Ok so this is what Im starting with.
1999 TJ Sport I6 auto 4wd Soft top.
Front Axle D30.
Rear Axle D35 Limited slip.
Gear Ratio Factory 3.73s.
Suspension has 1 3/4" spacers on F/R.
29" BFG TAs on 15" trailer wheels.
Goodies= air conditioner doesnt work. No Freeon.
Window Rain Guards, broken and snapped in places.
Sway bar Quick Disconnects installed in front, minus hangers?
Haha Im going to put a disclaimer at the start of this build with a couple of key things to point out. 1 I have absolutly no mechanical experience before this build. 2 Very limited resources and help (pretty much myself and little tid bits here and there from other people) 3. VERY LIMITED TOOLS. 4 VERY LIMITED SKILLS. 5. Im from the south... we're nuts, so when u look at something Im doing or did and wonder why... Thats why. So without futher a-due lets get started.
The first thing Im doing is adding an SYE to the Transfer case and putting a tom woods premium drive shaft thats extendable from 2"s of lift to 6"s of lift. Im putting this on because I have some pretty annoying vibrations that the shop said is coming from my driveling. The 2"s of lift on my jeep is doing this Sounds about right. First pic is of the spacers, secound is of the SYE and Driveline after installed. The shop put those on, also relocated my track bar. Didnt bother to turn my wheel back to normal. Thank you shop for that annoyance, because I had no idea how to fix that.
Still havent done anything other then drive it around town. It gets good gas milage right now. Im trying to get it a little more trail ready and there was a guy at the shop who was selling a used front bumper and winch plate that had a bent guard for 100 bucks... So I got it from him and had the place to put a winch so I might as well get one. Dont wanna make the bumper and plate feel stupid without a winch to hold . I bought a Smittybilt XRC8 winch and put it on. The winch took me about 2 hours to put on because I put it on the plate first, bolted one side down tightened the bolts and then tried to do the other side...bad Idea. So then I put them all in before tightening. Worked alot better, except I then had to put all the wireing on while it was jammed against the front grill. Fun times. Ended up wireing it backwards to were in was out and out was in. So of course I had to do it all over again. But heres the end result. I then got annoyed with the rust on it, so I took it all off again and bent the guard back, then grinded it down (after buying my first grinder) and painted it with black rattlecan bed liner. 1st pic is before second is after the touch ups. Looks much better after.
Im still worried about this thing getting beat up and me being stranded on the trail if anything breaks on the trail. I called a guy on craigslist and took a chance on him making me some skid plates for $300 total including parts and labor. All were made out of 3/8" steel. Got him to make me a Trans/oil skid that bolts into the transfercase skid and with an extension up to the right upper control arm mount. Pretty cool I must say. Also made me a radiator skid, and Rock sliders. All outta the 3/8" Steel and some tubing. For 300 bucks I figure I cant go wrong. Oil/trans skid first pic. Second radiator skid. Third Rock sliders.
Finally got to go on a trail with it. Went to the Battlement Mesa Resiviors at the top of Battlement mountain. Not many people seem to go on that trail, for some reason people either dont know about it or they just dont like it. I love it. My very first trail started like this. 50ft from the start of the trail, my front right shock exploded on the very first rock I touched because I hadnt switched out my shocks for longer ones to handle the lift. Joy. You can see the start of the trail, me under the jeep, and my disapointment. haha. I then had to take off my front shocks, then I found out that my rubber bump stops wherent in. So I had to flex the coils enough to jam them through the coils, I took off my front sway bar connects at this point. Got those in and forgot about the sway bar links. Bounciest ride ever. Kept swaying for about 4hrs straight, with no shocks to slow it down. Gf was pissed at me, and we were both sick. Everytime I hit a rock I would make this face like OWWW thats gonna be expensive. My g/f kept looking at me wierd and then said the words, and I qoute "Why are u being such a bi**h? Most people like hearing that sound offroading." So with that knowledge I now know Im a hesitant driver and deffinatly a crawler, not a momentum driver on trails. They just said forget it and they go about 5-10mph and just slam into the obstacle to get over it. Pretty funny to watch but somehow it works, theyve done it through moab jeep safari for 5 years now doing poison spider and trails kinda like that, no lockers, just a ZJ with a 3"lift and 31s. How this thing stays together is beyond me, Ive named it the battle of the rattle. But it keeps winning the battle, and its still going strong. Couple of pics of the battlement trail trip, carl the owner of battle of the rattle also thinking hes funny saying I need to just shoot my jeep and get it over with. Hes funny like that
Got new shocks, went with some procomp 3to4" lift shocks. Got some Cragar soft 8s, and 31x10.5 Dayton timberlines on. Took a trip to bangs canyon to try out the flex. Had some fun times, learned a bunch of trail driving tips.
Ok decided what path Im taking and Im taking a Ford 8.8 out of a Ford Explorer. Sticking 4.88 Gears in it and swaping out the D30 gears. Leaving the front open untill I get enough money to swap out the front end. Im going with 4.88 gears so that I can have the option of going with 35s and have alot of power and save alot of money on tires and their easier to find. Or If I find a cheap pair of 37s I can always use those and be at factory specs. I shouldnt have too much of a problem on the highway with them also. I like the options 4.88s give me.
Now its time to get serious on my build.
Things being built: internal/external roll cage, Rear corner guards, Rock slider rails/guards, front fender guards, Stinger, Radiator roll guard.
Things being added ARB air locker for the rear 8.8.
6" RC long arm lift... Wish me luck.
