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ISUzj 04-12-2009 05:55 PM

ISUzj Build Thread
Well, I think that I have done enough to create a build thread so I can show off what I have put into my ZJ. Dang proud of how far it has come in the last years. I have had it for 4 years now, but the majority of the changes have come since stumbling upon JF and realizing the infinite possibilities of these Grand Cherokees.

Bone stock 4 years ago I was a Sr. in H.S., 107400 miles, 5.2L V8, 249 T-case, Mopar stock spare tire carrier, and Mopar running boards. Radiant Fire KRC red. Stock rims, Bald liberator tires.

I then decided on my own I needed a roof rack and a grill guard/brush guard. So I went to work building them out of what I could find in the shop. The gaurd is made from DOM steel tube that was from my uncle who owns a farm equipment repair shop, the center parts of it are actually the blade from a road maintainer. This is a heavy grille guard but it is held on by two posts welded to the uni body and held by grade 3 bolts so they have some give in case of a collision. It weighs oh about 60 lbs I have bounced off a couple of things and suffered no damage and it has been useful for pushing ppl int he Iowa winters, I have a strip of rubber on each of the vertical plates.

As for my roof rack, that is made from a combination of cattle fencing and a ton of steel tubing that comes from the top of overhead doors(my dad installs them for a living) and it is 1" tubing and can be bent with a conduit bender. Use what you got I guess. It hold a ton of stuff, and my 5 dollar a piece tractor lights do pretty good. It secures to the rack by a couple of 5/16 bolts through the crossmembers on the roof.

This is what it roughly was then for about a year and a half. I had to update my tires because my other ones were shot. Good tires, just a little too small :teehee: really dare I say, Kinda Fugly looking.... :brickwall:

After I discovered JF, I got the bug to lift it, but since the place I was living didn't allow me to really work on it in the parking lot I tired to do the o'l 249~242 swap...but it was an udder failure. We had PARTS all over, I had gotten a 242 from a 02' liberty, which was way wrong for my 94:rtft:. But we tried and to no avail, 12 hours later we realized it wasn't going to work. I thought I had pics. but why post failure pics. A new 242 from a 94 is on its way and will be in shortly. I did get a cold air intake on the 5.2, help it breathe a little better, 70 bucks on eBay.

So once I got situated into a place where i was able to wrench on it (house with a garage) I decided it was time for a 2.25 BB after lots of research and some :newbie: questions. sorry, Kinda crappy picture. Thanks to all who put up with a dumb question from time to time from me.

I got the shocks with it (Skyjacker hydro 7000) the bushings fell apart in my hand, I ended up going to advanced and cutting down some of the standard ones they had on the shelves. The ride wasn't all that smooth either, I am hopping to find some better replacements in the future. But they were better than my old stock ones.

Ended up going ahead and selling my old tires and getting different rims (American Racing Baja)painting them black, and getting a hold of some 31-10.50-15 Treadwrights: BF Goodrich AllTerrain T/A I am very pleased with them, they have been great. I even got another one because I found a crack I was not 100% sure about. they have great customer service.

After getting that, decided I needed a different bumper, only because I went playing on some rock piles once I got my new tires to test them out. Apparently I am as not as nimble with my jeep as I thought I was and tore my old bumper off, why not? that's a good enough reason to get a new bumper. So I started and designed one on Solidworks and built it in my garage.

Here is the thread for the bumper:

It was this:

I ran into weight issues on the bumper and tire carrier, I am in the middle of a redesign. The tire carrier was causing a twist in the bumper, I need to find a better way to get it attached to the "frame" of the jeep to get a little more support. I just re coated it this weekend with an additional 2 layers of Hurculier So here is it in its current state: I sprayed it with Krylon after it dried to see if that works as a UV protector...if not, I'll buy the protector

ISUzj 04-12-2009 05:56 PM

Snow wheeling (that is about it for central Iowa....):p

So after some time, at Christmas, I gathered enough Christmas money to be able to go just a touch higher. Thanks to suggestions from MoonyJohn, i went and got some 3" coils from Rusty's. But then I had to gather all the other necessities (adj trackbar, swaybar extensions, and such). And I was waiting on a friend to get his strut compressor for his bro to use for the springs. But we had to wait a long time. but in the meantime(3 months) I managed to decide it was worth it to paint m cladding and all of the plastic on my jeep. I took my cladding off and discovered rust, so i repaired that and repainted that. I painted anything black on my jeep black again with either KrylonFusion, or Rustoleum.

You can see my complete pic later: Then finally this week everything was ready, I did my HW and we lifted it:cheers:. and actually, since my old springs were sagging so it was more like a 4" lift. so it was a ton higher, me and a buddy started at 4 and were done at 11:00 with the lift.
My old fronts and new ones 4.25" difference

Once again like everything else, I am cheap/poor, made my own swaybar extensions:


Front quick discos:

and the lift: Also painted cladding/mirrors/rails/doorhandles:thumbsup:

I was feeling ambitious this week wanted to get a lot done, Had leftover hurculiner from my buddy's YJ tub, so i decided that I would go ahead and do my fenders if you look in the pics, they are chipped badly and dented. So I taped it off and began to sand down the paint, hitting out dents as I went.

