Chudlet's First TJ


TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Apr 18, 2022
N Idaho
Hello All. Just a quick introduction and start of my build thread to keep things documented as I change them. Been in a Jeep off and on since about 1990, two CJ's and daily driven XJ. My last was a '76 CJ 5 that while I had the drive train pretty set, the body succumbed to rust so bad that recovery was not a real option for me. So I parted it out thinking that was going to be it for Jeeps for a long while. As most of you know the Jeep itch does not just "go away" and eventually I am perusing Craigslist and Marketplace "just to see" what was out there. Sure enough one day I was out on a road trip to western WA and this 2001 TJ followed me home. It wasn't my fault, it just attached its tow bar to my truck and followed me of its own volition.

Nothing I could do other than to give it a parking space in the garage, it's the proper thing to do.


So now I have a pretty stock 2001 TJ that was used as a commuter since it rolled off the lot to a total of 325K miles and counting. It's been really well taken care of. Came with a hard/soft top, 2 bikini tops, a net top kind of thing that keeps unwanted hands out when the bikini top is on, a wind breaker behind the front seats, luggage rack, Tbar to lift the hard top and a tow bar for flat towing. It has a 4.0 / 5 speed and 31s. Build sheet says it has the Dana 30/HD44 w/ 3.73 gears and a trac-lock LSD.


It drives smooth and straight, but it still needs a little love. This weekend I am hoping to give it a good scrubbing, replace the ujoints in the Dana 30, flush and fill both axles, tranny and transfer case. Do some inspecting and build a list of what other minor stuff needs fixing. bulbs, clock spring etc.

Current plan is to keep it nimble, drivable and as capable as can reasonably be done on 33 inch tires. Due to not being exceedingly wealthy, this will all be done in stages and with lots of research and overthinking. First things first, clean it up, fix what is currently broken and then start the mods.

First mods ordered should give a little room to the 31" tires.
  • JKS 1" MML spacers
  • Zone 1.25" BL
  • Savvy transfer case shifter cable assembly
Eventually I'll add a 2.5-3 inch suspension lift, tummy tuck, 33" tires, 4.56 gears /lockers. I'll probably build bumpers pretty soon so I can mount up the winch from the last Jeep. Let the adventure begin!
Thanks Voodo. Looking forward to getting back out in the woods and associating with fellow Jeepers.
Well, this weekend was all about changing fluids, fixing little stuff and getting to know the TJ better. Changed out both diffs, transmission and transfer case. All of them were pretty old and the diffs had water in them but all fresh now. Thought I had a bad u-joint up front so I changed both out only to discover they were "ok" but I did find the 31" tires were rubbing the lower control arm on the drivers side. Easy fix, just added a nut to the steering stop like a PO had done for the passenger side and now no more rubbing. At list I know I have fresh u-joints up front and they shouldn't be a problem for a long time. Adjusted the rear brakes so the e-brake works now.

All in all, the gears and splines all looked really good. It does have a Trac-loc, but it is only strong enough to roll the tires in the same direction when they are both hanging in the air. One tire off the ground and I can roll it pretty easy with one hand. That will get replaced when I regear anyway way down the road.

MML and BL are on the bench, still waiting for Savvy to ship the shifter.

Been reading various articles and trying to decide what pieces to order next to keep working towards the final goal of 4.25" lift, 33" tires and tummy tuck with the least amount of rework. Budget constraints demand I have to do this in stages, so I am thinking the next step should be a JB conversion ss-sye / drive line / rear upper control arms. Any other recommendations for parts or order of install?

Thanks, CH.
After a bunch of obsessive reading about suspension upgrades it looks like I am in "saving mode" for a set of Currie aluminum control arms. Well that is going to take many paychecks and a few pints of blood. Here we go.
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After a bunch of obsessive reading about suspension upgrades it looks like I am in "saving mode" for a set of Currie aluminum control arms. Well that is going to take many paychecks and a few pints of blood. Here we go.
Dot be too intimidated by the price. I figured out what I wanted to do, saved up 75% of the funds I would need over 7 months, and just started work on mine. I figure I'll be able to save the remaining 25% while installing all the parts I ordered. And even the 7 months saving wasn't a big deal, because I still got to drive the jeep while I saved!😉
The airbag light was on, they guy I bought it from said his mechanic said it was the clock spring. OK, fair enough a bit of trouble finding the right part and the clock spring is now replaced and the airbag light is still on. Found this article here and tried it, sure enough no light on the console. Looks like some soldering in my future if I can lay my hands on a couple bulbs.

FYI for those that might be looking. The Dorman clock spring that is listed for all years TJ does NOT fit the steering shaft for an 01 TJ, the hole is too small. The Crown clock spring listed for the 01-02 TJ fits perfect. I got mine from for $144.

