Dad's Sensible Sport Build -

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post #1 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Dad's Sensible Sport Build

This build came about one day when I found a 99 sport listed for sale on craigslist. The listing was very vague, but what I did know was it was a 99 sport that needed a front axle.

The long story short is a kid bought it in Colorado, did some mods on it and got shipped out for military duty. The guys family moved to Iowa, and stored the Jeep at a family friend's place here in Nebraska. There is more to it, something like they were supposed to pay storage fees or something, but who really knows when it comes to these situations.

We bought it sight unseen expecting the worst and here is what we found.

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post #2 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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One of the first noticeable things wrong was the front axle was missing as well as, the air intake, radio, flares, carpet, rear seat, and the wheels.

Once we had it we were unsure what to do with it, I was initially going to replace some of the major stuff missing and sell it, but father wanted to keep it so we did. He's partial to the color, and he likes the pre 03 Jeeps.

The good things this jeep had going for itself was the 4.0, AC, not terribly high mileage for it's age, no rust, no hacked up wiring, and nothing mechanically devastating the transmission needed rebuilt. Some nice bonus stuff was the front tube fenders, and the stinger sitting in the back. It also has JKS lower adjustables, a rear 8.8 LS with 4:10s that was bought from one of the companies that specializes in the conversion, and a nice Warn rear bumper with the hitch mount, and those light guards.

After it was home and cleaned up, we checked all the fluids and everything looked fine. We poured some gas in the tank and low and behold it poured right back down on the ground. Who ever let it sit for storage decided to punch a couple holes in the tank, which is probably not the worst thing ever.

1 salvage yard gas tank later and she fired right up. The engine sounded very smooth, it had around 96k IIRC.

We quickly found this:

Shortly after this point we ended up finding a HPD30 from a cherokee and swapped that in, the HP30 got 4:10s and a lock right. The jeep got the old original soft top from my 04 Rubicon, it got a new battery, and the fluids changed, we also picked up some decent canyon style TJ wheels with KOs on them.

The custom bumper I made for my TJ landed itself on the front of this jeep as well as a winch.

A little later on, some aftermarket flares were purchased, and installed, the rears can be seen above.

Next came some aftermarket OEM front fenders painted to match in the garage, it got turn signals and all that nice stuff. Shortly after the new fenders it got a set of 5 of the Grizzly style TJ wheels with some 31" Good Year Authorities. A 2" BB was used up front to bump the nose back up, it had a pretty good rake with no weight in the back and the bumper and winch up front.

Colorado wheeling stop to cool our feet.

Later it got the a new speedo gear to get the speedometer closer, and it got some OEM Rubicon flares, the factory replacement ones had a funny bulge around the rear bends that never did get fixed, it's like they were made too wide for the wheel wells.

Small mods along the line include a new windshield, OEM intake, OEM Tape/CD radio, some new park brake cables, mirror relocation brackets, D ring mounts front and rear. A rear seat was also found. In addition to some decent rocker protection, that's likely installed in the pics above just not visible.

Now that the hard stuff was out of the way, this gave room for some of the creature comforts. This included upgrading from the factory 2 speaker radio to the coveted 4 speaker with sound bar.

Quick mini write up of the process:

Step 1: Remove the non sound bar padding:

Step 2: Install the sound bar stye padding:

Step 3: Clean the threads for your sound bar screws:

Step 4: Install sound bar:

Step 5: Install sound bar screws:

I pulled everything from the same jeep, this included the wiring:

Note the 2 plugs in the same harness:

You want the red one and what's attached to it:

Step 6: Install the wiring harness down the roll bar, and along the under side of the door sill, it plugs in under the driver speaker where the rest of the large plugs do.
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post #3 of 16 Old 02-04-2013, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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The build continues, a few days ago I finally found one of the parts that was misplaced in the shop, so the next phase begins.

The Goodies pile:

And this:

A bit closer look:

So what we have is an AX-15 rebuild kit, a SYE, some front ACOS, the JKS disconnected holder deals, some Currie rear uppers, a TT, a BL spacer that will be flipped to run as a TT spacer, some OEM OBEN style fog lights, and a factory fog light switch. There is a CV drive shaft somewhere here, that I have to find, cut down and install too.

