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-   -   My adventure begins.... Nate's TJ build (http://www.wranglerforum.com/f322/my-adventure-begins-nates-tj-build-140249.html)

netlohcs 02-17-2012 01:40 AM

My adventure begins.... Nate's TJ build
 
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Hey everybody - a few new "toys" arrived today and i'm kind of excited, so I decided I would make a post :)

I am putting bigger tires on my jeep, decided on the Goodyear Duratracs. They were seemingly one of the only tires I could find that had a fairly aggressive tread pattern but still got good reviews for all of the different winter driving conditions, snow, ice, etc. The rims I chose are the AEV pintlers, designed specifically for TJs.

My "original" plans were to do somewhere in the 33" range, but I read one too many posts about people with 33s saying they look small after a while, or that they can't wait to upgrade again.. etc. So I decided to just go big the first time. The tire I got was a 315/70/17. That comes out to be 34.4" diameter and 12.4" wide.

You probably noticed that I said "tire", and not tires. I decided that for the time being I am going to start with just one, as my plan of action is somewhat different that most people. I am hoping to keep my jeep as low as possible, for a few different reasons.

Reason number 1 - My wife had bone cancer in her left knee when she was 18, and as a result needed to have a full knee replacement. I thank the lord every single day for the fact that she is even alive and with me today, however for her its a little more frustrating. She used to play all sorts of sports but is no longer able to. She cannot even run any more, and I know it just kills her inside. Anyways, when I started talking about doing lifts on my jeep I could just see the sadness on her face, and I instantly knew why. She hates being reminded of her limitations, and struggling to get into a jacked up Jeep would be very frustrating for her. She didn't even have to tell me, I could just tell. Because of this, I want to keep my jeep absolutely as low as possible. Every single inch counts.

Reason number 2 - its my daily driver. I do lots of city driving, in traffic, cornering, and the like. I really REALLY want it to stay absolutely as stable as possible. I won't be getting to buy another DD for a good long time, and as such I don't want to screw up the one I have.

Which brings me to my goal: Put 35s on my jeep while keeping it as low as possible. I want it to be a snow basher (is that a term? if not I just made it up :) ) and also be able to safely navigate the shores of lake superior. If/when I go on these trips I will most likely not have another vehicle with me, thus getting stuck is really not an option. I'm sure I could have gone with 33s and gotten to pretty much the same places, but in my mind the extra security of a larger tire surface area was totally worth it.

They say one valid test is worth a thousand "expert" opinions - I've done tons of research about what fits and what doesn't, and I pretty much got to the point where I just needed to start testing stuff. I plan to use this one tire/rim setup to clearance everything, and then once I know they fit, I will order the other 4. I plan to raise the front fenders about 3" (DIY), and I ordered just the rear fenders out of the AEV highline kits ( they were 100 bucks each).

If I need to (and I'm guessing I will) I will be installing a 1" JKS body lift, and probably a MML along with it. For the time being, the goal is to use the factory suspension. As time goes on, a very mild suspension lift is not out of the question. More likely would actually be that I buy some top of the line aftermarket control arms (currie or the like) to give me added strength in that department, but still keep the same ride height.

Articulation is not very high on my list of needs, and I know i'll probably get a little flamed for that... but I am what I am :) I know there will probably be a lot of the "why didnt you just go with 33s" opinion out there... but as I said I researched my stuff for a long time and I'm confident this is what I want :)

As some footnotes, I have already installed 4.56 gears and ARB airlockers front and rear. Before the jeep gets pulled out of the garage it will have a set of black magic rotors and pads. I do plan to upgrade the axles in my D30 up front at some point in time, however I do not forsee myself encountering any high traction situations in the near future that would put the stock shafts in jeopardy. Having the extra strength and peace of mind will be nice, but the 600-700 bucks could be better spent in other places right now. And no I don't have a Dana 35 in back, i'm not that dumb.

Well anyways, I highly doubt many people will read this whole post, I can't believe I typed this much :P I will continue to update this thread with pictures of my DIY highline as it progresses, and other upgrades as they come along.

A few pictures just to start - the first is of my new rim/tire posing next to my jeep. Looks pretty huge to me :)

The second is some of the preliminary test fitting I was able to do in the rear this evening. AEV seems pretty much spot on in the fact that if you run 35s with stock suspension you will need to trim the tub, but only in the rear of the well. I am hoping to keep the aftermarket AEV flares in the rear as low as possible.

