I finally got a rear recovery point when I installed my tow hitch. I needed a front recovery point, but i had plans for a bumper so I was just going to wait for that. After all of my other mods recently and bills I knew that if I waited for the money for a bumper it would be a long while. I decided I needed front recovery sooner so I started looking at my options. Many people like the front tow bars because it provides better side pulling strength compared to the individually mounted factory type tow hooks.
I had my front skid plate that I really like so I wasn't going to remove it for that. There are several options for the factory type, but of the pnes still being manufactured I decided on the C4X4 front tow hooks.
They have the best most consistently good reviews online, and the price wasn't bad. I found them with free shipping which was even better. The instlal was super easy, I looked through this Write Up before I began working on mine and i feel that it was helpful. The install really is quite easy. Remove the bumper, bolt them on, and then reinstall the bumper and tow hooks to the brackets.
I did trim the bumper mounting brackets to clear the bolts for the tow hooks. This allowed me to install the bolts upward and leave better clearance to access the hook itself.
I also used this opportunity to clean up and paint my front bumper to match my rear. Both front and rear were originally body colored, but the rear had been replaced after what appeared to be a small rear end as there was some slightly folded metal near the passenger side bumper mount.
I pained that semi gloss black before, and now the front has been pained to match. I really like the look.
While I had the front end taken apart i decided to trim the front plastics as well. I pulled the air dam off of the bumper and trimmed the bottom of the bumper caps. I tried several methods, but i settled with a razor knife and a lighter. It was pretty easy, and I cleaned it up a bit afterwards. I like that it shows more of the skid plate, and provides a bit more clearance in the wheel wells as well as a better approach angle. I have not had any problems with his set up and I think it makes the front look much more aggressive.
I have been wanting a snorkel/CAI for a while now and I have been going back and forth and what to do.
I wanted a snorkel/CAI for a few reasons. I wanted to decrease air intake temperature to increase performance. I live in Utah with higher altitude so any extra air I can get is a good thing. I wanted to raise the level of my intake to decrease the likelihood of sucking in water. I wanted to remove my stock airbox to make room for an extra battery and most likely OBA.
I had seen a custom snorkel made out of 3 inch exhaust tubing Here, and I really wanted to go through route. I would have used a cleaner more professional looking filter in the engine bay. I could not bring myself to cut up my fenders and ruin my stock look. I was really wanting to go another route. I had seen some homemade cowl intakes before, but they were made out of flexible hose, or sewage pipe and to be honest... I think they looked terrible.
I had been looking at both the THOR and the SPECTRE systems because they produced all of the benefits I was looking for. I like the color of the THOR, but the price, and the way the filter mounts kind of turned me off. The SPECTRE intake is a little more chrome than I prefer, but it can be painted if that is a problem.
I went with the Spectre because of the price, free shipping, and people on these forums seem to like it a lot.
The install was pretty straight forward, and thier instructions are pretty detailed.
There were a few things I wanted to suggest to make it as smooth as possible. Do not mount it as low as possible. This put the opening to close to the bottom of the cowl and increases your risk of sucking up the little bit of water that flows through there. I had to raise mine up a little which left a small gap under the mount. I was going to seal this off with silicone, but I figured that it won't hurt and if anything it will actually create a bit of airflow under the intake which will help keep water from being sucked up if it ever pools in the cowl. I did go but a hole saw, but I made two simultaneous cuts to make it an oval for the mount. Picture below shows this.
For those that might worry about it sucking up water, don't. I took my hose on full blast and just let it flow into the cowl. I did fill out the bottom of it a little, but it drains out quite quickly. This is why I suggest mounting it is high as possible on the firewall into the cowl. I have gone through several car washes and it has never filled up the cowl or been an issue. I have cleared off the snow on the cowl before starting because that blocks the opening and will suffocate your engine.
This thing is a lot of fun. I love the sound it makes. When starting completely cold it makes a really strong sucking noise. It them quickly quiets down though. When accelerating when cold it does again make significant sucking noises.
When the engine is up to operating temperature you barely notice any noise at all.
My favorite sound is when you got WOT it sounds magical. It just growls and I get a smile on my face every time. Over all the noise is easily manageable and can be covered by your radio except on startup, and WOT. If you are looking at getting a Cowl intake, and don't want to build it then this is a great option.
I have a mod or two left to post about until I am caught up, but yesterday I did some snow wheeling and wanted to share some photos.
Starts at Wasatch Mountain State Park and the trails wind up through the mountains. There was probably a good 8-10 plus inches of snow when I got higher in altitude. I was by myself so I didn't do anything I couldn't get myself out of.
These tires are awesome in the snow.
My puppy absolutely loves the snow, and now that my tires can handle it off road I think I will enjoy this winter more as well.
My stock exhaust has been really troublesome since the time I owned the jeep. There were some rust issues and still is in some places, but the hangers were pretty much gone. After some good dirt roads and wheeling the exhaust dropped down and was being held by the header, the hanger in the back, and the cross member. I had several leaks in my system, and I also wanted more sound and to free up any power due to the stock exhaust.
I wanted something that had a good rumble or growl to it, but was also not super loud and raspy. I literally took over a year to decide. After watching videos and reading reviews I settled on Magnaflow. I ordered through Performancecurve.com and below is the invoice:
I took it to my local muffler shop and had it all welded up since I like things done right the first time. They did break the O2 sensor after the cat trying to remove it because it was stuck.
