A lesson learned—keep it light and nimble!


A vicious cycle of doing, undoing, and re-doing!
Original poster
Supporting Member
Oct 31, 2019
I picked up this bare bones Sport for a very good deal. It has has 180K on it, but is 100% rust free. After bringing it home, here's what I found wrong with it:

- front pinion seal is leaking badly and there's a growl coming from it (Needs a pinion bearing and seal)
- has a P0135 code (The OBDII connector wasn't working when I got it, but I cleaned the plug and was able to read the code)
- rear main seal is leaking (slightly)
- valve cover gasket is leaking
- rear pinion seal (Dana 35) is damp
- u-joints are all original
- jack and jack accessories are missing
- rear seat belt is broken
- both visors are missing
- washer bottle pump is inoperable
- battery tie down is missing (you can see where the + terminal contacted the fender a time or two!)
- driver seat is worn/torn
- bad blower motor resistor (Fan only works on high speed)
- soft top is done

Other than that, it runs and drives well. It looks like the cooling system was recently replaced, as well as the alternator. Also, the 42RLE appears to have been rebuilt back in 2012. Given how absurdly rust free it is, I'm going to build this one based on lessons I've learned from the past. Per the title, the theme will be keeping it light and nimble. Since I plan to drive this daily, tire size will be limited to 31".

I have the following parts already in the garage that will make their way onto the Jeep:

- Savvy gas tank skid
- KMC Black Enduro wheels
- Rubicon Dana 44 rear (4.10 gears)
- Dana 30 front with a Detroit TrueTrac (4.10 gears)
- Either a Savvy UA or UCF Extra Clearance aluminum skid system
- Tuffy full console
- Tuffy underseat storage box
- RoundEyes H4 headlights
- Either a 241OR or 231 with SYE
- 1/2 doors, they'll need to be painted first), with BullDawg uppers
- Barnes 4WD aluminum front bumper
- Hella Fog lights
- Misc other small parts

Things I'll need to make a decision on are springs, control arms, and shocks. For the springs, I already have a brand new set of Nth Degree 3" springs, but that will be more than I need, especially since I'll be doing a Savvy BL and a MML. If I don't use them, H&R 1" springs will be used. The steering will be a ZJ conversion and the control arms are pending the spring decision. The final decision will have to be whether I want to wrap the tub in full aluminum armor. Since I already have a set of Savvy TJ tub rails, it's highly likely I'll go that root.

As for the Jeep, here's what it looks like now. The only real options are A/C, full doors, and automatic transmission.




Placed the first parts order tonight.


Normally, I go Moog with the ZJ conversion. This time I went with the cheaper Quick Steer parts. Total for the ZJ conversion steering was $173.04, with the Monroe steering dampener. That's the cheapest I've seen thus far. We'll see how good they are when they arrive!
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Since I'll be installing a spare Savvy gas tank skid I have, I ordered a new Bosch fuel pump.


I'm also trying to order a new Savvy rear bumper, but the $71+ shipping charge is making me re-think this one. I can get a Next Venture High Clearance bumper shipped for less than $300.
At this point I'm helping keep the economy going, by ordering parts I'll be replacing. A new melling oil pump is on its way, along with plugs, valve cover and oil pan gaskets. Also, I'll be replacing the new pcv elbows and grommets in the valve cover.
Might as well install that stroker
This thought has crossed my mind. A lot is going to depend on what direction the LJ goes. I'm pending a conversation with our resident guru on that topic, but didn't want to bother him over the holidays. The other issue is the the engine in this one runs perfect. Even at 180K there's no valve chatter or bottom end knocking. Of course we know that could change in an instant. Doing the valve cover will give me a better look at the top end, while the oil pump will allow me to pull the bearing caps and check for wear. That reminds me, I'm going to need to get more plastigauge!