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Building a Bumper?Ruffstuff Axle Simple Swap Kit!~Artec JK 1 TON SWAP~

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Unread 02-24-2010, 02:52 PM   #16
NW99XJ
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So it seems I could get a screaming deal on a new ProComp Lift. It would put me about 3" above stock. Which is fine for now, i'd shackle the rear and spring spacer the front later to do my tire upgrade. I'd be getting full leaf packs with shims (4deg i think), new springs up front and ES3000 shocks all the way around, as well as drop brackets, and new sway bars. JKS lower front BPE's, and boots for the shocks all for about $600.
This is juuuuust above my budget, but since i'm getting a lifetime warranty on everything, and I don't have the means really to fab up my own stuff, I figured this would be a good deal.
I priced everything out, and it's well below retail.
Any comments? Suggestions?

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Unread 03-12-2010, 10:28 AM   #17
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Nice progress so far..
Seems like a good deal you just mentioned for the whole kit.
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Unread 03-21-2010, 02:53 PM   #18
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Tune Up & o2 Replacement

Well it was time for a tune up. Been keeping real good track of the MPG's over the last month or so, and i'm averaging a solid 15-16 mpg. The best i've had was a touch over 18. I know these things arent the most fuel economic vehicle out there, but i know there was 2-4 mpg i could squeek out of it. I also knew that my down stream (after the cat) O2 sensor was bad thanks to a trip to the mechanics shop for a full "used vehicle inspection." So after a trip down to the parts store here's what I decided to do, plugs, cap, rotor, O2 sensor, and a new high flow air filter.

I decided to do a modification to my stock air box, as I didnt want to fork out the bucks for a full intake system that gives you the protection from both heat, and water. Keeping the stock air box and dropping in a good high flow, gives about the same results as a aftermarket system.
Here's how that all went:
First you remove the blow by tube, and the intake tube form the air box, removing the air filter, leaves you this:

There's two mounts that hold this in place, the one towards the rear is on a stud, while the one towards the front bolts thru the box to a welded nut on the body. I PB blasted them before hand, and let it soak for about 30mins before proceeding. Of course in true Jeep fashion, the front bolt broke off on me:

No worries, on to the next steps..... The factory air box has a small, flanged intake port. This restricts the airflow into the intake, and can easily be modified. Now this CAN be done IN the vehicle, but it is far easier taking it out, and i'll show you why later.
This shows the factory opening in the air box. (i had aleady made most of the cuts, in this pic):

After the cutting is done: (note: all i used was a jig saw to make the cuts, a saw blade, hot knife, or sawzall could be used to do this as well.)

This shows after the cut, the difference between the stock opening, and the modified one as you can see, this will allow a much greater mass of air to be drawn in, while still keeping the filter out of the elements:

Next I de-burred the edges with a file, and smoothed all the cuts, rounding them off, leaving no restrictions for airflow.


After modifications are done, reinstall the air box. With one of my bolts broken, the only factory mounting point was the rear stud. There is however (on my 99) a small hole (aprox 1/8" in the bottom towards the front,) which I used as a guide to drill a pilot hole in the body for a new screw to secure the front half of the air box. You'll see the shiny #10 x 1/2" steel screw in this pic that was used.

Only thing left to do is drop in the new air filter and button it all up.


Next it was on to the tune up, the plugs were definitely shot:

And the cap was toast too. Note the build up on the contact points, obviously this would prevent good electrical conductivity, and create a weak spark. Now the engine wasn't running rough before, but it certainly lacked pep, and the mpg's were showing sign of ineffeciency.

Now I know i could have just scraped the contacts, and sanded the rotor down to shiny metal and called it good. But to me thats just a band aid.

Next was on to the O2 sensor, let first say that was a PITA to get out. It was rusty, and might as well have been welded in. It was probably the OEM unit, and had never been replaced. I soaked it with PB Blaster several times for at least 1.5 hours before hand. Finally came out and here's the comparison between the old (left) and the new (right)

The new sensor had a much longer wire harness, and after installed it was obvious that there was potential for failure, as the harness was lying on the drive line:

So using the factory plastic connector shield (black plastic assembly in photo) I noticed a spot where there was room for a zip-tie to be placed tying up the harness out of the way.

