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Ruffstuff Axle Simple Swap Kit!ROCK BOTTOM prices on LIFT KITS at Rockridge4wd!! WANT TO Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed Line

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Unread 04-04-2014, 03:15 PM   #1
melx3
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4lowTJ Build

I have decided to start a thread documenting some wheeling trips & modifications that I will do/have done to my DD/Trail TJ. So far I've done some mild modifications to it i.e. lift & tires (nothing too crazy)

1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport.

Original specs (when I bought it):
-4.0 engine
-AX-15 5-speed
-231 T-case
-2" BB
-D30/D35 w/ factory limited slip
-3.55 gears
-31x10.5x15


Current specs:
-4.0 engine
-nv3550 5-speed
-231 T-case w/ an advanced adapters sye. & DC driveshaft.
-4" zone coils
-adjustable upper and lower currie control arms & antirock
-ZJ Tie Rod Swap
-Rokmen High clearance skid
-D30 Locked & F8.8 w/ factory limited slip
-4.88 gears.
-35x12.5x15




I’d like more peace of mind about my Tj's capability out on the trails and I eventually would like to tackle more difficult trails so my next big project is the Ford 8.8 I can’t really justify spending $ on anything else until addressing my rear axle & 3.55 stock gears.

I would have gone the Super 35 route if Superior Axle was still around but since that’s no longer an option the 8.8 is looking more promising. I exercise plenty of caution out on the trails because I’m overly paranoid of snapping one of the shafts on my D35.

I was really close to re-gearing my stock axles to 456 to accommodate for my current setup on 33 tires but I am glad I didn’t. 1200 bucks towards re-gearing would be better off going towards an 8.8

I’m leaning towards an 8.8 from ECGS because I haven’t learned to weld yet and haven’t gotten around to buying a welder. A Tj ready bolt in 8.8 setup with gears is still several hundred dollars cheaper than even the cheapest D44 G2 axle. I have absolutely NOTHING against G2 but I’d personally rather put the extra few hundred bucks towards steering or brakes. I don’t like the idea of losing clearance with the lower hanging 8.8 pumpkin but I’m willing to save a few hundred bucks and just deal with the slight loss of diff clearance.

last month's updates coming shortly


Last edited by melx3; 04-04-2014 at 04:12 PM..
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Unread 04-04-2014, 04:19 PM   #2
melx3
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Location: Eastvale, CA
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last month's modifications.

Last month was a busy month for my TJ. Mid March I got around to installing a Spartan “lunchbox” type locker. Prior to installing the Spartan I spoke to some of the local Jeep guys that I wheel with for tips on the installation and they were able give me some good pointers. I also referenced Stu Olson's Jeep site for disassembly procedures (Thank you Stu, your site was a big help). I really wanted to get a nice selectable locker but I went with the Spartan to save some $$$. For 230 shipped off Ebay I couldn’t turn down the benefits I was going to gain.




I was initially nervous about the installation but after finishing everything up it really wasn’t that bad. Anyone can tackle this job with a bit of patience, common sense, and attention to detail. I torqued everything back up and I was set. The only part of the process that gave me a tough time was getting the roll pin tapped out, it was such a PITA! It wouldn’t budge! I ended up having to employ the use of a BFH and it finally broke free.

The Spartan occasionally sounds like an explosion when it locks on sharp pavement u-turns but 90% of the time it's on its best behavior. I also replaced my tacky painted stock diff cover with a heavy duty riddler cover.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 04:20 PM   #3
JeepaholicNinja
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Looks nice! You've really thought this through
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Unread 04-04-2014, 04:39 PM   #4
melx3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepaholicNinja View Post
Looks nice! You've really thought this through
Thank you! wheeling for two years on stock axles and gears gives you time to think
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Unread 04-04-2014, 05:26 PM   #5
melx3
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Installations from last weekend.

Updates from last week:

Last weekend I got around to installing some stuff that I’ve been waiting to add to my TJ for quite some time now.

-M.O.R.E. 1” motor mounts
-1.25” JKS body lift
-new skid plate (Unplanned installation)





I had this stuff sitting around but hadn’t had the opportunity to work on the jeep due to other obligations.

I slapped on my MML & BL but after installing both I realized I couldn’t shift into first gear because my shifter was hitting the tub/center console due to the raised body.

