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-   -   My ZJ build thread - AKA "Project Budget ZJ" (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/my-zj-build-thread-aka-project-budget-zj-547529/)

arveetek 04-17-2008 08:50 PM

My ZJ build thread - AKA "Project Budget ZJ"
 
Hey guys!

This thread will be my ongoing build thread.

As you may recall, I started this project with a 1993 GC ZJ Laredo that I picked up CHEAP! One of my friends owned this Jeep, and it died on him. He checked it out and discovered it needed a new fuel pump. After checking the prices of fuel pumps at the local auto stores, he decided it had too many miles (295,000) to justify the repair costs.

He decided to just scrap the Jeep, but I stopped him in the nick of time, and gave him $175 for the whole vehicle. It has the 5.2L V8, auto tranny, and 249 TC. I towed it home, and started thinking about what to do with it. You can see pics of the Jeep here: Jeep pics.

I already have several vehicles, so I didn't really want to spend the money on tags and insurance for another one, so a trail-only rig was looking pretty good. I had a Polaris 4 wheeler that I enjoyed, but most of my other buddies had full-size off road rigs. Well, I sold my Polaris and saved that money to build my ZJ with. Since I'm supporting a family on one income, a budget build was definitely necessary.

First things first: I needed to get it running. Ebay, here I come! I found a new fuel pump for only $94, shipped to my door. I also installed a new fuel filter while I was at it ($10.99). A couple hours later, and success: a running GC!

Obviously, some sort of lift kit, wheels, and tires are absolutely necessary for any serious off-roading. Again, since I'm working on a tight budget, and this vehicle will only be used off-road, I decided against a complete lift kit, and chose to go with lift springs only. I found a great deal at Iron Rock Offroad, and ordered a set of new 4.5" lift front springs, and a set of used 4.5" lift rear springs. Total including shipping: $259.84.

I'm going to ditch the sway bar altogether. If I end up needing extended control arms, I'll make them myself. Again, since this vehicle won't be used on the highway at all, I don't mind making shortcuts like these.

A lift kit also requires shocks, so I found a good deal on ebay for Skyjacker shocks: a complete set of 4 shocks for a 4 to 5" lifted GC for only $144 shipped to my door. I purchased these from Topguncustomz.

Well, my stock Jeep wheels certainly won't work with larger tires, so another search of the Jeepforums and various on-line stores led me to Quadratec. The price of the 15x8 Soft 8 wheels just can't be beat. Price for 4 wheels shipped: $172.95.

Tires, you ask? Well, one of my off-road buddies has generously offered me the use of his 33x13.50 Super Swampers. He has several off-road rigs, and currently has more tires than running vehicles. He's loaning me these tires until I can save up enough to buy my own! (Man I've got good friends!!) :thumbsup:

One other misc. purchase I made today: the lift shocks for the rear hatch were shot, so it won't stay open. That kind of stuff really annoys me, so I bought two new lift supports: $47 from O'reilly auto. I could have bought them cheaper from ebay....but with the shipping costs and waiting time, I decided to just buy locally.

So that's where I'm at right now. I've got the ZJ running, the new springs and wheels are here, and I'm just waiting on the shocks to arrive. I should start tackling the suspension within the next few days.

Total investment in 1993 ZJ to date: $903.78. :2thumbsup:

Other immediate plans include dumping the stock muffler and cat, and installing some other kind of muffler (like Flowmaster) to let people know that a V8 lives under the hood! :D

Far-off plans are to dump the entire drivetrain for Chevy parts, most important of which are a 6.2L diesel that I already have on my engine stand. I'm a diesel guy at heart...can't hardly bear to drive a gasser! :eek: My daily driver is a diesel Tahoe and my pickup is diesel. My wife's minivan is a gasser, though.

I appreciate all the help I've received so far, and I've learned an awful lot from reading lots and lots of posts and doing lots and lots of searching. I hate to admit, but I'm one of those guys who originally thought that a Cherokee and a Grand Cherokee were pretty much the same vehicle; just different trim levels or something. :eek: But, I'm very much aware of what a special vehicle the GC is now!! Thanks again!

Be sure to check this thread out from time to time as I update you on my progress with my budget ZJ build!

Casey

Virmagicus 04-17-2008 08:56 PM

http://image62.webshots.com/562/7/36...2UKkJEF_fs.jpg

http://image63.webshots.com/663/6/50...2demSRP_fs.jpg

http://image58.webshots.com/658/5/48...2YUcgBw_fs.jpg

Virmagicus 04-17-2008 08:58 PM

Incredible growing pictures.

GibsJeep 04-17-2008 09:02 PM

Looks like you got it all mapped out.....Good luck. Just a tip, pics of your progress will help ;).

arveetek 04-18-2008 07:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GibsJeep (Post 5103456)
Looks like you got it all mapped out.....Good luck. Just a tip, pics of your progress will help ;).

Pics will definitely be a part.....I just need a better host site than webshots....they're pretty crummy, and won't allow direct posting into threads.

Casey

LaCeS OuT 04-18-2008 08:30 AM

Try using photobucket.com its great.

tsconver 04-18-2008 10:36 AM

might add a trackbar to your build to recenter the axle and prevent rubbing on the one side due to it being off center.

