Is that the Savvy unit? Do you have a body lift? That looks sweet.
Yes, it is a Savvy skid.
I can't say enough good things about it. I purposely banged it on the same trail that caused my stocker to about fall through from rust and rips. I only managed to put scratches on it. I have a body lift so I had to try harder since it sits up higher. I'm not sure on the clearance gains but it is a great skid and plenty tough.
Moving to the passenger side front upper axle mount. This one was easier for me because the mount is cut 2.5" above the axle tube removing the Clevite bushing. I used my plasma cutter to remove and an air grinder to prep mount for welding. I had to trim the 1" steel joint housing a little and still had about 3/8" gap at the bottom front. It would have required substantial grinding to close the gap. Instead I aligned the joint housing and tack welded in place, rechecked alignment and welded the joint housing to the axle mount. I then filled the gap between the housing and axle tube in several passes allowing it to cool to avoid distorting the tube.
I cleaned my work with a wire brush and applied primer and paint.
With the housing JJs in place I installed the upper and lower CAs. Following some recommendations from this forum, I set the uppers at 15" and the lowers at 16". After driving and a laser alignment I can fine tune for caster angle if needed. Since the axle moved while setting the arms, I rechecked my toe. Sure enough it had pulled in to 1/4" so I reset to 1/8".
Next I removed my stock anti-sway bar, bushings, and links. I then installed my Anti-rock. This was the easiest upgrade to install. Drive the bushings into the frame tube, insert the anti-sway bar, place arms on the bars splines so they are parallel with each other and the frame, and bolt on the heim joint links. I put mine in the middle hole to start.
I am finally out of drive train and suspension parts! Time for another test drive. Next project is my Savvy rock sliders.
I got started on my Savvy sliders. Working on one side at a time I centered and preloaded the backing plate.
Then center punched and step drilled all holes to 5/16" using backer as a template. With all holes drilled I prepped and painted backers and rails. Between coats I enlarged the 22 holes that will use nutserts to 17/64". It's been mentioned before, this is an odd size bit. None of the local home centers or hardware stores here stock it. I should've ordered it online in advance. I found it at Production Tool and they were pretty proud of that bit, $17. There are 11 nutserts on each side, 5 on the rocker panel and 6 on the body mount ridge under the tub. With all holes drilled to their respective sizes I installed the nutserts. This is the tool included with the hardware kit.
It is a 5/16" hardened bolt with a washer and 3/8" serrated flange nut. You place a nutsert on the end, insert in drilled hole, and hold the flange nut as you tighten the bolt. This sets the nutsert, simple yet effective. I was able to complete one side before it got late.
While doing that I finished coating my backers and rails with Rustoleum bedliner.
I love the how they turned out!
I should have the sliders and flares finished today.
Alright I finally got the app to cooperate. Here's a pic of the siders
So this completes phase one. Time to test it all out. On Saturday my son and I went to our local off road park Bundy Hill. We had a blast! It's about a 20mi drive there and the first thing I noticed was I had some drive line vibration. Not a lot but enough to rattle change in the console. I'll have to recheck my angles.
The next thing I noticed is how nice she handles. Everything feels tight and crisp. No more bumpsteer. The Bilsteins ride much smoother than the old Skyjackers. I do notice a bit more body roll with the anti-rock but nothing major.
Off road is even more impressive. I can try many more obstacles knowing I have clearance and protection. Hill climbing is phenomenal! The smoother ride allows much better approach speeds and control. The Novak shifter is effortless. With the Redline MT90
I no longer have to pause when shifting from 1st to 2nd. I get a litte more vibration at idle from the lowpro mount but not enough to be annoying. We had a great time I'm very happy with the results ..... So far
I decided to bed line my fender flares. I used the rustoleum brand rattle can. Here is how I did it.
1. Clean. I thoroughly washed each flare and used a Scotch brite pad to scuff them up. I wiped them down with denatured alcohol.
