I hate the first stages of my Jeep! I'm hoping someone can learn from my mistakes. I started on the "mall" path. I have learned a ton from this site, and I am trying to build a better Jeep.
Here's my lame attempt at a build thread. This is the fourth wrangler I have had, but this is the first time I have really learned anything about them. I finally have a life, some cash, and some free time to built it and wheel it.
Here's my bone stock 2006 TJ right after I bought it new.
The crew I work with is pretty heartless (that's why we get along so well). I finally got tired of them asking me what shop I used to have my jeep "professionally lowered". The father in law hooked my up with a Rancho rock-crawler 3.5 lift. Let the fun begin.
Would I do the Rancho lift again? Nope. I got it at a great price, but I wish I would have read more on here and went long arm or Currie.
On a side note. The Toyo tires are great, but I don't like 12.5'' wide tires for the wheeling and driving in the rain (oregon). Les Schwab helped me with the rim and tire set-up. Again I wish I would have read more first. I like the Rock-crusher rims a lot, but the back spacing was bad! Threw on some Xenon flares to cover them up.
So the first build.
Rancho 3.5 rock crawler lift.
Toyo MT 33x12.5 15 tires
15x10 Rock crusher rims
Fabtech steering armor
Xenon 6" fender flares.
Daystar 1" BL
Some 1'' MML it's poly. (BUY RUBBER!!)
This is how it all started. It was a nice looking TJ, but it didn't work that great off-road. Time for more changes.
So that how I rolled for a couple years. I wheeled it and was not happy with it at all. One of those years I spent building a house for us, so not much happend. And getting ready for our son. The little guy showed up a week after we moved in.
Alright. Time to fix the mess I built.
Bought a D44 (ebay again, I have a problem) Came with a full spool and 4.56 gears. The spool won't work for me so off to the shop to get this. First time I have had to have someone else to the work.
Having them put this in.
I cleaned it all up, painted, new disc's, pads, parking brakes, and calipers.
Along the way I picked up a set of MOAB rims for cheap off of craigslist, and a teraflex tummy tuck. I cleaned up and painted the skid and threw that in just before the D44. No more shovel holding me up. There are other skids I would be happy with, but I got this for $80.00.
Shaved off a couple inches.
I sold the 33x12.50 tires and the rims with lame BS on craigslist. I liked the Toyo MT's so I went with a set of 285x75 16's on the Moab rims.
Time for the front axle. I was going to regear the LP D30, but I found a HP D30 (4.10 gears) for just under what a new carrier would run me.
I cleaned it up, painted it, threw new MOOG ball joints, and had it regeared to 4.56.
I used my old knuckles and the Centric disc's and EBC yellow stuff pads I had just put on. I wasted $20 on a "mini" truss for the axle. I should have just built my own. Just wanted to play with the welder I just picked up.
I put a ZJ tie rod on since I bent the stock one my last time out.
The axles and right gearing made a huge difference! I'm really likeing the narrower tires. I don't hydroplane all over the place anymore. It's much easier to steer, and I am getting further through thngs when I wheel. I don't get stuck "floating" on top.
I put the backseat and brackets on craigslist.
Ordered a PRP seat that I am going to flat mount in the back for the little guy. ( He is a year old now so he can face forward). My plan is to have the seat for him, and room for the dog. Our junk can go on the roof rack till we get to the camp. http://www.prpseats.com/Category/4-roadster-series.aspx
I'm liking the progression--you started out as a know-nothing noob and now it's obvious you know what's right and wrong. Great job. And I'm jealous you live in the PNW--from the pics I've seen, the trails out there are gorgeous.