My 93 YJ build - OuraYJ (slow)
Well I figured I better start a build thread so I can track where I came from and where I hope to go. My idea on how to build up my YJ is slowly taking shape, and I would love to get comments and suggestions on my plans. I think it will help me firm up my long-term plans.
A bit of background I guess first… I am the original owner of a 93 YJ. It is my daily driver still and I love it. I was a junior in college and would be going off to grad school in NM after graduating. I wanted to make sure I was driving a reliable vehicle since I was going to be a long way from home and the 77 IH Scout Traveler certainly wasn’t going to fit that bill. So I made a list of what I wanted on the Jeep and went and looked at what every dealer in the area had. I couldn’t find anything remotely close, so we ended up ordering one from the factory. I was going through some old papers the other day and found my original sticker…
I was shocked at the total price. We didn’t even pay that price…got it for $100 over dealer invoice.
Drove it stock for quite a while. Lots of trails in NM and CO while I was in grad school. Nothing extreme and no mudding. The mild mods started after I finished grad school and got a job. I decided the stock springs were getting pretty flat and so got a 2.5” Skyjacker lift put on. I think that was about 2004. A few other mods like slightly larger tires (but still puny), new seats (Steel Horse) after the frame broke when my husband sat in the stock seat one day, new carpet installed too since the old carpet was really starting to smell moldy thanks to the well known ‘my Jeep pees on my when it rains problem’. Fixed that with a new windshield (old one was starting to rust) and had the outside repainted as some of the paint was starting to peel. Also sold my factory hard top and bought a Bestop hard top (dumbest mod so far). Warn bumper on the front. I’ll try to find some older pictures sometime and post them. This picture was earlier this year before I started making some more noticeable mods…
I decided that I was ready to get a little more serious and get back to off-roading. So I started looking around and reading forums on the internet. Spent some time on the LSJC forum and a lot of time on Jeepforum.com. There is lots of great information out there and I wish I found it sooner. After reading lots of threads and thinking about my wheeling style, I decided that the low center of gravity builds suit me. I have always been a big fan of not getting too tall a lift… I just didn’t know what to call my style.
So I decided that I could fit 33” tires with my current lift and ordered some MTR-K’s on Black Rocker Vipers. I think subconsciously I did it just so I could have a reason to go ahead and get some flat fenders. The guy at 4Wheel Parts wouldn’t leave them on because of the lack of clearance between the front tire and fender flares. I still had original fender flares at this point. I had already been doing some research on flat fenders and decided to pick up some MetalCloak fenders. A month later we got them on (thanks to my hubby and dad for helping me-makes it go faster) and the tires fit nicely. The amount of clearance in the front is simply amazing! If I had to do it again, I would have ordered the mod rear flares from MetalCloak for the extra bit of room back there. I might just cut the ones I have sooner or later.
I think that pretty much brings me up to date on the mods that are done. I have a new head unit and speakers waiting to go in as well as a winch, rear bumper, quick disconnects and telescoping trackbar which need to be installed. I have some other maintenance issues to take care of too before we head out to Ouray, CO for vacation in August.
As far as future plans here is what I am thinking (not necessarily in this order):
D44 for the rear (replace turdy-five)
Re-gear to 4.56?
Locker for the front (ARB to get compressor or other selectable locker –Ox?)
Locker for the rear (again selectable locker – or LSD as a minimum)
Soft top (Bestop Supertop NX – anyone have one? Do you like it?) - DONE (Softopper)
Tummy tuck by some means (1” body lift, MML, clocking the transfer case, BFH on the tub?) – still lots of reading to do on this subject. Anyone done one on a YJ and if so how? UCF skid?
New savvy gas tank skid (aluminum)
Better seats –Corbeau, Mastercraft, TwistedStitch
Different center console (I hate mine)
I’m sure there are some things I am forgetting but I can’t seem to find my hand written list at the moment. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated. This will definitely be a slow build as I figure things out. I might have some stuff up for sale soon if anyone is interested.
Well yesterday I sold the oem fenders for $200 and the day before I sold the oem flares (front, rear and step), oem frame cover and spare tire carrier for $60. YEA!
Now I have to decide what is up next on my list of things to do. We are planning on going to Ouray the beginning of August so nothing major. I don't want to shake down anything majorly new that far away from home.
I need to get the brakes replaced for sure. The Jeep doesn't stop as quickly now that I have the 33's on. Thinking about ordering some of the black magic brakes. Also need to check the portioning valve as I think that is causing my parking brake light stay on. I already checked the fluid level and the switch.
I am getting a little rubbing in the rear (especially on the passenger side), so I was thinking about getting new shocks to see if that helps. Old Man Emu or Bilstein?
Also need to get a flat tow setup (pull behind our Suburban). Anyone got any recommendations?
