Project HOUSEFUND - TJ Build on the cheap, it's HowIRoll - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 181 Old 01-03-2008, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Project HOUSEFUND - TJ Build on the cheap, it's HowIRoll

Purpose of this thread:
To show what can be done on a very limited budget. My wife (of over a year now) and I combined do not make very much (we have no kids--she works full time, I am a mechanical engineering student at UC and co-op on off quarters). We are also trying to save for a house at the same time this Jeep build is taking place. We don't go out to eat a lot unless we get a gift card, we both pack our lunches, we wait to see movies until they are in the dollar theater, we do a budget every month to see where our money went, and most importantly I have a wife that is supportive and loves to get her hands dirty and help.

I hope this thread also helps others so they don't have to spend the time searching and repeating mistakes that I will make in the process. And also to show you the flexibility you can have if you save up some money and can afford to take some risks.



The Start and the Story:
In the spring I bought a '98 TJ SE 4 cyl with back spaced American Racing rims meant for 32's but had BFG 31's on them, hard top, soft top, full doors, soft doors, bikini top, OR Lights, and a killer sound system. I paid for this with none other than my wife and I's account called "House Fund" (it really is our house fund). My wife's car was getting old and I use to have a YJ back when we were dating (until the motor blew on it and I got a car because of my commute to UC) so we decided to get rid of her car and get the TJ.

I few months later I found another great deal on a '97 Sahara automatic, stock everything, but the guy had been taking used motor oil to dispose of it when the entire gallon fell over in the back and ran all the way into the front. He had also never hand washed it and the paint was very oxidized. He had been trying to sell it and no one wanted to mess with it, I gave him a low ball offer and he was strapped for cash after his impulse XJ purchase so he accepted it.

So now I had two TJ's, exactly the same color and about to be divorced for buying a second one before the new love seat and couch!

The night I brought it home my buddies and I started switching everything over to the Sahara and putting the other stuff I didn't want on the SE (Yes, thought about swapping the axles too for the 4.10's but thought that might be a little wrong). My wife's troubles were finally eased when I sold the bone stock SE for what I paid for it.

Let the fun begin! Oh, and if you like what you see make sure to CRAWL it. Thanks.


How It Began:
'97 Sahara automatic
100,000 miles
Hard top
Soft safari top
Full hard doors
BFG AT's 31x10.50




Current State:
'97 Sahara automatic
106,000 miles
Hard top
Soft safari top
Full hard doors
33" x 12.50" Mud Terrains
16" x 8" 4.5" BS American Racing Rims (D-Series)
2.25" Budget Boost (BB)
129a Rubicon Springs (Rear)
(93-98) ZJ V8 Springs (Front)
Skyjacker Hydo Shocks
1" MORE Motor Mount Lift (MML)
1.25" JKS Body Lift (BL)
Drag Nasty Creek (DNC) front bumper with stinger
2 x 150 Watt KC H4 off-road lights










Waiting to be Installed:
3rd brake light / back up light combo


Expense Report:
PURCHASES:
$240.00_________Estimated 2.5" to 3" of lift
$17.00__________Brand new looking carpet
$225 + $17.39____Front bumper + Refinish
$53.29__________Off-road light wiring harness
$31.97__________Fuse block and relays
$420.00_________Five 33 x 12.50 Mud Terrains
$297.00_________16” x 8” 4.5”BS CRAGAR Series 365 Black V5
$58.00__________1” MORE Motor Mount Lift
$125.00_________1.25” JKS Body Lift
$54.62__________Deep transmission pan
$56.40__________Autometer Phantom Trans Temp Gauge
$30.00__________Trail Rated Badge
$57.00__________ZJ V8 Front Springs
____________________________
$1682.67 TOTAL

SALES:
$270.00_________Air motors found in dumpster
$450.00_________31” BFG AT’s
$20.00__________Insta Trunk
$100.00_________Spare Goodyear GSA on stock Gambler Rim
____________________________
$842.67 TOTAL OUT OF POCKET (PURCHASES MINUS SALES)



Items Currently For Sale (PM me for details):
1/2" Skid Plate Spacer (Transfer case drop)
Front Rubicon springs (129a spring rate)
All 4 stock springs
2 rear stock shocks
Stock 3rd brake light
Stock motor mounts

Last Updated: 11.17.2008


Check out my build thread:
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Last edited by HowIRoll; 11-17-2008 at 12:35 PM.
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post #2 of 181 Old 01-03-2008, 11:13 PM
CHRRRIS
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Nice. Lately it seems alotta people are getting a whole 'nother TJ and swapping parts. Good idea.
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post #3 of 181 Old 01-03-2008, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Steering Box Skid Plate

This steering box skid was made from 3 pieces of 1/4" steel plate and a piece of angle iron. To match the bolt holes up with the ones for the steering box we dabbed some anti seize on the ends of the bolts and put our plate up to it. The marks left were where we needed to drill holes. We drilled the holes and then bolted it in place, marked our cut lines, cut it, then welded it together. It was easier to make and tack one piece in at a time rather than come up with measurements for the entire thing, cut it out, weld, and then bolt the finished product up.

