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LOCKED UP 04-06-2010 11:12 PM

My 2004 TJ build thread
I'm a little late starting this thread so I'll try to catch you all up as quickly as possible.
Most pictures should be "thumbnailed" and you can click on them for a larger version.

My long term goal for this TJ is to be street friendly but as stout as possible on 35s. I've thrown around the idea of a mild V8, Hi9's and an atlas but I'll likely end up with a stockish drivetrain, long arms & stretched rig on 35s. Cage is a must as well and is very high on the current (as of this writing) list.

I a little back story on me is that I started out on this forum in the XJ section and built up what I think was a really nice XJ:

Over time though I yearned for an open top and I got my hands on a YJ. I put a lot of time and work into the YJ and it too came out very nice:

But, since I had moved to TX from LA, suspension became a little more important. After much debate, I settled on a 04 TJ Rubicon in January of 2009 and here is what I got:

It came with the usual Rubicon goodies as well as the "fantastic" tube bumpers. It was missing the spare and the tires were shot. Ac fan didn't blow on low, dented tailgate and the usual slight rear main leak.

It also had some pimptastic leather seats...

It was a big change from my YJ which I had built for more of a mud/trail vehicle. Although I knew I wanted this to be more of a rock rig I still had to add a little lift as I'm not a fan of the super LCOG builds. I think they have their place and all but I prefer a happy medium.

The first few things I did was to can the tube bumpers and add a lift. I had an RE lift on my XJ that I really liked so I decided to give that a shot. I also sold the seats in favor of crappy stock seats (no use tearing up nice seats when I can sell them for some decent $$$).

After doing some serious wheeling and dealing on craigslist and ebay I ended up slapping together a 4.5" front system and a 3.5" rear system. I did this because every TJ I saw with RE 3.5" springs all the way around looked low in the front to me. I don't like the raked look so I went with taller springs up front.

Here is the install gallery and a few select shots...
Rear is done:

Note that Tommy R is here drinking my beer ... er ... helping

It came out perfectly level so I'm happy with my spring choices. Wish I could say the same for the LCAs (will cover that later).

I also picked up some Nitto Mud grappplers already mounted to some Moab wheels.

And now ... just for fun ....
Here it is with the 33s and no lift:
My 31s sold faster than I thought and I had to park it like this for a few days as suspension parts rolled in. I did not drive it this way and I highly advise you don't try that.:laugh:

My plans at this point were to save up some cash for bumpers, gearing and 35s ... which I'll cover next time.

LuckRider 04-06-2010 11:14 PM

Wish I could find something like that in my price range. I do hate the bumpers though :shhh:

honda250ex 04-06-2010 11:19 PM

Good luck with the build... :D

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 08:06 AM

After driving for a while on the 33s I started looking for some 35s and I found what I was looking for on Pirate4x4.

I got a steal of a deal (so I thought) on some 35" Maxxis Creepy Crawlers on steel wheels. I also picked up a used front bumper set from Tommy R.

I didn't know it when I paid for them over the web but they were on huge 16x10 steel wheels. Each rim/tire weighs in at 112 lbs.:eek:

Needless to say my gas mileage and braking started to suck big time. So a regear was definitely in order.

I did as much research as I could and I found that a lot of people were happy with 5.13s in the 4speed auto. I also figured I'd replace the weak rear carrier with an ARB at the same time.

I called up Dave at Northridge4x4 and picked up the Mas Grande 35 spline ARB, alloy shafts from Alloy USA and some 5.13s for the front and rear. The 35 spline kit was not much more than the 33 spline one so I figured why not.

Krawltex here in Austin (Cedar park actually) did the install and my initial impressions were that it made a huge difference.

There was a problem with the install and after all was said and done I think we got every bearing in the rear axle replaced trying to figure some stuff out. It seems to be a little better now but they are still noisier than most gear sets I have had.

Up next is a new rear bumper, larger ARB pump and ....

Imped 04-07-2010 09:19 AM

Wheelin pics.....

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 09:42 AM


Originally Posted by Imped (Post 9238917)
Wheelin pics.....

Maybe just a sneak peek for now ... I'm trying to do it in order. :D

Imped 04-07-2010 10:10 AM

Ah very nice.

JeepRocks86 04-07-2010 10:29 AM

Good Luck.

JSBlu974X4 04-07-2010 11:26 AM

I was thinking of swapping in an ARB rear since I found some shavings in my last lube change (not sure where they came from), are you running the stock rubicon front and ARB rear? where are you going to place your switches?

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 11:41 AM


Originally Posted by JSBlu974X4 (Post 9239719)
I was thinking of swapping in an ARB rear since I found some shavings in my last lube change (not sure where they came from), are you running the stock rubicon front and ARB rear? where are you going to place your switches?

Yes I am running the stock locker up front.

The switches for my arb are on my dash, to the right of the stock switch cluster. Not the best location if I ever want to add a switch. I suppose I can always move the compressor switch to the left of the dash where my KC light switch is. Especially since I want t remove the KCs from the windshield and put them on the bumper where the stock fogs are.

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 03:55 PM

After installing the gears and larger tires I noticed a nice clunking sound when I sped up or slowed down. It was to be the first of many odd sounds but I got under the Jeep and started rocking it back and forth by rolling the tire back and forth while in park.

I immediately noticed my LCAs were moving around on the rubber bushing end. the LCAs were brand new so I was concerned that the hole had been wallowed out by the previous owner or something but it turned out that RE had a large run of crappy hourglass bushings and mine were part of it.

After a call to RE I had some replacement bushings on the way (free) but they were back ordered for months ... grrrr.

While I was under the jeep finding the bad bushings, I also noticed that my rear end had shortened up my wheelbase a bit. This means harsher driveshaft angles and a rougher ride. So, as I waited for the RE bushings to come in I ordered a set of adjustable LCAs all around. They use some nice BDS parts and are angled so that you don't tear up your coil spring perches or LCAs.

They are pretty solid units if you want to check them out:
IronMan 4X4 Fabrication

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 03:58 PM

Up next, I decided to upgrade the steering to the currie HD unit. I also installed an OME stabilizer that I modified to fit.

I forgot to mention them but since it's visible in the pic ... I replaced the stock diff covers with some "Solid" units. The are pretty stout but I find the fill plug to be too high for my taste.

I also got some sway bar link mounts that are a little taller to help clear the steering. You can see one here with the gusset:

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 04:09 PM

Up next was the rear bumper and tire carrier.

I wanted to build my own like I did for the YJ but I had since sold my welder and we were living in a rented house. I was pretty sure that the owner wouldn't appreciate the welding spatter in the garage so I found a local guy to build the base bumper for me.

I ordered the mega hinge and tire carrier plate from A to Z fab and the latch from EMS offroad. I had a latch like that on the YJ bumper and was happy with it. No experience with the one A to Z fab has but I'm sure it's good as well. In retrospect, I should have just ordered it all from A to Z and saved some shipping costs.

I dropped all the parts off at Krawltex and gave them some instructions on how I wanted it. Here is what I ended up with.

As a bonus, I asked them to remove the stock body mount in the rear and replace it with some angle that ties the body mount, bumper and frame together. Hard to explain but pics should get the point across.

swampthing06 04-07-2010 05:08 PM

nice looking jeep. did you have that jeep for sale earlier on craigslist?

LOCKED UP 04-07-2010 05:15 PM


Originally Posted by swampthing06 (Post 9241792)
nice looking jeep. did you have that jeep for sale earlier on craigslist?

I bought it off craigslist from someone just down the road.

The time now is 02:28 AM.

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