I gave up on useing the original frame after several attempts to repair. I sourced a new one locally. The only rough spot on the frame was the typical shock mount area. It was not rusted through but it was getting thin. I removed the shock mount and covered it with 3/16' plate. I know its a bit overkill but it was what i had in the shop. Not too bad for a guy who has never welded a day in his life...
I sourced a 4:10 LSD 8.8, went through the axle, cleaned it up, and installed it. I took an experimental route with the 8.8 install, by just adding plate to the existing spring perches and drilling new center pin holes in the plate. At the same time i sourced a 4cyl dana 30 for the front. I also cleaned and coated the rolling chassis.
After stripping it down i found a small drivers side floor pan issue and replaced it, along with a bit of fender well trimming (to clear the 35's), and trucklite recessed tail lights. The drivers side rear corner had also taken a few hits. I worked the dents out with my body hammers.
Once the tub was in a condition to paint, the windshield was next. The P.O. had drilled over 40 holes in the windshield frame, so i got to try out the new welder. The flux core worked fine for this , I picked up a bottle down the road in the build.
With everything sanded down it was time for paint work. Being that i do not have a paint booth, or the room to dedicate to one, I improvised with a weighted poly plastic hanging from the ceiling with box fans and a furnace filter. I think it came out pretty well considering. There is zero bondo in my build, I like the mechanical look of a raw tub. After the paint cured I rolled on my monstaliner. I coated every inch on the inside of the tub, including the underside of the cowl.
Next I purchased a set of factory Jeep Canyon wheels ($100) , and some used 35x12.5 Pro Comp Xtreme A/T's ($500). To go with the new RC X-series 4.5" lift ($450). Also some Smittybuilt knock off tube fenders ($200).