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Unread 02-12-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
north50
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: florida
Posts: 692
97 TJ Heep to Zombie Killing Jeep Build

So I always wanted a Jeep Wrangler and recently had an opportunity to pickup a 1997 TJ for cheap. Being that it is an SE with 4cyl and auto trans dana 30 and 35 cheap is really all it was worth anyway But now i had a platform to start with and with our first child just being born I will be selling my motorcycle which will help fund the build. Along with what I had sold of a collection of 1/5 scale RC cars, one of which paid for the Jeep. But still looking to do this build on a budget and so I won't be buying $900 bumpers. The Jeep is taking place of the motorcycle as a toy and I still have my F-150 daily driver so can afford to have it down(torn apart for days or weeks at a time).

What I purchased in October of 2010


What I sold to buy the Jeep


First thing I did was gut the carpet, it was trashed. Also took out trunk thing to remove rust and repaint.


Parked next to the daily driver.


Took off the fenders to repaint and removing the stock steps. Also cut off front bumper jugs


With the carpet torn out the floors revealed some rust but not as bad as I would have thought with the condition of the top which would be my next purchase.




Brought it by a friends house to put some H2 tow hooks on the rear bumper


Home in the garage for the first time. Took off mirrors and wiper blade arms and sanded and repainted. Let the money spending start. Did alot of tune up things like plugs, cap and rotor, new battery, O2 sensor, TPS, valve cover gasket etc...............


Put new black top on with tinted windows and removed rusted spare tire and spare tire holder. Added NRA sticker.


So after putting a black top on I decide I wanted the interior to be black (slate) so I purchased a dash out of a wrecked 06 TJ to install.


Painted the headlight bezels black with Krylon Fusion. And took off the front bumper to expose the rust under it. Ground it down and repainted, then installed smitty bilt stinger.





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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:03 PM   #2
north50
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: florida
Posts: 692
A couple posse shots while I use the jeep around town, still need to get it off road



notice the Zombie permit on the windshield, it was around this time I read the Thread on this site about having a Jeep ready for a Zombie Apocalypse and had to have one. It also gave me a direction for my build and at this time I ordered all the free catalogs I could to start looking at what parts I could buy and possibly some I could fab.


Washed up


Flexing, weak I know


Installed Smittybilt XRC rock sliders, really needs a lift next.


Floor was more of an issue than first anticipated.


Installed the 06' Slate dash. Only real issue was that the piece below the steering wheel wouldn't work. In 03' I believe that part went to smooth surface and my 97' needs the bump and cutout for the headlight switch. so I bought an agate colored piece and it fits great, and the color difference is very very hard to notice. Also put down some Monstaliner rust preventative and plan on bed lining the inside of the tub. Painted the doors until i can find some for a reasonable amount. Also have my eye on a set of Corbeau Moab seats in black.


Got a heads up on this forum about a deal on the rear smittybilt bumper and tire swing I couldn't pass up so bought one and installed then decided to go the LED tail light route. Cut holes with jig saw and after referencing some threads on here install was a piece of cake.


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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:08 PM   #3
h20squirter
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2012 JK Wrangler 
 
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Posts: 210
man you got a great start!!! i will subscribe and keep up with this.
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2012 JKU Black, Soft Top. Next mods are a 2.5" lift, 35" Tires, and either 4.10 or 4.56 gears.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:10 PM   #4
ChaseB
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2005 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Looking great so far!!
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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:10 PM   #5
Dirtrider5490
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Ah, i remember when mine was that clean inside. Looking good.
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97 TJ, 4 banger, 5 speed, 2.5" RC lift, 1.75" BDS coil spacers up front, Tuffy center console, Hurst T-handle, 33x10.50 boggers, docked front bumper with 10k winch, rear warn bumper, No sway bars, Hella 500FFs on the windshield,

Quote:
Originally Posted by comptiger5000 View Post
Most cars punish you for imperfect maintenance with a slightly shortened life, while Jeeps tend to get pissed and explode in your face.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:10 PM   #6
sandandson
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Is that 06 dash going to fit? It's a completely different look.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:20 PM   #7
ChaseB
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I'm pretty sure it will bolt right up except for the piece under the column with the headlight knob.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 07:50 PM   #8
sibastiNo
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Atlanta, GA
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haha the zombie title got my attention, im big into everything zombies and the craze has just been infecting everyone lately. i like what youve done with it so far, it looks a lot better with the black youve done to it. ill be following this one, keep it up
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Unread 02-12-2011, 08:20 PM   #9
north50
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Thank you all for the words of encouragement I have big plans for this jeep so hopefully someday it will be worthy of the Zombie apocalypse thread and trail running.

