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Unread 12-25-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
jkred
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ZJ Baja Chase Vehicle build

Going to start a build on my ZJ 5.2L V8 with 156K miles to turn it into a Baja 1000 chase/recovery vehicle. Have a $5K budget. Need suggestions on:
Lift kit - think I need around 3.5"
Drive train Mods - On my 3rd transmission rebuild need something stronger
Engine - better cooling/air filtration?
Wheels - Need good road to dirt tires
Bumpers - want steel, light, and rear tire mount

Not going to be used for heavy duty towing, just recovery. Also will need to do OK on the highway as I drive over 1K miles to and from races, sometimes more for the Baja 1K. Thanks for suggestions, will post pics as I build it up in Jan/Feb THANKS!

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Unread 12-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #2
ratmonkey
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going to be very, very tight on a 5k budget if you need a transmission too
a 3.5" kit will get you over 32's comfortably
a set of mtr's are great for that kind of terrain and use. they're a touch heavy for some
just about everyone makes a good 3.5" kit these days. get at least upper adjustable arms for the front and both track bars adjustable. i like jks producs, but that'll be close to a budget buster. iron man 4x4 for arms, rubicon express springs, pro-comp shocks isn't a bad combo
get a larger transmission cooler, plate style preferrably, there's a lot you can do to these transmissions, but you're looking at over 3k for a proper built one and torque converter
for air filtration, stick to stock style paper filters. knn is definitely not the way to go in a desert environment
engine cooling, HD mechanical clutch fan from mopar and lighten up on the glycol in the coolant, mix it 70/30 h2o/ethyleneglycol.
you're looking at about 750 for a front winch bumper and another 1k for a rear bumper with tire carrier. kevin's offroad/protofab is a good choice.
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Unread 12-25-2012, 05:20 PM   #3
nickpequignot
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Sounds like it would be a good build. But like rat said. Tight on 5k with needing a trans. Looking forward to what you have in mind.
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Unread 12-26-2012, 10:09 AM   #4
Foundrydude
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Is there anything special about the ZJ you're starting with? The reason I ask is a 93-95 with a V8 has a 46rh which is a much better transmission.

You might even look what kind of custom programming it would take to retain your OBDII system while converting to the earlier trans. There's also a 46re out there, used in the 5.9s which might be worth a look.

What kind of grossly oversize cooler system are you planning for oil and trans fluid? If you aren't gonna run AC the condenser will make an excellent transmission cooler.

good luck and have fun with the completed truck, sounds like a blast!
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Unread 12-26-2012, 10:26 AM   #5
PolkaPower
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I have never seen a chase truck as small as a ZJ. They are usually full sized beast trucks. The baja trucks themselves weigh around 6000 lbs. I have only seen a coupl ZJ's modified for desert racing but they looked like they were doing well even with the solid front axle. You are going to need a very custom suspension and a fat wallet for this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJFgnhcwi2A
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Unread 12-26-2012, 10:51 AM   #6
dnuccio
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that looks like a **** load of fun
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Unread 12-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #7
Midnightluckey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkaPower
I have never seen a chase truck as small as a ZJ. They are usually full sized beast trucks. The baja trucks themselves weigh around 6000 lbs. I have only seen a coupl ZJ's modified for desert racing but they looked like they were doing well even with the solid front axle. You are going to need a very custom suspension and a fat wallet for this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJFgnhcwi2A
God, I can't believe he's driving a solid front axle rig that fast. And the little 4 wheel hops are scary! He's either a genius or a moron. I've got my fingers crossed for genius.
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Unread 12-27-2012, 09:40 PM   #8
jkred
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. After some research, it looks like I need to up the budget. The ZJ is being built up to drive into the race course at events like the Baja 1000 and deliver parts or tow the car out. My race car (pictures attached) is pretty light at about 1500 lbs, so does not need to be a major tow vehicle. The biggest thing is suspension (thanks ratmonkey, great suggestions) and bumpers for the winch and tow capabilities. I think I am going to go with a kit from JK for the lift, and Kevin's for the stealth bumpers. For tires I do like the MTK's but working on what rims. Don't need fancy, but functional. I am going to start with that and do the tranny when I blow the current out. Engine, we will see. On that video, the guys in the Jeep speed class are really intense, taking a heavy vehicle, and ripping through the desert at high speeds. I will post more pics as I build the car up, check out baja or bust racing on facebook, and will post the schedule for next year if anyone wants to come out and have some fun. Great time BBQ, beer, and racing. Thanks again!
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Unread 12-28-2012, 08:59 AM   #9
1slo_camaro
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if you have the ability, why not build your own bumper? it will save alot of money and will be easier to build then just buy.
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Unread 12-28-2012, 10:06 AM   #10
vegasZJ
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I am in the beginning of a jeepspeed build. Im looking a 11k in parts for a 1700 truck. Your chase truck ( if going on the track) will have to be long armed and on at least a 33" tire, Geared, wench, GPS, ect. Only problem i see is making it stiff enough so it doesn't sag to much when loaded to the gills with parts and maintain ride quality.

How many races are you going to run in the states and how many in Mexico? Last i heard you cant chase in the states just recover after the flag.
forumrunner_20121228_090149.jpg   img_20121209_205722.jpg  
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Unread 12-28-2012, 10:07 AM   #11
vegasZJ
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Wow it did load the pictures thats going to be my chase rig
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Unread 12-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #12
PolkaPower
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Wow it did load the pictures thats going to be my chase rig
Picture whore
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Unread 12-28-2012, 11:41 AM   #13
vegasZJ
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Picture whore
You like it
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Unread 12-28-2012, 11:43 AM   #14
KingtheZJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegasZJ View Post
I am in the beginning of a jeepspeed build. Im looking a 11k in parts for a 1700 truck. Your chase truck ( if going on the track) will have to be long armed and on at least a 33" tire, Geared, wench, GPS, ect. Only problem i see is making it stiff enough so it doesn't sag to much when loaded to the gills with parts and maintain ride quality.

How many races are you going to run in the states and how many in Mexico? Last i heard you cant chase in the states just recover after the flag.
wat?
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Unread 12-28-2012, 11:52 AM   #15
vegasZJ
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wat?
Not sure what you mean??
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