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My Jeep A history 1997 to present

12396 Views 34 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  KW97TJ
MY 1997 TJ

I have finally decided to do a build thread. I bought my Jeep new in February 1997 when I first started the job I am still at. For the first twelve years the Jeep was my daily driver and weekend warrior. In 2009 I bought a vintage Porsche to split daily driver duty and diversify my weekend driving hobbies.
My favorite thing about Jeeps is that they all start out essentially the same, but all come out different in the end. This is how mine turned out…

1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport
• One owner vehicle
• Daily driver from February 1997 until April 2009. Half time driver since April 2009.
• 4600lbs curb weight in summer mode

• 4.7 I6 Stroker
• 336 horse power 435 foot-pounds of torque @ 3400 RPM
• 4.0L block bored over .030
• 258 crank and rods
• 10.5:1 pistons
• Balanced
• Double roller timing chain
• High volume oil pump
• Comp cams cam
• Ported and polished head
• Back cut oversized valves
• Chevy v8 valve springs
• Late model air intake manifold
• Banks header
• Banks Stinger Cat Back with a custom tail pipe to route around the lift
• High flow cat
• K&N FIPK air intake
• 62mm throttle body and spacer
• MSD-6 ignition with custom quick disconnect
• MSD coil
• MSD 8mm plug wires
• Jet Stage II performance chip
• Centerforce dual friction clutch
• 4-core radiator
• Tomken dual battery tray
• Optima Red Top battery
• Optima Yellow Top battery
• Supplementary vacuum reservoir

Rear Axle
• Dana 60 35 spline
• 4.56:1 Gear Ratio
• Alloy axle shafts
• Explorer disk brakes
• Solid diff cover

Front Axle and Steering
• Dana 30 High Pinion
• 4.56:1 Gear ratio
• Warn manual hub conversion kit 5 on 4.5
• Poison Spyder Rock Ring
• Currie LCA brackets
• JKS LCA skid plates
• Moog offset ball joints
• Poison Spyder tie rod
• Currie drag link
• MORE steering box brace
• OME steering stabilizer
• AGR high flow / low RPM steering pump
• Custom braced frame side trackbar mount

• 4 inch TeraFlex long arm
• 2-inch TeraFlex coil spacers
• Rubicon Express monotube shock absorbers
• Rubicon Express adjustable front track bar
• Currie adjustable rear track bar
• JKS quicker anti sway bar disconnects custom lengthened
• Superlift Upper Control Arm drop brackets
• Addco oversized rear anti sway bar

Tires and Wheels
• BFG 35" KM2 Mud Terrain tires
• Allied Rock 8 beadlocks
• Silver grade 8 bolts for beadlocks

Transfer Case & Transmission
NP-231 transfer case
• Advanced Adapters SYE
• Tera-Low 4:1 kit
• Heavy duty chain
• Novak shifter
Ax-15 5 speed transmission
• B&M Short Shifter

• Pierce 12.5K worm gear winch
• Home made modifications to winch plate
• Hi-Lift Jack
• Hood mounts for Hi-Lift Jack
• Front towbar mounts
• Rear D ring for hitch

• Rear bumper - home made based on the ORF rear bumper
• Genright gas tank and skid plate
• Sun rocker guards
• Front bumper - Poison Spyder Trail Stinger
• Steering box skid plate
• TeraFlex Oil pan skid plate
• Roll Cage - Poison Spyder trail cage
• Poison Spyder trail corners
• Jeeperman rock skidz
• Teraflex belly up skid plate
• Sniperfab tube fenders with 3" flares
• Poison Spyder rear tube 3" flares custom mounted
• Gator Guard bed liner sprayed on fenders, corners, bumpers, steps, rocker guards

Security & Interior
• Tuffy glove box
• Tuffy center console with CB mount and Marathon arm rest
• Tuffy security drawer. Custom braced. Stores amp and 8" subwoofer
• Green gauge LED's
• Alpine stereo
• TomTom
• Sirius satellite radio
• Cobra CB radio
• Gator Guard bed liner sprayed on interior

