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SteeleJay's 02 WJ Build

18273 Views 114 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  solidhadriel
Finally getting to start my WJ build thread - very excited! :2thumbsup: :banana:
I'm brand new to the Jeep/4x4/off-roading scene, but am looking forward to the learning process - both on the mechanical/technical side, and the driving side.

A few weeks ago my wife and I picked up a one-owner 02 WJ 4.7L w/184K on the odo. It's pretty clean with the exception of rot in the rockers -:eek: - which seems to be an undocumented standard option for Jeeps. (someone should tell Jeep that rocker-rot is not an option most of us would generally choose).

The plan is to build - wait for it - yes, an expedition rig! (How original of us) This will be our back-country camping rig, Jeep Jamboree rig and weekend wheeler rig. To that end, I ordered the Rough Country 4" baseline long arm kit (the baseline kit comes sans springs/shocks/track-bar). To actually get the thing in the air, I ordered the 4.5" springs and shocks (as well as a drop pitman arm and steering stabilizer) from Rustysoffroad.com, and a JKS track-bar w/super hard bushings from KOR.

For wheels/tires I'm starting out with GT Radial Adventuro Mud 265/7516 on Cragar Soft-8 16x8 (4.25 BS). The tires are a pretty aggressive tread, but they were sooooper cheap, and while I wouldn't necessarily call this a budget build, I'm not not the Geico made-of-money motorcycle guy either.

We dropped off the Jeep and all the components at Maximum Automotive in Naperville, IL to get the lift installed.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the heads up on the drop pitman arm. Unfortunately it's too late as it's already installed. :facepalm:

If I notice any unusual steering issues, I'll have them put the stock pitman arm back on.

Also, my mechanic Jim was unimpressed with the Rusty's shocks - I'll run 'em for a while just to get used to the feel. I'll upgrade to Bilstein monotube's later if I don't like the ride characteristics of the cheap shocks - already have a quote from Kolak.

The end-link joints for the drag-link and tie-rod were shot, which I sort of expected, so all new ones, including a stock replacement tie-rod.

There's also oil on the tranny pan - es no bueno. The engine oil pan is also badly rusted.

The front end of the system is pretty much done, tomorrow will be the rear, which I understand goes much faster. I'm hoping to get it back tomorrow early afternoon!
 

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To that end, I ordered the Rough Country 4" baseline long arm kit (the baseline kit comes sans springs/shocks/track-bar). To actually get the thing in the air, I ordered the 4.5" springs and shocks (as well as a drop pitman arm and steering stabilizer) from Rustysoffroad.com, and a JKS track-bar w/super hard bushings from KOR.
Do not install a drop pitman arm, its pointless. Does nothing but mess the steering angles.
Thanks for the heads up on the drop pitman arm. Unfortunately it's too late as it's already installed. :facepalm:

If I notice any unusual steering issues, I'll have them put the stock pitman arm back on.
I agree - the drop pitman arm shouldn't be used. The JKS Adjustable Track Bar is all you need.
 

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Fyi GT Radial Adventuro Mud i used them and they wore out so fast it was unbelievable, they where awesome off road but WORE like crazy on the pavement......So my experience is be ready to replace them again when you can afford a better on road off road set up tires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Fyi GT Radial Adventuro Mud i used them and they wore out so fast it was unbelievable, they where awesome off road but WORE like crazy on the pavement......
I'll keep an eye on them. How many miles do you think you got out of them? It's not going to be my daily driver, but we will be driving it long distance to various events.
 

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I had them on a pick up and i swear i had 5-10k miles on them..... now i knew one guy that got i would say around 25-30k but they where SHOT.....
Yeah, that's not great miles but they are a mud tire with pretty soft compound from a basement manufacturer. If they give me 10K that'd probably get me through a couple of years.

I'm going to apply the $$ saved towards a Frantz Design Works front bumper (formerly LSR Incline). :2thumbsup:
 

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Congrats on starting the build! I am curious how the drop pitman arm works, as I don't run one either. I think for it to work correctly, you need to lower the frame side track bar mount the same. But I am not really sure because I don't have personal experience in changing the frame side stuff.
 

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Uhg - Not done yet!!! :crying: I really thought it would be finished today. Have I mentioned I'm not a patient person?

I stopped by and snapped some additional pics. He decided to cut the exhaust off to give himself some room to work. When I left they were struggling to get it back in place but the drop brackets for the rear sway-bar end links were making life difficult.

Also snapped a pic of the pile of scrap metal they've pulled off.

The stock rear a-link is interesting compared to the new tubular unit. You can see how the diff-housing mount would severely limit flex on a stock WJ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was able to pick the Jeep up from the shop today and I'm very impressed with how easy it is to drive - really not that much different from stock, although I will say that holy crap those tires are ROUGH and LOUD on the road. I love the stance on the Rusty's 4.5" springs. I'll post pics tommorrow - didn't have time tonight.

There is a cloud with this silver lining however - I wanted to snap some in-motion pics on the ride home, so I had my wife drive it while I followed and I noticed that there is significant blue smoke coming from the exhaust off the line. Is this an indication that it has bad piston rings and might need a rebuild? That would be a serious downer...

I'm going to check the plugs and do a compression test as a start, maybe also a leak-down test as well. Anything else I should be looking into?
 

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These are the pics I took when I went to pick it up and my wife driving it home. The kids were crazy excited when they saw it, which when you boil it all down is really the point to all this. While I'm sure I will derive a great deal of joy and satisfaction (and probably no small amount of frustration) from the Jeep, this is ultimately a family endeavor that I want them involved in.

That's my mechanic pulling it out of the shop. It took about 6 hrs longer than expected to do the install (above the 9-10 hr. estimate on the instructions) and it needed all new steering rods (drag-link, tie-rod, ball-joint ends) so that took extra time, plus a couple of alignment checks to dial the arms in. The first two pics of it are actually at the kids school on a Sat. morning with no cars. I plan on taking it back there tomorrow morning and replicating the same pics to do a before/after.

The front tires rub the lower inside portion of the front bumper at full lock so I'm going to whip out the Dremel this weekend and take care of that. I also have some general maintenance items to address as well - driver side tail light out, third-brake light out, front pass headlight out. I'd love to get Halo's up front, but it's a low priority especially with the blue smoke issue.

NTB had put the full 80lbs of pressure in the tires but we dropped that down to about 35. Not sure if I want to go lower than that for the mostly road use it will see in the short term. I'll probably be driving it quite a bit to get used to the feel. Going from my STS-V to the Jeep is disorienting to say the least.
 

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80!! Jesus.. I run 26 in my tires.

Drop it down, that rubber looks hard and unforgiving. Do a chalk test to see.

Looks good non the less though, hope you get the small things taken care of soon!
 

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I like 29 in my 245/75R16s, 28 in my 255/75R17s, and 27 in my truck's 33x12.5x15s, all of which are C load range. Since you're running E tires (I assume by the 80 psi thing), you can probably run 28 easily.
 
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