Bty34 TJ build


TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Sep 15, 2019
The first section is largely a copy and paste from an old build thread on a different forum (2012 or so).

Switching to 35s

Midarm install

Current work starts with the Atlas install and axle swap.

A little backstory, purchased the Jeep back in 2004, was a salvage rebuild.


Over the last 8 years, the Jeep has made it to this. Most of it is normal 33" build stuff.


Around a year ago I noticed a soft spot in the frame by the rear crossmember. Since the frame is already a little twisted, I figured it was best just to swap it out.

Purchased a frame from Davey's Jeeps. Not sure where it was from, but it has no rust. A little red dirt came out when I washed it the first time.


Plans are:
Swap frame
Raise body mounts 1.25"
Change shock mounting
Detroit in front
Poly Perf cage
Mastercraft seats
Savvy Under Armor if funds allow
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In the shop waiting.


Took some measurements

Gas tank skid


Rear crossmember


Frame rail and center skid


Front frame rail


Pulled the rear axle. The ebrake cables fought with me a little bit, but otherwise went fairly well.


Needs a little attention


So do the arms


Pulled the joints on the uppers apart. I was surprised to find the bushings were one piece rather than split. Currie sells a rebuild kit for the joint, so I guess you can change the bushing if you ever need to.


Ready to go back in


Pulled the lowers apart, wiped the bushings down and put a thin coat of grease on them and put them back together. The paint is drying on them now.
Front axle pulled


It looks like I could use some more clearance under the axle




Had some rust on the stock shock mount


and some debris underneath


All cleaned up


New Currie mounts



I also cut of the Currie mini skids, bent them back into shape and aded them to the new mounts.


Overall, my modified stock cover has been holding up pretty well to the abuse


But it is starting to lose some material on the bottom edge. The part that had me a little nervous was the matching gouges in the diff.

I went and grabbed an old LP30 housing I had laying around. I pulled it out a junkyard back during cash for clunkers to get the 3.73 and up carrier


Stole the cover off it and then cut it up for scrap. Saved the cover, cover bolts, and trackbar/ coil mount. If anyone was curious the tube size on a TJ LP30...


I sandblasted the cover before I realized HP and LP covers are not the same.


I put the cover over the housing anyway and noticed my housing is not missing as much material as I originally thought.


I'm leaning towards reworking the cover I was using. I also noticed some damage to my trackbar bracket. I had one situation where I bent the draglink enough that the tierod rubbed the trackbar bolt and allowed it to loosen. I bent the draglink back and replaced the trackbar bolt and it never gave me any trouble, but the damage to the bracket was hidden the the brace I have over top for the ram assist. I may clean up the bracket on the junk housing and see what I have to work with.


Put that on the back burner for now and moved on to installing the detroit. Pulled the open carrier and swapped the ring gear over.


Detroit is in. Actually found my notes from when I installed the gears 3 years ago. Went pretty smoothly. I've found it is a little easier when you take your time and have a comfortable working position. Doing differential work with the axle still under the vehicle and it only up on jackstands makes it a lot more frustrating.


Shock tabs for the front lower mounts came from Ruffstuff.


Started back on the cover. I cut some pieces off the LP cover I had blasted.


I didn't have a great way to hold the cover while I was welding, so I cut the tubes of the junk housing I had in the scrap pile.


All welded up with new additions


Painted up and bolted on


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Painted the axle. It was previously coated with chassis saver, but it hasn't held up that well. I have used it a couple of times before and have not been impressed. It seems to flake off easily.


I have a rebuild kit coming for the passenger side JJ. I should have pulled the joint apart before welding the mount 3 years ago. It is starting to get a little loose.

One recommendation for anyone thinking about doing something similar, buy a bunch of manila shipping labels for when you are taking things apart. I haven't been working on it all that long, and there is already I wish I labeled better.


I did make a little progress. Antirock is swapped over.


Currie front bumps stops mounted. I used a M10x40 SHCS on the top rather than the 3/8" bolt. On the bottom I removed the 1" spacer since I am adding the body lift and staying with 33" tires.


Bushings came in for the JJ I needed to rebuild.


It was definitely melted



All back together


The front axle is ready to go under the new frame now.

Front axle is under the new frame. Everything is left loose for now. I know my other frame was a little off, so I am going to need to adjust things.


