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Unread 05-03-2009, 12:24 AM   #1
LSU_TJ
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LSU_TJ Jeep Build

Ok this bug has bit and is going nowhere so I guess I will start a build thread so I can document and reference what I have done and am in the process of doing to my new to me TJ. I am planning a fairly modest build and am looking for a good solid rig that is both capable and reliable enough to just jump in hit the road or the trail and see where it brings me. You know what they say "You never see a jeep parked outside of a psychiatrist's office"

I grew up as a kid wrenching on FJ40's and we had several of them in the family and still do. I am just returning to the jeep world after a 10+ year hiatus with 4wd atv's. While I will always love the FJ40's I decided to try the jeep brand for the first time this go round and am very happy I did. I have rented them several times on vacations and always loved driving them. So my search began.

After months of looking I finally worked a deal on my Lil' Mule. It seemed like a pretty solid build and culmination of products that would set me in the direction I wanted to head with little waste in things I would not have done. I have never been able to leave anything I have owned alone so let the build begin.

Here is what I started with:

97 TJ tub on an 03 Rubicon chassis

DRIVETRAIN:
• HAS A NEWLY REBUILT MOTOR 4.0 6 CYL WITH 4.6 STROKER KIT AROUND 3,000 MILES ON IT
• 5 SPEED TRANSMISSION WITH A TRANSFER CASE SLIP YOKE ELIMINATOR KIT INSTALLED ALSO A TERA LOW 4:1 KIT WITH 2WD LOW
• HAS C.V. DRIVESHAFT
•BOTH AXLES ARE LOCKED WITH Factory Rubicon Air LOCKERS AND HAVE YUKON 4.10 GEARS, ALL SEALS AND BEARINGS WERE REPLACE AROUND 1 MONTHS AGO.
• FRONT AXLE IS A DANA 44 WITH YUKON GEARS AND Alloy USA CHROMOLY INNER AND OUTER SHAFTS
• REAR AXLE IS A DANA 44 WITH YUKON GEARS AND Alloy USA CHROMOLY SHAFTS

EXTERIOR:
• NICE RED PAINT
• 5 MICKY THOMPSON CLASSIC LOCK 15x10 WHEELS WITH RED AND SILVER BEADLOCK RINGS
• 4 33X12.50-15 AT RADIAL TIRES AROUND 3,000 MILES (37" TIRES WILL FIT WITH VERY LITTLE MODIFICATIONS)
• CUSTOM FRONT BUMPER WITH WINCH PLATE AND 2 HOOK POINTS WITH CLEVIS
• REAR HAS A SWING OUT TIRE CARRIER
• HAS A WARN 9000XDI WINCH (NEW)
• HAS A FULL UNDER BODY SKID PLATE AND GAS TANK SKID
• BLACK HALF TOP SOFTOP
• REAR CARGO RACK

INTERIOR:
• MASTERCRAFT RUBICON DIRT SPORT SEATS (RED AND BLACK)
• MASTERCRAFT 5PT HARNESSES
• CD PLAYER
• OVERHEAD SOUND BAR
• CB INSTALLED IN LOCKING CONSOLE
• HAND THROTTLE MOUNTED ON B&M SHIFTER

SUSPENSION:
• 4" SUPER LIFT KIT WITH 2" COIL SPACER FOR A TOTAL OF 6" OF LIFT
• QUICK SWAY BAR DISCONNECTS


Seemed to be a good foundation to build on.


On the trailer loaded up and ready to go to a new home.





We spent 3 days in Gatlinburg on the drive home and had a great time. Such a beautiful part of the country. Here is a pic from the balcony of our room. Can't wait to go back there.





Made it home and in the driveway.





It is my intent to document here all that I am doing to my jeep and if any info gives ideas or helps others in their builds then I have achieved one of my goals. I will generally post all full write-ups I do in a separate thread as well as on this one but will only post all that I do to the jeep on here. This way I will have a living thread containing all that I have done. If you have any questions or comments along the way let me know.




.


