A rebuild of #miRustyJeep...

Mike_H

autos are better - WRWD508
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2017
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11,407
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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I've been thinking about starting this particular thread for a while now. I've been building and wheeling on 33's thinking I didn't really need more (and I'm still not convinced I do). However, my original goal of running 3 inches of lift and making it ride nice and be daily driver friendly is not working out so well. While it does drive down the road OK, I know it can be better. Shock selection for a 3" lift is absolutely terrible...My wife thought I had joined the shock of the month club for a while, I was experimenting with so many.

I decided to swallow my pride, admit my sins and make a call to the master. Not that I'm bringing my Jeep to California to be built...I really enjoy the building part of jeeping. However, I needed some help figuring out my plan and why I wasn't getting the results I was after. We had a nice chat. He asked me some questions about what I really wanted to do with the jeep, why I was stuck on 33's, and why was I being so stubborn, in general.

The what I want to do part of the equation is I want to get out west. Rubicon, Moab, Western Slope of Colorado, The PNW is beautiful, Maybe even some desert wheeling. I see all the pictures get posted and it makes me jealous. So, even though I live on flat land, I'm building to go out west and not have to worry about my equipment. Realistically, I can see myself taking a couple weeks off at a time, once a year and doing one thing...like the rubicon, or Moab, etc. I absolutely do not want my shit to break while I'm on vacation. So it has to be built right, with high quality parts. I realize mechanical things fail, especially when wrenched on by an amatuer like me. But, I'm going to do everything in my power to tip the scales in my favor.

The tire size thing...I can do everything in Michigan with 33's...natural obstacles, anyway. Obviously, with an excavator, cement truck and end loader, you can build some pretty extreme stuff in the parks. Honestly, @Irun's 31 build wouldn't struggle in Michigan with anything. Plus, my wife is very short (like 5'1" on a good day). She complains already about climbing into the jeep. I finally just had to decide that in order to get the jeep I wanted for the experiences I wanted , I needed to go bigger...short wife or no. I'll get her a stirrup or something if it gets too bad. She can still climb in and out. There isn't any guarantee that she will come do some of these trips with me either. I enjoy tent camping, she needs a hot shower and her hair dryer every morning.

Finally my stubbornness. This was definitely a ME problem. I feel like I built my rig pretty well...but it wasn't performing how I wanted it to. Instead of getting pouty and selling it, or just living with it, I decided to do something about it. @toximus gave some advice early in his build thread about building your dream. I took a little bit for me to realize what my dream was. I sat down and started writing things down that I wanted. Also did some hard limitations (like not chopping the body up, not wanting to get into axle swaps, etc) and some serious budget calculation. That brings us to my "rebuild"


First before I start laying out my new build I should let everyone in internet land know where we're starting from. Here is my build thread to this point:

—->LINK<——-

In case you don't want to go through that whole thing:

2004 Rubicon
Wheels and Tires
AEV Pintlers (JK spec with 1.25" thk adapters)
BGF KM2 in 285/70R17

Suspension and Steering
Anti-Rock
Rancho 3.5" springs (which net 4" of lift on my rig)
SkyJacker BlackMax Shocks
JKS Front Trackbar
ZJ Tie Rod
JKS Rear Trackbar with custom relocation bracket
Currie Short Arms.

Lighting
Cibie H4 Headlight conversion w/ Relays

Interior
Kicker 43CSC54 Speakers x4 with Pods in dash
Custom Paracord Grab Handles
Uniden 510XL CB
Custom Dome Light override
Full LED lights
Kenwood KMM-BT322U headunit w/ SiriusXM
Kicker CompRT 6.75" Sub
Soundstream PN5.640D Picasso Nano amp
Heated Seats

Body
Savvy 1.25" body lift
M.O.R.E. Bombproof 1" MML
Savvy gas tank Skid
Motobuilt stubby with Custom Additions
Smittybilt X20Comp 9500 lb winch w/ Synthetic Line and TRE Safety Thimble II
Barnes Rear bumper plate with LOTS of custom additions
JCR Crusader Rock Sliders that I've fixed to mount properly, a'la Savvy sliders
UCF Aluminum Extra Clearance Tranny Skid
Savvy Engine Skid
Teraflex CB Antenna Mount w/ 4' Firestik
Savvy taillights
Motobilt License Tag relocation to Spare
Rear Frame Chop to eliminate the gap between the cross-member and tub

The nice thing is that MOST of what I have will stick around. I don't have to buy too many parts twice...Still...this project is gonna be expensive.
 
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Now, on to the plan. Its pretty straightforward, if you've paid attention to the forum for a while. I'm basically building a higher mileage, more amatuer, less nice version of @Nickgsjeep.

