Back in a TJ Build

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
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Location
Waco, TX
Hey guys, I'm finally back into a TJ, I had an 03 TJ and an 11 JKU in the past and it took me 10 years to finally get another. Man, I have missed it. I bought this one from a friend who said she was driving down the highway, heard it pop out of gear, and was barely able to safely make it off of I35. She had told me that the transmission was shot and it could not be driven. She also said it had a rough idle but she was able to drive it everyday before it went out. I had a buddy of mine meet me to pick it up and he trailered it home for me. I was nicely surprised when I found out it was an Apex Edition. It had been sitting under an awning for a while and it was pretty dirty. First thing was to get it washed.
20220415_170626.jpg
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
Messages
41
Location
Waco, TX
I have lots of plans for this Jeep but obviously, getting it running and driving are top of the list. After some tinkering, I found that I was able to slam it in 4LO and drive it around. It shifted fine but the tcase would make a heck of a racket if it was in 4HI or 2HI, the was no nuetral. It would also pop out of 4HI and 2HI. The PO before my friend owned had installed a belly up skid plate, which I believe to be a Skyjacker brand. It also has a 4" Skyjacker lift. What he didn't install was any of the other parts needed for the belly up. With help from here I made a parts list:

Novak Shifter Cable
Novak 231 rebuild kit
Teraflex Super Short SYE and Adam's Driveshaft
JKS rear traction bar relocation bracket
Rough Country rear adjustable UCA, MML, and shock relocators
Black Magic Brakes nutserts

I do have more plans for this but that will keep me busy.

While I waited for parts I decided to paint the fender flares with Plastidip. I'm not a huge fan of the stuff but I had a can left over from some other project and used it. It actually didn't turn out too bad. My end goal for this Jeep is fender armor for front and rear. Something like Metalcloak.

20220417_173057.jpg20220417_173105.jpg20220417_162237.jpg20220417_162231.jpg
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
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Location
Waco, TX
All of the parts have finally been delivered! Today I started the removal of the T-case. It took a little time but wasn't too bad even as a one man job. Once I opened the case, I found why it was sounding so horrible and not staying in gear. The shift fork was damaged and that damaged the shift hub. More parts are ordered.

20220513_084558.jpg20220513_112322.jpg20220513_112259.jpg20220513_095052.jpg20220513_094650.jpg
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Messages
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Location
Waco, TX
So, I've made some progress but have come to the realization that a bodylift is going to be needed. First some pics:

Here is the TC back in place after the rebuild and ESS SYE and driveshaft from Adam's Driveshaft and Offroad. Also the Novak shifter went in today as well. Yes, my muffler is pretty beat up!
20220523_135022.jpg20220523_135043.jpg20220523_140838.jpg

So I ran into a little problem. The small cat in front of the muffler is hitting the body, which I feel I will need a body lift for now. My next problem is that the TC is some what difficult to shift into gear. I'm sure I will need to do some adjusting on the Novak shifter but I was able to shift the TC by hand before the rebuild but can't now. I'm hoping I can get things moving on a test drive once everything is installed and it shifts better. Is that common or is something else the problem?

I still have the UCAs, shock relocation brackets, trackbar relocation bracket, and MML to install. Oh, and I guess a bodylift...
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
Messages
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Location
Waco, TX
two steps forward, one step back. I couldn't work out the shifting problem so I decided to take the TC off and open it back up. Glad I did, I installed the synchro ring upside down. It is shifting again! Now I'm waiting on the BL that's been ordered to get back to the build.
 
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SSTJ

Inexperienced Overthinker
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Joined
Aug 24, 2019
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2,136
Location
South Carolina
I have lots of plans for this Jeep but obviously, getting it running and driving are top of the list. After some tinkering, I found that I was able to slam it in 4LO and drive it around. It shifted fine but the tcase would make a heck of a racket if it was in 4HI or 2HI, the was no nuetral. It would also pop out of 4HI and 2HI. The PO before my friend owned had installed a belly up skid plate, which I believe to be a Skyjacker brand. It also has a 4" Skyjacker lift. What he didn't install was any of the other parts needed for the belly up. With help from here I made a parts list:

Novak Shifter Cable
Novak 231 rebuild kit
Teraflex Super Short SYE and Adam's Driveshaft
JKS rear traction bar relocation bracket
Rough Country rear adjustable UCA, MML, and shock relocators
Black Magic Brakes nutserts

I do have more plans for this but that will keep me busy.