2. Prep. I stuck playing cards between the flares and body.
I taped newspaper to the cards covering up the adjacent areas. Wiped with alcohol again to remove any hand prints.
3. Painting. I applied the bed liner in four light coats. When I finished the first coat on the last flare I put the second coat on the first flare and so on. If you get a small run leave it, as they are almost undetectable when dry. This stuff is pretty forgiving.
4. Finishing. I let them dry for an hour then removed the masking. Viola, excellent results for about $7.
Since I have owned my TJ I frequently have people say "nice Jeep". Unfortunately that has usually been followed by "but what's up with the hood? The Dodger's (I call her that cause she is always picking my pocket) PO must have thought it would look cool to spay rubberized undercoating on the hood.
As you can it wasn't a wise decision. Not only is it ugly, evidently undercoating don't like heat or sun. It became chalky and brittle. It's time for a change.
I pull off the hood and removed the washer nozzles, windshield tie downs, etc. With a wire wheel equipped angle grinder, my son and I took turns stripping to bare metal.
It took four hours to strip the hood. I'm sure there is a better way to remove paint but the wire wheel was all I had. Once it was bare I wiped it down with denatured alcohol. Then I hung it and sprayed two coats of self etching primer. I let that dry then applied four coats of Rustoleum spray bed liner. Man it looked sweet. I wish I would've gotten a pic at that point. We were feeling a little artistic at that point so the "power bulge" was outlined with masking tape. I then painted the bulge with Allis-Chalmers orange tractor paint. This is very close to the color on my tub.
While the hood was drying I removed the cowel. I cleaned the area and unplugged the drain.
After drying for two days I reinstalled the hood.
I am extremely pleased with the results. I should've done it two years ago. In the pics the oranges look like they don't match very well, however in person they are very close.
I have round LED tail lights which draw significantly less amperage then the factory incandescent bulbs. The OEM flasher has an outage feature which detects when a bulb is burned out by sensing reduced amperage draw. The LED's do not draw enough and sent the flasher in the rapid blink mode. On my 98 TJ a simple mod to the flasher corrects this problem. Here is my flasher after the mod.
It's pretty hard to see but I cut one of the connections which effectively removed the outage feature. Here is the write up from Stu Olson's site which I followed. http://www.stu-offroad.com/electrical/led1/led-3.htm
Took about 20 minutes and now I have regular blinking turn signals.
One other major thing that I've done is I set my Jeep up for flat towing. I will be doing a write up as well as a product review on this very soon so I'll just post a pic up here.
This is the Ready Brute Elite tow bar system by NSA products. It has a mechanical surge and breakaway braking system which is legal in all 50 states. After initial install it takes literally 2 minutes to hook up. I love this thing and I'll post a link when I do the write up.
This is my camping/Jeeping combo in it's current form.
I also have a 20' car hauler but that can be a pita. A lot of campsites arn't big enough for a 55' (combined) rig. The towbar is also much quicker and easier to hook up.
The biggest drawback was I had no place to carry firewood. I had an old roof mount cargo carrier that hadn't been used in years so I built a frame that slides into my 2" receiver hitch. The carrier mounts to that and holds a good weekends firewood keeping it dry. It's installed in the pick.
Thinking my interior looked a little bland (:P) I ordered an orange #5 pool ball shifter knob from Big Sarge who is a commercial member here on WF.
It cost $20 shipped. I sent my money Wed night, had a tracking # Thu morning, and received my order in Sat mail. He even PMed me to confirm it was delivered. That's service.
It arrived well packaged and in great condition.
When I removed the old shifter knob the threads on the shifter rod were distorted so I chased them with a die. The 5 ball fit perfectly. The only slight problem was the 5 was not in the 12 o'clock position when tight. Easily fixed. I bought a 10X1.5 mm stainless steel nut, ground it round, and wire wheeled it smooth.
I used it as a jam nut to adjust ball clocking.
It's hard to show the color because it reflects light but it matches my interior almost perfectly.
I am very satisfied with it. Also glad to support a forum member. I'm going to get a matching shifter boot from another member.
