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New Build 4 Wheelin'

Jan 4, 2019
38
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.
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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.
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That's where it is for now. Updates to come.
 
OP
All 4 Wheelin'
Jan 4, 2019
38
Washington State
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.
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,915
NorCal
Run it for a while before you tackle the RMS. You may find that the valve cover gasket fixed the RMS leak. Feel your pain on the torque washers. I lost one as well and ended up finding one from Davey's Jeeps used.
 
OP
All 4 Wheelin'
Jan 4, 2019
38
Washington State
I planned on running it a bit to wash any loose grunge from the topside before I drop the pan. And I consider replacing the rms when I have the pan off anyway as preventative maintenance.
 
OP
All 4 Wheelin'
Jan 4, 2019
38
Washington State
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.
 
OP
All 4 Wheelin'
Jan 4, 2019
38
Washington State
The green is gone. Didn't take me long to get tired of the obnoxiousness of that color. Thank goodness for goo gone. Peal off paint is not so pealable without a generous dose of of goo gone gel. If anyone else is needing to do this job, remove from vehicle, spray liberally, let sit 10 min and start pealing. A roll of shop towels come in real handy also. My first rim took almost 2 hours, probably would have taken 2 days without goo gone. I learned quick to peal from the bottom up. My last rim took 45 min. Certainly looks better.
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OP
All 4 Wheelin'
Jan 4, 2019
38
Washington State
Time for an update. February sucked. Shoveled snow almost every day. On the bright side I was able to get some more projects done on my TJ. I removed the factory installed winch mount and bull bar. They were well sandblasted from 16yrs running up and down gravel roads. Cleaned them up and a new coat of flat black paint. They'll work for now until I get my new front bumper. I gave the winch some nice new 2ga power leads. In the meantime, my Teraflex SYE arrived so I started mapping out my plan of attack. I was going to install just upper adjustable CAs to be able to fine tune pinion angles. But I decided it would be nice if I could reposition the entire axle and went with uppers and lowers. I went with Core4x4,s tier 1 setup. They offer JJ upgrades for the adjustable end which I will probably do in the future. I set the rear CAs an inch over stock which gave me .25 inch clearance at the gas tank. This also allowed me have the longest driveline possible. 16.5 in. Next I moved to the front where I adjusted the CAs .5 in over stock. This put the axle about an 1/8th in forward of stock. Hey, a slight lengthening of wheel base never hurt anyone. I had a hell of a time replacing the axle bushings but after some research I came up with a home built bushing removal/ imstall tool. It consists of a 3 in dia x .25 wall pipe cut 2.5 in long. Welded to one end is a 2 x 3.5 x .25 in steel plate with a 3/8th hole centered. On the other end I removed enough metal to clear the flair in the driver's side mount below the bushing. On the other side of the bushing I used a .25 in thick washer I had in my can of old washers. I never throw anything away and I believe this washer came from a 66 chevy pickup front body mount under the grill assembly. Anyway, it fit perfectly inside the bushing mount. I ran a piece of grade 5 3/8th all thread thru this assembly with a nut on each end. Put a box wrench outboard and used my impact gun inboard. It took some time and a few replacement nuts and a couple extra lengths of all thread but I was able to convince the bushing to come out. For installation I put the receiver on the inboard side and used a second piece of 2 x 3.5 x .25 in metal on the outboard side. I again positioned the box wrench and impact the same as for extraction. Wow that was easy. After reading some of the horror stories about this job I was greatly relieved it only took a day and that included hunting down the supplies and fabrication of the parts. Of course the hunting of supplies was accomplished in my own garage. Like I said before, "I never throw anything away." Now that I had the CAs installed it was time to turn my attention to the SYE.

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