Slow & somewhat steady build... -
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-30-2009, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
2004 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 119
Slow & somewhat steady build...

Hey all,

I've had my Jeep for about a year, maybe a little longer. I bought it used, with 60k on the odometer. It was stock height, with 5 MT Baja Claw 31's, and 5 MT classic wheels, or I think that is what they are. Here it is stock after a run behind the house.

Shortly after purchase, I bought a RC 4" lift. I put it on myself, so that I could learn a little bit about my Jeep. My very mechanically savvy brother was there to supervise my stupidity. I left the 31s on, which looked a little silly, but oh well.

I was literally 15 seconds from about 3 miles trails with 30 hill climbs, 3ft deep mud holes, and tons of high water creek crossings. It was in my back yard. There were no rock runs, but once I went out to my first trail ride at Coal Creek, I found out, and was dubbed by the people I was with as a 'hard core rock crawler' at heart. I went through all of the easy, a number of the medium, and 2 that I think were difficult (32 & can't remember). I was glad I had finally challenged myself, as well as my vehicle.

I came back with a serious need to have what others that I followed had. I wanted 35s, I wanted, and NEEDED new axles, geared for 35s, and locked I wanted custom bumpers with stingers. I wanted a lot more than I had money to spend. I also learned that I have a lot of expensive hobbies.

After the Lift, I purchased an AA SYE & TW DS along with RC Adjustable UCA's to go with the rest of the lift components. By this time my tires were bald, and I got some take offs from my brother's forerunner. They were 1/2 tread 32s that I hope will last me until I have the money to get together an axle, or two, and buy 35s.

I still haven't decided if I want to go with the 8.8, which I have been pretty well settled on since I started planning, or just by a new D44, with the locker, gears, and brackets all ready to go. The price just doesn't vary much between the two after locker, gear, install price, and brackets.

So, while I wait on the axle, I decided that since I wheel with a buddy that is fairly stock, like me, a lot. And we are both too stupid for our own good, and will take trails that will challenge us, I thought it in my best interest to get a winch. I skimped a bit here, and I will tell you later if I live to regret that. I purchased a Smittybilt XRC8 winch, their raised winch plate, and their stinger bumper that I plan to modify if it is relatively easy once it arrived to make it a bit more functional, again if it is not so, as I have read here from a few people.

That is where I am now. I have wheeled in some pretty extreme trails, and been over my head, but had experienced people to tell me I shouldn't, then guide me through anyway once I went on. I wish I had some current pictures, or videos. I will post up some once I get my bumper, winch, and plate on.

Plans next...

Black 2004 Jeep Wrangler X 5MT

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Last edited by N757QQ; 12-30-2009 at 04:44 AM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-30-2009, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
2004 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 119
The plans...

So, my upcoming plans fall basically in the order I list them, and are to get those axles changed out, or at least super 30 front, and change out the rear.

For the rear axle:
I have an 8.8 I found at pull-a-part here in Nashville. Total for it, and an HPD30 w/steering components still attached was $240 out the door. I plan to have an ARB locker & gears installed locally, I will weld on the brackets that I ordered from will also be doing the standard 8.8 build up, turning or buying new rotors, new calipers, new bearings, etc.

For the front axle:
I have a high pinion Dana 30 from a 1993 Jeep Cherokee (XJ) that I plan to go through & replace worn parts as needed, and have it geared with an ARB installed before I get it under the Jeep.

For the gearing:
Most likely, 4.88's but I am considering 5.13's in case I go 36s.

For the steering:
I thought for sure I would do the Currie HD steering upgrade. Now I am not sure. I think I will eventually learn how to build a quality suspension on my own, but that is still a ways off with current time availability. On this same note, I would like to get some quick disconnects, or an Anti-Rock, or one of the similarly named kits, front & rear.

For the brakes:
Vanco most likely, eventually, though that depends on how well the 'stock' discs do once I get my 35/36s on.

For the skids:
I want to fabricate my own TT eventually. I would really like a true flat skid, and quality, light weight everything else.

For the bumpers:
Already have the smittybilt (****tybilt for those that snicker) front. I would like to get a swing out tire carrier for the rear from BERSK, or fabricate my own.

