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metalry101 01-05-2012 03:47 AM

'90 YJ Daily Driver Trail Rig Build
Hi everybody!

I've been around here for a while, but I finally am getting around to making a thread on my Jeep. I've owned Jeeps and only Jeeps since turning 16, and this 1990 Wrangler is my latest one. I used to have an '88 XJ, but since the unibody was hashed and it had 248K on the clock, I decided not to throw money at it. I was originally looking almost solely at newer XJ's and ZJ's, but this YJ was for sale on one of the local wheeling forums and after looking at it repeatedly for a couple weeks I decided that I needed to have a look at it in person. I drove it, poured over it, and decided to buy it. Here's a pic I snapped in the parking lot at work the morning I bought it. :D

I bought it with these mods...

Tuff Country 3.5" lift
33x12.50x15 Toyo MT's on Eagle Alloy 102's
Rampage rear bumper/tire carrier
Ford 8.8 rear w/ Detroit
Sony CD player w/ Pioneer 4" speakers in the soundbar
Reman'd engine w/ only about 12K on it
109K on the Jeep as a whole
Posi-Lock cable actuator for front axle disconnect
Ugly orange and black seat covers

Here's the list of stuff I've added so far...

Front tow hooks
Rear tow shackle
Grab handles on the rollbar
Rampage LED dome light
VDP center console
IPF headlights w/ Fatboy bulbs
Rollbar mount for fire extinguisher
Rough Country steering box brace
Rugged Ridge steering box skid
Rugged Ridge HD steering system
Rancho RS5000 steering stabilizer
Brown Dog motor mounts w/ poly bushings
Removable mud flaps
Rugged Ridge 7" TJ flares
Currie rocker armor
Rugged Ridge gas tank skid
SOLID diff covers front and rear
Rough Country extended brake lines
Rough Country 1.25" boomerang shackles
Engo 12,000 lb winch
Hella 500FF fog lights
KC Daylighter 130W driving lights
KC Slimlite 130W long range lights
KC windshield light mounts
Stubbie radio antenna
Hurst shifter
Aluminum t-case shifter knob
Hand throttle
BestTop Bikini top
Underhood air compressor
Panasonic deck out of my old XJ
Completely new exhaust from exhaust manifold back
Ripped carpet out

I'm sure there's more stuff that I'm forgetting, and I've still got a long list of stuff that I'd like to add.

This is my only vehicle, though I do borrow my dad's Buick when it's broken or when I decide that mileage and the ability to maintain 70 mph on the way to school trumps the fun of driving the Jeep. Since it is my only vehicle and the Buick won't be an option when the parentals retire and move away later this year, I'm trying to keep the build mild enough to be daily driven reasonably without dealing w/ the fuzz and single digit MPG's.

It's been almost exactly a year since I bought my YJ, and I don't regret going with it instead of an XJ at all.

Anyways...I'll add more details later...

metalry101 01-06-2012 12:42 AM

Here are a couple pics from the first time I took it out wheeling. I know they're not that exciting, but it is hard to get good pics while driving. Check out that awesome flex!!

metalry101 01-06-2012 12:58 AM

For spring break my girlfriend and I decided to go down to Moab w/ the Jeep. It was chilly and rainy a lot, but it was a lot of fun. I didn't get many pics, but here are a couple. The first was taken somewhere on Hell's Revenge, and the second was on the first part of Gold Bar Rim.

Then Steel Bender lived up to it's name and a bit more and did this to my right front shackle...

metalry101 01-06-2012 01:24 AM

That breakage, plus the lack of flex from the stiff Tuff Country leaves led to the install of Rough Country 1.25" boomerang shackles. I'm pretty sure the bolts from the originals were torqued to about a million pounds, as not one of them budged at the insistence of the impact or multiple heating and cooling cycles, despite being soaked in PB Blaster for a week or two beforehand. Because of this, I got the pleasure of using my awesome new Harbor Freight angle grinder. It easily cut through all 8 bolts on the old shackles. I also took this opportunity to replace the hammered old bushing with new poly ones. The ones in the leaves had to be sourced through Tuff Country via my local Les Schwab, while the chassis side ones were ordered through a friend at the local 4Wheel Parts. I had to play with the torque settings a bit, but in the end, I gave up on torque numbers and just aimed to keep the shackle sides parallel with each other. This seems to be working well, as everything seems to move freely, but without sloppy side to side movement.

Here's a quick cell phone pic of non-broken shackles.

bwanan201 01-06-2012 01:28 AM

thats a good looking jeep man,:thumbsup: i keep telling my self ill eventually make it out to moab. ive always wanted to visit there

metalry101 01-09-2012 06:35 PM

Time for some more updates...

I already posted a picture of a broken shackle from the Moab trip, but I also ripped one of the rear shock mounts off the axle. A couple weeks later I ripped the other one off driving around town. Clearly the mounts the PO put on it were not going to cut it, so I ordered some new ones from M.O.R.E. and had a local shop weld them in for me. I need to invest in a welder...I don't know how to weld, but paying someone else to do it is not cool.

Anyways...onto the pics. This is a pic of the second one that broke.

And here's a pic of the new bomber ones w/ quality welds. These should hold up a touch better. I thought about angling them up a little more to aid clearance, but since I plan on staying SUA for the time being, and I haven't relocated the upper mounts yet, I didn't want to rotate them and turn the shocks into bumpstops.

