Building MY 'Ultimate' Jeep from the ground up. -

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post #1 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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Building MY 'Ultimate' Jeep from the ground up.

Hello all.
Let me start this one out by saying how nice it is to be posting here again and part of the forum. I've been Jeepless for a little while now, but hoping to change that soon.
That brings me to my latest idea that I am fishing for feedback on:
I am sure there are a few here that have completed builds from a bare frame and a fistfull of parts, and I am thinking about following that path. I am interested in buying a nice TJ frame and going from there. Not looking to get this project done in a few weeks, or over a winter....but would rather take my time and do things as I can afford to and as time allows.
End result would be the Jeep I always wanted.
Daveys Jeeps has several nice frames to start with, tubs and parts and I am debating on taking a small wad of cash and a trailer along to get my basic items needed to start constructing my 'ultimate' Jeep TJ.
Question: anyone done this from this ground level before? Is it worth it? I am wanting to build a driveable Jeep that sees a lot of trail action and is still cool enough to toss the kids and car seats in and cruise uptown for milkshakes some summer night with the top off.
Anyone think I am certifiable for the looney farm?? haha.
Thoughts and opinions are welcome, as is guidance along the way if I head this route. Thanks in advance to all. It is great to be 'back'.

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post #2 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:21 PM
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i would respect you more if you built it this way. good for you.

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post #3 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:47 PM
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those are the best builds to read about and see my friend. kudos to you for having more kahones then me. i say go for it and good luck!


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post #4 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jeepinmichguy_ View Post
those are the best builds to read about and see my friend. kudos to you for having more kahones then me. i say go for it and good luck!
basically, exactly what he said. i love reading those kinds of builds. plus, i could only imagine the feeling of satisfaction once its completed. i say go for it, full steam ahead, and just hope your funds dont run dry!

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post #5 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:54 PM
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My personal opinion is that you can't beat a rig that you build. You will know every square inch of it. It will be your blood, sweat and tears that go into it and enjoying it will take on new meaning when it's "done". I say go for it, but be sure to keep us posted on your build... :-)

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post #6 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 01:58 PM
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Oh please do.
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 02:00 PM
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Build it.
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Osgood View Post
Anyone think I am certifiable for the looney farm?? haha.
i think so wayyyyyyyyyyy too much effort & money to me. especially when you can buy a TJ at the local used car lot for much, much less than you'll end up spending trying to do it from scratch.

what kind of trails do you want to do? are looking at 42" tires, 1-tons and coil-overs, fuel cell behind the seat or just basic trails that 31s will do?

I live in CO, and there are hundreds of trails...but under a dozen where you need anything other than 33s and a mild lift. probably 75% are doable stock on 30s or 31s.
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post #9 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 02:08 PM
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How do you plan to title it?

You might be better off buying a drivable TJ and tearing it apart. At least that would give you a tub, frame, and all those hard-to-find odds and ends.

Truthfully, if I had it to do over again, I'd buy some big-boy axles and a bunch of tube. But it wouldn't ever be driven on the street neither.

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post #10 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 03:24 PM
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if money is not a problem then go for it.
personally,I would buy a complete tj and tear it apart for the build and sell the parts I didn't use.
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post #11 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 05:21 PM
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I have a buddy who built a CJ from the ground up. Installed hydraulic shocks which he could control individually for off camber situations and put in front Saturn seats because they were comfy. It was pretty sweet and he says he spent about 15k on it in all. Probably more than he would have spent, but it was his and it was great. He is actually the one to get me into Jeeps. Good Luck with your build if your do it and keep us informed.


