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Ruffstuff Axle Simple Swap Kit!ROCK BOTTOM prices on LIFT KITS at Rockridge4wd!! WANT TO Introducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed Line

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Unread 08-22-2009, 07:27 PM   #1
pmccoy9876
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'No Solution' Build Thread

First, let me explain the title. I'm an engineering student right now, so I've got a bit of a dork side to me, hence the name of the project. I personally think it's pretty clever, as it ties together the whole math thing that I do 9 months a year with the fact that a Jeep project is never truly done, just done for the time being. That, and there's no solution to the Jeep addiction. Anyways, I figured that would be a good name for my rig so there you go.

The Jeep: My Jeep is a '97 TJ Sport, it just turned 150,000 miles yesterday on the trip to college in Florida from Ohio. I got it in 2006 the summer after I graduated high school, and knew nothing about working on cars, trucks or Jeeps.

Me in the Jeep the day I brought it home, way back in '06:


As I owned it, I began to do little maintenance here and there, fixing small items such as a door lock or changing the oil (which I had never previously done.) At the same time, I watched shows like Xtreme 4x4 and hung out with my uncle and cousin who are huge Chevelle guys, so I got to learn about things like motor swaps and how the engines work in great detail by watching them and helping a little. In time, I gained to confidence to start doing my own major repairs on the Jeep, which is about the time that I joined Jeepforum.

I also began to wheel more at that point. Found some cool stuff to do, like crawl on this car:





And dumb things to do, like try and go through this pond without having sealed the airbox properly for the snorkel (I assumed it was already sealed. Not so much.)



I don't think that I have any pictures of this, but one of my first big undertakings was hurculining the Jeep almost exactly a year after I got it. I took out all of the seats, carpeting, etc, and it turned out well, but I need to go back and touch it up since it's been beat up for the last 2 years.

My fenders started rotting about that time, so I decided to cover it up with some diamond plate aluminum for the time being. It looks ok, but a DIY highline is on my plate in the near future.


About a year ago, I began to really consider lifting the Jeep properly. After researching and figuring out what I wanted my ultimate goal to be, I decided to get the Rubicon Express 4.5" Long Arm Lift kit, as this would allow me to run the 37" tires I eventually planned on, but would be totally acceptable for anything from 33" up, and wouldn't make the Jeep too high for the trails. In October or so of last year, one of Jeepforum's vendors had a sale, and it was the lowest price I'd ever seen for the kit, so I got it shipped to my parents' house in Ohio (much to their chagrin) to put it on during Christmas break.

Pictures of the Jeep after the lift: Only have cell phone pics of it during the install.




I also got a Warn M8000 winch, which was already hooked up at that point. You can see it in the pictures above.

After lifting it, I wanted to do a regear ONCE to save money. Because of this, I need to do the axle swap I planned before regearing. Well, being a college kid who is learning about building Jeeps and getting the tools to do so as I go, it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So from Christmas '08 to summer of '09, I bided my time while looking silly with a 4.5" lift and very bald 31" tires. I did wheel a few times, and the lift did one heck of a job keeping all 4 wheels on the ground, so we all joked about the tires being "mud slicks" due to the lack of tread, but still mind-blowing amount of traction I was getting for open diffs and bald tires.

Here's some of my favorite wheelin pictures from Wellsville with that goofy setup:





I'll admit it looks silly, but this picture is to showcase the old wheels that I painted myself at the beginning of the summer. (they're for sale, by the way, $100 bucks takes 4 of them!)


In May of '09 I returned to Ohio for the summer and began collecting parts for my axle swaps (front and rear.)

I had picked up an Exploder 8.8" from a junkyard in Daytona Beach at college, and it was CLEAN! However, it had 3.73 gears, which would never cut it.

Exploder 8.8 from the u-pull-it:


Before leaving Florida, I began a little bit of work on the 8.8, cutting off the old spring perches and grinding down the welds.

