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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got my first jeep late summer/early fall. 98 4.0 with 120K, 5 speed. It was fairly well taken care of and I traded a 2001 Harley Davidson Sportster and some cash for the jeep. Frame is rust free for the most part and had been coated with POR 15 or similar. I'd had it around two months before I started to dive into a "build."

My first purchase is a 1.25" body lift (rough country) as I thought it was a cheap and easy first thing to do. I was mistaken. As I got into breaking the bolts loose that hold the body to the frame it was apparent that the body was not as rust free as the frame. So here we are.... a couple bolts are just spinning around a rusted out nut, and another is broke. So 8 of the 11 bolts come out fine. Another two (the very rear ones the nut itself is moving around, but I did manage to get the bolts out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Long story short, I eventually get everything out how it needs to be, but now to find out a way to make my body solid again. (Also, whoever had the jeep before me sprayed foam insulation in there as you can tell in the first picture if you look closely.)

After researching the internets and the forums I came to my solution of "rust repair patch" as it was the most economical option, and I suffer from not having an unlimited supply of money. I find a local welder that was recommended to me by a neighbor. He did an "Okay" job for the job I handed him. Not the best, but it should hold. Here is the repair patches after being welded into place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After the patches were welding I hit them with some rust preventative primer, rubber coating, then again with black rust preventative paint. Ended up making the welds look much better, and the body lift was finally close to done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
....and finally we have our before and after. The 1.25" body lift that should've been complete after $150 and a day is complete about three weeks and $500 dollars later, but getting the body back to solid gives me piece of mind.

Next up on my list is a winch/bumper combo.

Also just got a new softop over the weekend which was much harder to get on than expected, but it's on and the back windows zips more than to the top corner which is great!.
 

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Looking good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The build has carried on waywardly! Since the last post I've added bumper, winch, and a 2.5" RC lift with the 2.2 shocks.

First up was the bumper/winch. Scored a cheap winch at Harbor Freight for $240 after all said and done.

Any project is not complete for me until I break at least one bolt. This time it was a bolt on the bumper mount. Here are how a few of the other bolts looked... felt lucky to only break one of the six. Got the bolt drilled out, but the nut came out of the frame as well. Ended up finding a new nut and the bumper is fastened in all six spots, winch is connected, and pulled the jeep without problem on a "test pull."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This past weekend I took on the biggest project to date. Installing the coil springs and shocks from the RC 2.5" lift kit. I started Friday afternoon and finished Sunday evening. Probably totaling about 12 hours of work time. I didn't break any bolts and everything went fairly well. Just a long process taking the springs out and putting the new ones in.

When I got it aligned I was told the Jeep could definitely use some new ball joints as well as some other things to keep the alignment as straight as possible, but we'll see where that goes. May wait until I get new wheels and tires.

Next up on the list of mods is SYE and Rear Drive shaft. I already have both of those sitting in my house. RC had a discontinued shorter rear drive shaft for the SYE Kit for 95 bucks shipped to my front door instead of the normal 300 so I jumped at that. There was only five left according to their eBay store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Slip Yoke Eliminator, New Rear Drive Shaft, Adjustable rear-upper control arms. All complete.

Also went on our first trail ride this past weekend with a jeep club in the Smokies. Realized immediately we needed some grab handles... So I tested my hand at crafting some paracord roll bar grab handles. Didn't turn out too terrible for my first time..
 
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