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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:22 AM   #211
NW99XJ
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012

Well as luck would have it, I touch the Jeep, cut parts off of it, and generally try to do something good to it, and it protests.
The very next week, my Alternator went out on me. On my way to work....ZERO Volts all of the sudden...and that lovely "CHECK GAUGES" light coming on....Luckily, my Yellow Top Optima carries enough juice for me to limp home on.
So first thing was first.....think "upgrade" ....I got back to the house and started refreshing my memory on available/compatible swaps. MY research led me to believe that a 97 ZJ or Durango alternator was the most common/popular swap....with very little modification needed to get it in. So after a couple hours of reading a couple dozen threads/posts on the subject, I started looking up parts stores prices and availability. YES, I COULD have gone to the JY and grabbed something out of a vehicle there, and probably saved a ton of money, but I wanted a warranty, and didnt really want to spend more time wrenching than I had to.
I also knew that bumping up my available amperage from aprox 90 to over 130 I was going to need to upgrade some wiring too. So after some additional research on the subject of what to do and get for the wiring upgrade, I had a shopping list and a plan.

The Alternator: 1997 ZJ 136 amp w/lifetime warranty - $159.00
The Wiring: @$2.70/ft x 12ft = $32.00 (they rounded down and even gave me extra)
-8ft 4awg Red - (38" B= to Starter, 18" B+ to PDC, 36" Alternator to PDC)
-4ft 4awg Black - (8" B- to Fender, 28" B- to Engine Block, 10" Engine to Firewall)
-14 4awg 3/8" Ring Terminals @$1.49 x 14 = $20.86
-Heat Shrink Tubing - $9.50
Protection: 150amp ANL Fuse (and one extra as a back up) and Fuse Holder -$45

TOTAL: $266.36

Ok...as it seems with everything I have done on this Jeep, nothing quite goes as planned. I'll explain as I go along.
Here's what I started with....Kind of a mess.....


After removing the battery.....


I knew in order to have enough room to work, I needed to get the battery tray out of the way too....


I dont know about earlier models, but MY late model, seems to have some sort of safety switch built into the batter tray:


I think this is so that if the battery were to become jostled so loose that its floating around the engine bay, once this plunger switch "sees" that the battery is no longer in the tray, it shuts off the vehicle. This is just a theory, I didnt take the time to test it, look it up, or examine it much further, but it seems to be the most logical answer:


Now that all that was out of the way, I had a clear look at the alternator from above and I started spraying everything down with PB Blaster.


Here's a look at the stock alternator from the rear.


On my 99, the tensioner pulley is adjusted with this 15mm bolt....it is loosened to allow the pulley to slide up to release tension on the serpentine belt.




Now the upper and lower mounting alternator mounting bolts were loosened and removed.


The front bracket also has to be removed, there are 2 bolts and 3 nuts (the lower most is the lower alternator mount.)
The two upper nuts are on removable studs, -we'll get to these later.....


Once all the nuts and bolts are out/off, you can disconnect the wiring (if you havent already)


Then pull out the front bracket, and pull the alternator out. It's more than likely going to have to come out from the top, I didnt have enough room to pull it out from below.

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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:22 AM   #212
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012, Cont...

With the old alternator out, and sitting side by side with the new one, I instantly knew I was in store for a much longer install.
Although the mounting locations were different, and the main output post was obviously there, the two other wires were different, mine (old) having a "plug" and the other (new) having two posts. "uh-oh".....


Ok, no big deal....I can handle this....although things were different, ther were at least the same "number" of them...
I removed the rears of each to trace the leads, and where they went in hopes of identifying them and their purpose, hopefully then being able to match one to the other.
There are only three 8mm nuts, and one 8mm screw that hold the rear cover on. The screw actually is a little grounding plate.
Once these were removed on both units, I saw that they were very similar in construction and layout. With my trusty Fluke digital multi-meter, I started probing away, testing continuity of different points, and junctions, looking for circuit paths that I could test and get a solid, consistent reading from. Once I has decided what and where to probe, I started my comparisons.
>
Left plug terminal of old alternator to common test point:


Left post of new alternator to common test point:


Right plug terminal of old alternator to common test point:


Right post of new alternator to common test point:


My readings were close enough from me to tell "left to left - right to right"
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:23 AM   #213
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012, Cont...