Note the small rectangular opening towards the bottom of the plastic housing at the bottom of the pic:
(also, this housing must be removed in order to disconnect the old sensor and plug in the new one, only one bolt holds it in place, and strangely enough, came out quite easily)


Thats pretty much it. I had in the beginning removed the positive battery terminal, and after a few minutes, held it ground briefly to discharge the computer's memory. This caused some rough idling and acceleration upon restart after the job was completed, but smoothed out after a full heat cycle, and a 30 min drive. Even after that, I could tell the computer was still "learning" and will eventually smooth out completely with more driving.
I will re-check the timing in a day or two to make sure everything is as it should be.
But towards the end of the drive it was very clear that the engine was running ALOT better, and acceleration had improved as well. I'll run a couple tanks thru it, and report on what changes I've got in fuel economy.
Hope this shows you how an afternoon, and a few things form the parts store can not only improve efficiency, but also give you a little increase in performance.
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Unread 03-29-2010, 09:48 AM   #19
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Just lubed up the shaft (lol)

orly? lol
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Unread 03-29-2010, 02:26 PM   #20
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one of the next things i was goin to do is cut a bigger hole in the air box also, just untill i can afford a cone.
does it improve mpgs and power? if so i mite not even need a cone, sweet jeep though
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Unread 04-13-2010, 02:53 PM   #21
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OK, so here's the official update:
After the tune-up, and air box mod I had a net gain of 2mpg.
Nothin to get too excited over, but still, every little bit helps. The "performance" aspect of things was not noticeable, nor did i expect them to be considering i still have stock exhaust, and throttle body. But I can say that the engine (now that the adaptive memory has "re-learned" itself after the O2 swap) is running ALOT smoother, the acceleration is smoother, and overall it seems to be running real nice. Not that it was running like crap before, but there was a noticeable difference between before and after. I would highly recommend to anyone who has gone a while with out a tune up, or if there is any question as to the condition of your O2 sensors, is to do what I have done. It will be worth it in the long run.

Suspension Update: The lift kit is still sitting on my living room floor. P_sses me off every time I see it, that its not on my truck. But it appears as we'll (finally) have a full weekend of good weather coming up, so I may make the push, and beg my buddy to let me use his garage/driveway to do it here real soon. I will of course be doing a full pic-heavy write up on the install.
The temporary rear shock install and the rear upper BPE's have been rock solid, and have given me no issues what so ever. SO that will more than likely be the easiest part of the upcoming lift install -swapping the rear temp shocks out with the new ones. Next week, i'll be going down to Wally World and getting two sets of the cheapo lights that will find a new home on the front of my roof rack. I'll do a write up on that as well.
STAY TUNED! Progress will be coming soon!
- thanks -
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Unread 06-02-2010, 11:26 PM   #22
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Lift Install - Rear Suspension - pt1

So with fair weather, and a three day weekend, I finally tackled the lift install. It's been a LOOOOOONNNNG time coming, and I couldn't be more happy wit the results. Here's what went in: 3" ProComp Kit with full leaf packs (rubber bushings and 4 degree shims installed already), New U-bolts, 3" coils, front brake line relocation tabs/brackets, new lower control arms, sway bar drop brackets, and new sway bar links, track bar relocation bracket, Pro Comp ES3000 shocks, shock boots, and JKS front lower bar pin eliminators. (already have the rears installed.)


So now that we're all up to speed, here's how the install went.
Backed it in, and started in on the rear. I knew this was going to be the most difficult, and had the possibility of presenting the most issues.


With the rear end jacked up and on stands, the rear wheels came off and I dove right in.


Many weeks of PB Blasting had been done. In the last 6-8 weeks alone I've gone thru 2 full cans, and during the install, went thru 1/2 of another can.
Fist to come out was the rear sway bar. Three bolts of the four came out with no issue at all. But in true Jeep fashion, one of the weld-nuts decided to break off in the frame rail. So with a quick trip to Harbor Freight for a cheapo 4.5" angle grinder, It got cut off.


And out it came. Wont be needing this any more!


Next up was the front leaf spring mounts. I've read several posts where these have been touted as one of the worst parts of a lift install on an XJ.
After some close inspection, I found this little hole just to the inside of the mount.


If you spray inside at the right angle, you can get right to the threads of the bolt sticking thru the weld-nut. A straw would be awesome on the end of the spray nozzle, but PB Blaster has a pretty good stream so it wasnt too hard, just dont be shy with the lube. SOAK IT. If you get the right angle (see arrow) you can hit it pretty good. I did this for weeks before the install.


This proved to work well, as the first - front leaf spring bolt came out with out too much difficulty. I did have a 3/4" 2ft breaker bar, and I torched the bolt too, just to be safe. Last thing I wanted was to break one of those weld-nuts.


I can't explain just how "crunchy" and nasty this was and how absolutely CAKED with rust this bolt/weld-nut were. This pic just barely shows how much crap is built up inside these.


The driver's side front leaf spring bolt was a whole nother story. This didnt want to budge. So i sprayed, and torched......


....sprayed, and torched some more, and after putting all I had into it.....


