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Purchased a 97 TJ Wrangler in July 2014. Always wanted a jeep and after selling a truck, I figured now was the time. I found this jeep local to me in Colorado. According to the papers, its been a CO rig all its life. This is what it looked like. 4.0, 5 spd, and lift/tires.


2 owners, first was an older gentleman who only put 30k miles on it. Second was a younger man who put a 4" lift on it and 35s. I am guessing purely for looks. There wasn't a scratch underneath. I bought it from him with 69k on the clock. Wish I would have done a bit more research cause about a week later I found out I had a Dana 35 in the back with 3.55 gears. Along with a transfercase drop, and stock everything else. Not a big deal, it was to clean to pass up.
 

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First change was getting rid of the 35" tires. They were over 6 years old and clearly the rig was not set up to run 35s quite yet. I opted for 33" duratracs.



I drove around like this for a few months, doing research and planning the next stages of my build. Figured if I wanted to do any rock crawling here in CO I would need to upgrade the dana 35. Was looking for a super 35 but at the time they were pretty much non existent (RG&A hadnt come into the market yet, superior had been shut down for quite awhile already). Kept an eye on the forums, craigslist, ebay and scoured daily. Finally, found a member on here who mentioned he was selling his d44 in a few weeks, subtle comment that nobody really jumped at. I messaged him, found out he was only 45 min from me (Hosejokey). Made a deal, and he even helped me out with the install.

Fresh paint, ready to install.


In order to lose the tcase drop I had to get adjustable control arms. Hosejockey recommended metalcloaks, I gave them a look and ended up pulling the trigger on a set of uppers, lowers, and a new track bar.

 

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First wheeling trip with the new goodies. Chinaman gulch, hell of a first trail for a newb, but glad I did it:punk:



A few more wheeling trips:
Guanella pass


Twin Cone


Wheeler Lake
 

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Was running a trail when I kept hearing a banging noise, turns out the old superlift shocks had lived their useful life. The isolators had completely disintegrated and were bouncing around on the bar pins. No resistance at all when compressing and no rebound. I decided to try the bilstein 5100s as a replacement. Figured while I was working on suspension, I would go ahead and upgrade the front control arms and and recenter the front axle with a new adjustable trackbar. All from metalcloak.

For 2016 I decided to make a big change, I opted for the savvy underarmour set up. I had come close in the past to banging my oil pan, and had a several instances being hung up on my stock skid plate. With this purchase came the under armour itself, savvy gas tank skid, 1" mml, and a 1.25" body lift. Pretty straight forward install...





However, once complete, I ran into several issues during my initial test run:



Because my axle had to be rotated so far back, my coils were in such an arch and my shock bodies were contacting the springs. My CV driveshaft was also binding at full droop.
 

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After a few phone calls back and forth with Hosejockey, we decided to shave the axle completely, and install 3/16" brackets clocked to accommodate the angles along with performing a rear spring perch relocation. Had help from Hosejockey, UnlimitedLJ04, jvvw, and CO_HOLLIDAY. A very very long weekend.









After all that, I was still binding, juuust barely at full droop. Enough to make me want to install a super short sye and replace my standard sye.
 

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So..found out stock rubicon lockers dont like to be engaged while in motion:whacky:. Shifted into 3rd on the hwy and bumped the rocker switch with my thumb. Just another expense to throw on after purchasing a JB supershort and longer cv shaft.

Found an ARB on craigslist for a smoking deal. Another weekend in Hosejockeys garage.









Cutting drain slots for the ARB


New carrier ring


New locker in, and routing the air line.




Once it was all together we found the axle bearings were shot. Another trip to town. Was hoping for Timken bearings but couldnt find them locally. This is my DD so I needed it back on the road. Settled for National bearings.



And the new JB supershort sye and had my old cv shaft lengthened



Advance adapters standard sye on the left. JB super short on the right



 

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Not much longer after all this work, I started experiencing mechanical issues. The jeep would die, and not start for about 15 min. Finally, one day, it died and would not turn over. Ripped out an old alarm where I had found a bad relay, through on a new starter for the heck of it, and all was right for about a day.



