We had our own "amazing race" this month. Sorry but newcastle made me crack that awful joke.
Congrats to RickyR, the October TJ of the Month! Well deserved win, and I can't wait to wheel with your rig in person. Thanks to all who voted!
BTW, can a mod sticky this and unsticky the Sep. TJoTM. Sorry Tony
User name: RickyR
Name: Ricky (really !!!)
Jeep name: RUBINCON ( Yes, my last name is Rubin.. Get it ???)
The 2004 LJ took just about 9 months from start to finish. The basis came from my 1979 CJ-7 that had a factory 304/T-18 combination. A pretty rare jeep as it was, but the 304 wasn’t enough for me, so I built a pretty strong 401. The jeep lasted about 8 years with the last 2-3 years being very hard, which consisted of several flops, frame cracks and a very rough body.
I have wanted an LJ since I first saw one, but knew that the factory stuff wasn’t for me. So when this LJ became available, I bought it.
I asked a buddy to help with the build, and after a few lengthy conversations we got a game plan.
The main goal of the jeep was to keep it close to stock appearance, still be drivable on the street, allow for the factory tops to fit, and keep the interior close to stock.
I sold the axles, took the engine and trans out, cut off all of the brackets, and started with a clean slate.
Made mounts and installed the 401, 727, and 4:1 dana 300 and was put in as one deal.
Then the suspension was next, we got 2” DOM, tube adapters, and 7/8 rod ends, did a 4 link in the rear and 3 link with panhard bar in front. The front lowers would hit the frame at full compression, so we found some 2” ID pipe and frenched them into the frame.
So now, at full compression the lower fronts go up into the frame.
The ORI 14” travel shocks were installed with a set of Poly Performance rear brackets that are welded into the cut out rear section of the frame, and the front mounts were custom bent out of 1 ¾” DOM.
Then we mounted a removable tie bar across the top of the engine, this offers strength and protection.
More protection is provided by TNT, with their armor plate, built in flares, rock sliders, and hyline fenders. The hood was done by another buddy and he also put in a set of vents for additional cooling.
Since the engine was having some temperature problems (even with the 3 pass aluminum radiator), the regular fan and shroud needed some help, so I put a 14” spal pusher in front for the idle times. The 8274 blocks some of the air, so any help was good. The winch is mounted on a Currie V bumper. The bumper also has some holes drilled into the bottom for one of the transmission coolers. The other cooler has a thermostatically controlled fan and is mounted on the bottom of the tub near the fuel tank.
Fuel tank is factory plastic, walbro fuel pump and Savvy aluminum skid. The fuel tank is moved back about 4” or so, I took out that second rear cross member to make the easy move.
The axles were out of my CJ also; front is a narrowed Chevy D60 with a Detroit; the rear is a narrowed Dodge D60 with a spool. Both axles are 4.10’s and 35 spline. Yes, 4.10’s…..
Wheels are 15” avalanche engineering beadlocks that mount 39.5 boggers in the rear and IROKS in front.
Steering is hydraulic assist using my old CJ steering box. Since the box is mounted tight against the front cross member, I notched a hole in the tube for the front oil line to pass through and come out another hole.
The interior is all factory jeep, except for the gauges; everything works just like the factory says so, except the A/C. No room for a compressor or condenser. The york compressor on the engine is a little more important for OBA, than A/C for now at least.
The Autometer mechanical gauges were installed on a flat piece of steel and placed in the factory location. The only gauge missing is a Speedometer, instead I took an older GPS, and mounted it where the passenger airbag used to be. This way we have a second GPS (I have an RB1 with XM too), and the passenger/wife can be a copilot with the navigation.
Yes, overkill….If you know me you will know that is just how I am, and why not?
I took out the factory shifter and console, used my old Art Carr shifter which was custom mounted and angled into a Tuffy sub woofer TJ console. The only bad thing is that having a sub center console is there is no room for storage.
A few more things:
I swapped out a set of factory leather seats out of another LJ; I really like them so far.
A second battery is mounted under the rear passenger side wheel well. Access is thru a marine door panel behind the back seat.
A 3 quart Moroso oil accumulator is mounted on the roll bar behind the driver seat. This provides for an oil pressurized start up and is nice to have when that little bit of oil is needed on high RPM runs at an obstacle. (probably won’t happen until I get over the newness for a while) I have sucked the oil out of the 8 quart oil pan once during a high speed hill climb.
The flat skid plate is ¼” steel with ¼” angle iron for bracing. The plate runs from the engine oil pan back to the T-case.
2 piece front drive shaft since the D300 is clocked up so high. The 727 is very wide and it makes for an engineering nightmare. Also had to beat up the passenger side floor to make room, even have a 1” body lift.
Northwest Fab cable twin sticks
Believe it or not there is still more stuff.
Still waiting on my OTRATW switch panel, but should be here soon.