I found that a combination of sawsall and cutoff wheel worked well, cutting the perch into 3 pieces and grinding down the welds afterwards.








I also had bought a High Pinion D44 housing in Florida, but then I also found a complete HP D44 on Pirate 4x4 when I was in Ohio, and the price was right, so I jumped on it and grabbed it, which gave me both my axles.

High Pinion Dana 44 on the new KM2s (never got to it, unfortunately.)




I managed to cram the 8.8 into the Jeep for the trip home to Ohio, but then got busy with work and didn't do anything to it until late July, when I took it to a local sandblaster. He had a lot of cool toys, and only charged me $75 (half price) because I was ROTC and he considers that military enough for a discount. (Big thanks to our active duty and veteran military servicemen/women, you guys and gals are what allow all of us to do stuff like build jeeps instead of fight to survive in our own country.)

After the sandblasting, I sprayed it with some primer to keep it from rusting while I had Bob at On & Offroad 4 Wheel Drive in Oberlin install the ox locker and 4.88 gears. He's a great guy, those of you at Jeepskool (I've never been to it) probably know him, and a couple of us have wheeled with him and had work done by him. Thus far (after a 1000 mile trip right after installing the axle) I'm very satisfied with his work.

So after having the axle for the whole summer and not really doing anything with it, I now had exactly 5 days to get both of them under the jeep before I had to drive 1000 miles back to Daytona for class. Of course, I decided that I had to do the install, as 31s for 6 more months was not an option.

I figured on maybe 2 days for each axle, to include welding on the brackets and adjusting the control arms, but we all know how that usually works out...

So here's the story on that:

Saturday: I picked up the 8.8 from On & Offroad, but then went waterskiing for the afternoon and saw our family friend's GPW that he had restored. It was very cool, but not even close to matching numbers. Helped him identify that he had a CJ-3 windshield, CJ-2 tub, and he said the engine was never in any Jeep, so like I said, not authentic, but very nice and very cool. Got home saturday evening and began to pull the D35 from under the TJ. Got the D35 out, but at that point it was dark and 9 o'clock, and there were mosquitos everywhere, so I decided to call it a night.

Beginning to pull the Dana 35:




Got the Dana 35 out as it got dark:





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Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread

Last edited by pmccoy9876; 08-22-2009 at 07:47 PM..
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Unread 08-22-2009, 07:27 PM   #2
pmccoy9876
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Old on the left, new on the right, and ox locker stuff in the background:



Sunday: Since it was my last Sunday with the family, I was obligated to spend it with them. Church in the early morning (but I did get the measurements from the D35 brackets before church) then brunch with the family until noon or so, by the time I got to work it was 1 PM! Not good for the deadline. Started marking out the locations on the 8.8 for the brackets and grinding down the primer to bare metal. Tacked everything in place that night and put the 8.8 on the old 31s to roll it back under the TJ and test fit the control arms (which were still attached to the Jeep, more on this later.)
Got the axle under for the test fit, and didn't actually put the CAs in the mounts, just rested them on top to make sure it was close. Everything lined up fairly well, and I have adjustable CAs, so I figured the pinion angle would be fairly easy to set after burning in all of the welds.
Sunday evening/night I burned in all of the welds, but left the track bar mount off to make sure it wouldn't interfere with the springs or shocks while on the Jeep.

Measuring the D35 and 8.8 Sunday morning:



Old:



New with primer:



And the lonely Jeep, sitting without a rear end:



Here's one of the Mad4wd brackets that I used. They were nicely made, and I had to do minimal grinding to get them aligned on the housing properly. 3/16", and strong.





