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Old 01-24-2017, 09:55 AM
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YJ Slow Build

I've been meaning to update the forum with my build. I'm here in TX, always have been a Toyota person but wanted something I could have a little more fun with but not spend the money like an FJ40 would have cost me. I started with a 1993 YJ 4.0. Stock drivetrain with mangled rear gears. Engine ran okay, it drove okay to move around the yard in 4wd. The AC blew cold, that was a big plus. 4" Rough Country springs, flimsy tube front and rear bumpers, other typical add on stuff from 20 years of ownership, 35" KM2s. Paint was rough but tub was in really good shape for the price I paid.

I'm almost done with my build but I've realized that I want a place I can reference back to, hence this thread.

So the plans were to keep a low COG (4" of lift, 1" BL for room to work), compromise between rock crawler and road worthy, I have a small family now so I wanted it to be a fun weekend driver but to keep up with my brother and his friend's buggies on the trails.

I knew the axles needed to go so the plans were for a Dana 44 front axle and a Ford 8.8 rear. Nothing hardcore here. Found a brand new, never installed Atlas correctly splined for a jeep with correct u joints for sale in Austin for $1800 so I went and picked it up but it was PS drop. At this early stage of the build I figured no worries. Now with the Atlas in my garage, I ordered a PS drop Dana 44 off a IH Scout that had been used most recently on a old Jeepster. Already cut n turned, Hi Steer, 4.88 gears, chromoly shafts and Detroit locker. Fastenal did a great job getting it here from CA.

Picked up a junkyard ford 8.8. Ordered new chromoly shafts from Dutchman with 5x5.5 lug pattern to match the front, installed 4.88 gears and a Spartan locker. ECGS for all the brakes.

Now that the axles were figured out, I decided that leaving well enough alone wasn't good enough so the idea came from my brother to double the atlas to my 231. Sure, why not. So I ordered a frogfab doubler kit and cut n welded the 231 up and bolted it up to the Atlas. Fun Stuff, now the consequences for those actions were that pretty much no driveshaft could fit the 12" of space left between back of the tcase and the MORE 8.8 adapter. So a stretch was now in the plans.

The 8.8 was bolted up to the RC springs in the rear, I went with rancho 44044 springs out front, gained about an inch or so of stretch.

At this point I decided the jeep needed some tube fenders as seen in the pics, they were easily cut off and bolted on. Pretty clean lines that I like.

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Old 01-24-2017, 10:45 AM
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Stretch and front steering became way more than simply bolt on stuff like I thought. Ordered the BTF rear stretch kit...so I put the brand new Barnes bumper I just bought to the side(one of many items I did like this) and picked up Rubicon Express XJ 4.5" lift springs. Picked up a used but never installed Genright EXT tank off pirate4x4. Now that I had all the parts, my buddy and fabricator stepped in to help. I had recently moved 5 hours away with no where to work on the jeep.

At this point we're realizing we didn't take the quickest route to having the jeep on the trails. For the rear, the stretch fit fine, but the gas tank didn't work with the stretch plus drivetrain. So we chopped up the perfectly good Genright tank and it gave us a couple extra inches to work with.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:53 AM
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The low COG plus keeping it SUA caused issues with the hi-steer. After everything else failed to work, we installed an astrovan PS box behind the axle with a modified wagoner pitman arm. Went ahead and did hydro assist while we were in there. Went with a PSC ram.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:57 AM
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I've used Barnes4wd for almost all fab parts. RuffStuff for parts that Barnes didn't fab yet. Used Bilstein 5125s front and rear. Here is another pic of the Jeep as I originally bought it and post dana 44 install/fender chop.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:00 AM
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I'm finally catching up with where we stand now. My buddy almost has the rear done now. The atlas/231 is installed. Skid plate completed and the trac bar is almost done.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:03 AM
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Couple more pics of the rear skid/trac bar/xmember. Used GOAT for the Atlas support.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:16 AM   #7
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looking good!
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Old 01-25-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
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Very nice!
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1992 YJ with 5.0 Ford, M5OD R2 Trans, BW 1356 TC, Ford 8.8 rear axle, sitting on 33 x 12.50 BFG MTs. Aluminum 3-core rad, Electric fan, 8k winch
LSD 8.8, custom dash, front and rear bumpers, extended rear axle, fender mods, etc, etc, etc
1996 Ford F-250HD 7.3 Powerstoke CrewCab Shortbed, lifted with 35x12.50R16s, some mods done by PO
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:24 PM
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Thanks y'all. Well after creating my thread title I saw 2 other build projects get bumped called slow build as well. I guess it's a YJ thing.
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Old 02-21-2017, 04:38 PM
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Finally got the jeep moved up to DFW with me. Unfortunately, I have a bad fuel leak going on. Need to go buy a transmission jack to drop the tank and get my hands on the lines above it. First trip is in a week so I have several things to do to get it ready.