If you even read this whole thing, Thanks ;) if nothing else you should reply with a post that says "I read the whole thing" haha, it would make me happy to know at least one person read my "late-night-cant fall asleep have insomina and my sleep medication doesnt work" post ;)

netlohcs 02-17-2012 01:41 AM

Wow that is ridiculously long. I'm sorry everybody :( Not being able to sleep right sucks...

Susiee 02-17-2012 01:53 AM

omg can you write my english essays? jk

i can say i skimmed through it and that is very beautiful of you to sacrifice a lifted jeep for your wife(:

motoxer96 02-17-2012 02:05 AM

Good luck with everything. I work nights. Thats probably why I was able to make it through your ridiculously long post. Haha. Anyways I have 33' on mine and it rides and works just great. And if your not going to do much of a lift i think you could have totally have gone with that. Gotten a little better MPG and not worry about rubbing anywhere. Anyways enjoy your new toy when you get it done

B.B. 02-17-2012 07:32 AM

WOW.... I just read the whole thing! Better than the news about who's stabbing who in the back in Washington.....

I have 33's that perform just fine for my needs....good luck with your plans.....

Let us know in 3000 words or less how it turns out !!!

Kevbz 02-17-2012 10:50 AM

i read the whole thing....lol

did you do a measurement of say the rear bumper, or rear corner of the tub to see what height you increased?

i guess until you put two on one side or four total you wont know what the difference at the door step is , which is your ultimate goal right?

IndyJeepMan 02-17-2012 10:57 AM

This will be done quite nicely from what I can tell, 35"s can be fit with just a 1" BL. But youll have to rid yourself of the stock sized fender openings. If anything get a 1" BB on top of that.

Westbrook 02-17-2012 12:02 PM

I read it all and I gotta say that I like where you are going with this, really interesting and obviously the main reason for which you are doing it is quite admirable. Good job I Can't wait to see how this turns out. You mentioned both snow and Lake Superior, are you north of the border by any chance?

netlohcs 02-17-2012 02:15 PM

Westbrook, no I actually live in northern wisconsin, with frequent vacations to the Keweenaw peninsula. Its a beautiful place both in the winter and summer. They get crazy, CRAZY snow there in the winter (usually, this year has been light)

Kebz, I haven't done any official measurements to see exactly how much of a height increase there will be. If I am able to forego the body lift (probably not possible) it would only be 1/2 of the total increase in tire diamater. Right now I have 30" BFG ATs that are almost exactly 29" in diameter right now. The new tires are 34.4". That would be a total increase of 5.4", meaning the actual height increase of the vehicle would be 2.7". How close exactly it will actually end up being when its actually done is left to be seen. I will take some pictures as I go and document it.

I stayed up a little to late last night (couldnt really help it when you want to sleep but cant) and as such was pretty worthless this morning. I plan to really start digging in today though, and more pictures will follow! I hope I can get this done in under a week, we will see how that goes. I'm one of those "do it right the first time" type people but sometimes I can be a little excessive about it.

In other good news, I believe my new brakepads and rotors are shipping today so I should have those by the middle of next week hopefully!

spy 02-17-2012 02:21 PM

Thats to much like work reading that, we need a cliff-notes version :dance: haha, nice wheels though

netlohcs 02-17-2012 04:24 PM

Did some preliminary sizing up fron i n regards to turning radius. I spoke with aev a few days ago and they informed me that the 17" pintlers were designed to run up to a 37" tire with no rub. I asked them if vthat was still the case if you don't do a suspension lift and they said yes... worst case scenario i would maybe need to replace the lower control arms with an aftermarket round tube style.

Anyways I did some testing and the tire rubs on the sway bar quite a bit - it looks like ill need to shim out my steering stops a touch. I didn't want to, I really like my tight turning radius, but... I. Don't have much of an option. I might try and find a new swaybar tha keeps the factory stiffness but hugs the frame rail a little tighter.

Anyways customers have been flowing in today and I haven't had much jeep time. When 6 pm rolls around ill get to start digging in, hopefully I can get the fenders pulled off tonight! :)

More pictures to follow.

netlohcs 02-17-2012 08:37 PM

Wow, just FINALLY getting done with customer jobs for the day. I'm pretty tired but I really REALLY want to get started on tearing down my fenders... so thats what i'll be doing. Wish me luck, if things go well i'll post a few pictures in a little while....

dan188 02-18-2012 03:34 PM

post some pictures when you can. I can't wait to see how this build turns out! You seem to be covering all of the necessary based to get this done right.