Diff cover showed up for the rear and is on. I had dented the stock cover, so hopefully this will help.


A few years ago I had added a higher fill plug to the stock cover. Here are some pictures if anyone is curious. The pipe fittings were from McMaster-Carr. I don't remember the part number, but they fit in the stock hole.




Now back to the current project. Front fenders were removed.


I removed the cowl to unbolt the hood. I think the paint will fair better that way.


The first body mount came out without any issues.


My plan is to lower the drivetrain and frame together, swap the drivetrain over, clean up the underside of the tub, and then put it all back together.

Lowered the frame on to a couple furniture dollies under the oil pan and center skid. Supported the body by the rocker guards and a with a chunk of wood across the rear floor.




Cut off and discarded the rear section of frame.


Pulled the drivetrain out of the front half of the frame.



Stock motor mounts



StinkyFab Racing


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In the new frame.



Notched the sides of the Under Armor mounts. I did have to go back and widen the slot about half way down. It wasn't sitting flat to the frame due the welds on the sides of the body mount.


Cleaned up.



Also painted the rear brace. I'm missing a couple fasteners, so the actual skid will stay off for now.


I did have to open up the notch near the tcase shift lever slightly towards the center of the Jeep.


Found the SFR motor mounts were contacting the lift blocks on both sides.


Marked up the driver side


All trimmed


A little grinding on the passenger.


Driver side now. I trimmed it back to the width of the isolator after the mounting for the front hanger.


On the passenger side, I also did a little grinding on the SFR mount. Only the front was touching, the rear has plenty of clearance. I forgot to take a picture of it, but the rear corner of the lift block was also quite close to the bolt head on the motor mount, so it was notched slightly.


It's pretty normal stuff when using multiple aftermarket parts, I'm just glad I noticed before getting it all back together.
The center body mounts on both sides are pretty well rotted. Started working on the passenger side first.


Cut out the bad section




Tools to fabricate a patch panel. Old body mount and carrier bearing race from a Dana 35.




Not too bad for a piece of scrap sheet metal off an IH combine. I just need to drill a hole and weld it in.


I did get the driver side panel fitted. It was a little more of a pain since I wasn't able to remove the old section in one piece. Require a lot of test fitting.


Back to passenger side. Test fit for the last time.


Welded in.


Not a big fan of welding sheet metal overhead, but it didn't seem to turn out too bad. A flame retardant hood makes a big difference. If I had known the work to be done on the bottom of the tub going in to it, I may have thought harder about flipping it. I didn't think it was going to be worth the effort, but the more time I spend with a grinder over my head it sure seems like it would have been nice.

Made a little progress on the Jeep. Replacement sheet metal is all in and welded.


Been working on painting the bottom of the tub. Went over everything with an angle grinder and wire wheel, made a little bit of mess. I'd recommend a full face respirator.



Pulled the metal plugs to install JK rubber plugs. Found a little bit of rust under the plugs. On the passenger side the bedliner wasn't adhered that well. Scrapped a decent amount up with a gasket scraper. Primed the area and painted it black. Not quite sure what it was about that one area. I thought I took an after picture, but I can't seem to find it. I'll have to grab another.


Painted floor pan and JK plugs.

Look care of a small leak on the speedometer drive that was nagging me and then slid the frame under the tub for the first time. Installed the Novak cable shifter as I was raising the frame up. I'm not sure how some guys are getting their hands in there. Didn't seem like there was a lot of extra room with the tub and frame 6" apart.


I did get all the body mounts bolted up. I was a little nervous since I had moved 8 out of 11 body mounts. I don't have any experience with body lifts, bit it is nice how the Savvy pucks fit over the stock mounts to hold them in place. The two front mounts are compressed a little more than the others, not sure yet what is going on there.


Moved the trailer wiring up off the bumper. I originally had it mounted in a similar fashion through the stock bumper, but when I switched bumpers I just welded the bracket on the top. With the gas tank out of the way it seemed like good timing.



Bumper mounted

Order came in from Poly


Next to a Ford tower


Got the springs in and sitting on its own weight. Felt pretty good, even thought I know the tires and springs have to come off a bunch more times.


