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Unread 05-30-2012, 12:05 PM   #1
Technohead
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The Second Coming: Eric's New ZJ Build

Its time to get a build thread going for my new rig. I'm starting to get nervous that I will be rigless for the whole season so hopefully this will create some extra motiviation.

All I am basically doing is swapping everything from my '96 ZJ which has a rusted unibody and 260k on the engine to a '98 ZJ with only 130k and a near mint condition unibody. Along the way I need to replace a few parts and tweak a few aspects from the previous build. Sounds easy, right?

Here's a picture from the last time my old rig was on the trail back in February and a picture of the final resting place :





Here's a couple pictures of my new rig:





Let the misery begin!

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Unread 05-30-2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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I'll be swapping over the entire suspension including axles, control arms, springs, shocks, track bar, and limit straps. Cutting the old suspension brackets off and reusing them would be too much of a PITA so I cruised down to Clayton's shop and picked up some new brackets:



I got 2+ seasons from the Moog ball joints before the uppers started to get sloppy. This year I will be giving the new Synergy Suspension ball joints a shot. I also need to rotate the rear spring perches about 10 degrees and will replace the front axle u-joints as a preventive measure:



Raw materials for my new rocker sliders and front bumper winch guard:



Stripping down the old rig starting with the bumpers and front suspension:





The radius arms do a number on the passenger side upper control arm bushing. I'm running a Johnny joint on the driver side upper but keep the rubber bushing on the passenger side in order to prevent too much binding:



Oops. What's wrong with this picture? I will have to adjust the front control arms a bit shorter in order to keep the Johnny joints from bending again. This kind of sucks because because the arms are already as short as I wanted. I wish the tubes were an inch longer.





Cleaned up front suspension parts and gave them a fresh coat of paint. Installed the new ball joints. U-joints are still work in progress:



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Unread 05-30-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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The original axle-side steering stabilizer bracket design interfered with the tie rod. Especially when the tie rod is bent which is all time. The first picture shows the where the tie rod was interfering with the bracket and the second picture shows the new design. I want to add a small gusset to the new design but need to wait until the axle is installed in order to make sure it clears the track bar.





I'm adding a winch guard to my front bumper mainly as a place to mount some Hella lights. The lights will be used on camping expeditions up North and removed for normal trail rides. Fit is everything when it comes to fabrication so I made a special jig for the compound tube cut.







I've started building the new rocker sliders. The previous design used 4"x4" tubing. This time I am using 3" x 5" tubing and slightly bigger steps so that they stick out an extra 1 1/2". Elias 4x4 did a perfect job bending the tubing to my specification.





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Unread 05-30-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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I was hoping to install the front bumper last weekend. Part of the job is relocating the evap cannister which hangs too low. Accessing the evap cannister requires removal of the lights, grille, and header panel which went fine.



The bumper bolts on where the factory tow hooks are bolted on and this is where the job went bad. In principle, removing the tow hooks is a 2 minute job with an impact wrench. Of course all 8 of the bolts were frozen and the impact wrench was only able snap 2 of them. I had to torch off the heads of the other 6 which sucked because they were hard to access. And of course its not good enough to cut the heads because the ends of the bolts stick out and won't allow the backing plate to fit through the frame as shown in the picture below. Now I need to use the Sawall to trim the bolts. And this is where I called it a day.

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Unread 05-30-2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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Yeah swapping everything over sounds simple enough, but my back is sore just reading this haha
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Unread 05-30-2012, 01:27 PM   #6
Timo_90xj
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Nice build going on

Some of the above pics show why I wouldn't really care running radius arms anymore if I were to go long-arms. I did have T&T Customs Y-links on my XJ and loved them for the most part, but boy do they cause a lot of stress on some of the suspension parts Since you're using a standard johnny joint on the other upper, have you given any thought that you would modify the passenger side upper link tower for ie. 1/2" or 9/16" thru-bolt and use a single upper to get rid of the binding to run a "3-link" radius arm system in the front? With a 1/2" or especially 9/16" bolt you wouldn't need to worry about the bolt snapping, and you could carry the extra upper as a spare