First thing I did was install the disconnected pin deals since the quicker disconnects have already been on for over a year now, and I got tired of trying to strap the sway bar in the up position. To do so I pulled the wheels, drilled the holes, tapped them and installed the pins, done. Since I had time and the wheels were already off I figured it was a good time for the ACOS too, so I unbolted the top of the shocks and let the axle droop and pulled the coils.

Here is what we had:

Pull the bumpstop to reveal a bolt inside:

Pull the bolt out, and the bumpstop cone comes off, so does the BB and isolator:

I had to do a little visual inspection of the ACOS before installing them, and here is what I found:

Corrosive street crap in a snowy climate and aluminum don't mix.

Hit the corroded spots with the wire wheel, and installed the ACOS, they're adjusted to be the same height as the BB, just get some bumpstop extension and bling factor:

This is how the build sits as of now. The rest of the goodies above are planned in short order, with more to come.

A couple other mods that I didn't install are the Currie front track bar, heavy duty LCA skids, Front diff cover, and some 1.25" wheel spacers all around.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 12:33 PM Thread Starter
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Haven't update this in awhile, but the transmission rebuild is currently underway,

Current progress:

Dad wanted a compass temperature mirror since he liked the one in my Rubicon pretty well.

I followed this thread:

And it worked out pretty well.

The pieces needed.

Here is how you test the mirror and temp sensor.

It works.

On the early TJs there are these extra wires which come in pretty handy.
Note the red and light blue.

Light blue is perfect for relay activating switches, or in this case power mirrors. The red is perfect for things that need constant power like CB radios, and what have you.

Here is the temp sensor, and it's approximate location.

Installed location.

Interior wiring harness, pretty simple, just extend the 4 wires you need pink, black, brown, green w/stripe.

A little misleading, but the blue wire is feeding the protected terminal connector.

Power and ground wires.

Seems like a good location for a ground.



I snaked the brown and green wires behind the radio across the dash and ended up by the throttle pedal. Above it there is this large oval shaped rubber plug. I cut a hole in it and ran the wires through, note the quick disconnect goes under the hood and not inside.

Under hood harness from the sensor.

Close up of the oval shaped plug, and water proof connector.

Looks like it works.

Also did a SYE.

Mid early disassembly

Found this, this is why we don't let our transfer cases run low on fluid. Luckily I had a range selector, and a range selector collar deal laying around from an old 231, so I popped those in there to replace these worn out ones.

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post #5 of 16 Old 03-24-2013, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update:

Transmission rebuild is done as of 15 min ago.

During break time from the transmission rebuild we had some time to put in an additional under hood light.

The light.

Mounting location.

Punched some holes in the intake, and got some screws and washers ready.

There is some gap, so we put some spacer washers in there to fill the void.

RTV to keep the elements out since this is the after filter side of the intake.

Washers and nuts to hold it all on.

Wiring harness with the connections.

Ground wire location.

Power wire, it's wired directly so it can be turned on at any time.

Looks like it works.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-24-2013, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Rebuilt trans and tcase:

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post #7 of 16 Old 04-22-2013, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Got the trans and tcase all back under the jeep, and had everything hooked up except the rear drive shaft. Then we decided it was time to throw on the UCF Ultra high clearance skid.

Based on the mods thus far this skid is going on a more or less "unmodified" jeep. The attempt is to run the UCF UHC skid with no body lift.

Initial conclusions:

1. The tcase shifter linkage is way off, I initially thought I could take a BL bracket and flip it and run it upside down to adjust the linkage for the difference between stock and the TT, there isn't enough room above the bracket to get this to work properly.

2. The catalytic converter is far too large to even come close to making this happen. Even with the skid jacked up as far as physically possible with or without a transmission mount the cat gets smashed into the bottom of the tub, as does the O2 sensor, and there is still at least 3/4" gap between the skid and bottom of the frame rail.

3. The fan blades are hitting the bottom of the fan shroud.

4. The transmission shifter is tilted forward. The opposite problem people with body lifts have, I smack my knuckles on the dash in 1 3 and 5.

The remedies:

1. Novak cable shifter Via Savvy

2. New catalytic convertor the plan as of now is to go with a factory cherokee cat as recommended by Blaine

3. Daystar 1" MML (Installed today)

4. See below.

Secondary Conclusions:

1. Literally the only way to get this to work in this situation.

2. The cat will hopefully leave plenty of room, and they come with heat shields which is better than no heat shield. Still need to get one to make sure it's going to work.

3. The fan blades are now really close to hitting the top of the fan shroud, I'm fairly confident that once the skid gets all the way up it will be just right.

