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Joshrad's XJ Build Thread (slow)

65847 Views 438 Replies 73 Participants Last post by  joshrad
So I haven't really documented a whole lot but I have done several write ups and figured I'd post them all in one thread and add as I go. I haven't done a whole lot that was technical yet, but I'm slowly getting to that point.

First a couple of pics of it. This is from when I first got it, it's scanned from the craig's list ad so it's a pretty bad pic, but it's the only completely stock pic I have of it. I bought it before my Senior year of high school back in August of 2007.


This is from the first time I went off-roading. It had the stock suspension and pretty bald 225 Bridgestone AT Duelers. At this point I only had the doughnut spare but that has been remedied as I'll mention later.


The muddiest it's ever been

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The summer after I graduated I got 4 KC 35 series lights for the roof and 2 KC 26 series fog lights for my brush guard. The fog lights were pretty straight forward and also liked how they came with 3 pairs of different lenses (2 amber, 4 clear), but wanted to make sure my roof lights wouldn't leak water inside and it took me about a week to figure it out. I did not drill any holes in the roof or anywhere that could leak water which was a concern of mine when I installed them. It hasn't leaked anywhere at all even when it's gone through an automatic carwash. (Note: I have pics of the driver's side but it is exactly the same idea for the passenger side)


Here's where the wires go over and under the gutter:


With the door open, I used black silicone to keep the wires in place and it's right where there is a gap above where the door meets the door seal. Then down through the hollow part of the weatherstripping:


The hole I ran the wires through into the fender from the weather stipping. The hole was pre-existing:


The wires coming from inside the fender. I drilled two (I believe) 3/8" holes and put a rubber grommet in them:


The holes I drilled through the driver side fire wall. One for my fog lights, and one for both pairs of roof lights all with rubber grommets:


My lazy, but reliable way to run the power for the lights and switches. The wiring harnesses that came with the lights already had a relay and fuses as a part of it so I didn't need to add my own:


Where I mounted my switches. The fog light switch is on the left side, and the two for my roof lights are right above my CB:



When you take off the kick panel there is some sheet metal that I had to cut a notch out of to fit the wires and switches. (Note: these pictures were taken recently as I added the CB a couple months ago and have had the lights up since about winter 2008)

This pic is from when I had first installed them:


A more recent pic with all of the lights on and with clear lenses in the fogs instead of the amber:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
After I got my lights working, I decided to paint the stock steel wheels black with Krylon Fusion Satin Black. Before I did this I went to a pick n pull to see if I could at least find a wheel from an XJ and just happened to find one to match my stock ones. So after cleaning/prepping all 5 wheels I painted them.
Before:

After:

And of course a driveway poser shot of the wheels painted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I then saved up for new tires. 30"x9.5" R15 Goodyear Wrangler MT/Rs.

I kept one of the old 225 Bridgestone tires to have a full size spare, it'll eventually get swapped for a 5th MT/R in the future.

I also got a Rubicon Express 2" add-a-leaf budget boost as I didn't (and as of right now still don't) have the money to go bigger and replace the sagging leafs, but wanted something that would hold me over until then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Then came the CB radio. I got a Radioshack CB radio for about $50, b/c it was the only one that had the dimensions I needed and heard pretty good reviews from a couple people I asked about it. I also got a Firestik No Ground Plane 4' Antenna kit, since I wanted it mounted on my rack and wasn't able to get a decent ground with a normal antenna.

Pic of the antenna mount:


Where I ran the coax cable:






I ran it up and over the windows on the right side and down the driver's side a pillar.






Since I still had the original antenna and mount I bought, I decided I'd mount it on the other side so it looks like a have a dual antenna set up.

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Then for a while I didn't really do anything to it. I did try to figure out what my rear axle was which took me a while and then with the help of this


I was able to figure out I had this



A Chrysler 8.25

When I bought it, it was missing the sport decal on the driver's side and the one on the passenger side was a faded blue.



So I decided I'd get some new sport decals made, as well as the one on the top of the fender (which I got the idea from a TJ somewhere on here). This is with the new sport decal and the brand new sticker.



This is from my most recent wheeling trip from October
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Then it was another few months of nothing, and then this happened:


The idler pulley adjustment bolt for the fan belt snapped so I had to get a new one.

Then when I was bored I got a can of green spray paint and made my sway bar go from this:



To this:




About two weeks ago I remembered about that can which was still pretty full and did this:




 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Then last week I decided to mount my Mag Lite to the driver's door. I went to my local Ace Hardware and I found a pair of black clips for a D cell Mag for about 6 dollars. I used to just have my Mag on the floor in between the seat and the door and it slid around which got kind of annoying so I bought them and installed them on my driver door. The screws the clips come with I didn't use and instead I used some nuts, washers, and bolts my dad had in the garage. While you're at the hardware store you could get these if you don't already have any and use the clips as a reference for size. The bolts I used were an inch long.

I forgot to take pictures of certain steps as it was starting to rain and I was stuck working on it in the driveway. First you need to remove the three Philips head screws on the handle and the armrest as well as the one in the center of the indented part of where the handle is (the screws will be marked in a following pic). If you have manual windows you will need to remove the knob as well. Once you remove the screws use either a trim removal tool or a putty knife to carefully pry the trim away from the door. I suggest starting at the side above the latch first and work down to the bottom and across to front. Once you get to the speaker you should be able to fit your hand in to pop it out right where the hinges are as it's too small an area for a tool. Once you get it loose pull out and up slowly as the rods for the door latch, lock, and wiring harness are still connected. For this part I lowered the window into the door so I'd have more room. Then slide the retaining clips on the metal rods off and slide the rod out of the clips, and disconnect the wiring harnesses. At this point the door trim will be free for you to move to a work space, I just used the cargo area.

