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Lastshot 07-26-2011 12:54 PM

Summer TLC and Upgrades for my TJ (pic heavy)
Whats up JF!
Just wanted to show off some of the work I did this summer on my TJ. My 98' sport is just approaching 93,000 miles, but after living in the northeast for the past few years it's frame was beginning to show some typical general rust and rot.
I decided that the sagging springs and original shocks were completely shot and had to be replaced. I also decided I would have to paint the frame before it sees another winter in Oswego, (watching rust grow while your stuck at school sucks!).
To Top it off, I decided to upgrade the sound system. My faceplate for my Sony head unit was stolen out of the jeep this past semester, and sony wanted 150$ for just the faceplate... Thats not happening...

First things first, found a good deal on a set of newer tj style seats (03'+) that was local! met up with a fellow JF member, ryanwhiteaker. Had a drink and talked about the seats and his TJ build, 40" tires!?!? Thanks again Ryan, the seats are great:thumbsup:

The next day I had a friend come over to help me out with some of the work, we first had to remove the old seats,

Of course nothing is ever straight forward, and even with lots of PB blaster, I sheared off one of the passenger side seat bolts...Ended up having to take off the old nut-cert and getting a new one tacked on...

Once both seats were out, we pulled the panels off for the front speakers. I had previosly installed 5.25" speaker adapters for the front, but only had a cheap pair of pioneers to go in. That would be changed shortly...

Heres one of my 6'4" friends trying to get the New kicker speakers in. He's a little cramped...

I moved the Pair of Kicker Ks525's I had in the soundbar before to the front, since I was upgrading the head unit, I figured I might as well do the 6.5" speaker in soundbar mod as well! Back to ebay and crutchfield!

Finished shot with the seats in, makes my 98' look good! They are also sitting about an inch, maybe inch and a half lower to the floor than the orginal seats, much better for my 6'3" height. Now I might not smack my head on the ground If I roll! Also, it's alot easier to see traffic lights.

More to come!.....

Lastshot 07-26-2011 01:17 PM

Part TWO
Only a day went by before I was stumbling the JF classifieds again, and found a stock Rubicon suspension that looked to be in great shape, shocks springs and stabilizer for a price I couldn't pass up...

Snagged those up and couldn't wait until they came in, so in the meantime I Bought some throttlebody cleaner. I was hoping to see if it would help the hesitation and tendency to almost stall when pushing in the clutch, when I pulled off the hose, I wasn't surprised to see it was almost black. Cleaned it and the sensor as well and here's the result.

After a tough start, and some brisk driving, the jeep was running great. The idle had smoothed out definitely, and it no longer wants to stall when I put the clutch in to stop. When I arrived home, ups had visited again dropping off a package...I realise that it's my new soundbar speakers.Might as well run out the the craft store and grab some polyfill before I throw those in! Of course I bought waay too much.....

Here's the new speakers,a pair of Polk DB651s. They seem very well built and solid. Couldn't beat the price and they are also Marine certified.

I trimmed back some of the fabric and foam that was around the Soundbar speaker holes. I then stuffed a generous amount of polyfill into the bar, I didn't want any rattles and was hoping for better bass response once I got the system together. I then used the brackets they included to mark where to drill the holes. A centerpunch worked fine. After that, I just used some self tapping screws and the speakers went right in! I also made sure to install the foam surrounds they came with to seal the holes tightly.

I was going to the beach the next day, but the rest of my system wouldn't be in until mid week. Having these installed without being able to hear them sucked!!
At the beach, me realizing how low my Tj actually sits.

Lastshot 07-26-2011 01:34 PM

Part three
A few days went by, and the tracking numbers for the rest of the sound system showed that the headunit and amp would be delivered. I decided to get the jeep ready by stripping out the dash so I could install them when they arrived.

I wasn't disappointed as the USPS mail truck showed up early that day, I had the system out of the boxes ready to install before it was even noon! Heres my New to me Alpine CDA-117, and Brand new Alpine Powerpack 45w amp. I thought it was a really great way to push my Kickers and new Polks.

After making a big sandwich and grabbing a tall Arnold Palmer, I was ready to to splice the new harness for the Alpine Headunit. This isn't as bad as it looks, just match up the colors for the most part:2thumbsup:

Next, I had a UPS truck drive up to the house and deliver me a Zone Offroad box. Awesome!:thankyou: It was the Rubi Springs and shocks I got off the JF classifieds!

Heres a picture of the full wiring harness done and treated to a unhealthy amount of zip ties....Notice how the amp lies just between the headunit and the harness in the jeep? Too simple to hookup!

I was able to fit the amp in between the headunit and the glovebox, took a little bit of moving wires but it's tucked in nicely. Leaving a nice clean install. After not having music in the jeep for almost 3 months, I was a happy man:drool:

Evian 07-26-2011 01:52 PM

Sweet!!!!!!!! I did the same thing this year. I updated my sound system. It definitely sucks to be without sounds.

Barcus 07-26-2011 01:56 PM

how do you like the new system? im in need of a new HU soon.

Lastshot 07-26-2011 02:15 PM

Part 4: suspension time!
Here's The Rubicon suspension I picked up along with some Daystar spacers. Just enough to clear the tires so they don't rub at full lock. The jeep is my DD, I constantly find people in the backseat and hauling stuff to school and wanted the heavier spring rate.

