Bty34 TJ build

Finally started on the Poly cage kit. I started with the rear. I had to adjust the notching on the c pillar spreader to get the bar level. It was tilted down to start.


I pulled the 4 nuts on the top, 3 bolts on each side, and 2 nuts behind the glove box to get the dash back a little. It gave me enough room to get the tubes run without any issues.




It probably would have been quicker with a second person, but it can be done with one and a few ratchet straps.


I tacked everything in place except the sleeve to the upper A pillar. It allowed me to pivot the lower portion of the A pillar towards the center of the Jeep, weld the floor plate, and they rotate it back.


After I had everything tacked, a coworker stopped by and did the final welding for me. Took a little under 4 hours.





A couple of pictures of the cage after paint. One thing I would recommend is pulling the door sensors before you start. After moving the dash back and forth so many times to check the notch for the tube, I managed to wipe out both of mine.








I'll have to grab some pictures with the interior in. The front dash piece fit in with the windshield up, even with the dash bar as low as I could get it. Door surrounds took a little rework around the front bend, but not bad.

I also knocked out some maintenance stuff. My cheap parts store radiator finally gave up. The threads on the petcock were no longer holding. Swapped it for a Mopar. It is a little funny that the $100 unit from the radiator shop lasted a couple years while the Griffin before it leaked twice within the 1 year warranty.

I need to get better about pulling the battery during the winter like I do the rest of the stuff that gets stored. The Diehard Platinum made it 5 years. Sears was good about the credit and they had a new one in stock.
After a weekend at RC in early June I picked up a vibration at idle. Tracked it back to the exhaust rubbing on the engine skid portion of the UA. I ordered a universal exhaust hanger from NAPA to give it a little support. Didn't take much. Luckily I previously cleaned the hole in the block and left a bolt in it to keep it sealed up. Only other damage was a bent drag link. Couple minutes in the press and it was all set.






I did make it down to Rausch again in the beginning of July. I didn't make it up "Shoot the Moon", but it will give me something to work on next time.


Overall I am pretty happy with the Jeep after the last round of mods. The combination of adding the front locker, the UA, raising the gas skid, and the shocks has make quite a difference. It fits in pretty well with the group I normally wheel with, even with smaller tires than most.

I have picked up a couple small dents in the rear corners. It has me thinking about picking up some armor back there.
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This brings us to fall 2014.

Sold off my MTRs


They sold a little quicker than I was expecting, so the jeep was left sitting for a week or so.


I'm sure the UPS guy was thrilled to have these in the truck all day. I bought another wheel and extra tire to replace my 31" spare.



I need to cycle the suspension to get everything double checked, but my bumpstops were already set for 35s. It was close enough to mess around in the snow.


I had a couple gouges on the corners of my Savvy bumper, so I added the corner reinforcements.


Started drilling a bunch of holes in the tub.


All the test fitting is done and armor is pulled back off.



At this point the plan is:
Savvy corner armor and rub rails
Exogate carrier and Trasharoo
Swap 3" Nth springs for 4" Currie
Remove AA SYE for JB SS SYE
Add side spiderwebshades for my daughter
Swap 4.10 gears for 4.88 Revolutions
12volt guy winch switch
New head unit with usb input

I installed a tailgate I picked up from Davey's Jeeps a few years back and hadn't gotten around to switching the lock yet. Finally switched it over. Picture of pre 03 lock on 03+ tailgate. The hole is a little bigger on the newer gates, but it seems to tighten up ok.


Pulled my Advance Adapters SYE and installed a JB Conversions SS SYE




I need to order a new rear shaft and then start adjusting the axles for the new tires and springs.

Wire up an in cab winch control from 12voltguy. It was pretty straight forward. I just tied it into the wiring for the factory remote with some new connectors so they both work.




Finished up installing a new Alpine head unit. At Rausch i didn't always get great reception on the XM, so I tended to listen to CDs, which is a little hard on them. The new unit has a USB in, so I'm planning on just loading up a flash drive.


