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Unread 04-11-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
Tyler99TJ
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Tyler's Used and Abused 97 TJ Build Thread

I have had a TJ since 99 and always liked to play with me Jeep and add parts, but since my Jeep was in great condition and still worth decent money, I never wanted to beat it offroad. It an origional owner, with 90,000 miles with perfect paint and no rust. My plan is to keep if forever and just cruise around in it and let it be my future son's first car too. It has 4.56 gears, Spartan locker in the front, 3" lift and 33" BFG muds.




So along comes a 97 TJ with a blown front end for $2000 and I could not resist.



She is a 1997 TJ SE,5 speed, Black with Black Soft top, half doors, aftermarket CD player and thats about all thats staying. It was totally stock except for the radio and some new shocks. It had 120,000 and the tub is in perfect condition. The frame has some slight rust, but nothing that can't be taken care off. The previous owner had bought it from the original owner who had had some kind of a small accident. The driver in fender and windshild had been dented but not total ruined.

The Plan:
Lift- Small lift ~ 2.5" to get some frame clearance and room for 35" tires (when with Rough Country 2.5" springs for 6 cyl)
Fenders- Tube Fenders, maybe highline (went with Blue Torch Fab DIY tube fenders)
Fron Suspension- Currie Control arms in the front with homemade adjustable trackbar
Rear Suspension- short arms 4 link with Ford Shock towers
Roll Cage- Posion Spyder Trail Cage
Tires- 35" Pitbull Rockers (got a deal on 5-34" TSl bias)
Wheels- Homemade beadlocks (Reused stock wheels for now 15 x 7, will upgrade when I go to Pitbulls)
Front Axle- Dana 30 High Pinion, Spartan locker, Nitro 4.88 gears, Solid Diff cover
Rear Axle- Ford 8.8, 4.88 gears and Detroit
Truss- UCF fab truss and diff cover for the Ford 8.8
Steering- Currie (took off Red Jeep)
Interior- PRP Seats with 4 ways
Rocker- Custom Rockers full WW to WW with A to Z's rocker bars to weld on
Front Bumper- A to Z front bumper/winch plate (will add on to this once Jeep is done)
Rear Bumper, not sure yet but will make a custom one after I am done with everything else (will carry spare in tub)
Winch- Warn 8000 (off Red Jeep)
Transfer case- Stock for now because I want a doubler and a 231/300 would give me a SYE, so why buy one now.
Will add more as I think of it.

I am planning on seeing how this set up works and seeing what I need to change. I will wheel it like this until Fall, than I am looking at a 231/300 doubler, a 318 motor swap, 35" Pitbulls on beadlocks,hydro assist steering, flat trans skid and maybe some boatsides.

Here is the front ring and pinion out of the factory Dana 30



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Unread 04-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #2
Tyler99TJ
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It all started with a HP Dana 30



And a Ford 8.8 with drum brake (installing Disk Conversion)



Disk Brakes for the 8.8



They are getting 4.88 gears, Detroit in the rear, Spartan in the front and everything freshened up.



I had Tony (FlatLander757) do the install with me and got the axles stuffed full of the goodies



Here are the PRP Seats that are going in.



A to Z front bumper that I will build on to later



Diff cover that attaches to the truss, and control arm mounts with pretty little stars

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Unread 04-12-2011, 06:52 AM   #3
Tyler99TJ
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Here are some before pictures. I always get too excited and forget to do this and you will notice that I already had trimmed off the front fenders and had to tape the flares back on for the pictures.









I stripped down the interior and it was perfect under the carpet. No rust at all.





Started tearing down the Ford 8.8 out of a 92 Explorer. Had drum brakes, but got disks for it. It was the worst smelling axle that Tony had ever seen. It had some water in it from sitting, but everything went together pretty well.



Open Diff with the spyder and side gears out.





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Unread 04-12-2011, 07:01 AM   #4
Tyler99TJ
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I decided to reuse my factory rims and spacers because I figure next season I will upgrade to some Pitbull Rockers and beadlocks, so I rolled the Jeep around on these for a day. I am thinking I should have kept them.





Once I got my tires back I mounted up the rears so that when I put the front on Jackstands, it would sit closer to level than it would with the small roller. I was worried about getting the on with the facotry suspension, but with everything stripped out (interior, seats, spare tire, top) they fit fine.





