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Unread 03-30-2015, 07:06 PM   #1
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
College TJ Sport Build

What's up guys, just got my first jeep and figured I'd start a build thread. Things will probably go slow because I am a freshman at Indiana University.

So a little background:

Throughout high school I was always into fast cars. Here's my old pride and joy. Cammed, bolt on, lowered Z28 LT1 that I built from bone stock all on my own in the garage.









After coming to college I realized I was going to start needing something for the bad Indiana winters. So I sold the Camaro and began looking for a jeep! I knew I really wanted a TJ but price was the issue. Luckily a found a relatively cheap '97 TJ Sport 4.0L with a 5 Speed and 170,000 miles. It needed a clutch. Being fairly mechanically inclined I decided to pull the trigger and drove 3 hours to get it and brought it home.







The jeep has one small rust hole on the passenger side which should be fairly easy to fix and then cover with rocker guards.


So once I got it home I fixed just about everything that was wrong with it and it is running top notch right now.

Parts replaced: Clutch, oil pump, water pump, rear main seal, valve cover and oil pan gaskets, etc.


Last edited by F7S; 04-08-2015 at 10:33 AM..
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Unread 03-30-2015, 07:10 PM   #2
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Thats where we are now. I knew I wanted to lift the jeep right away. It was sitting on some 31x 10.5 Dick Cepek Wild countrys with some AR wheels. So I sold those and ordered 5 305/70/16 M/Ts and will be installing those on some Moabs I have.I also ordered the Zone 3" lift. Being in college I'm trying to keep everything on a budget but not buy complete crap.

The current idea is to paint the Moabs gunmetal color because I feel like it would look pretty good with the black jeep.

So thats the start of this long slow build. I'd love to hear everyones advice/suggestions as well as critiques. I'm new to the jeep world and want to learn and enjoy it as much as possible
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Unread 03-30-2015, 09:20 PM   #3
rdock31
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Peoria, Illinois
Posts: 461
Good start man, looking forward to seeing updated pics with lift and tires.
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Unread 03-30-2015, 09:40 PM   #4
aaronhochkammer
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 3
Wow, I'm in the same boat as you. Just bought my first jeep last weekend and on budget since I'm in college as well, but I'm in Wisconsin. I look forward to see progress on the Jeep!
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Unread 03-31-2015, 06:27 AM   #5
drnimzelJeepFan
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1969 C101 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dallas
Posts: 50

Get it!
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Unread 03-31-2015, 10:09 AM   #6
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Tires and lift are at the house! Ill be going home from school this weekend to install everything. You can also see the Moabs I'll be using.

Pictures:










So there are the tires. I have a couple ideas that I wanted to get everyones opinion on. The first is painting the Moabs gunmetal color. I feel like the gunmetal with the black jeep will look good, what do you guys think?

My other idea is to trim my flares and repaint them black. I want to trim them because they are pretty tore up and have cracks.

This is how i was planning to do it:




Let me know what you guys think! I cant wait to get through this week and get home to install it all!
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Unread 03-31-2015, 10:31 AM   #7
drnimzelJeepFan
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F7S View Post
Tires and lift are at the house! Ill be going home from school this weekend to install everything. You can also see the Moabs I'll be using.

Pictures:










So there are the tires. I have a couple ideas that I wanted to get everyones opinion on. The first is painting the Moabs gunmetal color. I feel like the gunmetal with the black jeep will look good, what do you guys think?

My other idea is to trim my flares and repaint them black. I want to trim them because they are pretty tore up and have cracks.

