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The Cure for your Tie Rod Roll!FS: Wrangler RGB Multicolor Fog Light LEDs: Awesome EffectIntroducing MONSTALINER™ UV Permanent DIY Roll On Bed Line

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Unread 05-13-2015, 08:15 PM   #1
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
This build thread will be where I document all of the work I do on my 1997 TJ Rattlecrap, along with any other jeep stuff I do. All repairs, trips, upgrades and such can be found here. Aloha! Thanks for stopping by to see my build. I've owned my 1997 TJ for over a year now, but I am only just getting around to starting a thread for it. I have been taking pics along the way as it was always my intention to create a build thread. I just never got around to it. So here it is! I bought my 1997 4.0L 5 speed TJ in February of 2014. It was a mess. Salvaged title due to a previous owner rolling it and bending the roll cage and tub. About every bushing rattled. Every bearing made some kind of noise. It leaked nearly everywhere it could. It had 121,000 miles on it when I got it. Modifications it had upon purchase: 4 inch short arm (Stone-age) Rough country lift. 33x12.5R15 Destination Mud Terrains and steelies Aftermarket rear bumper Smittybilt Rock sliders Smittybilt SRC Tub Front Bumper Bikini Top Aftermarket radio Wornout Tuffy security CEnter Console Wheel spacers in the rear only Throttle Body Spacer Locked Rear Axle (Locker of unknown make) Smittybilt Seat covers

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Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-13-2015, 09:18 PM   #2
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
The first thing I wanted to fix was the front track bar. The girl I bought it from tried to tell me it just needed a wheel spacer up front. It was apparent to me though that this jeep had spent roughly 7 years of its life lifted but with a stock track bar. The whole axle sat 2 inches to the drivers side. I ponied up for a Currie heavy duty adjustable track bar and threw that in there. Also added a couple of JKS quick disconnects to replace my worn out sway bar end links.

[IMG][/IMG]

You can see how crooked the springs are from sitting all sideways for years.
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Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-14-2015, 04:55 AM   #3
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
Next I had to get it ready for safety inspection and recon inspection. Here in Hawaii having a modified vehicle is a huge PITA. You have to get it aligned, go to recon, pass recon, and then go to safety. Once you pass safety you can renew your registration. Recon and safety mean a bunch of things have to be in order. Full tire coverage and mudflaps. Drain plugs in. Third brake light present. yada yada yada. This was a huge hassle. I had to go to recon twice to get passed. I borrowed mud flaps. I picked up a stock spare tire carrier and brake light to hook up for the inspection. I had to order a hood latch through the stealership. Well here it was on recon day. And another pic of the $50 tie rod end I had to install to get the damn thing through safety inspection. You might notice how bent my roll cage is in the first pic. That would be addressed soon enough.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-14-2015, 05:01 AM   #4
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Posts: 106
Once I got it street legal I couldnt resist taking it out. Here are a couple pics of it on the old road going up to Kaena point. The road used to go all the way around the point to Haleiwa on the other side, but a hurricane in the 80's washed out a major section of it. Now the point is closed off entirely as a nature reserve for Hawaiian monk seals and albatross. This was the jeeps first offroad experience in my hands. I was scared it was gonna fall apart but it did just fine. got some light flexing in too.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-14-2015, 05:30 AM   #5
jgoberkeller
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So far these are all things that I have pictures of. There were many other things I had to take care of. I replaced vacuum lines behind the dash to get my HVAC working again. Not that it mattered cuz I had no heat or AC.... I replaced my rear sway bar end links. I replaced my blown out rough country shocks with Rancho 9000 adjustables. I replaced my power steering pump, power steering box, and multiple pulleys at the front of the motor. There were many other bushings I replaced. I rebuilt my rear drum brakes and got the e-brake to engage. Plenty of stuff that isn't worth pictures.
__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 05:33 PM   #6
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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The next big project I wanted to tackle was lining the tub of my jeep. This meant first repairing the rust on the feet of my roll cage. Because some previous owner had bent the roll cage, the paint at the feet of the main pillars had cracked and chipped long ago. This jeep spent most of its life outside in the elements with only a bikini top on so it was rusted out pretty bad. I needed a new roll cage. I called some places on the mainland looking for roll cage pieces but decided it would be too expensive to buy them and ship them out to Oahu. So I began searching for part outs here on the island. I found a local guy named TK over in Kaneohe on craigslist. Said he had a jeep he was parting out. I called him up and he said he had a solid roll cage for a TJ, so I went out and picked it up. Turns out the guy and his uncle are huge jeep aficionados. He had a bunch of jeeps at his house, and apparently a couple of warehouses somewhere else filled with stuff. Although he charges premium prices for his stuff, he is one of the few guys on island with it laying around. I've purchased from him multiple times now.
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Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #7
jgoberkeller
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About a week later I got around to installing my new-to-me rollcage. I originally wanted to break it down and only use the parts I needed. After breaking 5 of those safety torx bits trying to get it apart, I decided to just swap the whole thing. Removal of the cage was easy enough. All but one of the bolts on the passenger side floor came out. I was able to drill that one out and retap it later. Also, because the rollcage had been shifted so far to the driver side, the tub of the jeep on that side was bowed pretty far out. I had to use a ratchet strap across the tub to pull the sides in enough to mount the new to cage to inside mounts on the tub wall. In the end, the tub still isn't straight, but its better. And do I care? No. Its a jeep. If my build goes the way I want, it will one day be a trailer queen. I did this part pretty hungover, and as I recall, i was feeling pretty rough by the time I was done.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 05:51 PM   #8
jgoberkeller
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Once the cage was swapped, I could think about lining the tub. After some research, I decided to give Monstaliner a try. Their jeep kit comes with a gallon of paint and tub of catalyst. you mix the two and go. The stuff sets kinda quick tho, so be fast. I mixed it all at once, and when I went to hit it with a second coat it was starting to get kinda chunky. If I did it again, I'd only mix half at a time. Oh, and I rolled it on. Spraying would have been WAY easier, but I'm working out of my apartment in the street. No garage. No fancy tools.

