This is going to follow the ongoing process of building my Jeep. I'll start with a recap of what I've done over the past couple years and then I'll get into the nitty-gritty of what's coming in the near future, and what my future plans may hold. There isn't a whole lot of XJ Tech on here, but there has been a recent flood of XJ's into the club so I hope this can be helpful to some.
I got this Jeep in June '05 with only 25,000 miles on the odo, and now I know this may sound cliche, but I had no intention of wheeling it because it was so "pretty". It wasn't long before I got bit.
This is what it looked like shortly after I brought it home:
First thing I did was to find and OEM Mopar Roof-Top Tire Carrier, and put the spare on the roof. I also found a great deal on some ZJ rims, and put those on, and added vent visors. Finally, I got a set of BFG AT's in 235/70R16 (which measure to just about 30x9.50).
In the summer of '07 I heard about the NJJC, and thought that wheeling looked like alot of fun. I had to prep for my first trailride with the NJJC, so I added the typical CB Radio (Cobra 19), speaker (Radio Shack), and antenna (Firestik II). I also added front tow hooks (C4x4), and a rear hitch (Reese) - in addition to all the other pre-reqs.
During the July trailride, I got over that initial fear of breaking or scratching the XJ while out on the trails when I shattered both ofmy front fog lamps and crushed my driverside rocker. As many of you know now, my fear is all gone now.
Between July and August I added my first major mod, the Rubicon Express 2" Budget Boost with full-length AAL, new shocks, extended rear brake lines, and JKS Quicker Disconnects. I also ditched the rear swaybar.
The lift was great, I noticed a difference on the greens and low blues, but then realized that armor would be essential to keeping the rig in mostly one piece. I wheeled without skids until January, when at the end of December '07 I added a Tcase Skid (Skid Row), Rock Sliders (AJ's Heavy Duty Sliders), Front Diff Skid (Warn), Dana 35 Glider (Rock-It), and a front bumper (JCR Offroad). At this point I also added the Currie steering setup, and a Teraflex Heavy Duty Adjustable Trackbar. A month later I added a Rusty's Engine/Tranny Skid.
Rusty's Engine/Tranny Skid:
Skid Row Tcase Skid:
Finally, pre-Big Dogs June, I added a 750 Watt Power Inverter.
At this point, the rig has been "done" (I use the term loosely), and I've just been wheeling the heck out of it since it's been all armored up. At this point my rig and I are ready for that next step.
By BLB '08 my plans are to swap in an XJ Dana 44, install a Rubicon Express 4.5" Superflex Lift Kid, Slip Yoke Eliminator, Driveshaft, 33" tires, gas tank skid, and maybe a rear lunchbox locker.
Decide where you would like to mount the CB. I kept in mind how often I?d be using it, where I?d be able to hear it best, and where it would not interfere with other passengers or myself. I chose to mount it on the center console, on the passenger side. I know many may say that this would interfere with the movement of the passenger seat, or the passengers themselves, but I haven?t had any problems thus far, and my passengers have said that it really doesn?t interfere with their legs.
I installed the mount with the screws provided with the CB, and since this CB is so small and light the console has been strong enough to hold it (even after various wheeling trips).
I bought 24? of 16 gauge wire, but did not use anywhere near that much for the installation of a single wire (I used the extra wire for other projects). The way I measured out how much wire I would need was by taking a small rope and running it from the battery through the firewall (more detail on this later) to the back of the CB, and then cut the wire a little longer than what I would actually need. The wires for the Positive and Negative wires will be the same length since they will both be running to the battery. I will leave all of the splicing and stud ring connectors until the end. I found it easiest to have all of the wires run, and then add the splices at the end.
Now many people have many different ways to run their wires. Some drill holes in their firewall, others find holes or grommets already in use for factory accessories. I took the latter route. I ran all my wires (including Antenna coax through a grommet for one of the main wire bundles that is installed from the factory. All I did was take a utility knife and put a small hole in the rubber just big enough to run the wires through.
Here is a picture of the grommet I am referring to. It is just to the left of the brake pedal, about parallel to the steering components. You can see my Red (Power) and White (Ground) wires running through the grommet. The black wire is the Coax for the antenna (more on that later).
This is the same grommet, but on the engine bay side:
I then ran the wires behind the brake and gas pedals, making sure that they did not interfere with their movement. Then I ran the wires behind the center console. One way to do this would be to remove the part of the console that runs vertically (where the Radio/AC Controls/AC Vents are) and just tuck the wires back there, or you can take something stiffer such as a wire hanger, cut it, straighten it, and GENTLY push it behind the console until it comes out the passenger side. Then you can tape (Electrical Tape) the two wires to the hanger and pull them through. Both ways are really easy.
