Multitasking: 2003 KJ Limited build - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-28-2013, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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2003 KJ Liberty 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Macon
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Multitasking: 2003 KJ Limited build

As some of you know, my TJ was totaled. I'm on the hunt for an LJ to swap all of my parts over off of the TJ(I'll add the LJ build on my TJ one). I was going to just keep everything in one build thread, but figured it would be too much going on. I'll have both builds going on at the same time, and hopefully can keep one drivable at all times.

I'll start with the plans, and the next post I'll bring things up to date.

Ultimately Im going to do an sas with a hp30 using 10" Fox c/o's, bronco II steering box, and long arms from a TJ. Im going to make my own arms, duplicating the RE radius arm setup, but using DF joints. Im going to try to use an adjustable tj tb, but I dont even know if it would work. If it doesn't, I'll make my own tb and use a press to bend it for clearance. JJ on frame end, and poly bushing on the axle end. I'll be using miscellaneous fab parts for the tb frame mount, and ca mounts. By using the radius arm setup, it will make things alot easier. Tires are going to be 35's. Im undecided on what I want to do for the rear, but more then likely keep the 3 link, but with longer arms, and a welded on cradle.

I've already started gathering parts, and alot of it I can figure out without taking the front apart. I want to wait until I get my LJ build decent before I start. For the mean time I'll be running ifs, and wheeling it until it breaks.


My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-28-2013, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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2003 KJ Liberty 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Macon
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I bought a 2003 KJ Limited from my sister/brother in law. It has damn near every option available, including sunroof, leather, and power everything. It's build date is 3/03, and after checking it out, noticed it has the 45rfe trans. 185,000 miles, and in great condition. Long story short, they swerved a deer and love tapped a ditch with the front passenger tire. They said they hit it around 15mph or so. There was exterior damage at all. It was paid for, and after having passenger side camber issues it was parked. My brother in law actually planned on fixing it, and regularly detailed it. He also drove it once a week so things didnt get gunked up. After asking about it, they said $400 and its yours. They thought there was some subframe damage, and bent arms.

After going to a body shop that deals with alot of frame work, and an alignment shop, it wasn't as bad as I thought. The drivers side had a good bit of negative camber too. The results were a slightly tweaked passenger side clevis, and some crapped out coils. Center of hub to fender measurements in the front are a little over 16 3/4" passenger side, and a little over 17" drivers side. So my $400 rig is starting to look even better.

Here's the rig


You can somewhat see the negative camber. Tried to take a pic from the front but it's too low to tell.


Also does fairly good on gas. 23.6(wife was holding the wheel btw)

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-28-2013, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Macon
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Im going to try to keep a good pace going on these builds. I got alot more then expecting from the insurance company, so I got a little bit to play with. Since the KJ is now my dd, I want to do a few things and keep the ifs for a little while. I've done a good bit of solid axle swaps, but never used coilivers. First off, I want it clean, I dont want to rush and do things ghetto. I also want to make sure I have everything planned out before I even start.

KJ stock coils always sag, and with 185k on them, they are horrible. The cv angles are actually negative. I also know that the passenger side clevis was a little tweaked. I started searching around and then put together a lift. OME struts/long rear shocks, 927/948 HD coils, 3/8" top plate, small clevis lift, JBA uppers, and an extra rear isolator. Those are good for about 3-3.5" of lift. The center of the wheel to fender will be around 23-23.5 inches. As mine sits, its around 17". So about 6" higher then it sits now. I also want to replace the lower bj's, lower arm bushings, sway bar/link bushings, and rack bushings. It will be alot easier to do while I have it apart anyways. I am going to run 235/85-16 km2's, which are around 32x10-16. They are going on stock rims with 1.25" spidertrax spacers. I already know im going to have to do alot of trimming. Im waiting on some parts to get here before I can get started.

I also never checked the coolant mixture, so I was greeted by a hairline crack on the driver side end cap. After being warned about the KJ running an 18psi system, I decided to go with a new oem radiator. I have an external trans cooler, and no factory radiator trans cooler, so I decided to ask for one with an internal one. Im going to run the trans lines into the internal cooler, then into the external one. When I do the sas and 35's, the trans is going to get a workout. Radiator will go in Monday, along with some new spark plugs. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to drop the tank and do the fuel filter.


