Colorado Daily-Driven Trail Warrior V2 - 2006 LJ

Fix that damn signal lens already! I'm going to be honest here....If I were in the market and I saw that broken lens on something that was supposed to be a clean, well cared for example, I'd walk almost immediately. My mind is going to ask, "If you can't be bothered to fix something so inexpensive and easy, what else is this thing hiding?"

That busted lens has been with me since week 1. It's the one thing on the TJ I have always REFUSED to fix.
It's like a twisted little inner joke with myself. :ROFLMAO:

BUT, don't worry. I do agree 100% with you.
I replaced the broken one with one of the LJ lenses.

I've got a set of LED lenses that were just delivered for the LJ in the top drawer of my toolbox!

...or maybe I'll just throw the busted one on the LJ, and carry it onwards.:LOL:
 
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That busted lens has been with me since week 1. It's the one thing on the TJ I have always REFUSED to fix.
It's like a twisted little inner joke with myself. :ROFLMAO:

BUT, don't worry. I do agree 100% with you.
I replaced the broken one with one of the LJ lenses.

I've got a set of LED lenses that were just delivered for the LJ in the top drawer of my toolbox!

...or maybe I'll just throw the busted one on the LJ, and carry it onwards.:LOL:

Or maybe you know that can be an excuse to just keep it.... "It won't sell....not sure what's going on.....must be the marker....er, I mean, market." LOL.
 
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UPDATE:

The TJ is officially posted for sale, although the main 'interest' at this current point is "would you trade for my *insert $3k vehicle/boat/atv/motorcycle here*" :ROFLMAO:
Supposedly, there's a guy in Denver who is interested in seeing it this coming weekend, so time will tell!
So with that out of the way, It's been 3 days driving the LJ around town as my daily driver.
But it hasn't come without issue. Initially, I thought everything was good, but possibly my judgement was clouded by excitement.

There's a very odd 'wobble' in the front end. Almost similar to a bent wheel/unbalanced tire.
It's unnoticeable in the driver or passenger seat, only noticeable by holding/looking at the steering wheel.
It's not so much a "shake/vibration", but more of a gentle 'rocking' back-forth of the steering wheel.

I took the LJ to the tire shop today, and had all the wheels/tires balanced & rotated to see if that could clear up some of the issues.
It did not.

So I resorted to the possibility that I might need to re-torque all arms/steering components.
All of which were also fine.

I'm currently a bit bamboozled by this problem, as nothing is loose, wheels are in balance, and geometry seems fine otherwise.
(no pulling, drifting, twitchiness, etc)

I'm beginning to wonder if this issue is possibly related to my front caster concerns. Which I mention below.

-
-

Another issue I'm running into involves pinion angles.
I stated the other day that everything was "good" but I've got drivetrain vibrations.
Vibrations don't start until 65mph, but are the text-book "vroom-vrooom-vroooom-vrooooom" drone noises of a vibrating driveshaft.

I crawled underneath the rear of the Jeep, and measured the output flange of the transfer case, as well as the rear pinion angle.
Transfer case output is 7 degrees, and rear pinion was 12 degrees.

Since i have NOT installed an SYE, I am still on the factory driveshaft.
So theoretically my pinion angle should be matched to Transfer Case angle.

1707980213506.png



The issue lies in the fact that I've got the rear upper control arms adjusted as short as they will go, and reduced some of the pinion angle.

My rear upper arms are now at their absolute SHORTEST length possible, and the pinion is STILL sitting at 10 degrees (3 degrees more than Transfer Case).
The vibrations might have gotten a bit better, but it could also be placebo effect, as they're still noticeable at speed.
So I believe my only option is to lengthen the lowers by a few turns, to account for the extra angle I need to pull out.

This in turn will push my axle back slightly, which will push my bumpstops slightly out of line with each other.
The bumpstops are almost perfectly aligned as of right now, but I'm sure to get the extra angle out of the pinion, they will ultimately only sit about 1/2 way centered on the bumpstops.
I'm not knowledgeable enough to know whether this is an 'okay' move or not.

