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Unread 03-19-2015, 07:30 PM   #1
chudykGT
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"Stop-Gap" The WJ build thread.



Finally the build thread begins.
A quick history:
In 2009 I bought a 2001 XJ, and 6 months later a 2002 WJ Laredo with the 4.0 and QTII came along and I jumped on it. I had a 4" Zone short arm lift planned out and 245/75/16 BFG All-Terrains. At this time I had more experience with fwd cars, and knew much less about 4x4 and offroading. Before I pulled the trigger, a sudden financial burden appeared, and I sold my Jeep so I could keep my house and pristine credit rating.
By 2012 I had got things back together, and grabbed a 2008 Ford Ranger Sport 4x4 supercab as I needed a personal vehicle. I did a small lift and went up to 32s and a locker. While the Ranger was super usefull as a pickup, its comically long wheelbase and inferior front suspension design left much to be desired, and any suspension mods further than I had done were priced at $2000 and higher. You could also only seat 2 adults comfortably.
So I searched long and far for a WJ that was in good shape, no easy feat since it was now 2014 and they had been out of production for 10 years.

But I grabbed a 2002 WJ Laredo with the 4.7 and QTII, and now know more about 4x4 and wheeling, and have a good idea of what I want to do, and a very finite budget.

The goal of this build:
A vehicle that can be fun on the weekends in technical terrain, but can still tow a camper on long highway trips in comfort.

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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 03-19-2015, 07:42 PM   #2
chudykGT
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The lift:
Talked to Nick at Kolak performance, and ordered up the ever evolving "Kolak special" as it is seemingly called.
OME HD coils, Billy 5100 shocks, new coil spring isolators, IRO adj track bar and rear links, and a Moog stb steering stabilizer. Also tossed in a new ball joint for the rear dif, and some 10mm OME poly spacers for the springs, just in case I want a touch more lift front or rear (or everywhere).
For armor, Kolak also supplied the extremely beefy Blue Torch Fab d30 and d44a differential covers.
I enjoyed dealing with Nick, and if you are in the USA, I can strongly recommend him. If you are in Canada, as I am, I strongly recommend him the minute the Dollar pushes parity again. $0.78 USD for every CAD sucks, and my province also charges 7% tax on everything.

I ran Billy 5100s on the Ranger and liked them, so had no trouble paying the coin for them again for this lift. I ran a SOLID dif cover for the 8.8 in the Ranger, but since they didn't make anything for the 44a, I had to look elsewhere. For the price and quality, BTF is far superior to SOLID in my opinion.

The WJ has the factory front, t-case, and gas tank skids, and hopefully I can save up for some sliders in the near future. It is my hope that the nearly 1.5' less of wheelbase on the WJ means I won't be high centering myself as often. A great t-case skid saved the ole borg-warner in the Ranger on many an occasion.

I have also converted all of the interior lights to LED, along with the brake, signal, and reverse lights. If any of you have followed JeepinAaron 's Wj Offroad Minivan build, you might be noticing the eerily similar build pattern.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 03-19-2015, 08:59 PM   #3
SteeleJay
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Sounds like a fun build. Do you have any pics or tech specs of your LED lighting conversions?
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Unread 03-20-2015, 08:17 AM   #4
chudykGT
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I do not have pics yet, but this weekend I can run a list of lights and where I put them. My camera is pushing 8 years old so I don't know how well any pics will turn out. I am unhappy with my choice of reverse lights, and I went "warm white" for the rear and rear passenger interior lighting, but only "cool white" was available for all of my front bulbs.
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Unread 04-04-2015, 12:59 PM   #5
chudykGT
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Found a set of 4 JK take off steel wheel sin 16x7 for $125 locally. Picked them up, and Canadian Tire is now mounting 245/75/16 Wrangler Duratracs in load range C on those and my factory spare.
My garage is not heated and each weekend the temp has dropped to -10 Celsius or so, so the lift is still sitting in a pile just like the picture.