My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-30-2013, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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I got around to doing the radiator today. I bought the wrong fittings, so I just left the external cooler hooked up. When I get the correct trans cooler fittings, I'll plumb the cooler lines into the radiator and then to the external cooler. Having the electric fan made things alot easier. I did have to take the radiator support off. I've seen guys drill the rivets out where the hood latch mounts, buy I was about to get it out with it still connected. I went ahead and flushed it out good with 5 gallons of distilled water before putting the new radiator in. Yes, I used HOAT coolant(Zerex). From start to finish it took around 3 hours, including repeatedly draining and filling the radiator to flush it out. I was surprised how smoothly it went, and nothing went wrong. I took a few pics to throw into the build thread.

Prepared and about to start. You can see where the coolant leaked down in front of the drivers side tire.


Here's the radiator support, with the upright brace and hood latch still attached. With that removed, I was able to pretty much pull it straight up.


I couldn't get the camera to focus right, the screwdriver is pointing to the small crack.



While I was waiting for the new coolant to circulate, I thought I'd take one of it bolted in. Since I was mixing the coolant myself, I decided I better check the coolant mixture with my tester. It was good for about 25*, so I drained the radiator one last time, and filled the rest with non mixed HOAT. I checked the mixture again and was happy with it, and I was right at 50/50.


As soon as the rest of my bushings, and Moog lower bj's come in, I'll start on the suspension.

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-30-2013, 07:22 PM
JeepaholicNinja
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Looks awesome! Looks like my white-on-white XJ Classic's long lost sibling...About the coils sagging...At least they sag at the same rate front and back...XJs' leafs sag in the back, really badly, but the coils in front, not so much. You're then left with a backwards-leaning Jeep. It would even be good if the front sagged more than the back, slightly less rediculous looking, but alas, Jeeps were made for suspension mods anyways! Good luck! Sub'd!

2000 Cherokee Classic

3" Zone lift, THULE roof rack, Hella 500 Black Magics
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-30-2013, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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I have a wheeling buddy thats local that does heim steering for Chevy's and Ford's. He works at a small machine shop, but makes these on the side. Very high quality, and uses FK or QA1 parts. His chop saw died, and I took mine over to let him borrow, and he asked me my plans for the KJ. I told him I wanted to wheel the ifs while I prepared for the sas. Long story short, he offered to build me a one off setup under 2 conditions. 1) I help, and 2) I buy the heims, he will furnish the misalignment spacers, hardware, and knuckle taper inserts. After a trip to the parts store to get measurements on the tre's we hit a snag. The inner is no problem, just like the other kits he does. The problem is the J-shape of the outer tre. I have no idea why Jeep designed it this way, but the out is j shaped to clear the sway bar/end link. I just got off the phone with him, and theres a few different options we came up with. So after I get the lift one, we will see what will clear and what won't and proceed. Although Im sure the stock tre's will handle offroad and travel just fine, I still want to give it a try. I can't wait to get started on that.

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-02-2014, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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I've been kind of swamped lately, and haven't gotten much accomplished. I started having charging system issues, and it was a pita to figure out. By the time I found the problem, damage had already been done. During the time my sister owned my rig, they were towing it behind their rv. They stopped towing it when they sold the rv and bought a 5th wheel trailer to pull behind their diesel. My brother in law took the thing to the local u-haul for them to install the baseplate, auxiliary braking controls, and wiring for the lighting. The wiring for the lighting that went from the front to rear was where the problem was. By far one of the worst hack jobs I've ever seen as far as wiring goes. I removed about 20ft of chafed, pinched, and melted wiring. The charging problems continued, and I spent many hours trying to figure it out. It also happened at random, so that didnt make it any easier, neither did the fact that the pcm controlled charging. I ended up doing the "Big 3" upgrade, and checked the whole engine compartment wiring, then re-loomed it. I would have done the big 3 anyways, so that wasnt a problem. Determined to figure it out, a buddy came over to help me go over everything with a dmm. After a couple 12 packs, and several hours later, we finally found it what we were looking for. He was checking wiring with the dmm with me in the drivers seat, and I thought I saw something arcing by the alternator. It took close to 20 minutes for me to get it to happen again. It was coming from inside the alternator case, and was pretty bad between 2-3k rpm. Sure enough the voltage was low while this was happening. I replaced the alternator and its been running great. I also replaced the plugs, cleaned the tb/iac/map, and did a good seafoam treatment. It took a couple weeks for me to finally diagnose the problem. The alternator bench tested good numerous times by different parts stores. Since it would always start with radio interference I started with my audio gear. Which I also got around to pulling out of the TJ, and installing. Im about 95% positive the alternator crapped out from the ghetto rv wiring job. Looking back, before removing it, the first charging problems started in stop and go traffic.