I got my new rear driveshaft from Tom Woods. I got it installed and the rear axle axle where it needs to be. I just need to finish up the front now. I plan for 1" of compression on the Currie bumps and everything looks good. The bolt on the ram mount almost contacts the tie rod.



I painted the corner armor and got it installed. I still need to install the tailgate and exogate. I don't think the paint turned out too bad for using a Harbor Freight gun and doing it in a dirty shop. I did get one pretty good run in the clear in one spot and some orange peel, but I'm pretty happy with it for what it is.



At some point I'll like to switch to Savvy rockers so they match up with the corners a little better, but the ARBs will work for now.

Finished up installing the exogate. It was pretty straight forward. I had to slot some of the mounting holes slightly to get everything lined up, but I think that is due to my tub, not the exogate. Since I was switching my spare tire from a 31 x 10.50 on a stock rim to a 35 x 12.50 on a rim with 3.75" backspacing, I figured rather than using extra spacers on the rubber bumpers, I would cut down the tire mount. Started with measuring the difference from the edge of the tire to the mounting face.



I forgot to take any pictures along the way, but it is pretty straight forward. Cut an inch out of the center and welded the two halves back together. Also pressed some studs out of an old Dana 35 shaft and added them to the carrier while I was at it. Seemed like an easy way to carry a couple extra lug nuts. Cut some spacers for the center mount brake light too. I used some plastic conduit that was laying around.






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Swapped soft top brackets tonight. For awhile I've been running a late model soft top and frame on my early model TJ. It was always a little loose on the back with all the windows out. Coming from the Viking frameless top I never gave it too much thought. Last summer my parents bought a Supertop NX for their Rubicon which came with all new hardware. I grabbed the late model roll bar mounts and finally got around to putting them on. We'll see if it's any quieter, but the rear bow is definitely tighter.

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Stopped at the tire shop yesterday and got my tires pulled. Cleaned the mud and old mounting lube off them.

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Tires are mounted again.

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I did set them on a 5 gallon pail while I was working on bolting up the rings, unless there is another trick I'm missing. It was my first time dealing with them. The fifth one went a lot faster than the first
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I'm a little behind on updates. Pulled the jeep out this spring and it was acting like it had a drain on the battery. It had some symptoms last fall too that I blamed on sitting too long. Figured it was time to clean up my accessory wiring. Picked up a circuit breaker and fuse block. After wiring things up I checked and the block wasn't drawing anything significant. Charged up the battery for a couple days, but when I added a load the voltage dropped right off. Pulled the battery and took it to the nearest sears an hour away. This was the second diehard platinum I've killed. First one made it 5 years, this one was just under 2. The gave me a gold group 34 and cash for the price difference. Charged it up, stuck it in and all back to normal.




I've also had an intermittent emissions leak since I did the frame swap. Previously I was able to clear it for a little while and get the jeep inspected before it came back. It had gotten a little more persistent and the jeep was due for inspection again. I had to drop the tank to get my trailer wiring through my armor anyways. I found the tee on the top of the tank for the evap lines was broken. I was able to find a brass fitting from Parker on for under $3. Part# G2942807.




Control arm mounts were starting to look a little beat up. Made up some weld washers and did some trimming.



Went up to Killington VT to do some wheeling, but didn't get any pictures. When I was looking things over when I got home I found a significant amount of play in the ball joints. They were moogs with around 15k in them. Luckily the smooth body spicers were still tight after the knurled moogs. Did unit bearings while I was at it. The loaner press at advance actually had the time right adapters, so no shimming the press like last time.



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Now we're up to January 2017.

A pair of boxes from Savvy showed up last week, so I started tearing the wrangler down and cutting off brackets. I guess I'm committed now. I did need to trim the from brackets slightly due to my raised stock body mounts.









Got all the stock much mounts off and the frame cleaned. Decided to leave the front uppers. New front mounts are trimmed, located and welded. The new front upper is pretty tight to the tub.




