Hobbes is my first Jeep and while I was trying to decide what and how I was gonna lift her (and learning a TON about Jeeps) I decided on my first upgrade...
I ditched the scrawny stock steering stabilizer and put in this one from OME.
By the end of December I had decided which route I wanted to take in adding lift and had ordered parts...
This was a busy month. I ordered suspension parts like mad. HD OME springs/leafs, TNT Custom (now Treks) Y-link radius arm kit, RE HD adjustable track bar, ACOS, 31x12.5 X-Terrains and 15x8 steel wheels (4.5" backspacing).
While waiting for suspension parts to arrive I also ordered and installed a factory fog light assembly (lights, wires, switch...), factory cruise control, Rocky Road Outfitters Supersliders and the ubiquitous FSM.
So I'm still collecting suspention parts... little odds/ends like drop pitman arm. I install a Kargo Master Bushman roof rack system (52"x60") complete with shovel/axe mount, high-lift mount and spart tire carrier. I have since ditched the tire carrier and high-lift mount. I also picked up a high-lift jack as I was preparing to move...
So this was it! The move was accomplished and I had my garage back (divorce) and a good place to do the lift. My friend Jason (a longtime YJ owner) helped me get it going. Insalling TNT Customs Y-link, ACOS, the HD OME springs and leafs (w/AAL), RRO extended shackles, drop pitman arm, RE HD adj. trackbar and brace, Deotsche Tech shocks, swaybar dicos, bar pin eliminators, 31" tires:
Except for some center caps to clean up the new wheels, my wallet took April off.
But in May I fell off the wagon again. I installed a gas tank skid taken from an '89 XJ (minor modifications but bolted right in). I installed a blue top Optima and HD battery cables from Kelly's Works in Progress. I pulled some hood vents off an '86 Chrysler New Yorker turbo, color matched the paint and hacked some big holes in the hood to install them. I ended the month installing an overhead console pulled from a '99 XJ. Install thread: http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f11/overhead-console-install-how-424323/ I also picked up a high-pinion D30 to swap in later.
Edit: Hood vents and associated paints were bought this month but not actually installed until July '07
After a little fiscal recovery I installed a bored out throttle body from JeepersandCreepers.com. I also wired in some fog lights attached on the left and right side of my roof rack, handy since I wheel at night when I get bored.
With stock 3.55's, open diffs and sitting on 31's I tackled a trip to Grizzly Lake, CO. Had a great trip and met a few guys running lifted/locked TJ's sitting on 37's who were impressed (or surprised) that Hobbes had made the trip! One had a TJ "Silver Fox" that had a cool train whistle for a horn. So hooked...
Had some fun this month. Installed a Dynomax Super Turbo catback exhaust, Zone Worx 3 tab lightbar onto the stock front bumper complete with 2 KC Hilites titanium finish 130w slimlights (long range beam). All my off-road lighting switches are installed in the overhead console. Keeps them out of the way and still easy to get to.
The exhaust installed easily but didn't fit with my extended shackles. I thought the problem could be easily solve by just chopping off the exhaust tip with a sawsall. While it solved the fitting issue, within a month I had melted the back leafspring bushing. Picked up a downturn and sleeve, cut the outlet a little more and installed the downturn. Then I replaced all the leaf spring bushings. Finally solved.
I also managed to score some good future upgrades at the junkyard to include: taller front springs (4" lift, possibly Teraflex) and extended braided steel front break lines from a '97 XJ, total cost: $13. A friend of mine also donated a set of 1inch "zero-rate" lift blocks for my next lift addition.
Edit: This month I also picked up some factory front tow hooks and a clevis for my rear 2" hitch receiver. I added another strap to the recovery gear so I always had 2 with Hobbes. See January '08 and you'll know why I am SO glad I did!
This month I addressed some issues that had come up in various areas. While the 31's fit great with the lift I was running, I would (occasionally) pop the stock fender flares off when wheeling. I also learned that at some point while camping/wheeling/hunting I had crushed one of the roof slats on the stock roof rack where my Kargo Master is mounted on the driver side. This caused the rack to rattle a little sometimes when driving.
I found a full replacement rack in the junkyard, replaced the crushed slat and added two more cross bars. Now the Kargo Master rack is supported at 6 points on either side. I also have a spare should it happen again.
To solve the fender issue, I decided it was time to do some trimming. After removing the stock flares, I didn't like how it looked without the flares or with them relocated and trimmed. I picked up a set of Bushwackers and installed them. Even KNOWING the washer reservoir is an issue when installing on an '01 and though I took precautions I STILL managed to punch a small hole in the sucker. Fixed that and after small Modifications to the rear flares was done. Boy did those make the 31's look really small!
After flares but during repairs:
This rounded out my mods and upgrades for '07. Little did I know a "quick" wheeling trip at the start of January '08 would open a whole new can of worms in Hobbes' life...
On January 14 the girl I was dating and I wanted to go for a "quick" drive in the mountains. Beautiful day, some snow on the ground but trails were mostly clear. I don't have much in the way of "active" recovery tools and really need another vehicle if I get stuck so with snow on the ground I don't break new trails (especially solo) so I was staying on routes I had been on in the summer. I'm enjoying the drive RIGHT up until the snow pac gave out over what I would later remember to be a BIG puddle in the summer and not 50 feet from clear visible dirt. Front driver and rear passenger tires are pushed up to the fender while the opposites are doing a great job of digging in the snow.
So remember, I'm running stock 3.55 and open diffs that haven't let me down yet so I don't feel out of it. I've got my hi-lift and shovel on the roof rack and 40 feet of strap, salt, gloves...
