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CCOR is Hiring! Athens, GA!ZONE 4.25" combo lift for TJ available at Rockridge4wBaseline 4x4 Lifetime Warranty 4340 Chromoly Axle Shaft Ki

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Unread 08-22-2014, 08:36 PM   #1
bskool
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1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Lakevile, CT
Posts: 129
Dom's ZJ98 5.2 expedition and camping build thread

Hi, welcome to my build thread. My goal is to build a reliable expedition and camping vehicle for my family. Having the jeep be killer in the snow will be an added bonus when I have to get to work or go snowboarding during a storm.

My plans are: to put 31" tires and 2" lift on. I don't want to go any higher since it is an expedition vehicle.
Upgrade steering and suspension
roof rack
front bumper with recovery points
winch
rear tire carrier
onboard air
auxillary lighting
upgrade alternator
better air intake
rebuild steering box and add brace
and anything else that would be useful.
please give me your suggestions and input.
Thanks
The Jeep is a 98 Grand Cherokee Laredo with the 5.2, np249 tc, and just about every interior option possible. The viscous coupler in the tc is not showing any signs of wear so it may have been replaced by the PO.

We bought it in 2011 with 150,000 miles for 1400. The interior was pretty mint but the exterior had rocker panel rust and a few little dings. He wanted 2500 but I talked him down because of the rust issues and various leaking seals in the drivetrain. On the plus side, he was the second owner and it was his vehicle to keep at his weekend house. He was very rich and took excellent care of the engine. Everything that should have been replaced for a full tune-up was done before I bought it with all mopar parts. I think whenever he got an oil change he told them to fix or replace anything they thought needed it.

On the negative side, he NEVER washed it so the steering and suspension components were very rusted.

This is the closest to a stock photo I have. This was taken after the rocker panel fix and roof rack install.

We pretty much drove it as we bought it till the end of 2013. The rocker panels were getting really bad it needed brakes. It had been a long time since I was interested in working on autos and I wasn't sure that the jeep was worth fixing. Then I thought about how great it was in the snow and how expensive a newer SUV would be so I took the plunge and decided to build her up. I did a decent amount of engine work in the past but no fabrication or bodywork so this was a big plunge for me.


Last edited by bskool; 08-23-2014 at 06:26 AM.. Reason: clarify build
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Unread 08-22-2014, 09:20 PM   #2
bskool
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Lakevile, CT
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March, 2014 I replaced the rotors and pads on all four wheels as well as some rusty brake lines. My front caliper started sticking so I put in new front calipers and hoses. Rust had gotten into where the hose fitting connects to the hard line fitting so a two hour job turned into two days as I went to the JY and pulled non rusty front hardline fittings from a ZJ. The stock fittings are some weird metric with different threads and I couldn't find them locally which meant I couldn't just buy new fittings, hence, the need for the JY parts. Braking was vastly improved and I discovered the awesomeness of caliper grease. Brakes were a pretty new thing to me too so Jeepforum was a huge help.

I then started doing a lot of research on how to fix the rocker panels. You could touch them with your foot and they would crumble away.


I decided to do 2x6 steel tube and tie into the pillars and unibody. The full write up is here http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/r...anels-2401561/

That went pretty well for my first attempt at something like this

up next is the roof rack that I built
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Unread 08-22-2014, 09:59 PM   #3
bskool
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My 1st priority for this build was to be able to fit 31s and replace most of the steering and suspension components. However, it was Spring and I make a lot more money in the summer. I was pretty broke but I have a fairly unique job and sometimes I get a lot of time to work on my own projects in the shop. I had some 3/4" inch tube steel laying around so I decided to build a roof rack while I saved up for the lift, tires, and replacement parts. I wanted to stay fairly low profile but still be able to fit kayaks and kayaking and climbing gear in. I already had yakima crossbars on it so I made the basket tie into that for easy install and removal. The write up is here http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/m...sbars-2415625/



I don't love how the front of the basket terminates. In the future I think I am going to extend it and make it look more like a safari rack.

