Inspired by 98TJSahara's build thread, I thought it would be neat to document the ongoing transformation of my Jeep. So I will attempt to recap the last 4 months - starting November 20, 2007, to tell the story.
This story really began when I was in college and driving a '93 Toyota 4wd Ext. Cab. on 16/38.5's & a Dynatrac D60 w/ 5.86 gears. It was awesome and I loved it.
But I always wanted a Jeep. I considered selling the truck and buying one several times but never went through with it. I ended up having to sell this truck for a down payment on our first house when we got married.
After college I finally got to buy a jeep. My wife started teaching and with her very first paycheck we made a down payment on a '98 Sahara that I got to keep for about a year and a half, until my daughter was born.
In came the daycare payment, and out went the Jeep. I had to sell it and buy and old ford ranger.
Every since then I had wanted to buy another Jeep but haven't been able to. That all changed when my wife found a '91 YJ for sale and, on her own, checked it out, had a few of my buddies that could keep a secret check it out, and she bought it! She kept it hidden for a while and finally surprised me with it on November 20, 2007. I was so excited. FINALLY! I had a Jeep.
When I got it, we were the 3rd owners. It had about 135k miles on the 4.0 6cyl 5spd. It was all stock and ready for me to build.
There was a long list of things to do to the Jeep, but I decided to start with removing the factory flares. I had bought a set of TJ flares on eBay and planned on installing those.
Next was the removal of the factory roll bar. I planned on installing a "family style" roll bar from a 92-95 model YJ. This was a royal pain because the bolts were rusted and I stripped the torx head bolts. I ended up having to grind them down, drill out the holl, and luckily I managed to save the threaded hole and reused a regular bolt in all the holes. This seemed to take forever.
The driver's side was a little rusty under where the roll bar mounted so I sanded it down and repainted it with some rattle can
Next up was to take it up to my buddy's shop where we would be installing the Rough Country 4" suspension lift, and M.O.R.E. 5/8" lift boomerang shackles. At the same time we would be swapping out my 3.07 axles for a set of 4.11's from a salvage 4 cyl. Jeep.
Using a lift makes it so much easier!
Front axle removed
You can't tell from the picture, but the driver's side factory hanger was bent from being in a small wreck or something. So we had to grind off the factory shackle mounts and we welded on a set from M.O.R.E.
While Bill and I were working on installing the lift, my friend Jamie showed up and just started painting my new roll bar. I found it at a salvage yard for $40.
New roll bar all painted up!
While he was doing this we finished up the lift on the back of the Jeep
Rear tires on, sitting on the ground
side view of the whole Jeep
And finally, mounted up the new painted roll bar. I love it.
It felt so good to drive it down the road once we got everything installed. It felt like a monster because I was used to those 31's. I was also pleased with what the gears felt like with the 35's. I was also happy that the tires didn't scrub, even when turning. I knew though, if the suspension flexed at all, it definitely would scrub. I couldn't wait to get the TJ flares installed.
So I finally got around to beginning the TJ flare install. I read up on how-to's on the internet, but this was one of those things that you just had to figure out as you go (as far as exactly where to cut & mount).
Here is where I taped it up to draw the line & tried to prevent scratching the paint
Here you can see the faint red line I drew to cut on. I ended up grinding it down a little past where the line is.
And finally, finished!
Front & rear complete:
In the above picture you can also see that I installed factory roll bar padding and rear seat belts that I got from a fellow jeepforum member. I still needed to install the rocker panel diamond tread to cover the holes from the factory flares.
At this point I was happy with the progress but it was feeling like it was taking forever. The only problem was the Jeep started leaking gas. I got to looking at the tank and noticed that behind the gas tank skid plate the corner of the tank had a major dent in it - I mean a huge one. In the crease of the dent is where the leaking gas was coming from.
Removing the old tank
A buddy had one from where he converted to a custom fuel cell so he gave it to me. The only problem was his fuel pump was rigged up & modified so I knew I wanted to use mine. But when I put my fuel pump assembly down into his tank, for some reason it was about an inch too tall. The tanks looked exactly the same so I'm not sure what the story was on that.
I ended up modifying mine by cutting out a 1" section of the fuel line and butting the two sides together with a rubber hose connecting over them.
Two of the holes didn't line up so I had to redrill new holes to fit the gas tank. No big deal.
Ready to put back in
When I got everything put back in I was so anxious to crank it up & hope it all worked right. Well, it didn't. When I cut the fuel line & connected it with the hose, it lost the ground where the pump was grounded to the fuel pump assembly. So I had to pull it back out and run a ground wire so the pump would be grounded. It was a pain but I finally got it all working correctly.
Well the vibration in the drive-line was driving me crazy and it was getting worse, so I finally ordered the JB Conversions slip yoke eliminator kit. My buddy Chuck had done it before and he helped me get it done.
Removed from the Jeep
New shaft installed
I picked up this drive shaft that was supposedly a Tom Wood's, but it looked rough, was bent, but the joints were good. I had to have it shortened a few inches and balanced, but I ended up in it for about $150 which I thought was good.
After I got it "tuned up" at the drive shaft shop it was painted and looked brand new. I never got a picture of it afterwards, but I may do that later.
I finally got to take the Jeep out to see how it would act off-road. I figured out several things that I really already expected.
I didn't install the bump stops that came with the lift and now I'm seeing that I should've. In addition, I still need a little more lift.
The swaybar is still connected in all these pictures.
Here are the two videos I got while we were riding:
The part I liked the best about this trip was that my wife & two kids went with me. They had a blast. I really want my Jeep hobby to be something that I can include them in so it can be a family thing. My son (3) thought it was the coolest thing.
id love to have the style of roll bar you use to have on my TJ. im hoping this summer ill be able to build one and put it in
that would be interesting & I haven't seen that before. I have the one I removed that I'd take $20 for, but you'll probably have to fab something up anyway. You'll have to post pictures if you get around to doing that
From my last wheeling trip I knew I had to have more lift. I've been back and forth about the best way to accomplish that. I can't afford to spend another $500 on more springs and for that money I'd rather have a locker or something. I decided to use a body lift after thinking about it forever. Here's that thread:
So at the conclusion of that thread I decided to go with a 2" body lift. I called Rough Country, where I bought the lift, and they hooked me up at $92 shipped. Great deal. So right now it is sitting in the garage. We are leaving for the beach in the morning so when we get back on Friday I am going to install it. I can't wait to see how it is going to look and I am hoping that the extra lift, along with the bump stops, will be just what I need to prevent the tires from scrubbing. I'll post pictures to document how it goes.