It finally broke free. Creaks, and cracks, and the most gawd awful "wet sand" noise every time I got a turn out of it. It came out about an inch.... then stopped. A typical issue from what i've read on Jeep Forum. Here's the arsenal of tools required to do this part of it:


If this ever happens to you.... take my advice and dont just keep turning. I did that while getting on it with a pickle fork, trying to pry it out as i turned. It didnt work. After a whole lot of torching, and prying the leaf spring eye to one side as much as possible, i was able to get a set of vice grips onto the collar/sleeve/tube thing that goes thru the center of the bushing. The bolt rusts/fuses with this, and wont back out. There's enough bite on the threads of the weld nut to push it thru part of the way, but after that your SOL. If you just keep turning, and dont stop that sleeve from spinning inside the bushing, this will happen:


The threads stripped out from the bolt just spinning against them and not backing out. There was maybe 2 or 3 good threads at the very end of it. I tried chasing the threads with the new bolts, but no luck.

The rears came out pretty easy. Lost of pre-spraying did the trick. That and the right tools really help. Quite rusty, and definitely due for a swap.


Once the whole spring was out I got a better look at the old. Here's a close up of the front eye. I have some choice words for this s.o.b.


Speaking of swap. Here's the new shiny that will be replacing the old rusty junk hardware. THANK YOU JACK-IT!!! ---> Suspension lift kits, body lifts, leveling kits, shocks and other 4x4 products - Jackit.com
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Unread 06-02-2010, 11:28 PM   #23
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Lift Install - Rear Suspension - pt2

Here's the old vs. the new leaf springs. Nice arch on the new, flatness-saggy-worthlessness on the the old. I'm SO GLAD I went with a full pack over an AAL. An Add A Leaf simply wouldnt have given me the net gain of lift I got form a full leaf pack, and would have just sagged over a short period of time.


So after the old leaf springs were out, it was time to tackle the repair of the stripped out drivers side front leaf spring weld nut. Here's what was required:

A 12" x 1/2" drill bit. This is long enough to reach all the way through with out any interference. This bit will ream the hole to the appropriate size in order to install a Heli-Coil. A Uni-Bit to enlarge the outer hole enabling you to clear a socket to hold the tap tool. A 14-2.0 tap tool, and the smallest possible socket to capture the end of it. You wont have room for a typical "T" style tap handle. A 14-2 Heli-Coil Kit - includes the previously mentioned tap tool, coils, and coil install tool. (be prepared, this kit cast nearly $80). And of course a NEW bolt to install/check afterwards. Dont even THINK of using the old hardware.
Here's the outer hole only SLIGHTLY reamed out larger for tool clearance.


The process of tapping the old, reamed out weld-nut, is very tough. This is at least grade-5 type hardware. The tap is tough enough for the job, but you'll want to tackle the first part of this with a drill. Doing this by hand would take forever, and most likely give poor results. There will come a point when the drill just wont have the torque to finish the job. Thats why I went with the socket method. This enabled me to finish the job with good results. Its always a good idea to clear out the chip load (shaved metal) and lube often. This will make things easier and give better results. Once your drilled, and tapped, you'll thread in the Heli-Coil just past flush with the frame rail. Because of the intensity of this whole repair, I neglected to take a few, "mid-way" pics. But here's the finished product:




Now that the weld-nut is repaired, its time to get the new leaf springs in and move on. I recommend installing the front of the leaf spring first. This will prove to make things easier in the long run. Installing leaf spring by yourself can be difficult, but with the right tools/technique, it can be a breeze. You'll need a bottle jack, a floor jack, and a pry bar. This will give you 3 axis' of control to line up the bushing eye with the shackle. By this time the rear axle is only connected by the drive shaft, and brake line, everything else is disconnected, but the axle is still supported by a floor jack under the differential. this will enable you to manipulate the axle easily to give yourself as much room as possible to fit parts, and for working room. Having the axle as low as possible will make it easy to fit the new springs in. Once the front is in, (sorry no pic) loosely install the new U-bolts, and move on to the rear. The bottle jack will go on top of the spring and press against the top/back of the wheel well. Dont worry, there's not a lot of force being applied here, your not going to dent anything.


Extending the bottle jack will control the forward/backward axis of the spring.
The floor jack (placed under the axle tube on the side your working on) will control the upward/downward axis of the spring.


The last control factor is the use of a pry bar against the shackle. This will (of course) move the shackle into a position where you can slip (maybe hammer) the new leaf spring eye bolt thru.


Since the jacks work independently, and can be adjusted then left alone without having to hold them, you have one hand free for the pry bar, and one hand free to install the bolt.






