My ZJ build thread - AKA "Project Budget ZJ" - JeepForum.com
Search  
Sign Up   Today's Posts
User: Pass: Remember?
Advertise Here
Jeep Home Jeep Forum Jeep Classifieds Jeep Registry JeepSpace Jeep Reviews Jeep Gallery Jeep Clubs Jeep Groups Jeep Videos Jeep Events Jeep Articles
Go Back JeepForum.com > Models > Jeep Grand Cherokee & Commander Forums > ZJ Grand Cherokee Forum > My ZJ build thread - AKA "Project Budget ZJ"

Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed LineSavvy Billet LED Tail LightsCurrie

Reply
Unread 04-17-2008, 09:50 PM   #1
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
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!!)

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.

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!

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! 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. 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

__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-17-2008, 09:56 PM   #2
Virmagicus
Headed Out West
 
Virmagicus's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 6,428




Virmagicus is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-17-2008, 09:58 PM   #3
Virmagicus
Headed Out West
 
Virmagicus's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 6,428
Incredible growing pictures.
Virmagicus is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-17-2008, 10:02 PM   #4
GibsJeep
Registered User
2005 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Temecula, CA
Posts: 1,638
Looks like you got it all mapped out.....Good luck. Just a tip, pics of your progress will help .
__________________
[URL="http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/gibs-third-jeep-tj-1134746/"][SIZE="3"][B]My 05 TJ[/B][/SIZE][/URL]
GibsJeep is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 08:48 AM   #5
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by GibsJeep View Post
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
__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 09:30 AM   #6
LaCeS OuT
Registered User
1994 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Staten Island, NY
Posts: 1,488
Try using photobucket.com its great.
__________________

Jeep Sold! 02/2009

Need AMSOIL? Click Here!
LaCeS OuT is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 11:36 AM   #7
tsconver
Registered User
2003 WJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Durham, North Carolina
Posts: 2,943
might add a trackbar to your build to recenter the axle and prevent rubbing on the one side due to it being off center.
__________________
Speak softly and carry a big stick.

We have room but for one flag, the American flag . . . We have room but for one language, and that is the English language . . . And we have room for but one sole loyalty...and that is a loyalty to the American people. T. Roosevelt 1919

2003 Grand Cherokee 4.0L Laredo

My Build Thread

A few goodies
http://s257.photobucket.com/albums/h...umb55839/jeep/

2001 Kawasaki 1200 ZRX
A few Speed parts, fun to ride
http://www.zrxoa.org/

2006 Red Liberty
Wife's ride, pretty stock
http://i257.photobucket.com/albums/h...mage0008-1.jpg

http://www.cnc4x4.org/

http://www.treadlightly.org/

tsconver is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 11:41 AM   #8
5.9 ANDY
zj tractor
 
5.9 ANDY's Avatar
1998 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: southern afganistan
Posts: 5,228
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.
__________________
hard working private first class in the United States Marine Corps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shift_grind View Post
It's threads like this that make me wonder why people lift there jeeps
its comments like this that make me wonder why some people are jerks.

build thread:http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f197/...ndard-1056365/
5.9 ANDY is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 04:50 PM   #9
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5.9 ANDY View Post
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?

Casey
__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 04:51 PM   #10
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsconver View Post
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
__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 04-18-2008, 05:00 PM   #11
spife7980
Registered User
1997 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 3,144
^ there you go. spoken like a true Jeeper! lol
__________________
-James
Got to love an ORVIS guy...
IRO 5.5", Front LA & Double Sheer TB, Rear Adj SA and TB, JKS Quick Discos, Bilstein 5125, 265/75/16 Nitto Terra's, Cragar 16x& Soft 8s 4" bs
JCR Stage 2 Sliders, IRO Trans Skid, Carolina Drive shaft, IRO exhaust
spife7980 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2008, 12:28 PM   #12
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
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?

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
__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2008, 12:33 PM   #13
arveetek
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Granby, MO
Posts: 199
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!!

Casey
__________________
1997 Wrangler TJ, 2.5L LO, 5 speed, RC 3.25" lift, Skyjacker shocks, 31's, Lock-Right locker in front, Bestop 2-piece Hardtop
arveetek is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2008, 12:45 PM   #14
sandman
Registered User
1993 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Wilsonville, Oregon
Posts: 5,354


lol.......
__________________
1993 Jeep ZJ. 4.0
sandman is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Unread 05-17-2008, 12:54 PM   #15
EYPUFF
Registered User
1995 ZJ 
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fullerton, CA
Posts: 190
Quote:
Originally Posted by arveetek View Post
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:



Pretty dorky looking, eh?

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



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



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.
__________________
1995 GC 5.2 Limited V8

Green Jeep Club Member # 32
EYPUFF is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the JeepForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid e-mail address for yourself.
Note: All free e-mails have been banned due to mis-use. (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.)
Don't have a non-free e-mail address? Click here for a solution: Manual Account Creation
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Thread Tools


Suggested Threads





Jeep, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and other models are copyrighted and trademarked to Jeep/Chrysler Corporation. JeepForum.com is not in any way associated with Jeep or the Chrysler Corp.