As it turned out, I needed about 60 feet of strap to reach an anchor point. A bolt (that held the selector, you know, raise or lower) on my hi-lift had fallen out and the jack was useless as a jack as I now couldn't do either.
After hours of digging (dug almost 2' and still didn't hit dirt) and trying to pack objects under the spinning tires realizing the shortfalls of what I do have, my girl hiking to where a cell signal can be obtained and the dreaded tow bill, the quick trip cost about 7 extra hours and $225.
Remember that HP D30 I had pulled from the junkyard? Oh the plans were a priority now! By the end of the month I had Ed (Crazy Ed's Performance) building that D30 for me. ARB, alloy shafts, 4.56 gears (I had near future plans of going to 33's), new seals, ball joints...
So while the front axle was being built, I ordered a Slikrok winch bumper (AJ's Offroad Armor), bought ProComp Series 51 15"x8" steel wheels (3.75" backspacing) and 33x12.5 X-Terrains.
I also installed (since removed) a throttle body spacer (that has been widened and re-installed) new lug nuts (with a locking nut) to keep the new tires attached, picked up new front brake parts, and ordered a winch and replaced my hi-lift.
Hobbes isn't and never has been for rock "climbing" as she's my daily driver. Although she's not afraid of rocks and we'll hit rocky trails, I always intended her to be a capable off-roader that could handle most of the trails out there to get to camping/hunting, whatever. I chose Smittybilt's XRC8 winch because the cost was great (considering what all else I was doing) and I mainly wanted a winch because I've learned over the years (more recently in January) that it is "better to have and not need then need and not have". So the winch is more of a safety net then a necessity.
Last edited by Calvin9r; 03-08-2014 at 02:30 PM..
Reason: TB spacer update
At the start of March, Hobbes was upgraded to the 33's, regeared to 4.56 and the "new" front axle was installed. I added a 3rd (30 ft) tow strap and I also began collecting parts for "upgrading" the steering since I'm on 33's. I already had AJ's Slikrok bumper ordered and it, by design, reinforces the outside framerail at the steering box so I ordered C-Rok's inside steering plate as well. I then began the hunt for a junkyard '99 Durango steering box.
Less then 350 miles in to Ed's recommended break-in period (no towing/hard use) with the axle/regear I opted to go on another unplanned "quick" trip in to the mountains at about 9:30 at night. The ARB wasn't aired yet (no compressor, no temptation) but the snow line was at about 9500 ft and most of the trail was pretty clear. Another trail I've done during the summer. I was starting to consider turning around and coming down when I happened upon a young man (23 or so) and his friend stuck in a snowbank in his BRAND new (<2 weeks) H3. Hee hee... Snow on the trail was about 15" and the bank was around 30". He had nothing to help with recovery but a cell phone (which he had used to call for a tow before I found him). Oh, no jacket or gloves either. Poor guy didn't know he had (or how to use) his lockers or 4wd.
Now, I wasn't about to leave him there but admitidly I was a little nervous about the tug with new axle/gears. Tugged him out and I was gonna go a little farther up the trail when he asked if I minded he follow, "no problem". Well, to sum up some of the trip Hobbes got as far as fresh, undisturbed snow (30" deep) when I decided it was far enough. I passed that on to H3 but there was nowhere to even attempt to turn around. I said we'd need to back down a ways until we could make a safe turn. <50ft and he was stuck again. Another tug. Another 200ft, stuck, tug. He requested I back his H3 down the trail. Ok. Back him 200ft or so, run up and get Hobbes, back him, get Hobbes, back him, you get the point. Did I mention the snow was about 20" - 30" deep, thats some good runnin. My GPS said we did that for about 7/10 of a mile. Got to where he felt comfy driving again and 100ft later, yup, stuck. Tug. 200 ft, stuck, tug. Finally got him where I could turn his H3 around, then turned Hobbes around and he led back down. 500ft, stuck. Well I wasn't going to try tugging him out again uphill because he was in good this time and we were now facing downhill. It was a wider point on the trail, so I put Hobbes in part-time 4 Hi (I have an NP242) and passed the H3 on the left to get in front. Through the snow (15") up through the snow bank (30" or so) and back to get around. Hobbes was tearin through the snow like a fat kid on a cupcake!! Wow that was fun. While I was attaching the strap (again) I heard H3's friend telling H3 "that was AWESOME" (HUGE grin).
We finally get below the snow line and H3 isn't having any problems following, what's on the way up? The tow truck. I stop and talk to the driver who allows us to pass before he turns around (the tow company sent a flat carrier, IMO that wouldn't have been able to make it another 1000ft up the trail let alone get in position to help H3 where he was first stuck). So Hobbes, then H3 get around and wait to make sure the tow makes it ok. The tow makes it halfway into it 3pt turn before it got stuck. After a while of trying on his own, we hitched a 4" strap to the tow and the H3. I told H3 here was a chance he won't get again if he's got a camera (appear cell phone), towing out a tow. H3 asked me to drive while he watched (photo'd) the tug. After that, all finally made it down the trail (6 hours after I started the trail).
Hobbes TOTALLY redeemed herself!
H3 was a really nice guy and hopefully he learned to be better prepared on the trails and help when he can if he comes across a situation like the one he was in, and, I like to think I was a good Jeeper rep...
I found the steering box I had been looking for from a '99 Durango. I also picked up some JKS adjustible bumpstops for the front springs for installation later. I also found the 33's, when turned, were beating the heck out of my fog lights breaking one so those were removed. I installed, and shortly thereafter removed a swaybar relocating bracket set and installed new swaybar bushings.
Hobbes after a hailstorm while on Eagle Rock trail, CO
The far puddle is where she broke through the snow in January