The Jeep was sitting a little high compared to what I measured ride height as a couple months ago. Stuck two wheel weights in the back to make up for the missing gas tank (100 lbs).


The front took 400 lbs to get it back to where it should be.


Started working on the rear end. Jacked the axle up to get a rough idea of where the springs needed to be.



The pinion angle was a little off now that I raised the TC, so I got that squared away next.


Had some contact with the trac bar just as the bump stops were making contact.


To get the axle square to the drivetrain, I had to put the driver side centered in the wheel well, and pulled the pass side forward about a quarter inch.

Cycled again with no contact with the bumpstops in. Removed a portion of the top bumpstop and added a spacer to simulate 1" compression.



Had slight contact at "full" bump.



Cut around 3/8" off the rear crossmember.



I did remove a small portion of the weld, so I went back later and welded the two pieces back together. Cycled again, and everything cleared.



I'm running a AA SYE, out of curiosity, I was wondering if a JB conversions super short would have helped. Based on my rough math, it would have move the tracbar forward .42", or just enough to not need to cut it.


Burned in the coil mounts and painted,


Little more work on the rear

Unboxed the shocks from Alltech


Started cutting for the Poly rear towers. Was able to get most of it with an angle grinder, had to use a die grinder on the top.


Clamped in place and cycled. I've lost track of home many times I have cycled the rear suspension.


Everything worked out, so I cut the notch in the back.


Driver side done



Cut the tracbar mount off. It would have been easier without the spring perch in the way.



Tower in


Made up a new tracbar bracket





I was pretty happy with it until I realized the Johnny Joint wouldn't clear. I had originally drilled the mounting hole in the stock location, it needed to move inboard about 1/4". Made up a new mount out of flat stock.



All welded up. Sorry about the bad picture. Once everything is painted it is too dark to get a good picture.


I should have a new set of shock spacers in a day or two, then I can get them mounted up and mounts made for the reservoirs. Thean at Poly has been great to deal with, I'd highly recommend purchasing from them.

Also painted the one area of the tub that I had missed previously due to how I was supporting the tub with the 4x4 under the floor.

I put the tank back in now that the welding it done and hooked it all up. New shock spacers came in from Poly so I got the shocks bolted up. It was a little tight getting the hose around the tower. Welded up some reservoir mounts.


Put the wheel back on.


Finished up the other side


Reinstalled the rear sway bar, parking brake lines and driveshaft. Tightened everything up. The rear is now sitting on its own weight.


Unboxed a new front drive shaft from Tom Wood's

Got started on the front end. Squared the axle to the rear and to the frame and adjusted the caster. Pulled the springs and jacked the axle up to see what I was working with. I was previously running the old style Currie / JKS trackbar and I switched to the new style due to a damaged axle side mount.

Pass side is 2" past full compression on the Currie bumps.


Trackbar to diff cover



Driver side didn't quite make it.


The pumpkin was actually hitting the front brace for the under armor. When I put the tie rod in place, it was making pretty good contact with the trackbar. If it wasn't flipped to the top of the knuckle, it probably wouldn't have been a problem.

Moved the axle forward until the diff cover almost touched the trackbar.



It is real tight on the one diff cover bolt, but it does clear. Set bumpstops for 1" of compression


Trackbar and tierod just make contact.


Couple of intake parts came in from Summit. Previously I had a piece of the Windstar intake bent pretty good to make the 90.


It's a little cleaner.


Picked up a replacement lower shift boot from the dealer. I had forgotten to take the bolts out of the shift lever after I stuck it back on the transmission. As I jacked up the frame, it tore the boot. It was a little bit of a pain to do without pulling the console.


Moved on to the front shock mounts. Tacked the lowers in place. You may notice I wasn't thinking when I did it.


Cut up the upper.


Poly mount tacked in place.


Went to bolt in the shock and realized I had the bolt backwards when I did the lower tabs. Good think they weren't in there that well. Full droop.


Full bump.


Welded and painted


Ended up cutting a decent amount of material off the Poly towers.


Mounted up the shocks, tossed in the springs, and bolted up the Anti-Rock.

Driver side fender mounted up. I had a little rust to take care of on the fender, so I have to wait a day before I can bolt anything down.


Steering cooler mounted back up.


Passenger side fender is mounted. I modified the battery tray slightly while it was off. Moved the battery inboard about 1/4" since it was pretty close to the hood before.

