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Purchased my 1st jeep this yr in may. always wanted 1 but kids and wife n life take priority.

Now at almost 50 she left and kids are grown, and independent.
so it was time to get something just for me.

After looking at over 50 jeeps, TJ's. saw and drove rigs with 35's the dealers stuffed on to draw your eye, but would kill u on highway. down to stock.
hidden damage, rotten frames, I saw 1 had new tub, new wheels, new top, new seats and new paint sitting on frame with 20 crap welded patches and drivetrain was leaking everything from Rad to TC.

I got as lucky as I could, found a 2004 khaki X w/aftermarket hard top, 6cyl, auto. 78k and very clean frame and body for northern ohio. no leaks.
it had +2" springs and shocks on 31x10.5x15's.

rig drove nice until u got a bump at 35+ then it had wiggle, and went nuts on bumps at highway speed (I am aware what DW is and how rare a true case is). what most refer to as DW is just jacked/messed up front ends and that it's correctable.

so I purchased it knowing this fact, 8600$

and now the trails starts. (doing last few months from memory , so please don't bust my balls if any previous post may have slightly dif info)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
MAY:
got it home, drove it carefull next few days. trying to get feel for what could be the issue.
culprit was ball joints...... changed all 4
find 1/4" generic pancake spacers on front end, I do not like those.

oil change and general check over, I find whats looks to be a hit into the steel brake/fuel bundle lines inside frame rail and few are dented almost smashed. so they all come out, whole rig gets new stainless lines fuel and brakes bumper to bumper.

get to drive it for now.
still getting used to its road noise and what's a quirk or a real malfunction.

weather getting nice, wanting to get this top off.
priced soft tops and rampage fastback came in as affordable and looked ok to me (yah, heard it wont last but we'll c) got it from summit racing.

haha, then to my dismay my new crap don't fit/work, was quickly made aware of fact I now needed door surrounds.
found them 4dy later, CL 80$ 20mi away.

noticed rig had feel as if it were being held down, like it wants to be taller.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
JUNE:-----SEPT: (it's all blurry, the whats and whens)

something not quite right in steering, not sloppy but not right. nothing seems bad/worn.
and vibes in driveline, low throbbing in OD at 50+
flushed n filled cooling sys
new plugs
found leak on valve pan cover.........fixed
check U joints, all good.
also snagged a smittybuilt cargo strap style top so the dog wouldn't try jump rear tub walls.

check'd diff lvls, both ok not clean but no chocolate milk. it'll wait for now.
new OE brakes all round, new calipers, whl cyl's and drums. front rotors great shape held those.

steering buggin me, order new RR steering linkage from summit, don't like it. send it back for currie- currectlync.

frame was coated long ago in and out, but I sanded whole frame down (few orange spots trying to get hold) as well as I was able, and gave it 2 coats of POR 15.

cleaned few rust areas beginning on body panel edges underneath. washed, degreased let dry for wk and coated whole bottom etching primer and spray can coating.

new 1" daystar BL
currie 1" MML
new trans mount
this pulled exhaust into upper CA mount on PS had to mod.
but driveline vibes have gone w/addition of MML

was gonna attempt wkend outing with few WF OHIO guys but as pulling out drive, had a tie rod end pop on me. so glad I wasn't already 2hrs away on dirt.

installed that currie sys. steering is tight n sweet now.

got involved in this forum has helped a lot. tons of reading, but tons of good info too.

found my rigs feels bound because my shocks don't have much top end left.
been looking at lifts started at Rubicon Express sys's (teraflex, currie, savvy, rock krawler) and ending at the MetalCloak 3.5 rocksport kit.
shopped SYE's, again reading until blind, settling on JB SS SYE.

new black matte steelies with proper BS got those pancake spacers off there.

didn't have rear carpets, so pulled fronts and herculiner bedliner applied to whole inner tub from dash to tailgate, front carpets put back after.
new home fab'd front bumper (temp)
new rear home fab'd bumper w/A frame spare mount w/small overhead rack.
52" led bar on header (I work in the "sticks") 65$ CL from JK I trimmed and rewelded bracket to fit TJ
new LED dash cluster bulbs (green)
grill and tailgate repainted black matte. PO overspayed crap out of them touchin up rotten ass smittybuilt tube bumpers.
also fab'd up T bar rig to get hardtop on and off easily from my garage rafters.
fab'd hi-lift mounts for hood (don't carry that big ass thing in town, do/will carry if I go off road alone)
fab'd some windscreen hinge mounts for some KC beams but not bought any yet.

also nice new RGnA chromy axles for the D30, not installed yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Looks nice bro. Unfortunately Jeeps are not reliable (IMHO), but most parts are cheap and fairly easy to replace.

