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Unread 06-15-2012, 02:41 PM   #1
flnbar
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: West Point, Utah
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Rhonda--SLOW build

I've figured I should start a build thread now that I'm focusing on my offroading a little more...

I bought Rhonda (98 TJ 4cyl) in 2008 while stationed in Germany (Air Force). No lift, stock rims, 30x9.5x15 original GY M/T's.The PO's did not take very good care of her. The stock interior carpet was nasty and stained. It had the original soft top in VERY rough condition; so bad that the rear window was nearly white, cracked and stuck in the "rolled up" position all year long. On top of that, foliage from the previous fall and some animals looking for a spot to die had made their way into the rear of the jeep, further soiling the interior carpet. Although somewhat cosmetically trashed, I thought, with a little cleaning, it would be perfect for me!

Obligatory poser pics right after purchasing:




First things first: clean up the broken soft top, get some new rims and fix the fuel filler bezel:

Fuel fill bezel before:

Fuel fill bezel after:


New Rugged Ridge soft top:

As you can see from the above pic, I also tried to "stain" the fender flares with some random stuff from Q-tec...it didn't come out good at all! So I just stuck with it until I could afford some better looking fender flares.

New wheels:


Next logical step was to lift it. I went with a 2" BB w/OME shocks from DPGoffroad.com. Being new to the jeep scene, Dirk over there was extremely helpful and knowledgable and I HIGHLY recommend them! Awesome customer service. Sorry no great pics of install or immediately after...

Driving around dark backwoods of Duetschland, the stock lights weren't cutting it. So I upgraded to the Sylvania Silverstar replacments. Although they were a small improvement over stock, it just wasn't enough for me (sorry no pics). So after saving up for some QUALITY HID kits, I ran across a screamin' deal on JF for some Sylvania Xe7 projector headlights. These are LITERALLY night and day difference and well worht the money. Also added Rubicon fender flares and tow hooks...

Installing:



aiming low beam:

aiming high beam:


Along the way, I ended up trading another jeep guy my half doors + soft uppers for his full doors. I was getting tired of zipping and unzipping windows every time I wanted to head on base!



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Unread 06-15-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
flnbar
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So That's about it for Rhonda's travel in other countries. Once I got her to UT, it opened up for some awesome wheelin, even though I still haven't been to Moab...I keep kicking myself for that. but that is coming once I get a much more capable rig. It was time to make some changes. Had to get new fender flares that completely covered the tires. German law for US car inspections got more strict and wouldn't allow the extra few inches of tire to show. UT as well.



A "few" (4) knee surgeries slowed my progress on her quite a bit.


Also found a new roomate. He was 3 when I got him (yellow lab). sweetest dog I've ever met. Also a little crazy.



First order of business, lift and go to 33s. I chose RC 3.75 combo lift (2.5" SL/1.25" BL). Wishing I stayed w/OME or at least DPG offroad but I just couldn't afford it. Here's the 2.5" with some used 33x12.5 SS. I loved those tires and can't wait to get another set, now that it's not my DD:



And some wheelin:







Also made myself some quick disconnects. I later just ended up removing the sway bar all together.
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Unread 06-15-2012, 09:05 PM   #3
Prryan45
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Bitburg,cute little German Jeep.Thanks for your service.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 07:32 AM   #4
flnbar
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haha, yep. Thanks for the kind words. She's a little bit more capable these days...I'll work on getting some pictures up today.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 08:52 AM   #5
midnight_f150
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My buddy duck dog is a yellow lab they are great dog that love the water. Nice looking TJ you have. Any plans to regear it? My cousin has a 4cyl toyota on 33s they really rob the power till he did a regear.Thanks for your service.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #6
flnbar
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now that I was driving around on basically bald SS, it was inevitable that this would happen:

What I didn't expect was for it to happen on the highway and take out my fender flare completely...


So it was time for some new tires and I decided to go fender flare-less for a bit because I liked the look. I went with 33x12.5 Duratracs--Awesome tires for a dd! I also got around to throwing on the 1.25" BL.


Also bought a homemade bumper on JF. I haven't gotten around to cleaning it up, but as you can tell, it could use a good sanding and some paint. I grabbed some grade 8 bolts and threw it on.


Time to test out the tires and get some poser shots:






Next I needed to cover up those tires a little better so the cops don't hassle me. UT vehicle regulations are pretty intense and thankfully (knock on wood), I've never received a ticket or been pulled over for my non-compliance. And some random wheelin' pictures:










next upgrade needed to be a new seat to replace my worn. I went w/ RR sport seat. They say it's bolt in and then found out after trying to install it, that it needs a $50 bracket. awesome. Anyhow, I've had the seat now for a year or two and although it serves it's purpose, it's one of the worst seats. the reclining mechanism is a twist knob style. the plastic knob broke into pieces after my FIRST use of it...what a pile of crap. But, you get what you pay for. I purchased one to start and then after realizing the crappy quality i figured I would stick w/ the mismatched seats rather than spend more money on a ****ty one I don't need.



SNOW WHEELIN! I'm stuck. Funny part is I was attempting to climb a hill right behind me and finally made it up after about 10 attempts. As soon as I made it up, I sink in to about 3-4 feet of snow. Wheelin in the mountains will do that. Good times.


I always wanted to replace the gauge lights with red LEDs, so I did. Pictures show an uneven light dispersion although it's not as pronounced to the human eye. or at least mine. Nor is it as pink as the picture shows.


