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Molonlabemike 01-12-2012 12:43 AM

97 TJ Build up...nothing to see here, move along!
Well I figure it is finally time to start a build thread to show off, get direction, bitach, hide, waste time, ect! :rofl: Being that this is my first jeep I figure I might as well have fun with it. Plan to build a fun, go anywhere jeep that is somewhat streetable. My last rig was a 1989 4Runner that I built up then sadly sold :( but times have changed and this past year was the right time to start throwing money at something without a pulse again :thumbsup:
The Rig as purchased
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport
4.0L With AX-15, NP321 ( miles)
Danas 30/35 3.55 gear ratio
Flowmaster 40 Series
Doug Thorly header
K&N intake
4in Prochump lift (lower arms, springs, TC drop, horrible front track bar setup)
35x12.5-15 Falken Wildpeak A/T
Getto rigged spare tire carrier
Funky front bumper
Rubicon Stickers.....:hahaha:

When I bought my Jeep it had a few issues right off the bat. First I had a bad exhaust leak, couldn't hear the radio at highway speeds so my first goal was to find out the cause. Now the previous owner was clueless on the jeep but was guessing it was the header gasket. So with that as a starting point I popped the hood and started taking the motor apart. What I found was no gasket but the infamous cracked header. Called Doug Thorly headers and they said it was a known issue and I could wait 3 weeks and pay $150 for a new header :mad: so I had it welded up as a badaid and so far its held :rtft:

Couple days later the annual Off road expo came to down and I got to spend some cash on some goodies.
Picked up a set of Hella 5000 Rally for $50! 1in Daystar body lift $89 and complete Cobra CB with Firestick Antenna $110 Windshield brackets to mount the hellas $35

Molonlabemike 01-12-2012 12:53 AM

Next issue was the factor rear track bar mount was ripping for a second time so I had to reweld that up...already this is costing me money :rofl:

Also driving it around I noticed that getting into gear was hard and the tranny loved to grind. Searched on JF found it to be a rather semi common issue and started working on solutions. First was the clutch slave, nadda :confused: then I changed the tranny fluid to mobile 1 which helped a little but still having issues going into first gear. Next I pulled the trigger and ordered up a Lux factory replacement and installed it a few hours. Seamed to help but after a few hundred miles 4 gear still grinds and doesn't always let me in depending on revs :confused: So I think a tranny rebuild is inline down the road. :thumbdown:

Since all I was doing was spending money and fixing it I wanted to take it for a little test trip. Few days before a wheelen trip I took it down to the bridge to see what she flexed at...not to bad for starters, gonna have to figure out a short, mid, or long arm set up very soon.

Molonlabemike 01-12-2012 01:07 AM

Next on my list was the rims... pretty much the most anti blingy guy out there so a little paint and vala :cool:

Finally it was time to hit the dirt and go play on the rocks. Being that we just missed the veterans run in big bear Holcomb was pretty trashed. This made for a bit more challenge and more time then we had planned. Never the less it was all in good fun, it was great to see what the Jeep could do :thumbsup: Nothing better then a great day of wheel with my dad.
Now I was getting a little cocky with my jeep and found this little rock. Got pretty hung up and added a few dents in the oil pan :teehee: Took us about 45min to recover due to the oil pan and not wanting to roll a bead. Nothing a little road work, winch and hilift couldn't fix.

Molonlabemike 01-12-2012 01:14 AM

Now the Dana 35 is not gonna last long pulling the 35s so I have to be pretty careful with the skinny pedal. Few weeks after I bought my jeep I picked up a Ford 8.8 with 3.55 gear ratio for $150. Got it stripped down and primed to prevent rust and also gave it a once over inside and out.

Gotta get some pics of the brake setup I got from east coast, look great and shipped pretty fast. Next check I plan to order up the bracket kit from Iron Rock Off road. Was planning on picking up the Artic Truss 8.8 set up but $340 plus shipping and tax is a bit rich for my blood. I have no idea how long the 8.8 will be running for so I wont stress it to to much. Once that arrives I start burning those on so I can finally ditch the 35.

