I’ve always regretted never making a build thread for my 2001 TJ. I will attempt to summarize the build to this point with lots of photos, and move forward from here. I'm only documenting the major things I have done in the summary. If you have any questions on any mods not mentioned please ask. This thing will never be done, I always find something else to modify, subtle things to make it more and more capable. I love working on it as much as I enjoy wheeling it. Any and all input is welcome, thanks for looking!
It is my Daily Driver, which I purchased in late ’06, in almost stock form. I knew nothing about Jeeps, and thought a 2” BB with 32’s would be enough. After wheeling some tough trails, I soon realized I needed to get bigger.
The picture from the internet ad which sold me on it. 2006
The day I bought it.
A bit of wheeling
Summer ’08 - I installed a cheap lift, 35’s, gears, and a rear locker. I also put the AEV highline kit on it. Nothing special with this build, just your standard bolt on stuff.
I wheeled it like this for 2 years, added a TeraLow, High steer, and some armor etc... After many trips to Moab, a ton of research, and some trial and error, I decided it was time to do it right!
The New Goals:
- A clean looking Jeep
- Keep the body “looking” somewhat stock.
- An extremely capable rig offroad.
- A road worthy vehicle.
- A custom rig, minimal “bolt-on” stuff.
Summer ’10 - It was time for new axles, and suspension. I taught myself to weld and borrowed a friend’s garage.
I picked up a Kingpin D44/60 Hybrid for the front. 35 spline, ARB with 5:13’s and Warn Hubs.
Set it up for the TJ
Rear axle is a 35 spline, semi-float D60 with an ARB and 5:13’s
I installed a Clayton LA , and used their 5” stretch kit.
Steering was my biggest hurdle on this build. I needed a flat pitman to get the correct angles, so I went with a Waggy arm. Unfortunately the arm now hit the lower radiator hose, so I had to raise the radiator. Took a while, but I finally got it figured out.
I used the GenRight Comp gas tank, and threw some 37’s on it. Finally I had the rig I had wanted for a long time!
I’m not sure if it was coincidence, but shortly after the build, I shredded the pilot bearing in the T-case. This happened in Moab, 240 miles from home. I wasn’t able to get a new bearing, so I tore the case apart at the campsite, removed the bearing, and drove home without any problems.
I replaced the mainshaft and the pilot.
Fall ’10 - The added stress from the bigger tires tore my steering box off the frame. A bit of welding from a buddy’s on-board welder, and some help from the winch, I was able to finish the trail. Time for a steering box brace.
A few months of wheeling, and I decided I wanted a bit more clearance under that D60. On went the 40’s.
Time for a better departure in the rear. I chopped a few inches off the frame, and removed the stock cross member. I welded in a custom bumper as a new cross-member.
Summer ’11 - After trashing a tire, and having to let the jeep sit (no spare), I decided it was time to figure out how to carry a 40” spare in/on a TJ. I wasn’t a fan of this!
I didn’t like the idea of the traditional swing-out, for a tire that big. Plus I don’t have a bumper to mount it to. I figured the best option would be a drop down style. In keeping with the “stocker” theme, I built a low profile carrier.
Fall ’11 – Broken pitman arm. Waggy arm didn’t cut it. I figured it would be better to reinforce it, than to buy a new one and break the new one.
A/C and a York compressor coming in the future, so I had to ditch the stock airbox to make room. I decided to go with the Windstar box and run it into the cowl. Here's a link.
Current Nov ’11 - I started my project of lowering my winch between the framerails and sucking it through the grill a bit. I'm also mounting the winch vertically (horizontal plane). This will put less stress on the mounting bolts, hide the winch some, and also allow for more airflow. The final length of the bumper will be approximately 2" shorter, and the top of the winch will sit about 5" lower on the grill.