I snipped the two wire plug previously connected to the old alternator from the Jeep
(leaving enough room to hook it back up if need be)....


And plugged it in the alternator sitting on the bench.


This now told me that the terminal on the "left" was the striped wire. I now had reference to hook things back up.
I also noticed that the old alternator had this rubber cap that went over the "axle" of the alternator.


The new one didn't so I robbed it from the old, and installed it on the new.


After installing the covers back onto both units,
I marked the new alternator, just as a reminder and visual reference, of where I would be placing the aforementioned striped wire:


The wires still in the jeep got the necessary treatment for proper hook-up to the new alternator:


The main post mount/isolater was modified from the old unit to fit the new.
(of you are just swapping out an XJ alternator for another XJ alternator most of this is of course not necessary)
The old one had square corners that were filed/cut/ground off to fit the circular opening of the rear cover.
It also would allow the protective cover of the main wire that feeds the PDC to be re-used.
Here you can see the necessary mods that were required to make it fit on the new unit:


Ok, so now I was ready to actually install this thing.
Going into this, I knew from my research, that it wasn't going to just "drop right in"...and that the mounting bracket was going to have to be modified...
the new unit is much larger that the old one.
So the bracket needs to be ground down a little for clearance.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:26 AM   #214
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012, Cont...

So off comes the bracket.....remember those studs from earlier?.... the nuts on them are 15mm, the studs themselves are 16mm, and with a little persuasion (breaker bar) they cam loose and were removed:


There are two more bolts on the backside of the bracket that mount this to the block, they too have to be removed:


Once out the bracket can be mocked into place with the new alternator...I got a rough idea of how much material had to be removed from this cast aluminum bracket.


With my handy dandy grinder I went to work, grinding, and test fitting, grinding more and another test fit,....


This went on and on, until I had ground away enough material to give the new alternator enough clearance.
NOTE: the center (apex of the arc) is where most of the grinding will need to be done.


I finally had a modified bracket and the alternator was ready to be installed.


Upon test fitting...I quickly realized I was not going to get this much fatter alternator in without some serious clearance. First I tried mounting the bracket, and then bringing the alternator in the same way I took the old one out. NOPE....that didnt work, So more clearance was needed, I took out the coolant reservoir, which gave me a little ore room to at least get the alternator into the area it needed to be....but did not have enough room to position it correctly. So I took the mounting bracket back off the block, and mounted it on the alternator and twisted, shoved, and cursed that damn assembly into place. FINALLY!!!....it went into position.... and as I started mounting it, and tightening down the first two bolts (studs) I noticed that it wasn't going to seat properly in its new home.....damn....more grinding.....
The block needs to ground in approximately the same place as the bracket ...makes sense right? duh! lol,


So with the alternator/bracket assembly shifted out of place, I got in there with my grinder and went to town.
The work went pretty quickly, and there isn't as much material that needs to be removed as in the bracket's case.
More so in the back side of it than the front:


I spray painted a protective coat of paint over this exposed metal (I'm pretty sure its steel compared to the bracket's aluminum...and figured it was safer to error on the side of caution anyways) ... and mounted the alternator for the final time.
Here you can see it in place, with all the wires hooked up, including one of the new cables I made:
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:26 AM   #215
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012, Cont...

Making of the new cables came easy. Thanks to a guy who goes by 5-90 (i think his name might be Jon?) and his website "Kellys Work In Progress": http://www.kelleyswip.com
I have a ton of experience in making cables, and of course wiring in general, so this part of it all went pretty smooth.
Here's a shot of all my supplies laid out.


