New Build 4 Wheelin'

Jan 4, 2019
Washington State
To explain the new part, I built my first jeep 22 yrs ago. A 78 cj5 rusted turd. But it did have a good frame, first yr of the fully boxed frame. It also came with a D44 rear and the standard D30 in front. Jeep had gone to wider leafs and this one came with military style double end wraps. It had power steering and front disc brakes. So I got rid of the rust bucket body, tired AMC 304, and junk manual 3speed. I kept the 20 t case and went from there. I found a solid 72 tub with custom built full cage. Of course that meant moving body mounts and since I had the mounts cut off I built a 2" lift into them repositioned them and welded them up. This eliminated the need for tall spacers and long bolts that would be more susceptible to shearing forces. I installed a sbc 350 married to a sm 465 tranny. Awesome granny first gear. An adapter from AA got the 20 t case installed. From there I went to the suspension. Axel flip in front with my own shackle reverse. That produced 5"of lift. Fabricated front shock towers to take advantage of all that new upward movement. The rear was treated to a 2 .50" wrangler leaf and 2.50" shackles. There again, custom shock mounts by yours truly. I reinforced the frame at all suspension mounts with 3/16 steel plate to guard against stress cracks. I had the axles regeared from 4:10 to 4:56 and dropped in a lunch time locker front and rear. This setup gave me plenty of room to run 36x12.50x15 swamper radials. The whole jeep was covered in hammerite gray. Inside I added a couple of cross tubes to the cage to mount my seats to. Fabricated front stubby bumper with hoop. Fabricated rear bumper with swing away tire/jerry can carrier. The D30 didn't care much for having those36s to deal with and stretched the pumpkin where the tubes enter so I had to fabricate a truss.
jeep 3.jpg
jeep 1.jpg

There was much more but you get the gist.
Now on to my 'new' build. 2002 tj sahara. 126000mi 4.0, 3550 5speed, 231 t case, D44 rear w/factory locker, D30 front open, factory installed mopar branded ramsey winch and winch plate, unknown rating, original owner installed 3" SL of unknown brand, oo installed trans lowering kit, second owner installed duel exhaust, nerf bars unknown brand. So alot of work has already been done. Now for what I have already done. This 17yr old tj hasn't been maintained very well. Even though it started and ran fine , upon inspection of the battery electrical I could see the cables were still original and showing signs of corrosion creeping into the wire. Not liking the idea of being stranded in the woods due to junk wires or worse, having an electrical fire when winching due to to much resistance I replaced them with 2ga main battery wires and winch wires, and 4ga alt and chassis wires. Attached to battery with military style clamps. Front tires were rubbing the lower control arms so I installed 2"wheel spacers. That in turn required wider fender flares. I'm in the process of replacing the valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket, and rear main seal. It's sad to see how poorly this jeep was maintained.
Front adjustable track bar from Rustys is on the way. That bump steer is a scary thing when you go over something that unloads the front suspension and it leaps sideways, especially doing 35 or more. On the agenda, sye and driveline so I can raise the skid plate back where it belongs. It will need a full fluids change. Who knows when or if any of that has been done. Of course I will add new bumpers, the rear with a swing away tire carrier. I don't care much for heave objects being hung on body sheet metal.

That's where it is for now. Updates to come.
All 4 Wheelin'
Time for an update. Pulled the valve cover to replace the gasket and bolt seals. BTW, the rear driver's side bolt is a bitch to get to when you have a skid plate lowering kit. No way to get a socket on it. Lowering kit is going bye bye. Anyways, sludge was minimal under the valve cover. About what you would expect from someone that neglects maintenance and runs dino oil. Cleaned the cover in and out, clean as much as possible on top of the head and went to reinstall the cover, which again is a bitch because of that lowering kit. Well, I mistakenly placed the grommets and torque limiter sleeves on the cover and as I went to put the cover on I knocked several of the grommets off and of course they went here and there. I quickly found 4 of the 5 that fell including 1 that was on the bellhousing. Damn if I could find the last one and guess what, if you try to buy one you will find them discontinued and unavailable. So I spent an hour on Friday looking for the last one. I looked all over that engine, layed underneath and reached where I couldn't see and had no luck. Talk about frustrating. Took the rest of the evening off and went back at it today. I finally found it by laying underneath and reaching up to where the bellhousing met the engine and it was hiding in a wire harness running across there. Whew. But in the process of poking around, I was feeling around on the skid plate and amongst the gravel and dirt I felt a rectangular object that felt slightly attached to the skid plate. I grabbed ahold and pulled and it came loose easily. Lo and behold it was a spare key box with a spare key to my jeep. And yes it fits. Must have been there from the oo. Anyways, I got the cover installed and torqued to spec. Tomorrow I'll put the rest of the stuff back in place and start on the oil pan. Needs a gasket and rear main seal. Wish me luck on getting the exhaust loose.
Likes: Chris
All 4 Wheelin'
Update. My Rusty's Offroad front adjustable track bar showed up yesterday. What a beast. Installed it today and centered the axle. It was off by 1/4" and naturally I now need to center my steering wheel. All good. I'll be ordering a set of adjustable front lower control arms so I can get the caster back where it belongs. My sye from Terraflex is going to be here Friday. Boy am I having fun.