Last edited by LSU_TJ; 11-05-2009 at 03:43 PM..
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Unread 05-03-2009, 04:05 AM   #2
Claytonfrnk
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Thats a damn nice jeep to start off with. I don't think you can do much to it and still drive it down the road.

BTW very nice avatar..... almsot makes my wanna be a LSU fan.
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01 tj sport, 44 rear,2.5 Rough country coil lift, 35 12.50 tires, 5 spd, 4.0L, DIY Highline, 50,000 miles bought as salvage title for 4 grand.

Build thread: http://www.greatlakes4x4.com/showthread.php?t=160244
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Unread 05-03-2009, 11:59 AM   #3
LSU_TJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claytonfrnk View Post
Thats a damn nice jeep to start off with. I don't think you can do much to it and still drive it down the road.

BTW very nice avatar..... almsot makes my wanna be a LSU fan.

I have found something to do to it every weekend and will combine those writeups I have done here. Got a pretty cool project I started this weekend but the writeup will come later. It looks a bit different now, just a few months into it.

And, thanks.

.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 12:25 PM   #4
LSU_TJ
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Well this happened to me the first few weeks I had it with very little seat time. This had been coming. Good thing I trailered it home. Would have never made that trek wheels down. Here's a full writeup.


ARB Locker Install in Rubicon D44 Axle


Well I got the infamous Rubicon OEM Air Locker failure and decided to go with the ARB locker as a replacement. First I want to thank the guys at Randy’s Ring and Pinion and specifically Blue, for all his help and very quick shipping. I have no connection with these guys and this is the first time I have done business with them and I will definitely do business with them again. They have excellent customer service and pricing. This is intended to supplement the detailed instructions provided by ARB and provides some tips on what I did on my install specifically in a Rubicon Dana 44 axle. While this was written with respect to my install it may help others in the install of their ARB locker. These tips are what I did and may or may not work for you but hopefully will save someone a lot of time that I spent working through some of the issues during install. Do this install at your own risk. This is a pretty technical install but not bad at all if you are good with a wrench and can take your time and follow details very closely.







To start, the ring bolts for the Rubicon D44 are 7/16” so the holes in the ARB housing need to be drilled out with a 29/64” bit. I used a drill press and plenty of lube and then chamfered the holes with the next size up bit. This is some pretty hard steel and you will have a time if you try to do this with a hand drill.



You can see in the previous picture that I originally pressed this bearing down flush with the end of the housing like the original unit was but this was not far enough down. If you look close you can see the flat seat at the bottom that it needs to be pressed down to. I originally used a flat bar so I could only press it flush. To push it down all the way to the bearing seat I had to get some kind of tool to act as a bearing sleeve press so the housing could slide up inside of it and press down on the inner bearing race.











I used a 4wd Spindle Nut Wrench. This worked perfect as a press tool for this bearing and was about $9 at Autozone.










The next hiccup was how tight the ring gear was when trying to get it installed on the new locker. I first coated the ring gear seat on the locker with Anti-Seize and then put the gear in my high tech powder coat oven (i.e. toaster oven from Wal-mart) for 1 hour on 200 degrees. It dropped right on at this point. Do not forget to get all the reference measurements needed for shims in the ARB Instruction manual BEFORE you put the ring gear on. Ask me how I know…..







I used red locktite on all ring bolts and torqued them down to 80 ft/lbs. There was some discrepancy on this figure as I was seeing 80 or 100 ft/lbs on the specs on the forum and checked with Randy’s Ring and Pinion who said it was 55 ft/lbs for the ring gear bolts on the D44. The original bolts were hard to break so I decided to go above the 55 figure and went about in the middle with 80 ft/lbs on these bolts. I also tightened them in a star pattern and numbered the pattern I used in this picture.







I got the diff cover gasket surface cleaned and prepped with a razor blade then an air angle grinder with a cup brush. This got rid of all that old RTV sealant and gave a good smooth surface to re-apply the RTV gasket maker to.







