I like to think of this more like the history of, or the technically challenged, evolving into....something. I would like to familiarize jf members with my jeep. As I will not be trying for the August TJ of the month, But will be trying to get another chance at a later time. I do think the build thread is a great way for everyone to get to know a member and a jeep. I also realize that every one that does a build thread isn't doing it to better their chances on a contest. I do regret the fact that I haven't taken the time to document my upgrades and mods. To be honest, I get so jacked up before during and after that I don't want to slow down to take pics. I will work on this.
My Jeep, 1997 Wrangler, purchased in 1998. First mods, New tires BFG 35x12.50 mud ta.
When I bought the jeep it had 35x12.50 BFGs on it, with a 2in bb and 3in body lift. It belonged to a guy, who's dad was the mgr of a Toyota stealership.
I drove the jeep for a pretty good while before doing much at all to it. After I bought the first set of tires and wheels, it was on. The Bushwhackers were next, and then the Teraflex long arm and Ford 8.8. I bought the 8.8 from Domination Chassis. It came with my choice of gear, so I chose a 456. Since my front d30 didn't match, I worked a deal with a local 4x4 shop. I would trade my rear d35 to them for in exchange, them setting up the 456, and Detroit Trutrac in the front. This worked out well. I now had a front Detroit Trutrac 456 geared d30, and a rear Ford 8.8 with 456 and Ford trackloc lsd.
Here is the first d30, with a few mods. Rockcrusher diff cover and Rustys hd Tie rod. The 8.8, had repacked the clutches in it. I had them so tight that once I finally got the spider gears in there, I had to hammer the pin in with a 2lb hammer. It works great off road. And I save $$$$. I also was tired of the lower long arms and the stock length uppers, I had however changed them to JKS adj uppers, they were still short arms. So my buddy and I came up with the idea of front radius arms. We took the uppers and joined them with a bracket we fabbed up. It worked great, and was quite easy.
I thought, that was easy enough, lets do the rear. So we did.
There were a lot of smaller mods along the way, like extended brake lines, slip yolk eliminator, Rusty's trans skid plate, steering box skid. Poison Spyder sliders. And then Drum Roll Please... One of the best mods I have made thus far, no shoo shoo.
Them dawgs will hunt. Even before I packed out the 8.8, and learned how to drive the Detroit Trutrac, these tires will help you get there. While participating in the Tellico Dixie Run 2008, I had problems with the 8.8. I was going up School Bus trail, and the rear end sounded like you threw a bunch of large gravel in there. The cap bolts on the carrier had came out. Not broken, not stripped just simply fell out. The result of this was the ring gear stripped the pinion gear or vise versa. Anyway it was fubar. I had to drive like 20 miles back to Murphy NC, to the motel, at like 8mph. I removed the rear d shaft and crept back. When I got the jeep home and looked at the gear and seen what happened, I sent Jay, at Domination Chassis some pics, they were stand up people and stood behind their work. They paid me for the labor to set up the new gears and they bought the new gears. I then Purchased from a JF member a lp d30, with 488 gears, and a Eaton E locker. I got the hp30 home and cleaned it up welded a truss on there and painted it. Also added superior tube seals, to the cromo shafts.
I then needed a new gear for the 8.8, I got a Yukon 488 for the rear and since I had set the previous gear up in the 8.8, I felt this one would be no problem. With the new gears installed, we went on a few wheeling trips.
I had a few issues with the radius arm setup. While there is a big debate about the wrenching effect, and the hopping of the rear radius arm. One of the things I noticed, was the abnormal wear of the rod end bushings. So After lowering the jeep, at the advise of JF members, and living with that a while, I then decided it was time to get rid of the radius arm set up. I researched the forums and parts stores for prices on various long arm kits. I said *****it. I purchased a Hobart 187, a HF band saw and a couple of Dewalt grinders, a HF grinder, and a drill press. I then started the calculations for triangulating and building my upper rear control arms. After several drawings and measurements. And after getting familiar with the welder. I was ready. I first built the rear truss.
