Doing It The Hard Way - JL Steering Box and a Front Stretch

Ordered some exhaust tubing on amazon, but that won't be here till next week. In the meantime, I'll try to knock out some little tasks.

Got a fresh coat of bedliner spray paint on my JCR bumper. I don't love this bumper, its pretty big and bulky, but it's what I've got so I'll use it for now. Maybe I'll make my own at some point, or maybe I'll go with one of @Fluxor 's when budget allows.
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Could have used a thicker coat, but I only had 3/4 of a can.

I also did a partial alignment and got my front LCAs dialed in. One was set about 1/4" too long. I centered the axle too, but that will probably change slightly when I add more weight to the Jeep.

I did discover that my UCA jam nuts were a different wrench size than my track bar jam nuts, despite being the same thread. That's odd, I'll have to fix that at some point to reduce how many tools I need in the Jeep

Some good news, EnerSys approved my warranty request and will be shipping me a new battery. Dealing with the local vendor I bought it from was a total headache so I'm happy to have that over with.
I appreciate the consideration. You plan on going to jeeptoberfest in Ocala this year?

I don’t know anything about it so I hadn’t considered it, but yeah seems like something I should go to. Your neck of the woods?
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I dissected my existing exhaust to get the components I need out.
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Still can't get over how much of a boogered up mess that cat install was, the shop wasn't even cheap! There was a bunch of filler wire on the inside of the cat where they put the o2 bung in too.
I bought a flex pipe in case I need it, but I'm not really sure if I do or not. Still waiting on all the tubing from Amazon. I'll try to use my existing muffler, but I might end up getting something quieter.

Threw the bumper on the Jeep, looks nicer than before after raising the frame up and closing the gap between it and the fenders.
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Tossed the winch and battery on the Jeep too to try to get some weight on there. My suspension is still sitting higher than I expected it to, and not totally level either. Exposed shock shaft on the passenger side is 6 9/16", and on the driver side it's 6 3/4". There is a similar side to side height difference at the rear too. My design goal was 6" of shock shaft at ride height to keep a 50/50 split. It might level out when the 200lb sack of potatoes goes in the driver seat, but that just means it would lean again with a passenger.

Is it normal for a Jeep to lean passenger? The weight distribution appears fairly even, aside from the passenger side mounted battery, and maybe the exhaust (which isn't even in yet). Stuff like the steering gear kinda evens that out anyways. I'm wondering if the springs just need to "settle", if that is even a real thing.
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Looks good dude. Mine leans a smidge. Can’t remember which side it leans at the moment. I want to say PS. My springs settled a little but not enough to notice with the eye.
Thanks for the input. I'm not going to worry about it too much. The springs are really tall and quite soft, so it doesn't take much to get it unbalanced I guess. After looking online it almost always seems to be a passenger side lean though, which is curious. I'd believe the torque idea if it wasn't doing it with brand new springs...
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I was doing a little poking around and I think I have 3 options for locating my muffler. It's skinny, but fairly long.
First option would be to put it here where the factory cat used to live:
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It fits well, but I'm trying to reduce how much heat makes it to the passenger footwell area, and I think this may be counterproductive.

Next option would be to put it right after the transmission crossmember. It won't fit above the bar without basically touching the tub.
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This could work, and its basically where I had it before. Because of the length, it would force me to route the exhaust up and over the rear UCA.

Nothing particularly wrong with that, but to me it makes more sense to route the exhaust between the UCA and LCA near where it mounts at the frame since those points are fixed. That could also make getting to the control arm bolts annoying though.
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Last option would be to shoehorn it between the spring and the gas tank. This only makes sense because I'm missing a rear shock, but I am outboarding, so that would eventually be a non issue. The reason I like this is 1. I've read online (no idea if true) that the further back in the system the muffler is, the better it works, and 2. keeps the most heat away from the cab.
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Got some work done on the exhaust. I underestimated how much of a pain in the ass this was going to be, but I think I've got the hard part done.
My biggest unknown was getting the flare made for the header connection. Since I got 2.5" tube instead of 2.25", I was able to just cut the flare off the old midpipe and use it as a tool in the press.
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This worked surprisingly well. It's a bit less rounded than the original, but it looks like it will work just fine.
I was able to re-use the original flange as well, just had to squeeze it a bit in the vice and grind off just a little bit of material to get it to fit the tube right. Painted it as well.

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My welds are definitely not pretty. This was my first time welding stainless. In hindsight, I should have just gotten mild steel. Its a lot more difficult to work with.

Here is the midpipe finished up. Lots of compound angles and curves so it had to come in and out a bunch of times to get it just right. As you can see, I opted to move my catalytic converter to underneath my oil pan. I'm hoping this will be ok, my rationale is that the newer TJs had cats right off the header, so this can't be any worse than that. Just trying to get heat away from the floor. If it doesn't work out, it shouldn't be that difficult to cut it out and replace it with a straight pipe.
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Here it is installed. I got the pipe off the header tucked in really well so hopefully the driveshaft will clear it better than my factory one.
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Next, I wanted to do some testing on muffler placement. First, I just slid some slip joint sections together to simulate an exhaust system, then put the muffler right at the end.
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Test 1 audio results:

This was pretty uncomfortably loud actually, really resonated in your ears at idle. Not a fan.

Next test was with the muffler right after the cat, then with the same pieced together exhaust after it.
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Test 2 audio results:

This was noticeably more pleasant at idle, but was still too loud. It also had a distinct drone slightly above idle, maybe 1400 rpm or something, I didn't look.

After that, I revved the engine a few times and accidentally blew the whole system onto the ground doing that. To my surprise, though, the audio levels of an open exhaust after the cat was like almost exactly the same. It just sounded "gurglier".
Here is the audio from the open exhaust:

I don't really know what to make of this. I'm not sure if the muffler is literally doing nothing, or if the sound leaking out of the unsealed loose slip joints is invalidating the test. The muffler almost seems like a megaphone though considering the first test was loudest, or that could have just been a temperature thing.

Not sure if I want to proceed as is and hope sealing up each joint will quiet it down, or if I should just look at different mufflers.
Thanks! Not great, weld is pretty lumpy inside the tube. I don't have a way of back purging, but apparently I could have used flux to help with that. Dove into this blind...

Did it look kinda like this?


Edit: reason I ask is that if there's sugaring/oxidation, you can minimize it by welding short segments then let it cool down. Stainless will oxidize if it gets overheated.
I always say the most difficult part of doing my Hemi swap, by far, was making my exhaust. Manifold flanges to exhaust tip is entirely stainless. What an absolute bear of a project. Definitely worth it in the end, though.

You are doing fantastic work!