For the air line I decided to use the hole the original air line used in the top right inside of the housing. To get the old connection out just remove the hose and tap with a hammer on the flare fitting from the inside and it will just pop out of the diff housing on the outside top where the old air hose was connected. This hole is too small so you will have to drill this out with a 7/16” drill bit then tap it with a 1/4” NPT tap to thread for the new ARB air line fitting.







Be patient with the tap and clean the threads out to make sure you don’t have any shavings left in the new threads.






After I ran the tap about 3/4 of the way through I did a trial fit of the brass fitting and it kept stopping after a few good turns in the new threaded hole in the diff housing. I thought something was wrong with the new threads so cleaned them out again and ran the tap in and out a few times to check the threads.



.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
LSU_TJ
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Part 2

All seemed good and then I noticed the threads were not the problem why the brass fitting was stopping. It was bottoming out on the housing so I used my dremel to grind a little off of the housing where it was rubbing.





Now it goes all the way down smooth.





The next issue I had was where the copper line came out of the Seal Housing and you have to bend it outwards to get it as close to the diff housing without rubbing as you can. The Seal Housing is notched but the Rubicon locker had another original Master spacer, which I had to re-use to maintain proper spacing, which is not notched so it was rubbing a spot on the copper line where you have to bend it outward. To fix this issue I used my dremel to grind out a notch that matched up with the one on the Seal Housing so I can lay it down without rubbing.





I rounded out the edges so I did not have any sharp edges that could rub a hole in the copper air line.





Now there is some extra room for the air line to lie across.





You can see here where it completely lays through the slot in the OEM Master Shim. You can also see where I used a paint pen to mark the original bearing braces. You need to re-install these exactly as they came out, taking note of which side they came from and which way was up. This is very important.





Here is the air line pushed through the brass fitting. I cut it back with an air powered reciprocating cut tool but the dremel with a small cut off wheel would have probably worked better.





Here is how I routed the line inside, giving it some slack in case I need to change anything later and would need more copper line to push through.





I have checked the backlash with a digital Dial Indicator and have it at .007” which is within spec. I only added two .002” shims to the left side to achieve this backlash value on mine. The OEM specs I found on the forum showed backlash values to be between .005-.008” and Randy’s Ring and Pinion have this as .006-.010” for the acceptable backlash range. So I am about right in the middle and should be good. I did not mess with the pinion gear so that should be good.

Time to stab the axles and drop this thing back on the ground and take her for a spin.

Ok, here is where the fun began. I have Alloy USA Chromoly axle shafts and stabbed the right axle that came out of the right side before the job and torqued it down, no problems. Next I stabbed the left axle back where it came from and just started the four nuts on the backing plate. I then turned the hub and the right hub turned in the opposite direction, perfect. As I started to tighten just the first nut on the backing plate and long before torquing it down the axle locked up and would not turn at all to access the next three nuts through the access hole in the hub. It was obvious that the axle was hitting something and was at least 8mm or more from being flush. The weekend was over so I spent the next few days on the phone with the folks at ARB and Alloy USA’s rep to find out what was going on. The consensus finally was that there was a possibility that the axles were different lengths and the internal offset is different in the ARB compared to the Rubicon factory locker and the axles would need to be swapped. I did not notice a difference in the axle lengths when they were standing side by side during this install but was also not looking for it either. I pulled the right axle back out and sure enough….





It was a good 14mm difference in length. At this point I swapped the axles and everything bolted right up and torqued down perfectly. So remember this THE SHORTER AXLE GOES IN THE LEFT SIDE with an ARB install. Now time to drive it slow and carefully at first to listen for any strange noises.

Dropped her to the ground and took her for a spin. All now!!! Runs great and no strange sounds. Looks good, done.

Overall this was not a bad job at all. Tearing down a differential is one of the few things I had not attempted yet because of all the hype about how technical it is dealing with gearing. It is no more technical than rebuilding an engine block. Just takes time, patience, and attention to details. I can say now that if I want to do a gear change to 4.56 or 4.88’s I know who is doing it….. Just need a Dial Torque Wrench and I am ready for changing a gear set. Little more involved dealing with the pinion gear but can be done no problem. Love spending the weekend learning something new!!