I then developed a misfire code. And again, the jeep died and would not turn over. After several attempts and prodding around with a multimeter, I ending up replacing the CPS sensor, CAM sensor (same code on early model TJs), new coil, plugs/wires/distributor cap and rotor. Only to still be dealing with the no start issue. After several days I decided to purchase a new ECM from ebay. Went to pull the old unit and found out my main wiring harness that feeds the CPS/CAM sensors had become unseated somehow. Plugged it back in, and havent had an issue since.
 

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Added windshield washer fluid to my system, and found my coolant reservoir tank empty. I had developed a small leak on top of the radiator. I opted for a new mopar unit from wermopar. While everything is out, I decided to go ahead and purchase a new water pump, thermostat and housing, and hoses. Just a few days later, my lower radiator blew at work. Luckily, I had everything already delivered to my office. I began the replacement in the parking lot.

Sure makes a mess when coolant hits the fan when running





93k miles, 19 years. Cant complain about that.



Removing the old gasket


At this point in the year, I have new gears, new locker, new under armour, many bits and pieces under the hood have been replaced, and a new cooling system. Fingers crossed but I should be good to go for the next 100k miles.
 

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New Years Eve wheeling with some new and old friends!

Chinaman gulch







Thats about it up to date. Starting to think my next changes will be the full oil pan skid from savvy, fenders, and rock sliders.
 

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Met with a friend over the weekend (jjvw)to adjust my caster. Lifting the front end with a forklift to check for driveline bind. Extended the lowers 5/16" and it made a world of difference. Return to center is back, and the wandering I had going down the road is gone. Once its nicer out I will extend to the point of vibration and then back off. I had plenty more caster to gain I think.



The ramps to enter his shop
 

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Since it is a build thread...

A balmy 55 degrees in the mile high city. Changed the oil yesterday. Been about a year since I last changed it, but with the amount of miles I put on it in 2016 I wasnt too worried (about 3k). Still had a few miles left. Shell Rotella 10w-30 and a mopar filter. Guy at Autozone tried to tell me I was buying diesel oil:D Also topped off the windshield fluid.

Since I had the rear axle in and out a few times this year my parking brake wasnt quite right. Fully engaged it would still roll. Finally tightened that down, Getting it to engage 3 clicks now takes quite a bit of muscle.
 

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Nice Jeep. Love the color!
 

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Picked up a new head unit. Have an old sony in the dash now that was installed by the previous owner. I am guessing from the early 00s. Half the lights dont work, starting to struggle ejecting CDs (I still listen to CDs:)), presets are no longer working, and its sitting in the dash crooked. Picked this unit up for a good price. 50W max with a built in amp. Also, should I feel the need to get "get with the times", has a USB port for music files. Should give a better sound to my polk speakers I have installed.



I am going to try and get it installed tonight. Will post pictures later.
 

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Dont have any pics of the install, but here it is installed and working like normal



Took maybe an hour, couldnt find my soldering iron so I used some crimp style connectors which I loathe. They are crimped tight, but I plan on going thru it again in the future with solder and heat shrink. Sound is much better vs the old sony. This is 55W and the old unit was rated for only 35W. For my needs, this unit will be just fine.
 

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Finally got around to ordering the speedo healer from bluemonkey. Speedo has been off about 11% since I installed the super short last summer. Will be nice to have it dead on again. Hoping to install later this afternoon.

 

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Finally got around to ordering the speedo healer from bluemonkey. Speedo has been off about 11% since I installed the super short last summer. Will be nice to have it dead on again. Hoping to install later this afternoon.

I looked on the site and it states the Speedo Healer is for 98 and up TJ's. Did you get this installed did it fix your issue?
 

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I looked on the site and it states the Speedo Healer is for 98 and up TJ's. Did you get this installed did it fix your issue?
Yep, 98 and up. The 97s are hit or miss with the connection style. Some are the 96 version, others 98+. My original connection has been changed out due to my super short and tone ring combination. I am hoping to get it installed this afternoon, should work just fine though. This one from bluemonkey is highly rated and used by many on the forum.
 
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