Impact LJ Build


Impact LJ

TJ Enthusiast
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Jul 21, 2020
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114
Location
Tampa, FL
I've decided to start a build thread for my new Wrangler. This is my first Jeep after catching the off-road bug when I went with my brother while back home. After seeing the huge amount of knowledge on here and reading through the @Midnight LJR build the motivation was through the roof.

I would have loved a Rubicon, but I don't know if any of the trails here in the Tampa area truly need one. The standard sport trim of the LJ will have to do. It is a 2005 Impact Orange LJ with the automatic transmission and 133,000 miles. I paid $13,900.

It came with a few mods that I know of:

  • A lift that I believe is 2" - 4"
  • 33x12.50R15 Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT on Ion 174 Wheels
  • Smittybilt front and rear tube bumpers
  • Transfer Case Drop (Hoping to get rid of that soon, not sure how to proceed.)
Here she is at the dealership the day of purchase.
E15779A9-FBAE-4B58-B8B7-868A23AD15EF_1_201_a.jpeg


And how she looks currently. (Dealer installed a new soft top. Maybe it looks familiar to someone that could tell what brand it is?)
E11B4D33-29AF-4368-AB50-EC9BD00B9C99.jpeg
 

Irun

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Welcome to the forum and LJ family. This looks like a relatively unmolested find. As you stated, a Rubicon would be nice, but overkill in your area. Drive it for a while, soak in some of the knowledge here, and make it what you want it to be!
 

taylormade73

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Welcome. Nice LJ. I encourage you to spend some time in the Resource and How To sections of this forum. Read read and read and don't hesitate to ask questions if/when you come across something you don't understand. Other than educating yourself with forum knowledge, the best thing you can do is drive drive and drive your LJ to learn it and how it handles what you do with it. Only change something when you reach its limitations or come across something you want to do on it.
 
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AMS417

"The Ayatollah of rock and rolla"
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Impact Orange LJ, bad ass. I love the color. I really wanted an LJ, but around here they are few and high priced. Looks clean, enjoy it!

Wait, is it orange or red? Hard to tell in the pictures, they look way different. Either way, nice Jeep.
 

bobthetj03

WRKJ779
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One of my more favorite colors for a LJ. Welcome. First off, let's determine what lift you have. Measure the coil springs at ride height, minus any spacers/cushions. Front is 12", rear 8" in stock trim. Anything over that, including spacers is lift. Let's also see some pictures of the steering up front to see what has been done there.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
First off, let's determine what lift you have. Measure the coil springs at ride height, minus any spacers/cushions. Front is 12", rear 8" in stock trim. Anything over that, including spacers is lift. Let's also see some pictures of the steering up front to see what has been done there.

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

Here are a couple pictures I just took.

The steering setup
4FD996DD-11A7-45FA-9377-8E51B7FDFEA4.jpeg



The springs measured at 14" in the front with a 1" spacer(?) and 11" in the rear.
Based on that, this would be a 3" suspension lift?
9858C382-426E-42D3-AB91-92191011800E.jpeg


Also, I had just installed the Rancho RS5000X for a 2"-3" lift before I had started reading about proper up and down travel. So that is what you're seeing there.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Wow that's one clean looking LJ. Is that the original paint?

As far as I know, the paint is all original. Neither of these pictures show it, but the front clip has pretty bad clear coat failure. Will have to be repainted at some point.

And I have found some rust:cry:
E64BEC99-D984-4726-B646-9F26C9F0D001.jpeg

The black paint you see there is Rustoleum spray paint that I used to cover bare tub after buffing off surface rust.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Over the weekend I installed the Moog parts for the ZJ Steering Upgrade. This was a pretty straight forward swap with the only issue being getting the tie rod end connected to the pitman arm removed. Ended up just needing a bigger hammer, nothing a trip to harbor freight can't fix.

Also, it may mention this in the thread but I needed to buy a second tie rod end (ES3096L) and adjusting sleeve (ES2079S).
IMG_0040.jpeg

IMG_0041.jpeg
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
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114
Location
Tampa, FL
Mileage: 135,500

Over the last few weekends I have:
  • Replaced the front bumper
  • Change the oil (10W-30 GTX High Mileage Synthetic)
  • Removed the transferase drop
  • Developed an intermittent check engine light (P0153 and P0633)
I believe the P0153 is due to the upstream O2 sensor in the back half of the engine. After inspecting, this one. does look pretty rough and bank 1 / sensor 1 has already been replaced with an NTK by the looks of it.

IMG_0082.jpeg

The new to me bumper. I plan to cut this to frame width while I wait for the $600 it will take to get a Savvy bumper to FL. Also removed the KC lights that were creating a rats nest in the engine compartment and didn't work anyway.