This is how i was planning to do it:




Let me know what you guys think! I cant wait to get through this week and get home to install it all!
trimming the fenders like that will look good. My thought on painting wheels however, is to do it "right" otherwise it will wind up looking poorly done. Color is a matter of preference. My preference would be to leave them alone. However, if your set on black wheels, preparation of the original surface will be crucial to the final outcome and you being happy with what you have in the end.
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Unread 03-31-2015, 10:43 AM   #8
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drnimzelJeepFan View Post
trimming the fenders like that will look good. My thought on painting wheels however, is to do it "right" otherwise it will wind up looking poorly done. Color is a matter of preference. My preference would be to leave them alone. However, if your set on black wheels, preparation of the original surface will be crucial to the final outcome and you being happy with what you have in the end.
Thanks for your input, I'm actually wanting to paint the wheels gunmetal grey, not black. I do however want to repaint the fenders black. I was thinking about gunmetal wheels because the wheels are pretty scratched up already and I want to be different. I thought it would look good, sort of similar to AEV wheels.
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Unread 04-01-2015, 02:11 PM   #9
aaronhochkammer
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1999 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 3
I like your idea with the color of the rims. I think that would look great with the black paint, but would you have the letters on the tires mounted so they are showing? I personally think having raised letters mounted inside looks cleaner.
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Unread 04-02-2015, 09:13 AM   #10
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronhochkammer View Post
I like your idea with the color of the rims. I think that would look great with the black paint, but would you have the letters on the tires mounted so they are showing? I personally think having raised letters mounted inside looks cleaner.
Tires aren't mounted yet, I cant decide if I want the white letters showing. Normally I would with a black jeep. However, with the gunmetal wheels it may look weird. I haven't decided yet, getting them mounted tomorrow and starting on the lift tomorrow.
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Unread 04-06-2015, 11:20 AM   #11
F7S
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Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
UPDATE: Got the lift and tires installed this weekend!! Super happy with the results overall. Had a few setbacks but finally got it all buttoned up. Had the front track bar bolt break and also had three of the 4 rear upper shock bolts snap despite being soaked in PB blaster multiple times the night before. Tried to take some pictures of the process.

305/70/16 on Moabs:



Comparison of new 3" Zone Springs compared to old:





Some various pictures I tried to take along the way:



Front:





Rear:



Finished around 6:45am Easter morning!






Also got a new rear bumper with tire carrier:



Also decided to chop the front bumper due to it being bent on one side:




Overall I think the jeep rides very well with the lift. Probably better than stock. Definitely needs an alignment. Im also going to have to get spacers for the wheels. At full turn, the tires hit the front lower lca, also the rear tires are maybe an inch from the upper spring perch. So no offroading until i get those ordered and in. After I get those, I'll get to work on fixing that stupid passenger side rust
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Unread 04-06-2015, 11:24 AM   #12
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Like I said in my last post, we broke three rear upper shock bolts. After breaking many good drill bits trying to drill them out, we decided to weld new bolts up to the old ones the secure the shock with nuts and washers. Being beginner welders one of the bolts broke off within about an hour of driving. So the plan is to reweld it up there and try to do a better job burning it in all around it. If anyone has any better recommendations, I'd love to hear them.
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Unread 04-08-2015, 10:35 AM   #13
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Got a new exhaust on the jeep. I went with a thrush welded muffler after reading a little about it on here. For the price, it cant be beat! Sounds really good, having a slightly deeper sound than stock, but not too loud.
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Unread 04-09-2015, 11:36 AM   #14
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
So I have done some thinking and decided I want some better sound out of my Jeeps audio. Right now the Jeep has a Kenwood kdcmp208 stereo and two Alpine Type S speakers in the dash. No sound bar. I think my first step is making a sound bar/speaker pods for overhead. From what I've been reading it seems like 6 1/2 speakers are the way to go. Any recommendations for speakers? I'd like to keep it as low budget as possible, but not buy bottom of the line. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Unread 04-12-2015, 03:31 PM   #15
F7S
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 32
Did a little work on the Jeep this weekend.

First thing I addressed were the fender flares. They were silver with paint flaking off all over and they were cracked. So I decided to trim them and then paint.

Some before pictures:





















Then after:

After cutting and painting the flares I took some door edge molding and put it on the edges of the flares.







Also I decided to tint my front turn signals and also painted my headlight bezels black. Lastly, I added 1.25" spacers to help with the backspacing of the Moabs and the 305's.

Before:






So that's everything I've done for now! Stuck on a college budget so I am trying to feed the mod hunger a little at a time.
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