35" tires, Tummy Tuck, Outboard, Remote Res Shocks, Currie 4" Springs, etc. So, I made a list of stuff I need...This is the list currently.

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As you can see, I'm about half done acquiring parts. Dealing with my local tire shop, he's got some General Grabbers he's trying to move, so we're working on a price. The Currectlync is rebuilt and ready to install. Swayloc is here and in the package. I have the Gears and install kits. Need to order some front springs and the bumpstop kits before I tear it all apart for phase one. Shocks, outboard, and axles will come later...call it phase two.

Phase three is hanging out there. It will be done as necessary. My NV3550 is starting to resist shifting into first and second. The synchro's are going. So, instead of replacing it with another manual, or rebuilding it, I'm going to swap in a 42RLE with a Rubicrawler. Michigan wheeling doesn't require the deep gears of the 241OR. We have mud and sand...so the 231 with its 2.72 to 1 low range is actually better because wheelspeed is important in those situations. However, based on my desire to go west...I want the low ranges too. So, I figured the easiest way for me to get all that I want is to swap transmissions. I'm planning on selling my 241 T-case to offset the cost of the Rubicrawler. 231's are a dime a dozen around here. Finally, I should be able to get a decent 42RLE for a good price. The trick is finding the controller and the rest of the stuff. Since I have an 04, the TCU is standalone and its really what makes this possible.
 
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Took the first step toward my end game tonight. Buddy of mine wanted my anti-rock, so I drove over to his house to switch that over and install my sway lock. Pretty simple process... Getting the outer bar through the bushings is something I'm glad I don't have to do often.

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My buddies LJ with a new to him anti-rock... Pretty nice rig. He's running 35s with a 3.5" rock crawler lift and highlines. He made his own aluminum tummy tuck with a steel cross member, completely flat, with the 231 tcase.

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First impressions... Wow. It fixed a bunch of little, irritating behaviors that my Jeep was exhibiting. Very glad I sprung for this upgrade. Cornering is nice and flat, there isn't any sway or rocking back and forth on uneven pavement, the shocks seem to work better. It's a dramatic difference.

I do need to pick up a jam nut for the links. I had the correct number of nuts, but one of them was unlike the others. No biggie, as there is an ace hardware about 3 blocks away. I can't wait to try it out off-road!
 
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My buddies LJ with a new to him anti-rock... Pretty nice rig. He's running 35s with a 3.5" rock crawler lift and highlines. He made his own aluminum tummy tuck with a steel cross member, completely flat, with the 231 tcase.

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Funny how an AntiRock is now a hand-me-down, but you'll love the SwayLoc. Now that I've had one on my TJ, the AntiRock on my LJ will be handed down as well!
 
Funny how an AntiRock is now a hand-me-down, but you'll love the SwayLoc. Now that I've had one on my TJ, the AntiRock on my LJ will be handed down as well!

Yep and it was the other way around 15 years ago. No one liked the SwayLoc. I traded a mounting bracket for a CRD60 and my AntiRock for a SwayLoc.
 
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First impressions... Wow. It fixed a bunch of little, irritating behaviors that my Jeep was exhibiting. Very glad I sprung for this upgrade. Cornering is nice and flat, there isn't any sway or rocking back and forth on uneven pavement, the shocks seem to work better. It's a dramatic difference.

Another glowing review, i am SOO hoping I have similar results. I'll be installing my SwayLoc this weekend.
 
Tires are on order. I was going to go with the Kenda KT601. They make it in a 35 x 10.5 and it's pretty cheap... Like 200 a tire at Walmart for 35x10.5-17s. But... Three things held me back. One, I have 9 inch wide wheels and I was afraid of not having enough grip on the wheel. Two, the look... IMHO, tires gotta stick out past the flare just a little bit... Like an inch or less. The 10.5s would have been fully tucked, I believe. Finally, I HATE Walmart and the less money I can give them, the better.

So I called my local shop and we talked about different options he had. While he was checking, he had another customer come in with a JK, going from 35s to 37s. So Nate (the guy at the tire shop) called me and asked if I'd be interested in used tires. Since my Jeep should probably be called "Spare parts" based on the amount of used parts I have installed, I said, Hell yes!"

So, this guy bought tires, ran em for a year, and switched. They are general grabber x3s, 35x12.5r17.

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They have nearly full tread. The only problem was that one of them was pretty chopped up. Guy must have had a bad ball joint or something. The only negative is they are LR E. I've never run a C on this Jeep, my current tires are LR D. Either I don't know what I don't know, or load range doesn't matter, so, I bought two new tires, plus three of the used ones. My price out the door will be 1047 (tax, installation, etc). I thought that was a pretty good deal, they go on next Thursday.
 
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