And I also have issues with the way Jeep drives and it is very tough to find a solution. I replaced so many parts hoping that was the cause yet it was not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
original plan was to put it away in oct-nov, tear it apart and redo whole thing. roll it out in spring as whole new beast.
but really didn't find enough rust to justify tearing it down. and opted for doing what it needed, and a few things that might prevent further/future formations.

lemme add this as being an old bastard, naval jelly still works well for rust removal. if u cannot dip the parts it still does job for 6$.

this site and reading stories of others adventures in building, reading countless hrs of every aspect of lifting rigs. tires, wheels, spacers, scrub, castor, gearing, custom axles, 571 other things I cannot think of off hand and tons of how to video's, all got me squirming to get started on my new lift.

so parked rig mid sept, thinking i'll knock out lift over the wkend.

this'll be where I start next and i'll try to use detail for what I actually did during lift install
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Looks nice bro. Unfortunately Jeeps are not reliable (IMHO), but most parts are cheap and fairly easy to replace.

And I also have issues with the way Jeep drives and it is very tough to find a solution. I replaced so many parts hoping that was the cause yet it was not.

I came up with knowledge that JEEP was/is the Harley Davidson of vehicles........if your not fixing it every wkend your letting it go, and your not going far.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
so this became quickly became a month long project, as I stumbled into a few issues and other things that just bugged me. and with only few hrs in eve's or wkends, the time limits really added to the rig's down time.

guess front 1st:
frame on stands, axle on stands
wheels off, calipers hung, steering disco'd (at pitman), DS disco'd (at pumpkin), shocks out, track bar out, no issues
old front shock only 2" longer than the spring height (probably why I have been feeling held down).
pull LCA's 1 at time to aid axle down and removed old springs. cams gone?

attempt to install new LCA to recommended preset, wasn't for me, went to OE +3/16" to start on both.
once I got into the uppers the fun started.
as PS stock upper CA, after removal of bolt the whole bushing is just flopping around in the axle bracket. upon removal of CA it appears the CA as holding it in not vice versa. sweet (< not the word I used but will do for this post)
I temped this back in for now as was, loosely. and got other upper out and off pumpkin.
again the new pre-suggested length setting did not work for me so I started at OE +3/16" length.
crawled out and got online to find what was the issue of other mount.
maybe 3hrs later I got it figured, got 1 good pic of good mount and saw it should have a push lock rim on the far side of mount to grab hold of the bushing. mine does not, yay (<again not the word I used).
so out to garage pull all apart and proceed to remove the whole front axle assembly at this point.
get it out where I can work on it.

now this dilemma leaves me only 2 choices, hack it off and buy another weld on, or find way to make it right safely.
not having a welder at home and no way to transport the axle I opted for home remedy. borrowing the design from currie's front end bushing replacement kit, basically a tube with press fit receiver that fits into OE bracket, their version u lop top off and weld it to OE bracket base. I welded mine together at work then just fit it in without lopping the top and cross drilled it to hold until I got to my welder again. OE hold was 3/16" on that thin steel bracket edge. I got it pressed into 3/4" of steel now.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
once through bolted (3/8 gr8) it was solid as hell it opened the axle bracket ever so slightly as I knocked it into place and it's squeezed in tight when bolted. leaving the ears ensured it was in right spot and they did have contact with the bushing just wouldn't hold it tight. (***this has since been welded in solid to axle bracket down open side and 2 x 3/8" plug welds from/through backside as well as a small bridge to tube.)

now I was able to get axle back in/under and all 4 CA's in loosely (+3/16"), with axle back on stands at the height the wheels hold it.
I also raise the frame stands the 1.5" I am to gain with new lift.
took quick reading off protractor of pinion angle and it was close to prior as all adjustments were similar. so I gave the uppers 1 turn each out, that was good for now.

drill n tap spring pads for bumps, fit them, all good, now remove um.

pull jounce and lift/squeeze each side, make proper adjustments to hit center spring pad to center jounce cup. this moved things, but all movement was shared between CA's to ensure angle was held. dropped it back to stands, checked pinion angle.

ensured the axle is square in frame, from at least 3 dif. starting points. I had to turn DS out 2 turns top n bottom.

axle back up into bumps . looks good. and pinions got a good starting point.

so I drop an LCA and coax a spring in, 1 side at time.
get LCA bolts back in, all still loose.
now I check the board holding frame at lvl I expected to be at and its tight but rear end is still low so not worried yet.

ok now my stands supporting axle are set at same center point the wheel would hold it. I remove my boards from the frame stands and let springs try the weight. give it couple bounces.
slip under and try to move the CA's, little tight on DS. check square again and check side to side fit, and move axle to DS an 1/8" maybe. check CA's again, still tight on DS.
jack goes under axle lift rig just a bit, and reset to stands, under check CA"s still tight so, pull DS upper axle end bolt and allow it to move, then fit CA to it.

now all 4 CA's wobble with all weight on the axle . I check square, side to side, looks good. bounce it, check it, yah not bad.

