This week the guys are busy working on the suspension of the Liberty. Up front, lower control arms are fabbed up and the unibody has been reinforced to mount the LCA brackets. Upper arms and track bar mount going in soon. In the rear, a triangulated 4-link has resides to improve suspension travel and eliminate the need for a rear track bar as space is limited. Fox Racing 14” remote 2.5 coilovers and 2.0 bumps are in route to the shop to install next week.
After cycling the rear suspension, its becoming apparent that much more trimming will be necessary to clear the 40” meats. It’s something we had planned on with a modest preliminary cut, but the extent to which we will need to trim and rework the fenders will be extensive so we can get the full potential out of our new suspension.
We had some comments regarding the planned location of the spare tire. It’s tough to fit the 40” rubber, but here’s what we have in mind at the moment (see photos). To keep it as low as possible to increased visibility and keep the center of gravity down, we are considering recessing it down into the floor a couple inches and trimming the tailgate to allow it to occupy the inside of the tailgate when closed. In doing so the thought is to build a fuel cell for the bed (between the rear seat and spare tire) that would accept the OEM fuel sending unit while allowing us to keep the function OEM fuel filler location.
There’s plenty going on in the shop this week as we make progress towards a Liberty based trail rig. Nearly every day we’re receiving parts for the project and hopefully she’ll be mobile in the coming week(s) with new steering, suspension, axles, t-case, and driveshafts.
Special delivery just came in from our friends at JustDifferentials.com, 5.13 Nitro gears, master overhaul kit, Ox Locker with air actuator for the front along with Nitro 30-spline axle shafts. In the rear we're going with 5.13 Nitro gears, ARB Air Locker and 35-spline Nitro axle shafts. Both lockers will be plumbed into an ARB twin air compressor. All great parts going into our little Liberty CRD. Stay tuned for more...
This thing is gonna be sweet, great work. Whats the reason behind using an air-ox up front and arb rear? Just interested.
Availability of parts for one thing. The ARBs are 35-spline units which is a bit more difficult to get shafts for on short notice. Yes there are RCVs and a few others out there, but we wanted to stick with the Nitro shafts that have held up well on some of our other rigs (not to mention they won't throw grease). For the JK D44 the Nitro shafts are 30-spline which Ox offers a solid locker for with the option to convert it to air. Being that we hope to be mobile in the next week or so we went with the recommendations from our buddies at JT's Parts & Accessories.
More goodies arrived today for Project KJ. This special delivery comes from our buddies over at Fox Racing who just dropped off a set of 14'' stroke, 2.5'' remote coilovers and 2.0 bumps to be mounted at all 4 corners. We'll have more on these as they get mounted in place over the next couple days as we move closer to getting this chassis rolling again. One month to go until the start of the 2013 Ultimate Adventure, lots more to get done in that time...
This week the guys are fabbing up the rear of the KJ. After discussing the options on how to fit the rear suspension, roll cage, spare tire, fuel cell, dual batteries, air compressor, and more into the rear of this Liberty, the decision was made to remove the OE trunk floor and build a new subfloor that will act as a skid plate and give us additional storage space. With all the comments we've been hearing along the build about not much Liberty left, this week isn't going to help our case . That being said the guys are making progress and while the visual of the rear layout may not make total sense yet, it should as they fab work comes together. The plan is to build a fuel cell to mount at the bottom of the subfloor. It will be taller on the driver's side to incorporate additional fuel storage and allow us to reinstall the OE fuel sending unit and OE filler door location. Dual batteries will be mounted driver’s side forward of the fuel cell, air compressor mounted on the passenger side. Spare tire will be mounted at slant and additional space will be allotted for tool storage and spare parts.
With our Fox remote coil-overs and bump stops in the shop now, the guys will be finishing up the suspension, mounting C/Os and setting up the bumps to work with our low center of gravity suspension.We’ll have plenty more on the install and setup as the suspension comes together.
Lastly this week, we just received a cool retractable canvas soft top to install on what’s left of our Liberty’s roof. This 36×40 retractable sunroof came from slidingragtops.com will be taking up the remaining real estate on top of our Jeep. Call it JK envy, this retractable top is a cool way to get the topless feeling out on the trail and some wind in our hair on the highway, so to speak. It'll also help as we finish building and finish welding up the roll cage.
Here's a shot from earlier this week on the front end of the KJ.
We'll be heading down to BDS R&D this afternoon to shoot another video update on Project KJ and get some photos of the progress. Plenty of parts have started to arrive in the last week, heavy duty ball joints from Alloy USA, the remaining axle parts from Nitro Gear, NP-241 Rocktrac t-case and miscellaneous parts to move the project closer to completion. Pac Racing Springs, a local spring manufacturer out of Michigan came by the shop to take some measurements and discuss spring rates. We should see a set of coils arriving soon to install on our Fox 2.5 remote coilovers. Once those arrive we'll get our C/Os installed and be one step closer to rolling. Front suspension is coming together and the rear suspension is getting buttoned up as well. Plenty more to come this afternoon, stay tuned for more.
What steering box/pitman arm setup is that? It looks forward facing. I would like more info and pics on that please.
We touch on the steering setup earlier in the thread, a PSC JK Steering box with Ram Assist. We plated and sleeved the unibody to reinforce the mounting. The stock KJ steering shaft linkage connects right up to it. Our JK drop pitman arm and stock (for now) JK tie-rod/drag link are connected to the JK Dana 44 front. I'll get some better pictures of it today when I run down to the shop to do the update.