Once the wires are run to the CB you will want to strip the ends of the wires running to the battery and the ends of the wires coming out from the CB radio. Using a butt splice connect these wires (Red to Red for power, and then the ground wires). Make sure that you do not have any wires connected to the battery yet, that will be the last step. Now your CB is ready to be connected to the battery.
At the battery end of the wires you will want to use a Stud Ring Connector on each wire. This is done by stripping the end of the wires, and putting on the Connector with crimpers. Then you will want to take the nut off of the bolt that holds down the battery cables to the terminals, and slip the connector over that bolt and replace the nut. You will want to do the power wire first, then the ground. Power goes to the Positive terminal, and the ground will go to the Negative terminal.
Here is how everything will look under the hood. As you can, I ran the wires (Red and White) around the back of the engine bay, away from any moving parts. The wires were small enough that I was able to run them through the zip ties that hold the factory wire bundles together. The second picture is of the wires connected to the battery terminals. I used electrical tape to make sure the wires stayed together and away from other things, creating a ?mini-bundle.?
Now it?s time to connect antenna. I decided to use a hood mount, and have the antenna mounted on the driverside, about parallel to the OEM antenna for the radio. This turned out to be really easy, and all I had to do was drill 4 holes, and screw in the mount. Others opt to mount their antennas to the rear of their Jeeps. Either is fine, it?s mostly personal preference.
I ran the Coax for the antenna through the same grommet, following the same path on the interior of the XJ for the power/ground wires. The PL-259 connects are pretty big, but making a little bigger hole in the grommet will allow you to push it through. You will have plenty of Coax left over if you use lengths of 9? or 18?, so you will want to make sure that you wrap it in a manner that it does not make any sharp bends.
I used a small white clip to secure the wire against the quarter panel to make sure that it would not get crushed or damaged by the hood. If done properly, the hood will not even touch the coax preventing any damage.
Once the coax is run, connect it to your antenna and to the back of the CB
Connect the Mic to the front outlet of the CB. In terms of where to mount the mic, I found that putting it on the panel just left of the Vertical center console, behind the windshield wiper stalk was a great place because it keeps the wire behind the shifter and is generally out of the way. The mount for the mic should come with the CB. All that needs to be done is to drill two small holes, and then screw the screws for the mount through the holes.
This is how I mounted my CB in my XJ, however the way I ran lines to/from the battery, and how I mounted the antenna can be used for almost any type of Jeep. Personal preference can allow the CB to be mounted anywhere you want. I highly recommend disconnecting the negative battery cable for the duration of the installation just as an added precaution. Some also prefer to use inline fuses near the battery on the wires leading to the CB as a measure of protection. I did not, but this is easily done by picking some up at Radio Shack and splicing them into the power/ground wires.
Another thing I?d like to add is that putting the CB that far away from the driver?s ear will make it difficult to hear people, even with the volume turned up. I really wanted to mount mine on the roof between the driver and passenger seats, however the overhead console prevented me from doing this. In my case, I added an external speaker which I mounted to the OHC so I could hear the CB.
Finally, this write-up only describes how to install a CB radio and Antenna. After everything is installed, you will need to tune your CB radio, and an SWR meter is necessary for this. There are also many places (such as www.firestik.com) that have good descriptions on how to tune your antenna.
About two weeks ago I came across an XJ Dana 44 out of a 1987 XJ. When I was done reading the for sale ad I called the seller and bought it. These things are rare, especially since they're direct bolt-ins for XJ's. A few days later I drove out to PA and picked it up. My immediate plans are to get this ready to be bolted in so I can rid of the Dana 35. When I picked it up, it had a bent backing plate, other than that it looked like it was in good shape - for the exception of a much needed brake job.
Here it is the night I brought it home:
Here is the bent backing plate:
And here is how the previous owner took it off the donor - chopped the driveshaft right off:
This Friday I decided to take the cover off, drain the fluid, tear down what was left of the drum brakes, pull the shafts, and check everything over.
When I pulled the cover off and drained the fluid, chunks of metal came out. Now from what I understand, some metal shavings are normal, however, actual chunks of metal are not. In addition, the gear oil was old, and it had probably had not been changed in years.
Metal chunks that came out with the gear oil:
After draining the gear oil and putting the metal chunks aside, I pulled the axle shafts to take a look at the splines. I wanted to make sure that they weren't twisted, and that they were in good shape. I wanted to make sure that everything was in good shape because I don't want this axle to fail over something stupid that I could've caught.
Pulling the shafts is easy. All it takes is unbolting the four bolts on each side that hold on the backing plates, then you slide the axle shaft out. The axle was pretty old, so the axle shafts were pretty hard to get out. With the help of a hammer, I gently convinced the axle shafts to come out. We checked out the splines, and they looked like they were in good shape.
Axle with the shafts removed:
After further inspection of the carrier and all gears, I noticed that the gear oil was actually caked onto the gears, and that some gear teeth looked pretty worn.