We added the angle iron in the front for extra stability, although I think it was an over kill.

Cost: $0.00, a friend goes a long way in the Jeeping community


Credit for this design goes to rnemovr, after he smashed his boughten one

Check out my build thread:
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post #4 of 181 Old 01-03-2008, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Outside Door Latch Doesn't Open Door

The passenger side door latch wouldn't open the door unless you pulled on it really hard and really fast. I figured this couldn't be to tough so I tore into it:











Cost: An allen wrench that was to small to use for anything anyway.

Check out my build thread:
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post #5 of 181 Old 01-03-2008, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Hook Swap

From the YJ I learned how to drive on I saved the tow hooks because I knew my Jeep days were not over. Maybe stupid to everyone else, but they bring back some good memories in that thing! I think they look better too. I also removed the rubber things off of the bumper while I was at.

Cost: $0.00 (can get them used for $10-$20)





A little fun before I rattled canned them flat black like I do everything else:

Check out my build thread:
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post #6 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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2-3" of Lift for under

For Christmas I got a 2.25" Budget Boost from my wife (just the coil spacers and rear 1.5" bump stop extensions).

I decided to go with the Skyjacker Hydro shocks for a 1-3" lift. I've read they ride soft but that the paint job is horrible and rusts quickly. My wife is the designated sander/wire brusher so I'll have her work on that and then we'll paint them none other than ... flat black. I found two used front ones with less than 5,000 miles on them in the JF classifieds for $30.00 shipped. I ordered the two rear ones from http://www.4wheelparts.com/ for $65.00 shipped.

After doing some research I found that Rubicon springs have a higher spring rate than stock TJ springs so I went out on the hunt for a used set with low miles. I found a whole set in the JF classifieds for $64.00 shipped and should be here tomorrow. I figured with over 100,000 on my stock ones it couldn't hurt for the money. The Rubicon springs are the same height as the stock ones, but I've heard to expect 0.5 to 1.5" of lift from the springs since they do not sag as much under the weight of the hard top/bumpers etc.

For bump stops I am going to get some bar stock from the local hardware store and cut/drill my own.

Pictures, measurements, and updates to follow

Cost:
$80.00 BB 2.25" w/ rear bump stops
$64.00 Set of Rubicon Springs with 8,000 miles on them (Thanks UPSucks)
$65.00 Rear Skyjacker Hydro Shocks 1-3" Lift NEW
$31.00 Front Skyjacker Hydro Shocks 1-3" USED (5,000 miles) (Thanks bigV)
-----------
$240.00 For an estimated 2.5" to 3" of lift

Check out my build thread:
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Last edited by HowIRoll; 01-09-2008 at 08:54 PM.
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post #7 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 06:20 AM
happymudder10
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GREAT JOB!!!!
I remember when I was a broke college student, and it was tough. I'm glad to see that you have your priorities straight and are saving for a house.

Most people forget what is important and will waste tons of money on their jeeps (which depreciate ever year) and don't even go offroad! I think that you are doing things the right way, and after you graduate and start making the big $$$ you'll be able to build your jeep with all the good expensive parts, but the life lesson that you have learned is excellent. (gee, I sound like my dad)

Good Luck
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post #8 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 07:25 AM
Baotchi
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Interresting read, keep it up!

Black 2010 Sport JK
Black 2003 Sport TJ Gone!
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post #9 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Thanks, I've been meaning to do this for a while and recently broke my arm when I fell down a flight of stairs carrying a 4 ton floor jack. So now I've actually got the time to get caught up and get some stuff posted. Kind of slow posting one handed, but I got lucky, it could have been my leg, back, or head. Whatever that jack landed on was going to break, it just happened to be my arm.

Here is the damage:


edit:

As OUR-00-TJ so graciously reminded me I forgot to add the cost for this project.

Cost:

$30.50 X-Ray
$109.03 for a Dr. to tell me it was broken (could have definitely saved some money in this department)
$735.42 Ortho visits, casting, and more x-rays (running total)
$385.00 Brace to keep me out of a cast from my shoulder to my knuckles and reduce therapy time
--------
$1259.95 or tires & skid plates, WARN power-plant winch, ugg...you can fill in what ever you want.

Check out my build thread:
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Last edited by HowIRoll; 10-27-2008 at 01:52 PM.
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post #10 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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Rear Brakes...Have them adjusted!

