Turnin' wrenches (slow progress) - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 268 Old 01-06-2010, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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2004 TJ Wrangler 
 
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Location: Southern Iowa
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Turnin' wrenches (slow progress)

I thought I would post a little thread about my Jeep build. I have always liked to follow other people’s step by step builds. It could be a 2 year build-up of some historic hot rod build, or just sitting down and watching Norm Abram whip up something in his New Yankee Workshop. I for some reason like to watch progress. I not only want to know what happened during the last update, but why they used certain materials, the bumps that often happen behind the curtains, and how things actually came together.

My plan is to construct a vehicle that can meet my needs both on and off the trail. This means that it must be street friendly but also keep in mind the availability of parts and durability. A simple trail fix is one thing, but I don’t want to be 1000 miles away from home, spending more time on the phone tracking down parts for my junk than having fun on a regular basis. Off the trail also includes having a vehicle suited for camping, canoeing, mountain biking, fishing, geocaching, ect. I am planning a build with as little down-time as possible. This may end up being the hardest part for me because it will mean creating a good step by step plan (not a problem) and sticking to it (the problem).

For the past 15 years or so I have thought about all of the things that I would like to do to a Jeep when I get the time, money, and ambition. I have tried a few times with not much success. This time I have a fool proof plan to meet my needs. The end goal would be to have a rig that I could grow into a little bit. I don’t want to finish up the build just to realize I should have done things much differently. I have done that a few times now…. I now have a bone stock 2004 Rubicon I bought a while back. I chose the Rubicon because it had the low ratio 4:1 NV241 transfer case, and front and rear Dana 44s. I knew there were better/stronger transfer cases and 44s out there but I was planning on staying off the loud pedal and playing it smart. It was my best bet for a building platform.

At the top of my build sheet was a long arm stretch lift (100-101”) with 37” tires. I was also going to throw axles, gears, and braces at the axles. Custom tube fenders, rock sliders, front and rear bumpers, and other misc. armor were also in order. Coilovers or a 4-speed atlas are on the wish list, but there are no “corner cutting” tricks to bring the price down on those! I had been saving for quite a while now and have more than once had the part numbers and check book in hand, but for some reason I can’t take the plunge.

As of right now, I am having the most fun I have ever had off road wheeling this thing almost stock. So I told myself to take it easy, get your use out of this pile, and be a bit more logical. After a few cold beverages I decided to do the same exact build, but backwards. I don’t need to start off with some of these more radical ideas, but instead go much slower from the bottom up. Just because I’ve been doing some saving, doesn’t mean I have to spend it.

Current stock setup:
2004 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
4.0 Inline 6
42rle 4-speed automatic tranny
“Rock Track” NV241 t-case with 4:1 low
Front and Rear Dana 44 axles
4.10 gears
Air lockers front and rear
Gas Tank Skid
Rock Sliders
P245/75R16 Goodyear MTR Tires
4-wheel disk brakes
Hard and soft top
Steel full and ˝ doors



I also yanked the rear seat, brackets, rear seatbelts, front bumper end caps, rear roll bar padding, carpet, and the rear sway bar.

I also transferred all recovery gear and other random junk from my XJ over to the Rubi. I was going to mention a few of them, but the other day I was doing the spring cleaning and had removed all of the junk from my rig. I had it spread all over the bench and the floor, and I thought to myself “I really pack this crap with me? This can’t be normal.”

This is what I “found” in rear. counterclockwise from top: Storage Box, high lift jack kit, jack mate, jack repair kit, high lift jack, channel locks, crescent wrench, a new shovel, an old ax that needs a new handle, jumper cables, an unopened first aid kit (a good thing), hand warmers, farm & home tire plug kit, hedge clipper deals, small hatchet, small saw, 3 farm & home clevises, 3 hardwood dowels, small chain (for pulling my garden tractor out), log chain (for big boy tractors but I used for hand winching), a broken 27,000 lb yank strap, a good 27,000lb strap, and a 62,000lb yank strap (for the tractor but could be used for a very stick situation).


The front area, counterclockwise from top right: Paper towels, camera and case, batteries and portable charger, GPS, charger, and window mount, 2 pair of gloves, two fire extinguishers (yes those are wool socks), 2 flashlights, some bungies, a couple of ratchet straps, driving glasses that may have come off the Top Gun movie set, 2 binoculars (both were left in my vehicles over the years by buddies. Sorry guys….mine now), valve stem core removers, tire PSI gauge, base plate compass, sighting compass, duct tape, and a map folder with a bunch of random maps from all over.