Preview of the final product:



Monday: I assumed that I would get the axle under the Jeep today, but failed epically. Had to grind down the bushing for the axle end of the lower control arms since the Mad4wd brackets were slightly narrower than my D35 brackets. Uppers fit in fine, but the lowers were a pain since I had left the top end connected and the axle end was the rubber bushing style. After hours of messing with them, I finally got all of the control arms connected. The pinion angle at this point was about 45 degrees, but no big deal right? WRONG! When I went to adjust the lower control arms, they were STUCK!!!!
I cranked on them to try and unscrew the female end to lengthen them since the axle needed to move back anyways, but no dice, they wouldn't budge.
Next I tried to remove them to work on them, and the passenger side slid right out, but when I removed the final bolt on the driver side skid plate mount, it did NOT slide right out. No problem, I'll just grab a hammer, right? It didn't budge after smacking it with a hammer, either. Eventually, I tried using a spud bar and sledge hammer to get it out, but it wouldn't move at all.
After messing with it for the rest of the day (a good 4 hours or so) I gave up and went to bed, defeated and out about a can of PB blaster and propane. The next day, I soaked it with a bit more blaster, hammered on it a little more, then finally decided to cut it. Fortunately, there was just enough room between the control arm bushing and mount to fit in a hacksaw blade. My brother and I proceeded to cut the grade 8 hardware with a hacksaw (took about a half hour for one side.) Hit it a few more times with a hammer, and it still didn't budge. Rented a sawsall (didn't have one in Ohio) and cut the other side. Tried to press out the rest of the bolt, but it was too solid.
After this, I called in a favor from a friend at work, took it into the shop I used to work at (at a golf course maintaining mowers) and used the torch there to heat up the spherical part of the bushing red hot, then used an air hammer to get the bolt out. It was so stuck that it took 2 heatings to keep the sphere hot enough for the air hammer to get the bolt out.

To get the control arm ends to turn, it took a red hot heating from the torch and a 36" pipe wrench to break them loose. Quite a lot of force, thinking about it, but the only casualty was the powder coat on the ends. So the lesson I learned from this wasted day? USE ANIT-SEIZE ON EVERYTHING I INSTALL!!!!! It would have saved me a lot of trouble, as all of these problems are from 6 months of rust! Only 6 months!

I was pretty frustrated, but here's the pictures I did take:

That bolt was stuck like a pig at a barbeque! I couldn't believe it was just from 6 months of rust, as the shoulder in the bushing was smooth.





The CA end wouldn't turn either. Man that was a fiasco.



Anyways, once I got the control arms fixed, things started to move along faster. Now I had gotten the axle under the Jeep, and started tying up loose ends. Had to get the adapter on the driveshaft, fill up the diff with fluid, and get the brakes in working order.

Diff fluid waiting to go in. I ended up needing twice this much.



At this point, I was really worried about getting back to college, so Tuesday and Wednesday sort of ran together. Long story short, I worked all day Tuesday, test drove around noon on Wednesday, finished up Wednesday afternoon, then left for the 1000 mile drive Wednesday night at 10:45.

Unfortunately, I made that drive with a Dana 30 geared 3.07 under the front, so I'll be a pretty ineffective Jeep for the next 6 months.

I swear that the D44 was taunting me at this point (Tuesday night, I believe.) But I had to ignore it and finish up the rear and hit the road:





I'll cover the D44 build in more detail when I put it under there, but there was a bit of work put into it to say the least. Plus, if anyone needs 8 lug D44 or chevy 10 bolt parts, give me a ring, I've got 4 spindles (long story) 2 hubs, 2 discs, and 2 brake caliper mounting plates.

So for the axle swap, here's a quick before and after:

Before:



After:



Some other things that I took care of on the Jeep this summer are;

LED gauge project. Cost about $20 and looks great. Got all my info from this thread (thanks to everyone who posted and helped out.)
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ga...nstall-752937/

Gauge cluster:



and HVAC:



My radiator also blew up about a week before the axle swap, so I replaced that as well:

New Radiator:


Another thing that I fixed this summer was the HVAC blower motor resistor. Ever since I got the Jeep, the heat/air has only worked on high, and the other 3 settings have been 'off'. Picked up a new resistor with the radiator, pulled the old one and saw pretty clearly why it didn't work: There were leaves/dirt/twigs stuck in it, and it was one rusty resistor!



