A lot of grinding on Saturday, I'm still blowing black boogers. This 8.8 has been around over the years. It's been sprung under, sprung over, shaved, had a traction bar, and of course everything was welded inside and out. Additionally, my plasma cutter is currently out of commission, so we were working like cavemen with sawzalls and grinders. We worked on it total of 14 hours this weekend, and probably spent 4 or 5 of that just cleaning old crap off of the axle and running to the store for more cut off disks
. In retrospect it would have been easier to start with a fresh housing and transfer the guts and brakes over.
There's a couple other minor details. We had to swap the caliper brackets side to side to get the calipers in front of the axle in order to clear the lower shock mounts behind the axle. Because of this, new brake lines need to be made which is no big deal. We had to cut the exhaust off to clear the uppers, so a new muffler and tailpipe will have to be made. We also had to cut the gas tank cross member out because as mentioned, the uppers almost touch the floor at full bump. There's no way a stock tank or even a Gen-Right stretch tank would work in this, so it's getting a fuel cell of some sort in or through the bed soon enough. The rear driveshaft is going to be made from a front driveshaft out of a 94 or 95 Ram 2500 with a 5.9 diesel and a 5 speed trans. It's 1330 at both ends with a CV at the top. Between the shorter Atlas case, and the rear axle being moved back, it may not even have to be shortened. There's a lot of room for a rear driveshaft.
I also want to re-design the belly situation with a tube sub structure from oil pan to rear output, skinned with plastic, just like my buggy only removable. We're also going to add a rear support for the Atlas since it's cheap insurance. That's down the road though, maybe over the winter.
It should work well. At ride height, it's got 5" of up travel with almost-flat lowers and the uppers are perfectly flat. There's plenty of vert separation at the frame end too, so it should climb like a goat. I don't like body lifts but the 1" set on this Jeep has actually allowed us to improve link geometry over typical off-the-shelf 4 link kits. Once we dial in the springs and valving it should really haul butt on the fire roads too. It already kinda does but the rear SOA was giving up right about the speed when the front started to work really well. It would be sweet to get air bumps on it too, but I can't find a way to fit them in the front, so shock shaft bumps may have to suffice.
Either way it's a cool sleeper of a Jeep. It drives down the highway at 70 better than any lifted TJ I've been in, and with the suspension, lockers, smooth belly, and capabilities of the Atlas, it should keep up with the bigger rigs on the trails.