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Overland LJR built to explore and expedition

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,973
San Francisco, CA, USA
So recently I sold my TJ to start an LJR. The TJ for me was becoming a space struggle early on before I even really tested it out on a longer trip. I discovered on the type of trips I enjoy doing, the stuff I take, the room my pups takes up, and as my only vehicle, space was a necessity.

I started scouring the country looking for clean LJ's without any rust. I wanted a unique color I liked or black, as I figured black will be the easiest to repaint in the future. I found a LJR in good shape in Boone, NC with 29630 miles, and bought it sight unseen after getting it looked at by Rubitrux. I managed to buy the hardtop from Rubitrux also, which I am glad I did, they are becoming very hard to find and living in the city I knew I wanted one.

My old Jeep sold within two days of being available, I transferred over the things that made sense.

For this LJR I mainly want to use it to explore, I love camping and backpacking and getting to cool spots which you can only get to in an offroad vehicle is gratifying. That being said, I think a LJR really only looks good with 4" of lift and 35s, so thats what I'm building towards. The LJR has to have great road manners, as just the reality of the situation is a lot of places I'll be going, even when offroad is involved, will involve a lot of driving.

April 2019 is a Moab trip where I'll be driving over.

The day she came in off the transport truck, it currently has a 4" SkyJacker lift, Bilstein Shocks, dropped pitman arm, Currie Currectlync steering, Dropped Transfercase, 33" Nitto Grapplers on 16" Moabs.

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Alex and I spent a good two hours checking it out just to see what I had, it was very stressful buying it sight unseen but I am happy with what I have. It's suspension is a mess and needs replacing but it has a currie currentlync which was some cost savings and the winch is staying. The trucklights which were on the LJR were swapped to the TJ but it was good that I sold the TJ with good headlights - I am not in the business of selling someone a POS. It had a banks air intake which makes me smogging it a nightmare, but all well it can be replaced.

The Jeep also had pretty deep front window tints which we removed, lots of stickers (also removed), a bunch of random cables for amps/subwoofers (yep removed), rear milkjugs (you get the picture). The adhesive from the tint took forever to remove. Before long it didn't look to bad.

Some other maintenance items, the radio didn't work (resoldered the cables, now it works), the parking brake doesn't hold (needs further investigation, tried tightening to no luck), and blower doesn't work at one or two (need to order the part) but all in all a good LJ.

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The Jeep had no carpet, but it did have weather tech for the front. As a result the floor was a bit scuffed up and had some raw metal exposed (no rust though). I sanded it down, cleaned and painted. Alex still had his old carpet so put that in and it looks a lot better. Also, we moved my vision x over and they really are amazing headlights.

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I got a temporary registration from the DMV so I was able to drive it home. It drove as you'd expect with the low-quality parts. The TJ sure drove on the highway a lot nicer. Can't wait to get to work.

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tomtaylz

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,973
San Francisco, CA, USA
Planning to Purchase (short term):

Purchased, Waiting Install:

Installed (By me or PO that I'm keeping)
Where stock items are listed, it was returned to stock from the previous owner modifications
  • Vision X Headlights
  • Warn Winch
  • Tuffy Hood Latch
  • Stock Air Intake
  • Stock Front Carpets
  • Stock Pitman arm
  • Weathertech Front Floor Mats
  • Rancho RS5000x Shocks
  • Blower Motor Resistor
  • New parking brake
  • JKS Sway Bar End Links
  • Rubicon Express Bump Stops
  • Currie Springs (w/ 3P rear springs)
  • Vision X 4.7″ CG2 LED Light Cannon Lights
  • Currie Antirock
  • Savvy Front Bumper w/ Fairlead
  • Warn Hawse Fairlead
  • Tuffy Flip-Up License Plate Holder
  • GraBars
  • Switch Panel
  • CB Radio Setup
- 25' Coax cable​
- Midlands CB (gifted)​
- Magnetic Mic​
The Long-term Plan:
35's with 4" Suspension, 1.25" Body Lift, Savvy (Short) Control Arms, DCV Rear Drive shaft, color change and lots of interior upgrades. Possibly outboarding fox reservoir shocks.
 
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EJD

TJ Overlander
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Jul 16, 2016
1,499
Missoula, MT, USA
Damn dude, I have to say thats an awesome Jeep!

Love overlanding too, looking forward to seeing some more of your rig as it gets all set up. I get out and explore every chance I can and have been all over the country. Have yet to make it through Utah though and would absolutely love to go sometime. The Utah Traverse is on my bucket list.
 
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Alex01

Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Mar 23, 2018
2,440
Martinez, CA, USA
That sure is a nice looking carpet I wans't thinking you would get around to that today. Now we just need to get all the suspension set up before moab. :) With any luck before skillz day so you can give it a trial run.
 
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tomtaylz

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,973
San Francisco, CA, USA
Tomtaylz...Did you see Mr Blaines last build? It was an LJ and set up about as perfect as my minds eye can see. Might be worth reading through, if you haven't.

https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/my-lj-thread-a-mrblaine-speced-lj-build-for-daily-driving-and-weekend-adventure.7068/
Oh I have, that is huge inspiration for this build and my Jeep hopefully will end up very very similar (hopefully not too similar to be considered a copy ;) ). That, in its finished state is a dream for sure, and was one of two Jeeps which had me fall for an LJ, and figure out respray options. Mine will just be a lot slower and short arm, hah.
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
8,918
NorCal
Looking good brah! I knew your TJ would sell quickly. It's a 2.5 hr. drive, but if you need a hand with the new lift we could make a weekend of it at the shop.
 
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Alex01

Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Mar 23, 2018
2,440
Martinez, CA, USA
Looking good brah! I knew your TJ would sell quickly. It's a 2.5 hr. drive, but if you need a hand with the new lift we could make a weekend of it at the shop.
I have heard you know your way around setting pinion angles and control arm lengths :p
 
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tomtaylz

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,973
San Francisco, CA, USA
So I think I'm going to take a stab at installing a lot of stuff in post #2 this weekend. I've done it before so I feel fairly confident.

To make my life easier, I was wondering if theres any tools I can rent that are recommend to install things. I know some of these tools there are ways to do it without them but I figure get whatever I can, and that way it might save me some time.

My list to rent so far:
1. Pitman Arm Puller (for stock pitman arm)
2. Fan clutch wrench tool (for BL/MML) (I can't remember, do I actually need to remove the fan?)
 
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tomtaylz

tomtaylz

LJR Addict
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 18, 2018
1,973
San Francisco, CA, USA
My apartment is starting to look more and more like a Jeep part warehouse. Got a quote from my body guy in SF about paint today and it is on the pricier side (although I wouldn't call it unreasonable and I know the guy does good work). I might try and travel out of the area bit to hopefully save on SF labor costs. It'll probably realistically be next year. I want to get all the suspension/gearing/brakes/tires sorted before I even think about color. I might just get it cut/buffed before then to get rid of some of the scratches and get it looking good.

If anyone has any recommendations of body guys that can do a color change within like 5-6 hours of me though let me know, it's something where I would consider driving a decent distance if I can save some money and I would explore the possibility of taking off parts (flares, bumpers, tire carrier, rockers, etc) to save some money on the labor paid to the body shop.

Hoping to get a fair amount of stuff this weekend, although MML isn't here and still need springs and CA's (although I feel I have more than enough to do)