Why such a dinky tire? you might be asking.
Several reasons:
1) This is supposed to be a stop-gap vehicle to get me by until such a time I can afford a Wrangler JK Unlimited Rubicon with the 3.6 pentastar v6. The less money I spend on this heep of a jeep the faster I save up for a Wrangler. Buying 5 off road tires is not cheap, but I snagged 5 Duratracs in this small size for $1100 after taxes and mount and balance.
2) Everyone and their Dog has run this lift and this tire in this size, and it is proven to stuff perfectly into the wheel wells. To run a 31.7" OD tire gains me .6" of ground clearance, but will require trimming of sheet metal or extended bump stops to run. Less than an inch of ground clearance vs far less articulation is a poor trade off to me. I will be locking the rear dif, but not the front, so Tire contact is preferred.
3) In keeping with the "spend as little as possible" theory, running a 31" tire won't require a regear, as I have the v8 and 3.73 gears.
4)This Jeep also has to do things other than off road, and a smaller tire is more conducive to that.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-08-2015, 05:49 PM   #6
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Squeezed the tires on pre lift. I hardly drive it so far, so it should work till I can get the lift on.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-25-2015, 06:05 PM   #7
chudykGT
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Well, last weekend took a shot at installing the rear lift in my dimly lit garage. Slow going, but got the new shocks, sway bar links, springs, and isolators installed, and threw in the 10mm spacers. That gained me a total of 2.5" of lift in the rear.
Also noted that my rear a-arm body side bushings are completely shot. Yay.
Today I took it to my buddies garage, where he has many more tools and much better lighting.
Everything was going smooth until the axle side track bar bolt snapped off. It too many hours of drilling to get it open enough to tap it for a bigger bolt. Now I worry that I will have play there because the bolt isn't perfectly lined up like before. On top of that, right as we went to lower the jeep after taking the jack stands out, the block of 4x4 wood we were using so the short jack could get the height we needed rolled, and the axle slipped off the jack.
Take a guess as to what landed on the jack pad when the jeep fell?
That's right. The oil pan.
So on top of all the drilling and grinding that we did by the spring perch to get the track bar bolt out which hopefully doesn't cause future problems, I need a new oil pan, and rear a arm bushings. Also seems like a tie rod end is loose on the passenger side.
Driving it home, other than an un centered steering wheel, it seems to wander on the road, and there are some currently unidentified clunks coming from under the jeep. All in all its been a pretty ****ty day.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-25-2015, 06:11 PM   #8
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[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-25-2015, 06:13 PM   #9
chudykGT
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I also find it interesting to note, that the JKS track bar has the adjustable side at the axle, but the IRO one is opposite.
Cause quite the confusion for me as I was following Chris Hagers build thread.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-25-2015, 06:59 PM   #10
MoonyJohn
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Man, sounds rough.. If its wandering, check out what I did here. I just replaced my track bar today with the same bar and my hole was already ovaled out. I took some 1" 1/4" flat bar and drilled a hole the exact size of the bolt. Then I put that in with the bolt and tightened the bolt up snug and welded the piece over the mount. Its a common problem with WJs, so people normally weld a washer over. That would definitely help your wandering issue some, mine did alot before and now its really solid and straight.

Did it wander before everything? What seems to be clunking? Track bar on both ends are torqued to 80?

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Unread 04-26-2015, 08:29 AM   #11
chudykGT
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The back end waggled before everything but the front was decent. I cant tell whats clunking yet.
Now not only did we **** up that hole where you welded flat stock, we buggered up the back one because we tapped it a size larger. We also had to use the drill press and make the metal sleeve inside the bushing larger to fit the larger bolt. We also ground a bunch of metal off of the perch where in your picture the JKS adjustable end has the bend. We tried installing the IRO one like the JKS one because all of the builds I read used a JKS one and the adjustable end went there, but the IRO one is backwards. We were having clearance issues and before I could scroll through enough pages on my phone to find an IRO install, buddy had already ground away metal to clear the IRO track bar. Ill get some pictures this afternoon.
I am pissed because I spent 135$ American on a beefy adjustable track bar to help fix things, instead I ****ed everything up worse because of the damn broken bolt.
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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Unread 04-26-2015, 10:47 AM   #12
MoonyJohn
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That is odd, I actually thought the same thing when I was installing the JKS one. But I was just not digging through my old build thread from my other jeep and noticed that it was reversed. Besides putting the upper bolt in the wrong way lol.

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Unread 04-26-2015, 03:36 PM   #13
chudykGT
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You probably put the upper bolt in that way because the other way has the useless bump stop in the way. We did the same thing, and I looked today and my upper bolt that we didn't eff up has a bunch of play.
I drove the jeep today to get beer because I am so miserable and pissed off a beer is in order, and wow is driving the jeep a bad idea. I can feel and hear things shifting around under the front end, and lots of clunking in the rear over bumps.
so I have a large bill coming when I take it somewhere to fix everything.
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Unread 04-26-2015, 03:41 PM   #14
chudykGT
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[IMG][/IMG]
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02 GC Laredo 4.7 nv247. "Kolak Special" 3" lift, 245/75/16 duratracs, BTF dif covers
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