I have drum brakes in the rear and noticed when I bought it that the pedal was a bit soft and the hand brake pulled really high. When I was switching the tires on it I made sure to check the front pads and they looked brad new. I also noticed that the back end would want to come around the front under hard wet braking. All of these things pointed to the rear brakes.

With the above broken arm I didn't have the ability to jack it up, take the tires off, check them, and then adjust them, so I took it to Midas.

To my surprise it is only $24.99 to adjust both rears and clean them. They are going to try and give you a story about how bad they are and how you need new ones. I went back there and looked at them and they looked fine. I told the mechanic I was going to swap for discs soon and didn't want to spend the money I had saved on these brakes. Whether that is the truth or not, doesn't matter because he then started talking about his project vehicles and said he'd clean my brakes out real good and adjust them up tight.

My drive home with the newly adjusted brakes felt like they were brand new.

Cost: $24.99 (The best bang for the buck so far)

Check out my build thread:
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Last edited by HowIRoll; 01-04-2008 at 10:37 AM.
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post #11 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 08:01 AM
TheBoogieman
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I had a similar money problem several years ago.I opted to get rid of my wife and keep the Jeep.Much cheaper in the long run
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post #12 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Salvaging the "un-salvageable" CARPET CLEANING!

When I bought the Sahara the guys had spilled a whole gallon of used motor oil in the back and let it drain all the way to the front. Needless to say the whole interior was a disaster! The seats had what looked like entire cans of pop spilled on them along with dog hair. The carpet did not have a stain here and there, the entire carpet and seats were to the point you could barely tell which color they were and we wouldn't take the Jeep if we had good clothes on!

The first step was to unsnap the carpet and take it out. This only took about 10 minutes. I laid the carpets out on the lawn and soaked them with a hose. After soaking them water I took a spray bottle and soaked them heavily with ZEP industrial carpet cleaner:



I used it at full strength and did not dilute it when I used it on the carpet or the seats and I did not have any problems with fading/color changing. This stuff is awesome and would recommend it to anyone!

After letting the carpets soak with the ZEP on it for 15 minutes my wife and I took a hard bristled floor brush and scrubbed each of them. After scrubbing, we immediately hosed them off until suds no longer came out. Even with the oil and 10 years of dirt, they came out looking nearly perfect and we didn't have to rewash any of it. We then put painters plastic and bath towels all over our living room and let them dry for 5 days to make sure they were nice and dry and we wouldn't get a musty smell.

For the seats I filled a bucket full of hot water and used a wash cloth to dampen the seats with the water. I then used a spray bottle to soak them with ZEP and rubbed it in with my hands. After 15 minutes I took the cloth and hot water and scrubbed the seats with the wash cloth making sure they were good and soaked with water to dilute the ZEP for when I vacuumed it out. I used the wash cloth because the bristle brush had a tendency to fray the material. After scrubbing them and soaking them in water I then took a shop-vac and sucked the water out of the seats making sure I went very slowly and in a straight line pattern so that it dried evenly. The vacuuming part needs to be done 2 or 3 times, spaced out about 10 minutes and they will take less than a day to dry in warm weather.

To get the oil off of the tub I used Engine Bright Citrus so I wouldn't be left with such a horrible smell afterwards. Next I used Krud Kutter, then 409, then Windex, then water. I slowly stepped down on the harshness of the chemicals so that nothing harsh would be left on the tub paint and cause it to possibly rust later on. I have to say getting the oil out of the tub was the toughest part.

After everything was dried I went back through and put Scotch Guard on everything. You can pick a can up from Autozone and just lightly spray everything. I thought it was a waste, but dirt does come off easier and water beads up instead of soaking the carpet.

I didn't get any before pictures because we did this project mostly in the dark with a porch light and a small construction light, but here are the after shots. Remember that this carpet is 10 years old and had some heavy staining:







Cost:
$8.00 Gallon of ZEP from Lowe's
$4.00 Can of Citrus Engine Bright
$5.00 Scotch Guard
-------
$17.00 for brand new looking carpet

Check out my build thread:
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post #13 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 09:41 AM
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that looks great! nice budget build so far. i might have to try that ZEP cleaner on my spice carpet.

Jeepless...
'06 Tundra DC TRD 4wd
'03 VW Jetta TDI - Commuter
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post #14 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 09:53 AM
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Damn. Carpet looks great!

Did you not herculine because of cost? Might have been another option..
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post #15 of 181 Old 01-04-2008, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
HowIRoll
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Thanks.

The cost was a major determining factor along with time and taking everything out, prepping, etc. I figured I'd give salvaging the carpet a shot first.

Check out my build thread:
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