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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Project Silver & Black TJ: A debt free TJ Build...

This story actually began on September 17, 2009 when I sold my YJ (http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f22/project-blue-black-yj-my-91-yj-build-539998/index13.html). I didn't want to sell it, but did so to begin a quest of paying off all our debt, which we did in two years thanks to Dave Ramsey. The plan all along was to save up & pay cash for another Wrangler, this time a TJ. And this time the entire project would be debt free...the jeep being paid for, and everything I do to it would be with cash.

My 33rd birthday was almost here but I figured I was still 6 months to a year away from buying what I wanted. Little did I know my wife was up to something...being sneaky.

She surprised me with a 2001 Jeep Wrangler that she got a great deal on.



June 23, 2012


I had already seen it on the lot and was impressed with how clean it was, but I wasn't sure about the automatic transmission.

The first thing I did to it was to remove the hardtop & doors. Next up was removing all the chrome and the bug shield and plastic pieces around the lights.

Today I ordered a new front bumper with D-rings and mirror relocation brackets.

The long term plan is to set it up just like my YJ - about 6" of lift and 35's, new wheels, new gears, 8.8 in the rear, cb, rock sliders, etc. Can't wait to start wheeling again. My son is really excited about it too.
 

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Congrats (on the Jeep and the cool wife)! It looks very clean. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the 2001 60th anniversary editions came factory with the D44 rear.... Am I wrong, and if I'm not, would you still install an 8.8?



P.S. GO DAWGS (unless you're an Auburn fan; unfortunately there's a lot of those in Lagrange too!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
dwayTJ said:
Congrats (on the Jeep and the cool wife)! It looks very clean. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the 2001 60th anniversary editions came factory with the D44 rear.... Am I wrong, and if I'm not, would you still install an 8.8?

P.S. GO DAWGS (unless you're an Auburn fan; unfortunately there's a lot of those in Lagrange too!)
I was hoping it had the D44, but it has the D30/35 setup. Who knows, it could have been changed out by one of the previous owners. If it did have the D44 I'd just run that. But these 3.07 gears have to go.

I don't really have a favorite team. I guess I like them both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Congrats on being debt free as well as the new Jeep. I am in the middle of FPU myself. Should be out of debt by the end of next year, then the ZJ can really get some stuff done to it!
Thanks. It was a long two years and we had to say no a lot, but definitely worth it. We paid off $60,000 in 25 months. And before we started the Total Money Makeover we were spending more than we made. It has definitely changed our lives. Keep with it and the payoff will be here before you know it!

Congrats bro! Can't wait to see some mods
Thanks. I think the next thing I'm going to do is to get a new muffler. I don't want it to be loud, just a low rumble.

Pretty impressive that someone can be debt free in an economy like this. Good luck with the build.
Thanks! It wasn't easy, but totally worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Saturday I got my first package in the mail for the Jeep, mirror relocation brackets for when the doors are off.



The drivers side went pretty quick...



But on the passenger side it was a little different...



^^That is a Snap-On T40 that broke right off...with a little help from a 2 ft. breaker bar. And my impact won't touch it either, but I've got a little wimpy pancake compressor. I'm gonna work on getting that torx bolt out tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Today my bumper came in.



It's the Smittybilt textured finish with the d-rings. It went right on quick & easy...



^Much better than the Chrome tube bumper it came with.

After getting it installed I'm starting to think I should have gotten the glossy finish version. I haven't decided yet if I am going to go with new fenders so I'll wait & figure that out before deciding if I want to wire-wheel the textured finish off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Check engine light came on today & it turned out to be the gas cap. I had it reset at Advanced Auto Parts. Hopefully it'll stay off.

I've got a lot to think about related to which suspension setup I want to go with. I don't want to purchase anything until I'm sure about it so while I save up this is what I have in mind:

  • Cobra CB from Wal-Mart, Wilson antenna
  • New muffler

After I get those two things taken care of I'd like to get some rock sliders. Haven't decided which ones yet.

I've found a couple of 8.8's close by w/ 4.11's & factory LS & disc brakes for about $200. And I came across this today on somebody's thread that looked pretty appealing:

http://www.artecindustries.com/TJ-88-Swap-Kit-with-Truss_p_233.html



They are running a sale right now & the price is down from the regular $329 to $280 plus shipping. That is cheaper than the M.O.R.E. kit and seems like it would be much easier to install, not to mention the added strength of the truss. Anybody use this swap kit w/ truss?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Finally put on the jeepforum decal. Got to give credit to B2CARPEN for the idea. Hope he doesn't mind. He's got an awesome looking TJ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
cc8411 said:
If you ever get rid of your rubicon rims. I'll buy them. Please don't alter them!!!

Here is mine. 2001 Sahara. Yours looks like a 60th Edition?!?!?
Yep, it's a 60th anniv. ed. Yeah I like the wheels much better than the factory wheels that came on these. Looks like you have them already, sk why would you want to buy another set?

Your Sahara looks sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A few days ago I swapped out the bulbs in the instrument cluster and put in LED bulbs. My intentions were to replace the bulbs in the instrument cluster, the climate control display bulbs, and the bulbs in the switches for my rear wiper and defrost. I ordered these from www.superbrightleds.com :

---------- PRODUCT INFORMATION ----------

Qty | Product / Options | Price/ea |
============================================================
5 | NEOx-xHP: NEOx LED Bulb - High Power Instrument Panel LED| $ 2.29 |
NEO4-WHP: 4mm NEO4-xHP Cool White
------------------------------------------------------------
5 | 74-xHP3: 74 LED Bulb - 3 SMD LED Wide Angle Wedge Base| $ 3.49 |
74-CWHP3: Cool White
------------------------------------------------------------

SUBTOTAL: 28.90
SHIPPING: 2.99 USPS - 1st Class (Estimated)
TOTAL: 31.89

The swap was pretty easy and only took about 30 minutes or so. Here is the before picture of the instrument cluster. The bulb at the temp. guage was burned out:



When I first got everything swapped and turned on the lights it was VERY bright, except in front of the temp. guage:



I decided to try turning the bulb around in the reverse direction from how I first put it in and that fixed the problem perfectly. Here it is after that:



This is when the dimmer is all the way down, just a little less intense:



So it did only take 5 bulbs and I'm very happy with the 3 SMD LED Wide Angle Wedge Base bulbs in cool white.



There was another bulb in the middle of the cluster that I believe is in front of either the seatbelt bulb or blinker bulb. It was different than the rest because the bulb was in a black plastic holder instead of brown like the rest:

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Next up was to replace the bulbs for the climate control. They were all 3 previously burned out so here is my before photo:



Here are the High Power Neo4's in cool white: (3 are for the climate control, the other two are for the rear wiper & defrost switches)



Here is the after photo:

 
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