Cut off my old Currie mini skids. They were pretty well trashed. A couple of times I have had to pull the arms and hammer them back into shape to get full range on the Johnny joints. New units are from poly.


Also got the front axle up on the table to do the gears.


Gears are done in the front, truss is welded on and a new brace added for the hydro assist since the old one no longer fits. It's hanging out under the jeep waiting for the primer to dry.


Got the 35 up on the table. The sway bar is pretty well toast. The table top is flat and the axle is level in the pictures.




Gears are done in the rear. Crushing the crush sleeve without the axle mounted was a little tougher than normal. Put new brake shoes on too while the axles were out to make it easier. I'm waiting on feedback from Marty on the truss with the Dana 35.

I moved the brake lines over to get them some room for the truss and plugged the old hole. Seemed like the easiest option.


I started working on the exhaust a little while I'm waiting on the muffler from spintech. Shortened the stock cat 9". It won't be enough to get the muffler completely under the skid, but it should end before the control arm mount. Hopefully I can sneak it over the rear brace.


Spent some time fixing the rear truss. Cut the mounts off and put them where they need to be. It took some time to get them off and able to be reused. Welding them on put enough heat into the truss to bow the top plate. Was able to flatten it out in the press.


Got the truss mounted and then cut off the locator for the Dana 44. Made a template in cardboard and then transferred it to some flat stock.

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Axle is painted and back under the jeep. Reformed the driver's side brake line, made a new one for the passenger side. Time to start cycling everything.






Got the rear end located and the arms adjusted. Suggested lengths were pretty close.

Started working on the Antirock. The bar would not fit behind the axle over the tank. Made up some mounts to put it in front of the axle. Bent the arms in the press a little to get them tighter to the frame rails. I probably should have bought the straight arms to start. I wasn't quite able to get it to where I am happy with it yet. The arms are still rubbing the tire on full articulation.

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I thought about trying above the tank again. Checked the diameter on my bar, it's 1" not 3/4" (.800) as the description says. I'll have to call Northridge and figure out what happened.

While I was in the area I adjusted one of the shock towers. The tire was rubbing just enough to take off the clear coat after a couple years. Also trimmed the coil buckets a little for antirock clearance.

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Talked to Northridge, Currie is sending me the correct bar. I'm going to cut the mounts off and move them a little forward and up. I had 1/2" around the 1" bar before. I'm thinking 1/8" clearance to the tub with the smaller bar will help enough to be worth it. I wanted to get it over the tank, but with my raised frame rails, it's not happening without notching the floor of the tub.

New bar showed up from Currie. Made up a new set of mounts and cut the old ones off the frame. It should go a little smoother this time around.


Rear antirock is in. Made new mounts to go along with the smaller diameter bar. Flattened the arms out a little more too. I probably should have started with the straight arms I ended up getting rid of the original bends.






I was contacting the front Savvy UA mount with about 3 1/2" of travel left. I had some 16ga 1" sq tube around. Welded it up, cut out the piece in the way. I trimmed down the piece I removed and used it to stiffen the tubing. It was a little too tight for pictures, but clears everything with room to spare.

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It looks quite a bit closer to the arm in the pictures then it actually is. It is a little over an inch gap on top, about 1/2" to the corner.



Trimmed down the stock cat as far as I could, but wasn't able to make it work how I wanted. Gave in and had NAPA drop off a smaller one (Walker 15038). It is a little longer than what I had the stocker down to, but it's not as fat. I omitted the flange between the cat and muffler to save length. I plan on adding one after the muffler. It does make it a little more of a pain to get the assembly out, but it can be done.

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I'm debating about taking it somewhere for the tail pipe or tackling it myself. I don't know of any good exhaust shops in the area.

Messed with the exhaust today. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out. The Spintech muffler is a little louder than i was hoping for. I'll probably run it for a while and see what I think after a few longer drives.






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I ended up with one J bend and one U bend from amazon and hangers and isolators from NAPA. Ended up with 90deg of extra bend a little bit of straight pipe.