Quote:
Originally Posted by Technohead View Post
I've started building the new rocker sliders. The previous design used 4"x4" tubing. This time I am using 3" x 5" tubing and slightly bigger steps so that they stick out an extra 1 1/2". Elias 4x4 did a perfect job bending the tubing to my specification

Looking at the pictures of your old ZJ the box steel rockers seem to be bolted on.. or is just because of the size of box steel (4" x 4") used on the old ones that the rockers hang so damn low? With the 3" x 5" tubing I'm pretty sure you could get similar results I did on my ZJ. I used 2" x 4" welded to a 2" x 2" box steel + 1.75" OD tubes for rocker replacement. I cut the rockers about 3/4" below front doors - bottom of rockers hang only about 1/2" lower than floor level which IMO is pretty much perfect.
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1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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Unread 05-30-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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With the bushing blown out like that I was for all practical purposes already running a "3 link" radius arm design. Clayton also suggested switching to a 1/2" or 9/16" bolt. For now I just want the damn thing running and will replace the bushing more often.

The old rockers were welded directly to the pillars. Zero bolts. The new rockers will be attached exactly the same way.
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Unread 05-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #8
Timo_90xj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technohead View Post
With the bushing blown out like that I was for all practical purposes already running a "3 link" radius arm design. Clayton also suggested switching to a 1/2" or 9/16" bolt. For now I just want the damn thing running and will replace the bushing more often.

The old rockers were welded directly to the pillars. Zero bolts. The new rockers will be attached exactly the same way.
Ok, that's what I thought.. it was the size of the old rockers that fooled me a little. Welding is the only way to do it right

I hear you on getting the damn thing running, I've had my ZJ on axle stands since February I need to get wheeling before my head explodes
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http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f13/d...s-etc-1222317/


1990 XJ Limited (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, ***rolled and totalled @ 165k miles***

***Under construction***
1990 XJ (4-door), 4.0 I6, AW4, NP242, PBR 42" tires, Unimog 404 portal axles, 110" WB, full cage + uniframe completely rebuilt, front 3-link + panhard / double triangulated 4-link rear,... ***SOLD***
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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:24 PM   #9
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Both the front and rear bumpers from my old rig have been sandblasted, painted, and bolted on to my new rig. Of course this "bolt-on" job also included cutting, grinding, drilling, and welding. The evap canister was raised out of the way as part of the front bumper install:







The rear axle is almost out of my old rig. The coil buckets are way off and need to be rotated about 15 degrees:

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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #10
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I pulled the trigger on the suspension install earlier today:



Here is why its good to tear the suspension down for inspection every now and then. A crack was starting to form in the track bar bracket. A big reason why is because it was only welded together from the outside:





Fixed:





Relocating the rear spring buckets:



Barring disaster things should move fast now. My goal is to get the rear axle mounted tomorrow and then the front axle Sunday.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 10:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technohead View Post
I pulled the trigger on the suspension install earlier today:



Here is why its good to tear the suspension down for inspection every now and then. A crack was starting to form in the track bar bracket. A big reason why is because it was only welded together from the outside:





Fixed:





Relocating the rear spring buckets:



Barring disaster things should move fast now. My goal is to get the rear axle mounted tomorrow and then the front axle Sunday.
this is looking real good. are the claytons brackets weld in? im thinking of geting the brackets and just making the arms myself at work. are you using the stock tie rods or something stronger?
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Unread 06-16-2012, 05:42 AM   #12
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Yes, the brackets are welded to the unibody.

I am running the Currie CurrectLync steering system.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 06:24 PM   #13
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Looking good Eric, now hurry up so you can hit some trails this summer! You planning on going to Fall Crawl?

Also, are you still interested in the AEV's I have? Shoot me a PM if you are.
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Unread 06-30-2012, 11:35 PM   #14
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is that a Rubicon express bracket?
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Unread 07-01-2012, 04:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTeunuch View Post
Looking good Eric, now hurry up so you can hit some trails this summer! You planning on going to Fall Crawl?

Also, are you still interested in the AEV's I have? Shoot me a PM if you are.
I'll be at Fall Crawl. Trail 6. Assuming I have a rig by then. Definitely still interested in the wheels. Need to do some math before sending a PM.
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