Also got a little 18in package today to complete my SYE kit I just installed. Curtis over at Tonto is freaking amazing, ordered my shaft on Sunday and had it Wed! Got it bolted up, feels so much better then the TC spacers the PO had installed.
Now, one issue I found while looking the shaft over, the zerk fitting on the TC side looks revered or broken. Never seen anything like it before, look normal

And of course installed to complement my SYE, need to get some arms built to fine tune the angle

SnowYJ 01-12-2012 07:25 AM

any pictures of our header welded?

Molonlabemike 01-12-2012 12:51 PM


Originally Posted by 2006JWRU (Post 12842582)
any pictures of our header welded?

Lost a few photos when I lost my phone, I'll see what I can come up with. It was cracked/missing on each connection of the down tubes. My local muffler guys did the welding and said that the metal crystallized which made it a PITA to weld. I will say I do not look forward to replacing it anytime soon, it was a real pain to remove and reinstall

Molonlabemike 01-22-2012 01:16 AM

Quick up date, Finally got around to building my jack stands. Apparently old habbits die hard as I way over built the jack stand.... at least I will know they wont brake while using them :D Also finally welded up my 8.8 tubes in preparation for my Iron rock off road bracket kit which should be here on Thursday. One small set back was having to pull my new drive shaft to have it shortened about an inch or so, plan to ship it Monday :rolleyes: Other then that had a great time wheel with my pops and seeing how she does in the white stuff. Pictures to follow

welds look much better in person!

3/16 2x2 with 1.5 .120 wall & 1/4 2x2 AI jack stands

and the poser shots from the trip

doogie 01-22-2012 08:37 AM

Comming along nicely. How do you like the Falkens on and offroad?

motorsports3 01-22-2012 12:10 PM

Looking nice so far, but please take off that Rubicon sticker...

Molonlabemike 01-22-2012 01:44 PM


Originally Posted by doogie
Comming along nicely. How do you like the Falkens on and offroad?

Really well, I have had BFGs and Goodyears in the past and these are on par. Very nice on road handling and pretty damn off road. Only draw back would be heavy heavy snow/ mud. They did well in the ice

Molonlabemike 01-22-2012 01:47 PM


Originally Posted by motorsports3
Looking nice so far, but please take off that Rubicon sticker...

I want to but I'm a little worried about the paint fade. I have no clue on how long the Guy had it on. I'm hoping when I flat fender it I can trim most of that off.

Molonlabemike 01-26-2012 10:37 AM

Ok little update

Dropped the rear end out last night to swap in the 8.8. Waiting on FedEx to drop off my bracket kit, flange, u joint for the swap. Picked up a custom brake line for the rear since I threw the old one away :laugh:.

Also dropped by ford to order up my shock tower project and flange bolts, pics to follow soon. Now to finish up these chicken strips :drool:

Molonlabemike 01-27-2012 01:05 AM

Talk about a long day! Been pretty much on the go with the 8.8 since about 10. Cause I couldn't wait for my help to show up I kinda out a 3 hour delay on the 8.8 install :shhh: never the less got it under and all mocked up. Tomorrow should be a rather productive day, got finish up the brakes and paint then bot on she goes. Also I will be getting my new pitman arm to replace the junk drop pitman arm:)
welds looking ok for not welding in about 5 years :laugh:
and this is how we left it for the night....

Molonlabemike 01-27-2012 01:08 AM

Oh forgot to add, my ford towers for my shock outboard should be in tomorrow! Not going in for a while because I need to order up some upper and lower control arms stat! (or make them :cool:)

Molonlabemike 01-28-2012 10:25 PM

Well after 2 long days of working on the Jeep the 8.8 swap is complete :cheers2: Ran into a few issues, I tried to install the axle myself which really did work out so hot. Thinking my math was wrong I untacked the lower control arms which was a big mistake :eek: never the less 2 hours later we got it all worked out. Now I am just waiting on Curtis to send out my driveshaft since he had to remake it :teehee:

Went from this paper weight

to this :thumbsup:
Now my dads side gave him a little fuss
a little kicking a cussing later
She is in!

The time now is 07:07 PM.

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