So that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it (to use the cliche statement.) I'll update this thread as I do more, but I figured now was a good time to commit it to posterity since I've actually done some cool stuff now.
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Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread

Last edited by pmccoy9876; 08-27-2009 at 07:50 PM..
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Unread 08-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #3
AlTheKillerr
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looks good and im jealous of your axles
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Unread 08-22-2009, 09:01 PM   #4
flexsaharatj
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nice build... great looking jeep
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Unread 08-23-2009, 04:51 PM   #5
all_clear
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Nice build, coming along nicely. Glad to see you ditched the rims lol Those things are hideous Your new setup is 1k times better. Nice work keep it up!

Nathan
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Unread 08-23-2009, 08:19 PM   #6
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Fun read, sounds like a good project. I think going big from the start is a good way to go, honestly I already want to go bigger than what I have, but I'll wait until I break something.
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Unread 08-23-2009, 10:24 PM   #7
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km2's are sexy. You could go to wellsville and probably do all the same stuff in 2wd now compared to your mud slicks!
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Unread 08-27-2009, 05:36 PM   #8
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You sir are ridiculous. I want your tires.

That transformation is sweet, Phil...I can't wait to get back out there to see what the new set-up can do for you (although I still don't see you outwheeling the mud slicks). Then we can start arguing about your OX vs. my ARB lol

Good luck with another year of school!
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Finesse in crawling looks way cooler than momentum.
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Unread 08-27-2009, 06:03 PM   #9
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nice build! way to do it right the first time!
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Unread 08-27-2009, 06:26 PM   #10
pmccoy9876
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep02Apex View Post
You sir are ridiculous. I want your tires.

That transformation is sweet, Phil...I can't wait to get back out there to see what the new set-up can do for you (although I still don't see you outwheeling the mud slicks). Then we can start arguing about your OX vs. my ARB lol

Good luck with another year of school!
Haha. Thanks for the kind words guys. Brian, we'll have to see which one works more often and if I have any cable problems with the ox when I finally get my 4WD back this winter. Can't wait to get back to Ohio and finish what I started!
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Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread
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Unread 08-27-2009, 07:54 PM   #11
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Update time! Today I took a trip to the u-pull-it to source a new brake booster. Since there are never any TJs at the yard, I tried a Cherokee booster, and it works perfectly! The only thing that is different between the two is that the push-rod on the Cherokee booster is slightly shorter, so you need to glue/weld a spacer onto the brake light switch to keep the brake lights from always being on.

On that note, I was really depressed at the yard. I pulled a couple of parts from a beautiful '00 Cherokee that ended up there as part of the clunkers program. This thing was probably nicer than my TJ overall, even though it was stock. NO rust, NO body damage, just 'old' and 'inefficient'. What bothered me the most was the destruction of the perfectly good, clean, 4.0 in it. I just started having engine knock, and I couldn't pull ANYTHING from it since everything had been trashed by silica. Just burns me up. And I'm not even a Cherokee owner!
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Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread
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Unread 08-27-2009, 11:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pmccoy9876 View Post
Haha. Thanks for the kind words guys. Brian, we'll have to see which one works more often and if I have any cable problems with the ox when I finally get my 4WD back this winter. Can't wait to get back to Ohio and finish what I started!
Well I only had problems with the ARB all day on day 1 and then it worked 90% of the time after that. So I am not sure if I should call Bob or not since it worked 100% of the time, just like it is supposed to, the last two days.




Oh and I hate that cash for clunkers program. The only time I am even remotely alright with it is when someone trades in an old, abused Blazer or something. Getting $4500 for a $200 1980 suv is ok by me.
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Finesse in crawling looks way cooler than momentum.
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Unread 09-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #13
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Time for another update!