EDIT: forgot to mention... I read the whole thing!

blue6tj 02-18-2012 04:01 PM

Looks really good dude, and I read the ENTIRE post...

Gordo

TJNewbie 02-18-2012 06:12 PM

Yep, I read it all too. It's nice that you've got the same color jeep that I do, I'll keep watch on your progress, 'just might influence some of my mods. =]

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:23 PM

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Ok, so here is a report on last evenings progress. As I stated originally I am a total night owl... so I worked until about 3 am, cleaned up etc... by the time I got home I was too tired to write or post pictures.

I began really digging in to things last night, and disasembling. I opted to start with the drivers side. I was very careful to label all the bolts and put them into seperate baggies. I was really anal about it this time because in the past I usually am the type to just put ALL of the fastners into a big bucket and then when it comes time to re-assemble, you play "guess and check" :P Nothing about disasembly was overly difficult, it was just fairly time consuming. I also took a black magic marker and labeled all of the vacuum hoses for the charcoal canister. There arent very many and i'm sure it would be easy to figure out which is which when it goes back together, but I just figured it would be easier that way.

Here is a picture of the fender first coming off. I decided to leave the fender support bracket in place for the time being so I can use it for visual referencing.

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:27 PM

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As I was jacking the jeep up last night to do some tire fitment I heard a fairly loud clunk. Come to find out, one of the ball joints on my swaybar had let go. I suppose if it was going to happen, now was the time to do it. My original plan was to leave the factory front swaybar attached for all of my clearancing, as I do not plan on disconnecting it (stated previously that big articulation is not necessary for me).

Due to the fact that my tire rubs on the factory swaybar at full lock, I MIGHT take this oppurtunity to try and find a different setup that hugs the fender more closely. If I am able to get it in about an inch to an inch an a half, I wouldn't have to shim my steering stops and would be able to achieve my goal of not losing any turning radius.

The other added "benefit" of having it let go right now is that I will actually be doing all of my clearancing with the swaybar disconnected, giving me even more assurance that I wont have any rubbing.

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:38 PM

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So the fender was off! Time to start doing some clearancing and figure out exactly how much room I am going to need for these new tires.

I have never done anything of this sort before, so my plan was to just take is slow and steady. Additionally, I've never really done much work with bumpstops or things of that sort. Looking at them, you will notice there is a metal cylinder and then a very hard rubber pad at the bottom, feels about the consistency of a skateboard wheel. I really didn't know how much that rubber was actually going to compress, so I wanted to test it.

They say "one valid test is worth a thousand expert opinons" - so I wanted to actually get this thing on the bumpstops and articulated. I started by taking out the shock, and then the spring. The spring took me a while, mainly because my floor jack didn't lift the jeep up high enough originally. Eventually I got it out though.

As I began to let the jeep sink down on the drivers side, I realized I was getting ahead of myself! I had gotten free ARB diff covers when I bought my lockers. Only problem is that after they were installed, the diff cover hits on the trackbar. That meant that I needed to address this problem before I could proceed any further with clearancing.

I decided that I was going to grind the ARB cover down and just see how it goes. I really didn't want to mess up its pretty red shinyness, but I didnt have much of a choice. It took me a while (used a crap grinder wheel at first, then when I switched it out it cut like butter). Additionally I had to remove one of the hex bolts and redrill the hole deeper, grind the bolt shorter, and reinstall it so that the bolthead was sunk down further, allowing me to grind a little more cover away.

The diff cover isnt nearly as pretty now, but it clears by just a touch, and it is still helping to strengthen the differential which is the important part. Heres a picture of it clearanced after I was done.

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:41 PM

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So, with the diff cover removed I was able to set the vehicle down on its bumpstop. The bumpstop has about 1.5" of rubber sticking out of it at rest, when the full weight of the vehicle is resting on it, that amount decreases to about 1".

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:46 PM

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It was now time to put the new tire on, and start checking things out. Once I had the 34" on, I worked at test fitting the fender back in its home, but 3" up.

Before I could get it to go, there were some lips on the metal behind the headlights that needed to be cut and bent. I'll show some pictures of that soon but for right now I didn't take any.

The picture is of the new tire on, and the fender installed about 3" higher. I used the upper factory body line as a reference. If only jeep had actually used this line originally, I wouldnt have to be doing this!! Oh well...

As you can see from that picture, the tire technically fits. Granted there is no flare installed at the time, but the bottom line is that if you only ever wanted to drive perfectly stright (yeah right ;) ) you could run 34"s with a 3" fender lift and not have to do any sort of body lift.

