Table of Contents
page 1: Intro / T&T (now Treks) frame stiffeners and belly pan / RE's Rubicon Gray paint matching
TMR front frame stiffeners
exhaust sound clip / T&T Y-Link suspension - flex testing
beginning of door removal
door hinge modification
2x6 rocker replacements
rocker completion / shortening doors 1.75"
side mirror solution for when doorless
trail testing / limiting straps
rear suspension overhaul / custom shackle relocation boxes
video clip: came down hard on the frame rail / corrected pinion angle / modified my tire carrier
sleeving the Dana 30 / new LCA mounts
trail testing photos
bodywork and prepping for paint
new paint job - Patriot Blue to Desert Tan
link to cage build thread
new custom rear bumper
rear frame plating
Atlas t-case / rear fender trim (removal)
rear tube fenders and comp cut / gas tank raise
gas tank raise completed / Dana 60-ISU rear axle
rear disc brakes / front coilover shock hoops
New book is released!
link to 4-link suspension video
Its finally time for some more upgrades to my Jeep. I've been running the same setup for a couple years and have been pleased with how it has performed. But I know that the types of trails I like to do (like the Rubicon and similar trails) will take its toll on the unibody - its only a matter of time. If I want the Jeep to last, I need to beef things up.
This round of upgrades will take a while to complete and I'm already into it a couple weeks. But I thought I'd start a 'Build Thread' so you can see what I'm up to and it will hopefully add some more real tech to this forum.
So here is a recent pic of my Jeep.
Without listing all the specs (which can be seen on my site), I'm basically running the RE 5.5" kit with 35's. The suspension is the short-arm kit with drop brackets. I got this in '04 I think before many of the long-arm kits were on the market.
Here you can see it flexes great. This is also the stuff that is hard on the unibody:
Because it has performed well I haven't needed
to upgrade so I've basically been waiting until the suspension wore out to the point it really needs to be replaced. I've also held off on a few other things because this project is like a 'Pandora's Box' because once I start with one upgrade I will be forced to change other parts of the rig too to make it work. So I've been amassing parts in my garage until I could take the Jeep out of service for a while to do this. What I am going to do is strengthen the unibody, starting with plating the frame rails, upgrade the suspension, new rocker protection and exhaust and some other things as I go along.
So lets get things started...
Here's what I have now.
Those are Rocky Road "step rails" that I beefed up because the rails flexed up into my rockers. I was also running Rusty's transfer case skid but I already removed it before I took the above pic. Luckily everything I had was bolted on to the frame rails and not welded because it is all that much easier to remove. I'm going to scrap the rails and do something different rather than try and fit these back on after the frame rails are plated.
Here's a shot of the drop brackets. All that crap has got to go!
Next was to prep the frame rails by removing the undercoating and paint. Theres so many holes it looks like swiss cheese.
Prepping the frame rails SUCKED. It was a horrible dirty job and when I was done I had black undercoat dust all over including my face (even with wearing a mask), and the worst of it was I got a particle in my eye that took about 2 hours to get out.
I used the T&T Customs frame rail stiffeners and really glad I got them. I would definitely get them again if I was going to plate another XJ. I added my own 1/2" holes (rosettes) for plug welding.