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Discussion Starter #161
I'm still focusing most of my time and energy on my RamCharger build but am making small changes in preparation of larger changes to come later this year. First up was to take advantage of the new space the MetalCloaks have made.

Here is good example of how much room was created by the MC Overlines. Previously to this, I had my bumpstops set so that I had ~ 1/4" of clearance to the TJ flares at their closest points (recall that my front fenders had already been trimmed to TJ size).

Before readjusting bumpstops:






After reinstalling the original 1/2" bump pads on the RE Extended bumpstops:


I couldn't get the Jeep to hit the front bumps at my "proving grounds" without putting all my weight on the flares (which meant I was unable to get a photo of it)... I'll soon be testing these on the trail, so I'll make sure to double check clearances as I go through the twisties the first few times.



Despite only having 1-1/2" difference in height, the new (old) bump pads have increased travel over 2.5" and I'm guessing it is close to 3-1/4" to 3-1/2" (thanks math!)

Those with a good-eye may have also noticed that my MetalCloak sliders have arrived. These are beefy and help tie the "look" of the front and rear flares much better than I was expecting... The step isn't really a step, but really a kicker to keep the body and flares away from objects better.

 

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Discussion Starter #162
Had a great Facebook Marketplace find - a locking Tuffy center console for $80. It was missing the rear bracket (the angled piece that hangs down to the floorboard) but Tuffy is a USA-made company (good ol' Cortez, CO!) and unlike Bestop, they can sell you any single part needed. I ordered a rear bracket, a finger hook, and 2 spare keys for $21.



I have been using the Gauge Works door panels for about 2 years now and while they work, I was never super impressed. They fit but were loose and squeaked a lot. The pocket, while handy, always hit my leg.



The last straw was that the pocket on the driver side was now beginning to crack and would pinch my leg and/or leg hair all the time - which was both annoying and sometimes painful while on the trails. I found my old factory pair in the back of the garage and even though they were cracked and deteriorating some, I decided to make them work. I lightly sanded the areas on top with the most sun/arm damage and then used my plastic welder to repair a large crack on the passenger side.



After that I grabbed a can of Duplicolor Vinyl and Fabric coating, then gave the panels a good degrease and scrub with a 3M Scotchbrite pad and went to town. They came out well and fit much better than the Gauge Works panels ever did. I'm not missing the pockets anymore since I now have the Tuffy center console to store things in (mainly charging cables and similar were stored in the pockets).





While the door panels were off, I completely degreased both locking mechanisms (with Super Clean at first, then good old oven cleaner they were so bad on the inside). I few minutes of elbow grease at each lock, followed by some Teflon grease and dry-lube and these now open and latch as good as new. I was surprised at how smooth the handle works now and even my daughter asked if I "did something to the door handles".
 

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Which color DupliColor did you use, and how’s the match with your dash? I restored most of the black pieces on my Jeep with Eastwood plastic resurfacer, but they don’t make it for anything but black plastic. I really need to do something with my charcoal door inserts to spruce them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #164
Which color DupliColor did you use, and how’s the match with your dash? I restored most of the black pieces on my Jeep with Eastwood plastic resurfacer, but they don’t make it for anything but black plastic. I really need to do something with my charcoal door inserts to spruce them up.
"HVP111 Charcoal Grey" is what is listed on the can...
 

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Discussion Starter #165

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Discussion Starter #166 (Edited)
Corbeau Moab Seats in Jeep YJ - Part I

After the trail ride last month, I knew I had to do something different with the seats...

While the Sunfire GT seats have been working well enough, they had some issues. First, the cushion itself was getting worse and worse on the drivers side. It was to the point where the internal frame has "pushed" through and completely split the foam, causing it to push some pressure on my left butt cheek. The fabric, which was not in the best shape when I got these, has held up better than I expected but it is really getting beat up from days in the sun and my big a$$ sliding into and out of the seats all the time.

Seat 1.JPG


With that, I was set to find a good replacement option. Unfortunately, being a YJ in a world full of JK/JL/JT owners can be a lonely place. Nothing is made for the YJ and those that are touted as being CJ/YJ specific (such as the Corbeau Moabs below) are basically a sales pitch. I have a friend who has been playing the "seat & slider" shuffle for about a year now, trying to find what seat and frame combination gives good height and legroom (apparently the original PRP was the best, but is no longer available).