And finally, a picture of it out in the driveway.


Race bullet does fit before the third cat without too much messing around. I did have to remove the old frame side upper control arm mount to make some room. I ran out of time to finish up the welding and see if it actually makes a difference. Hopefully this will be the end of the exhaust work. Luckily I hadn't thrown away my leftover tubing yet. Just had to order the flanges, gasket and muffler.



I think it helped, my wife isn't so sure. Either way I don't think I have much room to do anything else unless I remove the third cat.
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Finally unboxed the MCE flares and dug my old stock passenger fender out of the barn. I had to buy a replacement for the drivers side as that one rusted and I tossed it when I put the TNTs on.

I knew I wasn't rubbing on my current fenders, but the rear is moved back to the flare line. The closest I was able to get the tire was just under 2 1/2" away. Started making up the stock fender and flattened out the bump for the battery tray a little.



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The Chinese replacement fender from eBay seems a little thinner, but hopefully it holds up ok. Pretty much the same process as the other side. It's all tacked together, waiting on some .023 wire for the welder. Hopefully it helps, I was struggling a little before and the wire is easier to fix than my skills.

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Slow progress, but the fenders are painted. I painted the inners semi gloss black and color matched the outsides. I didn't give myself enough time around and got in a rush and ended up having to sand and reshoot the clear. I was a little nervous since the paint was leftover from the corner armor 2-3 years ago. I guess we'll see when I get them mounted and next to the other paint.





I also used seam sealer around the two layers on the outer fender. I don't know how much it will help, but since they always seem to trap water and junk I figured it couldn't hurt.

Drivers side is on. I had to rework the fender a little bit with a hammer to get around to poly shock tower. The inner fender bracket was cut into 3 pieces and welded back together to fit.

I miss having stock inner for mounting the underhood stuff. Also lost 16.5 lbs a fender.




Fenders are done. I needed to take 1/2" out of the battery tray. The front of the Jeep sits 1/8" higher now.

I also started reassembling the half doors. I had spray bombed them a few years ago, but the clear didn't turn out well. I redid them while I was doing the fenders. They look a little better now. Splurged and ordered new weatherstripping for them too.




Changed up the lighting a little bit. The IPFs were a little too big for the size of the bumper. Moved the duallys down and moved the tabs on the winch guard to match up with the Competition Led light bar. I cut apart the two harnesses and made one since combined they only draw 8 amps. I also cut a hole in the top of the bumper and ran the wiring inside the winch guard. Looks a little better than the black zip ties that were there.


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I guess the flares are flexible.


Called MCE, they are sending a replacement fender. They also recommended giving the hood a tap with my fist or a rubber mallet. Seemed to work pretty well. Mike mentioned he had a similar mark after a roll that came back out.



Windshield frame didn't get into the door opening, so that will stay like it is. Both sides kinda match now.



I guess stock taillights do bend a little before they break.


Pulled the painted Sahara flares and installed the MCE rears. Decided against the supplied sheet metal screws and drilled them for the stock fasteners.


Dug out my old tweeters and got them mounted. I pulled them when I did the cage and hadn't gotten around to getting new mounts figured out.


Also added an additional reverse light. My sister had given them to me a little while back. I'm going to try out the one for now. I don't expect to need the other.



A few weeks ago my wife was out of town so I parked the TJ in her bay of the garage to mess with it while the willys was in the other. It turns out I have a light mounted at the right height the TJ fits but when you lift the tires off the ground it is close enough to melt the top, but not break the bulb. I ordered a Quadratec replacement top, but decided to try patching temporarily rather than taking a brand new top into the woods immediately.




Did manage to replace the windshield hinge pins with some stainless bolts. I tried getting the air chisel under the head, but didn't have any success. Ended up following what Greg did and pulling the hinges off, cutting the pins at the joints and driving out the pieces. Somehow all the bolts came out without needing to drill any.

