I figure I might as well start a build thread as I can never seem to leave any of my vehicles alone and build threads are always fun to read.
I had to get rid of my last car to buy my TJ, which was a pretty hard decision for me as it was my inherited 2001 Pontiac Bonneville SSEI that was my grandmothers. It only had 41k miles on it and was in excellent shape. I figured I couldn't get rid of my truck as I need it for being a truck, hauling lumber or my motorcycle, etc. So in the end I had to let it go, I didn't like letting dog ride on the leather anyways so it mostly sat in the driveway.
My last picture of the Bonnie before I sold it. The guy who runs the Pontiac Bonneville Forum bought it and drove it back to Minnesota from my place in CA. Apparently rust free cars are hard to find where the white stuff falls on the ground.
I've wanted a Jeep since high school and never really had the ability to get one but I decided to make it happen this year. I scoured craigslist while searching the internet about everything Jeep I could find that would fall into my budget (didn't want to spend over $10k). I was a bit torn between an XJ, YJ, or a TJ. I knew that whatever it was I wanted it to have a manual transmission, I recently had the transmission rebuilt in my truck and the $1700 that took out of my pocket left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I've also always had a thing for manuals, I think it comes from riding motorcycles and just never being happy with the factory shift points of any of my other auto's. After a while of searching I decided to narrow my search to the TJ and XJ as I figured if this is going to be a long term possession I really wanted to have the coil suspension for a little better ride quality.
I bought my 2001 TJ on Feb. 27th of this year, it was pretty well cared for and never really wheeled. I did later discover that it took a hit of some kind to the right front corner. It looks like the right front fender has been repaired/ replaced and repainted at some point. The slightly more clear turn signal tipped me off, then when I clay bar'd it and waxed it I could really tell. It also seemed to have just about every chrome bit they make. The PO took pretty good care of though and I believe it was almost always garage kept when not in use.
Build info as bought:
4.0l (stock, slow leaking rear main, no A/C), 120k miles
Dana 30 & 35 (open & open)
3.07 gear ratio
enough chrome to make a boat anchor
Bestop tire carrier
Aluminum trim/ armor
Pro comp 4" lift
Drop pitman arm
Stock track bar
1" transfer case drop
33x12.5x15 Pro comp mud terrains, only about 3k miles on them
Multiple soft tops
Tinted soft top windows
Bestop rack (for sale?)
Unknown brand front bumper
Warn rear bumper
At my buddies house after buying it.
First time in my driveway. Found a loose front track bar and removed a bunch of chrome stuff while at my dads before taking it home. Pretty sure the bbq grate things that were over the tail lights would save the lights at the expense of the quarter panel. Even had chrome rings around the rubber bumpers on the hood. Blasphemy!
Then I replaced the pain in the *** locking hood latches that were on it. They had some 4 way key bs that would only work one way but there were 4 possible ways you could put them in.
I also plasti dipped the headlight trim, fender extension, door handles, windwing trim, and the aluminum "armor". Some of the dip is peeling now between the rocker guards and the fender extensions, I think I should've cut between that seam. I think it has flexed a bit and bubbled where the two parts join. It's pretty easy to touch up and no bare aluminum is showing yet so I'm not too worried about it. I figured I would throw that in there though for other people who may want to dip some parts.
Next thing to sort out was the heater. The PO thought it needed a heater core but after a little diagnosing, I found it was just the fan speed switch. It wasn't melted but something inside was broken. I replaced that and decided to make me a spot to put some more switches in the process.
My custom kydex panel double sided taped in its new home.
Next I got my cheapo amazon light bar installed in place of the original KC's. A million times brighter than they were, I'm really surprised at how bright this thing is. I think it is a 22" or so and cost about $38. I've washed the Jeep once since installing it and no water intrusion yet.
Mock up of my switch panels. I bought (2) 3 switch panels from ottrataaawawwtatta or whatever their website is.
Traces of its Canadian heritage, my TJ really is a TJ as it started life in Canada. I have the DRL's and block heater to prove it, hahaha.
Finally got some plastic paint for the new trim piece and got it's panels installed. (not wired at this point)
Took the dog out for a little walk, no offroading yet.
Then the Jeep started getting expensive. I'm getting tired of the 3.07's with 33's and started ordering parts to swap the gears. Axle swaps are in the cards yet, but maybe someday. I'm starting with 4.56's with a truetrac in the rear and an E-locker in the front. I'm still in the process of the gear swap now so you're just about caught up with it's current state.
Starting the tear down at my dad's. I couldn't do the gears without him, he was a Chrysler Tech for many years. He was also the only local Viper tech, I got to go for a few rides in those before he left the automotive industry. I can tell you for sure, even the older Vipers were no joke. I remember tires spinning as he shifted into third getting on the highway and shortly thereafter seeing the speedometer climb above 120. Definitely get your heart pumping.
Borrowed a spreader
We got the rear end all buttoned up Saturday afternoon only to notice that we somehow installed the front pinion setup bearing in place of the new one.
So after calling around town looking for a crush sleeve I decided to order another one along with a seal from Summit. (they have been really quick in shipping my parts, I got all the gears and lockers/ posi through them. I couldn't find any 4x4/ Jeep websites that could beat their prices either)
So on Easter Sunday I decided to work on the electrical a bit. I got my new fuse block mounted and got a game plan started for how I'm going to run all my wiring.
And with that you are about caught up to where it is today, more updates to come as I get more done.
(I also found a 2001 Canadian penny under the seat when Pulled it to mount the fuse block.