First a pic of my driver door before I started:


A pic of my 3 D cell Mag and the clips:


Once you have the door trim off, you can put the clips on your Mag and position it how you want. I then took the clips off and using a piece of wood I marked for the distance between the clips I made a dot with a sharpie where each hole (two per clip) would be drilled. I used a 3/16" drill bit which was slightly larger just in case I could slightly adjust the clips so they'd line up right. Once I drilled the holes I put the clips on. I used a washer between the head of the bolt and the clip as the head of the bolt was rather small. When I drilled the holes, the drill ended up pushing the felt away from the glue holding it on in the spots which if you want you can cut it away from where the bolts come through. I also put three washers of increasing size as to help it be a little stronger, as well as a second nut to tighten it on as I didn't have any lock nuts.




Once you get the clips on and make sure that it lines up and you can put your Mag Lite in them and the clips are tightly secured, you're ready to put the trim panel back on. For this you reverse how you took it off, starting with the wiring harnesses then the rods for the latch and lock. The top part of the panel slides into the piece of weather stripping, which is kind of hard and took a few minutes to get it back on. Then go around the perimeter of the panel and push all of the retaining clips back into place, and put back the screws that were removed.

The finished clips will look something like this:



There was plenty of room to not worry about the Mag Lite hitting the seat when the door is closed:


In the near future I also plan on doing the same to the front passenger door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Today I just did some home made quick disco's but didn't get a chance to take pictures so I'll try to get some and post them up this week
 

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Those green drums look pretty wild man, although if I were you I might paint them black, and paint all the faded trim black to match the rest of the jeep. The body and all the accessories are black, tint the windows and color match everything and thatd look sick. Nice build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Those green drums look pretty wild man, although if I were you I might paint them black, and paint all the faded trim black to match the rest of the jeep. The body and all the accessories are black, tint the windows and color match everything and thatd look sick. Nice build.
I plan on painting the trim black sometime or just taking it off. I like having some of the parts underneath it green b/c when I do go bigger it'll stick out more than having it all black, I plan on doing the tie rod, tack bar, and diff covers sometime too.
 

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dig all the tubish rock guards, makes it look look a land rover! Awsome look for a mild build, just save up from some full leaf packs, only like $150.

But yeah, get it tinted and remove all the stock grayed trim, it just doesent paint well IMO (tried on my TJ).

maybe trim a little and get that plastic metal trim to clean up the look. Those stock rims really cleaned up nice and those tires, even though small, make it really aggressive.

and thanks alot for that write up on roof light wiring, I will be copying it when I go for my JCR light rack and hella 700's!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, I don't plan on going too crazy with it anyway as it's my dd. But I've been thinking of getting another XJ or possibly YJ/TJ to go crazy with after college. I've been putting off the trim and fenders but have been leaning towards taking it all off.

Glad to know the roof light write-up helped you:thumbsup: I know when I was trying to figure out how to do it every one told me I had to drill into the roof and it would leak, and I really wanted to keep it from doing that. One of the days I was outside looking at it trying to figure out how to do the wires it just came to me to do it this way and I've had zero problems with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I finally got around to getting some pictures of my homemade sway bar quick discos. I wasn't able to get pictures when I was doing it but I'll explain it the best I can. I plan on only having the quick disco's on prior to a wheeling trip and the torx bolt on for daily driving.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER: The installation of these quick disco's requires the use of a clevis pin and washer. It is necessary to check the head of the clevis pin regularly to make sure it is not wearing thin which it will over time. It is a good idea to have a couple extras of each part on hand in case it needs to be replaced immediately

The first thing I did was remove the sway bar completely so that way it wasn't in my way. First you need to remove the 4 15mm bolts holding it on to the unibody, then remove the bolts on the end of the sway bar links. The next thing is to remove the links from the axle. At least on 97+ XJ's the Torx 55 bolt is pressed in. The nut is able to be removed with an 18mm wrench. The easiest and fastest way to remove the Torx bolt is to use a general puller to press the bolt back out.


Once you get it out, and you plan on reusing it for daily use and the quick disco's only for trails, use a bench grinder to grind down the splines on the bolt enough so that you can put it back and it spins freely.



Here's the sway bar link removed and the bolt, nut, and washer as if it was on the axle.



Here's a pic of all the parts you need for the quick disco's



You need to save the washer that was originally on the nut side as it needs to be reused. This is a pic of the quick disco's assembled off of the axle. It is possible that you need to add a washer or two in order for the clevis pin to fit snugly. The head of the clevis pin with a washer is where the head of the torx bolt is.



Now to reassemble the links on to the axle using the quick disco's. Once those are in place you can replace the sway bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you are able to find them I would suggest using a wing nut on top of the sway bar link instead of the nut for easy removal. Although I usually have a socket wrench with the 15mm socket that I use. The order to disco your sway bar before you hit a trail is:
1) Park on level ground
2) remove the nut, washer, and rubber boot from the top of the sway bar links (both sides)
3) Zip tie sway bar up and out of the way
4) remove the hitch pin on the clevis pins and remove links from axle
5) to reinstall links reverse this list

Here is how I ziptied my sway bar out of the way on the driver's side.



And here are some shots of a quick driveway test
Connected:




Disco'd




The pictures are a little off as I didn't have a tripod but you can see that even using a floor jack to test it has a good 4" more flex than with the sway bar connected
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I also got a little bored earlier today too. Painted the chrome clamps on my light bar with Krylon Fusion satin black.




As well as painted the air box lid and fuse panel lid with left over green I had.







 

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awesome build thread, my jeep build is running a parallel to yours (cept i'm a little behind) but everything you've done I have/will do once this weather cooperates. Its amazing how nice the drums look with a little paint. I just got brand new drums so I'm going to paint 'em before they rust.
 
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