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Unread 09-24-2013, 10:20 AM   #1
bigchieftaco
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Humboldt, Iowa
Posts: 108
BigChiefTaco's tasteful ZJ mods

I figured I might as well start a build log for all my upgrades I do. I seem to upload them anyway, just in 5 different threads haha.

I bought my 1997 ZJ 4.slow with 160k miles about 2 months ago from my brother-in-law for $500 under the impression I needed a new flexplate. Long story short, I found a good deal on a used tranny for $70 and bought a used flexplate for $25.

Heres what the PO before my bro-in-law did.


It took out the oil pump bushings so the new tranny was needed.

While we had it all torn apart we replaced both oil pan seals, the rear main seal, the tranny filter, input shaft seal on the tranny, fuel pump, tranny shim, spark plugs, distributor cap and rotor, plug wires, and cleaned the sludge from the engine oil pan.

After all of that, the ZJ was running great! The next thing we tackled was a rotted out rocker panel.




Then I decided I liked the looks of the black cladding so I painted mine and then tinted those ugly tail lights.


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Unread 09-24-2013, 10:33 AM   #2
bigchieftaco
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1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Humboldt, Iowa
Posts: 108
Next up I wanted 31" with some nice black rims. I scavenged craigslist and found a set of Goodyear Wrangler Authoritys with 50% thread for $150. I jumped on that deal. I could not find a nice set of rims so I decided to get my stock ones powder coated black. A local manufacturing company did it for me and charged me $40. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.
I ordered a 2.25" BB from ebay but it didn't get here in time so I decided to install the wheels without the lift and see how much trimming I'd need to do.

I was shocked after the install. I didn't touch the bumper and only hit at full lock in reverse. I really thought I was going to have to chop half my bumper off.



I'm thinking about spraying the chrome grill to match the bumper but I'm not 100% sold on that yet.
Tonight I am going to get the 2" BB installed and will upload some pictures tonight or tomorrow.

Total investment so far including ZJ: $1100
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Unread 09-24-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
chaZJones
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: , IL
Posts: 168
i think a black grill would look better than chrome
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Unread 09-25-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
bigchieftaco
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Location: Humboldt, Iowa
Posts: 108
I think the black grill is my next mod.
I just finished up the BB install last night. That was a little tougher than I was hoping.
I'm loving the way this jeep looks!!!



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Unread 09-25-2013, 09:13 AM   #5
dnuccio
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1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 3,484
Looks good, I would get some stock taillights for it though
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Unread 09-26-2013, 10:51 AM   #6
bigchieftaco
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Location: Humboldt, Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnuccio View Post
Looks good, I would get some stock taillights for it though
I think I like the way it looks with the tint.

Up next is to get fog lights installed. I just ordered the headlight switch off ebay for $20. Hope it works good.
Need to get the fog lights and cut the holes in the bumper next.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #7
Josef86
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1996 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Houston, TX
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The tint SAVES those lights. I would have beaten them off with a hammer if they were found on my jeep. I have gone through the whole tinting deal on a few cars whether it was the spray tint or vinyl. I had a friend injured horribly because he couldn't see the running lights or reflectors of a vehicle due to dark tint.

That being said, I know the law is cracking down on it some places. Yours look fine though.

I have a BB sitting around in my garage. I learned the hard way. Install BB, then lift+BB...then had to remove the BB...Much better now.
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Unread 09-26-2013, 03:40 PM   #8
bigchieftaco
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Location: Humboldt, Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josef86 View Post
The tint SAVES those lights. I would have beaten them off with a hammer if they were found on my jeep. I have gone through the whole tinting deal on a few cars whether it was the spray tint or vinyl. I had a friend injured horribly because he couldn't see the running lights or reflectors of a vehicle due to dark tint.

That being said, I know the law is cracking down on it some places. Yours look fine though.

I have a BB sitting around in my garage. I learned the hard way. Install BB, then lift+BB...then had to remove the BB...Much better now.
Yeah, I didn't want to go for that blacked out look, I just wanted to light tint so they didn't look so out of place. I think it turned out great for $10. Really goes with the style.
Here's what it looked like when I first got it. Yes, that is stock flexing


I'm sorry to hear about your friend, that is not what I am trying to do at all. I was even looking into installing LED taillights but I really think these still produce sufficient light.

Right now, I don't have any plans to install a real lift so I hope I don't have to ever remove these or do it again but the way this is unfolding, I'll never be done upgrading this thing...
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Unread 09-26-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
jnowak
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1993 ZJ 
 
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Location: dahlonega, ga
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How much did you yield on the 2.25 bb?
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Unread 09-27-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
bigchieftaco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnowak View Post
How much did you yield on the 2.25 bb?
I'm not even sure to be honest. I didn't measure before. I did take a picture of before and after.
It looks like I was standing a bit closer in the after picture so keep that in mind, but you can still see the space difference in the fender.

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Unread 09-27-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
Thelt
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Did you black out your grill? My ZJ is the same color as your and I painted my grill black. I was not really happy with how it looked. I used flat black, semi-gloss might have looked better.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 09:39 AM   #12
bigchieftaco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelt View Post
Did you black out your grill? My ZJ is the same color as your and I painted my grill black. I was not really happy with how it looked. I used flat black, semi-gloss might have looked better.
I have not painted it yet. I have seen some that look awesome with the grill black, and I have seen some that look terrible. I'm still on the fence.
Can you post a picture of yours?

Are your bumpers also black?
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Unread 09-27-2013, 09:49 AM   #13
jnowak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchieftaco

I'm not even sure to be honest. I didn't measure before. I did take a picture of before and after.
It looks like I was standing a bit closer in the after picture so keep that in mind, but you can still see the space difference in the fender.
You can measure from center of rim to bottom of fender(assuming there's no trimming). Stock is 18.5in. That should give a really close yield. Just for future knowledge.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 09:51 AM   #14
Thelt
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I can post a pic but it probably wont do you much good. A lot of the paint I put on it has come off so it is kind of a speckled black and chrome look. I did paint my bumpers and cladding black. It is peeling too. My ZJ has been sitting for about a year and I just recently put a tag back on her and put her back on the road. It needs a little cosmetic attention....

I had given it to my stepson but got it back from him recently.
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Unread 09-27-2013, 06:18 PM   #15
riot1987
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigchieftaco View Post
I have not painted it yet. I have seen some that look awesome with the grill black, and I have seen some that look terrible. I'm still on the fence.
Can you post a picture of yours?

Are your bumpers also black?
Excuse my dumpy, cross-eyed headlights. They have down syndrome.
p1050262.jpg  
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Build thread^^
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