.

Last edited by LSU_TJ; 05-03-2009 at 03:49 PM.. Reason: addition
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Unread 05-03-2009, 01:38 PM   #6
stjjames
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Unread 05-03-2009, 04:34 PM   #7
LSU_TJ
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3.14.09


Ok, I have been wanting to do something with the trim rings. I am not a fan of chrome and was about to paint them body color but was still wanting something more so it got me thinking. My body is red and I have used a Candy Red Transparent paint in the past to color tail lenses. This paint was transparent and I figured over the chrome this would give some good color and depth with the chrome as base color. I was about to take this route but wanted some contrast then I read a thread that gave me the direction I was looking for so I have to give some credit to lilgremlin for this one. While I do not like chrome I love black chrome. These trim rings are plastic with a chrome film on them so sending them off to be dipped with black chrome was not an option. But a transparent black paint over the chrome finish was and would give a very similar look. I used to always see that smoke tint spray paint at the local auto parts stores that people used to tint their tail lenses with and thought that would work perfect. Well after spending half a day going to one of each of the different parts stores in town I found out this is not sold anymore in this type store. I was not ready to give up and remembered that the Candy Red transparent paint I used to use was Testors and I bought it from the local Hobby/Model shop so why not give them a try. Wah La, what I found was Pactra RC294 Window Tint transparent spray paint. This should work perfect. There are a couple of key things to know if you are wanting to do this with this color or any transparent paint. The surface must be clean and you will need to lightly scuff it with something like the green side of a sponge. Do not rub too hard with the greeny. You do not want to scratch the chrome finish all up just a light scuff is all you need. Prep Solv will work well to clean and degrease the surface right before paint. But the most important thing to remember is do this in Several Very Light coats. Transparent paint is Very thin and will run in a second. Give a few minutes between coats and start the spray mist before the part and stop after you have past it. Don't stop spraying on the part or you may get some splotches of paint. Use smooth movements across the part when spraying and again do lots of very light coats. I probably did 8 coats on mine and it came out very nice with no runs. This finish looks really good and I can't wait to bolt them back on to really see what they will look like but I will let this paint set for a couple days before re-attaching them to the front of the jeep. These pictures don't exactly do it justice because you cannot see the depth in the finish. The best I can do to describe it is that it looks like a really nice bluing finish on a gun barrel. It is very reflective and shines well but has a depth to it that when the light shines on it at different angles you can see through the paint to the chrome underneath and it gives that gunmetal blue finish that is like a blackish blue color. I am happy with the results and will post some more pictures when I feel the paint has set and can handle it without harming the finish. Here is what I have so far.

Trim rings before paint:





Now with the paint:








Oh, and if you're also Irish, Happy St. Paddy's Day.

Got the parades and some Guiness in the morning so I'm off to bed.

.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 04:39 PM   #8
LSU_TJ
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3.15.09

Ok, rained all weekend and put a real hurtin on the jeep projects but as promised, between showers today, I put these back on.








I am happy with the results.

.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 04:41 PM   #9
rubidriver
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Good ole fashion DIY Jeep building. Thread looks like a good one.
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your money will go farther in College Station.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 10:43 PM   #10
LSU_TJ
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Thanks. Yes, I hope it will all be DIY.

I built an outdoor kitchen/grill/smoker into a trailer for tailgating a few years ago and someone asked me where I got it. When I told them I made it they said wow I didn't know you knew how to weld, I said I didn't........ but I do now.

I have always been the type that if I didn't know how to do something I learned. Never did a rear end or set ring&pinion gears till the writeup above. Love to learn new things. Best way to learn your ride.