Seat 2.JPG


I settled on a set of Corbeau Moabs as they look very similar to the original Jeep seats, can be run with a harness, and have some - but relatively minor bolstering. I want some bolstering for support on the trails, but being a big guy (6'2" and 325 lbs) I can't get aggressive with it. I also wanted a seat that can tilt forward more than the factory seats (I prefer a fairly vertical seating position). From all my research, the Corbeau brackets get you about as close to factory seating height as possible. Running the factory brackets will net a slight increase in ride height.

Seat 3.JPG


With that, I ordered a Corbeau bracket for the driver's side and then used the original bracket on the passenger side. My passenger and co-pilot is most often my 8 year old son. He has a hard time seeing over the dash as it is, so a few inch increase in ride height allows him to see out the window and should be comfortable for a few years. Using the factory passenger side seat bracket allowed the "tumble" feature to work as well.

Seat 4.JPG


These are touted as "bolt in" options but they will require some work to use the factory brackets. As you can see above, I had to drill a hole for the rear bolt holt on both factory seat sliders. Not exactly "bolt in" but "drilling required" isn't too difficult :)

Seat 5.JPG


The seating position was as expected and maybe 1.5-2" taller than factory.

Continued on Part II
 

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Discussion Starter #167 (Edited)
Corbeau Moab Seats in Jeep YJ - Part II

The recline feature works and clears the rollbar as well (which is a problem on some other options)...

Seat 6.JPG


The driver side needed some more work. I test fit the frame to the floor, and you can clearly see the 9/16" gap on the left-rear mount. Tilting the bracket so that all 4 corners are touching the tub tilts the feet up and also gives a very hard lean to the rear-left.

Seat 7.jpg


I originally tried using a 1/2" spacer and washer to shim the seat frame. Doing so left the lower seat cushion very horizontal, almost 0º, which made me feel like I was flying out of the seat at every stop sign. In this position, my head was hitting the soundbar and the seat was unable to be reclined due to hitting the roll bar. The seat was also offset to the left quite a bit. It is obvious that this frame is meant to fit multiple Corbeau seats and that this is hardly optimized for a YJ.

Seat 8.JPG


At this point I had to decide if I was going to use the original seat bracket and modify to fit, or modify the Corbeau bracket. At $125, the bracket is well made and slides nicely, but leaves much to be desired for overall fitment and seat placement. Since my factory seat frame had a crack developing (and one that was already repaired), I decided to use the Corbeau bracket and modify to fit. I ended up cutting off the rear-right bracket. Doing so allowed the short left-rear bracket to sit flush on the tub. I trimmed up the cut off bracket to sit flush on the right-rear and welded her back in place. I then redrilled the seat frame holes 1-1/4" over to the right, essentially "centering" the seat to the steering wheel.

Seat 9.JPG


What I ended up with was a very comfortable seating position, with plenty of headroom to clear the roll bar (and pending rollcage). I have been driving like this for almost a week and it's quite nice. The seats themselves are firm but comfortable. They give good support on bumpy roads and appear well made overall. The recline forward-and-back is perfect and allows me to go very vertical, which I like, especially when wheeling. I may end up shimming the front of the seat up 1/4-1/2" to see if I would like a bit more seating angle, but that is really minor and expected based on personal preference. I may weld in another support bar to see if going backward another 1-2" may help and still clear everything.

Seat 10.JPG


You can see here how much taller and more forward the passenger side seat is (both are as far back on the sliders as they can go). Overall I'm very happy with these. They take some work to fit well but with the lack of truly bolt-in ready options, this was a win in my book...
 

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Those are exactly the same seats I was getting ready to buy for my YJ (literally had them in the cart, about to check out when I decided to open up the forum). It is unfortunate to see that the bracket fitment is so poor. Did you try to call Corbeau to see what the deal is?
 

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Discussion Starter #169 (Edited)
Those are exactly the same seats I was getting ready to buy for my YJ (literally had them in the cart, about to check out when I decided to open up the forum). It is unfortunate to see that the bracket fitment is so poor. Did you try to call Corbeau to see what the deal is?
I didn't call Corbeau but I've been following a few other folks (on a YJ-specific Facebook page) who had near identical experiences to each other. A YJ friend of mine has tried a variety of seat brackets and seats and generally all follow the same pattern. A person the week prior to me ordering mine was making me reconsider, but after discussing the issues with him, I was fairly certain that it was the bracket that was the issue and not the seat.

Capture.JPG


I knew what I was getting into and figured I'd be fabbing/modifying something to make it perfect...

