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Unread 03-10-2008, 12:15 PM   #1
cheapfix
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Budget build

BORING UPDATES ON LAST POST... For anyone who cares. I'll leave the old stuff below as-is, but what a lame old thread this is

"Building" my first XJ. Thanks to all who contribute to this site for the info!

The subject is a '91 (see specs to the left), and the goal is to not spend too much money and have a rig cabable of navigating the mountain backroads, pulling a small boat, firewood duty with a utility trailer, etc.

Here we are with stock suspension and no lift, for reference:



Those are new store-brand cheapo 31s (made by Kelly Springfield for Canadian Tire - same as the older style Big-O m/t, fwiw. I don't plan on driving this thing more than about 7000km a year, so we'll see about these. Seem pretty soft, but the XJ is light...)

Here's the setup (I know, I should be working on my garage, not in my garage):



Here is a shot of the donor - my $100 waggy with the D44 gutted:



I pulled the D35, and cut the springs apart, leaving the main leaf intact, then added the main leaf from the waggy with the eyes cut off, and the second leaf from the waggy as well to the existing pack:




I think the extra support from the full length second main leaf and the nearly full length extra second leaf will allow these springs to survive for a while anyway. The other rationale for the blocks (two 1/2" thick chunks of flat bar- not welded yet, but will be) is that I can pull them out and mill the bottom at 3 degrees or so if necessary for driveline vibes. The centre pin for the springs goes through both blocks, so they are not going anywhere.

I am using the YJ rear brake hose for the extra length, and will hunt down some junkyard shocks from a pathfinder or ZJ (same part number).

Here it is sitting on the rear setup - about 3.5" of lift at the back (will probably settle a bit), with a jack under the front to mock up the 3" that is going there next:



The front will be lifted with homemade pipe spacers for now, as placeholders for 3" coils in the future. Track bar will be relocated by welding up holes and re-drilling.

Next: junkyard shocks from a pathfinder (longer) with homemade bar pin eliminators, weld up the 3" coil spacers, build blocks so I can use my stock front shocks (look brand new from previous owner) as shown on http://www.go.jeep-xj.info/index.htm, relocate front brake hose mounts and relocate the track bar axle mount hole. Trying to figure out what to do about rear bumpstops. Will try my hand at the home alignment technique on the go.jeep site as well.

Looking at the aussie locker in a month or two, and building a reciever to sit behind the stock bumper - license plate will hide the hitch when not in use (been reading the threads about tieing securely to the unibody mounts).

Thanks to http://www.rocklizardfabrications.co...dget_boost.htm and http://www.lunghd.com/Tech_Articles/...udget_Lift.htm for ideas and excellent tech articles, as well as www.madxj.com.

Continued below....

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Last edited by cheapfix; 04-23-2010 at 12:23 AM..
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Unread 03-10-2008, 12:27 PM   #2
Topgun514
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very nice, im jealous of all your tools,
that block isnt bad either being small, angled, and your gonna weld it so its not like stacking blocks. nice look jeep and great deal on a d44. Your rides gonna be ncie with your leaves too
what kinda coils/ spacer combo are you gonna do>?
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Unread 03-10-2008, 12:44 PM   #3
cheapfix
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Stock coils staying for now, with the www.madxj.com technique for making 3" spacers. How do you like your F150 coils? I am considering trying them out as they seem to give about 3" of lift.
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Unread 03-10-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
HeepToJeep
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I have a cheap solution for longer high quality shocks.....find someone lifting their late model JK or LJ and score the factory shocks they're selling cheap or discarding then use a vise to press out the factory bushings and push in your barpins (or use BPE). The shocks are made by Tenneco, nitrogen charged, come with a factory installed semi-rigid polymer dust shield and are good for 3-4in of lift depending on your rear shock mount location and use of barpin eliminators. I did this on my 89 and have been very pleased with the results.

Wm
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Unread 03-10-2008, 02:18 PM   #5
Topgun514
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my f150 coils flex out real nice actually, i got them from an older ford so they are broken in, ive flexed them real nice, ill have to test them sway bars on too. i took the stock coil spacer out but will add it for more lift, i got a nice 1.25 inch from the coils themselves and 2 inch coil spacer. if you get new coils you can get 2" probably.

If i could redo it i would probably get a set of 3 inch coils to be honest, id rather have coils instead of the spacer
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Unread 03-10-2008, 11:14 PM   #6
paulmatyn
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it seems like a bad idea to jack up the jeep from a factory front bumper. you need some unibody tie-ins and a bumper built to be abused like that.
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Unread 03-11-2008, 12:44 AM   #7
cheapfix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulmatyn View Post
it seems like a bad idea to jack up the jeep from a factory front bumper. you need some unibody tie-ins and a bumper built to be abused like that.


10char
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Unread 03-27-2008, 12:31 PM   #8
cheapfix
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Lift is in:



I ended up with exactly 3" above stock in the rear, and 3" above stock in the front. Rear is composed of adding another XJ main without eyes and an extra XJ second leaf, I got rid of the rear blocks in the pics above (in my first post) as it was too high. Front is homemade spacers from 3" pipe and 3/16" plate on the stock coils.

Here is my homemade 3" spacer up front:



I know the front flex will be limited with this setup, but it really is temporary until I round up some 3" coils, at which time I will make some swaybar disconnects and deal with the track bar.