The morning before we went wheeling at Jason’s parents house this winter I also put in a CB kit I got from quadratec.com, a high lift jack mount, and I also did the locker mod with two separate switches for the front and rear lockers. I’m now a big fan of screwing around with the rear locked up in 2WD





I have a few small items on the list, but I would like to hurry up and get this thing paid off before I get a little more involved. Next up I am going to throw a little bed liner in the tub, a 1” body lift, some sway bar discos, shift kit, and an updated seal/tail housing kit for my t-case. I have just recently purchased a Superchips tuner for a few different reasons. The main reason being a great plug-and-play toy that makes great power for the buck. If you’ve never played with one of these things, ask a buddy to borrow his. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. The initial price is a little steep sitting at just over $375. I got mine for a few bucks little less from Bruce down here at Advance Transmission.

I also just got done putting a shift kit into the 42rle. It’s more of a shift improver kit than anything. The shifts are a little firmer and quicker but not a whole lot. The kit had a few updates that I was looking for, the main was the update that wouldn’t send my puny little tranny into “limp mode” and burn up all of my OD clutches. I also put a seal kit and a different style of tail housing on my t-case to stop if from leaking. I forgot to take pictures during the process though…..



"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."

Last edited by D-Morg; 02-20-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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post #2 of 268 Old 01-06-2010, 07:00 PM
spyder6
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this looks like a tasty build

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post #3 of 268 Old 01-06-2010, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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I got the ball rolling a little bit over the past couple of months. My first two hurdles I had to traverse were finding a budget minded daily driver and a welder.

The daily driver
I scored a 1983 Ford Bronco II for cheap. It was an older local fellow that was the original owner, and he had only put 62,000 miles on it! She has a little rust starting and is a little down on power, but I think it should work out great. I took off the running boards, spare tire, spare mount, and some other exterior bling, and bolted up a set of blingin’ rims I found on clearance and I wrapped them with stock Rubicon MTRs.

The welder
I had a difficult time deciding on what welder to go with. I really wanted to get a TIG welder, but in the end I ended up with a Lincoln Power MIG 216. I priced welders at just about every store you could think of and ended up at Praxair in Pella. They beat the nearest price by about $100 and it’s just down the road!



THE WINTER 2009 – 2010 LIST
- Floor mats
- CB Radio/Scanner
- Build storage box for rear tub
- Build roll cage
- Build roll cage storage rack
- Build overhead console
- Build front bumper
- Build rear bumper with tire carrier
- Build tire carrier storage rack
- Build rear bumper Jerry can holders
- Find some Jerry cans
- Mount back up lights
- Mount fog lights
- Mount spot lights
- Build fog light winch mounts
- Build spot light A-pillar mounts
- Get new headlights
- Get winch
- Rear license plate light
- Led corner markers in front flares
- Led turn signals in front flare and grill
- Get a soft top
- Build front tube fenders with 4.5” flare
- Get tranny temp and PSI gauge
- Make and electrical junction box
- Make hi-lift jack base
- Piece together a tool kit
- Get a new tire PSI gauge
- Get a CO2 tank with regulator and hose
- Get a snatch block



The first things I want to cross off the list are the front and rear bumper stuff. I’ve got them both drawn up the way that I want.

The front bumper is a narrow stinger style bumper. The braces and gussets have a little holes design milled into them for a little added character. I also integrated a steering box skid into the bumper, but it isn’t show on the drawings. I wanted something that I could remove if needed so that is why some of the things aren’t directly welded to the frame. The design also calls for some internal bracing not shown on the shop drawing.



The rear bumper is fairly strait forwards. Integrate the recovery tabs, hitch receiver, and more of those holes to make it purdy. The only thing that is different about this bumper is that I am planning on putting a hitch receiver through the center of my spare tire so I can build receiver style cargo carrier, but I am still kicking around a few ideas that I would like to try. The only thing that is really stumping me on the bumper is a clean way to mount my rear spot lights. I haven’t bought them yet but I would like to insert them into one of the 2.5” holes in the tire carrier.



I cut the 3/16” plates out with a jig saw and a sawz-all and smoothed them down with a hand file. Some of the cuts were also made with a 4.5” angle grinder with a cut off wheel.





I mocked up most of the pieces with plywood first and then traced the pattern to the sheet of steel so I could take a lot of the guess work out of some of the clearances.



Burned the plates together and smoothed things out.





