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tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:18 PM

build thread for my capable daily driver (pic heavy)
Been wanting to consolidate my mods into one build thread for a while. I have threads with most of this stuff, but itís easier to update and keep track of my progress this way. Itís not a chop-top build, but itís a great daily driver, and Iíve had lots of fun with it off road.

Itís a 99 sport with 126k, 4.0, AW4, NP231, 8.25, clean inside and out with no mechanical problems. Bought it back in August of last year for $5000. The blue book was well above that, and it was in the best shape out of all the XJs I looked at. Upon driving it home, I realized it had mismatched tires and that they had worn unevenly. As a result, there was a wheel balance issue. It worked out fine though, because these tires were history after a couple weeks.

Took it out a few times in stock trim, and had a blast. I also went through my first and last mud. Then I replaced the alternator.

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:19 PM

I had it about two months, and after doing some math, I decided to go with a RE 2" BB from jeepinoutfitters. I ordered it with the full AAL, and with free shipping, it seemed like the best package deal. While I was at it, I ordered the C4x4 tow hook kit for the front. I also ordered some 31x10.5x15 OTR muds from Hi-tec retreading (now treadwright inc). I was able to do all of this for less than $700 shipped, which I think is a great deal.

Hereís the first round of gear:

Oh, and I ordered the dynomax cat back exhaust kit from summit (about $30-40 cheaper than quadratec after shipping). At first, I took a friendís advice and picked up a flowtech raptor muffler for $25. Getting the stock exhaust off was not fun. I had to go out and buy a $12 angle grinder to get the crap off, but even then it took a lot of persuasion with a BFH.

Tried going with clamps and couplers, and that sounded like poop, and did not last. This is an example of how NOT to jerry-rig a cheapo parts-store muffler. I broke the mount it was hanging from on my first outing. You can see it hanging down in the very first picture I posted.

Having learned the stupid way, I took the dynomax kit to an exhaust shop to have them weld it up. No leaks or clamps, and they were able to fix the weird bend that the tip came with out of the box. After having it on for about a year, it sounds great. Enough of a burble, but not so much that I get a headache.

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:20 PM

Once I got the lift on and the tires mounted, I removed my flares and rear swaybar.
It's a RE 2" BB, full AAL, RE shocks.
Front before: 17.75"
Front after: 20.0"
Net gain: 2.25"

Rear before: 17.0"
Rear after: 20.25"
Net gain: 3.25"



With new tires:

I did get some moderate driveline vibrations, and I sort of put it off for a while. Eventually I made a homebrew 1Ē transfercase drop, and that pretty much took care of it.

I also trimmed the bumper endcaps because the tires occasionally rubbed when turning.

Hereís a couple quick videos of wheeling in Hollister after itíd been lifted.

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:21 PM

It stayed like that for a while. Iíve only really done small mods to it since then. I donít really want to go crazy with mods right now, because I know Iíll be opening a can of worms with big lifts and stuff. I just like doing free/cheap/junkyard mods on the weekends for now. (cough cough student loan payback cough).

Back in February:
For my birthday, my wife got me a new deck and 100 square feet of fatmat. I sound-proofed the whole interior, with the help of a friend, and my wife helped too. Sheís awesome.I did end up with a little extra, but itís better to have too much than not enough. I got the inside and outside of the doors, the roof, floor, rear hatch, rear wheelwells and fenders behind the panels, everything I could think of basically. It made such a huge difference, It was probably one of the best things Iíve done to the jeep. Itís quieter inside than our scion now.

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:22 PM

Back in May:
I needed some peaceful garage time, after finals and working 2 jobs for a while.

So I finally got around to installing the C4x4 tow hooks that have been sitting in their box since November. Went in great, and the tech article listed in the sticky on how to install them with pictures was really helpful. I also trimmed the bumper end caps. I relocated the vacuum canister under the hood, and for now I just bent the horn brackets so they were tucked up out of the way.

Relocated vacuum canister:

Trimmed endcaps:

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:22 PM

I also scoured Home Depot for some type of deck plate to install for wheeling during these hot California summer days. I decided on these 3 1/4" test ports, used somehow for plumbing. I found them in with the PVC elbows and drain stuff. The grey stuff is rubber, and will act as a gasket with the wingnut tightened. All I have to do is take off the wing nut and both black plastic pieces come apart, and I have open holes for when it's off road and HOT. As far as temperature difference, It’s maybe 5-10 degrees cooler with them off, but it’s hard to tell. What I can see is the heat waves wafting out of it when both fans are on and I’m crawling or stuck in traffic. Every little bit helps.

Pretty self explanatory, but taking a dremel to a perfectly good hood was very hard to do. If you do this, MAKE SURE you don't wipe off the metal dust with a rag. I got some buffing to do.

Here’s what I used:

Closed from top:

Closed from bottom:


tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:22 PM

Then I did this:

And This:

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:28 PM

Just this month I
Found a junkyard cargo rack for the trunk:

Made it easily removable, and it clears the full size spare that I got for $30 from the JY.

installed a CB radio:

4í fiberglass antenna with a spring mount:

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 06:29 PM

Trimmed the front bumper:

And bought new 31x10.5 **** Cepek Mud Country tires.

ReconMill 10-26-2008 06:44 PM

very clean. Im liking it so far. How the sound deadening holding up? Ive heard of some brands that tend to not stick and slide around. This might be a good idea for me because i can por15 the floor and then put this on rather than herc it because i have no plans of swamping the interior.

FISTFULL 10-26-2008 07:30 PM

Sweet looking Jeep.

Question, does your CB whip get in the way of the hatch in that position?

Jon08JK 10-26-2008 07:35 PM

How long did you run the OTR's and how did you like them?

tizzdizz 10-26-2008 09:26 PM


The sound deadener is awesome. I got the thickest stuff, and it's pretty sticky too. If it has moved, I wouldn't know, since it's all covered up by interior bits and trim. The stickiness is definitely affected by the temperature. I did this in February in California, and it was a little stiff, but still went in fine. If you're going to do it in cold weather in a cold part of the country, a hair dryer will soften it up and it will conform better to the shapes of the metal.

I couldn't say how well it would stick to POR15, is that just a rust converter/sealer? If it would end up just like normal paint, then I say go for it. I'd try it out first though on a small area, and see if it sticks well. I didn't want to do the whole Herc thing because I like my carpet, dirty as i t may be. I'd love to have a dedicated trail rig that I can gut, but this thing has to keep my wife marginally happy too. And I like my music, so the carpet adds to the insulation.


The CB antenna does get in the trunk's way if I'm not careful, but the spring at the base allows it to swing out of the way easily. It's actually not a big deal, there's not much of a chance that it getting closed in the trunk.


I ran them for about a year until I got a sidewall puncture, which could happen with any tire. I couldn't have been happier with them for what they cost. My new tires cost me more than twice what I spent on those (320 + mounting and balancing vs. 700 + m & b). They were a bit noisy on the highway, but performed well and rode nicely. They were radials, and with the sound deadening I did, the noise wasn't too bad. I put maybe 8k miles on them in the time I owned them, then sold the other 3 good ones on craigslist for $100. The lugs did chunk off a bit, but it's mostly my fault for not trimming and bumpstopping to keep them from rubbing.

Ski01xj 10-26-2008 10:43 PM

i like what you've done. As much as I like beating on my XJ, I wouldn't mind a quet ride. I think I'm going to do that FatMat stuff when I herculine the interior of my XJ.

Bobandbeans 10-27-2008 08:13 AM

very clean and really nice build. i really like your cargo tray idea.

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