Aside from that, the LJ is driving BEAUTIFULLY at speeds under 60mph, with the exception of some caster issues.
It's not wandering, or all over the road, but just feels a bit 'unstable' as if it doesn't want to hold a straight line.
Steering feels very light & 'flighty'.

Front driveshaft is sitting at 6.8 degrees, and front pinion is sitting at 7.3 degrees.
(which, again theoretically, should net around 4.7 degrees of caster) ~ although digital angle finder on top of front ball joint reads 4.3 degrees.
I'm sure there are some slight discrepancies in these readings.

Either way, they're close enough but I think by pulling the front pinion angle down a degree or so, I would effectively 'even them up' and add a significant amount of caster as well, without causing driveshaft/pinion issues. (someone please chime in if I'm moving wrongly about this)

I am planning to buy some SAVVY aluminum double adjustable front uppers once the TJ sells, but in the meantime I picked up a set of unused Rough Country single-adjustables from marketplace for only $50. (they were in my neighborhood, so I decided NOT to pass up the deal)

So I plan to use the RC uppers for some very rough caster/pinion adjustment until the Savvy Arms are delivered, then I'll fine tune it the rest of the way.

1707979549094.png
 
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UPDATE:

The TJ is officially posted for sale, although the main 'interest' at this current point is "would you trade for my *insert $3k vehicle/boat/atv/motorcycle here*" :ROFLMAO:
Supposedly, there's a guy in Denver who is interested in seeing it this coming weekend, so time will tell!
So with that out of the way, It's been 3 days driving the LJ around town as my daily driver.
But it hasn't come without issue. Initially, I thought everything was good, but possibly my judgement was clouded by excitement.

There's a very odd 'wobble' in the front end. Almost similar to a bent wheel/unbalanced tire.
It's unnoticeable in the driver or passenger seat, only noticeable by holding/looking at the steering wheel.
It's not so much a "shake/vibration", but more of a gentle 'rocking' back-forth of the steering wheel.

I took the LJ to the tire shop today, and had all the wheels/tires balanced & rotated to see if that could clear up some of the issues.
It did not.

So I resorted to the possibility that I might need to re-torque all arms/steering components.
All of which were also fine.

I'm currently a bit bamboozled by this problem, as nothing is loose, wheels are in balance, and geometry seems fine otherwise.
(no pulling, drifting, twitchiness, etc)

I'm beginning to wonder if this issue is possibly related to my front caster concerns. Which I mention below.

-
-

Another issue I'm running into involves pinion angles.
I stated the other day that everything was "good" but I've got drivetrain vibrations.
Vibrations don't start until 65mph, but are the text-book "vroom-vrooom-vroooom-vrooooom" drone noises of a vibrating driveshaft.

I crawled underneath the rear of the Jeep, and measured the output flange of the transfer case, as well as the rear pinion angle.
Transfer case output is 7 degrees, and rear pinion was 12 degrees.

Since i have NOT installed an SYE, I am still on the factory driveshaft.
So theoretically my pinion angle should be matched to Transfer Case angle.

View attachment 500796


The issue lies in the fact that I've got the rear upper control arms adjusted as short as they will go, and reduced some of the pinion angle.

My rear upper arms are now at their absolute SHORTEST length possible, and the pinion is STILL sitting at 10 degrees (3 degrees more than Transfer Case).
The vibrations might have gotten a bit better, but it could also be placebo effect, as they're still noticeable at speed.
So I believe my only option is to lengthen the lowers by a few turns, to account for the extra angle I need to pull out.

This in turn will push my axle back slightly, which will push my bumpstops slightly out of line with each other.
The bumpstops are almost perfectly aligned as of right now, but I'm sure to get the extra angle out of the pinion, they will ultimately only sit about 1/2 way centered on the bumpstops.
I'm not knowledgeable enough to know whether this is an 'okay' move or not.

