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Old 05-08-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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Hunker Down: My YJ Build Thread

First off I want to thank some people and manufacturers before I start this thread. The first few posts will just be a bit of history and the later posts will be current progress.

Bob at Welcome to Motive Gear. High Quality Drivetrain Solutions For the best gears in the business. Lots of KOH guys run their stuff, so figure if it's good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for my rig.

Ron at TEN Factory Performance Axle Shafts and Axle Kits For axle shafts in the front and rear of my HP D44 and Ford 9 inch. Did you know they're the only axle shaft manufacturer that will warranty bent flanges?

Jeff and Ben at Suspension Lift Kits, Body Lifts, Leveling Kit, 4x4, Jeep, Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Off-road Truck For front coils I'm using in a three link front end and various other parts and pieces. I ran their 4" system SUA for a while and properly dialed in flexes as well as any other bolt in leaf system out there. The guys do a lot for the wheeling community as well.
Jordan at HMF-Fabrication For fabricated parts on my rig. They're a local fab shop that does anything from tabs to mounts to pinion guards to... well, you need it, they can make it.

Dave at Rampage Products For making quality soft tops and other parts at affordable prices. They're a great group of people.

Nick at www.visionxusa.com For making awesome LED offroad lighting. I've got one of their light bars and their Tantrum rock light system is by far THE best on the market.

James at Adam's Driveshafts for some of the best driveshafts in the business!

Guys in my offroad club for the extra help getting this stuff done in my garage, especially Will with some swampturkey fab and Ted as well. Will and Ted's excellent adventure and all that... /corny

There are many other parts that will be going into this rig in it's current build. Metal Cloak, Currie, Poison Spyder, Warn, Ruff Stuff Specialties, Ballistic Fabworks, Bestop, Interco, Eaton, Mile Marker, Smittybilt, Teraflex, Viair and more I'm sure I've left out off the top of my head.

1995 YJ 4.0 AX-15 NP231. Started off life as a very clean rust free toy to play around in and take the top off.

This thread is just how it's progressed over the last two or three years and it's current state.

Pretty much stock except for some Super Seats. Ain't she cute?



So then she got a four inch lift and was running 33" TSL Swampers after a swap of the rear axle for a Ford 8.8. I believe this was August or Sept 2009.



Ran that way for a bit and decided to go to Harlan in October 2009. Got some cheap rocker guards and bumpers before the trip along with locking the front and rear.



I was pretty much building from Craigslist prior to this. So decided to step up a bit and get some better protections on the rig. Front tube fenders, real rocker protection and some corner guards. That's when I made my first cut into this rig.





I think March 2010 came around and I had an issue with my battery. This wasn't the best of places to have a dead battery. One of the more interesting jump starts I've seen. Upgraded to an Optima the next day.



Ran that way for a bit. Enjoyed more Harlan.







To be continued...

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:27 PM   #2
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So I really started hating the spice interior of my Jeep. I mean, it was ok, but I needed a change. So I changed it... I should also mention that somewhere along the way I picked up some chromoly shafts for the front of my Jeep. Doing the stuff I was doing had already shredded one set of stockers. You can also see my armor was a good investment. Plenty of scrapes, but never a dent from the rocks.

Before.



After.







I also decided I really hated the approach angle of my front bumper, so that had to go. And it might be a good time to invest in a full cage...









To be continued...

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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Very nice! Cant wait to see whats next!
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:06 PM   #4
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Very nice! Cant wait to see whats next!
It gets MUCH better!

The old winch died on me and wanted a new bumper since I thought the front end looked bare. Picked up a Mile Marker SEC-8 (fastest under load line speed of any winch in it's class) and Smitty XRC stinger.



There were various little things I did from here. I was fairly satisfied with her for what I was doing. I ended up with some 35" BFG MTs which absolutely sucked if in any mud and they didn't clean out well... Oh and split a sidewall down at Windrock. I switched those out to some 35" Dick Cepek Crushers and absolutely loved them. Also put on a Rampage Recovery Bumper with Tire Carrier. That tire carrier is BEEF and can easily hold a 37".

A few pics of the old 35's. I'm still SUA.







Then I switched to the Dick Cepek's. MUCH Better! Additionally, three of the coolest pictures of my rig that I've had so far.







So, lots of wheeling last year and generally very happy with the way it performed. She was stable, capable and such. I had a problem on a run last fall though and tore into the front diff and found out I had a chipped tooth on my ring gear. So, like any good Jeeper does, when you break something, it's time to upgrade.