I started by pulling out some of the cables I knew were going to be replaced. The alternator to PDC was one, PDC to battery was another, and of course all the grounds. I opted to skip replacing the starter wire at this time.....I looked it over, and it was in decent shape. I had recently upgraded the ring terminal on the battery end of it, and honestly...I've never had a cranking issue. So I left it alone. The grounds were first up....the first and foremost was that cheesy ground "strap" that runs from the back of the engine to the firewall.....this is one of the most important cables in the system, as virtually ALL of the vehicles interior electrical components and electrical circuits from gauges to accessories, to computers, get their ground from the firewall.
So after a liberal soaking of PB Blaster, I went to task taking it off.


Once removed I verified the length needed for the new cable, and cut a section of the 4awg off.
Here you can see the chunk of new cable compared to the old strap.
There is a massive difference in the amount of current carrying metal available from the old to the new.
(you can see that I had already stripped away some of the insulation in preparation for the crimping of the new terminal end)


I cut a good inch or two of heat shrink tubing off of the roll I bought, and placed it in the cable.
Then I took one of the new ring terminals and placed it on the end, making sure I had stripped away enough of the insulation to fully fill the cavity of the connector. In the next pic you can see the piece of heat shrink tubing, and one of the two crimps made in the connector.


I double crimp any lage gauge connector like this to ensure it will never pull out, and to make a good, solid, reliable, mechanical connection between wire and connector. Once thats done, I use some good electrical tape and tightly wrap the end over the connector, the seam between the wire's insulation and the connector, and down to some of the rest of the wire.
This does a couple things. One, it give me an initial seal against oxidation and any moisture, and two, covers any sharp edges created by the crimp, that may pierce the heat shrink.


For the next step I used a torch, if you decide to this on your own, a good heat gun may work too, but a hair dryer probably wont. You need good intense heat for the tubing to react the way it should.
CAUTION: DO NOT PLAY WITH FIRE.
ALSO: Too much exposure to direct flame will melt the heat shrink. Keep the tip of the flame a few inches away from the surface of the tubing and moving around at all times!
You want a nice even heating, so rotating the cable around as you move the flame around ensures that the heat is penetrating, and covering as much area as evenly and thoroughly as possible. With a heat gun, you may need to move around slower, or keep the flow of hot air on each area a little longer.
WARNING: Cable ends WILL be HOT, and can burn you.... Blow on them, or leave them to cool on a suitable surface before handling!


Once done, you have a nice, well connected, and super sealed cable end....


Just look at the difference from the old strap to the newly finished grounding cable
("grounding cable" just sounds beefier than strap anyways)




All of the cables getting swapped out were made in this fashion.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:27 AM   #216
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Alternator & Upgraded Wiring_December 2012, Cont.

One thing that gave me some trouble, and I guess is pretty common, is the ground cable from the battery to the passenger side fender.... apparently the bolt securing it likes to break.
Mine was no exception:


Easy enough fix.... I removed a screw from the bracket right there on the fender and drilled the hole out slightly, and placed a bolt and a nut securing the new cable to the fender. Then used this as a new ground post for a few accessories and secured them to the bolt with another nut:


As I may have mentioned the previous owner bypassed or otherwise removed the OEM fuseable link, and since I knew I needed to protect the power going into the PDC (Power Distribution Center) I opted to install an ANL type fuse holder and a 150amp ANL fuse... This is the closest rated fuse to match the 136amps coming from the alternator, without risking frequent pops.

The location was simple....as close the PDC as possible, and there just so happened to be a bracket right there....


I drilled one of the two existing holes a little larger to accommodate a small bolt, nut, & washer....


The new ANL Fuse holder was then securely mounted to this location.


The power from the alternator passes through this and feeds the PDC, which in turn feeds the rest of the vehicle.


While I was at it, I re-ran much of all the other aftermarket wiring I had in there going to the battery.
Feeds for stereo equipment, several lighting circuits, the alarm, and more.... waaaay to much to want to have hooked up right at the battery...it would just end up too clustered. Luckily I had this little power distribution block laying around, so I put it to good use.