Here's one of the 2 melted rv wiring converters


All of the related wiring, minus what I saved that was still usable. Everything in that bag is chafed, burnt, or was pinched in numerous areas. The had the thing pinched by the rear uca, and rubbing on the drivers cv shaft

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-02-2014, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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Location: Macon
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Now that I have the electrical issues solved, I can enjoy my tunes. I ended up just using the box I built for my TJ, so it fits a little awkward. I have a ton of parts coming which will start arriving tomorrow. Since Im dd'ing this thing, a good audio setup is a must for me. I bought the Panasonic hu new when I was in high school. Its been in 8 different rigs, 2 major accidents, and a bunch of water/dust. By far the best hu I've ever seen as far as function and durability. I just thought that was pretty cool the thing has lived this long.

Here's what the new setup will consist of:
Pioneer AVH-4600BT Double-Din touchscreen
EBay KJ specific double-din dash trim kit
CDT 6.5" component set
Hifonics ZRX600.4 4ch amp
Alpine Type-S 6.5" coaxials
Hifonics BRX1100.1
(2) Sundown SA-8 subs

I'm almost done with the box, which is .65 net per sub tuned to 32hz. This time I used a slot port. It will actually fit better then what I have now, and give me more usable space. Subs and port will fire to the rear, and will be covered with a mossy oak shaddow-grass bedsheet. I still have to find some grilles that will work with the huge excursion these things are capable of. I also mounted 4 eye bolts(one on each corner) with fender washers underneath. This will allow me to strap sleeping bags, tents, etc on top of the box.

Here's my current setup:
Panasonic CQ-something or other
Sound Ordinance M1350@2ohms(350wx1@2)
Sundown E10d4
1.78 gross/1.55 net cuft with 4" port tuned to 33hz



Yes, I removed my headrest for better visibility. The KJ has a bad enough blind-spot anyways, and the headrest made it worse. I've been towing my fourwheeler alot, so it really helps



The lighting makes the box look crooked...its not


I've also replaced most of the bad front end parts. New steering rack, rotors, pads, sway bar bushings, and t-case end cv on the front driveshaft. I'll be doing both front cv axles, unit bearings, lower BJ, and new front uppers when I get around to the lift install(which will hopefully be soon). We got 3-4" of snow this past week, so I went out exploring...street tires and all. It made me realize how bad I wish my TJ wasnt totaled. Since snow is rare, I had to at least go drive in it.




Now that my electrical gremlins are at bay, I'll be back to the upgrades

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-20-2014, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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I kept having problems with the brakes sticking. I greased the calipers, and added some drilled and slotted rotors and new pads. I finally got these powerstop pads and rotors installed last night. All I can say is wow!





OME coils waiting to go.


All torn apart for the lift. I ended up doing the ome 926/947 with Bilstein shocks, Moog lbj, Moog uppers, and rebuilding the cv on the front driveshaft

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-23-2014, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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The ball joints weren't near as bad to press in and out as I thought they'd be. My HF press made quick work out of it. I also have the HF 4wd extras, so it took longer to figure out which cups to use then it did to actually press them. I didn't get any pictures of the bj's, but I still have them so I'll snap some. I couldn't believe how bad they were. Both lowers were literally about to come apart.

Here's the front installed. I ended up adding small clevis spacers to level it out.


Rear complete


When it came time to manhandle the springs in, I had some help.


Lift on, but before the clevis. I ended up gaining around 3.5" of lift after the clevis spacers. I'll post some after clevis pics tomorrow.




The ride is 10x better then stock, even though the coils have a stiffer spring rate. I'm doing the bump stops and some bushings up front tomorrow, then it's off to get aligned. I got some small vibes between 30-45, so I decided to change the original u-joints out. With 188k miles on them, there was nothing but dust in the caps. By far the hardest time I've ever had changing out joints before(including front axle u-joints). The u-joints weren't the source of my vibes, they are from the rear upper arm. That thing is shot, with almost no rubber left, and the ball joint has a lot of slop.

I need a new rear slip yoke, there's a lot of play in it on the output shaft. It also has has a small piece broken off the ear where the u-joint clip sits. I might end up just going with an IRO h&t and use a front shaft from an explorer I have laying around. I'll post some more pics up tomorrow, and take some pics of the old bj's

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-24-2014, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the old lower bj's, and the worst upper. It looks like grease in there but it's not, it's watery nastiness. If you hold the lowers in your hand the stud flops around, and both studs have about 1\4" of up and down play. These guys definitely weren't safe to be driving on.