Getting the steering box skid mocked up and ready for welding.



"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #4 of 268 Old 01-06-2010, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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Got ‘em welded up. It looks bulky but it is not any bigger than the aftermarket ones. It does extend a little farther back so it would protect the sector shaft.







I also sleeved the passenger side of the frame so I could have another mounting point on that side. I still have to brace up the main body of the bumper as well as the steering box skid.





Drilling the holes for the receiver in the rear bumper.










1” thick shackle tabs (My chop saw still hasn’t forgiven me for these yet)







My new goodies from Luke. I’m looking forwards to getting this baby mounted up!




Just thought I would show off some of my fancy fabrication tools. Don’t worry; I’m only getting the feeling for how much I should stretch the rear without doing a full comp cut. I’m not mocking up suspension with this damn thing.


"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #5 of 268 Old 01-06-2010, 11:35 PM
MisterO
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lookin good so far, I'm excited to see where this ends up.

either way, mind explaining exactly what this shift kit does in more detail? I'm curious about it.

Nice Jeep btw


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post #6 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 07:40 AM
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im loving the Gheto Fab tire

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post #7 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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A few action shots of some mild wheeling in Colorado and Southern Iowa before she goes under the knife.











"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #8 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 09:25 AM
dayriesw
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Awesome looking rubi... I can't wait to see the new bumpers mounted

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87 MJ Chief in pieces
Bought/Wheeled/Sold: 85 CJ, 79 FSJ, 05 LJ, 06 WK
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post #9 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 09:39 AM
Martinsc
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Everything looks great. You have some nice fab skills.

My Build-
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post #10 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 10:07 AM
gotmudd1
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Garage
Very nice.

How is the superchips programmer working for you? Have you seen big improvements from stock? Would you do it again or is it not worth it?

97 Wrangler: 4.0L, 5 speed, BB, 31's KM2's, CAI, Cat-Back Exhaust
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post #11 of 268 Old 01-07-2010, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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Thanks guys.

As for the shift kit, it’s more of a valve body update than anything. I couldn’t feel a change in the shift RPM or in the firmness. I could tell a little bit of a difference in the speed of the shift. The gear change was a little snappier. The main reason I wanted to get this kit was so the tranny wouldn’t go into “limp mode” and kill even more clutches. Sometime in the future I would like to firm up and raise the shift points so it doesn’t shift like the stupid front wheel drive based tranny that it is. I have a buddy that owns a tranny shop in town. His brother that works for him is a big transmission guru and I was going to see if he could help me build some sort of manual valve body option. I haven’t looked into this very much yet though.

The Superchips programmer is great. I tried the Hyperchip programmer first and wasn’t very impressed with the performance or the options. When I put the Superchips program in I could actually feel a change in performance and it has a bunch of cool widgets that come with it. My personal opinion is that this programmer could be the best bang for your buck performance upgrade you can get compared to some of the intake and exhaust systems power gains. I’m not planning on overlooking those modifications though. They are on the to-do list for the summer of 2010.

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #12 of 268 Old 01-09-2010, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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1-9-10

Slow progress on the front and rear bumpers. I got the winch fairlead mount and braces made today and burned in. I also mounted up my fog lights that I took off of my old XJ.






These are just sleves so I can run 1/2” bolts through the rear of the bumper for a little stability. I did weld a 2” piece in the steering box brace so I could run the bolt through the angled section.





I used a bandsaw this time to cut the front shackle tabs. I still need to round the edges off and hit it with the DA. They are 1”x4” stock.



Also got the rear tire carrier started. This will be made out of 2x4” 3/16 square tubing that will be sleeved with 2.5” ID pipe that is also 3/16”.




I think the next thing on the list is to see if my hole saw will last all 14 holes……my bet is no!

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #13 of 268 Old 01-09-2010, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
D-Morg
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Here's a stupid question, how come my pics didn't show in my second post? Meh, I have enough pictures on one page already

"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."
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post #14 of 268 Old 01-09-2010, 09:12 PM
Firedog13
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Very nice metal-work and welding, sir.

Firefighters Jeep Club
All gave some, some gave all.
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post #15 of 268 Old 01-09-2010, 10:19 PM
all_clear
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Sweet jeep! Nice fab skills wish i could make my own bumpers and such. Looking good, keep up the great work!



Nathan

2004 Jeep Wrangler, Auto Trans, LEDs throughout, 3" Lift, 35" MTZ's
Check out my official RE-build thread. Her name is Ilene

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