For those that do not know, back in August our 2004 LJ was involved in a fire while having a 5.7 Hemi installed. The total loss fire left us with next to nothing and our insurance did not fully cover our expenses. Therefore, we were left behind the curve on building another vehicle.
To help remedy this unfortunate situation many vendors and individuals have decided to step up and lend a helping hand. My wife and I would like to express our heart-felt gratitude to everyone who has gone the extra mile to show us what the off-road community can do when everyone bands together. Because of the extreme amount of support we have received we will be able to rebuild another LJ and add a few improvements along the way. We want to get back on the trails as soon as possible.
Again, thank you to everyone who has offered labor, parts, kind words, and moral support. The road has been bumpy, to say the least, but it’s all downhill from here!
On to the build. The short list of improvements includes 40” tires, Walker Evans wheels, 1 ton axles, coilovers, long arm suspension, Rubicrawler, tube fenders, armor, and hydraulic-assist steering. As we move along we will add details of the build.
We started with a bone stock 2005 LJ. Prior to taking the vehicle to Tribe 4x4 we were able to upgrade the bumpers and remove some of the dead weight like factory side steps and a trailer hitch.
Check out that flex!
We plan to end up with something like this…maybe just a little taller.
Here are some details on the bumpers. They come from Shrockworks and were coated by Tuff Customs. We were able to salvage them off the original LJ but they were a little worse for wear. All new hardware and components were provided by Shrockworks. Mike at Tuff Customs spent many hours stripping the bumpers to bare metal in order to get them ready for the new coating. Check them out!!
Some action shots from the shop today. Cranking along, setting up the front axle. Alot of details involved with stuffing a huge axle under a jeep, and making everything clear! All the steering parts came in today. Thanks PSC Motorsports for personally bringing down to us. We are installing their full steering asist kit, including a new larger pump, trick aluminum reservoir, upgraded steering gear box, and trail cylinder.
We removed the stock trac bar mount. Building a new one, stronger and in the right place.
All cleaned up
Had to put a counter weight on the rear! Dana 60+motor+nothing in the rear= very tipsy Jeep!
Some more pictures. Everything is working out as planned. The steering geometry is going to be perfect! We built a super long trac bar with a tall mount for a low vehicle roll center. All the steering is mounted up high for more ground clearances. Planning on moving to the rear tomorrow. Adam
The front end is basically wrapped up. Brakes were added and a few misc things finished. After that, work moved "to the rear" to get things set up. The fuel tank was reinstalled (4" further back) and the differential was located.
The rear is coming together. Upper links were made and the lower links were mounted. Brakes were figured out and the cutting began. The body will be clearanced some to fit the tires and keep the Jeep as low as possible. Coilover towers are being designed to fit inside of the tub to stay up and out of the way.
I took our big trailer to Tuff Customs yesterday to have a little work done. Because of the width of the new axles the Phoenix wont fit between the fenders anymore. Mike built some nice heavy rails (1/4" wall 2" square tubing) to drive on so all wide vehicles will clear the fenders. He even added a nice touch of some expanded metal on the faces of the rails for extra traction. Great work!
Shouldn't have any problems with wet and muddy tires slipping off.
Nice and unobtrusive. They blend in well with the trailer and look good. Next will be doing this to our other trailer.
The rear suspension is all set up now. Coilover mounts were frenched into the frame for clearance. The Jeep now sits on all 4 tires. There are still things to wrap up such as brake lines, exhaust, skins, etc. Getting very close to completion.
Also, the front fenders were being fitted and trimmed to clear the coilover towers.
Here it sits out in the sun. Most of the loose ends have been tied up so we are nearing completion. As anyone who has ever done a project like this knows, the small stuff at the end seems to take the longest.
Tuff Customs really put it together by taking it apart this weekend. The Phoenix was gutted and stripped down for some interior lining. Just about every part was taken out, including the cage, to make sure only the right stuff was coated. Check it out!
Its been a bit so I thought I'd update everyone. Recent additions include rear skins from Poison Spyder, custom flares for the skins from Tribe 4x4, all exterior lights changed to LEDs (except headlights), Poison Spyder hood louver kit, and all control arm bushings cut off and replaced with Johnny Joints (Thanks TBJK). The rear bumper with a tire carrier is getting replaced with one without a tire carrier. I don't believe anything else is in the works. We've wheeled it a few times are are very happy with the results.
Again, we'd like to say thanks to everyone who did anything to help with this build. There is no way we could have done it alone. All of the support is much appreciated.
Recently we put on a new set of shoes. These Pit Bull Rockers are much stickier than the GoodYears. Took them to Hot Springs and loved them...for the short time I was able to use them before breaking a hub. So far I'm impressed with how everything is performing. Thanks to Ryan and Kendall at 4 Wheel Parts for getting the Warn hubs taken care of for me. Also thanks to Shrockworks for hooking us up with a new custom rear bumper. This is no bumper like they've built before but Justin took the time to customize it and beef it up.