Another 4awg wire feeds it directly from the battery, and all the other fused power leads going to all the other aftermarket circuits gets fed from it. (one 4awg in - four 16-8 awg out)


The two small gauge wires to the alternator were hooked up and its new power lead was installed and ran.


I split loomed everything, and it looks much much cleaner now.




I went from this:


To this:


And for the first time since I've owned the Jeep, my volt gauge is reading 14volts.
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Unread 12-11-2012, 09:52 AM   #217
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Thank you!!!
I have been procrastinating for toooo long.....time to tackle it.
Thanks again for all the pics, they are really helpful.
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Unread 12-11-2012, 10:04 AM   #218
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Glad to help!
THIS is why I take so many pics along the way,
and write such lengthy posts, so that hopefully.... someone else can benefit from it all.
Be sure to throw a link up here when you're all done... I'd love to see how yours turns out.
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5" of lift, 33's. Armored, Lighted, Chipped, & Locked up Front. Soon to come: winch, gears, axle shafts, and more...
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Unread 12-31-2012, 09:35 PM   #219
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o2 Sensor (Upstream) Dec. 2012

So on my way to go get my new tags......THIS comes up.....
(thank you Murphy)


Ended up being a P0135 code ....Sensor1 Bank1 (Upstream o2 Sensor)
Picked up a new one with the return of the core Alternator I still had.
Sprayed the old one down....and gave it a turn with the wrench, and THIS happens....


The wires LITERALLY just fell out of the plug.


Strange how they're all right about the same length.




Old vs. New


New one is in.
I reset the adaptive memory of the ECU, and started getting it up to operating temp.


I'm thinking this may have SOMETHING to do with the 11.5 +/- MPG I've been getting and the feeling of a sluggish engine.
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Unread 01-09-2013, 04:22 PM   #220
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Premature U-Joint Failure - PS Axle - Jan_2013

Taking the off-ramp on my way to work the other morning...I hear this *CLUNK*CLUNK*CLUNK*CLUNK*CLUNK*CLUNK......
Pull into the gas station right there and found THIS:


Limped it the extra mile into work, and had to figure out how i was gonna fix it....

(I JUST REPLACED these like SIX FRICKIN MONTHS AGO!)


After running and getting a couple new U-joints, (thanks to a ride from a fellow Jeeper) ....I tried to opt for a quick fix and replace JUST the missing cap and snap ring, as the rest of the joint looked just fine.
Once I did though, I saw the reason that the previous cap had ejected itself.
(note the gap on the left side)


Apparently the yoke on the short shaft side had one of the ears stretched out. Honestly it was probably like this for a while, but slowly getting worse and worse since that one night up at my friend Bens house and the 20 tons of press force it took to get the old OEM joint out back in April/May.

We (crazymoose & I) ended up heading out to 205 Auto Salvage http://www.205autosalvage.com/
where I have gone several times for JY Jeep parts. They have the largest inventory of XJ's anywhere in my area. Ended up running into Ryan R. from Bri & Bub Offroad down there...funny seeing another Jeeper I know out of the blue at the JY like that.
Cori has taken good care of me there in the past because I've sent her so much business over the years. This time was no exception. I ended up pulling out a whole PS shaft assembly (outer/bearing/joint/inner) and got it for a great discounted price. Even got a free T-shirt out of the whole deal!
Came back to work, and opted to install the whole JY assembly instead of wasting the time (right now) rebuilding it all. - I'll do that at home this weekend.
The drive home proved that the JY parts were good enough to commute on, at least for the rest of the week. I really have no intentions of testing their integrity on the trail....so the rebuild will happen sooner than later. I'll keep the old parts as emergency trail spares.
>
I want to make sure that Jason (crazymoose) gets a HUGE THANK YOU for coming out and helping. Although his bruised leg prevented him from doing much wrench turning (its a one man job really anyways) ...his arrival with jack, stands, and a few of the larger sockets I didn't have with me, plus the ride to & from the JY, proved to be the difference between getting this job done, and the Jeep sitting for gawd knows how long here at my work.... So thanks again brother.... I owe you one!

