4-cylinder cross country crawler build

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
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76
Location
Rexburg, Idaho
I have had my jeep for 7 years now but most of that time was highschool and not knowing what I was doing or wanted. Since then I’ve read thousands of forums and i finally figured out I was on this forum the most. Not to mention this forum has so many people that are not only active but that have the same build ideologies as I hope to accomplish with this jeep (35s, tucked, midarm, highlines, and outboard) I’ll post all the pics under this of my Jeep as chronological as I can. First pic is the day I bought it (97, 2.5L, ax5, Dana 30/35, bone stock, beat to crap and absolutely filthy, but I got it for $2,500. After purchasing it I had to figure out how to clean it up with mostly stock replacement’s. I’ll have to post some old pics of updates I did years of what I did such as cutting out and replacing the torque box. It’s just been recently I have finally be using and thinking on building this with a purpose and getting well designed parts to work together. With so many good build threads like @jjvw @starkey480 @Alex01 that have done exactly what I wish to accomplish, I plan to follow and mimic their ideas and parts.

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Alex01

Itching For Some Rocks
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Mar 23, 2018
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7,756
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Truckee, CA
I have had my jeep for 7 years now but most of that time was highschool and not knowing what I was doing or wanted. Since then I’ve read thousands of forums and i finally figured out I was on this forum the most. Not to mention this forum has so many people that are not only active but that have the same build ideologies as I hope to accomplish with this jeep (35s, tucked, midarm, highlines, and outboard) I’ll post all the pics under this of my Jeep as chronological as I can. First pic is the day I bought it (97, 2.5L, ax5, Dana 30/35, bone stock, beat to crap and absolutely filthy, but I got it for $2,500. After purchasing it I had to figure out how to clean it up with mostly stock replacement’s. I’ll have to post some old pics of updates I did years of what I did such as cutting out and replacing the torque box. It’s just been recently I have finally be using and thinking on building this with a purpose and getting well designed parts to work together. With so many good build threads like @jjvw @starkey480 @Alex01 that have done exactly what I wish to accomplish, I plan to follow and mimic their ideas and parts.

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Looking forward to following along.
 
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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
76
Location
Rexburg, Idaho
What i call phase 2 of this build was during highschool for me. Nothing about phase 2 made any sense beside it looked cool and I see other Jeeps do it. At this point I’ve swapped fenders, hood, eBay bumpers (this was the start of realizing my cheap choices has consequences), a really bad Rancho 4in coils (nothing else to support it just the coils), skid drop, and some general maintenance to keep it running good. While the build was nothing of capable it did allow for a lot of fun driving on beaches and having the top and doors off.

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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
76
Location
Rexburg, Idaho
After highschool I went on a church mission to west Africa for 2 years (2017-2019) and some how went from living in a hut to realizing I’m going to idaho for school and my jeep was less then stellar in performance. The winter of 2020 I had to fix all the rust in my jeep from running no top all summer in hoghschool. I had no experience but a good friend showed and let me use his welder to do metal cloaks coil correction brackets on the frame side as mine had rust holes in them. I went with MC since I liked the sloped outside so it wouldn’t hold want even tho it was way over kill. After that I found a good deal on metalcloak 3.5in coils, a ucf 2in deep skid, a sye, and a drive shaft for 300 bucks or so if I can remember correct. This was the deciding factor of now trying to make my suspension work well and better than stock even tho now I’m realizing why I should have resold the coils and got curries. Either way for the price it got me moving. Then I purchased a HF flux welder and drilled out my torque boxes, cut the floor where the b pillar of the roll cage ties and replaced it all. Some of those welds are less than stellar but it’s water tight and didn’t flex at all so I was happy. I also got a hard top and full doors in preparation for idaho. Found some 04 tj seats for 80 bucks that were almost new and painted then bedlined the tub once all the welding was done. At this point I was pretty happy with the jeep as it never skipped a beat and looped a lot better with that belly up.

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Sj's TJ

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Joined
Jun 2, 2018
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791
Location
Vienna, VA
Can't wait to follow along on your 4-banger journey! My journey has lead my 4-banger down an interesting path that you might enjoy. My build thread is in my signature.
 
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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
76
Location
Rexburg, Idaho
The summer before going out to school (summer of 2019) I had a wheel adapter break on me (in the moment I cursed adapters but I don’t think I torqued the lug nuts well and can only blame myself) and decided to swap back to a true tj wheel as soon as I could. Found some 33x12.5r15 Bfg ko2 on some cheap pro comp wheels with more backpacking than I knew what accepted. Since then the ko2s have worked great with driving across the country, snow and some limited experience in the rocks. I also replaced all control arms with stock style except the rear upper. With the tuck I put some rough country arms just to adjust pinion but that didn’t even last a full year and were then replaced with savvy double adjustable. Which have been 2 years with no problems. Lots of small things too but nothing super significant.

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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Messages
76
Location
Rexburg, Idaho
Can't wait to follow along on your 4-banger journey! My journey has lead my 4-banger down an interesting path that you might enjoy. My build thread is in my signature.

I got to check it out. My biggest fear with building is working around the 4cyl or eventually 4.0 or ls swapping and having the support for either. So it’ll be nice to see another 4 cyl thought process.
 
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Sj's TJ

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791
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Vienna, VA
I got to check it out. My biggest fear with building is working around the 4cyl or eventually 4.0 or ls swapping and having the support for either. So it’ll be nice to see another 4 cyl thought process.

Keep it light and gear it right. Mine will do 70 on the highway in 5th as long as the hills are small. Mine is more of a trail rig where the 4 banger works just fine.
 
