Build Thread Purpose
The purpose of this thread is to have fun. I will use it to keep the build on track and to hold myself accountable for the build. I also hope it serves as a source of information to other people that are new to Building Big!
Just like many other threads, my continued posts will be pics and info of the build. I will post complications encountered, and solutions to those snags, in as much detail as possible. Please feel free to chime in with recommendations, possible complications I should prepare for! Thanks for reading guys!
So when I purchased my JK, I knew I couldn’t wait to get it topless, go for a cruise on the weekends, and every other spare chance I got. I imagined taking it down in the creek beds and hill sides of my Southern Ohio home town. I have been around fairly stock jeeps my entire life. The majority of add-ons I have helped with were slightly larger than stock MT tires and VERY mild bolt on lifts. These jeeps were a great time and capable of taking me many of the places I wanted to go. Theeeeeeeeen came my JK.
My original plans were to build it like all the old jeeps I’ve always been in and around. Keep it near stock, place a little bit of money in suspension upgrades, go with 33”-35” tires, and install a mild lift. I then found online forums. They sucked me in with numbers, specs, and possibilities. I read and watching people with these insane (in my mind at the time) lift systems that were capable of running 37”, 40”, and even 42” tires. I couldn’t quit reading of the changes they made to accommodate these upgrades.
Then came all the horror stories and failures from improperly building their rig for the functions they wanted it to perform. Many of these failures were due to shotty aftermarket kits and parts that were built for looks and not function. Many were from going too big on a budget and breaking parts (i.e. Axle tubes or inner knuckles) they could have saved by taking their time and “building it backwards”.
Building it Backwards
As I continued to read I realized that to properly build my rig, I needed to consider the next part “upstream”. Larger tires place stress on the knuckles and axle tubes. They often require an upgrade in gearing to make up for the loss in torque and fuel economy. A lift system (that is lacking proper components) will misalign the track bars, drive shafts, draglink, etc.
Then you will have to think of all the future added weight. Add a sport cage, heavy bumpers, winch, roof rack, heavy full sized spare tire, etc. and you will place added strain on these components that weren't designed for extreme use.
My original thoughts of 33”-35” tires went quickly to 37’s. I started to think out the build and my mind began flirtting with the possibility of 40’s. I know myself all too well, and that I will later regret not building it capable of handling bigger. I also know that I hate to spend money twice! I then made my mind up to build it for the magic number 40!
Building it Bolt-on
I looked at the required components to make an extremely reliable rig and the numbers started to add up. I knew I wanted a Long Arm lift and began noticing that there were MANY good lift systems. Some were bolt-on and some were weld on…..(disclaimer--> I know how to wrench but when it comes to welding and electrical work, my skills are TREMENDOUSLY sub-par. So for anything weld on I would require a professional’s assistance)
I next began contacting shops and quickly realized the labor cost involved in installing the weld on lift kits would range up to and even over $2,500. That’s sometimes more than the cost of the lift itself!!! I could buy my front and rear bumpers with a winch for $2,500!!! Then you factor in other components and you quickly see the cost of install adding up.
This has driven me to research my build for a year. I want to build the best rig I can, while taking all the money saved from installation and reinvesting it into upgraded, more capable, parts.
Pending Parts to Purchase (I have researched but have not yet made my decision to which kit/system I will install)
1-1 ton axles with 5.38 gearing, 8 on 6.5 lug pattern, lockers and full float rear
2-Bolt-on Long Arm suspension system
3-Drag Link Flip
4-Rear Tire carrier (with or w/o bumper to be determined)
6-Hydrolic Assist Steering
7-1350 Front and Rear Drive Shafts
9-Onboard Air System
Toyo Open Country MT 40x13.50r17 tires
American Racing ATX Slab Beadlock 17x9, 8on6.5” wheels
Off Road Evolution bolt on King coilover system
Rugged Ridge XHD Stubby Bumper with hoop
Flashpaq 3875 Tuner
Sounds like its going to be an awesome build. Can't wait to see it. Subscribed. How long are you giving yourself to complete it?
