05 Flame Red TJ Build

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JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
Just got done reading your build in it's entirety. Damn good job, man! Love it! Your thoroughness is exemplary.

I've got the much maligned D35 and hilariously inappropriate 3.07 gearing in my 04 Sport. I know the D35 should be fine with the 31's that I'm running now vs. the 35's I had when I bought my rig. That said, I've got to do a regear regardless, and I just have a mental hang-up with investing money into that axle... especially if I decided at some point to go back up with a lift in the future (though 33's would be my absolute max). I've been looking to get hold of a D44 for a while now, and toying with attempting the regear myself, so please keep us posted on how it goes! I'm already contemplating the Powertrax install. :)
Thanks, I appreciate it. It’s been a joy learning, planning, building and testing the components. I’m still on my D35 and wheelin 33’s. So far I’ve had no problems, just taking it easy on the skinny pedal. The D44 will bring peace of mind, however, and if you can pick one up that would be a solid mod. The PowerTrax No Slip is just a thing of sheer beauty. I would not hesitate at all if money was no issue. Best to you and your build.
 
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JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
I wanted an easier way to ingress now that the Jeep is so high, especially for my wife and five kids. If you have a rock slider without a step you can go with the RockHard 4x4 step, a very good solution. For those with a step on the rock slider, you learn pretty quickly that it’s basically useless at 25” high. If you measure to the floorboard in the tub you’ll see that it’s slightly lower, so why have a step on a rock slider? Because people wanted one so the market answered. But it’s useless if you’re reading this.

So my solution was the stirrups. Adrenaline and others make these for about $50/each, so I decided to make two for less than $50. Saves money and makes for a good afternoon project, plus I now have a leather sewing kit.

What you need to do this is:

1) a leather sewing kit
2) about 60” of 1” leather (your color)
3) stirrups
4) drill, 1/16” bit, 5/16” bit
5) a rubber hammer

The first side I did was a learning process so the second side went smoother. I’ll describe that process. Read the entire process before starting.

Wrap the leather through the stirrup and overlap. I used handheld clamps to hold the leather in place but a vice would work just as well and maybe better. Mark and remove a small amount of leather in a line to create a groove for the wax thread. Equally mark the location for each stitch with an awl that should be part of your leather sewing kit. Drill 1/16” holes through both sides of the leather at 90* angle to the leather so the holes are straight on both sides. Cut a minimum of 3x the length of the full stitch of your wax thread. I cut far more just so it was easier to work with, and besides, I have a ton of it that came with the leather sewing kit.

Thread a needle on each end of the wax thread and tie it off so that you don’t lose it when it passes through your 1/16” holes. Put one needle with thread through the first hole and pull through so that half is on each side. Now go to the next hole and go through from the right, then from the left through the same hole. Keep doing this down the length of the entire stitch and when you get to the end double back and go the opposite direction till you get to the starting point. Then start a third pass and go three stitches and cut off flush at the leather. Use your rubber hammer to pound the thread flat against the leather. You’re done with this side for now. You’ll probably want to mock things up at the Jeep to make sure you have enough leather for each side and go ahead and cut it at this time. Time to sew the other side. Don’t stick yourself. If you’re having trouble getting the needles with thread through, use your awl to open up each hole before you try going through, some needles for this job are pretty thick. I found that the smallest needle you can use that you can still thread through the eye is the best.

When you finish you’ll be making your way to the Jeep to find the right length and decide where you want to drill your holes on the other end to attach under the outer front seat bolt. Remember that the leather will stretch with use, so account for that by raising it 1/2-1” higher than you think. Have your significant other or kids come out and place their foot in the air where they’d like to step, if they’re game. Mark the spot you want to drill. I used a 5/16” because I could literally thread the seat bolt through the leather and I wanted to preserve as much leather as possible since it’s only 1” wide. Double what’s left of the leather over and drill through both sides, which will add more stability at the seat bolt. Loosen three of the seat bolts, both front and outer rear with the 13mm (I have an 05), Only remove the outer front. This will give you enough room to sneak the leather under the seat bracket or seat riser if you have risers, bolt up. Tighten everything back down. Do the other side. Done. Now test it to see how to safely ingress. It can be a little trying to get comfortable. A grab bar is highly recommended and then also perhaps holding the roll bar with the other arm. Pics below show parts of the process. Hope this helps someone as well as keep my documented work all in one place. BTW, I love the stirrups I used, they are very lightweight composite and have a very grippy surface, plus, it all matches my Jeep.
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KCsTJ

TJ student
Supporting Member
Excellent write up JMT.
Have you or the wife decided on the best "jeep entrance via stirrup procedure/method"?