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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Aug 12, 2021
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Rexburg, Idaho
Keep it light and gear it right. Mine will do 70 on the highway in 5th as long as the hills are small. Mine is more of a trail rig where the 4 banger works just fine.
Even with my steel bumpers, hardtop, and full doors in idaho I can do 70 till I get to the mountains. Driving across the country a month ago with all my stuff and squatting the jeep I was going 70 till I got to Wyoming. That’s with stock 4.11 gears too so I’m hopeful that if I take some of the weight off and regear, the 35s down the road might happen before an engine swap and maybe convince me enough to not do a swap all together since I’m not planning on cross country trips as often.

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Sj's TJ

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Jun 2, 2018
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Vienna, VA
Even with my steel bumpers, hardtop, and full doors in idaho I can do 70 till I get to the mountains. Driving across the country a month ago with all my stuff and squatting the jeep I was going 70 till I got to Wyoming. That’s with stock 4.11 gears too so I’m hopeful that if I take some of the weight off and regear, the 35s down the road might happen before an engine swap and maybe convince me enough to not do a swap all together since I’m not planning on cross country trips as often.

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Gotcha. I'm on 35s with 4.88. I trailer it now since I beat on it pretty hard on the trails and don't want to be stuck. I ( and of course others) will be happy to answer any questions you have.
 
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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Location
Rexburg, Idaho
Once I did my first drive across the country to idaho (I would end up doing it 2x a year from maryland to idaho and back to maryland for the summer so I could come home and save money to pay for school) I actually started to wheel and find the limits and flaws of where I had built. The first being the eBay bumper both front and rear fell apart at every weld. With the use of a tray to fit more stuff I ripped the rear bumper 4 times and tried to rewelded and add support before realizing it’s too fat and bad to save. The price and style of Motobilt bumpers got me to atleast be confident in their strength and allowed me to get a winch up front and put a gray on the back without ripping things. While now I see the flaws of them I haven’t had them limit or cause any problems besides being 50 pounds each. Secondly I found the need for my suspension to be set up properly. I had 3in lift shocks that had 6.7in of shock shaft but didn’t even use the last inch and a half because of my fender and wheel backspacing. I later decided to try the diy highlines to give me the room as they were cheaper than Gr aluminum highlines that I wanted and seemed like a fun project so that’s exactly what I did. I was able to cut my bumps about an inch but still had extra shaft showing which I could have cut more but with the hopes of installing a currie steering I wanted to stay at 2in.

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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Rexburg, Idaho
Gotcha. I'm on 35s with 4.88. I trailer it now since I beat on it pretty hard on the trails and don't want to be stuck. I ( and of course others) will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Ok that’s very promising to hear. I hope to not need a trailer and keep my tools and spare parts to a minimum but I don’t want to not push it a bit in fear of breaking things. The guys in this forum are so nice!
 
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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Aug 12, 2021
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Rexburg, Idaho
Between driving back and forth across the country nothing really happend besides bumpers untill this past summer. After annoying mr Blane with my dumb ideas and reading more on this forum I finally figured out where I wanted this to go so this past summer I did the diy highlines, currie steering and track bar, and extended brake lines. This gave me the room for my tires and the base of building on 2in of bump stop and a 4in lift. While I didn’t take many pics I did try and take a video on how I did the highlines to post as a video on YouTube since I have a lot of comments about it on my Instagram. Should also mention this past spring I also got married in San Diego and did a idaho to San Diego to El Paso to Pensacola to DC trip as a honey moon adding up just over 5k miles and over a week taking out time to see things.

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The4bangertj

The4bangertj

Professional college kid
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Rexburg, Idaho
Now we’re basically caught up to speed. Last week to add to dialing in suspension I purchased some Rancho rs5000x and currie bump stops front and rear. I have the 10.7 front Ranchos and the 9in rear. The fronts went on well expect the bottom bumps are suppose to be tapped into the axle pad but thankfully with my HF tap kit, it broke inside the hole and made it unusable. So for the time being I just put a nut in the under side of each pad. I got the longer Ranchos as I have that giant diff cover and worried about it hitting the track bar in hopes the shock would be my limiting factor and not the diff and it worked out for me. Nothing hits and I have 4.5in till bumps touch and 5in of shock shaft at ride height. I also found out my stock front control arms limit my down travel even after I cut the shock bracket some too so some savvy control arms are up soon. Something I want to ask anyone is if I can lower the bolt on the lower frame side control arm about an inch for better anti squat and a flatter link? I know @starkey480 used the nth degree brackets but could I just do the lower frame side to help? I haven’t done my rear bumps and shocks yet but worried my mc springs are going to be what limit me of uptravel.

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Blake Stamper

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Jan 29, 2021
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263
Location
Boise, Idaho
Between driving back and forth across the country nothing really happend besides bumpers untill this past summer. After annoying mr Blane with my dumb ideas and reading more on this forum I finally figured out where I wanted this to go so this past summer I did the diy highlines, currie steering and track bar, and extended brake lines. This gave me the room for my tires and the base of building on 2in of bump stop and a 4in lift. While I didn’t take many pics I did try and take a video on how I did the highlines to post as a video on YouTube since I have a lot of comments about it on my Instagram. Should also mention this past spring I also got married in San Diego and did a idaho to San Diego to El Paso to Pensacola to DC trip as a honey moon adding up just over 5k miles and over a week taking out time to see things.

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ive been following your build on Instagram, its looking great!
 

starkey480

It just works
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San Tan Valley, AZ
I personally wouldn’t mess with the short arm geometry stuff. If you’re getting bad behavior from the rear then I would fix it the right way with a midarm.
 
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