While I'm thinking about the seats, so far, they've been quite comfortable including a few longer drives through the valley. I have some spare 1.5"/.25" wall DOM tube that I'm thinking of making a few spacers for the front of the floor bracket. I'd like to see if a bit more tilt on the bottom cushion would further add to my comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter #170

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Discussion Starter #171 (Edited)
Well what was supposed to be a fun day taking the back way to Crown King ended with an early-morning tow-truck ride back to the house:

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I was driving along with my son to the trailhead with some other Jeepers, cruising 60 mph and all of a sudden it started making a horrible grinding noise - I thought I exploded a diff!

I pulled over and narrowed it down to the transmission and transfer case. Playing with it some more, I noticed that 2Hi and 4Hi made the noise, and N and 4Lo made no noise (and that N was acting like 4Lo), so my guess was that something gave loose in the t-case. Not what I would have expected, considering it's been rebuilt 2 years ago and was fine and never gave an indication of a problem.

Tearing it apart, and it was easy to see what the problem was:

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I don't know why it happened and looking at the interwebs, we see this happen a bit, but no good explanation as to what caused the failure. I ordered some replacement parts - but with COVID-19 currently slowing everything down, they were estimated at 3 weeks out.

Luckily I have friends in low places and a buddy just pulled the 231 from his LJ and replaced with an Atlas. He let me have his case for free and wouldn't take any money for it! I did award him 15 Jeep Karma credits for future use though, so hopefully that helps him should he need it in the future :drinks:

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I pulled my JB SS SYE shaft and bearing retainer, cleaned out all the nooks and crannies, replaced the bearing in the housing (which is a standard 231 part, nice job JB!) and the seal as well.

The bearing is a captured inner snap ring and must be EXPANDED (into a machined groove in the housing) while also tapping out the bearing. I'm sure JB uses a funky jig to make this easy but it's a PITA with hand tools. I did get it eventually, but during the install I did mangle the snap ring groove some. I did my best with a file to clean it and dress it up and was able to get the new bearing to completely seat and the snap ring to fully engage, so hopefully that doesn't cause me any issues in the future.

The seal did cause some frustration too as there is no listing on JB's site and he is out of the shop from Fri-Sun. They use TTO supplied seals, which don't easily cross over to typical Timken or National #s. The TTO # is F490.

Luckily, after doing some digging and measuring, the National # that cross references is #3946. This is actually the t-case output shaft seal for a 80's-90's Dodge NP241, so oddly enough I had 2 spare seals in my garage for them. Apparently hoarding Dodge and Jeep parts has some value...

Thankfully everything went back together and the Jeep is mobile again. I'm waiting on a pair of new drain plugs (those later-model inner-Allen plugs strip faster than a Thai hooker with a crisp $100!!) so after I put a few miles on the new bearings, I'll drain the fluid and be ready for a more rigorous test.

Just a note for those running a 231 - there is an "updated" low-range shift fork, Part #17833, that is used in the later model 231's with improved geometry. I will say that this new t-case shifts 3-4x smoother than my previous t-cases ever have (any of them!). I'm going to rebuild my broken t-case when the parts arrive but just thought I'd share the experience with the new part # as some places erroneously say that the 17833 is for Dodge/GM 231's only (the 2005 LJ 231 had this part# from the factory).
 

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Luckily I have friends in low places and a buddy just pulled the 231 from his LJ and replaced with an Atlas. He let me have his case for free and wouldn't take any money for it! I did award him 15 Jeep Karma credits for future use though, so hopefully that helps him should he need it in the future.

That's the beauty of the relationships we develop. When we give, our lives become richer.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Discussion Starter #173
I think many of us are in the same boat and are likely going stir crazy stuck at home. Luckily, the trails are still open so off-roading is one of the few things we can do. When I called the Ranger station to verify that the gates are unlocked to the remote trails, he told me "yes of course, we still need off-roading!". Gotta love the west...

Me and a few of my JK buddies hit up Sunflower Mine Trail between Mesa and Payson. This was the same trail we hit up in January and I have to say, it looked NOTHING like it did in January. Heavy rains the past 2 months have certainly made things interesting. There were new ruts everywhere and many of the boulders on the trails have shifted - either from heavy flow or due to other wheelers. Even I ended up bumping a large 3' boulder off a ledge and kicked it smack in the middle of a line (sorry, it happens!).

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Belle was running well and the new(ish) t-case is working flawlessly. I am leaking a bit of ATF from the rear seal (between the seal and the housing), so I will end up replacing that soon. Since this is an LJ case, it doesn't have the synchro but still shifts quite smooth.

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We didn't get too many photos on this trip - with the increased water flow it made stopping and getting out a lot more challenging (at least not without getting soaked up to your knees!).

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My buddy Jesse in his JKU, running D60's and 40"s. This rig is freaking impressive at what it can tackle!