Aside from that, the LJ is driving BEAUTIFULLY at speeds under 60mph, with the exception of some caster issues.
It's not wandering, or all over the road, but just feels a bit 'unstable' as if it doesn't want to hold a straight line.
Steering feels very light & 'flighty'.

Front driveshaft is sitting at 6.8 degrees, and front pinion is sitting at 7.3 degrees.
(which, again theoretically, should net around 4.7 degrees of caster) ~ although digital angle finder on top of front ball joint reads 4.3 degrees.
I'm sure there are some slight discrepancies in these readings.

Either way, they're close enough but I think by pulling the front pinion angle down a degree or so, I would effectively 'even them up' and add a significant amount of caster as well, without causing driveshaft/pinion issues. (someone please chime in if I'm moving wrongly about this)

I am planning to buy some SAVVY aluminum double adjustable front uppers once the TJ sells, but in the meantime I picked up a set of unused Rough Country single-adjustables from marketplace for only $50. (they were in my neighborhood, so I decided NOT to pass up the deal)

So I plan to use the RC uppers for some very rough caster/pinion adjustment until the Savvy Arms are delivered, then I'll fine tune it the rest of the way.

View attachment 500795

Lower the front pinion for sure. I’d want 5.5* or better 6.5-7*. You’ve got enough length ~43”, so the angles should be fine.
 
Lower the front pinion for sure. I’d want 5.5* or better 6.5-7*. You’ve got enough length ~43”, so the angles should be fine.

That's what I'm thinking.

It doesn't drive 'bad' by any means. Actually drives great!
One hand on the wheel at 60mph no problem.
Just tends to want to wander a bit more than i'd like.


While I’m at it, I realized there’s one component I haven’t even considered to check for play. Ball Joints.

I’ll add that to the list of things to do tomorrow evening.
 
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That's what I'm thinking.

It doesn't drive 'bad' by any means. Actually drives great!
One hand on the wheel at 60mph no problem.
Just tends to want to wander a bit more than i'd like.


While I’m at it, I realized there’s one component I haven’t even considered to check for play. Ball Joints.

I’ll add that to the list of things to do tomorrow evening.

Don’t forget, you can drop the skid, or raise the tcase with a handful of washers from the hardware store. I had a similar situation a long time ago, and actually raised the tcase about a half inch with a stack of washers and some longer bolts.
 
Don’t forget, you can drop the skid, or raise the tcase with a handful of washers from the hardware store. I had a similar situation a long time ago, and actually raised the tcase about a half inch with a stack of washers and some longer bolts.

I've looked into that option.
But I'm more of a "do it once, do it right" kind of person.

If I can't adjust the vibes out with arms, and it comes to washer stacking, I'll just go ahead and order the SYE + shaft.
 
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I've looked into that option.
But I'm more of a "do it once, do it right" kind of person.

If I can't adjust the vibes out with arms, and it comes to washer stacking, I'll just go ahead and order the SYE + shaft.

I think the point Mike is trying to make is to try adjusting one thing first to narrow down the vibes. It could be a culmination of several things that could be causing the vibes. Trust me, I have spent more $$$ than I care to admit trying to quell drive shaft vibes. Stacking a few washers to change the drivetrain angles in relation to the driveshafts could be helpful. It would suck monkey butt if you spent all that money on an SYE/driveshaft just to find out the vibes are still there, or worse. Now, if you were planning on installing a SYE anyway, then so be it. BTW, I still have driveshaft vibes above 65 mph. Can't cure it.
 
I think the point Mike is trying to make is to try adjusting one thing first to narrow down the vibes. It could be a culmination of several things that could be causing the vibes. Trust me, I have spent more $$$ than I care to admit trying to quell drive shaft vibes. Stacking a few washers to change the drivetrain angles in relation to the driveshafts could be helpful. It would suck monkey butt if you spent all that money on an SYE/driveshaft just to find out the vibes are still there, or worse. Now, if you were planning on installing a SYE anyway, then so be it. BTW, I still have driveshaft vibes above 65 mph. Can't cure it.