But alas, I was hoping to be able to turn my jeep, so I started looking into that next.

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:54 PM

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I turned the front of the drivers side tire in (to the right) and tried to figure out how much clearance will be needed. Its a little tough at this point in time though because there is a lot of fiddling around that will need to be done near the headlight area. It seems as though this part of the fender will not be that problematic.

I then turned the back of the drivers side tire in (turning to the left) and this is where more clearance is needed. with the suspension merely resting on the bumpstop, the clearance is SUUUUPER close, to the point that it technically clears right now, but if I put the bolt in it would probably hit. However, just because it is resting on the bump stop does not mean that is as close as they would ever get. If I were ever to have severe articulation the distances could possibly even be closer.

I took my jack, and jacked up the rear passenger side of the vehicle to try and emulate an absolute "worst case" scenario. When I did this, the tire did begin pressing in to the fender by probably about 1/2". I dont have a picture of this specifically but as I start working more towards an exact fender mounting spot I will show things in more detail.

netlohcs 02-18-2012 07:58 PM

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That is pretty much how far I made it last night before I got so tired I couldn't see straight. I am hoping to get back tonight and put some time into it, but I wont be working nearly as late as last night as I have church to get to tomorrow morning. One of the areas that is going to take a significant amount of time and effort is fitment around the headlight. AS you can see in this picture the profile of the fender is pretty off after the 3" lift. I do not know exactly my plan of attack just yet, but whatever I do I know i want to go slow and do it right. I really dont want to have any creases in the metal when i'm done.

As before, If you take the time to read through all this mumbo jumbo that I'm posting, please let me know!! It gives me encouragement to post more :) I'm worried that some of these posts are so long that people will lose interest. Anyways I hope everyone is having a good day, and there will definitely be lots more to follow!!!!

TJNewbie 02-19-2012 01:56 AM

Looking good. :popcorn:

Frenz 02-19-2012 02:23 AM

read it all. will be subscribed. :thumb:Looking out for the Mrs:thumb:

blue6tj 02-19-2012 03:06 AM

Hello and looks like your doing a very good job, but, I am confused with one thing. Your using your original fenders aren't you? The company that you bought your tires and rims from sell a kit that comes with the fenders, hood, flares etc... for $1999.00 Why didn't you get the entire kit? Unless I'm missing something? Am I? But anyway, very nice job and I am reading your posts...

Look at the PDF file...

http://www.quadratec.com/Assets/Installation/77030.pdf

http://www.quadratec.com/products/12503_300_07.htm

Gordo

IndyJeepMan 02-19-2012 07:34 AM

If the stock fenders dont end up working, sell them for $$ and buy some after market hilines that provide more inside the wheel well, and behind the tire clearance. As well as above the wheel.

netlohcs 02-19-2012 01:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by blue6tj (Post 2048003)
Hello and looks like your doing a very good job, but, I am confused with one thing. Your using your original fenders aren't you? The company that you bought your tires and rims from sell a kit that comes with the fenders, hood, flares etc... for $1999.00 Why didn't you get the entire kit? Unless I'm missing something? Am I? But anyway, very nice job and I am reading your posts...

Look at the PDF file...

http://www.quadratec.com/Assets/Installation/77030.pdf

AEV Conversions 41003011AA - AEV Highline Body Kit for 97-06 Jeep® Wrangler TJ & Unlimited - Quadratec

Gordo

You answered your question without even knowing it :) $1999.... Dont really want to spend that money if I can help it. additionally that price does not include painting which would be another 500-700 bucks. So that would be around 2700. I think I can do it myself for about 300.

netlohcs 02-19-2012 02:27 PM

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Here is a picture of the minor cutting I needed to do on the rear side of the headlight. There are some small metal tabs that stick out that need to be flattened.

netlohcs 02-19-2012 02:45 PM

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I only had about 2 hours to work on things last night, and I decided I wanted to focus on something a little "easier", so I went back to the rear wheel wells for a while. Again I decided to work with the driver's side first.

I jacked up the rear axle and removed the spring. In order to do this I first had to disconnect the bottom shock mount and the sway bar link. Again I wanted to figure out how much the bump stop actually compresses. I measured the rubber portion sticking out of the stop, it was just slightly over 1.5" at rest.

I then put the 34" on and began raising the axle up into the body, seeing what would hit first. Once on the bumpstop, the tire made contact with both the front and the rear of the wheel well, as pictured below.

jpnca 02-19-2012 02:56 PM

looks good!

and I read the whole thing


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