This started out as a simple frame swap to replace a badly rotted frame that quickly led to another jeep addiction.
Initially went from a stock 4 cyl stocker to an RE XD4.5 sua with a set of procomp 35" XMT's. I picked up a clean frame, and started gathering parts for a V8 swap while I wheeled the old frame.
My initial design was to stretch the rear 3" and swap in a ford 8.8, along with a genright ext tank. I didn't want to go comp cut and more stretch cause I still like to bomb around town and that would be a bit much to get away with. I also wanted to do something to improve the front, especially the low shackle height. I debated about what coilover setup to do and after talking to several companies decided on the RockKrawler X factor plus comp 7 kit. I was able to get the front kit only, including the center skid plate/mount and still utilize my streched rear leaf setup. This would stretch the front 2" and give me about a 99"wb. I also picked up a hydraulic bellhousing and np435 tranny from an 85 f250 and an 89 mustang 5.0 v8. I went to Novak for a lot of parts including a rebuild kit for the np435.
I also used an np435 to np231 adapter kit from Novak and got a new np231hd transfer case from JB conversions. I added a Novak tcase shifter linkage kit to the mix. After dealing with not enough throw from the ford clutch slave, I added a Novak 3/4" slave that took care of the problem completely. The stock skid shown in the pic was not used in the build.
Next was a mustang kevlar clutch from zoom. While this was a good choice for performance, the smaller flywheel required some rethinking for a starter. I went to a powermaster with the infilock mount, then redesigned the mount to move the starter in closer to the new flywheel. I can't say enough about the starter durability. I ran a whole day with no clutch due to a cheap plastic master failure, and had to start in gear in all sorts of situations, and it never failed.
After all the mockup and days of cutting off stock mounts, it was time to start welding. 2 full days later that was finished. My friend Kenny deserves all the credit for the welds, no way I could match that let alone trust it. Parts included in this are, RockKrawler center skid/mount section, coilover mounts, frt tracbar mount, Novak motor mounts, MORE rear frame plate, Poison Spider rear corner reinforcements, BTF rear main eye spring mounts, Genright rear shackle hangers.
Here's some poser flex shots I took while figuring out driveshaft lengths. I went with Tatton shafts for both the cv rear and standard front. Great prices and next day shipping. Several guys I wheel with are using his driveshafts and they stand up real well. I maxed out the cpicker before I maxed out the suspension. Gave me enough info for the measurements though.
The next pics show the Novak radiator as well as the flexilite fan. I have about an inch between the motor and firewall and 3/4 of an inch at the fan. Countless hours of mockup paid off as no adjustments were needed at final assembly.
Next is the front axle, steering and brake setup. For right now I'm still running a d30 with an ARB and alloy usa shafts. I have a Bulletproof otk steering setup with hiems. I went to a single rubber line down to the axle for the brakes, then went out to the sides from there with hard line and to stainless for the outers to the calipers. I eliminated the factory ditribution block after the master and just put a proportioning valve on the rear line. Got this whole idea from John, a fellow jeep club member. An ARB cover finishes it off. A Riddler cover for the 8.8 and Currie ubolt skids/shock mounts for the rear.
I changed the RE XD4.5 rear springs for a set of BDS 5" springs to level it off. They work rear well and added the little extra height I wanted. I also got a set of Pitbull 37" rockers on Procomp 10" wheels to get the tire size and extra width I wanted. Next on the list will be a new front axle, but I haven't decided on what to get yet. The power is great and the suspension performs real well too. I know it doesn't have the lcg look everyones looking to do right now, but I tried to keep the weight low and/or centered with things like the ext tank vs doing a fuel cell up in the rear cargo, as well as the motor/tranny position. So far I'm real happy with it and it works good for the terrain I wheel.