While I waited for parts I decided to paint the fender flares with Plastidip. I'm not a huge fan of the stuff but I had a can left over from some other project and used it. It actually didn't turn out too bad. My end goal for this Jeep is fender armor for front and rear. Something like Metalcloak.

View attachment 330345View attachment 330346View attachment 330347View attachment 330348

Just curious: why the tape and plastic, instead of removing the flares?
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
Messages
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Location
Waco, TX
Just curious: why the tape and plastic, instead of removing the flares?
I had extra plastic and tape from a different project that I used, same as the Plastidip. There was enough space between the fender and flare to get the tape behind it. It was actually pretty easy. I started to take the bolts out on the first fender and the tiny bolt, small ratchet or wrench, and small space to work seemed like more work in the end with taking them off and reinstalling them.
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
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Waco, TX
Looks like you're really tackling the project! Keep at it!
My son turns 16 soon and already has his learner's permit. This will be the vehicle he will be driving, so, I'm trying to get it done enough for it to be road worthy with some weekend fun. I've made it very clear to him that this isn't his Jeep! He will need to figure something out after he graduates, lol. When I get it back, I plan on some bigger mods. Baby steps though.
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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Apr 29, 2022
Messages
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Waco, TX
Yesterday was Work On the Jeep Day and I got a ton finished and it's back on the road. I finally got the TC back together and filled with new ATF +4 fluid. I'm getting pretty good at uninstalling and reinstalling that thing. Before I could mount the TC skid plate, I installed the nutserts from Black Magic Brakes. That was a pretty easy process. I'm not a big fan of the TC skid plate that was on the Jeep. I still think it's a Skyjacker brand but it only uses two of the nutserts on each side, instead of three. That may be addressed further down the road. I also installed the bodylift and that gave me enough clearance between the body and TC.

20220529_140531.jpg

Next came the rear UCAs and adjusting the pinion angle. I had a tough time getting the bolt out from the passenger side upper mount. The muffler would only let the bolt slide about halfway out. With some small 2x4, I was able to make enough room to finally get it out. The driveshaft is sitting at 20* and the pinion is at 19* It feels pretty good with no chatter but I'm dealing with a rough idle in drive issue that's making it difficult to really feel how smooth it is. It was great to get it back on the road. Yes, the jam nut was tightened after the pic.
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The shock relocation brackets went on pretty smoothly too.

20220529_154015.jpg

I ran out of time due to a graduation party but the only thing left is the track bar bracket. I'm not super worried about it at the moment because this won't be wheeled in anything crazy for a while. Also, I have the MML to do but I'm thinking I may not need to do it. It seems the driveline angle is pretty good. I also want to clear up the rough idle issue so that I can actually feel if there is vibrations from the rear.
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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I decided to go ahead with the MML. Actually, the Jeep decided it wanted it! After the body lift and lowering the fan shroud, the fan was being stopped by the shroud. So, I proceeded to get to it when I got home from shift this morning. I will say, it is not my favorite mod to install. I found out that my low pro jack I used for my lowered mustang does not have enough lift. I had to get creative with wood blocks but I did get it to work.... after the motor/transmission fell off of it. That was interesting. But, it is installed and the fan doesn't hit the shroud anymore.
20220601_134019.jpg

I also believe I found the cause of my rough idling in gear. After pouring through countless rough idling threads, I found one about checking the transmission fluid. I found my very low, as in barely reaching the stick. I added two quarts of ATF +4 and it's running nice and smooth again. I'm pretty excited.
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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I never could get the rough idle to go away. It did show P0300, 301, and 302 codes, which are miss fire codes. I replaced the plugs, coil rail, and all 4 O2 sensors. I decided to take it to a mechanic that we have used for years. Hopefully, they can figure out what is going on. So, here she is before heading off to the mechanic.
20220622_135007.jpg
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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The shop called today and said they did a compression test and cylinder #2 had 60 pounds and leaking from there. So, now I wait for the valve job...
 
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txfiremn

txfiremn

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I've been pretty busy here lately with finishing up seasons of select baseball and softball. I also just returned from New York for an amazing fishing trip. So, I haven't been able to post an update recently.

I've been able to do a few small things to it. First, its running great after getting it back from the shop. They did a great job as always and it's nice having a dependable shop owner and Jeeping mechanics. Now for the pics.

