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Old 02-07-2017, 08:36 PM
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My first dedicated offroad build

I dd'd my 97' SE for some time until a lower bearing started to make some racket. I ended up parking it before it left me stranded. I picked up an '07 Avalanche on 35s that has been serving my daily purpose and have decided to make the TJ a dedicated (for the most part) offroad rig. I've done pretty extensive mechanic work and fabrication, but this will be my first try at something offroad oriented (aside from ATVs). I will be going for a LCOG type build.

As far as plans.....I'm about to start parting out my '03 Powerstroke and will be utilizing it's axles (D60 front, Sterling 10.5" rear). I will be retaining a coil suspension and plan to run stock coils. The rear will be stretched about 6-7" and I will be using what I would call a medium-arm (24" links) triangulated 4-link. I will be attempting to make the links the same length so I can carry one universal spare. For clearance I will be trimming the front fenders about 2" outside the hood and matching its contour. The rear tub will be semi-comp cut. A Vortec 350sbc will be swapped in, retaining its stock injection setup, backed by an SM465. I'm undecided on the t-case at this time. Gearing will probably be in the 5.13 range. Tires are undecided, but probably a 38"-38.5". I have a set of stock 16" wheels and also a set of aftermarket 18". I will likely run what whichever corresponds best to the tire I decide on. I think that just about gets it. I plan on starting in the next few weeks (as soon as I get some cabinets moved from my garage floor to hang them in the loft and get it cleaned up a bit). I do have to pull the 350 from my Sonoma though.

Until the actual work begins these pics will have to suffice. Here is the jeep as of now. It currently has 33s on a 4" lift with SYE and shortened Cherokee CV driveshaft.



And also OT, but here's my replacement daily driver.



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Old 02-10-2017, 07:08 PM
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Not much of update, but I ordered some stuff today. Not much (to keep the wife happy), but I ordered DOM for the lower rear links, DOM to make all the bushing sleeves, and 1/4" TJ specific lower control arm brackets. I will be retaining the stock frame mounts.

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Old 02-10-2017, 11:10 PM   #3
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I will be watching this one! building me a lcog 99 tj, but not offroad only, i want mine to go everywhere 2.5 lift on it, wont go any bigger, wanna do a tummy tuck, metal cloaks, 35's to 37's.

that avalanche actually looks pretty good, looks like it needs tires too $$$$ lol
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Old 02-11-2017, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonh28 View Post
I will be watching this one! building me a lcog 99 tj, but not offroad only, i want mine to go everywhere 2.5 lift on it, wont go any bigger, wanna do a tummy tuck, metal cloaks, 35's to 37's.

that avalanche actually looks pretty good, looks like it needs tires too $$$$ lol
Haha. True there. That was an old dealer pic. Luckily the Powerstroke that will be donating its axles had some decent 18" 35s that I put on those the day I drove it home. Those mud grapplers sounded like a jet the whole way home.

I will be driving the Jeep on road some, but I won't be making any compromises in off road-ability for on road comfort.
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Old 02-11-2017, 11:29 PM
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This is just about the look I'm shooting for.



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Old 02-20-2017, 05:34 PM
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Got some of them there linky-ma-things stuck together.

Will be using oem bushings at first, if I am unhappy with that I will run a Johnny Joint on the axle ends. As you can see lowers are fixed. I will make the uppers adjustable for pinion angle. I also threw a coat of appliance epoxy paint on these last night that isn't pictured.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:04 PM
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Lost a bit of weight tonight.



Going to take off some small parts (sway bar links, shocks, etc tomorrow). I have to wait till night time to get work in, so I'll have to wait till the weekend to cut off the track bar mount and coil spring pads. Wife would kill me if I woke the kids up making racket. I really hope to have the Sterling atleast situated and partially mounted this weekend.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:13 PM
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Got the Sterling under her. Just have it on stands with no placement correlation to where it will end up. Pretty sure I'm going to have to cut the tub just to get it in place for mock up. I'll probably work on getting it placed and start welding some this weekend. Also don't forget that this axle has 2" spacers and 18x10s with a 4.5" backspace. I will be removing the spacers and running a 16x7 wheel with 3.5" backspace. So that should put me about 4" narrower on each side.






And yes, I'm aware how inadequate my shop lighting is for pics.
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Old 02-24-2017, 04:55 AM   #9
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lol damn thats wide
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:41 AM
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lol damn thats wide
Haha, yes, yes it is. Like I said I should be losing about 8" width when I remove the spacers and switch wheels, but it will still be a full-width 69" wms axle (about 9" wider than stock).
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Old 02-24-2017, 07:05 AM
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Heres a pic with a bit of actual light.

