well I bought this Jeep as my third (5th if you count my wifes 2). I had a 96 XJ whe I was in highschool that I put a skyjacker 3'' lift and 31's on. It was very basic but I immediately fell in love with it and love beating the crap out of it. Sometime during my years at the University of Tennessee I sold it and bought a 97 ZJ. Being a poor collee kid limited my funds so the ZJ stayed stock until about 3 years ago when it was totaled. For some reason I went and bought a charger that I drove for about 2 years. Terible decision. I just realized I am a JEEP guy and had to get one back. When I began looking for what I wanted to build I new I wanted it to look like a street queen but perform like a real rock crawler. I began searching forums for ideas and settled on the WJ. It was a luxury vehicle but still had solid axles. I like the WK but could bring my self to go IFS and new I didnt have the experience to do a solid axle swap (maybe one day!). I was really inpired by THEKSMITH's jeep I had seen on here. Anyways, I never really intended to make a build thread but now I just kinda want a way to keep track of all I do and maybe help inspire someone else like this forum did for me. I am NO mechanic and had almost ZERO experience working on cars before this. I bought my WJ with the intent to build it myself and learn as I do it. My goal will be to do as much as I feel I can on my own and hopefully build a pretty bad crawler one day that can still win some local car shows ;) All right, lets get to it. Like I said, i didnt intend to do this when I started working on this thing about a year ago. This first post will mostly just be pictures of what all I have done to this point so I can pick it up from here. Hope you like it. All input is welcome.
07-29-2012 07:14 PM
the first few things I dont even have good pics of. 1st mod was d-shackle in the rear hitch. I was walking through o'reilys and saw it sitting all by itself on the shelf for $20 bucks. I have never seen one in an autoparts store since. The next thing I picked up was the ROLA rack. I kicked around the idea of the Yakima load warrior for a while but just decided I think the low profile of the ROLA is the best look for the WJ. it rolls well with its lines. I got this thing of roofracks.com or something like that for $180 bucks. When I placed the order the upgraded me to rush shipping for free for some reason. Anyways, I ordered it on a Wednesday morning and it was on my door when I got home from work Thursday. Best online shopping experience ever. Up next was the muffler delete. I had planned on the Clayton lift at this point and new I needed a small muffler so I bought a Flowmaster Hushpower II. Once I cut the old muffler off though, I liked the sound s much I just left it. Threw on a turn down and called it a day.
07-29-2012 07:20 PM
Up next was some Husky cargo liners to keep my carpets in good condition. This jeep was CLEAN when I bought it and wanted it to stay that way. I always managed to wear holes in my cars floormats so I had to get away from the cloth ones. They match well and are easy to clean. I think the next was the addition on the Spyder halos and fog lights. I am still to this day debating going back to OEM lights. I like the halos but they just dont say JEEP when you look at them. They may be for sale soon. The fogs lasted about a month before I did the lift and removed the bumper. That was a waste of money. I think I did the K&N around this time too. After that came DVD headrests. I picked them up online for CHEAP. they are leather (match really well) and came with two remotes, two wireless headphones and game controllers. You can watch different movies on each at the same time. This was a must for my son who couldnt go anywhere without Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It was a mod for him but for $200 bucks it was a steal.
07-29-2012 07:29 PM
Finally came the lift. It was a hell of an install. Took about 9 hours total. Had my brother in law and his dad help. They are experience welders and really helped the process along. My brotherand law and I work for company that produced road construction equipment. He is the service manager so we have access to the shop and every tool under the sun. Definately helped out. Only had a few picks I took at work a few days after the install
07-29-2012 07:45 PM
next was the split seats. I always liked the luxury SUVs with the captains chairs. I was considering trying to put stock WJ front seats in the rear but it was looking impossible due to the rise in the floor. I threw the idea out here and was pointed to gcjeepin's thread. He had just cut the rear bench seat then used a Voyager(i believe) console. I hadnt thought about doing a center console but really like his idea so I deiced to make my own. It is about 80% finished at this point. The console has just been on the back burner for a while. I am going to skin it in black diamond plate to match the husky liners pattern. I used a junkyard ZJ armrest to top it off. I flipped it around backwards so the cup holders can be used. I am also building storage in it. The seats can still lay flat.
07-29-2012 07:49 PM
took it and did just a little test flex. still fully connected but can tell I will need to trim some so that was next
07-29-2012 08:06 PM
the cut was pretty straight forward. I decided where I wanted the final body line to be then taped off about 1/4'' below that line. Once you make he cut, this extra 1/4'' will be rolled under. I used a cutoff wheel to make the cut and some lock pliars to help roll the sheet metal. Once done i used a small hammer to help beat down a few spots that stood out and didnt flow well. I also made some relief cuts on the pinch weld and hammered it as flat as I could get it. Once you roll the fender, the paint is going to crack. I sanded it down only as much as I had to up into the fender then used duplicolor to match it back up. I think it came out pretty good for my first attempt a cutting on a car. I was nervous until I made the first cut. Then it was smooth sailing. When I stop being lazy Ill do the rears. I gotta install my aussie soon so mabe Ill do it then
07-29-2012 08:07 PM
got room for 35's now!
pinch weld beat down
07-29-2012 08:13 PM
little wheeling during lunch break. I had also gotten tired of the 100% black look. When I bought it, it had the OEM chrom grille inserts. One of the first things I had done was pop those out and paint them black. So one weekend I busted out the sand paper and let the chrome shine back through. I think it looks much classier. FYI, always use plasti-dip if you even THINK you may want to take something off down the road. Hours of sanding tought me that lesson
07-29-2012 08:16 PM
G2 diff cover for the 30 as well as gear oil and TC oil change
07-29-2012 08:20 PM
looks good man, I like that rear seat modification!
Tighten the jam nut on the track bar in that last pic though! Without having the jam nut tight the threads will start to wear/stretch and cause slop.
07-29-2012 08:21 PM
got bored on a saturday and decided to get my steering stabilizer up out of the way. I hadnt bashed it yet but knew it was only a matter of time so i went ahead and did it. My junk yard didnt have any WJ so I snagged some c-clamps off of a ZJ drag link and used it to tie the SS into the track bar
07-29-2012 08:23 PM
you can see in the last pic one of the lower retainers I made. I also have uppers just like it. basically just a "L" shaped piece of 1/4'' plate bolted to upper perch area to keep springs from falling out
07-29-2012 08:34 PM
wheelin at WOOLY's. if any of yall watch Xtreme4x4 on the weekends on SPIKE tv they film alot of their trail runs out here. Its a fun place
07-29-2012 08:40 PM
had to throwin a shot of the wife driving....it was her first time. she was afraid of hitting something until I put a dent in it then she was pedal to the flooor