So the following weekend I did the rebuild, it was a good thing too, because by the time the end of the week rolled around, that donor JY axle assembly was making some serious noise.
So that Friday Night, I tore into it. Pulled the tire, removed the caliper, the hub nut, the rotor and unit bearing, and pulled the junk yard assembly out to tear it down. Now that that was out I could work on the tear down of my old axle assembly. The hub nut was the first thing that needed to come off...this is where the first problem arose.....
Not having the drive train of the vehicle to give me leverage, I had to turn to my biggest pry-bar to give me something to wrench against....It didnt make it.


I did manage to get the hub nut off though, and I was able to finish the tear down of the old axle using my trusty Harbor Freight press tool.


All in all, it was in pretty good shape, I did find one broken needle bearing though inside one of the caps.


The JY axle U-joints didnt come out as easy, again I was in a position where I was running out of torque. I didnt have a vice, so I was doing all this with my press tool on the floor. I called up a few local Jeepers and my buddy Brandon came thru. "Yea man, c'mon over-you can use my vice!" I brought the donor axle over and tore it down with ease using my press tool in his vice. I cleaned it up and pressed in the new joints with ease.
Finished assembly ready to go in:


Remember when I said that JY axle assembly was making some noise there at the end?...yea.....here's why:


Two of the caps lost their needle bearings. And were rusted into the axle well enough that they stayed put, but the U-joint itself was bouncing around inside the caps....GOOD TIMES!

The new assembly went in and I buttoned everything back up.
All ready for the road and trail now!:


When I was putting everything back together, I noticed something strange about my PS bump-stop.....it was hanging at a weird angle.
Upon further inspection I saw that it was basically destroyed.
I pulled it out in a powdery, crumbly mess. It was stock, and 220k+ miles old anyways, so I'm not too surprised really. But I'm gonna have to take of this pretty soon. (stay tuned!)
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Unread 01-31-2013, 11:43 PM   #221
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Didn't I JUST go thru this.....DS U-joint this time_(Jan-2013)

Well when it rains it pours.....
I'm beginning to think my front end hates me, or has some sort of sick twisted vendetta against me, I mean it's not like I have abused it all THAT much....
Oh sure, I've torn its face off, and shaved a lunchbox down its throat, bounced it off a rock or two.....but that ain't nuthin but love right there.....

So as I was driving it home from work this afternoon, I heard my front axle have a temper tantrum, then watched as it ejected a cap from the drivers side U-joint, seeing it bounce down the freeway behind me at speed. GOOD TIMES!
I swear this frickin front end is cursed......UGH!

Yea something doesn't look right.....


Yup.....There it is....or isn't....whatever.....


Limped it the last couple miles home, go to swap in the spare I had and on the short shaft side......


And the caps just press right in by hand......that ain't right!!!.....

So panic mode sets in.....gotta work tomorrow, no other ride.
I make a call to my buddy with a TJ, he installed a super 30 kit this last spring, and kept his old stuff. I hit him up for one of his spare outters, and he was happy to oblige, THANKS FINGERZ!
An hour later I had a replacement shaft:


The one GOOD shaft he had was of course the PS....so I had to tear apart the assembly he dropped off to put on my DS shaft and the extra U-joint I had.


Everything went pretty well, all things considered.
Whats an impromptu Jeep project without a little blood letting?


At least I was able to get everything in and done, and have it back on the road for my commute in tomorrow.


I think some Chromoly Shafts are going to be on the short list now.
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5" of lift, 33's. Armored, Lighted, Chipped, & Locked up Front. Soon to come: winch, gears, axle shafts, and more...
My Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/f...-build-970888/
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Unread 02-20-2013, 12:36 PM   #222
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Lower Track Bar Bushing Replacement _ Feb 2013

The replacement lower track bar bushing came in yesterday, picked it up from 4wheel parts (because rugged ridge doesnt sell to the public.)
Took it home and got to work on the swap.
Pressed/pryed out the old....and compared it to the new:


The old bushings apparently got worn pretty quick, turned a little soft, and one edge got eaten away a bit.
Also the metal sleeve in the center had ovaled out, and the clearance hole for it in both halves was wallowed out as well.