Summer Accessories
• Steel Horse Half Top
• Bestop soft doors
• Tube doors, modified to have armrests
• Misting system using a 5 gallon jerry can, an RV water pump, and garden misters
• Marathon seat covers

Winter Accessories
• Factory soft top
• Front padded liner
• Hard doors
• Gator Guard liner on door handle surrounds
• Drivers side seat heater
• Sheepskin seat covers
• Bestop Windjammer as a heat partition

• Hand throttle
• Billet aluminum shifter knob and transfercase shift knob
• Green LED dash lights
• On board air using Sanden compressor
• Kilby air tank mounted under the Jeep opposite the muffler
• Scanguage II onboard OBDII interface
• Locking gas cap cover
• Overhead lights
• Swiveling CB antenna with spring
• Xenon headlights
• Headlight and taillight guards
• Olympic Mountaineer rack (improvised mounting)
• Hockey puck seat risers
• Staun deflators
• Bestop oversized tire carrier. Custom braced
• Fire extinguisher
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
These pictures are from the fifteen years I have owned my Jeep. The Jeep has aged very well as the modifications were mostly improvements. I on the other hand aged through these pictures from 29 to 44 deteriorating daily.

My Jeep as it sits now. The interior at least in winter is a warm quiet place as Jeeps go. The green LED dash lights are a great improvement.

My Jeep as it left the body shop after being rear ended in October 2011 with pictures from the wreck and subsequent repair.
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My Jeep last fall on a fall colors drive. One of the best parts of having a Jeep in Colorado is the scenery. I am privileged to live in a beautiful state where it can be as fun to do a light but scenic trail as it is to rock crawl some of the really great local trails. I am afraid I can't do a Jeep build thread without posting pictures of the local scenery.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My Jeep is always a favorite at car washes and shows. In my many years I have come to the conclusion that while "chicks dig Jeeps", wives hate them.


Last summer I took my friend up to wheel his brand new Rubicon Unlimited. As it was his first time offroad, I picked a light but scenic trail to break him in.
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In January of 2009 my neighbor and I assembled and installed Sniperfab tube fenders. We also built the rear tubes out of Poison Spyder tube flares , Poison Spyder trail corners and a little creativity. Cutting perfectly good fenders was an unnatural act.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A couple of years ago my neighbor and I were going up for a little light wheeling and some fishing when we found a guy in trouble. Jeepers code dictated that we had to help him. We never got to wheel or fish that day.

A Jeeping friend of mine was the manager at a local Hooters that I frequent because it is a couple of blocks from my house. He used my Jeep for ads for offroad night in 2005 and 2008.

One of the few downsides of living in Denver is that we have to do emissions every two years. They will not accommodate 35" tires, so I have to borrow back tires for the tests. These pictures are from 2007. It was -10 degress that day.

In 2007 I decided to make a misting system for summer. I put it together with a RV water pump using my gas can as a water source. The gas can promptly rusted . The one I use now is lined. I did all the design and testing during that long cold winter.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In 2006 I decided to vent my hood. Measure seven or eight times. Cut once.

While the Bushwhacker flares were great for winter, they were in the way offroad. The Jeep did not look complete with the flares pulled, so I designed and built panels that attached where the flares mounted. I eventually replaced this setup with tube fenders.

In 2005 I proposed to my wife after taking a Jeep ride up Pikes Peak. 14,110ft above sea level.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Somehow BFG ended up borrowing my Jeep for long summer weekends in 2005 and 2006 to sit in their booth at the Four Wheel Parts Show. The 2005 show featured Ian and Jessi doing a live episode of Xtreme 4x4. I later watched this episode and it has about a two second pan of my Jeep in the background of the truck they were working on. My claim to fame.

In 2003 after a long day wheeling, and a puddle that was deeper then it looked I ended up hydrolocking the 4.0L. It was a very bad day, but the end result was a 4.7L stroker motor.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While the Jeep is amazing well setup on 35's, it was a blast to drive on 31's. These pictures are from around 2001 to 2004 before I lifted the Jeep.