Final things done to the jeep since the last update:
All armor finished, added a 97 Cherokee e-brake (hand brake). The stretch made the e-brake from east coast gear a little too short. For the sake of time, we cut off the tabs that came with the ECG and welded them onto the end of the Cherokee e brake. Yeah, probably wasted $100 doing so. My buddy fabbed a quick bracket out of angle iron and we welded it to the tub. Brakes work great and wont have to worry about the cage being in the way of the foot operated stock one.
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Old 02-22-2017, 09:06 AM
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One thing I wanted to add regarding the Barnes4wd rocker guards is that they did not fit well at all. They just didn't match up at all. Also the rocker was flimsy when mounted and seriously needed bracing.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:11 AM
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First trip to a close gas station was a success. Had a couple gallons in the tank to get me there and filled the modified genright tank to 13.7 gallons. I should be right around the 15 gallon mark. So still stock which is okay. Need alignment done and balanced tires to really tell how the suspension and steering are. Will update when I'm able to do those things. Heading out to Wolf Caves in mason TX this weekend to test it out. I'll update more then.
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Old 03-02-2017, 12:11 AM
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Nothing new here but a nice $80 upgrade. Took about 30 minutes to install both seats. Direct bolt in. 2000 cavalier Seats.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:10 AM   #14
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Those seats look pretty good in there. What year Cavalier did they come from?
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1992 YJ with 5.0 Ford, M5OD R2 Trans, BW 1356 TC, Ford 8.8 rear axle, sitting on 33 x 12.50 BFG MTs. Aluminum 3-core rad, Electric fan, 8k winch
LSD 8.8, custom dash, front and rear bumpers, extended rear axle, fender mods, etc, etc, etc
1996 Ford F-250HD 7.3 Powerstoke CrewCab Shortbed, lifted with 35x12.50R16s, some mods done by PO
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:33 AM
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2000. But 97-03 work
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:39 AM
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And don't forget to get the stock screws/bolts that go from Cav sliders to Cav seat. You'll reuse those. The plastic seatbelt thing on the headrest is in the way and contacts the roll bar so I'll be cutting that off...a dremel will make quick work of it.
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:40 PM
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So took the jeep out for 2 days of wheeling this weekend. It did really well, the cavalier seats were an excellent last minute upgrade. First day was dry while it rained the second day.

Issues: 1) Drag link is rubbing the front of the notched out part of the frame. Plan to open up the front a bit. Grind it down and cut a bit more. 2) the drag link is so close to the engine that it was actually rubbing on a pulley. So I ordered a 1" lift engine mount from MORE to replace my brand new MORE engine mounts(if you want some...first $50 gets it). I'm going to have to shim the transmission. 3) seat belts don't work. Ordered PRP 5.3x2 harnesses and 90 degree mounts from JEGS and a bolt in Rock Hard 4x4 harness bar. That should at least solve the problem for now while wheeling.

Only thing I broke was a spring keeper.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:57 AM
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Short update before we head to Barnwell Mtn. this weekend. Got a Rockhard4x4 harness bar and PRP 5.3x2 harnesses for front seat. Also picked up a PRP Comp seat off craigslist in almost perfect condition for $50.

The stock seat belts were not satisfactory for the safety of the driver and passenger. Unfortunately, the anti-submarine belt wont be used until I replace the cav seats with true suspension seats with the hole cut out. Harness bar went in okay, I couldn't get the torx bolts at the tub to roll cage to unbolt so I just banged the bar into place. It's just below 0 degrees on my shoulders. I am going to use the prp seat to replace the stock bench in the rear to add a 3rd passenger and my daughters carseat.(she's 2).

Doing 1" engine mounts tonight after work.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:07 AM
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Got the bolt on harness bar and 5 point (4 point for now) harnesses installed for a weekend trip last week. The seats and harnesses were great. Now I'm mocking up a single prp seat for a rear passenger. Should be installed next week. Going with a 5 point harness for them too. Their face shouldn't hit the harness bar but I'm adding padding to it just in case.

Also got it inspected and registered this week.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:12 AM   #20
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Looks good!!
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1992 YJ with 5.0 Ford, M5OD R2 Trans, BW 1356 TC, Ford 8.8 rear axle, sitting on 33 x 12.50 BFG MTs. Aluminum 3-core rad, Electric fan, 8k winch
LSD 8.8, custom dash, front and rear bumpers, extended rear axle, fender mods, etc, etc, etc
1996 Ford F-250HD 7.3 Powerstoke CrewCab Shortbed, lifted with 35x12.50R16s, some mods done by PO
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Old 07-26-2018, 03:11 AM
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It looks like it's been a while since I've updated my thread. I started grad school in August of 2017 so it's kept me off the trails. Bonus, I picked up a solid tow rig last year. I got bored with the "look" of my jeep so around October 2017 I swapped a CJ front end and CJ radiator. The CJ radiator low output is a bit funky shaped and needs to be bent. I'll probably get a radiator shop to do this for me.

In November 2017, I took a 250-mile offroad trip in Big Bend(TX) with friends and my brother. On the last night and last 10 miles, I started having engine problem. Due to school and moving, the jeep just since then. A few months ago I spent a few days diagnosing the engine issue, turns out it was the fuel pump so I replaced it and cut a nice hole in my tub for access. I also started noticing a transmission oil leak so I finally got around to dropping the skid plate and finding the problem. I had to remove all my AC equipment for the CJ front end. I still have it in case I think I can use it in the future.

This is where I'm at now, fixing the seal between the 231 and Atlas and puttng it back together. Ordered some new little parts for the Jeep this week to get the hard doors in working condition. I'll try to post pics
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:22 PM   #22
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I want an Atlas REAL bad! Nice YJ!!
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:31 PM
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thanks RF
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:40 PM
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Rampage 94101 Combo Top

With the Texas heat, I decided I needed a little shade for my dog and family. Not by choice, I went with the $38 Rampage 94101 combo black mesh top from 4 Wheel Parts. It was the only one they had in stock and while I could have ordered anything, I was being impatient. This top used straps and a windshield channel. On my way home, I picked up a piece of 1" aluminum flat bar since 4WP didn't have a channel in stock.

I'll keep up to date with my thoughts on it. So far it's been great. I drove about 40 miles today on side roads and highways and no issues. I just used zip ties to wrap and keep the extra strap lengths tucked away. The reviews of this top were pretty bad and I can't understand the reviews. I don't think it's nearly as bad as people have said.
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