Thus comes to the current state of my build!

To be continued...
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
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Subscribed, not a rock crawling fan but it looks beast. Would love to get those seats in black/blue.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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Subscribed, not a rock crawling fan but it looks beast. Would love to get those seats in black/blue.
They do make them in black & blue as well. I have to say for a racing seat, they're very comfortable. I ended up modifying the brackets to make them work. They will sit a bit high with stock risers though, so on my to do list is a smaller diameter steering wheel.

I went back and forth on different directions for the current state of the build. I started to grow tired of clearance issues with a SUA setup and while SOA was the obvious choice for that problem, it didn't address approach issues with the shackles hanging down in the front.

Everyone else just does a shackle reversal, but I didn't want to go that route. I like having my axle push into an obstacle as opposed to being pushed away from it.

The initial idea was to steal an idea from the XJ guys who stole an idea from the circle track racing guys. Leaf sliders. There are guys running them in the back of XJ's and apparently a few guys out there running them in a shackle reversal setup, but I decided, what if you run them on the front of your rig? Combine those along with some Deaver Baja Bushings (Deaver Suspension) and you'll have an excellent suspension with plenty of travel, eliminate the braking quirks of shackle reversal, eliminate the approach issues of shackles hanging down the front (along with bent springs) and keep the axle push of a shackle forward design.



Genius right? I would have continued on this route, however the steering box gets in the way and there is no way to relocate it enough to run sliders up front. Only solution is full hydro on the steering and considering this is not completely a trailer queen at this point, full hydro is not an option.

I'm throwing that idea out there though in case someone wanted to follow through with it and was going to do a full hydro setup.

My final decision was to three link and stretch the front and XJ leaf SOA with a stretch in the rear.

To be continued...
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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The tearing down began.



I picked up a HP D44 from a 77 Ford (weld in wedges) and a Ford 9 inch.



Started stripping them down and got them looking fairly decent. I will say that cutting the wedges off the 44 brought the suck. Everything cleaned up pretty nicely though. Will be converting the Ford 9 inch to disc brakes during all this.



To be continued...
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #8
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Got the driver's side cleaned and cut the last remnants of springs (spring hanger). It was getting late, but I went ahead and tacked some stuff in place.



Burned in stuff on the passenger's side. I eyeballed about where I wanted the front axle placed, took some measurements to see how far we could stretch her without major reconstructive surgery and got to work. All brackets, tabs, mounts, adjustable coil buckets, 9" caliper brackets, etc are fabbed by HMF Fabrication.





How she's sitting right after that.



And lastly, the "Pile O' Parts" (POP) keeps getting larger. Received 5.13 gears front and rear from Motive Gear, along with master install kits. Some sweet chromoly shafts from Ten Factory for the D44 and... well, hell... might as well throw some Ten Factory shafts in the rear while I'm at it! Got a Detroit for the rear. Somewhere buried in the POP are Teraflex oil pan skid, rear shock relocation bar, shock towers, brakes, rotors, hubs, Warn lockouts, Currie Johnny Joints and MetalCloak's new Duroflex high misalignment joints... 34 degrees!



To be continued...
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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Looking good! If you'd rather have some OEM Spicer lockouts lemme know
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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Wow, that's a rarity these days. Yellow selectors or Ford red? I've got some from another manufacturer as backups.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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Dont think I have any yellers but I do have red.....they made blue too, but those are rare as well. I run those pretty much exclusively because they are virtually indestructible.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:02 PM   #12
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I may end up taking you up on that depending on how things hold up. I've debated what I want as my "fuse" in the setup, but if they end up giving up too easily I'll be contacting you. The only thing comparable out there is the Dynaloc, but that's D60 only unfortunately. $600 is a chunk of change too...

We got the link mounts burned in, shock towers and such. Shock towers are from late model Ford F-250/F-350 models.



Got some more work done.Link mounts are burned in. Using Currie Johnny Joints on the frame side and MetalCloak Duroflex on the axle side. I know in the picture it looks like the adjustable coil buckets are welded in crooked, but they are indeed straight. Camera angle I suppose.



MetalCloak Joint







Currie side



To be continued...
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:36 AM   #13
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Looks great!
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
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Thanks, I love what you did with fabbing up your toolbox. Nice job with the rocker guards as well.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:43 PM   #15
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Fuel cell mounting bracket sexiness. Mounts from HMF Fabrication...



