98 TJ Build Thread - Long Arm Alternative - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 57 Old 12-28-2007, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
woodkrawler
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98 TJ Build Thread - Long Arm Alternative

I'm constantly reading other member's build threads on the different boards and have learned tons of priceless info. I have not posted a build thread in a while so I thought i would add to the data - maybe this thread will help some one in making a decision.

First off let me say - this is jeep number 9. i started out at 16 with a stock 91 Briarwood that 5 years later ended up on Full Widths, front leafs, and 38" TSLs. I have built and wheeled XJs, a 4cyl TJ, and a WJ over the last 10yrs. I recently sold my 99 XJ 2door on 35s and bought a this 98 TJ Sport.

When i got the TJ back November of this year it had some worn out 33" SSRs and a older 4" ProComp Lift, 4.0L w96K, 5spd(AX-15), stock 30/35 w/3.07s. it rode and drove like crap BUT it was solid, no rust, 98 with a body that was in excellent condition. Here are a couple of pics of it when i got it:





My goal for this build Jeep is have a jeep that is highly capable offroad yet can still be driven to work everyday Comfortably at 70mph on the highway. I'm married so I don't have an endless budget either so that was major consideration.

I did tons of reasearch before starting. I really wanted to go long arms but just couldn't justify the cost and the loss of ground clearance with 35s with the arms hanging low. I was able to build the jeep to run 35s and have more clearance than with long arms.

So this is my Long Arm Alternative - Step 1:

RE 4.5"(kept the ProComp 4" Coils - Rode Better and tighter woven coils)
Rear Adj. Trac Bar
TeraFlex Belly Up(will cover later)
JKS 1.25 Body Lift and Motor Mount Lift

This combo gave me clearance of 19" at the lowest point on the Belly Up with 35" BFG MTs, yet i don't have the long arms hanging low to get hung up on. I'm not sure what the Long Arm Flat skids measure with 35s, it would be interesting to know.

here are some pics:









Built some BPEs on the front axle



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post #2 of 57 Old 12-28-2007, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Step 2 - Axles/Tires Wheels

So I knew the 35 wasn't going to last long with the 35s and wheeling. I really didn't want to sink money into the 35 so the search began for a 44. i know a lot of guys run the 8.8 but i've never been a fan of it, just to darn big, i seen too many of them on buddy's rigs drag over everything...i know ill probably get flamed for this but thats my .02 from 10yrs of wheelin.

i was going to use a MJ 44 from my brother's MJ but at the last minute i was able to pick up a complete TJ 44 from a running 97TJ for $80.00. I proceeded to gear it 4.56 with **** R/P and threw in a LockRight Locker



mmmm....sexy!




I decided that since i was changing out the rear i might as well upgrade the front too. a few hours at the local pull a part and $60.00 later i had a HP 30 Bare housing from a 94 XJ. I basically gutted my TJ low pinion 30 and swapped all the parts, brakes, shafts, hubs, etc...EXCEPT the ring and pinion into the HP 30. i needed 4.56s anyway so this was a cheap upgrade. I added a 4.56 R/P from ****, LockRight Locker, and JKS mini Skids and the HP 30 was good to go.

I really gained A LOT better driveline angle over the LP 30, especially with the Belly Up Skid. Here a few pics:







the nice thing about the HP 30 is the yoke is now above the LCAs so hopefully it would be one of the last places to get hung up.

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post #3 of 57 Old 12-28-2007, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Step 2(con't) - Tires/Wheels

I was able to get a really good deal on some barely used 35x12.5 BFG MTs that a local guy was trying to unload. the spare has never touched the road! Next was wheels - i found a set of 5 TJ 15x8 Canyons for really cheap, remember wife = budget!

i picked up a set of 1.25" billet spacers to get the backspacing right again and mounted the 35s in my garage with a buddy on the harbor freight tire changer. For weights i used 10oz of .12g AirSoft pellets.

so far i really like the BFGs, they look great and the one time i've had them off road they did great. They are little loud on the Hwy. but oh well its a jeep so live with it!

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post #4 of 57 Old 12-28-2007, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Step 3 - BellyUp/BL/MML/SYE DS

Finally to run the BellyUp skid several other mods have to be done. First I had to add at least a 1" Body Lift and Motor Mount Lift and a SYE and DS. I went with the JKS 1.25" BL and MML. I just did the spacers under the factory Motor mounts. Mine were fine so there is no need to replace them. also the after market ones do create quite a bit more vibes.

Also i had to add the SYE and DS which was GREATLY needed anyway - did i mention i HATE VIBES. I went with the **** HD SYE and picked up a XJ Front DS at pull a part and had it shortened to fit the TJ. couldn't justify spending $300+on a 16" Driveshaft.



SO i got all this installed and now the fun really began. i was expecting to just bolt on the Tera BellyUp since i had done all this prepwork, i should have known better!

