks shallower then the normal rci everyone uses.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:20 PM   #107
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It's a 15 gallon RCI 2162. It's 9" tall compared to the 12" tall 2161 that most guys run. I prefer the GenRight ring/2162 combo for the smaller height and ease of fuel pump removal vs. the flat ring/2161 that most guys run. The pump sits on the bottom. I see absolutely no reason to run the flat ring/2161 combo....it loses in every way.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:23 PM   #108
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Thanks. I picked up the genright ring for the 05+ tj's since they use the same pump as the JK. That tank looks to be about the perfect size for what I am looking to do.
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Old 08-02-2012, 05:35 PM   #109
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It absolutely is the best height dimension for that pump/ring combo. The pump will be fully compressed once screwed in so you're running as low of a cell as you can....and you'll get the benefit of the pump sitting on the bottom.
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:29 PM   #110
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Well, I didn't get much at all done over the last month--I was completely burnt out, busy moving, and just enjoying the end of summer. But I finally got back to work on Labor Day.

Here's some copy/paste from my build thread over on JF.

Put 7 hours into the Jeep today.....felt damn good to be back at it. Unfortunately most of that time was spent re-doing what I had already done.

I didn't like how I had done the C pillar frame tie-ins at first so I cut them off, cleaned up the frame and made some new ones. This looks much better, simpler, cleaner and makes me happy. Shock mounts will just be tube hoops with tabs, I'll have those ready to go soon.

Spent a lot of time cleaning up the garage and messing with a couple little things. Overall, I spent way too much time on the tie-ins but oh well, I'm happy with how they turned out.

Proof I worked on it


Both rear frame crossmembers are 1.75" DOM and are running through the frame. I just used a 1.75" hole saw. The forward crossmember also doubles as the thru-tube for the AntiRock and I wanted uniformity with the other crossmember. I chose the shock cutout area to add back stiffness and because it will look good. The crossmembers and the frame tie-in base barrels are all mounting to the vertical center of the frame for uniformity as well.

You could also consider the rear bumper to be a third crossmember since that's all it really is. It's a single piece of 2" x .25" wall DOM.

Here's a picture of the whole frame rail for you.


Updated rear suspension shot.


And front suspension--track bar numbers aren't perfect but everything else is accurate


If you look closely, you'll see that the front and rear lower links are mirror images of each other, as are their mounting locations. The front upper and rear uppers are also very close to symmetrical. So, the front and rear instant centers are close to being mirrored, as are the roll axis angles and heights. Not that any of that is necessary but it certainly won't hurt.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:02 PM   #111
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just looked at the first picture and the most recent one. wow has it come a long way. if you ever get bored of this one and wanna build up a yj id be more than willing to trade mine haha. really nice jeep man!
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:01 AM   #112
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Funny how little chit chat on this build compared to the JF one. This one looks like a real build, the rock crawling go cart looks like a Facebook wall!
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:19 PM   #113
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Funny how little chit chat on this build compared to the JF one. This one looks like a real build, the rock crawling go cart looks like a Facebook wall!
I know, right? Gets a little old at times but oh well.....lots of good guys over on JF. That place is just a tighter-knit community than this site.

Getting close to being done....been trying to figure out how I'm gonna do the rear upper shock mounts and where the rear AR sway bar will go and how I'll orient it all. I decided on frenching some towers into the frame for the shock mounts and the sway bar setup will just be uber slick.

All 4 springs in, tires on the ground--18.5" at the belly with almost 6" of up travel at all corners.


Look at those flat links--that's how you do it.


Decided to hook up fuel and battery before leaving and she fired right up......that was nice. If all goes as planned this weekend, she'll be rolling out of the garage for a test drive on Sunday evening.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:55 PM   #114
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Bout time, then its time to clean that garage.

Btw Con.. I mean imped, you should messed with your body mounts a little!
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #115
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Bout time, then its time to clean that garage.

Btw Con.. I mean imped, you should messed with your body mounts a little!
Raising those is on the short list duder.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:35 PM   #116
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Raising those is on the short list duder.
either way. It'd complete the setup.
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Old 10-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #117
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Let's see this one on the rocks! Looks excellent man.
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Old 10-04-2012, 04:47 PM   #118
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My tires and wheels are for sale. PM me if you're interested.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:21 PM   #119
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My tires and wheels are for sale. PM me if you're interested.
Oh shit..
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:50 PM   #120
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hoping that one day my jeep will be a quarter of what yours is. awesome build man!

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