For the Suspension & Lift:
I would like to, and have been reading heavily about, build my own long arm suspension, double triangulated rear, 3-link front. I know the math behind, and the basics of the rear, but I am not so confident in my knowledge of the front. I have never fabricated my own anything before, and my welding experience was limited to welding very large plates into the bed of a dump truck for a girlfriends dad, so this may all be a pipe dream unless I spend some time learning, but that is something I enjoy, learning that is.

Other than that, I have basic stuff I want to do, but it will come when I have spare money later, or when I am closer to the finish off this build. I hope I can get this stuff done before the next decade is over, and preferably within the next 6-8 months. Otherwise I have no real time frame for this build. I usually end up with about $1000 extra a month to spend between my Jeep, and my track bike, so it depends on which is hurting the worst at the time.

I am open to suggestions, or pointing out stuff I left out.

Black 2004 Jeep Wrangler X 5MT

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Last edited by N757QQ; 01-21-2010 at 01:55 AM.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-07-2010, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
2004 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 119
So, I haven't updated this build in a while, and I am not a picture taker, but I will add new pictures once I get a chance.

I do now have my 8.8 rear axle under the Jeep, and performing well with 4.88, on 35" tires. It runs like a champ.

I just (finally) got my D35HP back home yesterday evening, and it is ready to go, once I get brake lines & chromos installed. It too (obviously?) is geared with 4.88. I also have a Currie HD steering kit sitting in the garage, unopened to go on it, with the super savvy tie rod added to the package. I just need to get the piece to flip the drivers side of the tie rod before I install it.

I also have a Savvy gas tank skid that I have sitting unopened in the garage, that I will install once I get the 1" body lift, and a M.O.R.E. 1" motor mount lift.

I also took my Tom Woods driveshaft to a local shop & had it replaced with a local guys amazing work. I am now running a Dave's Driveshaft that is tough as... well tough.

Future plans:

Fab up, or Savvy up a tummy tuck after the BL, MML install is done.
Add a full locker front & rear, with chromoly shafts front & rear. May not be absolutely necessary, but I tend to try things on the trail that are for bigger rigs, so... added insurance.

Hiline all fenders. I don't need it exactly, but it will help if I want to drop my lift an inch.

I am going to replace the front bumper/winch plate/stinger with a real life sized stinger in case I need it. See above statement on my stupidity / risky behavior for why.

I will be rattle canning the paint, matte black. I will be keeping my wheels for now (MT classics) but painting them, or having them powder coated.

I will be installing a nice CB soon for trail comms.

After that, I guess I will start working on 'cooling' up the inside, with a cage, 4 point harnesses, and new seats. And I'll fabricate a tool / trail rigging box for the back later.

I will also be taking a welding class soon, and buying a nice new MIG welder, so I can (maybe) fab up a rear bumper with BERSK's follow along in the fab section. And I will be buying a tube bender shortly for cage assistance.

I am sure I left something out, but I am on lunch & cannot recall all that I want to do.

Black 2004 Jeep Wrangler X 5MT

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post #4 of 6 Old 04-09-2012, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
2004 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 119
I know I have the worst & slowest build thread ever, but here is another update on progress on this Jeep.

Since my last update, I have added a a Novak cable shifter. I think there has been more but I cannot remember off hand.

I ordered Currie Progressive rate springs, Fox 2.0 Shocks from Savvy, and a Spartan locker for my Dana 30 front.

I started installing them today, and got the front shocks & springs on. I also decided that while I had to front end apart I would completely redo the front axle setup. I am using the existing parts, but I am just making sure everything is as good as I can get it. So everything is disconnected from the axle, and I have it supported on the jack until I get everything all put back together.

So, here are a few pictures of the progress:

I'll post more as I finish this phase. I am only able to work on my Jeep on the weekends, and even that might get cut out due to an upcoming wrist surgery.


Black 2004 Jeep Wrangler X 5MT

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post #5 of 6 Old 04-09-2012, 05:06 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: uk
Posts: 8
well done .i like it .thanks .
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-06-2012, 08:22 AM
Where'd all my money go?
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1998 TJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 5,465
You'll love the Currie springs, and the Spartan locker! I'm not a very big fan of the Fox shocks though. I have them on my rig and the rear shocks were to long, and the front shocks are really rough riding over sharp edged bumps. They ride ok on the highway though.
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