Then I pulled the factory Dana 30 low Pinion and swapped in the High Pinion Dana 30 out of a Cherokee. I put in 4.88 gears and a Spartan locker that was in my Red TJ.



I was thinking about doing highline fenders, but I need some lift to keep the frame out of the rocks and didn't need any more tire clearance, so I just went with the BTF DIY tube fenders, no flare. I didn't like that I had to remount the battery and not have much of an inner fender, so I made them work with the factory innner fender. Lots of work, but my first time really fabbing something on the Jeep.

I had to add to the cowl area of the fender and here is what it looked like













Braced up the track bar because I have had problems with the track bar wobbling out the axle side hole on my last TJ's and added Currie control arm skids and a Solid diff cover.



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Unread 04-12-2011, 07:21 AM   #5
Tyler99TJ
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Got the other fender mounted up and then pulled the roll cage. Had to weld nuts on the bolts because my buddy stripped 6 of 12 of the bolts.





Then I set the front bumper/winch on and rolled it outside to see how much the tires will stick out. They fronts will come out about and 1/2" more because I do not have the rotors on. The rear is still the Dana 35 with out spacers, so it will come out about and inch when I swap in the Ford 8.8 and add the spacers.













Then I dropped in the Posion Spyder Sport Cage. I like this so that I can wheel with the windshield down.







This gets me up to date. I have pulled the rear Dana 35 and I am cutting off the upper rear control arm brackets and going to 4 link the rear. It will still be short arms, so it will not have 14" of flex, but I want to see what it can do. I was going to copy the Rock Krawler 4 kit, and even bought all the stuff to make it, but decided against it. I will be using my Currie lowers and lengthening my Currie uppers to work on the 4 link.
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Unread 04-12-2011, 10:05 AM   #6
Prryan45
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I like where this is headed.
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Unread 04-12-2011, 10:25 AM   #7
Tyler99TJ
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Last night I pulled the exhust off from just behind the cat. It took me forever to get it off. I had to get a buddy to come over and help me. We heated it up cherry red and were able to twist it enough so that we could beat it off with a sledge. The muffler was already rusted in two pieces. I will post up a picture of the muffler and removing the rear upper control arms.







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Unread 04-12-2011, 10:35 AM   #8
Dogbones
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Good idea, I'm thinking about getting an older wrangler to make a trail-rig to keep my 06' in good shape. Great direction so far
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Unread 04-12-2011, 03:22 PM   #9
flatlander757
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Looks good dude... but I don't know about that guy who regeared your axles... I wouldn't trust him...
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Build thread here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2006 Sport
Being able to make vroom vroom noises in Tonys Jeep was the highlight of my life.
Currently Jeepless.
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Unread 04-12-2011, 05:07 PM   #10
ibjeepin95
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Looks good man! I just got an 8.8 from a 92 Explorer also.
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Unread 04-13-2011, 11:29 AM   #11
Tyler99TJ
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My Sister had a baby yesterday, My wife's birthday is today and I am helping a buddy swap axles on his Cherokee on Friday. I will not get much done until Sunday.



No flashes because he is in the special care unit because his mother sprung a fever during 17 hours of labor, but planning on going home Friday.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 01:56 PM   #12
Tyler99TJ
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Cut the rear upper control arm mounts off the frame. No turning back to the stock suspension now.



Here is the Driver side



Passenger side



Starting to mock up my lower control arms. Looking to mount them with nothing hanging below the center line of the axle



The frame is now cleaned up and ready for the mounts to be welded onto the frame. I started fabbing the mounts last night and will be ready to tack them on later in the week.

2.5" square tube 1/4" thick

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Unread 04-19-2011, 02:15 PM   #13
MountainMan864
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btw that baby should be sleeping on his/her back until the infant stage is done. nice jeep coming along though.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 02:32 PM   #14
Sgt.Fuzz
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Nice project. That's exactly what I want to do for my son in a few years. Find a beat up lil stocker and have him help me build it. Keep up the good work.
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Unread 04-21-2011, 07:08 AM   #15
Tyler99TJ
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I got the upper control arm mounts fabbed up last night. I drilled them out but did not take a picture of them.



Here is the Rear Ford 8.8 with the truss, coil buckets and lower control arm mounts tacked on. I used the dimensions off Stu's website and did not realize that the brackets are slightly angled in. I am going to have to cut them off and grind them down a touch.

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