Again, Pb Blaster failed on a few bolts while removing the old parts. At least I got to try out my Harbor freight angle grinder!

Front all removed, time for the back!

Heres a few shots to show you how bad my original springs had gotten, as well as the shocks. Also note how rusty the frame is, with even a spot of some bad rot.

Lastshot 07-26-2011 02:30 PM

Part 5: POR 15
again, using my new angle grinder I was able to wire brush majority of the frame, including shock towers and even the spring perches. With all serious surface rust and flaking metal removed, I was ready to paint.

I decided to go the Por-15 route and topcoat it with Rustoleum semi gloss. After applying the "metal ready" primer and then wiping the frame down with water, I was laying down the first coat. I waited 5 hours afterwards to apply the topcoat of Rustoleum while it was still tacky (as directed) and then woke up in the morning to find my frame looking great!!!:cheers:

I should have taken some closeups, but I can tell you from in person, It's a solid finish!


Originally Posted by Barcus (Post 11919858)
how do you like the new system? im in need of a new HU soon.

Love it! The power pack drives these speakers hard and clear! Can't wait to maybe install a Sirgcal style sub box to make it a complete system! I remember reading some reviews about the headunit, and they stated that the screen emits a high pitched whine, and it does. However, unless I put my ear right next to the actual faceplate (not the speakers) I can't hear it. also, It's not like I would hear it over the soft top or even with the top down.

Lastshot 07-26-2011 02:36 PM

With the front sway bar disconnected, I was able to easily slip in the new springs without a spring compressor. The only tricky part was to reinstall the bumpstop ends. Those suckers are hard to get back in!!!

Front done, and Looking waaay better than before!

Most of the install went by painlessly, except for the passenger side rear shock...PB blaster and Liquid wrench didn't help me out on this one either, as I snapped half the bolt off into the upper shock mount...uhoh..

I ended up spending a couple hours of my life drilling this bolt out and abusing my Ez-outs.... Yes, there is something resembling the bolt in that nut...

eventually, I gave up on getting that bolt out, and decided that I would put the rest of the suspension on and then limp it to a shop the next day.

Again, without the use of a spring compressor, My friend and I were able to get the rear springs in. By starting off installation on the driver side, and jacking up the passenger side of the axle, we were able to slip the new spring in with slight help from a pry-bar and a quick smack with a small hammer. The passenger side went in even easier as it didn't even require the pry bar!

Heres a pic of the jeep back on it's 4 wheels, before I dropped it off at the shop.

Lastshot 07-26-2011 03:01 PM

The Ending
Even after driving it to the shop with a rear shock missing, I was still instantly impressed by the difference in handling. The jeep felt like a truck, it was eating up bumps like crazy compared to the 13 year old shocks that used to be on it.:2thumbsup:

Fast forward to yesterday, the jeep is ready to be picked up from the shop with a fresh oil change and the shock installed, but only one problem. I was on my way to get all of my wisdom teeth pulled, and would be on medication for a couple days and unable to drive. My dad lets me know he'll pick it up from the shop, awesome!

I'm laying on the couch, my mouth still partially numb from the surgery, and waiting for my dad to drive up, but instead he sends me pictures of him "testing" out the new suspension....I can't blame him, I would have done the same thing:highfive:

Heres a couple he sent me

So here it is, Tuesday, I'm on some crazy painkillers, stuck on the couch unable to drive the jeep I had put a couple weeks of work into and Now I'm dying to try it out!

copauls863 07-26-2011 10:58 PM

nice lookin jeep man

squazz 07-26-2011 11:16 PM

I dont know nothing about TJ's but good start need some wheels now

wwch99tj 07-27-2011 06:13 AM

Nice I like the newer seats good job :cool:

ryanwhiteaker 07-27-2011 08:30 AM

john that jeep is looking good! Glad to see the frame cleaned up, that thing was looking nasty!. I got my TJ all done and on the road. It made the trip over here to Montauk with no issues either (which was very shocking). Still have to wire my OBA back up and hook the air up to my front locker then its off to Rausch Creek next weekend to test her out :D

PS. i forgot to mention that those seats sat a little low for me but i'm glad they worked out for you at least. The mastercraft seats that i swapped in were AMAZING on the ride over here to Montauk. When those 03+ seats go you better throw some mastercrafts in.

Lastshot 07-28-2011 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by ryanwhiteaker (Post 11924049)
john that jeep is looking good! Glad to see the frame cleaned up, that thing was looking nasty!. I got my TJ all done and on the road. It made the trip over here to Montauk with no issues either (which was very shocking). Still have to wire my OBA back up and hook the air up to my front locker then its off to Rausch Creek next weekend to test her out :D

Thanks man, Thats some awesome news about your rig!!! I guess the brakes worked out after all? Make sure to snag some pics, Gotta see it in action!!!!

wowed777 07-29-2011 06:16 AM

Great Build. I did the same with my jeep - new Alpine cda-117 (HU) and the POR-15. I didnt do the Rustoleum top coat. Is that really needed? Mine came out pretty glossy with out it.

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