Shortly after that trip I deployed and the XJ sat alone in the garage getting no attention. BUT....since I was making a nice chunk of change and had tons of free time on my hands while deployed I decided to be very nice to my Jeep. Around X-mas time I picked up a TON of parts.
LA upgrade kit
Y-link limiting straps
Adjustable track bar
Battery box revision II
D30 diff cover
and a bunch of the weld on skulls to put on all of my projects. They were only $1 a piece, so I couldn't resist.
rear quarter panel protection
tube fenders front and back
front fender skins
All of this was shipped to my parents' house in PA, so that my wife didn't have to deal with all of the boxes and I didn't have to hear her complain
Then when I got home in March 2012 I picked up a Waggy D44 that had just been regeared to 4.88 and had a mini spool installed. I was thinking of looking for an 8.8 or Waggy D44 rear, but then I got a great deal on a Ford 9" from the same guy that sold me the D44. The only problem there was the differnt lug patterns. I dd a bunch of research on how you can converthe the Waggy's 6x5.5 to match the 9" 5x5.5, but I found a way to do it cheaper. So, I sold my D30 and my old rims. I picked up two different sets of rims off of CL. One set for the D44 and another set for the 9". So, with no adapters or any other parts I was good to go. I just had my MTZ's mounted on them slapped them on. The only issue now is a spare. Well, they DO make 2 piece wheel adapters. I didn't trust them to run them all the time, but I'm planning on picking one up for the spare. I'll just get another 33" tire, mount it on one of the Ford rims, and have the adapter to allow me to use it on the D44 as well as the 9". Sounds good to me anyway.....
So, as soon as I got home I landed a job up in Hagerstown, MD. I was ecstatic, because it is about an hour and a half from where I grew up. My wife and I had been itching to move back up North ever since we moved down to NC. 8 years down there was about 8 too many. Just not a fan of the South. It wasn't easy working on the XJ, because I was living in an apartment in MD and making the 7 hour trek to NC whenever I could, but time down there was limited and we were trying to get the house ready to sell.
I managed to get the new axles, frame stiffeners, T&T LA upgrade, and T&T tracbar installed good enough to trailer it up to MD, but a guy that was helping me out did some pretty ****ty welding and then ended up screwing me out of quite a bit of money and some parts, which I still have to find a way to buy again. Those being steering and a SYE. Right now the steering is just the stock XJ stuff slapped in there. It isn't good at all, but it allowed me to get it on/off the trailer and in/out of the garage.
SO, here are a few pics of the installs when it was still in NC. The guy in the welding pic is the asshat that screwed me. What a ******! His name is Matthew Everhart and he is s member on this forum. He's not very active on here at all though.
I really wish I would have had more time to slow down and take pics of all of that. Now that I have this new consolidated thread, and a WHOLE lot of stuff that I'll be doing real soon, I'll make sure to take better progress pics and keep this thread moving. Just a reminder.... keep all of your comments and bs in my original thread if you can. Thanks....
So, we ended up getting REALLY lucky. My wife found a job in Chambersburg, PA. So, we did a little bit of work to the NC house, got it on the market, and it sold in TEN DAYS! Can you believe that luck in this market? Right before we put our house on the market we looked at houses in PA. We did our homework and since my wife was only up for the weekend we ran all over the place with our realtor. We had it all mapped out. He showed us 15 houses in one day and then went back to the 2nd house we saw for another look. So, that makes 16 total tours, lunch, 3 different towns......AND we put an offer in on that house we saw twice. All of that was accomplished in about 10 hours. It was a long day, but we knocked it out and were done. We also found out the next day that our offer was accepted and we closed on the house mid August. Here is the XJ's new home.....
Yes, it IS an oversized 3 car garage, but I will only be getting about a bay and a half to use. My wife will get the left bay for her van. The kids bikes, dirt bikes, and crap will get half of the middle, and I will have the rest of the garage to the right. That will be enough once I get a 12'x24' shed for the backyard. In the meantime I rented a small storage unit to help clear out some space to work in. Plus I haven't moved the Jeep over to allow my wife to park in there yet
I started thinking about selling the Durango. Not that I don't like it, but I get ****ty gas mileage and drive 30 miles each way to/from work. I was looking at little gas efficient cars, but then saw this.....
I ALMOST had the purchase justified in my head, but in the end I was practical enough to pass it up. It was expensive and not a huge step up from the gas guzzling "dingo"
I picked up a used Rusty's gas tank skid a few years ago. Here it is unprepped and then after prepping and painting it. I knocked out the T&T sliders while I was at it. Then after I installed the gas tank skid I clamped my THOR corner guards in place to see how they were going to look. I love them and can't wait until they're on for real. I picked up some LED truck lights from tractor supply to go in them. Since these pics I have all of my wiring sorted out for the lights. I still have to solder all of the connections and make them purty, finish painting the THOR guards, and get them installed. It is supposed to be warm this week, so hopefully I'll get it done by the end of January or first week in Feb.
That pretty much brings us up to date. I got the rear brakes all replaced. I have some before pics, because I never worked on drum brakes and I was asking for help identifying my missing parts, but I don't think I took any pics after. I had to order two parts to get the emergency brake to work, but I guess they were worth it. I still have to do some final adjustments, but hopefully that won't be too much of an issue.
The other day I ordered some speed bleeders, because I'm tired of trying to bleed these f'n brakes by myself. I can never get them COMPLETELY done. I get them good enough, but I'm excited to see how these things work.
Finally an update. . . I got the THOR corner guards completely installed including LED lights. However, my JF phone app keeps crashing when I attempt to attach the pics. I'll try to find time to do it in the morning from work.
Guard clamped in place to drill holes. I tossed it on initially to check it out and drill all the holes and then popped it off to touch up the paint before installing. Don't do it this way. Get it in place, tighten screws by the tail light box and clamp the front. Then start at the rear only drilling a few holes at a time and installing the flush mount bolts. As you tighten them and it draws in snug to the body it shifts a bit. If you drilled all of your holes at once they will be a tad bit off and you will have to ream them out or your bolts won't sit flush or you might not even get them to fit at all. It wasn't a huge deal, but lesson learned that I thought I'd pass along.
If you have any questions about these feel free to ask in my other thread. The install was simple and pretty straight forward. The only difficult part was the wiring of the LED lights. I just hate wiring though. I think I made it harder than it needed to be. If you just stick with incandescent lights it would be a breeze and a lot cheaper, but LED's really aren't that difficult.
The only complaint I have about these is that the tail light box portion is wide open on the top and bottom. I would like it to be enclosed. I'm not sure if there are pieces that close it in that I didn't receive. I emailed Mike at Trailhead Offroad (THOR) and asked him about it. I'll post up the feedback I get. He has great customer service. I ordered these through jeeptubes.com, didn't receive the hardware and Mike sent it right out to me with no questions asked even though it had been over a year since I had ordered them. Yes, with being deployed and then moving from NC to PA, it took me THAT long to get these installed. Sad. . . If Mike doesn't have a solution for me I will be fabbing up something on my own. I want to completeley enclose the bottoms and seal them up. Then create a removable top piece. That will also miniimize the gap between the boxes and the hatch, which I think is a bit too much right now. Overall I LOVE them though!