Thanks for the great review and advertisement. I actually I usually recommend that people use the nut from the stock shifter to put underneath as a jam nut to help prevent theft. I did the same on mine then used a piece of shrink tubing to go over the nut.
do you have an RV-operated brake setup for the Jeep? if so, what do you use and how did you set it up?
I do. The towbar is the Ready Brute Elite. It comes with a mechanical surge system actuated via inertia. It use a lever on the towbar to pull an aircraft cable. That is the clear cable in the above pic. The ac cable connects to a sheathed cable permanently attached to the jeep the end of which is attached to the toad brake pedal. Here is a link that explains it better. http://www.readybrake.com/tow-bars.html
I also have the breakaway kit (red cable) from the same manufacturer.
The best price I was able to find was from http://www.towbarsunlimited.com/page/page/286216.htm
I use Blue Ox universal mounting plates http://www.blueox.com/p-677-universa...class-iii.aspx
Which you can get cheaper at the other link.
Another forum member, Water Dog has been using this setup for a while. He recommended it to me. If you have any other questions or want better pics let me know.
Here is a pic of the equipment that stays on the Jeep.
The red box and loop are the breakaway. It is attached to the pedal as well.
Middle loop is the supplemental brake.
The mounting brackets.
Look above the pass side mount in the corner of the winch plate and you can see the 4 flat trailer connection for lights.
The Ready Brake pulls hard enough on the brake pedal to over-come the vacuum booster not being powered up. We have been making this system since may of 1997 and have sold thousands of them trust us when we say the Ready Brake will work perfectly fine with the power booster not being powered up. All cars sold have a power booster now days it is not be an issue. http://www.readybrake.com/faq.html
When I was initially adjusting my setup it was a bit to tight, stood my Jeep on its nose. Before towing I pump the brake pedal to bleed off the residual vacuum, otherwise the brakes are to touchy the first couple stops.
Now I'm curious if Water Dog uses an auxiliary vac pump.
Getting a plan together to build new bumpers for the TJ. The rear will incorporate a spare tire swing. Since I had no spare I ordered a new Ion Alloy 133 sized 15x8. As I though about buy a new 33" tire I kept thinking that I want to step up to 35s next spring. My Jeep is all ready for them except that damn D35c. I decided I'm not spending $100 on a tire for 6mo...... So I bit the bullet and bought 5 new GY MT/RK 35x12.5s.
I traded my 33" Duratracs for my son's 31s, both sets lightly used. I then sold the 31s to a local forum member for $400. Paid $1150 otd for the 35s - $400= $750 otd. Now building the bumpers this weekend.
BTW I am on D35c death watch. I am debating to replace it with an 8.8 or a G2 D44 with ARB, 35 spline axle shafts, and disc brakes.
Finnished welding and prepped bumper assembly for paint. Sprayed it with one coat self etching primer and two coats Rustoleum bed liner.
At the top of the A frame I added a 1/2" plate with four holes drilled in it. This is to bolt on future accessories such as a kayak carrier.
This is the driver side mount with four mounting bolts. Also shows the swing-out stop and CB mounting tab.
These are the lower mounting points. As you can see two upper bolts on each side have frame tie in brackets. This is six out of ten mounts bolted to the frame, it ain't going anywhere.
A closer look at the swing-out stop. It consists of a DOM sleeve welded into the arm that secures to a reinforced 1/2" plate. The plate is threaded 1/2-13. A grade 8 bolt locks it in place. Now that I am happy with this system I will weld a handle to the bolt and paint it.
I cut down three oem TJ rubber tire snubbers and attached them to the A frame. These help support the tire and eliminate any movement.
Here is the finished product!
It is very strong with no rattles. I also maintain good vision in my rear veiw mirror. Total cost was about $150 in material.
For the front bumper I will be incorporating towbar brackets into the design.
I want a slimmer look so I started with a 3/16 wall 2x4x44" bumper blank. First I cut the holes for the towbar brackets and shackle mounts.