Then lined all of the fenders: As well as redid the back bumper because it was in need of an additional layer:

Extra on the back end:

ISUzj 04-12-2009 05:57 PM

Today, 1:00

So a summary:

3" Rusty's springs, Rough Country Adjustable Front Track Bar, IRO rear trackbar bracket, Homemade Rack, and Brushguard, Quick-discos and swaybar extensions, Treadwright 31-10.50-15's, Baja Rims, rear-bumper w/ recovery points F & R. and a lot of Krylon Fusion. 170k on the clock

I hope to get down to the river in a couple of days for some actual shots that are not in my driveway, I never take my camera when I go and play....

I have replaced,
front CV joint, Pinion bearing, Axel bearing, entire rear axle, and that's about it.

Future plans,
Rock sliders and skid-plates 242 swap; that's it. maybe front bumper with the right design

Black95ZJ 04-12-2009 07:04 PM

That's a very nice ZJ, my friend. Good job, and it's an inspiration to me at least....what you can do with little money and a lot of ingenuity. I'm liking the **** out of the roof rack and rear bumper.

Just for curiosity's sake, how much does that bumper weigh??

ISUzj 04-12-2009 07:20 PM


Originally Posted by Black95ZJ (Post 7001033)
Just for curiosity's sake, how much does that bumper weigh??

according to the Solidworks...roughly 78 lbs, it really is not bad, balanced and easy to mount, 4 bolts and the shackles hold it on. I pulled a 3/4 ton dodge with that bumper from the ditch. I am going to try and get a new pic with the Roof rack, I lost the bolts that hold it on.

micifus 04-12-2009 07:50 PM

That rear bumper came out really nice. A lot of people on here try and make there own and honestly they come out looking like ****. By far the best one I have seen. You maybe want to consider a UV protectice clear coat alot of that stuff starts to degrade qucik

runnerboy2010 04-12-2009 10:42 PM

Nice work ISU, it looks great. Glad to see someone else from Iowa on here too, and that grill guard makes me extremely jealous. I have been looking for one forever but never found one i like more than that. Also i think it looks alot better with the herculined fenders. Great work so far.Go Clones!

coupleofjeeps 04-12-2009 11:55 PM

hey that does look very good... good for you for doing stuff on the cheap and doing it yourself.

ISUzj 04-13-2009 10:27 AM


Originally Posted by micifus (Post 7001342)
That rear bumper came out really nice. A lot of people on here try and make there own and honestly they come out looking like ****. By far the best one I have seen. You maybe want to consider a UV protectice clear coat alot of that stuff starts to degrade qucik

Thanks, yeah did a ton of research first and design on Solidworks. I put the Krylon fusion on it once it dried going to see how much of a UV protection that works out to be.

MoonyJohn 04-13-2009 08:38 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I like the hurculiner on the fenders, turned out clean. Also, did you just use krylon fusion on the handles and mirrors? I might need to take that up pretty soon during spring/summer.

Our jeeps are almost the same. :thumbsup:

WhiteOut 04-13-2009 08:47 PM

Very nice Jeep. Nothing wrong with doing it on a budget and fabbing your own stuff, makes you appreciate it more. I was gonna point you in the direction of my thread but it looks like RnEmOver took care of ya. :thumbsup:

ISUzj 04-13-2009 09:11 PM


Originally Posted by MoonyJohn (Post 7008636)
I like the hurculiner on the fenders, turned out clean. Also, did you just use krylon fusion on the handles and mirrors? I might need to take that up pretty soon during spring/summer.

Our jeeps are almost the same. :thumbsup:

Well I can say that your jeep was the true inspiration to me to lift it, but ya for the fenders I was super worried how it would look but once I hit that fender with the grinder...well then it was forward or nothing.

Kryloning the handles...a lot of work, but worth it I think. makes it look so much cleaner..I am not sure how it will hold up with me hitting my hands on it all the time, I feel like it may eventually wear off, but nothing more krylon can't fix :cheers:

ISUzj 07-29-2009 10:38 PM

Just posting up an updated pic of the jeep all clean..... Will get a rock pic up soon

SnowLeopard 07-29-2009 11:07 PM

Awesome work. I wish I had the fabbing skill to do stuff like that. Your Jeep looks great. I can't wait to see some trail pics.

ISUzj 10-06-2009 06:01 PM

I Thought I would add some of what I have done since the last pic in this thread. I have been doing more Minor stuff, but I got started on my OBA. The reason that I am after OBA is because I really don't think that I will have a big o'l shop compressor in the future but wanted one that could be used on some small air tools and for tires. So I got me a Tank w/o compressor with other fixins for 30 bucks Thanks Craigslist:

Then I built a nice surround for it, and got some vinyl at a fabric store(never like going in those covered in grease) and I covered it.

Added some Other things to it :use the space. Got the Air coupler and a mounted pressure gauge so I know what my pressure is. All of the in lines are in the front and close to the floor. Once I get to the York, and figure how to mounted it, I can run the lines right up and in. Right now though it still holds 220 lbs of air that I can put in through a simple coupling. I did a test, I can air up one tire from flat to bout 25-28 lbs. which I think is pretty good just for the tank.

Here it sits now...Also Got my Axe mounted(really been handy with camping a couple times this summer) Flashlight easy access is really nice too.

and added 10hp

The time now is 01:17 AM.

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