In other words, have you determined works best for you guys, right foot or left foot in the stirrup first or meh? :)
 
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JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
Driver side, left on stirrup
Passenger side, right on stirrup

Hold on to grab bar or roll bar and pray for safe ingress! LOL. It is a little dicey but it works if you focus
 
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Schwifty Rich

TJ Enthusiast
Apr 21, 2018
109
St. Louis, MI, USA
First build thread I’ve read start to finish. 44 pages later and I can’t wait to get back in the garage. Really makes me want to start my own build thread but having a partially built Rubi already I feel it would pale in comparison. All in all, very well done. But I’m sure you already knew that. ;)
 
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OP
JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
First build thread I’ve read start to finish. 44 pages later and I can’t wait to get back in the garage. Really makes me want to start my own build thread but having a partially built Rubi already I feel it would pale in comparison. All in all, very well done. But I’m sure you already knew that. ;)
Thanks for that. It’s been and continues to be a journey. I’m back in the garage today with another members rig.

Nice Rubi build you have on your hands.
 
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JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
It’s time to go to work on the D44. My hopes of the guy who sold it to me helping me regear are over. When I bought it it had welded spider gears so the guy gave me another LSD carrier and sent me on my way. I intended to switch the carriers and run it with 3.73 gears. When I got inside I found a chipped pinion tooth and another slightly damaged. So I bought Revolution gears with hopes of a DIY with this other guy. That’s over. Tonight I put it all back together and torqued everything to spec and am now waiting on a DS from @bobthetj03 who is graciously sending me a shorter OEM shaf. When it gets here I reckon I’ll take a few hours to remove the D35 and install the D44. I’ll be locked, so I’ll chirp for a few days till I can get it to Austin for the regear to 4.56. I’ve decided to go with an Eaton E-Locker, so I’ll be contacting @AOR soon for that. He’s always treated me stellar. If all goes well I’ll be automatically locked up front and selectable rear.

Here she is about midway through tonight putting her back together
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OP
JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
I was wondering when that D44 was going in. Sounds like good plans for the little X. Keep it up!
And @bobthetj03

When I make the axle swap, all I have are the 2 e-brake cable and the brake cable. When I do things brake cable, will I need to bleed the brakes? I’m supposing I will, just want to make sure so I can start to read up on the procedure. The old brakes are drums, the new are disc. I don’t think it makes a difference.
 

bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,045
NorCal
Anytime you bust a hard line loose you need to bleed the brakes. Gravity bleeding works. Just grab a couple cold ones and relax while they bleed. Keep the master full.
 
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Mike_H

Rust Belt Heavyweight
Supporting Member
Feb 28, 2017
3,969
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
And @bobthetj03

When I make the axle swap, all I have are the 2 e-brake cable and the brake cable. When I do things brake cable, will I need to bleed the brakes? I’m supposing I will, just want to make sure so I can start to read up on the procedure. The old brakes are drums, the new are disc. I don’t think it makes a difference.
I'm not sure I follow? You have an e-brake cable, and a brake hose. If you crack the brake hose ( which goes to the wheel cylinder/caliper) you will need to bleed them. Easy peasy, as long as you remember the bleed nipple had to be mounted higher than the banjo fitting. You'll need a helper, but with the passel of kids you have, should be easy to find someone to help.
 
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JMT

JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 27, 2017
7,310
Texas Hill Country
Decided to go for the axle swap today. It was a late decision. Thanks to some great crew members here like @bobthetj03, @Mike_H, @Jerry Bransford and the encouragement of my local wheelers @b0xcar , @KCsTJ, @Jeepers-n-Creepers and my wife, I got most of it done. She’s under the rig with a few things to wrap up tomorrow. I would have finished, but a drive with my wife seemed appealing and some evening responsibilities followed up. It is so good to have it there at last.

Here she is naked.
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D35 on the ground. A little muddy. I should have cleaned this up beforehand, but then I wouldn’t have gotten this done.
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The D44, waiting in the wings! Doesn’t she look purty?!
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Had to do the stupid relocation bracket, again. It is easier to do in the ground!
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There she is. This is a whole new world!
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Side shot, and some of the help toward the end. I’ll polish up tomorrow and report back.
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