Pulled the clockspring tonight and checked it out. I had forgotten to strap the steering wheel when I started and was worried the wheel had moved. Turned out I was actually ok, but at least now I know. Wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

My wife helped me bleed the brakes tonight. Both rear hard lines leaked at the wheel cylinders. I think I just didn't have them tight. I cleaned everything up and I'll check for fluid tomorrow.


Ordered some new heatshields from factorymopar. The local dealer said that one was unavailable and the other was backordered with no expected date. Took a little over a week, shipped to my door.


My wife worked on the seats. I broke down and ordered the Mastercraft adapters to save time. Mastercraft also has a instruction video. I'll have to pull them again later, we pulled the heating elements out of the old seats, and only installed the back for now. Before it gets too cool I'll have to get the bottom heat in at least the passenger. My wife actually used them on the way to Virginia.


Jeep is out of the garage for the first time. 5 days under 6 months.


Hooked up with the trailer. I was planning on using the rear hitch for a bike rack, but it was too much weight on the back.


I put 65 miles on it over the following weekend. I ended up having to modify the exhaust a little, but otherwise it was pretty straight forward.

I parked the Jeep in the driveway the Monday night before we were supposed to leave. My wife later asked me what the puddle was under the Jeep. After two hours driving around Tuesday morning, we had a new water pump (first two dealers didn't have one in stock). Swapped the pump and then headed out for Virginia.

The Jeep handled the drive pretty well. Handling is much better, I believe due to the outboarded shocks. Wasn't great on gas, but it weighed in at 5600 lbs with trailer and 3/8 of a tank of gas when we got home. I'll have to get it back on the scales now that it is empty. I had sent the steering box to PSC to add some weight to the steering. It now feels just like stock, which is what I was looking for. I'll have to get some more miles on it without the trailer to get a feel for the shocks. It was also the first time we used the spiderwebshade, which I think we are going to really like.

About 75 miles from home my wife noticed a squeak that sounded like a u-joint and we started to pick up some vibration under load. I pulled the rear driveshaft when we got home and it is getting stiff. I had it rebuilt at the local fleetpride within the last 5000 miles, so I decided to ship it back to Tom Woods. I debated about doing it myself, but the shaft itself could use some attention.

At this point I have a bunch of small stuff to finish up, like finish the under armor install, touch up some paint... I plan on waiting on the cage until next winter.

Not much of an update, but I did run across one picture of the Jeep from the trip.

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I remember this build! I believe you were one of first (if not the the first) to do the rear frame tuck. Great build
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First documented one I ever saw. His were the pics I based mine off of.

As with most things, I borrowed the idea from some pictures Blaine had shared of Garza's LJ when he moved the tank back and up.

I've been putting off moving the thread, but thought there might be enough there to be of value to someone, only a couple more posts to go.
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I got the seat heaters finished. It was pretty straight forward, but last time I looked I couldn't find much info on installing heaters in Mastercraft seats.

Untied the bottom cover and slid the heating pad underneath.



All done. It was a little bit of a pain tying the cover back on with the brackets in place. I would recommend doing it before they are bolted on.


You can see a little of the heating element. I'll have to pick up a little vinyl to cover it up.


The back is just attached with velcro on the bottom and should slide right up. Since the cover doesn't always sit against the padding, I used some headliner adhesive on the back.


I did get some items wrapped up on the TJ. Rear elocker is all wired up. Also finished the reservoir mounts on the front. Bought some brackets from Ruffstuff. Used 3M rubber splicing tape as a gasket. I wrapped the brake lines in a damp rag before the welding, it seemed to keep them pretty cool. I did clean the inner fender after the last picture too.





I also finished modifying the exhaust to work with the underarmor. Originally I had taken out about an inch of pipe after the cat and before the muffler flange. It worked ok, but put the muffler into the rear brace on the underarmor. I ran without the rear brace for a little while on the street, but wasn't going to work offroad. I started with adding the section I removed between the flange and the muffler and then started cutting between the muffler and tailpipe. It took a lot of trials in and out of the jeep, but I was pretty happy with it in the end, especially since it was the first time I had done any exhaust work.



This allowed me to get the rear brace back in.


Just to give an idea of how close the muffler is.

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