With the old bushings out, I removed the rest of the track bar, and took it over to the vice to begin the installation.
The bushings were greased and pressed in: (sorry for the lack of focus here - but you get the point)


I wasnt about to install this new hardware into a mount with a wallowed out hole.
And since the old metal sleeve was so ovaled out, I couldn't use the larger hardware I had shoved in there on the new bushing/sleeve set-up.
With the smaller hardware in the mount it was like throwing a hot dog down a hallway....
SO I opted to do what I have seen done on other builds and re-enforce the front of the mount with a metal plate and a freshly drilled (smaller) hole.

I dont have stock piles of metal plate laying around, so I had to use some ol' fashioned ingenuity...
The cut up OEM control arm I had laying around would serve well enough to give me just enough metal to accomplish what I needed.
It was placed in the vice, and using my grinder with a cut-off wheel I removed the donor metal....




I then hammered, and clamped it straight, Viced it up one more time and drilled the new clearance hole:
(again, sorry for the lack of focus)


I then wire wheeled it clean, and trimmed it to its final shape.
Using the mounting hardware for the track bar I clamped it in place
.....and did my best impersonation of someone who knows how to weld.
Satisfied with my ability to grotesquely tack two pieces of metal together, I spray painted it for protection, and called it "good enough."


I know its ugly as sin, but that metal ain't goin' nowhere.....
It'll more than likely all end up getting cut off eventually anyways for when I do a steering upgrade,
and have to modify the track bar, and mount it higher up on the axle.

The road test the next morning proved to be a much better ride than in recent past.
MOST of the wobble is gone, but I can still feel the degradation of the TRE's....they're next on the list.
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5" of lift, 33's. Armored, Lighted, Chipped, & Locked up Front. Soon to come: winch, gears, axle shafts, and more...
My Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/f...-build-970888/
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Unread 02-20-2013, 12:37 PM   #223
NW99XJ
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1999 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Gresham, Oregon
Posts: 1,295
1-Ton Steering ON ITS WAY!!!

Parts ordered, confirmed, shipped and ON THEIR WAY!!!!



TO GO ALONG WITH THOSE....
THESE ARE ON THEIR WAY!!!!!


So hopefully by this time next week, I will be on 1-ton steering.
Total with shipping i'm out of pocket only 210.37 for everything so far.
The final part will be the track bar relocation bracket....
Which I may fab myself, we'll see.

IT'll be plenty beefy, 1.25" DOM with 1/4" wall.
.....I COULD have just ordered the raw tube from somewhere,
then brought it here (to work)...cut it to length, then reamed and tapped the ends...
BUT I would have had to buy the reamer, and tap (we dont have anything quite that big here)....and didn't want to bother with the added expense.
I have been sitting on a $100 JCR Credit for a while now, and figured this would be the perfect use for it.
Hell, that's $100 off the tubing, AND all the machining work is already done for me!

I WILL BE making my own poly bushing though for the PS TRE....
It'll look just like this: (photo's courtesy of JCR Offroad)
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5" of lift, 33's. Armored, Lighted, Chipped, & Locked up Front. Soon to come: winch, gears, axle shafts, and more...
My Build Thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/f...-build-970888/
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Unread 02-24-2013, 08:02 AM   #224
Project1
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,716
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW99XJ View Post
Two wheeling trips in two weeks, and a little photo shoot with my girl as well....
Enjoy:






HOLY CRAP SWEET MOTHER OF GOODNESS>.... NICE JEEP!!!!!!
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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:12 PM   #225
Project1
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1998 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Florida
Posts: 2,716
I'm surprised more people have not said anything about your pics

I think these last pics may deserve their own separate post.
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