I like the first part. I dislike the fact that you can’t get rid of your vibes. You oughta buy new tires that are attached to a nice Rubicon!
 
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I think the point Mike is trying to make is to try adjusting one thing first to narrow down the vibes. It could be a culmination of several things that could be causing the vibes. Trust me, I have spent more $$$ than I care to admit trying to quell drive shaft vibes. Stacking a few washers to change the drivetrain angles in relation to the driveshafts could be helpful. It would suck monkey butt if you spent all that money on an SYE/driveshaft just to find out the vibes are still there, or worse. Now, if you were planning on installing a SYE anyway, then so be it. BTW, I still have driveshaft vibes above 65 mph. Can't cure it.

Did you raise the tcase?

Mine were eliminated with raising my tcase using a 1/2” aluminum plate
 
Spent some time in the garage this afternoon playing with my Pinion angles.

Ended up adjusting 8 turns out on my Rear Lower Control Arms, so that I could actually utilize my Rear Uppers
(yesterday the Uppers were maxxed as short as they could go)


1708052565766.png



Here's a photo of my rear pinion angle. Roughly 6.5 degrees.

1708052397079.png


As well as my rear Transfer Case angle, measured from two spots, at 5.6 degrees.

1708052455636.png


1708052476032.png


Rear Pinion/Transfer Case angles SEEM to be correct.
(although I'm learning what I'm doing, so I could be botching something completely...)


1708052793619.png



Also adjusted the front to what I THINK is correct...
5.7 degrees on the front pinion


1708065985353.png


Followed by 6.7 Degrees at the front Driveshaft.

1708052714932.png


1708052747577.png



Ultimately, I fixed NOTHING.
The vibrations are STILL there at 65mph, and got no better/worse.
They're the same as they were.


At this point, i'm just uber confused.
With the LJ having the longer rear shaft, I wouldn't think I should be having issues, given the angles of everything.
Nothing is at an "extreme" angle.


I'm thinking it's time I take this entire conversation to a thread of it's own, and let the big-boys duke it out with solutions/theories.

I'm planning to go to Lowes tomorrow, to pick up some washers, just to see if that possibly can cure some issue.
Just not sure where to start, am I putting washers between frame/skid to lower the TCase, or am I putting them between Tcase and skid to raise the TCase?
Any further insight is appreciated! :ROFLMAO:
 
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Spent some time in the garage this afternoon playing with my Pinion angles.

Ended up adjusting 8 turns out on my Rear Lower Control Arms, so that I could actually utilize my Rear Uppers
(yesterday the Uppers were maxxed as short as they could go)


View attachment 501104


Here's a photo of my rear pinion angle. Roughly 6.5 degrees.

View attachment 501097

As well as my rear Transfer Case angle, measured from two spots, at 5.6 degrees.

View attachment 501099

View attachment 501100

Rear Pinion/Transfer Case angles SEEM to be correct.
(although I'm learning what I'm doing, so I could be botching something completely...)


View attachment 501109


Also adjusted the front to what I THINK is correct...
5.7 degrees on the front pinion


View attachment 501105

Followed by 6.7 Degrees at the front Driveshaft.

View attachment 501106

View attachment 501107


Ultimately, I fixed NOTHING.
The vibrations are STILL there at 65mph, and got no better/worse.
They're the same as they were.


At this point, i'm just uber confused.
With the LJ having the longer rear shaft, I wouldn't think I should be having issues, given the angles of everything.
Nothing is at an "extreme" angle.


I'm thinking it's time I take this entire conversation to a thread of it's own, and let the big-boys duke it out with solutions/theories.