J113058 - Clockspring (01-02 Jeep Wrangler TJ w/o Speed Control)
Item #: J113058

Savvy says they should be shipping my Tcase shifter cable this week. So maybe next weekend I will get that, the MML and BL installed. 😁
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Weekend update. No word from Savvy yet on the Tcase shifter, so hopefully this week. Dang Facebook Marketplace got the better of me but they were deals not to be passed up. Found a winch plate for $55, and a Tuffy security drawer for $200, and now they are mine. Ordered up a riser and divider kit for the drawer to hold all the recovery gear securely. Got an idea brewing to build a small aluminum rack for the top of it. Later, much later down the road.

Pulled the rear seat and carpet kit in hopes this weekend would be nice and I could give the Jeep a bath inside and out, but alas, cold and rainy in N Idaho this weekend. PO had a 160 acre farm / ranch so the underside is coated in farm mud and the carpet was nasty and had these little bugs in it and under it. Time to go to the dump. Inside is probably going to be bed lined at some point in the distant future. In the mean time, I got the winch mounted up and working

Body lift and MML are still waiting on the Tcase shifter, figure I'll do those at the same time.

Also built a couple target stands that I have been meaning to get to. Sometimes my A.D.D. gets the better of me.


Over all, a pretty productive weekend!
Wrapping up another weekend in the garage with my TJ. The Savvy cable shifter came in this week so I got the first stage of lift installed this weekend. I figured since the body mounts were 20 years old and traveled 325K miles, it might be time for a new set since I was doing the body lift anyway.

Savy Cable Shifter — Check
Zone 1.25 Body Lift — Check
Crown rubber body mounts — Check
JKS MML -Check

Between the new mounts and the BL it looks like I gained ~1.5"
Front Before and after


Rear before and after


This took all weekend by myself. Arguably, I was cleaning up thing I found that needed to be fixed while I was there. The transfer case shifter was rust welded so getting to 4 low involved full body weight to get past the notch. Skid plate got cleaned up, de-rusted and a fresh coat of paint along with the frame rails where the skid plate mounts up.

Tuffy drawer and air bag switch light will have to wait for a short bit. I need to hunt down a solder wick, ACE didn't have any. Took out the center console whilst cleaning things up, the rear portion was destroyed, the front is in good shape so I guess I am on the hunt for a tan (camel) rear console.
Updated pic after the body lift, funny how just 1.5 inches makes a difference in the stance. I like it.


got the Tuffy storage drawer installed last night.

Soldered in a new lightbulb to the airbag switch. Yup this is definitely the issue with the dashboard airbag light, or at least one of them.
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After replacing both shifter boots and the broken gear shift knob I got the front console reinstalled and thanks to @voodooridr, who had the cup holders to complete the short console and a boot for the e-brake handle.


After doing some forum surfing, I discovered I was not the only one who felt like I needed a booster seat to drive a TJ and thus found seat risers. Yeah, I could buy a kit, but that costs money and then I have to wait till it arrives. I have some scrap metal in the garage and a new opportunity to tinker. So, 1.5" seat risers made from 1/8" wall square tubing, caped with 1/16" sheet. Each block is 2" long.

Cut, drilled, caped

Painted, kit ready, kit installed

While my highly tuned butt dyno can't decide if I got 10 or 15 extra HP by installing these risers, I can tell you I really like the higher view angle and being able to comfortably rest my arm out the rolled down window. Leg position is much more comfortable as well.
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Catching up on the build thread. Latest mod was to the front OEM bumper. I'm cheap, I like Craigslist and sometimes I just wana see what I can do with my welder.

I ordered a couple of shackle mounts and welded them to some 3/16" plate steel recovered from my scrap pile. Then I cut a couple holes in the oem bumper, fited the shackle mounts through and then welded the bumper, plate and shackle mounts together. Then welded the plate to the back side of the bumper to help stiffen the whole thing. The plate extends to the front of the of the frame to help transfer any pulling stresses to the bumper frame bolts. Then I cut back the ends a little and boxed them in and plug welded all the excess holes. Installed with a couple shackles and now I am recoverable from the front. Back is next.





Installed a best top replacement sailcloth top. Changed from Khaki to Spice. The tan matches better, I think. Installed a Smittybilt classic rock crawler bumper. It is simple, heavy duty and inexpensive. For anyone interested, it is 1/4" plate steel, fully boxed and the hitch is rated class 3 / 500 lb tongue wt / 3500 lb pull wt and a MUCH better departure angle than the OEM hitch and bumper.





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Just updating the build thread. Installed a Savvy GTS from Facebook Market Place.
Before After


Installed the rear Rokmen Double Adjustable CAs. Also a Market Place find.

Doing rear brakes tomorrow and fixing a damaged wheel stud. If that goes well, maybe I'll have time to install the front Rokmen CAs.
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Hey @dragup, good to meet you. Where about you living? I'm in post falls and Voodooridr is in Rathdrum. Looks like you're running the PLBuilt flag.