It drives and rides nice - I have to align the front and centre the steering wheel.

I used the comanche monroe sensa-tracs in the rear with the BPEs from this site, and the ride is firm, but acceptable. I was looking for a bit of load capacity in the rear for towing and gear anyway, so a fimer ride is OK with me.

Next: coils and shocks up front, aussie in the rear, front receiver for recovery and trailer maneuvering, re-cover and reinstall headliner, clean and reinstall carpet (not sure about this one - it is quieter than I expected without the headliner/insulation/carpet).

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Last edited by cheapfix; 04-12-2008 at 07:15 PM..
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Unread 03-27-2008, 04:01 PM   #9
HeepToJeep
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Details man, details! How did you lift the rear? What are the measurements and dimensions of the front spacers? What hardware did you use?

Wm
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Unread 03-27-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
jfiscus
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Very nice home-brew work there.
Should ride nice once you get the alignment & an adjustable trackbar.
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Unread 03-27-2008, 04:27 PM   #11
toates89
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those 31's on the stock suspension seem to fit decently, my 235's fill out about the same
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Unread 03-27-2008, 04:32 PM   #12
mall_crawler
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Great Job, Looks Sweet!!!!
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Unread 03-28-2008, 01:08 AM   #13
cheapfix
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeepToJeep View Post
Details man, details! How did you lift the rear? What are the measurements and dimensions of the front spacers? What hardware did you use?

Wm
A few more details:

Rear lift is mostly in the first post - I added 2 extra leaves from another xj pack. Hardware consisted of new u-bolts, homemade spring clamps, bar pin eliminators linked in the "after" post, and new monroe comanche shocks as per the "rocklizard fabrication" link in the first post. I would have re-used my existing shocks with the BPEs knowing that they would limit flex a bit, but they were shot anyway.

Front is 3" tall spacer I made as follows: cut a piece of 3" dia pipe (3/16" wall) 2-13/16" long, cut a rough circle out of 3/16" plate with plasma cutter, welded it to pipe for a total of 3", chucked the pipe end in a lathe, drilled a hole with biggest drillbit I had, then used a small boring bar to make the inner hole in the plate 2-1/8" dia., then machined the plasma cut outer edge of the plate to 3-1/2" dia.

It helped to remove the bumpstops up front (they unscrew) to get the coils back in, as you have a lot less room with the spacer in there. After the spring is in, you can pry between the coils to jam the bumpstop back in to the middle, and screw it back in place. I used big channel lock pliers to loosen and tighten it.

See the www.madxj.com link for details - they used big washers instead of messing around with plate for the bottom of the spacer. There are also max/min diameters on this page. If anything, I would make the outer dia. of the bottom 3-3/4", as my stock coil isolators are not fully supported, and squeeze out around the edges a bit as you can see in the pic.

Thats it - I am currently running without a sway bar until I extend the links - the increased angle of the sway bar on stock links after the lift causes the big bushing washer on the right side to rub the coil spring. No driveshaft vibrations either - it seems the geometry of the 8.25 rear end is more prone to this.

I also added a single 3/8" washer under both the steering stop bolts so that the tires wouldn't rub the lower control arms.

As far as cost goes, the spacers were made from scrap, and I consider the extra leafs free as they came with my $100 waggy I bought for the dana 44. I spend some money on new brake shoes, wheel cylinders, and brake lines for the 44, but that has nothing to do with the lift. Really, I only spent money on shocks (existing ones were shot anyway) and a new flexible brake hose for the rear (jeep yj), and new heavy duty u-bolts.
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Last edited by cheapfix; 03-28-2008 at 01:42 AM..
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Unread 05-02-2008, 07:42 PM   #14
cheapfix
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Straightening out the front end - few more details and pictures:

I needed to sort out the sway bar (feels kind of scary to drive without one), so I bought some heim joints (about $20 for a pair), cut off and re-threaded my stock sway bar links, and re-installed:



In order to thread the stock links, I chucked them into a lathe at low speed before I cut off the original threads, and turned them down to 3/8" dia. almost to where the stock support for the washer and bushing is. Then I cut off the metric threaded portion, and ran a 3/8" NF die down them to accommodate the heim threads. The sway bar end is mounted in a piece of square tubing with one side cut off, and a grade 8 bolt welded to the top, which runs through the sway bar and recieves a flat washer, lock washer, and nut.

I haven't replaced the stock bolts on the bottom of the links with pins yet, when I do, they will be quick-discos held up by some bungee cords. Not sure how they will last, but no signs of stress yet...

Next, to centre the axle, I re-drilled the axle mount for the trackbar. Fingers crossed that this will hold up.



I also used the info on http://www.go.jeep-xj.info/HowtoAlignment.htm to do an alignment. I made 1/8" thick spacers, for caster, then set my toe-in to zero with a measuring tape, and centred the steering wheel. It drives much better now, and I plan on having it checked at a shop (or not).

Keeping it cheap - these mods are worth $20 for the heims, and $0 for scraps of aluminum for caster spacers. (castor? sp?)
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Unread 05-02-2008, 11:48 PM   #15
broncofire75
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Nice lift and tire combo on the cheap. I like the fab work on the sway bar could've added some pins for quick discos cool design tho.

Front bumper in the works?
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