I started by removing stuff and sanding. First the back, then the front. I did it in pieces over a week. This is my DD, so I couldn't just break it down and leave it sit. I slowly worked my way around till its was all good and scuffed. I waited for a clear rain free weekend and went to town on it. My girl friend even helped me paint it. A girl that'll help me work on my rig? Yeah, shes a keeper.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 05:57 PM   #9
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Posts: 106
When we painted we rolled the floor and as much of the walls as we could. Even with a shorty roller we could only get so much. My girlfriend went around with a brush and dabbed in all the spots I couldn't get with the roller. The project took maybe four hours total. I did the roll cage as well since it didn't match. That was a real pain. The roller doesn't work so well on the round surface. Even so, I was fairly pleased with the overall finish. It took about a week for it to fully set. Be very nice to it until then. I threw my jack in the back a little too soon and gouged it up pretty good. Once it sets though the stuff is pretty tough.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 06:02 PM   #10
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
Took the jeep out for a little fun up at Peacock Flats. This was my first trip up there. It rained the whole time and we only ran the main trail to the camp ground, but it was fun all the same.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 06:13 PM   #11
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Posts: 106
It must have been about June or July I finally decided to buy a full top. I was tired of being rained on with that tiny bikini top. I didn't have the door surrounds either, so it made the bikini top fit that much worse. I looked around on craigslist and Oahu Jeeps for a top for a while but couldn't find everything I needed. I finally just decided to go to 4WP and buy a Trektop NX. At the time the 4wp website was advertising it at something like $550 which was a steal. When I went down to the store they quoted me $750. I showed them the web page and argued a bit. They couldn't figure out why the webpage was so cheap, but they gave me every discount under the sun and I got it for 600. The next day I noticed the price was changed on the web site to $750. Man I lucked out! The top came with everything I needed, including the door surrounds. The only thing it didn't have was the soft upper door frames and skins. But Bestop wanted another like $250 or $300 for the set. A purchase for another day maybe.....
img_2210.jpg   img_2209.jpg   img_2211.jpg   img_2212.jpg   img_2213.jpg  

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Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 06:26 PM   #12
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
I put off buying my windows for a while. Just couldn't justify dropping $300. Then one day a guy on Oahu Jeeps posts up that he's parting out a TJ. It was my lucky day! I went over and picked up a bunch of stuff. I got his soft upper door frames and skins (That matched my top!!!), a sound bar, and some miscellaneous electrical wires that my jeep was missing. Unfortunately he wouldn't sell me the upper doors without the lower OEM half doors. Those I did not need, but I figured I could sell them later. I paid $300 total for everything I got off of that jeep. I turned around and sold the half doors for $200, so in the end I spent $100 on upper door frames, skins, and a sound bar. Now that's a come up!
img_2253.jpg  
__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-17-2015, 06:43 PM   #13
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
One of the first purchases I made for my Jeep was a SYE from Advanced Adapters and a Tom Woods drive shaft. I also ordered some Currie HD double adjustable rear upper control arms. Unfortunately the Currie arms were on back order and when they finally came in they were the wrong ones. I sent them back and waited again for the correct arms. This meant that even though this was one fo my first purchases for the jeep, it didn't get installed for months. Once I finally got everything together, I woke up at six one morning and went to work. The SYE went in without a hitch. I had rebuilt the t-case in my old WJ so I kind of knew what I was doing. That took me roughly till 10 am. Then I bolted up my Tom Woods drive shaft. It fit like a glove. The hard part was replacing the rear upper arms. All i had was a bottle jack and a couple of jack stands. After removing the stock arms I had to drill out the mounting holes to make from for the larger Currie bolts. There's not a lot of room down there to get a drill in.... The rear arms took some finagling to get everything to line up, but they were in and greased by 1:30. I went to remove the t-case drop kit and realized I would need shorter bolts to bolt the skid back up. Doh! So off to O'reilly I went on my bicycle to find 6 grade 8 bolts of the correct length. With the correct bolts I was able to button it back up and take it for a test drive. I immediately realized that I had a pretty bad vibration running through the jeep. It turns out my stock skid plate was bashed in at the front directly under the transmission. It was transmitting vibrations through the frame of the vehicle. So I called up TK again and picked up a used skid plate from him. With the new skid in, my jeep drove just like it should. No more vibrations moving or standing still. I was a happy camper.
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__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-26-2015, 03:58 AM   #14
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
Got some new shoes on the jeep sometime in July. 33x12.5R15 Mickey Thompson MTZ's on 15x8 steelies. Love the look of the MTZ's, not to mention their abilities in the mud and on the rocks!
img_2755.jpg   img_2756.jpg  
__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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Unread 05-26-2015, 04:01 AM   #15
jgoberkeller
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 106
Some time in September we took a trip up to Peacock Flats, 1100 acres of Federal forest on the north and west shores of Oahu. It's about the only place on the island to really wheel. I had been here once, before but only ran the main trail. This day we went down Jeep Eater and came up Donkey. Had a blast, but definitely came across some things that need fixing. I need to relocate my rear shocks as they are hitting my spring perches, and then I need to get some extended brake lines.
__________________
Current Jeep: 1997 4.0L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's. Island beater
Previous Jeeps: 1999 WJ Grand Cherokee Limited 4.7 liter V8
1998 2.5L TJ Wrangler lifted 4" on 33's The Dog
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