I really had minimal movement to relieve what pressure the CA was holding so will trust my last bump center check.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
now I go ahead and install the new shocks, new disco sway bar links w/hangers, new brake lines. hook steering back up. and install axle end of new track bar.
and since axle is at wheel height and its holding it's own weight right now, I recheck square and side to side, and connect the top end snug. give rig a little bounce, make sure that didn't bind it and tightened it up.

now brakes back on, bled out new lines.
wheels back on, pull all stands and set her down. check square, side to side, bounce her, and all 4 CA's still moveable, no binding.
so I torque it all down. and get bumps n jounce's back in.

I found it to be a balancing act between castor and pinion angle and bump arcs. once all tight I got the driveshaft back up it holds a 7* pitch, and pinion is 6* sharing to castor best as able. we'll find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
the rear:
again stands under frame (at suspected new height) and under axle (at wheel height).
tires off, drums off, rear fender wells pulled, driveshaft disco'd and sway links out.

shocks off 1st, PS got a funny bolt jammed into it, not correct. had to drill other out. it was stripped. bit on extension to take head off, once shock was down I drilled it out and peeled out the leftovers, nut is/was intact.

pull LCA's to drop axle, and got springs out.
replaced lowers same +3/16" longer than OE same as front.
pulled and replaced uppers +3/16" as well, no issues.

pinion will not take similar angle into TC now so angle was not recorded.
eyeballed it right at the TC, came to 15*.

check for square from same 3 points as front. think PS moved in 2 turns top n bottom installed new track bar bracket and axle end of said TB. TB not even close at frame side, off by full inch and will not bow over.

drill n fit bumps, and set um aside again. pull jounces and start checking bump alignment, up n down up n down check check check same as front.
when the grit settled I had taken the whole assy. back 1/2" roughly. set square into frame and even side to side, bumps centered.

so I drop the lower CA's 1 at a time, and get springs in. then back to the stands and check it all aaaaaaaaaaagain. looks good, all 4 CA's wiggle.
lift rig pull boards and let it try the weight.

take few steps back and see my brand new beautiful black BANANA's whats this crap???
did my spring bang a slinky and drop me a sprinky, this sucks, I don't like it, and its not something often mentioned in general lift instructions or discussions.

anyway, I got real lucky back here all 4 CA's wiggle under weight, calling it good. and shifting the assy back now allows TB into place. so snug CA's in.
and then handle new sway links, and then shocks, some dam fool stripped that 1 welded nut, drilled that sucker out to like 5/16" and drove a big ass SCREW in crooked.
I put new 1/4' gr8 bolt and flat washers w/nylock down from topside, hole the fool drilled was plenty big enough for right hardware, got nice hold. in the slot not cocked off end of it, lucky that crap didn't drop off.

now it's all in and looks ok, but those banana's are eatin at me.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
so it's now or never time and it's not right to me so I cut um loose - top spring perches that is.
dropped fuel tank, so I didn't go BOOM.
busted out the 4" grinder w/cut-off and the dremel and commenced to carving.

pulled fuel bundle off DS perch and cut it free, few wiggles with screwdriver for leverage and it walked right up the arch.

PS was notched for TB mount, cut loose and same leverage walked it right up too.

had considered a few self tappers to hold until I reached proper welder, but used a buzzbox and got enough penetration for a temp hold. (***** have since been welded with proper high voltage mig welder).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
now the rework, pull shocks, LCA"s down, springs out, sway links off bottom end. and LCA's back in. up n down wiggle wiggle check bounce check, until i'm once again inline with bumps and square in frame and side to side.
to hold what I think will be close to pinion angle I need I am not as flat at peak (pad to cup) as id like to be but, the addition of pads will never let me this high, so it's fine I believe.
whole assy went back another 1/4"or so.
TB fits fine. so LCA"s down , springs back in, LCA's back in, shocks on, sways connected. all good.
onto its own weight again, slight bind in PS side upper so out comes bolt, 1 turn gets it, all wiggle with weight at rest, track bar fits good now, bolt all in snug.
put wheels on ...set it down, still good.
tape measure says my DS is 1/16" longer than PS wheel center to whl center, can't find it from my frame references so i'm not chasing it.

lift is in. front is cinched, rear remains just snug until sye and new D shaft are in.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
chose JB super short SYE, didn't need to have a shorty but any chance to lessen driveline angles is beneficial. and after reading the literature it appeared to be a better built unit.
was easy to install, couple pairs of snap ring pliers are only special tools needed. I dropped the TC for this , also not tough task.
did have 1 nut in worst spot against the converter no room to fit anything in there and the nut was mis-threaded. small stubby ratchet, and room for 1 click at a time took full strength just to pop it around. 20m later I had it off and a silver dollar sized blister in my palm dam things an inch longer than it needs to be and twisted the whole way.
(***chased those threads out b4 re-installing w/new nut)
also front output yoke washer was trashed, coulda filled it with RTV but not a 1/4 of it, so ordered 2 (1 for it and 1 for never have to order it again)

