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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:05 AM   #1
theducksguts
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Retroactive TJ Build

I'm not working today so I wanted to take the time and do a retroactive build flashback of sorts. This thread will also serve as my build continues on into the future.

Well, here is the story of My Jeep.

It wasn't until I went to college that I really went crazy for Jeep. My roommate Paul, had a 02 TJ X. Red, 3 inch lift, 33 inch Super Swampers, swing out tire carrier, Jerry cans, Warn winch, welded front steel bumper, rock sliders. It had everything. Driving that thing was like a dream. A bumpy, stiff, shocking dream. From that point on I knew I was going to buy one within the next 6 months.

I looked at a couple old YJ's in Minnesota, I wanted one really bad and was just going to go buy one. I looked at an 88 YJ that had a lot of miles on it and holes in the floor, but that I could pay cash for. I thought about it, and really the only reason why I didn't buy it was because I would have nowhere to park it, and it was winter and it had only half a floor. I also looked at some that I probably couldn't afford at the time.

I wasn't able to enter the Jeep family until July when I swung a deal and brought her home. 1998 TJ SE



Please excuse the crudity of these photos. This all happened before we had a digital camera.



I bought just your basic run of the mill SE. It was all I could afford at the time and pay cash. Couldn't afford a car note while putting myself though college.

One of the first things that many people do, and myself included, is upgrade to 31's. I drove about 1 month on those dinky little 215/70/15's before I was sitting at a much more appropriate stance.



It wasn't too long before rubbing became an issue and actual lift needed to be applied. On a shoestring budget I opted for the Rubicon Express 2'' budget boost with shocks, and a 1 inch body lift. I hadn't even had the Jeep for a whole 6 months yet and I was already hooked.




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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:14 AM   #2
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Looks much better.



I remember right after this I went out on some of my friend's family's land and high centered myself pretty good. Still had a lot of fun.

I wheeled a good porting of college, more expedition type wheeling though because I was deathly afraid of breaking anything for fear I would be out a vehicle for sometime if something were to happen. We wheeled the riverbeds of Southern Minnesota and the Blue Hills of Northwestern Wisconsin. Had a lot of fun, saw a lot of nature, and always wheeled on public or private land with permission.



Later that year I added a rear bumper and tire swing from LoD and a Harbor Freight winch. I was exploring a lot and having a lot of fun.

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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:31 AM   #3
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I married my wife during the last year of college and the Jeep really took a back seat for several years. Living in Minnesota I drove it as a daily driver for all those years. It was our most rugged and surprisingly most reliable vehicle. After a break in to my garage left me without half my dash, radio, and speakers. Then the rear tire carrier broke leaving me without a spare, it just kept going after minor repairs. All the years added up though and by 2007 it had fallen into serious disrepair.



It was no longer a daily driver and had basically sat for a year unused. Now since my wife is a medical student she is away for a good portion of the time. She suggested I restart a hobby that had been sitting idle taking up space in our garage. I thought that it was an acceptable idea.

After some finagling and negotiating I had a budget to work with.

I had no rear tire carrier for a spare tire that was too small. The frame was starting to rust as was the body. The electrical was shot, battery toast, tires bald, broken sway bar, top worn out. It really was a sad site.

So I went about making the repairs. I addressed the frame first using a grinder to remove all the rust and then resealing with rust treatment and a UV resistant paint. I was still driving this at the time too.

I fixed the rear bumper and the winch plate, rebuilt the winch as well. 6 years of trouble free pulling from the HF winch.



Added a new set of TSL Radials 32X10.5 on the same steel rims and it started to look like a runner again.



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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:36 AM   #4
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I got involved in a local Jeep club and am really enjoying it. Have been wheeling a lot.





The guys in my Jeep Club are great and really helpful. The president and I installed an Aussie Locker in the front Dana 30 to increase traction. I love it, it works great.



I also got on the Savvy bandwagon and grabbed their Gas Tank skid on special. It also is great. Really softens those hard hits to the tank. Highly recommended.

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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:42 AM   #5
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I did a dumb thing this past winter and put the old girl in storage to free up some space here. 4 hours away.



So I have been doing other things for when she gets back in 2 weeks.

I procured some ZJ seats to replace the ripped vinyl TJ seats.



And my Dana 44 is still waiting to go in.



With my TJ locked at both ends I should be way more capable than past years. I am really excited for this upcoming wheeling season.

I also hope to grab some rock sliders and other do-dads to add to her.