I then replaced the fluids in the front and rear diff, transfer case, tranny (and filter). I have no pics of those jobs because no one wants to be reminded of how much those jobs suck
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Unread 08-23-2014, 06:21 AM   #4
bskool
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Went to the junkyard and picked up a gas tank and front factory skid and a new hitch for 40 bucks. Cleaned them up, hit them with por15 and then a few coats of OD green.


I love junkyards
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-23-2014, 01:40 PM   #5
GalarneauWilliam
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Nice. I am building up my ZJ as an expedition vehicle also. Does your tires rub anywhere?
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My 97 ZJ Build
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/97-zj-repair-build-2174217/"]http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/97-zj-repair-build-2174217/[/URL]
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Unread 08-23-2014, 06:07 PM   #6
bskool
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With the rubicon express bb kit, I had rub on the sway bar with 31s. I put two washers in my steering stops and that fixed it. The Goodyear authorities measure I think 30"s and my old tires measured 27"s.
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-23-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
bskool
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After the rack, I replaced the leaking front and rear output seals on the transfercase and wire wheeled the rust off my driveshafts and painted them. Then, I was still saving for lift, tires and parts so I started on a bumper. I really like how the ARB bumpers look so I copied a lot of their design. It took about 2 weeks to build and then I waited about two more weeks for the bull bar to get bent by a shop. Total cost was about 250.00 including the lights. The write-up is here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/b...my-zj-2437913/




I am very happy with how it turned out. I didn't love the silver so I painted it black
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #8
bskool
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I then tried to track down a weird noise coming from the rear. My wheel bearing seal was leaking so I replaced both bearings and seals. It went pretty smooth. The write-up is here: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/r...-pics-2551210/

The noise, thankfully, turned out to be from my old tires being worn unevenly but now I don't have to worry about the bearings for a while.

Then it rained really hard and my passenger side front floorboard had 2 inches of water in it. I vacuumed it out and did a little research and found this


I cleaned it up and siliconed the crap out of it and that fixed the problem
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-24-2014, 03:01 PM   #9
sabzz
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Looks nice, looking forward to seeing it progress
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Unread 08-25-2014, 03:37 PM   #10
bskool
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabzz View Post
Looks nice, looking forward to seeing it progress
Thanks, it's been a fun and fairly cheap vehicle to mod
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-25-2014, 05:29 PM   #11
sabzz
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Yeah they are especially if you can find parts from them at junkyards and from members on here and Craigslist
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Unread 08-25-2014, 06:16 PM   #12
bskool
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So then I had the money for new tires, a lift, and new suspension and steering. I did not want to lift it without replacing a bunch of key parts for safety and just common sense reasons. After all, it is a 16 year old vehicle. Everything went smoothly, it took about 12 hours total by myself. I replaced the rear lower control arms, front upper and lower control arms, trackbar, steering stabilizer, tie rod, drag link, and tie rod ends. For everything but the SS I went with Moog parts. The lift was the Rubicon Express 2" BB with their shocks. The old and new steering
Doing the upper control arm
Putting the spacer in

After everything was installed I got an alignment and ordered my new tires
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-25-2014, 07:01 PM   #13
bskool
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My transfer case shifter would not go into 4lo so I knew I had to rebuild the linkage. I could manually shift it at the t-case So I knew that the linkage was the problem. I went to the junkyard and pulled a fairly good condition linkage and tc skid. I also ordered crown's rebuild kit for the linkage. I cleaned everything up and por-15'd it I pulled my shifter and the tab was rust welded to the housing After some persuasion I got it off and cleaned up There's a hole in the floor
The old and new linkage I put everything back together and greased the crap out of it . After some tweaking, it shifts like butter
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-25-2014, 07:08 PM   #14
bskool
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I got Goodyear Wrangler Authorities in 31/10.5/r15 and I am very happy with then so far. They are fairly quiet and I expect them to do well in the snow.
hopefully I can get some better pics up soon
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98 ZJ 5.2, custom bumper and rocker panels, moog steering and suspension, 2" BB , 31/10.5R15 ATs
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Unread 08-25-2014, 09:00 PM   #15
sabzz
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You'll like the Goodyear authority's. I run them on a 94 wrangler in 31s as well and they do great and have held up well.
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