Ok well time to get started, got a tubing bender, and a welding machine... Lets get at it. First I started with the roll cage. Took the front supports to the windshield out. Those bolt on things dont look that strong. Just kept the B and C pillar. Went with a Poison spider type design in the rear and a Polly Performance type in the front. Obviously Im not gonna pay for the actuall prefabbed cage. Im not that rich. I like the way the polly goes through the front dash and through the floor, and its all nice and tucked away. Haha Im kinda scared to even attempt this but here goes. Couple of fabbing pics and getting some things tacked into place.
Couple more pics of the roll cage in progress. The roll cage fits the stock soft top on, with the exception of the part that is above the door that seals it to the soft top. Its about a 1 inch gap that falls down and leaves about a quarter inch gap, so its not too bad. Im fine with it.
With the internal roll cage done it was time to start on the external Guards/cage. First came time to make the Radiator guard and Front stinger and tie it all in together. Cant start on the rear guard/rails untill my corner guards come in. To make up for time I started building the rails for my rock slidders.
With the Corner guards finally in it was time to mark everything up and get everything welded into each other. Got the corner guards on and started making the flare/guard and filled it in with sheet metal. Also Welded the flare/guard into the Rock slider rails.
Now its time for the part that Ive been scared of the most. With the Ford 8.8 in I had to take out the sway bar, and the trac bar is too short so my rear end is shoved all the way to the right and the drive shaft is slammed against the muffler. Wich means I cant use it untill I put a lift on. So I will. 6" RC lift was ordered and Im waiting for it to come in. The lift itself came in, in installments. One day I got one box, the next I got 3 boxes, and the next I got 3 more boxes. All the parts on this thing looks pretty Solid. The main bracket is 1" thick solid steel. And so my never ending story begins. Once again remember I have LIMITED tools,skills,help,and knowledge. haha. Lets get it started.
This thing fought me every step of the way, the rear right lower control arm swivel joint didnt wanna go in. The long arm was only threaded for an inch and a half and I had to crank on this thing for 3 and a half hours with a 36 and 24" pipe wrench basicly making its own threads before it went in all the way. Once it was all the way in I then learned that the lengths they gave me where too short and screwed up my trac bar mount and threw off my geometry. So then came another 3 hrs getting the joint out another inch and a half. Finally with it all done I then found a new problem. The front end is leaning way lower then the rear.
Lovin this. Have you ever had any welding experience before?
I had alot of help from an experienced welder on this part, hed do a weld and Id just kinda try to not screw one up. So this is one part I had alot of help on. Im not about to try to take recognition full recognition for this part.
With everything done and welded on, it was time for painting. This is my painting technique. Grind some stuff down, rub it down with acetone and then rattlecan. Haha I know ur jealous of my painting skills. The front of the roll cage is tan bed liner and the external cage is all black bed liner. The rear roll cage I wanted to have that stock kinda hidden look and make people think I just got a bada** factory roll cage. The tan bed liner matched the interior about as close as I could get it and it was just the only thing at the store. Lucky break.
With everything painted up it was time to redo the front spacer. I put in a 3" spacer and the fenders where level. BUT now the jeep felt like it was going to pop a wheelie everytime I gave it gas and the steering was supa sketchy. So I took out an inch and a quarter of the spacer out and while trying to take the bumpstop bolt out it snapped really easy... PHANOMINAL. So now Im either gonna have to try and use an easy out and hot it doesnt screw up the threads, or just weld the bumpstop extensions on. Well see. Before and after pics. And a pic of my dog Aryah.
Once everything was on the never ending story continued. I didnt have any 35" tires so I bought some 315x75R16s for 50 bucks.. Bad part is the only 16s I had are stock Ranger wheels, bolt pattern works but I had to grind down the center of the wheel so that it fit over the front dana 30 hubs. So now the wheels and tires are on, but of course theres another problem. The offset on the wheels is positive and I have no clearance to the frame. Also the rear wheels grind on the coil mounts when I go through water drainage bumps in the road. 2" bump means grinding. So I ordered a 2" wheel spacer for the rear and 1 and a half inch spacers for the front to compensate for the 1" of shorter width with the ford 8.8. Thought id be able to use the jeep for a little bit but I have more problems. And the never ending story continues.
The tires that I used had a couple of nails in them so I was loosing air pressure. Got them all patched up and then the next day I still had a flat tire. Finally found out that it was a hole in the actual wheel. Put some JB Weld on it and patched up the wheel. Haha that stuff awesome. The shop has come through for me yet again in that Im waiting about 7 days for the spacers to come in. I only use them to reduce shipping time, theyre always there so I dont have to be home when it comes in, and they normally have free shipping. But they didnt come through with those things so I honestly dont know why I use them anymore. I also have the ARB Air locker and compressor to install still. I have both parts but Im just waiting on the money to be there before I can have them installed.
Nice looking project!
I must say, I'm a bit jealous, lol!
So... why'd you name your Jeep after a tank with non-stop PMS?
Haha it seems that you also have too much time on ur hands just like me and have watched red vs blue before. If you would have been a part of this build youd know exactly why I named it that. It gave me an attitude everytime I tried to do anything to it.
Front and rear spacers came in today. 2" for the rears, and 1 1/2" for the front. The rear 8.8 was about half an inch shorter on either side of the rear axle. So the 2" in the rear and the 1 1/2" in the front made the track width come out the 72"s with 12.5 tires on wheels with positive offset. No more rubbing on the coil mounts in the rear when I hit a 3" bunch.