Went to Vegas to visit a buddy of mine. Hung out with Pikachu on the strip. Misplaced a large portion of my bank account during that trip. Not sure where it went. If you happen to find it, please return it to me. I'd appreciate it.



Things I don't have pictures of is me trading those rims and tires for a set of used 35" procomp m/t's. What a dumb idea. I ended up having to buy new rims and tires. I went with 33x10.5 KM2.


Now that the wife and I are trying to have some hostages (kiddos). We needed to get me a more reliable and kid safe vehicle. Since I'm keeping Rhonda, I thought it would be smooth to make it my crawler and get a tow rig. After months of research and savings, I decided I absolutely wanted a 2nd gen Tundra. we finally found one and picked up this beast. 08 double cab limited 4x4. 386 HP/401 ft/lbs. GOD DAM!


That pretty much leads me up to now. I just bought a lockright for the D30 and should be installing that next weekend. I'm heading to the Teraflex All Jeeps show today so I'll post some pictures and fun from that when I get a chance.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 09:09 AM   #7
flnbar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midnight_f150 View Post
My buddy duck dog is a yellow lab they are great dog that love the water. Nice looking TJ you have. Any plans to regear it? My cousin has a 4cyl toyota on 33s they really rob the power till he did a regear.Thanks for your service.
my dog's name is Jameson. He is obsessed with the water. Unfortunately, I don't get him out to swim often enough. I should do that this weekend!

Regearing is definitely on my list. My dilemma is to regear or use that money towards better axles. I'm running d35. The only saving grace is the fact that I have the stock 4.10s. It sucks to wheel on the hills around here, i'm always bogging down. But with the 33x10.5 KM2s at 58lbs a piece, it's not too bad.
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Unread 06-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #8
BenChrysler
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nice build. looks good!
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Unread 06-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
flnbar
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Pics from the all Jeeps event today. The pic of the yellow jeep is from some knucklehead going way to fast over the woopty dips and jump it. He got air and landed on his front tire deploying airbags flattening a tire. The part that annoys me is the guy had his kid (around 10 years old) in the back seat and apparently bashed his head against the front seat. Father of the year award. Anyhow, they ended up both being just fine.
image-3408993556.jpg   image-2879260498.jpg   image-3763088493.jpg  
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Unread 06-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #10
flnbar
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Got some work done today for the d30 lockright install.

Had a reallll tough time with the 6 12 pt sockets holding the axle/unit bearing in. Once I finally got those out, I couldn't, for the life of me, get the bearing separated from the knuckle. Finally figured outi could use a 3/8" ratchet extension in the u-joint to "press" it out by turning the steering wheel.

Another run in I had was getting the case out of the housing. I tried putting a wrench on the ring gear bolt and turning the pinion but couldn't get the torque needed and the wrench kept popping off. I kept at it w/pry bars and a rubber mallet. 3 hrs later, I finally have the case out of the housing.

I'll bring the housing into a shop on base to work on removing the ring gear and installing the locker. Sorry only one picture.
image-2895202124.jpg  
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Unread 07-07-2012, 04:51 PM   #11
flnbar
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I finally got the rest of the lockright installed without a hitch! Took it for a small test run and holllyyy crap I can't believe the extra traction I have now! Sorry, I wasn't able to take any pictures considering I was by myself. I'll be sure to take plenty on the wheelin' trip I have coming up.
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Unread 07-14-2012, 05:58 PM   #12
flnbar
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Although not much, my spending money this check was burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to do the ZJ tie rod conversion given the fact that my stock bar is bent to crap from a rock garden in American Fork Canyon. So, off to good ol' AZ I went. I picked up the part #'s identified in Stu Olsen's write up; Included the one piece tie rod/end, adjusting sleeve, and the other TRE.

With the rented pickle fork from AZ, I had some major issues trying to separate TR from the drag link. My puny hammer couldn't handle the task. So off to Lowe's to pick up a 4.5lb mini sledge. It made short work of the ball joint connections w/the fork.

When setting up the new TR I realized that the it didn't come with a zerk fitting/hole for the TRE that connects at the drag link. I did some research on here and thought it was a mistake. After wasting another trip back to AZ, I found Duralast manufactures all these part #s w/o a way to grease them while installed. O-well. looks like I'll have to remove it to grease it...

From there on, everything went extremely smooth,; I bolted up the new BEEFY tie rod and torqued to spec. Since Rhonda is not my DD, I eyeballed the alignment and called it good. I'll still need to get a real alignment before I do any type of real driving if I expect to have any tires left. It's a dam good thing I bought an unlimited lifetime alignment from Bridgestone; That purchase has paid for itself more than a few times.




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Unread 09-10-2012, 10:09 PM   #13
Tuffjeeper
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Nice job man! Keep it up!
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Destroyed it somehow..... It went wobble wobble wobble boom
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Unread 09-10-2012, 10:30 PM   #14
straightsixjeep
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Awesome build man, awesome!
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Unread 09-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
flnbar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuffjeeper View Post
Nice job man! Keep it up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by straightsixjeep View Post
Awesome build man, awesome!
Thanks guys. I've been occupied at work lately and haven't gotten around to do anything to her. I did find a radiator leak from the AZ replacement (plastic) radiator. I need to take a look to see if it's the cap (hopefully) or if it cracked.
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