The skid did bolt up but the metal bracket the holds the tranny mount just sat right down on top of the skid - NO clearance, which means that the tranny vibes against skid thus making everything vibe inside the jeep.

this is the tranny bracket im talking about


the 2 shiny places are where the two contacted each other - i ended up grinding both down for more clearance


Then i still had to add spacers(2 fender washers under each bolt, about 1/4") between the tranny mount and the bracket:


Lastly i had to add one fender washer between the skid and the tranny mount to get the clearance needed.


combining the grinding and fender washers gave me about 1/4" clearance, which should be good. i had to put the fender washers under the tranny mount and between the tranny mount and skid to allow enough threads on all the studs. if you look at the back bolt in this pic you can see the gap im talking about. that is with the skid reinstalled, ground down, and fender washers.


Before i bought this skid i search endlessly for a write up on it but could never get a definate answer. I hope this is helpful for some. Please don't take this the wrong way, Im GLAD i got the skid - its very nice and the new 1/4" that is now used is solid.

So far i have not had to modify my exhaust or transfer case linkage as many have to do.

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post #5 of 57 Old 12-28-2007, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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I hope to be adding more to the TJ as soon as funds allow and keeping this thread alive with the updates and writeups. Next will be more Armor, Ft/RR Bumpers, Sliders, and Tank Skid.

also been toying with the idea of getting rid of the Canyons and going with Black Steelies or maybe Classic IIs - what do you guys think?
Keep the Canyons or Go with different wheels?

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post #6 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 05:38 AM
Harvo
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Canyons look good and I run them on my trail XJ because they were laying around, but I don't like spacers all that much. I always worry they will get loose. I had a set on a CJ once that got loose and I ended up breaking off several wheel studs.

I'd say steelies, but more for security than looks.

BTW... I'm following this build. I like what you have done so far.

02-TJ 3spd Auto, Locked Up, 35"MTRs, and some other stuff that keeps me out of trouble...
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post #7 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 06:41 AM
98tjsahara
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Awesome TJ, good work.
As for the wheels, the Ravines are my favorite. Maybe take a side shot of your jeep and ask someone on JF to photoshop some wheels onto it for you. Thats what I've done in the past and they do a pretty good job.

Sold the 98 TJ Sahara. Buying another Jeep soon!
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post #8 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for the input. i don't really mind the wheel spacers, i've run them on other rigs without a problem so i may just keep the canyons for now.

i plan to keep this post up to date as the changes happen but this a slow build on a budget.

i took some measurements this morning to build some rocker guards - hopefully im going to get some steel this week to get started.....

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post #9 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 10:14 AM
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heh, looks great.
How'd you manage to get a TJd44 for only $80???
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post #10 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 11:08 AM
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looks great man.. looks like you know how to score the deals !

96 ZJ Longarm
Previous rigs : 96xj , 92 xj , 00 tj , 90 xj , 93 Longarm XJ
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post #11 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 11:22 AM
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I have classic II's and love the looks of them. Unfortunately I am now thinking that it wasn't the best idea for me to purchase them due to the salty winter roads in PA. I have never spent a winter in NC, but I am going to assume that there is little to no salt applied to your roadways. With that being said, Classic II's would certainly dress up your Jeep : )

-I have bookmarked this thread. Can't wait to see more.

Krafty

"Just go over it"
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post #12 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 02:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwoo
heh, looks great.
How'd you manage to get a TJd44 for only $80???
all i can say is right place at the right time. actually i was surfing the forsale threads on Pirate4x4 one day at work and a local guy had just put it up forsale. turns out he bought the TJ really cheap for a project rig and just wanted to unload the axle as fast as possible because he was swapping in 1 tons.

the best part of the deal was he lives over an hour from me in NC and delivered it to me for $80.00 - needless to say i was STOKED!!

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post #13 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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i was able to get some more small jobs done today. the wife kept me busy most of the day working on shoe moulding around the floors in our house...fun times!

i did manage to paint the head light bezels with Rustoleum Hammered Black. i thought it turned out pretty good - NO MORE CHROME!

Before


After


not the best pics because it was humid and rainy here all day.


Also started working on painting the door handles. they had faded bad from the sun. i got the driver's side done. i think it turned out really well. again i used the Hammered Black rattle can.

before


masked off and roughed up with a scotch brite red pad




mmm..paint


finished product



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post #14 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 04:09 PM
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Build looks great. I'd say keep the canyons, they look good and are solid wheels. Did you upgrade the shafts in your axles to handle the 35's?
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post #15 of 57 Old 12-29-2007, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J&J
Build looks great. I'd say keep the canyons, they look good and are solid wheels. Did you upgrade the shafts in your axles to handle the 35's?
no shaft upgrades. i have spare dana 30 shafts and mine have 297 joints. im not to hard on the skinny pedal so i should be good to go.

my thoughts on stronger shafts are you are going to have a weak link somewhere in your drivetrain - its inevitable - i would like that weak link to be the cheapest replacement part thats partially why i don't run aftermarket shafts.

think about it this way. lets say you spend $400.00 on cromoly front shafts, so great they are now really strong, but something is going to give if you shafts are now stronger than your other more expensive parts like ring and pinions, driveshafts, transfer case, etc... stock shafts can easily be found for relitively cheap and are a pretty easy trail repair. i consider them the "fuse" in my drivetrain....just my .02

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