New Jeep including a trip to Moab in 1997.


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Moab is not too bad of a drive from Denver. I made it to EJS 2005, 2006, 2007. One of the trips we had the good luck to wheel with a couple of the Jeep engineers, Walker Evans, and Brad Kilby.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Random wheeling pictures.

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Random wrenching pictures.


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Random Colorado scenery pictures taken while Jeeping.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The truth about some of my accessories.

Jet Performance Chip. Contrary to popular opinion on this forum, the Jet chip does work. On an old car if you changed the plugs, points, cap and rotor, cleaned and tuned the carburetor, advanced the timing, and got the car in top tune it felt a little faster. It was essentially the same car, but it felt a little faster. This is what the Jet chip feels like. I found mine used for $100,00, so I thought it was a fair price for the performance. If I had paid full price for it I would have been disappointed.

Throttle body spacer. I felt absolutely no difference with this. The only reason I leave it on is that I would have to replace the throttle body bolts with shorter ones and I am too lazy. I also like the whistle. My friend swears he can feel a difference at mid range, but I feel nothing.

62mm throttle body. When I put it on my motor was stock. I felt a little better performance at high RPM. I have not tried a different throttle body with the stroker motor, so I have no basis for comparison with a hopped up cam.

Cold air intake. I could not feel the difference with the cold air intake. I am fairly sure that the air it is sucking in is hotter then the air the stock intake sucked in. I keep it on because I need the space under the hood that the stock intake took up.

Teraflex old style long arm lift. It is an overall decent lift, but it needs some help before it can be called good. The short upper arms threw the geometry of the suspension out of right. I used Superlift drop brackets to correct this. I also use Rubicon Express track bars and shocks. I also use an oversized rear antiswaybar. I change all of my bushings every few years.

Warn manual hub kit. The hub kit works well. I hope it works as the fuse in my front axle. It does not affect gas mileage at all.

AGR power steering pump. I really feel the difference in steering at low rpm. I do not feel any difference on the highway.

Vented hood. I use a Scangauge II to monitor my intake temperature. The temps are 20-30 degrees F lower on average then without the hood vents.

Sanden air compressor onboard air system. It works. It cost about $150.00 to build. I can run air tools, and fill 35's from 4psi to 35 in about 2 minutes.

I would be happy to answer any questions about any products on my Jeep. I can't always help with a comparison as I may not have tried another product.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Summer of 2012. I got divorced, went on a diet, got back in the gym, and am back in reasonable shape. Life is good for me and the Jeep. These pictures are from a few weekend getaways this year.
Santa Fe, NM. July 2012

At Home June 2012.

New Orleans, LA. April 2012

Finally a car show close enough to home to bring both my Jeep and my Porsche. June 2012.


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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks. Fifteen years of blood, sweat, tears, and an empty wallet.

The halftop is made by Steel Horse. I bought it in 2001ish. It is still in great condition exceeding my best expectation of longevity. I only use it in summer, and only close it up in bad weather. It only leaks down the front of the tonneau cover to the back seat floor pans and out the drain holes.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I am sure I have all the receipts and the build sheet. It was done at Western Engine in Denver. What specific questions do you have?

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It bolted right in and hooked right up. We chose a Comp Cams 68-232-4 because it was supposed to work with the computer.

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·

If I had it to do over again I would look at the AEV/Nth Degree lift. I met the guy that designed it a few years ago in Moab, and he really knows his stuff. It is not cheap, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Thanks. We have been together for a long time.

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Thanks. Don't be too jealous, traffic sucks in the city.

If you need a list of good microbrewerys in Denver, send me a pm.

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
A friend loaned me his BMW Z8 for my 46th birthday weekend. My girlfriend likes to take pictures, so I figured I would post a few. While not a Jeep, this is a automotive enthusiast forum. This is an amazing car. It handles a lot like my little Porsche, but is sooooo fast!!!

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