That pretty much brings this build up to speed.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 10:53 AM   #6
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wow, at least you kept her any never parted with your first jeep, that's how i am, mine was mostly garaged this past year and it killed me so much, i just did a build thread on it. Glad to see she is running the ol wagon wheels, jeep looks like a time capsule of memories. that D44 you will love. Im thinking about getting the savvy gts, was it a hard job to tackle?
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Unread 03-08-2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravine44 View Post
that D44 you will love. Im thinking about getting the savvy gts, was it a hard job to tackle?
My end goal is 35's running 4.88 gears for the 2.5L I can't see myself going bigger than that. Not on this Jeep. I can't wait to get the thing installed finally.

I thought the Savvy Gas Skid install was pretty easy. I had the help of a friend and we did it in about 2 hours. Make sure your tank is empty or near empty. The BL and that extra inch made it easier to get my hand in there to disconnect the fuel lines. Made seeing what I was doing easier too.

I like the Savvy Skid because it doesn't corrode like the steel ones do, and it is I think about 3-5 pounds heavier than stock so that is huge as well. 2 mounting settings, one for BL, one for stock. It really absorbs hits well.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 12:06 PM   #8
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Very cool man, good read. I vote for cleaning up that frame to make her last a whole lot longer.
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Unread 03-08-2010, 03:00 PM   #9
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Very cool man, good read. I vote for cleaning up that frame to make her last a whole lot longer.
way ahead of you. That is one of the things I did once we moved and I had a garage to work with. Used the POR-15 system then coated with UV resistant paint. If there is anything in the later pictures that looks like rust, it is probably mud. I know I didn't get the whole thing because of time, and because I didn't remove the body but it is mostly in good shape.

Another thing I have always had in mind is that this Jeep won't be my last TJ. With this in mind I have saved a lot of stock equipment to possibly return it to stock and build something else. With everything I add I want it to be swappable.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 10:00 AM   #10
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Update as of 4/5/10

I was able to get the TJ out of storage and went right to work replacing the Dana 35. It took me about three hours to have it removed. It was just me and only hand tools and a breaker bar. I sprayed it down good with some PB Blaster and went to work.

I pulled the C-Clips and dumped the spider gears into the gear oil. Yuck. Had to fish them out and reinstall them later.

I had 6 jack stands to work with as well as 2 floor jacks which made the job a lot easier. I removed the links for the control arms, sway bar, track bar, and brake lines so I could pull the whole thing out.

I took the brake lines and refashioned them to the new axle and mocked it up. Getting the old one out was the hard part the new one slid right into place without much effort at all.

I installed the axles and the Mrs. helped me bleed the brakes.

I used the stock 35 inch drive shaft. Now there is a lot of debate as to whether or not this works. I have more than an inch in travel at the slip joint and I have NO Vibrations with a 2 inch lift. I am still breaking in the gears and that is also going well. Just getting ready for my next run with the club.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 10:09 AM   #11
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I picked up some ZJ seats out of a 98 that was doomed to the crusher. I think they look pretty good and will be a nice upgrade over my old cracked and torn vinyl seats.

ZJ seats are a direct swap. All you have to do is remove your old TJ seats from the Jeep. Flip them over.

Remove the entire seat riser and bracket.

Toss aside the old seat and bolt up the same bracket to mounting holes on the new seat.

You might also need to remove this little plastic piece from the side. It is held on by 3 screws and comes off easily.

And that's it. They ride so nice. The only downside is that the passenger side does not tilt forward anymore. The bracket still shifts and you can use the lever underneath the seat to make it pop forward but the seat back doesn't go forward. No big deal for me. I don't usually have people in the back anyways.
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Unread 04-05-2010, 10:27 AM   #12
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A great thread Makes me wish I didn't sell my first TJ. I had an 01 SE
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Unread 04-05-2010, 07:45 PM   #13
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Great read, it was cool seeing the progression. Your rig sounds very capable, I wanna see some videos!
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Unread 04-06-2010, 07:52 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MXCarson92 View Post
Great read, it was cool seeing the progression. Your rig sounds very capable, I wanna see some videos!
We received a video camera for Christmas so I hope to post some YouTube stuff a bit later this spring. I have a run coming up in May so I am pretty excited about that. Jeep really has gone through a transformation for sure.
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Unread 04-06-2010, 03:04 PM   #15
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The seats look really good, I recently purchased a 1999 TJ and the seats are pretty shot, this looks like a great option. Can you still pull the seat foward to let people in back? What kind of difference is there in leg room?
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