I originally decided to save the skid install for another day because it would require me to adjust the pinion due to the skid raising the transfer case but I ended up installing it that day to remedy my shifting issue.

The installation of everything was mostly straight forward. My only concern was about the JKS body lift. The instructions state torque to 30-35 lbs of torque but when I began to torque everything down I felt like I was crushing the pucks. I wasn’t even close to the torque required and I felt like they were going to explode. I just ended up tightening everything down until I felt the bolts were nice and snug. I also used medium strength thread lock.

The Rokmen skid is as nice as everyone says it is in reviews, fits like a glove too. I did not have to make any modifications to the exhaust. Big thanks to Jeff at Rokmen for answering my six thousand questions about their skid. The skid does come as bare steel so you can paint it/powder coat it any color you want. One of the guys I wheel with suggested going with gray so I had it powder coated and liked how it turned out.

The difference in clearance over a stock skid is pretty amazing.

I would like to paint my frame black with some type of paint now.




Last edited by melx3; 04-05-2014 at 01:28 AM..
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Unread 04-04-2014, 05:27 PM   #6
melx3
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My thread is pretty much all caught up now.

I am going to camp/hangout /wheel with some folks tomorrow in Hungry Valley. I've never been there so hopefully there are some good areas to use the new locker.
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Unread 04-04-2014, 08:16 PM   #7
bobthetj03
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Looking good! What did you do about the pinion angle? I'd be interested on what you think about HV. I'm going down there first part of May and thinking about taking the Jeep for some wheeling.
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Unread 04-05-2014, 02:08 AM   #8
melx3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthetj03 View Post
Looking good! What did you do about the pinion angle? I'd be interested on what you think about HV. I'm going down there first part of May and thinking about taking the Jeep for some wheeling.

Thanks Bob! I wish I could say I calculated it properly but that was not the case. I just kept my lower arms at the same length and I increased the length on the upper arms quite a bit so that the axle rotated and the axle yoke was visually in line with the drive shaft. I still need to get myself an angle finder to make sure it's exactly where it should be. I can't imagine it being more than a couple degrees off. I don't have any vibes on the highway but would rather just check it to be on the safe side.

I haven't heard much about HV but I will let you know what it's like out there once I get back, another place to check off the list

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Unread 04-06-2014, 03:43 PM   #9
melx3
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Hungry Valley was neat, it’s basically a big recreational area for various off road vehicles. There are lots of trails for quads, bikes, etc, as well as a man made practice area with obstacles for larger vehicles which was pretty entertaining. It’s a nice little place with more scenery to offer than wheeling.



Last edited by melx3; 04-11-2014 at 10:57 AM..
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Unread 04-08-2014, 04:40 PM   #10
bobthetj03
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Thanks for the FYI on HV. Sounds a lot like Hollister Hills up my way, cept more desert like.
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Unread 04-09-2014, 10:54 AM   #11
melx3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthetj03 View Post
Thanks for the FYI on HV. Sounds a lot like Hollister Hills up my way, cept more desert like.


yup, definitely arid out that way
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Unread 04-09-2014, 02:59 PM   #12
ctorres018
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Finally got a build thread nice ! Jeeps looking good man.
35s coming soon?
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Unread 04-09-2014, 03:58 PM   #13
gst95dsm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthetj03
Thanks for the FYI on HV. Sounds a lot like Hollister Hills up my way, cept more desert like.
Hollister has a lot more to offer in regards to wheeling. HV is awesome for quads and dirt bikes. Also a good place to go fast if you're into that. I'd skip it for wheeling, unless you're driving by and just want to check it out.
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Unread 04-09-2014, 05:25 PM   #14
melx3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctorres018 View Post
Finally got a build thread nice ! Jeeps looking good man.
35s coming soon?
yeah! Wish I could have started one sooner. Thanks man. I definitely couldn't have done half this stuff without you and peter answering all my questions

And yes sir, 35's are in progress. Just need to address some stuff before I hit the trails. I need to beef up steering do something about my 3.55 gears & D35

Last edited by melx3; 04-10-2014 at 09:36 AM..
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Unread 04-09-2014, 05:29 PM   #15
melx3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gst95dsm View Post
Hollister has a lot more to offer in regards to wheeling. HV is awesome for quads and dirt bikes. Also a good place to go fast if you're into that. I'd skip it for wheeling, unless you're driving by and just want to check it out.
Good to know, I will have to put Hollister on the list. Thanks!
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