IMG_0083.jpeg


IMG_0085.jpeg

Also threw some Solution Finish onto the sway bar cover. Just had to clean it up with some IPA or similar solution and it takes the product pretty well. The second picture is right after application and before final wipe down so it has less of sheen now.

I plan to do the same to the headlight rings before I decide if I want to go with chrome or black with the new headlights.

IMG_0008.jpeg

Here we are with the T-Case drop removed and NO VIBES! Super stoked about that, I guess the PO just installed the drop because the lift told them too?


The next thing up is to get the floor rust fixed and replace the cats along with O2 sensors. It seems to be chugging gas a lot more than normal.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
And I have found some rust:cry:
View attachment 178650
The black paint you see there is Rustoleum spray paint that I used to cover bare tub after buffing off surface rust.

Got the rust fixed! Now I can put the carpet back in and cut some that heat coming up through the tub.
1601840854531.jpeg


I'm super happy with the work, but paying what I did for it really makes me want to get a welder to start to learn the art.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Current status:
  • 136,300 miles
  • CEL still on (P2098 and P0633) after changing all O2 Sensors. Must be the cats?
I changed out the cooling system with all of the parts from the Cooling System Overhaul thread, happy with the results. One area where I struggled was with the burping of the system and making sure all of the air was out. Had to pull over a couple times to stop from overheating and add some extra coolant/water.

I ordered a heater core bypass to bandaid the leak. We will see how I do in the Florida "Winter" without it.

Also got a LubeLocker 42RLE pan gasket and a FelPro Valve cover gasket. Will upload pics of the work...hopefully!

Oh and I took off the huge Smittybilt Rear Tube Bumper.
65F0E888-7F73-433F-9D50-F828971B7EDB.jpeg
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

TJ Enthusiast
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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Got the valve cover changed and while I was there switched over to conventional oil. The leak has pretty much stopped at the valve cover but I do still see some small drips hanging off of the bell housing. The rearmost rockers are looking a little rusty for my liking.

Also, you may notice the lack of the super annoying plastic wiring harness bridge. I broke it off while doing the cover and it lead to some check engine lights from a chafed wire.

tempImageETGbTu.jpg
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
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114
Location
Tampa, FL
Ended up getting some new springs to replace the unknown brand that came with it. The ones I got are from the Rancho 3.5" lift kit mentioned in this thread: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/anybody-want-rancho-3-springs-for-dirt-cheap.42365/#post-766547

They ended up giving me 3.5" in the front and 4" of lift in the rear. Doing this brought back the driveline vibes unfortunately so I was off to the hardware store for some washers, maybe dropped it around 0.25" with 2 washers at each corner the skid. This mostly took care of the issue but not completely.

I'm debating on whether I should get a SYE/DC Shaft or the upper rear control arms first to take care of that. I can get some Savvy arms for $200 so I am leaning that way.
tempImage4qNXuj.png
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tempImageNGhEL7.png
 
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L J

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The rearmost rockers are looking a little rusty for my liking.

That's strange. I don't recall anything like that when I did my valve cover gasket. I wonder how common/uncommon that it and what causes it.

Also, you may notice the lack of the super annoying plastic wiring harness bridge. I broke it off while doing the cover and it lead to some check engine lights from a chafed wire.

I broke a piece off of mine but managed to keep it usable.
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Was able to take it out to test the changes that I've done. Had some rubbing that damaged the fender. I noticed that when one side was stuffed, the spring was banging each coil on the frame as it passed over. Is this a common problem? The spring is seated fully against the perch.
tempImageADcihh.jpg
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I noticed that when one side was stuffed, the spring was banging each coil on the frame as it passed over. Is this a common problem? The spring is seated fully against the perch.
tempImageEWirIx.png
 
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Impact LJ

Impact LJ

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Jul 21, 2020
Messages
114
Location
Tampa, FL
Savvy 1.25" body lift installed. Opted to re drill holes in the fan shroud rather than wait on a MML. May end up doing that in the future for vibe's sake.

Found the body lift NIB and a set of rear upper Savvy control arms a couple hours away. Paid $320 for the both of them!
tempImageCHS2xh.jpg
tempImagecADDqe.jpg


Pics of the control arms and pinion angles to come.

Also ordered longer rear shocks (RS 55256) and relocation brackets as I am denting the current rear shock. Savvy cable transfer case shifter is also on the way.
 

BlueChip

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Jan 3, 2021
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CT
Are you getting any shifter interference for the 2,4,6,R gears? I have almost the exact set up but with the MML installed.

Might remove the MML and relocate shroud....
 

Alex01

Waiting for parts...
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Are you getting any shifter interference for the 2,4,6,R gears? I have almost the exact set up but with the MML installed.

Might remove the MML and relocate shroud....
Heat the shifter and put a small bend in it. A ton less work.
 
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