I first built this monster, hulk of steel.
As you can see, it was well thought out, the brackets for the arms to bolt to, go all the way back into the truss. I however didn't use this truss. The measurements I used for this truss, would have made the long arm uppers hit the frame just rearward of the lower arms mounting point. I though about this for awhile and decided to redo it. I came back with this.
If you look close you can see the rear truss, I made it out of 2x2 1/4wall .
I made it so it would be low profile and when I welded it to the 8.8, I did not weld it perpendicular to the diff cover. I had seen where people had done that and had problems with it getting into the gas tank. With the lengths of the upper arms calculated, I proceeded to build them. I used 2in .250wall dom. I researched the forums and various 4x4 shops for prices on rod connectors. J Joints, heims. Wow, expensive. So I had a idea. I took the upper JKS adjustable arms and cut them in half. I took a flapper disc to them and took the paint off. With a large micrometer, I measured them as I massaged them with the flapper disc. When I had them where they would barely go into the 2in tube, I drove them in with a mallet. I welded them around the base and drilled two holes in each end and welded that also. They turned out great I think. One end is bushing and the other is total swivel. The other good thing is that they are in the 2in tube, about 4.5 in deep.
The next challenge was to build the connecting bracket for the frame end. This would have been easy if I didn't already have the Teraflex bracketing in place. I had to figure how to put the bracket on top of what was already there. After a few flawed designs, I finally got it. It had to be at the proper angle and had to have the proper angle for where it was mounted.
Not that great of a pic, but if you look closely you can tell what I mean. It was time to try it out, to check for clearances. I did this with a fork lift.
Never being content, I had other issues I wanted to address. My shocks I had gotten were not TJ specific. They also had around 15+ in of travel. The problem was the bottomed out on the trails. Not only on the hard stuff, but on small bumps too. My solution was to outboard the rear shocks. I looked at several mfgs product, and costs, wow. I built my own. 1/4in plate and some measuring, a little drawing on cardboard, some cutting with the HF bandsaw, and some grinding. I came up with my shock towers. Next was to cut the frame. I measured and looked and measured. Man I must have made 400 trips from one side of the jeep to the other. Then I laid the cutting wheel to it. No turning back now. I followed the instructions on Poly Performance site to do the cutting. I stopped just as the back side of the frame turns outward. I tacked that side in and went ahead and moved the axle shock mount. Well I actually took it off the axle and boxed it in, so I could mount the limiting strap to it. I then bolted the shock up, with nervous tension, hoping all would work well. It looked good clearance was good. I then went on to the other side and did the same. I had it all mocked up and it was going to work. I tore it down welded it up and this is what I had.
I then went back to the fork lift and checked everything again. It was fine. Close but fine. I had created another problem though. When I had triangulated the upper rear and got rid of the rear trac bar, I had really freed up the rear end. With no rear sway bar, the jeep drove like a turd on the street. I didn't really get to check it on the trail, but I was thinking it would be as before with to much flex, or to loose flex. I tried to put the factory sway bar back on. It would have worked, but it would have hit the brackets on the truss. I had seen the rear Currie Antirock and wanted to try that. I knew I really liked the one I had on the front. So I ordered one. I got it home and read the instructions. Oh no. This thing goes on that side. The instructions said to mount it on the back side behind the axle. The way the AntiRock was made and the way I had my shock towers, was not going to work together. I almost decided to send it back when I thought, why not the other side. I had my buddy help hold it in place while I checked what would need to be done to make it work. I had to grind the lip some, the one below the rear tub. I also couldnt use the bolts they sent to bolt it to the frame. He held it in place while I tacked it up. I jacked it up in several positions to see if things were going to clear. Looked good so I welded it up. I also had to weld the axle brackets too. I had to put them half over on the spring perch. Not in the way of the spring but close.