Jeep Enthusiast Forums banner
1 - 20 of 268 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
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:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 ·
SWITCHING BULBS IN THE WIPER / DEFROST SWITCHES

BEFORE (left) AFTER (right)



When I removed the switches to replace those bulbs I discovered at the top of one of the switches there was a bulb that was not a NEO4, I'm guessing it was NEO3 (in the white circle below). I believe that bulb is the indicator bulb that lights up behind the amber colored lense to show when the rear defrost is on.



But if you flip it over on the other side is a NEO4 bulb so I swapped the LED into that spot.



I don't really feel like switching that bulb is necessary. So the 2 NEO4's worked perfectly and did what I was hoping they would. A much cleaner and brighter light. Now I can't wait to swap out the bulbs that light the floorboard and the interior light in the soundbar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
So after doing some night driving this past weekend I realized how poor the factory headlights are. I've been reading and looking into replacement options and I had pretty much decided to go with the Hella e-code housing and the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra H4 bulbs (or the IPF setup, they looked pretty similar to me).



The setup above is going to cost about $120 total.

Then I came across the Halo lights that look so cool on eBay and even found a couple of guys on the forum here that have them.



The ones on the left are about $95 with bulbs. The ones on the right are only $35 with two bulbs and shipping.

Or the Rampage H4 MSR Headlamp Conversion Kit for $90 w/ bulbs.



The halo's definitely look cool, but I think I need to find someone who has them and get their opinion on the light output compared to stock...That is the primary objective - better lighting from the headlights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
My check engine light has been on for a while now so I stopped by Advanced Auto Parts and borrowed their scanner and this is what I got:



Not exactly sure where to start...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I believe I have decided I'm either going to go with the Hella e-codes, or save up for the Cibies. Haven't decided on bulbs yet...



The Halo's just look cheap & ricey and they probably don't perform near as well when it comes to light output/pattern & durability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #27 ·
This weekend a group of local Jeep owners got together to do some backroads driving. We had a great time. It was the first 'jeep thing' I've done since selling my old YJ. Here are a few photos.



 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #29 ·
During the commercials of the Falcons v. 49er's game today I replaced both broken front swaybar end links with a brand new pair I still had lying around from 11 YEARS ago.



I rocked the jeep back and forth to see if the popping was gone & discovered there is still noise coming from the rear swaybar end links. The nuts were tight so I'm not sure what's up with that. Maybe at some point the bolts were changed & the bolt diameter is too small.

I also ordered new led lights for the floorboards and dome light from www.superbrightleds.com . That will finish up the entire interior with LEDs. It looks much better.

My new floor liners should be here Tuesday.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,511 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I decided to compare the jeep's measurements to the Stock TJ Specifications thread in the TJ forum.

Stock: Ground clearance (at axle) = 9.3" front / 8.3" rear

My Jeep: Ground clearance (at axle) = 10" front / 9.75" rear

Other measurements:

19 5/8" to bottom of front bumper.

19 1/2" to side of tub at drivers door

17 3/4" to bottom of rear bumper (hitch sits lower)

12 1/8" to bottom of gas tank skid
 
1 - 20 of 268 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top