.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 11:02 PM   #11
LSU_TJ
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3.15.09

Rained all weekend but managed to get a few things done. PO had painted the step bars body color and this had started to peel in spots and needed some cleaning up so I decided to take care of this while I had them off getting ready to install the Poison Spyder Rocksliders. Since they had some scuffs and bruises from rock body work I wanted to give them some type of textured paint to help cover some of this and give them a little more durability than just body paint. I ended up using Duplicolor Truck Bed rattle can paint. I gave them a good sanding with 220 grit and shot it with about 4 coats of bed spray. I am glad I used this versus some of the other brands. It is not near as rough as others and just has a good texture to it and lays down thicker with each layer you give it. May even use this stuff to clean up the front bumper/stinger but have not decided on this yet. Used Graphite Aluminum wheel paint for the steps. I sanded these lightly because I did not want to lose the texture on the step part. I also sprayed these pieces with Bulldog before paint to make sure the paint stuck really well and help stand up to the abuse of shoes rubbing against them. Got a before and after paint pic and will post on the rig pics after the rain settles down and I can get the rocksliders on.





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Unread 05-03-2009, 11:09 PM   #12
LSU_TJ
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3.17.09

Happy St. Patty's Day B**ches. Look what happened to me.


Came home to this.





Had a few of these......





And this happened.....








And a pic from the next weekend.








.
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Unread 05-03-2009, 11:14 PM   #13
LSU_TJ
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I will do a writeup on the PSC Rockslider install to share some tips from my install.


.
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Unread 05-04-2009, 10:54 PM   #14
LSU_TJ
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Ok, here is the install. While this is with the PSC Rocksliders most of this should apply to any brand.

First thing I did was drop the body mount bolts then jack up one side to get the body off the bushings so there is a big enough gap to slide the rocksliders in. Once slid all the way in I lowered the jack putting the body weight back down on the frame making sure the rocksliders are tight and in position. This is what I used as the jack point that would raise the body off the frame and not interfere with where the rocksliders go on.





I then took a sharpie pen and traced the countersunk bolt holes that need to be drilled on the body. Once all holes were traced on this side I jacked it back up and pulled the rocksliders back off. With all holes marked I drew some cross hairs in the circles and used a punch to mark the center with an indentation to help center the drill bit. Make sure you have looked inside the body where these holes are marked that you are not drilling through something like the wiring. I did not jump right in with the final drill bit size but started with a small bit to give a good guide hole for the larger bit.






Next came the drill bit needed for the bolt to pass through the body. As you can see the hole is a little rough on the edges. We will clean this up next.





I made sure the bolts passed through with ease and then went up a bit size to give a nice chamfer to the hole. You just run this larger bit on the outer surface to clean up the rough edge and give it a nice smooth surface to guide the bolt in. Do not go all the way through with this larger bit your hole will be too big, just route out the outside a little to give it a countersink.





I then went to the local Autozone and got a tube of Scratch Fix in my paint code and painted all bare metal surfaces inside and outside of the body holes with this paint to avoid rust. After this paint had completely dried I jacked it back up and slid the rocksliders back on to fully install them. Once tight against the body and in position above the body mount bushings I pushed all the bolts through the holes and started the nuts on the inside. I tightened them all down gradually together so it applied even force across the rockslider against the body.





I then dropped it back down once the side countersunk bolts were all good and tight. Now make sure you have fully tightened all the body mount bolts on this side. Ask me how I know.....

PO had one missing and I aided in losing another. Anybody got a couple extra body mount bolts and one lower bushing laying aroung.....

Move on to the next side and repeat. Here's the finished product.





.
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Unread 05-05-2009, 12:54 PM   #15
LSU_TJ
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3.16.09

PO did some front suspension work that I guess I both like and dislike so time to make some changes. First thing to address was he added an upgraded tie rod bar with heim joints at each end and relocated the steering stabilizer to a place I was not crazy about at all but we will address that later. First things first. Evidentially the relocated stabilizer shock was in the way of the factory sway bar drop link bracket that is on the spring perch so he whacked them off....... There were JKS quick discos on the jeep but they stayed locked in the up/off position so I had no sways connected in the front. Provided a less than confidence building ride for the less adventurous passengers I occasionally carry so for on the road I wanted the front sway bar connected. Time to fab up a new bracket that will fit around the new items in the front suspension so I can use the JKS quick discos.


Here we go after a little cardboard mockuping. (is that a real word )



















Now time to put some paint on this thing and see how it holds up.


.
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