With the stinger and rock sliders the jeep looks alittle funny on 31's and so I wanted to go 33's. But wanted to get different wheels while in the process so after hunting TJ moabs with no luck(wanted them cheap) I ended up with a set of JK 17" moabs. But still haven't decided between Cooper SST and KM2's


Thought I would go little at a time and ordered a JKS 1.25 BL and MML


But then came across the Zone 4" and thought for the money it would be a good starting point.



So anyway this brings us to how it sits in the garage at this moment.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 08:29 PM   #10
Camo Deere
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2002 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Some very nice vehicles there, where about in FL are you? Jeep is coming along, I really like what you've done so far
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Unread 02-12-2011, 08:51 PM   #11
north50
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: florida
Posts: 692
Quote:
Originally Posted by Camo Deere View Post
Some very nice vehicles there, where about in FL are you? Jeep is coming along, I really like what you've done so far
Thank You, I'm in the Fort Myers area. Got the wheels for nothing but had to buy $200 worth of spidertrax adapters. Again something I saw on this site and for the money figured it looked pretty good.

so here is the rear of the lift going in. wish I had purchased adjustable uper control arms but ended up drilling out the mounts on the axle and using the cam washers to move the the stock upper CA's forward a hair.


Rear done, looks beast and ever closer to a Zombie slaying MF'er


Front on jack stands gives a good indication of how bad it is going to look with 31's Time to decide on tires.


Started on the front and got smart and ordered front disco's sway bar links and an adjustable trackbar. So the front is on hold until the rest of the parts come in.




I think I have read that if I install the BL/MML I don't have to do the transfer case drop, might have to try this. With having to buy tires a SYE is on hold for the moment. Also will be getting 4.88's so the little 4cyl can sort of handle the 33's. Really looking to do an LS1 motor conversion but haven't found what I'm looking for yet, that will be when this build gets real. but for now just having alot of fun working on the jeep and transforming what was a turd of a jeep into something to be proud of.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 09:01 PM   #12
north50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaseB View Post
I'm pretty sure it will bolt right up except for the piece under the column with the headlight knob.
This is correct, The other thing worth noting is that the center radio bezel mounts differently so I couldn't use the one off the 97 dash and have to do some modifications. Also When I switched the dash it changed the vin number because it is attached to the dash so have to re-rivet the original one back in. Also I used the sub frame from the 06' dash because it had no rust and the 97' looked pretty bad. This wasn't a big issue but I had to make a braket to hang the headlight knob from because the 06' frame didn't have the mount.
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Unread 02-12-2011, 09:02 PM   #13
ChaseB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by north50 View Post
This is correct, The other thing worth noting is that the center radio bezel mounts differently so I couldn't use the one off the 97 dash and have to do some modifications. Also When I switched the dash it changed the vin number because it is attached to the dash so have to re-rivet the original one back in. Also I used the sub frame from the 06' dash because it had no rust and the 97' looked pretty bad. This wasn't a big issue but I had to make a braket to hang the headlight knob from because the 06' frame didn't have the mount.
Good information to know!
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[B]2005 TJ X [/B](daily driver)
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Unread 02-13-2011, 09:58 PM   #14
Dirtrider5490
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Winston-Salem
Posts: 212
Ahh you don't need sway bars. haha.
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97 TJ, 4 banger, 5 speed, 2.5" RC lift, 1.75" BDS coil spacers up front, Tuffy center console, Hurst T-handle, 33x10.50 boggers, docked front bumper with 10k winch, rear warn bumper, No sway bars, Hella 500FFs on the windshield,

Quote:
Originally Posted by comptiger5000 View Post
Most cars punish you for imperfect maintenance with a slightly shortened life, while Jeeps tend to get pissed and explode in your face.
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Unread 02-13-2011, 10:40 PM   #15
north50
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: florida
Posts: 692
So while I wait on the adj. track bar to come in I found a can of Rust-oleum truck bed liner laying around and figured what the hell. When I bought the jeep both front fenders had been hit some how and were dented and scratched pretty good, also some rust. Some day I'll do flat fenders but for now I painted the stock fender fronts to clean them up. Will be painting the grill with this stuff also because it is just so easy and looks great.

This stuff rocks.








Had painted the passenger side first and then remasked it and went higher up the fender to match the driver side. Had to go up past the rust spot, but like I said I sort of jumped into it so a little extra work. Will post some pictures tomm. of the finished product
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