Here's some better shots of the front after the clevis spacers. I used 3 2" conduit nuts on each side. This is perfectly safe, as the clevis pinch bolt holds the position of the clevis onto the strut. The spacers are simply to get both sides even. With the pinch bolt torqued to spec there is no weight on the conduit nuts.



Moog HE greasable lbj's, these things are stout. One is heavier then both TRW stockers.


Here's a pic with the clevis spacers installed. Sits nice and level.



Now for the bad news...my a/c system took a dump today. The a/c has been cold, but cycled on and off every 2-4 seconds. I added some 134a with one of those diy cans with the Guage attached. It showed the system as being low, and was still a tad low after I emptied the can. Today I heard a horrible noise, and quickly turned it off. All of the freon blew out of the back of the compressor sonewhere. I haven't had a chance to investigate yet, but seems like it's from the o-rings. It still comes on and off, just makes racket, and the clutch isn't siezed.

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-24-2014, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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I also plan on putting this fm/cb modulator to use, which I've had since Christmas. Going to mount my firestick in place of the factory antenna. Should be nice and clean looking, and hopefully improve my fm radio reception.


I've had a Transgo 45rfe-hd2 shift kit for a couple weeks, so I stopped by and picked up 12 quarts of ATF+4 that was on sale for $4ea. I also picked up the filters, gasket, and some wiring supplies (for the transgo resistor). I'm going to install the shift kit and filters, then undo the cooler line and do a driveway flush.

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-25-2014, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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I got the alignment and tires balanced/rotated today, and got a quote for the a/c to be fixed. Turns out that I'm an idiot, and overfilled the system. To sum it up, the r134a broke down after years of service, so a DIY kit was used to charge it. Then I charged it because the compressor cycled every 2-4 seconds, and showed low charge. Since it was never vacuum discharged it was mostly full of oil, and when I added some all hell brok loose. Luckily, the only damage is a couple o-rings, and a Shrader valve. The pressure relief blew off the excess as the pressure raised from warmer ambient temps.

I finally fixed my missing tcase shifter bushings and clip. I had an extra bushing for my TJ that I used as a clip. I wasn't able to get any pics because it was dark. I took a rubber "well nut" and drilled out the threads just enough to slide onto the tcase lever(about half length of the spacer). I drilled the flange side big enough to slide the TJ bushing into (the stock plastic cable end had an I.D. the same as the O.D. of the TJ bushing). The way way the TJ bushing is made, it served as a clip to hold everything on, and also kept the well nut tight inside the cable. I'll try to get some pics tomorrow, I'm sure it would help some guys out. Jeep only sells the bushing and clip as part of the cable/lever assembly. I spent $2.20 on the rubber spacer. I believe I paid right around $5 for the Crown tj bushing awhile back. Everything fits on there nice and tight, and the TJ bushing took some work to press/clip onto the tcase lever. It's definitely not going anywhere for a while.

I started on modding the stock antenna mount for the cb antenna, but ended up having to call it a night. I didn't like how the stock mount leans the antenna rearwards, so I decided to take care of thay. There's two tabs that go into spots in the fender, then an outer nut holds it on. I simply dremel'd some material from the tabs and made a "twist lock", then put the outer nut on. It worked pretty good, and feels sturdier then factory. Now the cb antenna will be straight up and down. Other then that, I got the mount drilled and tapped, and the factory trim piece dremel'd to let the spring sit flat. I'll get some pics of that as well.

Here's a couple pics I took from today. I hope to do a weekend camping shakedown run soon. I've been swapping parts from my totaled tj over to the lj, while still trying to make progress with the KJ. It's an everyday struggle living life with a progressing Jeep addiction...



My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-26-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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2003 KJ Liberty 
 
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Location: Macon
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I got the cb antenna mount finished and the fm-cb converter installed. I kept having to stop because of the weather but finally got it finished. I'm still trying to figure out where I want to mount the cb, so I have it temporarily mounted under the seat.



My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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post #15 of 19 Old 03-14-2014, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
The_Dealer
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2003 KJ Liberty 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Macon
Posts: 1,585
Finally got around to changing the fuel filter. It looked like the original one, so I cut it open to check it out. Needless to say, it was way overdue.

My build
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/the_dealers-soft-core-build-1476982/
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