So after replacing the master cylinder and brake booster (which was busted, sucking air in) with a Cherokee booster, the brakes still weren't up to par. I figured it was air in the system, and I'd bleed them again when I pulled the rear axle to paint it. Finally got around to that last weekend since some of the mounts were beginning to rust a bit. Turns out, I had the darn calipers upside down, bleed screw was on the bottom so air was staying above the stream of fluid coming out, hence the soft brakes.

So I got the axle painted, threw it back on, and fixed the brake problem. Brake pedal travel is now about 25% of what it was, nice and firm, and I can lock up the wheels really easily, especially the rears since I took out the rear seal on the proportioning valve (Not sure if I like it that way though, I might put it back in.)

Here's a few pictures of the rear end painted silver. It doesn't quite match the RE control arms grey color, so I might just Herculine it if I decide that the silver is too bright.

Pulled the axle:


Looked like this:


So I hit some of the bare metal with brake cleaner and primer:


Painted, it turned out to be slightly blinding:


And under the Jeep, looks like this:


I'm going to wait until I get the Ox locker diff cover on (it's on the list of things to do) and see if it looks good with the black diff cover. If so, I'll leave it. If not, herculiner it is!

Next step in the project is to try and save my 4.0 from a drawn out death. Developed an engine tick a week ago due to low oil level, not sure if it's leaking, burning or if it wasn't filled all the way at the last oil change (I hate having other people change my oil for that exact reason, but I had no time and was a dummy for not checking it sooner.)

So anyways, I'm pretty sure it's my lifters, I'm going to pull the valve cover this weekend and possibly pull the head to replace the lifters if I can confirm this. If not, I'll pull the pan at the next oil change in a few hundred miles to check for debris.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread
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Unread 09-10-2009, 06:19 PM   #14
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Pulled the lifters over the 3 day weekend, took pictures during the replacement. The following, however is pretty much a moot point because I'm almost positive the 4.0 took its last breath today. The tick hadn't gone away after replacing the lifters, so on my way back from buying a stethescope at Harbor Freight, the 4.0 tick got louder, then it started running really rough, RPMs dropped to zero. I gave it a rev to bring it back to life, but then it was running really badly, so I pulled over and got my roommate to tow me home with his truck.

Pulling the valve cover and pan to see if any damage is really evident. If so and it's fixable, I'll fix it. If nothing obvious shows up, I'm going to the JY or getting a 98 TJ 4.0 off craigs list.

Here's the pics of the uneccessary lifter replacement:

There was a ton of sludge on the rockers and on top of the head. I cleaned it while it was off.


Kept all of the push rods in order


Intake manifold


Motor with the valve cover off


Then I pulled the head: It was a mess inside and out, especially cylinder #6






And lots of sludge


The piston on #6 wasn't much better:


Everything I took off:


Old lifters:


New lifters:


Clean head back on the motor:



In the end: it was a royal waste of time, apparently . Oh well, if I save the block, I might just start a slow stroker build as I get the funds for it. I guess I need to make some cash.
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Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread
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Unread 09-19-2009, 02:50 PM   #15
pmccoy9876
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4.0 is officially dead as of today. Even though the 10th was when it died, I had to go out of town the next day, and just got around to dropping the oil pan today. Didn't expect to find THIS!





Apparently the #6 piston (which didn't look good before) was only a few miles away from exploding, because that's pretty much what happened after the lifter job. My guess would be that one of the valves failed to open, as I found that one of the rockers had a lot of play in it when I pulled the valve cover again after the 'incident.'

Here's the only piece of the piston that was still in the block:







I pulled the last piece out of the block: it was in rough shape.



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Originally Posted by MrNate View Post
Are you insane? Do you have any idea how many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by carelessly discarded banana peels? This is a crime of Vaudevillian proportions and must not be tolerated in a civilized society.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanCJ2A View Post
I have no input of any value to this thread but those are awesome.
'No Solution' Build Thread
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