Well guys, it's time again for my Project jeep of the week thread. This week, I went back to work on my buddy's XJ that I originally put my HomeBrew Budget Boost on. Here is the link to that article if you didn't catch this part of his XJ buildup: http://www.rocklizardfabrications.co...dget_boost.htm
Well, as many of you can guess, my buddy got inchitis, and he came to me with a nice budget to work with and said make it bigger and better. Well, here's what we got: RE hack and tap SYE/CV driveshaft and 4* shims, RE 1.25" shackles and 3/4" spacer, JKS disconnects, IPF 968 lights, and a rear hitch. The goal was to keep the ride as good if not better than what I orginally setup for him, but he wanted to set at 3" of lift. With the HomeBrew budget boost, he was sitting at 2" over stock in the front, and about 1.25" over stock in the rear (which was actually 2" of lift over what he originally had). So, to achieve 3" of lift, my plan was to add a 3/4" spacer to the front, and an RE 1.25" shackle and add another stock leaf from the donor pack. The extra leaf I would add was the second leaf just below the main leaf. Of course, never doing this before, I was worried it may make the ride too harsh even if it achieved the amount of needed lift to level things out.
Well, before starting any of the lift, we took care of all the other things he wanted done. We added the IPF 968 lifts to the front bumper, and removed and trimmed the front air dam and bumper corners. We added the JKS disconnects and the rear hitch. Then I got to work on the hack and tap SYE. This procedure usually takes me about 2.5 hours start to finish with the mounting of the CV shaft. Well, after all the hack and taps I have installed and the good luck I have had doing them, my luck finally ran out. I have to say, anyone that puts this SYE on, use brand spankin' ned good quality drill bits. When I drill the hole, I start with a smaller bit and work my way up to the final hole size. Well, the first bit I used (1/8") got about 3/4 of the hole drilled and decided to snap inside the shaft. Wouldn't have been a big deal if it broke just a little outside the shaft because I would have taken some plyers and pulled it out. But I wasn't that lucky. About 1/2" of the bit broke about 1/4" of the way in the shaft, so the only way I could get the small bit out was to drill right through it. Let's just say it took three sets of drill bits and several days of constant drilling to get the hole finished. Once I finished the hole, everything else went very smooth. It only took me 15 minutes to tap the hole, and another 20 to put the flange and shaft on. I don't mean to scare anyone away from getting the hack and tap kit because of my bad experience. It is a great kit and it is not the kit's fault that I didn't follow my own rules by using a fresh set of drill bits.
OK, so here are some pictures starting at the beginning up to where we were at this point, then I will get on to the lift install:
After homebrew budget boost:
About a month and a half after budget boost install with KargoMaster roof rack, IPF lights, hitch, JKS discos and hack and tap SYE/CV driveshaft:
OK, so onto the lift. We put the 3/4" spacer in the front, and of course, luck ran out again and I snapped the trackbar axle mount bolt, but that was an easy fix. I also relocated the front brakelines down to get an extra 2-2.5" of slack. For the rear, I started by added a 1995 YJ Wrangler Non ABS rear brakeline, then we installed the RE 1.25" shackles, and set the jeep back on it's tires to get an good idea how much more lift we needed in the rear to even out with the front. The initial rear measurement was 18", which is 1" over stock. After the 1.25" shackles, we were at 19.25". This is 2.25" overstock. The front was sitting exactly 3" over stock at 20.5". So we needed atleast 3/4" more lift in the rear. Well, we took the rear spring pack back apart like the first time we added the donor main leaf, but this time we were adding a 4* shim and the long leaf just under the main leaf of the donor pack. To make this work, I took a hacksaw to the bottom clip of the teflon pads at the ends of the second leaf and sawed them off, but the pads stayed in place, which was good. This allowed the leaf to sit flush in the pack. Here is a picture of the pack before install with the new second leaf and the stock main leaf that was added in the original budget boost:
Man, talk about beefy, this was a thick pack when all bolted together. Once everything was bolted back up and the jeep was back on it's feet, I was dying to take it for a ride to see just how back adding this leaf would make the ride. In all honesty, of all the cherokees I have been in, with just about every configuration and manufacturer of lift kit that I have test driven, this is by far the best riding jeep I have been, and probably ever will drive. I was extremely please with the ride. It was unbelievable how well it rode even with adding the extra leaf. My thoughts are that because the two new leafs that were added to his stock pack came from a stock pack with the same spring rate, which complimented and worked together very well. Oh, almost forgot and I am sure you are dying to here the end lift result by adding this second leaf. Well, before the second leaf with the 1.25" shackle, it was sitting at 19.25" (2.25" over stock). With the second leaf: 20.5" (3.5" lift over stock). So, now his jeep was sitting 3" lift front and 3.5" lift rear and the ride quality beats the snot out of even the 3" OME kit. Absolutely incredible! OK, here are some pictures of the final setup:
I will be adding this writeup to my tech section over the next week. It will be the Home Brew 3" Lift. I could call it a budget 3" lift if it was just adding a spacer, shackle and leaf, but my buddy wanted the jeep setup right so it could be used offroad without any worries, so we spent the extra money on the SYE/CV driveshaft, shims, discos, and of course the other nicknacks that didn't really have anything to do with the lift like the lights and hitch. If you have any questions or comments about anything I have done, please ask. I have had a number of people setup their XJ's using my homebrew budget boost writeup with nothing but praise, and I am sure when they are ready to lift some more, they will be very happy to take advantage of this new writeup.
Oh, and to finish up is offroad machine, this week we are installing a TCase and Gas Tank skid, so he will be able to tackle just about anything.
Special thanks to my boy Andy Clifford who helped me out a lot getting this jeep together.
Not really XJ related, but since I'm on the project of the week, I also managed to squeeze a little time in to work on my new soon to be released Rock Monitor TJ front winch bumper that was built very similar to my Rock Monitor XJ front bumper:
So what are the chances you would assemble the parts and sell it as a bb? What is the weight of the bumper above? How much heavier are typical aftermarket bumpers vs stock?
I could assemble the parts and sell it, but of course I would have to take on extra for my time spent gathering and assembling the parts, and that defeats my idea of budget on this one. Part of the fun is gathering it up yourself. Just keep and eye on the for sale forums and ebay.
The weight of the bumper above is 40 pounds. I have a few more gussetts to weld on, then powdercoat, so around 45 pounds when all said and done. I haven't really checked out other aftermarket TJ bumpers as far as weight, but the few people that have actually picked up my bumper were extremely impressed by the weight, expecially since it is made of 1/4" formed Grade 50 steel. My XJ bumpers are running about 50-60 pounds. Stock bumpers might weigh around 10-15 pounds on TJ's and XJ's.
GottaBeJeep, AWESOME! I know what I'm doing when I go up to 31s eventually!
cyberbackpacker, I don't think the original clamps would work myself. But, if the holes were moved up another quarter inch (leaf thickness is quarter inch), it should work. I haven't taken the time to do the math and figure out new the new lengths of the steel, but it shouldn't be too hard. Besides, for that small of a piece of steel, the price isn't enough to worry about. Plus, you can reuse the bolts from the previous clamps, so you'd be out less than 5 bucks for the new steel.
88 MJ: some assembly required
98 XJ 2dr: little lift, lotta skidplate www.wnyoffroad.org