Later on in the day my friend came over, and like a true doctor, he brought all of his tools.
He measured the backlash of the gears, and said that it was ok, but that there was room for improvement (no pun intended).
We then removed the carrier so as to get a better look at everything:
After closer examination, my friend said that the metal chunks that came out with the gear oil was part of the trac-lok. This presented a problem because now this wouldn't be the safest thing to be driving around with, especially out on the trails. I'm still undecided as to what I will be doing in terms of the axle, but as of now it looks like I may be doing a temporary gear swap to get this thing on the trails.
Today I didn't have too much time to work on much of anything. In the minimal time I had, I cleaned up the diff cover for the Dana 44. The PO had spray painted the axle from end to end, but I noticed some rust peaking through the paint in areas where it had chipped. I decided to take the angle grinder to the cover with a wire wheel and strip all of the paint off. It took no time to get the diff cover all cleaned up. I then took a plastic scraper and a wire brush and cleaned up the gear oil that had become caked onto the inside of the diff cover.
Dirty and grimy (inside of) Cover:
I also used the wire wheel to clear off any of the old RTV that the PO had used to form the gasket when he sealed it back on.
After getting rid of as much of the caked on gear oil and grime, I sprayed it down with Brake Clean, which took care of the rest of the grime. The cover looked as good as new, with no rusty areas.
Clean (inside) of Cover:
I then laid it down on some newspaper and primed and painted it to prevent any future rust.
I have a bad habit of not taking pictures of the finished product.... but now the cover is black and looks great.
Today I spent more time cleaning the axle. It was absolutely filthy. There was some RTV still stuck on the surface of the housing where the cover goes that I couldn't take off with a gasket scraper, and there was the factor silicon that was falling apart at the begining of the axle tubes that I need to get rid of so it wouldn't fall off and into my gear oil and gears down the road.
First thing I did was to remove the carrier brackets that I had put back on so I wouldn't lose them when we removed the carrier over the weekend. Remove the four bolts (in my case I had put them on only finger tight), and then put them in a safe place, as they are necessary for reconstruction later.
Housing will look like this without the brackets:
This was the silicon I was referring to before. A putty knife did the trick, I was careful not to dig into the metal. It was really loose as it was, so it didn't take much effort to get this out.
After removing the silicon from both sides, I stuffed some newspaper in the housing (to prevent particles of junk getting in the tubes), and in the axle tube holes because I was going to use the angle grinder with the wire wheel to clear off the rest of the RTV and small rust spots that were on the perimeter of the housing. It was also very dirty and grimy, so I figured this would be a quick way to make the surface clean again.
Here the left half of the picture shows the dirty side, and the right half shows where I used the wire wheel... pretty significant difference:
Now I had to clean the grime off the pinion. I used a shop rag for this. Sorry no "after" pictures, but all the orange and black is gone now.
I then sprayed down the entire housing with Brake Clean and let it dry out. It looks great (again, no "after" pics)
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the driverside backing plate is bent, so I took it off to replace it. The only thing holding it on is the 4 nuts that hold the axle shaft in place. Once you pull the axle shaft you have complete access to remove the backing plate.
Before you remove the backing plate, you have to remove the brake line from the backing plate. All you need is a 3/8" wrench. It's not on all that tight, and then once it's loose you just pull it back and out of the backing plate. After I took it off, I just bent the line up and out of the way.
You'll see the four bolts here, the axle shafts were removed earlier so they're already out of the way:
The backing plate was pretty fused with the axle tube, so I took my ball peen hammer and tapped it off, evenly (top, bottom, side, side) until the backing plate came loose. Then I just pulled it off with my hands.
The surface where the backing plate rests was a little rusty and so I took the angle grinder and cleaned it up. It now looks like the perimeter of the housing (sorry, no after pics)
I repeated the process on the passenger side because I'm anal and symmetrical. The passenger side backing plate is fine, but I wanted to clean up the axle tube.
Reinstalling the backing plate is just the reverse process.
Finally, the last thing I did today was to remove what was left of the old driveshaft which was torched off, and remove the old U-joint. At first I was going to hold on to the old U-joint, but after looking it through after I removed it I noticed that it was most likely the original U-joint, or very old and not greased at best because under the caps it was very corroded and the pins were all dry. Not worth keeping.
This was pretty easy as well. Only tool necessary was a 5/16" wrench. You undo the four bolts holding the U-joint clips in place and then remove the U-joint.
I actually hated the color when I first got it, but I couldn't pass up the deal. The color has grown on me alot, and now I actually love it, it cleans up well, especially with all the abuse I've put it through so far.
i had looked at a maroon XJ and at first i didnt like the color but it was a good price as well and started to like the color as well (i think they put something in the paint/siding to make you like it)... then found out it was a fleet vehicle and then it got bought up so fine by me, less abuse on the one i got probably