Will be doing a lot of work this weekend installing new GenRight crossmember plate and backing plate, Ruff Stuff way back shackle hangers, new frame side spring hangers, putting in the front coil springs, rear XJ leafs, etc etc. New caliper mounts for the Ford 9" for disc brake conversion as well.

To be continued...
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:50 AM   #16
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Nice Rig! so much progress!
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Old 05-14-2012, 01:03 PM   #17
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Love the jeep, its looks sweet! What kind of tube fenders do you have?
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Old 05-14-2012, 04:46 PM   #18
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Those are Smitty XRC's. They've held up really well including taking some good smacks on rocks.

Got a lot done over the weekend, but ran into a possible snag with the steering and astro box I'm using. I got the rear spring hangers burned in (well, at least one side, the other was just tacked in because I ran out of wire) and also the way back shackle hangers mounted on the Gen Right crossmember support. With the front and rear stretch, I'll be looking at approximately 106-108" on my wheelbase versus 94" stock. Have a few more things to do, but will try to get additional pics tonight or tomorrow.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #19
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Been off the grid for a bit, but she's almost done. Tough to get enough hours in the day after work on this rig and with it being event/wheeling/get out and about season.

Where I mounted the corner guards previously, some bits of rust were starting to rear their ugly heads from rubbing. I just cleaned them up with a flap disc and sprayed it with some Rustoleum primer and a rattle can that closely matches the paint color since this area will be covered back up. The armor is being stripped and re-painted, but will have rubberized undecoating on all surfaces that will be mounted to the Jeep.

Anywhoo... some pics. Sucks when it's hot out and you've got to wear long sleeves when welding. Burning in the new rear spring mounts.



Fuel cell installed in the HMF-Fabrication mounting bracket. Used a stock style pump/sending unit for simplicity. The vent tube in the below picture obviously isn't hooked up yet.



Front steering links measured and tacked in. I'm not happy with the angle on the track bar, but will see how bad the bump steer is before I decide to rework it or not.

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Old 06-28-2012, 03:49 PM   #20
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Got the last of my goodies in Monday. Driveshafts from Adam's Driveshafts and I have to say, these driveshafts along with the attention to detail (little things like balancing alignment marks indented instead of painted) are the best I've seen.





So finished up the front end. The Jeep shifted unexpectedly on me at one point, so you'll see a coil out of position in the pics. Just need shocks up there at the moment.



Got the driveshafts installed.



It lives! No jack stands!



Measured all this and when initially planning the build I figured I would have about half an inch of clearance with the garage door. I think I was dead nuts on.



As of this moment... I ran into a couple small snags, but I'm going my best to get this thing rolling on the street by the end of the weekend.

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Old 06-28-2012, 07:37 PM   #21
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wow... this is the most progress ever made on a single page...
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Old 06-28-2012, 08:22 PM   #22
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This thing is rowdy...
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Old 06-28-2012, 11:50 PM   #23
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That is a dream man
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:42 AM   #24
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So this topic has been sorely neglected. Things have progressed well beyond where things were when last posted and it has been wheeled. Suppose I need to back up a bit.

In several pics previously, you'll see where the body was primered in areas. That is where my corner and rocker guards were. Sand gets in there along with salt from roads during Kentucky winters and some rust started forming. I stripped the powder coat off all the armor on the vehicle down to bare metal, primered them and repainted graphite metallic. On the inside where contact was being made with the body, I used rubberized undercoating and... this is important... let it cure for several days before installation. If you handle them too early, the rubberized undercoating will easily flake off.

Anyway, start of the comp cut. I ended up cutting further in. The damage you see on the tail gate is a reason NOT to run a tail gate mounted tire carrier and instead run a bumper mounted one.





Did a disc conversion on the Ford 9". Here's were I banged my head the most. I had a heck of a time figuring out the rear disc brake conversion". For internet informational purposes, on an F150 with big calipers, here's the part list.

8" hard line driver's side. 30" hard line passenger's side. Chevy Caprice rubber lines, GMC K2500 calipers and pads. I ran early model F150 rotors and ground down the flanges, but later discovered I could have run Dodge D44 rotors and not ground anything down. The CJ-7 rotor is completely and totally an internet myth.







For the record, this is *not* the way to run Rancho shocks. These were blemished ones I had laying around with the wrong fittings, but right length, so were used for mock up purposes.

Lastly, for this post, put the armor and bumper back on after painting them.