4. Not sure how far the shifter is going to go forward, hopefully not too much. If it does I'll likely just end up heating it with a torch and bending it back. If that doesn't do the trick, or the fan blades hit the shroud I'll likely be going with a LoPro. The hope is as of now that I won't have to go this route, but if I do I'll have plenty of space now that the cat is getting cut and replaced with something smaller. If after all of this I still can't get it to work, I have a 1" BL as a final option I can try.

In other news an additional pair of Currie lowers were sourced in the rear upper's aren't enough to get the angles right, and the Tera Flex old school ones don't adjust anymore. If they do still adjust then these Curries will go up front to help cure some DW issues due to worn CA bushings. The rear drive shaft also needs to be cut down to 17", and I need a new 1310 to 1330 or 1350 conversion joint to put in it.

After all of that is finally done he might actually get to drive this thing again.

Boring pics today, but the transmission and tcase shift well, and neither leak, so that's always nice.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-22-2013, 11:01 PM
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Glad I saw this today. You took what could have been a complete waste and are turning it into something fantastic. Keep up the good work!
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Since the last update, some pretty significant changes have taken place.

Cut the exhaust.

The smaller replacement cat via blaine's advice from a 2001 cherokee.

This pic really shows the size difference where it's needed.

While waiting for my Dad to figure out the exhaust I went to work on the Novak shifter cable.

Remove these

They hold this

It's all in there

Spring loaded end, thought this was a great idea.

Here is the LoPro attached to the factory transmission mount bracket

The welds were redone after this pic.

The new cat tucked away in there

A better pic

This shows the clearances

Have to have something to hook up to that SYE kit


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post #10 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Some semi finalized pics

Nice skid clearance

Note the Rampage fastback soft top.

It sat like this for about 5 days, and then it was decided that Dad wanted some rear acos to bump it up a bit.

For the rear acos install you remove the springs, isolators and bumpstops, then you mark the locations you need your holes. Don't screw this up, measure about 6 times and drill once.

Put on this part to make your holes

Holes marked

Holes drilled

Grind the boogers off

Hit the grinds with some paint, bolt them on.

Install the bumpstops, adjuster collars, and acos isolator.

Now that the rear was lifted 2" the front had to come up 2"

Original install of the fronts

After installing the rears

Moving around another project vehicle, here it is after front and rear acos

The other Rubicon project.

It also got the currie rear uppers and I adjusted the tera flex rear lowers to get the wheelbase and pinion angles lined back up. Who ever did the 88 swap on this thing really figured out how to do a craptacular job of welding on brackets, oh well it works now.

This is how she sits for now, stay tuned.
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 11:14 AM
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Subbed. Nicely done

The Offroad Club @ NC State; Founder
The Yellowtail Build
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-07-2013, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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A few more pics from today

Here is how the CAs/springs etc. look

Dad working on his new treads

33x10.5R15 BFG All-Terrain KOs

Compared to the 31x10.5R15 Goodyear Authority ATs

BBs for balance

The goodness

Note the clearance at the skid is 17"

No spare bracket for now, spare is inside

Tall and skinny

So from here we'll have to do something about the shocks, we've got some plans for the tailgate, and a few undisclosed plans as of yet.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Latest round of upgrades



Since the 33s went on we were having problems with DW.

After a few dry steering tests a few problems were found, both ends of the track bar were a bit loose, tighten the axle side bolt and that was good, the frame side was missing the washer that goes on top of the mount below the nut, so I found one that fit and that was taken care of.

The pitman arm TRE had some play in it still, so that was replaced along with some ratty looking axle housing bushings.

Still had DW after that so a little swapping:

And it turned out the tires were out of balance.

They had 2 oz of bbs in them, we upped it to 8 oz, and it's doing pretty well now. Caster is 7-8 degrees.

Shocks are still on the list, and will be here in short order now that it's finally drivable.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 11:14 PM
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Turning into a nice looking Jeep. I still am not familiar with this "sensible build" of which you speak though...

If yer gonna fight, fight like the third monkey on the ramp to Noah's Ark.

My Build Thread:
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DpDave View Post
Turning into a nice looking Jeep. I still am not familiar with this "sensible build" of which you speak though...
It started out sensible, then he kind of switched to "get it done and make sure it works right" he was getting impatient and wanted to drive it, the shovel really bothered him, then it escalated from there.

It's been fun though.
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