Next is the shocks. Since I've already done this once, it went super smooth. Bar pin eliminators FTW!!! Here's the old (blue) and the new (white).






After this, it was just a matter of throwing on the 1.25" Hub Centric Wheel Spacers. I got these off of Craigslist, one of those deals I couldnt pass up. For the price of 1 to 2 wheels, i got wheel spacers that simulate roughly 4" of back spacing on my stock Eco-5's. Red Loctite on the threads, and torqued to 85ft lbs.




Once that was done, the wheels/tires went back on, and a quick pic was taken: HUGE difference!!!
BEFORE:

AFTER: (rear only)


So there it is!! Back half done and a good preview of whats to come. Its getting late and this is getting long. I'll post the front half of the install tomorrow.
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Unread 06-03-2010, 06:09 PM   #24
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looks like a hotrod
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Unread 06-04-2010, 09:01 PM   #25
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thats sweet i used the same spring bolts from jack-it, seems like some good stuff.
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Unread 06-04-2010, 11:48 PM   #26
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Lift Install - pt3 - Front Suspension

Ok, so after the rear was done, I moved right to the front end. Turned the Jeep around and started the tear down. I dont have alot of pics of this stage pf things, as I was making great progress, and got caught up in the momentum of things. It all went pretty easy. First off was the sway bars. Those came out pretty easy. Here's the old vs. the new. Beefier, taller, and hinged for a little more articulation over the stock style.


The new ones went in real easy, and look great too. I'll eventually mod them to disco in the future, but they'll be fine for now.




Yes those are the new lower control arms half installed. I forgot to take a side by side of the new and old ones. The old ones came out without too much difficulty, alot of pre spray with the PB Blaster, a breaker bar, and an electric impact wrench made fairly quick work of this process. Had to re-use the old hardware, but it cleaned up well enough, and the threads weren't in bad shape.


Greasing everything up real good helps get these in place, a dead blow rubber mallet helped when some extra persuasion was needed. After it was all done: (This pic taken a few days after install.)


Springs were next, no spring compressor was needed. These are only 3" springs, had they been like 5" or bigger, one MAY have been needed. But by this time virtually everything of the old suspension was off already. Shocks were out, the lower control arms had not yet been bolted to the axle, and the sway bars hadnt been tightened up yet. So the axle was easy to manipulate. Just lower it as far as it will go, (with the jeep up on stands as far as IT will go, and you'll have plenty of room.) just lower the axle on one side, lift on the other a bit, and it will pivot to the point of where you can pull the spring out (after removing the spring retainer clip first of course.)
Old vs new:


Not a huge difference in length, bu the gauge of the spring and the number of coils let you know this isnt going to sag or be as soft as the stock ones.
They went in as easy as the old ones came out, and again.... no spring compressor was needed. Just apply the same logic as before, and voila!
The shocks went in next as did the JKS Lower Bar Pin Eliminators. Easy as pie!

Wheel spacers up front too of course

(yes i cut the zip tie)


The Trac Bar Relocation Bracket was last. No amount of grease and hammering made this go in easy. Talk about a tight fit!!! Goes right in place of where the trac bar mount in its stock location. Drill a hole for a second nut and bolt (grade 8) and remount the trac bar. This took some hammering to get in as well.

(this pic taken a few days after install)


This put the steering wheel about 90degrees off from normal, but it still drove straight. I went and had it aligned a couple days later. I was told it wasnt all that far out of spec. - means i did my job right! -

All said and done!!! Here it sits after it was all buttoned up.
Bad angle before:


And after!


Drives straight, handles great. The new suspension is far more responsive than the beat up, blown up stock suspension. No more jarring impact when I hit a pot hole, now it absorbs just about anything. (not that i'm stump jumping or looking to hit the biggest/deepest of pot holes.) I'm really quite happy with how it turned out. All together across two days, i put in about 21 hours of labor. Air tools, a hoist/lift would have made things go alot faster.
Drive line vibes are there, not horrible, but enough to where i've ordered a Transfer Case Drop Kit. And best of all... no death wobble or bump steer.
Let me know what you guys think, orif you have any questions or pic requests. - Thanks For Looking!
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Unread 06-05-2010, 02:07 AM   #27
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im really glad you did your research and got full leafs and not AAL's because your jeep looks soo much better and will last longer!
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Unread 06-05-2010, 02:08 AM   #28
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also cant wait to see where this XJ goes
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Unread 06-05-2010, 02:17 AM   #29
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great start! any specifics you got the procomp lift? keep up the work and cant wait to see it with some meats
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Unread 06-05-2010, 08:39 AM   #30
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looks great man think once i save up for a real lift ill go with your same setup
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