Long range I think the next big project might be a new rear axle along with a locker (probably ARB) and a regear. I am debating about picking up a d44 that is on CL. The guy started a ZJ disk brake conversion on it so I would have to finish that. He's asking $300.
Well I picked up the rear D44 today! I'm excited about it although it will be a long term project. Some things I will (try to) do myself, but most will have to be done at a shop (I don't know how to weld - although I would be willing to learn). It will have to wait anyway till I get the funds to re-gear (front and rear) as well as add a locker.
If anyone has pictures of their flat tow setup (especially where the tow bar hooks up to the Jeep), post 'em up!
nice jeep....looks good....keep it up
So what's next?
We had a great time in Colorado! I always love going back to Ouray...it is kind of a home away from home for me. The scenery was beautiful as always and the jeepin' fun. We had two Jeeps this time. Mine and my dad's JKU Rubi.
We started off on Yankee Boy since we had some green folks with us. Didn't want to scare them right off the bat. You could tell it was late in the season as Yankee Boy was little rougher than in past years when I have been there earlier. I could tell right off the bat that my gears were going to be the next upgrade on the list. The 3.54 with 33's were just a dog on the trail. I had to put it in 4-Lo very early just to get some decent gearing. The amount of wildflowers that late in the season were spectacular. I've been there in July and not had that many wildflowers. All in all a great start and only scared my sister-in-law a couple of times. Strangely enough I think my 14 month old daughter loved Jeeping more than my 6 year old son. She rode in my dad's rubi and they said she would just laugh every time it got rough or they splashed through some water.
We spent most days Jeepin' and a couple of days just goofing around town. We ended up going on Ophir, Last Dollar Road (very muddy), Brown Mountain (new to me), Corkscrew Gulch, Engineers (scared my sister-in-law), Cinnamon (also new to me), part of Governor's Basin and back to Yankee Boy. Engineers was a bit rougher than in past years as well although with the upgrades I was really having a good time.
Now it is time to start thinking about the next round of upgrades. I obviously need some different gears. I'll probably go with 4.56 gears as I don't see going larger than 33's anytime soon.
I have a rear D44 sitting in the storage shed from an XJ. The PO bought it to put in his son's XJ but ended up deciding to stick with his d35 since he was under a time crunch. The PO (or previous PO) had started to do a disc brake conversion so it doesn't have any drums but he did have disc brake parts from a Grand Cherokee which I got as well.
So new gears will go in the rear d44 as well as a selectable locker. I have always been in love with ARBs. I am trying to do my research as far as other options (Ox, Ected, etc.) but I am still leaning towards the ARB. I like the ARBs partly because you get the OBA with them which would be great for airing tires back up at the end of the day.
Of course new gears in the back means new gears in the front. And while the front is open I might as well put some sort of locker in there too. I am up in the air about this one. I am more willing to consider a lunchbox locker up front but am concerned about not having a true neutral since I flat tow my Jeep. If I get a lunchbox locker I would need to get a true neutral plate or disconnect the drive shafts which I am not to keen on doing. I don't mind saving my pennies a little longer and getting what I really want the first time. I don't want to buy something and then have to replace it down the road when I could have waited just a little longer and gotten what I wanted in the beginning.
So what else should I be considering when I am getting the d44, new gears and locker(s) put in? What else is good to do while all of that is apart? I don't have an SYE but do I really need one? I have never had any problems with death wobble or other unexplained vibrations. I only have a 2.5" lift and it has been on there about 7-8 years.
Just a little bit of flexing:
Just checking in
Well it has been a little while since I have added to my build. Work was VERY busy last year starting at the beginning of September so there hasn't been a lot of time for the Jeep.
I did manage to pick up some things for the Jeep. First off I snagged this from a guy having an Atlas put in his TJ Rubi at the local shop I have my work done at...:2thumbsup:
So the Rubi 4:1 TC has joined the XJ rear D44 sitting in my storage shed. I was really excited to get that as I think it will make a big difference in the gearing along with the 4.56 gears I plan on getting.
Then I guess next up was Christmas. I got a CB setup from the in-laws from rightchannelradios.com. Also got a rear receiver shackle from one of my sister-in-laws along with a Currie EZ tire deflator. My dad got me an ARB tree saver and an ARB snatch block. My husband got me a Amsteel synthetic rope from the aforementioned shop as well as a safety thimble. I have installed the safety thimble on the rope, but I haven't installed the rope on my winch yet. I want to see if the local shop can make me Hawse fairlead with its logo or name on it. Here is the installed safety thimble...
Spring break was last week. We didn't go anywhere but did take some time off to spend with our son. We went to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, TX to look at all the cool airplanes they have there. The museum is home to one of two B-24's in flying condition and also home to the only flying B-29. The B-29 is on tour in Florida at the moment, but we did get to see it fly last July 3rd at the Addison Kaboomtown celebration. It is really awesome! Anyway the museum also displays several old cars including this one...