T case re-installed, connections hooked, linkage replaced.
SYE in and this covers TC fluid change.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
got back under it as soon as I could , getting close now.
got a line from through the pinion an into the new SYE yoke adjusted LCA's 1 turn in each, this will lend to that slight cock I had in pad to cup at full compression too.

got on horn mon. at break from work and ordered my new 19 5/8" drive shaft from T. Wood. ordered mon. arrived fri, pretty good.
shiny black and u could bludgeon an ogre with this thing.
might get a new front shaft from them, just because i like it.

shafts in and reading a 15* angle to it and 15* angle on pinion, so torqued it all up.
bumps in.
do some refinishing above fuel tank area and replaced it. when dropping tank 2 bolts on back end rounded out on me and I had to drill heads off to remove them.
worked out a flatbar at work with new bolts mounted into it and laid the whole thing into that small channel no way they ever break loose again now.

all back together now.
been sittin 3+wks tanks all but empty, lines are dry. hook batt. reconnect fuel pressure fuse. cross my fingers and turn the key ruh rurh rurh ruhmmmmmmmmmmmmm, spit sputter, ruhmmmmmmmmmm. she's alive.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
next step was all round rig 1 more time and be sure all had been torqued right. rechecked measurements, again.
torque wrench is out and BL has 200mi on it so checked it too.
adjusted steering linkage to new height.
locked all CA adjuster nuts. <these will be checked every oil change.
pull front wheels. check toe real quick, got about 3/32" toe in. i'll accept that.

got her out of her cave and onto road for spin, down to get fuel.
no clunks, no thumps, stable yet feels like it's' able to move. push it up to 35-40 feels good. let the wheel go and it runs true, feels tall but only really netted 1.25'', as far as springs read.
round block few times and back home, check adjuster nuts, call me paranoid but large nuts on large threads tend to run sloppier than their smaller selves and can loose much easier if right bite in not achieved.
once dead sure 100% that the axle they rest on is staying (am seeking rear 44 and maybe HP 30) and all permanent adjustments (TT in spring) have been made I will most likely peen the 1st thread at top of each adjuster nut to prevent backing.

took her 21 mi out to plant today drove nice. few miles at 50 on expressway, 3 sets of train tracks through 4 burbs.
guys at work stopping to look, 1 notices something on bumper and asks.
I see a set of channel locks I left on bumper last night, made it whole way and never went more than a ft from where they were placed.
that alone told me this sys is doing its job and speaks volumes of its ability to handle the TJ well.
weather still holding, get to drive it for now, get some miles into it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
ok this gets us almost current. I drive it for a wk or so get about 150 mi on it.
back into garage, check all torque's.
drive 1 more wk. check it all again.

I got lucky as hell and my angles seem to jive well, not had to try and readjust anything, no vibrations through the gear range. and very stable on road.

so start of nov. she got hosed down on the bottom side with fluid film all cracks and crevices, inside the bottom of doors, everything I could reach got blasted. all the new stuff too. then blew a whole can into frame end to end both sides. and down into body channels supporting my body mounts.
goes on wet, seems to stay wet, kinda sloppy really.
we use a product at work called LPS on steel that's heading overseas and will be exposed to salt air for up to 2 months while traveling. it also sprays on, but becomes somewhat tacky and not as sloppy wet. while providing a thicker protective coating that can last yrs. I tried the FF as most seem to be happy with its protection, but next yr I will try this product.

so got to drive her until mid nov. just a few days ago had to put her up.
snows coming and salts being dropped, so unless my DD can't get through the poo, the JEEP will stay locked up.

now if we were to have big ass storm and big accumulations, I would be forced to bust her out and go play in it, you know just so she don't cramp up in there, hahaha.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
this is how she sits now, did get bored 1 day and trimmed my flares some.
i'm 5'10" that rail at bottom of tub hits me above the knees, now.

springs say I netted 3 3/8"ish total, + 1" BL.

and from any side view pics, the new elephant in the room, is that belly pan.
so got 1 at work in process. 2" deep off frame and 1/4" material. gonna pick up a cable shifter, and give it a TT here sometime b4 april/spring.
will require I readjust the pinion and send that brand new D shaft back for rework (if I can score my 44 soon its bit of extra neck length could negate this).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
just for record, I ended at 15* slope on rear pinion and DS.
I read 7* on front shaft slope into a 6* pinion, split to a 6* castor read off the C's.
I have driven it up to 35 mph in 4wd to test front end, doesn't vibe. I find no need to run 50mph in 4wd so i'm not gonna test it that hard.
 
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