Special thanks to hoovail, tdij, xjinvail, and sleenky for the wrecnhing, welding, and garage space. Hoovail worked hard on this one
I started with the OEM wheel base and blew this thing out to 98" with the Clayton kit. This kit takes work. It is not for the faint of heart. I estimate that we put in nearly 18 hours in two days to get to a roller. The finishing touches still have to come (drive shaft, cleaning up lines, shocks, etc...)
I am in an awkward phase, but this will pass. The rig looks good. Hoovail's welds turned out great.
We used up about 11 cut off wheels. Used several sets of stands. And a lot of hard work.
The hardest part (most labor intensive) was making the frame notches for the coil retainers. We had to polish off the old coil retainer brackets and notch out the crossmember. We had to remove about three inches toward the rear of the Jeep and about one half inch toward the center of the Jeep. This took a lot of grinder time.
A tip to others: Make sure you print the Clayton templates in FULL SIZE. They don't default to the right size when you print them.
We measured several times and drew on the shape with a paint pen. Then set to work.
The notch that took forever
Make sure you grind everything smooth (including the inside of the frame). We used flapper wheels for that. If you do not the coil retainers will not seat properly.
Welding the new frame support, bucket brace, and coil retainer
The notch for the coil retainer was the hardest cut. After that we moved on to notching the frame to outboard the shocks.
The frame cut out is supplied by Clayton. We seated is so that about a 1/4" sticks out all the way around. I was able to drill holes through the cut out for the gas tank mounts.
If you needed another reason to stay away from Rubicon Express products...we discovered my coils were cracked and had left shards in the old buckets. We repaired what we could. I will have to visit this again later.