5.9 ANDY 04-18-2008 10:41 AM

what do you plan on doing with the fenders???


BTW, just so you know...... there is only 3 correct answers to this question, answer wisely.

arveetek 04-18-2008 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 5.9 ANDY (Post 5105261)
what do you plan on doing with the fenders???


BTW, just so you know...... there is only 3 correct answers to this question, answer wisely.

Hmmmm......

My plan: trim/hack/cut....whatever you want to call it?

Is that one of the correct answers? :eek:

Casey

arveetek 04-18-2008 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tsconver (Post 5105234)
might add a trackbar to your build to recenter the axle and prevent rubbing on the one side due to it being off center.

Yeah, I figure that's one of those items I can add/build later when I find out firsthand that you guys are correct and I should have gotten it in the first place! ;)

Casey

spife7980 04-18-2008 04:00 PM

^ there you go. spoken like a true Jeeper! lol

arveetek 05-17-2008 11:28 AM

Update: rolling on 4.5" lift and 33's!
 
I finally got around to installing the IRO 4.5" lift springs and Skyjacker shocks.

Here's a pic of the lift on stock wheels and tires:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/v/c...8+007.jpg.html

Pretty dorky looking, eh? :rolleyes:

Then I got the 33 x 13.50 Super Swampers mounted on the Soft 8's, and that made things look much better:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/v/c...8+012.jpg.html

I'm quite happy with the flex on stock control arms and no sway bars:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/v/c...8+010.jpg.html

You guys were absolutely right. I definitely needed new track bars. With 4.5" springs and a stock front track bar, the front axle was shifted to the driver's side a couple of inches and the track bar was bottoming out in it's bracket on the axle while just sitting level! Since this is "Project Budget ZJ," I made my own track bars!

Being an off-road rig, I ditched the sway bars front and rear. I happened to notice that there was an "s" shape in the corner of the front swaybar that would work nicely as a drop-down piece for the track bar. So I cut a section out of the swaybar and out of the track bar, and then welded that piece into the track bar. I used 1" pipe couplers to slide over the joints to strengthen the welds.

I also extended the rear track bar using similar methods.

You can view pics of the track bars here:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/v/cflint/Track+Bars/

With the 4.5" lift, the 33's fit pretty well. I have slight rubbing in the front when turning....I'll need to trim the rear of the front fender wells slightly. I completely removed the front lower facia and that opened up a lot of room for the front tires. The rear tires don't rub at all, except for the right rear tire which hits the tailpipe on compression. I'm going to trim the front of the fender openins though, just to make the tires look more centered in the openings.

I'm quite excited to get this rig ready for Memorial Day weekend. I hope to take it to Disney, Oklahoma and do some trail riding.

Casey

arveetek 05-17-2008 11:33 AM

Just for reference purposes:

On my stock ZJ with 225/75/R15 tires, the ground to front top fender lip measured 31", the rear was 32".

With the 4.5" springs installed w/stock tires, the front measurement was 35.25", the rear was 36.25".

Finally, with the 33" Super Swampers, I ended up with 39" on the front, and 40" on the rear. That's a total of 8" of lift!! :D :2thumbsup:

Casey

sandman 05-17-2008 11:45 AM

http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/9...rm08004xw8.jpg

lol.......

EYPUFF 05-17-2008 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arveetek (Post 5228365)
I finally got around to installing the IRO 4.5" lift springs and Skyjacker shocks.

Here's a pic of the lift on stock wheels and tires:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/d/7...orm+08+007.jpg

Pretty dorky looking, eh? :rolleyes:

Then I got the 33 x 13.50 Super Swampers mounted on the Soft 8's, and that made things look much better:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/d/7...orm+08+012.jpg

I'm quite happy with the flex on stock control arms and no sway bars:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/d/9...orm+08+010.jpg

You guys were absolutely right. I definitely needed new track bars. With 4.5" springs and a stock front track bar, the front axle was shifted to the driver's side a couple of inches and the track bar was bottoming out in it's bracket on the axle while just sitting level! Since this is "Project Budget ZJ," I made my own track bars!

Being an off-road rig, I ditched the sway bars front and rear. I happened to notice that there was an "s" shape in the corner of the front swaybar that would work nicely as a drop-down piece for the track bar. So I cut a section out of the swaybar and out of the track bar, and then welded that piece into the track bar. I used 1" pipe couplers to slide over the joints to strengthen the welds.

I also extended the rear track bar using similar methods.

You can view pics of the track bars here:

http://www.fuzzydns.com/gallery2/v/cflint/Track+Bars/

With the 4.5" lift, the 33's fit pretty well. I have slight rubbing in the front when turning....I'll need to trim the rear of the front fender wells slightly. I completely removed the front lower facia and that opened up a lot of room for the front tires. The rear tires don't rub at all, except for the right rear tire which hits the tailpipe on compression. I'm going to trim the front of the fender openins though, just to make the tires look more centered in the openings.

I'm quite excited to get this rig ready for Memorial Day weekend. I hope to take it to Disney, Oklahoma and do some trail riding.

Casey

Pictures > Links.


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