So now that I am sorta back on topic...I've had a coolant leak since before Christmas, so I haven't been driving my Jeep. Several weekends ago I filled up the radiator with some coolant and ran the engine till it got up to running temp. I couldn't see any leaks and neither could my dad. Turned it off and several days later my husband sent me a picture of a large green puddle under my Jeep. :brickwall
Well I decided to go ahead and replace the hoses since they were last replaced around 2001-2002. So I got some hoses at O'Reilly's along with a new radiator cap and some more antifreeze. The next day I went to put the hoses on and discovered that the upper one was too short after one of the bends. Also the lower hose didn't have the spring inside it like to older one did. So I took them back to O'Reilly to get a correct upper hose and check on a spring for the lower hose. The lady at O'Reilly said the lower hoses don't come with a spring in them anymore. She told me the upper hose I needed to cut to length. I then informed her that it was too short on the other end. So I ended up returning the hoses and going to Napa.
I decided to go ahead and pick up the heater hoses from Napa as well. The lower hose from Napa didn't have a spring in it either. Do they still make lower radiator hoses with springs in them?
Regardless of the spring, the hoses fit correctly and I only had to trim the heater hoses a little. I then filled up the radiator again, started the Jeep and watched for leaks. I couldn't see anything but then again I couldn't before either. The next day there were a few drops of antifreeze on the cardboard. So I got under the Jeep and proceeded to trace the fluid. As far as I could tell the lower radiator hose was leaking ever so slightly from the upper connection. So I tightened the clamp, but it still continued to leak. I ended up loosening the clamp and moving it down (away from the end of the hose) and reclamping it. It only had two small drops this afternoon when I got home from work so hopefully that fixed it. Time will tell I guess.
Oh I also bought a new air filter while at Napa. So while I was waiting for the Jeep to get up to running temp, I decided to replace the air filter. I opened up the air box and guess what I found! Some sort of rodent nest...
So I vacuumed it out and replaced the air filter with the new Napa made in the USA part.
I need to drive it around a bit now. I think I also have a leak of what looks like brake fluid from about the middle of the Jeep where the engine and transmission mate. I am wondering if I have a leak in the internal slave clutch cylinder or something? The master and slave clutch cylinders were replaced in 2004. I checked the fluid level in the clutch fluid reservoir and it seems ok I think? I couldn't see any kind of fill line in it. Anyone have any other ideas? It hasn't been hard to shift.
Sorry for the long post!
New top from Brown Santa
Well brown Santa dropped this off earlier this week. It is a gray Softopper. It is a pretty dark gray and I am happy about that. I was a little worried that it was going to be a light gray. I am hoping to get off work early today and get some time to put it on either today or tomorrow. We will see how it looks in the sun. Gorgeous weather here right now! I'll post my comments and pics when I get the top put on.
Goodjob so far. One day ill start a build thread. Most likely when i get a new job.
Did you get your rear main seal fixed? From you 03/19/12 post you described a rear main seal leak.
Looking at your dealer spec sheet. Wow, you have some nice options. What do you do on the trail to shut off you Anti Lock brakes?
Very nice rig. I like what you did to the front wheel well. It looks good and with lots of clearance.
Wow I didn't even see that there were some comments till today... I thought it would notify me. I'll have to check the settings. Hmm.
I haven't driven the Jeep lately. I need to get the safety inspection done and get the registration up to date.
I did check the antifreeze level in the radiator yesterday. I popped the cap and it was full!!! YEA! It looked like the last time I drove it around the neighborhood and then parked it, it sucked the fluid needed from the overflow bottle. And no leaks except maybe two small drops of antifreeze. I'll keep my eye on it, but I think that problem is taken care of.
I've been spending a lot of time reading build threads which can be very dangerous. I am really liking the idea of a rear stretch with XJ springs. I think I'll have to hold off on that though. Putting in the rear D44, re-gearing front and rear, ARBs in probably both axles and dropping in the 241OR will be a big enough hit to the pocket book for now.
I've been reading around the forums for feelings about the softopper. I'll try check back in to this thread to see yours in the future.
Well I finally got some time to mostly finish up my Softopper install yesterday. I ran into a problem with the Smittybilt supplied screws used for the windshield retaining channel. I marked the holes for the header, drilled them and then when installing the screws I had one head shear off and several where the threads just flattened out (like they were soft). Anyway I stopped by Lowe's and picked up some #8 pan head screws and some washers. Didn't have a lick of trouble getting them to go in or grab. All of the Softopper hardware was good quality and didn't give me any problems. The top went on fairly easy too after loosening the tub rails so the plastic piece that slided under them could actually slide in. I probably need to spend a little more time making some adjustments to the windows in order to smooth it out.
Here is a pic since we all like pics...
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