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Old 02-24-2017, 07:06 PM   #12
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Looking good!
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:43 PM
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Got some good work in today. I got the flares and gas tank removed. Then got the axle situated. After about a thousand measurements I was happy with it and burned in the lower mounts. I will probably start building a truss next. I have some 3.5"x1/4" box tubing that I was going to use, but I think I may order one of Barnes trusses, since it would have a few inches more clearance at the top.



I really wanted to remove the 2" spacers, but I'm going to have to wait till I cut the tub corners.




And lastly the always required weld shot. Definitely not the prettiest welds I've laid, but it was hard to get positioned comfortably under the jeep. They will be strong enough for anything I plan on going through though.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:35 PM
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No new pics, but I did order the tubing, threaded ends, rod ends, and bushings for the upper links. I'm going to try to cut my tub and remove the spacers tomorrow. Will probably start working on the rear truss in the next few days as well.
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Old 03-01-2017, 04:25 PM   #15
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me likey
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:00 PM
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Thanks. She's coming along slowly, but surely. I started cutting some metal for the truss, but I ran out of chop saw blade before I got much done and realized that I didn't have any more at the shop. I decided that I'm going to make the truss myself to save some cash. It will be pretty simple. I will basically use the 3.5"x1/4" square tube and make two 45* legs for the sides. Then I will bridge it will some 5.5" x 1/4" channel. Should be plenty stout for my need.
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Old 03-02-2017, 04:29 PM
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About to cross the point of no return.
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:38 PM
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I got some good work done this evening. Got the corners cut and couldn't be happier with the overall shape. I also pulled the spacers off. I was hoping it would tuck the wheels in enough, but it looks like I'll probably have to go to the stock 16s, atleast until I can afford to pick up some 17" beadlocks. I also got the metal cut for the truss, but I still need to notch it for the axle tubing.









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Old 03-03-2017, 02:33 AM   #19
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getting skinnier! almost there lol
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:42 PM
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I got my truss tacked up and the bushing sleeves welded to the upper link tubing. It's a pain the take pics under the jeep, but I will snap some when I pull the axle back out to fully weld it up. I just have to tack up the link mounts.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:35 PM
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Finished the upper links by welding in the threaded inserts. Decided to rosette weld it as well. I need to redo a bit of my truss plating before I can finalize my mounts.

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Old 03-22-2017, 11:32 AM
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I've been talking with a guy and am going to pick up a late SM465 trans (bell housing, t-case adapter, and all) and possibly a BW4401 transfer case. Should be plenty stout for my needs.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:11 PM
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I finally got everything mocked up to the point I could pull the rear out and fully weld it up. I got a good amount welded, but ran out of wire.

Upper spring plate (welded a threaded cap so that I can easily change bumpstop length.


Tacked in place


Good view of the overall truss/mount layout
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:29 PM
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Picked up the SM465 today. Thing is beefy. Guy removed it from his truck because he got a bigger motor for his truck that came with a 5-speed. Got, what I think was, a killer deal. I'd been seeing them for $200-300 with no bellhousing, shifter, or t-case adapter. I got all for less than 2 bills and since it's from a '91 it has the hydraulic clutch bell and fork. I've got a few unexpected bills and wasn't able to get the t-case, but will probably get it when I get my tax return back this coming week.

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Old 03-27-2017, 05:43 PM
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Finished welding up the rear and spray bombed it.



Then tossed it back up in under the Jeep.





It's a bit to one side right now since I don't have one of the upper links in. It's sitting now on the stock coils and I like the height. Ive got to order two more bushings and rod ends before it will be in its final resting spot.
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Old 03-27-2017, 05:57 PM
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I cycled the suspension a bit and am having some clearance issues with the rear body mount/shock crossmember. Will probably cut it out and weld in a tubular crossmember for the body mounts. Also got to trim the back part of my upper mounts (that's what's hitting the crossmember). I have about 2.5"-3" of downtravel. Between those two things I hope to get to over 5" of downtravel.
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Old 03-29-2017, 05:56 PM
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Well possible good news, depending on how you look at it.....

I pulled the timing cover and I believe the racket I was hearing was a wore timing chain instead of rod knock. First pic is just the chain at rest is me pushing it out with a small prybar. I'm going to pull the pan to make sure nothing is fishy in the bottom end. If all looks well I'll probably throw a new timing set and oil pump on just to be safe and go ahead and swap in the sm465.



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Old 03-29-2017, 08:12 PM
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Disregard that. I pulled the oil pan and have chunks of #3 piston scattered through the pan.
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Old 03-30-2017, 11:04 PM   #29
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yikes, rough day, whats the engine plan then?
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Old 03-31-2017, 07:32 AM
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Either going to run the 5.7 Vortec (Gen II SBC based) that I currently have in my GMC Sonoma (it will be receiving a single turbo 4.8 LS swap when the TJ is "completed") or a 5.3 LS. I'm leaning toward the 5.7 since I already have almost everything to swap it and also the 350 will have more torque in the lower RPM.

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