I'm planning to go to Lowes tomorrow, to pick up some washers, just to see if that possibly can cure some issue.
Just not sure where to start, am I putting washers between frame/skid to lower the TCase, or am I putting them between Tcase and skid to raise the TCase?
Any further insight is appreciated! :ROFLMAO:

View attachment 501096

Try something, anything…and don’t puss out and use like two washers or something silly. Get yourself enough to raise the tcase or lower the skid 3/4 an inch or more. Also, only change one thing at a time. You charged the rear and the front at once. You might have fixed one problem and introduced another.

Pull the front driveshaft out entirely. See if you still have vibes. If you don’t, you’ve just narrowed your search down. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can pull the rear D/S with a slip yoke without puking your tcase fluid everywhere.
 
I just finished page one.....one thing if it's not too late. Get a Dana 35 for the rear and sell the Dana 44. You can get between $1000-1200 for a Dana 44 now. I know you'd have to regear a Dana 35 to 488 but it might be worth it if you do it yourself...
 
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Try something, anything…

At this point, I'm willing to try it all, whether that be the 'washer trick' or a full blown SYE/Tom Woods in the rear.. :ROFLMAO:

and don’t puss out and use like two washers or something silly. Get yourself enough to raise the tcase or lower the skid 3/4 an inch or more. Also, only change one thing at a time. You charged the rear and the front at once. You might have fixed one problem and introduced another.

Pull the front driveshaft out entirely. See if you still have vibes. If you don’t, you’ve just narrowed your search down. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can pull the rear D/S with a slip yoke without puking your tcase fluid everywhere.

The plan in the morning is to pull the front driveshaft entirely, and take it for a spin.
Swing by lowes, and grab a big stack of washers while i'm at it. (if needed)

I'm HOPING that by eliminating the front completely, I can at least solve SOME of the issue, at which point i'll dial the rear to no vibrations, and then focus again on the front.
 
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The busted marker lens doesn’t bother me too much, but you gotta turn those tow hooks around. Also, both front bolts looks loose. Sorry to nit pick, but they are in about 7 pictures.
View attachment 501130

You guys and my damn marker lights/tow hooks. :ROFLMAO:

That was my lack of paying attention while swapping the bumpers around.

I put them on backwards, realized it, and stopped working on it before flipping them around.
They're now both corrected as of 2 days ago.

1708063867947.png


I have to update photo's tomorrow at some point anyways, because for some reason Facebook Marketplace doesn't allow full-resolution 4k photos, and instead decided to downscale the 20 uploaded photos into some kind of blurry 2000's era looking mess.

So I plan to go to the same spot tomorrow, take new photo's, and update.

But also, In my opinion...
If someone wants to haggle around about backwards towhooks, id rather send them on their way and save their time as well as mine.
 
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I just finished page one.....one thing if it's not too late. Get a Dana 35 for the rear and sell the Dana 44. You can get between $1000-1200 for a Dana 44 now. I know you'd have to regear a Dana 35 to 488 but it might be worth it if you do it yourself...

Wait, I think this might be the first time I've heard someone say to replace a Dana 44 with a Dana 35.

What is the purpose of doing so?

-

And to answer, you're about a week late to the party! Both Jeeps are back on the road, and the Sahara is posted for sale!
 
Put the 35 on the Jeep you're selling, can pick them up cheap. Sell the 44 and make a profit to buy more parts for the LJ

I understand the logic, from a 'make profit from the axle and throw money at the LJ' standpoint, but does it not make more sense for selling purposes to KEEP the Dana 44 in the TJ?
Just seems quite a bit more desirable for potential buyers with the Dana 44.

I know when I first bought the Sahara, the Dana 44 was my #1 requirement.
I skipped every listing with a Dana 35 axle, regardless of the price.


To top that off, differential gearing & transmission rebuilds are the two things I am most uncomfortable messing with in a vehicle.
I've done everything in-between, but those two and the extreme tolerances involved send my anxiety through the roof.
SO, it'd be an expensive trip to the re-gear shop to do that.
 
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