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Pulled the Jeep out of the barn for the summer. My subwoofer didn't fare too well over the winter. It was 18 years old. I picked up something a little more compact. The little bit of extra storage space will be nice.





I do think I need a new amp now too. The old sub was 2ohm and the new one is 4ohm. I have a Sounstream Angina of the same vintage and it only puts out 100 watts at 4 ohms. I'm leaning towards a JL XD300/1

I had my old amp mounted under the drivers seat. It fit ok, but the cables made me nervous with the fold and tumble. Decided to mount the new one under the dash / steering column. Took a couple rounds of test fitting, but I'm happy with how it turned out.






Made up some spacers to make the sub down firing. It does keep it a little more protected and helps with the storage space.




Found a crack in the corner of my Savvy bumper. I'll probably wait until it gets put away for the winter to pull it and have it welded.



I guess I use it as more of a feeler than I realized.

I've been running a generic steering box skid for the last 15 years or so. I didn't like how the back only used the one steering box bolt for support. Cut out the one corner and turned it around so it rests against the bottom of the steering box mount. While I was cutting and welding I decided to angle the other side for a little better clearance.




It might be time to switch to some different sliders. I picked up the ARB sliders before Savvy was an option.





Anyone have a patriot blue windshield frame laying around?


Somehow the Dana 35 is still kicking

I got lazy when I reinforced the control arm mounts years ago and skipped the one side of the rear lowers as they kinda tuck next to the wheel. It's a little bit more of a pain after they get bent up.

Used 3/16" material this time around. The others I used 1/8" . Cut the plate with a 2 1/8" hole saw to give a 2" OD.




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I'll start out with where the Jeep is at as of April 2022

Current configuration
2000 TJ Sport
4.0 stroker, NV3550, NP231 with JB Conv SSSYE
HP30, Detroit, Superior shafts, Currie steering with BMB hydro assist, BMB 15" brake kit
Dana 35, Superior 30 spline c-clip eliminator with e-locker, 4.88 gears
4" Currie springs, Savvy mid arm, 12" fox shocks
Savvy underarmor, ARB rocker guards
15" method beadlocks, 35" Pro Comp MT2

New parts
RJ60 front, 99-04 knuckles, Detroit, 5.38 gears
RJ60 rear Detroit for now
3.8 Atlas
17" beadlocks, 37" tires for now
Savvy rockers

The TJ works pretty well as it sits now, goal is to swap the parts and not make it work any worse. I picked up the axles and Atlas used, previous plan was just the new rocker guards and a 5.0 Atlas.





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The 5.0 Atlas I ordered back in February started getting built before I cancelled it, so I'll sell off the 3.8 and keep the 5.0 as originally planned.

Started working on the rear axle. Ordered a Currie bridge for the upper mounts, but it is 2" taller than the Savvy midarm bridge I was running.



Cut the center out of the Currie bridge to lower it down to the top of the housing. Gained 1.5", so it's only 1/2" higher than the standard Savvy setup.




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Since I don't have highline fenders, I picked up some 35's for the 17" wheels.

It already started out as a great build. Definitely curious to see your progress with the new RJ axles and atlas!
I'm going to loose a little clearance, but the extra gearing will be nice. We'll see if it's worth the work.

Ground down the angled portion of the casting to be 3/4" lower than the other set of holes, but parallel and then added a 3/4" spacer to the bottom of the bridge. After a test fit under the jeep, did the final welding and put my painting crew to work.





The existing vent on the cover of the Rockjock came up under the bridge. Found a 3/8" emissions line that worked about right to get it out from underneath without kinking.

Picked up a Gladiator/Ram control arm to chop up for the new transmission cross member.



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Pulled the 37s and mounted up the 35s. Ran 2 wraps of gorilla tape on the inside bead on the first two. Didn't get much of a pop when the tire seated. Left the other two without. The safety bead on the Methods is wide, but not very high. I remember the 15s being more like normal. It is nice that the 17s have an extra set of holes.





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