The engine mounts were shot when I bought the Jeep, and I had bad experiences with stock mounts on my XJ's, so I decided that rather than slap cheap crap on there, I'd spend some money and go with something bulletproof. I decided on the Brown Dog mounts w/ poly bushings. They've been awesome so far, but I do plan on ordering some rubber bushings, as a TBI four cylinder isn't the smoothest running engine ever.

metalry101 01-09-2012 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by bwanan201 (Post 12804096)
thats a good looking jeep man,:thumbsup: i keep telling my self ill eventually make it out to moab. ive always wanted to visit there

Thanks man. I can't recommend it enough. Moab is the greatest place on Earth I think.

metalry101 01-09-2012 07:00 PM

Here are some trail pics from a trip to the top of Mineral Basin early last summer. Utah is awesome. 100 degrees in the valley while getting to play in the snow at altitude. In the last pic you can see some blue and white structures. Those are ski lifts from Snowbird, which is just on the other side of the mountain that is pictured. Snowbird and neighboring Alta are regularly rated in the top 5 of all ski resorts in North America. :D

metalry101 02-10-2012 01:10 PM

I like being able to air back up after wheeling, but most on board air systems are very expensive. I found a thread on here a while back where a bunch of people were having a lot of success with a $60 air compressor they found on Amazon. It's now around $80, but I'd paid that. I've had it for about a year now and it hasn't ever let me down. It comes with a nice carrying bag, but I didn't want to leave it in the Jeep, and I accidentally left it at home a few times when I went wheeling, so I decided to hard mount it under the hood so I wouldn't have to remember it anymore. I just used the stock jack mount on the passenger side fender. I covered up the nipple with a rubber cap to keep stuff out of it when the hose isn't attached. It has been mounted this way for quite a while and hasn't shown any ill effects yet.

I also got bored of my High Lift not having a solid mounting location, so I ordered the mounting brackets and mounted them on top of the wheelwells behind the rear seat. I know a lot of people don't like High Lifts, but mine has come in handy a time or two already.

metalry101 02-10-2012 01:26 PM

As I mentioned before, the Jeep was lifted when I bought it, but for some reason the PO was still rocking stock brake lines. After seeing how close they were to ripping, I decided they needed to be upgraded...

The fronts were easy...

The rears required a little more work since I have a Ford 8.8. I used a brake line extension made for the Jeep, but then bent my own lines to go from each caliper into the distribution block on the axle. The stock Ford brake line was one piece from the passenger side caliper all the way to the distribution block, so I just bought another driver side line and bent my own metal tubing to run over to it. You can see part of it in the pic. If anyone has questions or wants a pic of the passenger side setup, I can post one.

I plan on reworking the metal part of the lines eventually. They're pretty well protected by springs since I'm still SUA, but I'd still like to move the lines to the top of the axle to make it harder to snag them on rocks and tree limbs and such.

rambo3489 04-15-2012 05:18 PM

Here's a quick cell phone pic of non-broken shackles.[/QUOTE]

How do you like those boomerang shackles? How the flex on them compared to to stock ones? I've been debating about getting myself some of those all around.

I also noticed you are running with out a sway bar on the front end. Hows the handling and the flex? I'm considering doing this as well.

Liking the pictures. Looks like the YJs been to some pretty sweet places.

metalry101 04-15-2012 07:02 PM


Originally Posted by rambo3489 (Post 13414953)
How do you like those boomerang shackles? How the flex on them compared to to stock ones? I've been debating about getting myself some of those all around.

I also noticed you are running with out a sway bar on the front end. Hows the handling and the flex? I'm considering doing this as well.

Liking the pictures. Looks like the YJs been to some pretty sweet places.

Thanks man! It has been a lot of fun places and hopefully it will take me to many many more.

I'm pretty happy with the shackles. I hate that they make the rig taller w/o improving my approach angle at all, and I'm not a big fan of the look of super long shackles either, but you can see the difference in flex in these two pics...

In the first pic I have stock shackles and the front right and left rear tires are either off the ground or barely touching it. In the second pic, all four tires are on the ground and I still have more flex left. The shackles did improve my suspension's performance immensely, though if I were doing it again I would consider 5/8" lift shackles instead.

One other thing I've noticed since the shackles is bump steer. I seem to get more of it now than I used to, though it's still not bad.

As for the sway bar, I bought it that way. I do notice some lean at times, but it doesn't seem to be too bad. If the Jeep still had the swaybar when I bought it I would have bought disconnects instead of taking it off entirely. I am sure that removing it helped flex considerably, as I know it made an enormous difference on my old XJ.

zte87 04-15-2012 10:38 PM

1 Attachment(s)
booms are great I had to go with lift shackles of some sort on my jeep because of the military wrap springs so I went with booms and man did they ever help me flex! Jeeps coming along nicely man I am jealous of that 8.8 :p! By the way I had mor flex in the old girl but ran out of rock thanks to my booms!

rambo3489 04-19-2012 10:50 PM

What makes the 5/8" boomerangs sooo good? You have 1 1/4" booms on there now. Wouldn't the longer booms give you more flex?

metalry101 04-19-2012 11:07 PM


Originally Posted by rambo3489 (Post 13439821)
What makes the 5/8" boomerangs sooo good? You have 1 1/4" booms on there now. Wouldn't the longer booms give you more flex?

Nothing magic, I just think they'd be long enough to help w/ the flex a bunch and give me a little more height, but short enough to not look quite as silly.

I'm happy with the height I'm at, but a little less height would still give the 33's lots of room and be slightly more stable. If I lengthen my bumpstops I'm confident 35's would clear right now, which is one of the reasons I went with these shackles in the first place. I may still go w/ 35's, but I definitely need to get 4.88's before then.

The time now is 05:17 AM.

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