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Unread 05-07-2015, 10:03 PM   #1
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Posts: 2
97 TJ - Mission Ultimate Hunting Ride

This mission begins with the need to stop trashing my 2011 Dakota which is my daily driver. After a couple seasons of hunting\fishing resulting in some small dents and a badly scuffed paint job I decided it was time to build a bush vehicle and my search began. After a couple months of searching and convincing my wife it was a good idea I settled on this stock 97 TJ. Frame is rotting out but everything else seems to be in decent shape, got a good price and it came with some useful extras.

Phase 1 - New Rolling Chassis

Not to waste any time I quickly sourced a new frame.

I spent the next couple weekends cleaning, wire brushing, sanding and sand blasting the frame. I built an attachment for my pressure washer using a nozzle that is used for cleaning out sewer pipes and cleaned the inside of the frame. Now that it was completely spotless I treated the inside of the frame with Eastwood's Internal Frame Coating, primed it with self etching primer and painted with Chassis Saver.

After spending countless hours reading all of everyone's posts her on the forum and taking some advice from some local 4X4 shops I made some decisions, and sourced some new differentials.

HP30 Front from 97 XJ, Ford 8.8 Rear from 97 Explorer, front drive shaft from 97 XJ to be used as new rear CV driveshaft.

I have also ordered the following parts so far:

BDS 4-1/2" Short Arm Lift Kit
1" Body Lift
1.5" Engine Lift
Truss Kit for Ford 8.8
Advanced Adapters NP231-SYE
4.88 Gear sets

I am now waiting 10 days for parts and plan to get the new front+rear ends stripped, sand blasted and primed this weekend so that they are ready for welding when parts arrive.

FYI: Turns out it is really easy to get setup to sand blast at home. Biggest thing is airflow and I solved that by using a T manifold to join my shop and portable compressors together to get about 9-10scfm. Combine that with a $20 siphon feed gun, $10 sandblasting hood, respirator and $10 bags of abrasive, $20 tarps and you are ready to go. I found that crushed glass abrasive gave the best bang\buck and did not leave any kind of residue.

Last edited by DaxG; 05-07-2015 at 10:43 PM..
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Unread 05-11-2015, 08:44 PM   #2
Registered User
1997 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Posts: 2
Some progress over the weekend by not as much as anticipated. On the Ford 8.8 I got all the brackets cut off and brakes removed in about an hour. The HP30 however fought me every step of the way and it took me the rest of the weekend. After numerous treatments of WD40, heating with a torch and a breaker bar extended by 4' pipe I managed to get it stripped down with exception of the ball joints.

Next up, more sandblasting to get them ready for welding and Chassis Saver. Out of curiosity I decided to try the molasses removal solution and threw the steering knuckles into a large pale to see what happens.

Add to the list more parts:

Brake Rotors, Calipers and Pads
Ball Joints
Hub Assemblies and Bearings
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