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The red JLU is a local guy who hasn't had much wheeling time (at least in the rocks) and didn't know you should air down when crawling. Hey we all start somewhere, right? That said, he did extremely well on a technically challenging trail with lots of tight corners, narrow trails, and sharp turns/twists.

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Some of your may recognize the IH above - it's none other than Trent McGee's 2019 Ultimate Adventure build.

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It was impressive watching this thing work its magic on the trails. The R2.8 and SST trans, coupled with a 3-speed Atlas made us all laugh watching him crawl and basically idle over obstacles that even an LS-swapped LJ had troubles with. I love how simple of a build it is (he's still on leafs and Skyjacker shocks) and just how well it performs.

IMG_7549.JPG


This rig, basically a show pig up to this point, also did quite well (though it's paint isn't as clean as it was at the beginning of the trip!)
 

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Nice. It is cool to run into rigs like that out on the trail. I was just talking to Jeff at Ballistic fab the other day about him being able to get out wheeling every day down there in AZ. We don't have is so good here in PA. All of the parks are closed and what land is open to cruise in the woods is just dirt roads. It is irresponsible to go off trail to find good stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #175
Nice. It is cool to run into rigs like that out on the trail. I was just talking to Jeff at Ballistic fab the other day about him being able to get out wheeling every day down there in AZ. We don't have is so good here in PA. All of the parks are closed and what land is open to cruise in the woods is just dirt roads. It is irresponsible to go off trail to find good stuff.
When I lived in PA, I was fortunate enough to know some locals with land or access to private land (mostly logging company or rock quarry stuff) so it was manageable. That said, it did get old quick and we were always itching to find new spots. Out west, the amount of open, public access land is unimaginable to many...
 

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Discussion Starter #176
Despite COVID-19 slowing almost everything down around me, I've been making good progress on the RamCharger - I'm super excited to get her on the road again.

Unfortunately, the machine shop that has my 5.9L for the YJ was closed for weeks and weeks. I'm guessing that I'm now looking at a 3-4 month turn-around on my motor. So much for getting that done before summer hit...

But as they say, the key to survival and a happy life is being adaptable. I've decided that since the motor work has stalled that it's time to get moving on the suspension and axles. I have spent hours reading about properly linking a 4x4 and how to setup a link suspension. I've played with the calculators and have a few sticks of PCV pipe in the garage for rough eye balling of things. First things first though, I can't start with links until I get a set axles figured out...

So I picked up a set of axles for super cheap!

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One is a 1979 Ford F250 D44HP and the other is a later-model Corp 14 Bolt. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the D44HP in anything (I may actually be getting a TJ soon for my daughter, so if I did it would likely be used for that), but it came with a pair of GM flattop knuckles and 3/4-ton GM spindles and caliper brackets that I could sell and cover the cost of the axle itself.

The 14B is 66.5" WMS and is what I'll be running in the rear (with an appropriate shave of course). I just ordered a set of disc brake brackets and a set of El Dorado calipers. I'm going to regear with 5.38's and a Detroit, then get it cleaned up and installed using the spare set of RE SOA 1.5" springs I have. My end goal is to link the rear but I also want to add some stretch back there, so I won't do that until I can find a used (or suck it up and buy a new) GenRight EXT gas tank.

I'm still looking for a front axle. A friend of mine suggested building up the D44 HP with a Jana54 kit and CM shafts but I'm on the fence. I thought about stealing the D60 kingpin from my Dodge and using the 8-lug GM outers to build up the spare (currently 5-lug) Dodge D44 I have. I could even steal the Eaton E-locker out of the YJ's rear D44 for the Dodge axle, which would add some nice grip (it already has the correct 4.88's too!). The Dodge D60 has the advantage of being only 67" WMS wide, but it's also passenger side drop so there are some considerations. I'll be keeping an eye out while I get the rear axle swapped in so hopefully I'll be able to find a 80's kingpin in the meantime.

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I found a set of Method 101 beadlocks in 17x9" with a set of 38"x13.5" Falkens. The price was right and I like the backspacing (4.5") - they should keep the overall track width to a trail-friendly ~81" or so with a D60 front-end.

For those with a keen eye, you may have noticed these before on a rig that's been in a dozen magazines and Motortrend episodes:

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Those are indeed the wheels and tires from the "Deranged Rover" that was driven by Verne Simons on Ultimate Adventure 2018 and 2019. Aside from the good deal, I got to meet up with Verne and see his shop, plus a few past UA rigs (including his 2011 UA CJ).

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Obviously the yellow wasn't going to work for me - so I grabbed a small can of paint stripper and checked to see how well it would work...

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