The exhaust looks amazing under the Jeep. To be honest though I did not like the way it sounded. It was really quite, and just hummed. It also smelled really bad. The smell burns off after a while, and as the internet claimed the exhaust note has been changing pretty much every time I drive it. It is deeper and more rumbly which is exactly what I was looking for. There was little seat of the pants performance gains, but it does breath better. In higher gears it doesn't bog down like it used to. It is all stainless so I am not worried about it ever rusting again. I have really liked the new exhaust.
I am not really sure when I did this mod, but it is the last one till I am current.
I bought a set up RE stainless steel brake likes from Quadratec at the same time I got my bump stops. Brake lines are generally pretty easy, but with the rust issues I had had the hard line decided to come off with the old line.
Luckily I stated with the driver front tire which is the closest to the brake system. I picked up a small hand held tube bender from Harbor Freight, and about 20 inches of pre flared tube with fittings. I bent it up and remounted it with the hardware included in the kit. Bled the system and it has worked perfectly for quite a while now.
I want to discuss my future plans, and check again to see if anyone has any picture requests, questions, suggestions, or comments. I want this thing to be strong enough to do some light desert/rock racing and pre running. I love doing that, and I will be using components that are strong enough for this. It also has to be comfortable and reliable since it is still my daily driver, and I want to be self reliant for the expedition aspect of my build.
At this point I feel that I have done every mod that I can find to free up any spare power the 4.0 has to offer other than engine modifications. I have replaced many of the inadequate stock parts such as headlights, and I have lifted it a bit to give it more clearance offroad. If anyone has heard of anything else that may help let me know and I will probably be able to try it out. If you feel that I have weakened anything from my mods I want to know so I can discuss it and fix it if needed.
For the future I want to do a 4-link front from Clayton on 4.5 inch springs. I will probably net about 5.5 inches total with a few of the other mods I have. I will be using Deaver rear springs, and probably their fronts as well since they can build me some progressive springs and they are the JeepSpeed standard for strength. I do not want more than 33 inch tires, and I am still deciding between 4:10 and 4:56 gear ratios. I do a lot of freeway, and the 4:10s are still lower than my current set up even with 33s, but still give good highway RPS. I will be putting in select able lockers front and rear, and trussing front and rear axles. Front to rear frame stiffeners, and winch bumper out front. I would like a tire carrier in the rear as well. I need to skid it up underneath and get some rocker protection, but I have not made any decisions since those are still a ways out.
That is my eventual plan, and I would like to know if anyone has suggestions that will keep it looking clean. I love the stock look, and have been able to keep it that way so far. I really think that Jeep should have made the XJ a bit more like mine stock. haha
I will continue posting my upgrades and trip reports here.
My brother owns a 93 ZJ that we have been working on. We just installed a Durango steering box and lift kit recently. I am trying to get him to make his own build thread, but if not I can post those up in another thread.
Last night we installed an adjustable track bar from IRO on my brother's 93 ZJ. It was such a pain in the ***. Ended up having to cut the axle side bolt off and out because it was completely rounded from previous work on it and it didn't have the flange that allows you to hold it to tighten and loosen it.
He had a brand new Moog bar installed under a year ago, so I am taking that bar for mine until I buy an adjustable double shear bar and bracket. I am hoping to install that on mine after work today.
I rotated my tires today, and retorqued the u-bolts and check my brakes. I found that the bar that goes across the top of the drum brakes had fallen down and was just chilling. It had been worn down pretty good, but luckily was still usable. I think that this is what was causing the noise in my rear end and not a wheel bearing. This is why you dont ignore strange noises, and no the radio doesn't fix those noises.
I decided since I was going to be tearing down the brakes anyways that I might as well just get my e-brakes working as well. I ended up redoing the drums a few times because the dana 44 cables are the exact same length which does not work. The e-brake mechanism is mounted on the drivers side and this makes the drivers side cable to long, and the passenger side cable to short. I had to take the cables off of my 8.25 and install them. This is why I had to redo each drum at least twice.
It is really nice to have my e-brake back. Driving a manual without an e-brake is a little frustrating. I was also excited to get this done because I am going wheeling Sunday with some local forum members, and an e-brake can come in handy.
Tomorrow I am planning on installing the slightly used track bar from my brothers ZJ.
Went with some locals on the forum to Rattlesnake in the Five Mile Pass area. It was my first time out actually rock crawling and it was really fun. Took my dad with me who helped with 2 rigs that were having trouble. I was driving the whole time I didn't get any pictures myself. The ride report can be found HERE on the local thread.
I was very impressed with my XJ. I only once had traction issues and that was in a strange off camber turn. I didn't take the most difficult lines, but I also didn't avoid all of the obstacles. I was really happy with how it performed. I am itching to get out on some more trails to do it again!
They charged about 150 for completely removing the old system and welding up the new system. More than I thought it would be, but they have always been fair with me and have always done really good clean work.
Thanks for the interest guys! I am very particular when it comes to my jeep. I really like the stock look, and want to keep it super clean. At the current state of the jeep it is a perfectly capable DD for the winter which is why I bought it. I am not looking to do much this winter since I need it as my DD and I don't have a garage.
I do have some plans for the winter though:
Clean up wiring under the hood
Test out a Cowl Snorkel since I bought a second cowl cover to cut up.
replace my driver side floor pan(may wait until next spring)
Rust prevention(probably oil of some kind) to keep the rust down this winter
I have new wheel bearings for my 44
Dual Battery set up
I want some progressive/air bump stops ASAP, but that may not happen for a while.