I have been purchasing the parts and have some of them ready to go. I am planning on doing the build all at the same time, once I purchase all the parts. I am going to take off work and will allow myself a month or so to do the entire install. I will be taking a ton of pics to try to document the entire install.
and the affordability is substancial compared to other systems. I was contemplating the lever system and a few other bolt on systems, but had a few reserves.
The cost of the lever system alone, you can by this complete front and rear bolt-on system. Also synergy has a bolt on rear system but its install is much more involved, costs about the same, and adds more weight to the rig.
There is also a Rebel kit called Recon that I was researching, and people seem to like a lot as well. That total front and rear kit costs $4,600 plus tax and shipping. The reported wheel travel of the rebel kit is less than what I have read to be reported by the EVO kit, and at that price point, its $1000 more total cost.
'10 JKU Sport EVO 4" ENFORCER / KING 2.5 OEM Performance / BFG 37" KM2s on XD Addicts / LoD Signature Series Shorty /
EXP ONE Trail Series w/ Smooth Motion Tire Carrier / EVO Rock Sliders / EVO .44 MAGs / WARN PowerPlant HP / AEV ProCal / KENWOOD eXcelon
Thanks! I know, for myself, that it can be frustrating and difficult to get a concept of what is an "at home" everymans build and it still be pretty extreme. My parameters were to keep it as sturdy and durable as a weld on BA kit out there, but doable for myself(and anyone else for that matter) and my basic tools.
Originally Posted by pluke the 2
bolt on long arms too..
Absolutely! The whole build will be weld free and installed in my garage.
Made a stop yesterday in my "research" for the 1-ton axles I am going to use. That visit was at a little shop some of you guys might have heard of called Dynatrac.
I had spoke to Steve in the past and he is a really nice guy. On this visit, Steve was out of town on an off road trip and, I spoke with Dan Seldon. He is a great guy as well. I was there and we just chatted for a couple hours about all things off road. This guy knows his stuff and really personable.
On both occurences I never felt any pressure to buy. Never have they tried to push any expensive upgrades on me that I didnt need. Dan actually gave me recommendations of "not needing" some upgrades for my purpose and told me to save that for other upgrades more suitable.
These guys are one of my front-runners in my axle choice
Maby Im missing something but how can long arms be bolt on? I dont see how it would work if you used the stock mounting points.
There are many bolt on LA kits. I will be using a sawzall to cut off the original JK brackets and a flap wheel to grind it flush. All the bolt on kits include the bracketry that you will bolt to the frame which be your new front and rear lower controll arm mounting points. They require a couple wholes drilled through the frame and thats it!
Ahh I see. Seeing how much I hang my mounts on rocks and such I dont know if I would trust them just bolted onto the frame.
I am guessing since you are going through with a build like this that you plan on wheeling it hard. It might be worth looking into having someone run a bead around the control arm mounts after you finish the install. I am a firm beleaver in overkill when it comes to building something for hardcore wheeling.
Also dont forget to alow time to have your driveshafts built after you have everything built and take your mesurments for them.
I'm here to participate. I didnt come all this way just to watch.
Can't coil overs be used in place on long arms to increase articulation ?
These coilovers can be used with adjustable short arm's OR long arms. The amount of articulation you receive will not be increased or hindered by either of them by length of arm alone.
What will effect articulation is your control arm joints. If you are using an isolator or rubber bushing type joint, then they will be a binding point. Also if you use a 4 link radius arm lift, it will also bind before full articulation is met. If you are using "short arms" with something like a Johnny Joint ends you will have a greater level of articulation but wont have that quiet dampening effect of the rubber isolator that the factory links have.
Long arms will give you greater stability when performing maneuvers or when swerving at high rates of speed. Easiest way to compare is how much stability you have while flat footed compared to on tippy toes.