I bought this cheap top from Amazon that can stay on when the hardtop is on and still have a little shade from the sun and our 105 temps here in Central Texas. I'm also hoping for some noise reduction in the cab while the top is on too.
20220804_085143.jpg

I bought Caltrend seat covers for the front seats. I was hoping they were going to be a little darker, closer to the Apex edition seats, but they are not. They still don't look bad, much better than the tore up driver's side seat. The back seat cover is on the way. These were incredibly easy to install, fit great, and look good. They are supposed to be water proof too.
20220804_085132.jpg

I installed front and rear bumpers. I am not a tube bumper kind of guy, so they had to go. Plus, the old tube bumpers were dented and rusted. The front is a Smittybuilt basic bumper and the back is an off brand carrier. I originally purchased an OE replacement front bumper but when the order came in, they sent me a 4wd sensor for a JKU. Not sure how that happened, even the packing slip said it was to be bumper, IDK.
20220709_131549.jpg

20220709_102840.jpg

I found some used carpet through the book of faces. It does have a few little spots but I'm sure I can get those out later on. I did vacuum out a ton of dirt/sand though. It looks pretty good, way better than just metal floors. Also, you can see the color difference between the seat covers and the actual seat color. I think it'll come together when the rear seat has the matching cover though.
20220804_085251.jpg

Lastly, I changed out all of the speakers. The console sub was blown and it was replaced with a cheap Pyle 6.5 but it sounds awesome. I also replaced the fronts with 5.25 Kenwood speakers using the adapter plate and matched the sound bar with the same ones. I also filled the bar with pillow stuffing.
20220804_085218.jpg

I just developed a coolant leak. I noticed that the hoses are old and starting to swell, so , those will be replaced today or possibly next week. The original owner replaced the water pump and my mechanic replaced the radiator. So, hopefully, new hoses do the trick.
Here is a pic from the NY trip!
20220723_171645.jpg
 

NashvilleTJ

I miss the snow...
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I've been pretty busy here lately with finishing up seasons of select baseball and softball. I also just returned from New York for an amazing fishing trip. So, I haven't been able to post an update recently.

I've been able to do a few small things to it. First, its running great after getting it back from the shop. They did a great job as always and it's nice having a dependable shop owner and Jeeping mechanics. Now for the pics.

I bought this cheap top from Amazon that can stay on when the hardtop is on and still have a little shade from the sun and our 105 temps here in Central Texas. I'm also hoping for some noise reduction in the cab while the top is on too.
View attachment 348172

I bought Caltrend seat covers for the front seats. I was hoping they were going to be a little darker, closer to the Apex edition seats, but they are not. They still don't look bad, much better than the tore up driver's side seat. The back seat cover is on the way. These were incredibly easy to install, fit great, and look good. They are supposed to be water proof too.
View attachment 348174

I installed front and rear bumpers. I am not a tube bumper kind of guy, so they had to go. Plus, the old tube bumpers were dented and rusted. The front is a Smittybuilt basic bumper and the back is an off brand carrier. I originally purchased an OE replacement front bumper but when the order came in, they sent me a 4wd sensor for a JKU. Not sure how that happened, even the packing slip said it was to be bumper, IDK.
View attachment 348177

View attachment 348176

I found some used carpet through the book of faces. It does have a few little spots but I'm sure I can get those out later on. I did vacuum out a ton of dirt/sand though. It looks pretty good, way better than just metal floors. Also, you can see the color difference between the seat covers and the actual seat color. I think it'll come together when the rear seat has the matching cover though.
View attachment 348178

Lastly, I changed out all of the speakers. The console sub was blown and it was replaced with a cheap Pyle 6.5 but it sounds awesome. I also replaced the fronts with 5.25 Kenwood speakers using the adapter plate and matched the sound bar with the same ones. I also filled the bar with pillow stuffing.
View attachment 348179

I just developed a coolant leak. I noticed that the hoses are old and starting to swell, so , those will be replaced today or possibly next week. The original owner replaced the water pump and my mechanic replaced the radiator. So, hopefully, new hoses do the trick.
Here is a pic from the NY trip!
View attachment 348181

Do they call ‘em stripers up in NY, or do they use the proper name: Rockfish?

(you may be able to guess where I’m from…🙂)

Nice fish.