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Old 09-12-2012, 11:55 AM   #25
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Taking out the inner fenders and just running out the tube style ones, presented some small issues. Room under the hood was already becoming precious after installing the Viair OBA system. The main problem here is the coolant bottle connected to the driver's side inner. Other stuff like jack, horn, etc are optional. I haven't been able to use the stock jack in a long time anyway. My air compressor was mounted in its place.

My solution is I was able to reuse the stock coolant bottle, relocate it on the passenger side. One hole in the radiator support was a perfect starting mounting point. Using another stock bolt sticking out was another perfect fit. I had some scrap aluminum plate around, so just cut a piece of it out, drilled some holes for the compressor to sit on and then mounted the plate to the holes already there in the tube fender. Came out pretty freakin' nice.

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Old 09-27-2012, 08:01 PM   #26
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What brand corner guards and rocker panels did you have in the beginning of your build? The black ones
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:08 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepAddOns-Chris
So this topic has been sorely neglected. Things have progressed well beyond where things were when last posted and it has been wheeled. Suppose I need to back up a bit.

In several pics previously, you'll see where the body was primered in areas. That is where my corner and rocker guards were. Sand gets in there along with salt from roads during Kentucky winters and some rust started forming. I stripped the powder coat off all the armor on the vehicle down to bare metal, primered them and repainted graphite metallic. On the inside where contact was being made with the body, I used rubberized undercoating and... this is important... let it cure for several days before installation. If you handle them too early, the rubberized undercoating will easily flake off.

Anyway, start of the comp cut. I ended up cutting further in. The damage you see on the tail gate is a reason NOT to run a tail gate mounted tire carrier and instead run a bumper mounted one.

Did a disc conversion on the Ford 9". Here's were I banged my head the most. I had a heck of a time figuring out the rear disc brake conversion". For internet informational purposes, on an F150 with big calipers, here's the part list.

8" hard line driver's side. 30" hard line passenger's side. Chevy Caprice rubber lines, GMC K2500 calipers and pads. I ran early model F150 rotors and ground down the flanges, but later discovered I could have run Dodge D44 rotors and not ground anything down. The CJ-7 rotor is completely and totally an internet myth.

For the record, this is *not* the way to run Rancho shocks. These were blemished ones I had laying around with the wrong fittings, but right length, so were used for mock up purposes.

Lastly, for this post, put the armor and bumper back on after painting them.
Looks great!

Is that the astro van saginaw box? And you should buy some blank corners and do a oval/comp cut
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:30 PM   #28
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Sorely neglected yet again. Yes, that is an Astro box. Had to swap out to that one due to the amount of stretch in the front. Back to back to back posts just to catch up where it is now.

Here's how the comp cut turned out. Just some easy stuff to do a shakedown run.









For those with an eye for detail, no I'm not a Jeff Gordon fan. The sticker is there for an inside joke.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:31 PM   #29
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I got tired of worrying about my doors and damaging them on the trail, so I picked these up.



Highrock 4x4 Element Doors with storage bags. You can also see in that pic a Barnes 4WD skid plate. 1/4" thick steel and works very, very well.

I ran it this way for a short time and I finally decided to retire the tired 4.0 on the rig. At nearly 275K miles on the clock, she was still as reliable as ever, but getting noisy and using oil, so picked up a transplant from a 96 XJ with only 75K on it. Mostly a direct swap outside a few minor differences.

While the engine was out, figured that my hood was about the only unmolested thing on my rig left, so decided to pick up a Poison Spyder hood louver.









With the LED light bar on the hood, I get asked a lot about glare. In regards to the glare, it's better than expected. What I did is I ordered the hood louver bare aluminum and painted with rustoleum high temp grill paint. It is a very flat black, more-so than regular flat black rattle can stuff. The best way I can describe it, there's almost a chalkboard look to it. That, along with the raised legs on the light seems to work out very well and still allows me to open the hood all the way back.
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:32 PM   #30
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Since I was running a 12" and a 20" LED light bar, I felt like I was missing something. So picked up a 50" LED light bar and my Jeep became the first YJ in the entire world with a bolt on 50" light bar mount. I feel special!





My Jeep was the prototype for the HMF Fabrication LED light mount. This thing has saved my windshield frame in the woods on more than one occasion. 3/16th steel is the same stuff that is used on rocker and corner armor... and it works!

Around this time, I also picked up a new bumper. I modified it a bit for my needs, but this is the Paramount Offroad Extreme Stinger.


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