As some may notice from my signature, I'm building an XJ that has Unimog 404 portal axles, 42" Pitbull Rockers, full cage, etc.. My ZJ is the tow rig and my daily driver so I don't want it to be overly built.
Being a Jeep guy, I can't resist taking my ZJ out on the easier trails sometimes. So it needs to be built so that it can take some rock rash without trashing the body panels. Finally had the time to start building it to better suit my needs for a "sunday wheeler".
I bought the ZJ last July, in absolutely mint condition. Zero rust, ~90k miles, all original. I couldn't keep it like that for too long, so I added 2" budget boost, longer shocks, some fender trimming and 32 x 11.50 BFG KM2s.
I drove it like that for the winter, and wheeled it occasionally..
..until spring came and I had time to start building it
First thing to do was to cut out the rockers and weld in box tube rockers. I had some minor rust on the inside of the rockers:
In contrary to my XJ, I used slightly thinner wall box - only time will tell how the hold up. I used 2" x 4" .188" wall box tube. Cut one in hald and welded it to the other two -> end result is 2" x 6" rockers:
Rear ended up looking like this, I need to add another tube between the corners and some plating to tie it all in. Other than that, it's ready.
Held up to some beating on the trails pretty damn well, dropped the passenger side rear corner from about 2ft. straight into a rock - not a scratch. Had I had the stock exhaust and rear corners, I would've trashed at least the exhaust and the rear light, propablly something more than that as well
Stuffs 32s pretty nicely:
Came out pretty well IMO.. I'm happy with the end result. I do need to add some skid plates on the belly, I put a big dent on the tranny oil pan. Whoopsie..
Tubing is mostly 1.75" OD .120" HREW, front cross-tubes are slightly bigger at ~1.9" OD (48mm, metric- standard tubing). Plating is between .120" -> .250" depending on the area. Rear corners are thickest, front tube fender panels are .120
As mentioned, I'm gonna add belly and gas tank skids. Probably will also weld tubes to the rockers the protect the doors a little more, and also for the ability to "swing around" rocks using the tubes.
I need to figure out a good way to mount my hitch - living in the EU, it has to be ECE/ e-code approved so I can't fab my own. On the other hand, I do have my old hitch which has the approval plate, I may just pop- rivet that plate to a DIY- hitch so it passes inspection and possible road-side checks by the local police
edit: Oh, the stock CAs will have to go. I haven't even been doing any serious wheeling with my ZJ, but both front lowers are bent, and one of the uppers is trashed as well. Looks like I'm starting to develop some DW issues too, which I think is the result from the bent CAs and over-flexed ball-joint end of the stock track bar. Need to address those issues as well. ..and I thought to keep this 100% stock when I bought it
Damn dude, you are on a roll! Those front fenders are exactly what I need to install for a little protection, plus to remain legal. All the tube work looks great. You sure are wheeling your DD pretty hard for not wanting to build it up haha.
Thanks Yeap, the road legality issue was the reason for fabbing the front tube fenders - and of course protection when wheeling. Local laws here in Finland require the tire tread to be completely covered by fenders, sidewall may stick out.
I actually think the whole outer tubework came out pretty nice. I still need to finish both front and rear bumpers. Also, the more I look at the section at rear doors missing the tube, the more I think I gotta fill that gap with tube The problem is, if I do so I gotta hack rear doors and re-weld them
I haven't been doing anything too serious with the ZJ and intend to keep the body in good shape, but the stock CAs clearly can't take any abuse Bending the tranny oil pan was purely my mistake, I sorta forgot I was driving such a low vehicle when going over a rocky section on a trail