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NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 07:45 PM

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First, a bit of background. My rig is a 2004 wrangler unlimited which I bought new back in 2005. This is my 4th Jeep. My first car was a 1971 CJ5, with the 225 Buick Dauntless, Odd Fire V6. It would pull the front wheels off the ground going forward - and pull the side wheels off the ground going around a corner. It was a death trap - but you don't know that when you are 16.

Here is a pic - my sister always called me a Jeep Creep - so the name stuck. Since this rig, I've owned a 1982 CJ7 Laredo, and a couple of Cherokees. But I had been out of Jeeps for a while, before deciding to get back into it with my current rig.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 07:51 PM

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Back to the current project. Since getting the rig, I've put 100's of hours into it, but with the exception of a short build thread on the rear tire carrier, I've never done a build thread. This is what it looked like when I got it back in January of 2005. Not exactly hard core, but I was very happy to have another Jeep. .

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 07:55 PM

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I started tearing into it right away - and I actually have a picture of my first mod. Don't laugh - that bra stayed on the Jeep until I had to remove it due to the high-line.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:05 PM

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Since then, the rig has gone from 35's on a 5 1/2" Rubicon Express lift, to 37's on Dynatrac Pro Rock 60's, to 40" Krawlers on SpiderLocks.

Along the way, I've done a full cage (a few variations), a supercharger, 4 Speed Atlas, ATS Transmission, Hydro Assist Steering and Brakes, lots and lots of armor, highline tube fenders, an on board Premier Power Welder, many changes to the suspension, front and rear bumpers, and a whole bunch of other projects. I spend more time wrenching on the damned thing that I do wheelin. But, it keeps me off the streets. When I do wheel it, I'm not afraid the beat the hell out of it. It's been a blast of a rig.

Here is a recent pic in its current state:

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:15 PM

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All in all, I was pretty happy with the rig. In 2015, my wife and I made the long treck from Nashville to Moab for the Easter Jeep Safari. Bucket list kind of a thing. Had a great time, and met a bunch of great people. Decided then and there it was certainly worth the 3300 mile round trip and 350 gallons of diesel for the tow rig. We were definitely going to come back (so I guess it is still on my bucket list).

But - something bad happened to me and my ego while out in Moab. Had the great pleasure of getting to run the rig on several great trails: Poison Spider Mesa, Moab Rim, Golden Spike among them. My wife took a great picture of me coming across Golden Crack. It's my current avatar.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:21 PM

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And it was this picture that ultimately led me to my current project. Flying that right front tire across the crack, instead of drooping down and keeping it on terra firma - has bothered me ever since. I always thought I had a pretty flexy suspension - but apparently not...

Anyway, after much consideration, I decided that to take the rig up to the next level I needed to go coilovers. So, first thing I did was buy a bunch of stuff.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:26 PM

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My original plan was to stay with the current suspension setup (it's always been fairly good to me) and just replace the coils with coilovers and pneumatic bumps.

However, when I started planning for the build, the first thing I did was spend some time flexing the front suspension to see how it was going to handle 14" inches of shock travel. So I did a bit of this:

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:32 PM

Well, it quickly became apparent that my radius arm setup in the front would bind pretty quickly on the way to full flex. So after much debate and thought, the project took me up the ladder for what would become the first of several occasions. I decided that if I was going to all the trouble to cut off the old coil buckets, and all the associated work, I may as well go ahead and do the entire front suspension to be able to take advantage of the full range of the coilovers.

So, I decided to go with a 3 link front suspension layout. I've had good luck with builder components from GenRight in the past, so I ordered the parts I needed from them. I also purchased the King Coilovers and the mounting hoops from them as well.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:41 PM

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So I got started. First step was to pull the front axle and remove all of the old mounts. On that 60, it took the better part of 3 or 4 hours . Between the coil mounts, the control arm mounts, and the sway bar mounts which were originally set up by Dynatrac, it was quite a challenge. This stuff was clearly built to last. A combination of my plasma cutter, many cutoff and flapper wheels on my grinders, and many, many blows with the BFH, got me to this point.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:47 PM

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Before digging into the axle, I removed the coil buckets and shock mounts. Plasma, grinder, BFH, and patience. Definitely committed at this point.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:53 PM

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With all the old mounts and coil buckets removed - it was time to move to the first part of the mock-up. I've always had good luck with my caster set right at 8 degrees, so with that in mind I began by mocking up the lower control arm mounts and the bump stop pads.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 08:57 PM

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The sway bar mounts originally built by Dynatrac were quite beefy, and cleared my high-steer setup very well. My original plan was to use these and not re-invent the wheel. However, during the mock up, I could see that these mounts were occupying the same space on top of the inner C's where I would ultimately need to mount the lower coilover mounts.

So, out came the plasma again, and they were gone in about 3 seconds. How did we get along before plasma?

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 09:01 PM

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And with those mounts out of the way, I mounted the lower coilover mounts on the inner C.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 09:09 PM

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I was into the project about two weeks at this point, and about then I started thinking hard about the rear suspension. Again, it's always been good to me - but I began wondering why I was going to put all the work into going coilovers back there and still wind up with those LOOOOOOOONNNNGGGGG arms in the back. Even with the 40's, those buggers rode low and were always dragging. I also bent a few sets - the last being 2" x .250 wall DOM. As I said earlier - I beat on this thing.

My current rear lower control arms are made from 2 1/4"x .375 wall chromoly. They have not bent - but they still drag - and I lost 1/8" of ground clearance. Here is a cutaway. 1 3/4" x .120 wall on the left, 2" x .250 wall in the center (which bent on me fairly quickly), and the current 2 1/4" x .375 chromo on the right. Heavy stuff.

NashvilleTJ 08-07-2016 09:13 PM

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Anyway, all this thinking drew me to the conclusion that I also wanted to upgrade the rear suspension, go with shorter control arms mounted higher on the frame and higher on the rear axle, and eliminate the track bar.

So, back to GenRight again for the builder parts for a triangulated 4-link. This stuff is beefy.

The time now is 08:40 PM.

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