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post #12 of 27 Old 07-08-2010, 06:08 PM
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he said top off.... that just saved you 200-300 bucks right there

id be one of the first people to tell somebody to take on a project that they want to do... as long as they have some resemblance of semi rationalized, realistic valid justification for it.

i guess you would have to share more of what you want to see as your "ultimate jeep' finished project to get more honest answers that you may be looking for.. is it something like mine... panda edition unlimited high power HEMI, hard core, LA twisted susp, stretched 40 inch tires on 60s with a 60K project total or...... a really sharp looking semi stock jeep with some corner armor, 4" lift, 35s and a inline 6? if your going towards the more extreme end then yeah start from scratch. or:

if you want to do it as a hobby.. then yeah do it and open your wallet. if you want to do it just to just gain a jeep and TRY to save some cash.... and based on what you posted in the OP, i would seriously recommend just buying a complete and functioning jeep and then customizing and tweaking it to your individual style...

id look at it like this, do you want to walk out and put everyone in the jeep and go get ice cream or keep saying 'no kids, daddys jeeps not done yet...'

whatever your decision... i wish you luck and the forum will be here to help you along.

PS im actually looking for an LJ frame and tub so i can build a second jeep with all the take off stuff from my rubi... again your project direction completely depends on what your 'vision' is.

good luck

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post #13 of 27 Old 07-09-2010, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the replies! This is great!
I apologize, as I should have been a little more open with my vision of what I'd like to do.
I envision no less than a stroked 4.0 (aiming for a Hemi swap, as I have access to a donor vehicle) with the 6 speed transmission. Axles would at the very least be Rubicon units but would like to go with stouter lockers and gearing. I am going with 35"s for the tires, and the lift kit will likely be the RE 5.5" long arm kit. I don't wish to extend the body or cut corners (literally), as I would like to keep the appearance of a somewhat stock body, but armor will be mandatory/involved.
I am in Indiana, and there are several trails/locations around, and I plan on building the jeep to be able to tackle anything I would be comfortable with doing. Granted, I have a LOT to learn trail wise, but I'm not really a newbie too much.
At the end of the build....(if that ever comes, because are they ever really 'done'??)...I want a Jeep that I can be very proud of, and drive just about anywhere--on or off road.
My boys are both excited too, as they miss not having a Wrangler around. I showed them some ideas of what I was planning in Jp magazine...and they were all over the idea. They want to help out whenever I have them (I'm a divorced Dad). They are pumped.
Long story short....I think this will be a fun project for all involved, and one I can always look back on and HOPEFULLY be glad that I took on.
Regarding registration....I'll have to get either a salvage title (depending on the tub) or a BMV assigned VIN. We'll see!

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post #14 of 27 Old 07-09-2010, 08:05 AM
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I hear ya on the build from scratch thing. Im actually in the planning stage for a CJ7 build. initially I wanted to do like you but after pricing everything out, I decided that we'd save a Cj from death... for a few reasons:

-Small parts availability
-A good template to see how everything goes together
-CJ's are very simple, Ive had 2 and am familiar with them
-The idea of saving a classic appeals more to me than bolting some bought parts together

At the end of the day, its your money and do as you want but spend a LOT of time planning. Assume that your best estimate will only be about 50% of what you'll need. Good luck and look forward to your build thread.
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post #15 of 27 Old 07-09-2010, 08:21 AM
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Actually, Im still thinking...

Since Im so far into my planning stages, a few other things Ive figured out:

Plan to the T.

Step 1. (MOST important) Whats it realistically going to be used for. Dont build a monster rock crawler with a Hemi and Tons because you MIGHT take it to MOAB but realistically only street drive it 90% of the time. My point being that its very easy to "over-build" it on paper. Dreaming and paying for parts are 2 very different things.

Step 2. Research research research. Decide what youre going to build and what youre going to buy from the engine all the way to the blinkers. For example: I found that buying a pair of JK 44s was more realistic than trying to find then build some other axle setup. I later decided that a built AMC20 was even more realistic for my needs than a 44. Again, refer to step 1.

Step 3. Utilize stock components where you can. Sure it'd be cool to have an Atlas/Hemi whatever but, for me, its much easier and cheaper to utilize an AMC360/T176/D300 because CJs were built this way from the factory (well, not the 360 but there are stock mounts for a 304 that are the same). The little things will add up if youre not ready for them, especially custom parts.

Step 4. Make sure you know what youre getting into. It might seem like the best idea in the world now but 1 year/$10,000/no garage later ... again see step 1.

Step 5. Dive in and kiss your wallet good bye!

Step 6. Post LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of pictures on JF!
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