Purple TJ in AZ (just some of the stuff I've done thread)


TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Sep 18, 2020
Just thought I would start a thread on the Purple TJ.
I don't really have the patience to do a build thread but would like to share some of the evolution of my jeep. I tend to get into a project thinking a build thread would be cool but then get busy on it and on a deadline to get done and when I finish I realize I only took like three pictures.

I will try to keep it chronological but like I said "not a build thread" .
I will also probably just stick to the stuff that is still on the TJ and spare you all the items I put on , took off, broke off or fell off. I has definitely been a learning experience.
Would have saved myself quite a few dollars if I had a plan when I started, but then again I don't believe I would have learned as much as I have.

I will add to the posts as I have time to go through my photo files

So ........

How I got from here,

To here.....


And some of the stuff I learned along the way.....
June 2015 the wife and I bring this little Jeep home. $6200
1998 Jeep Wrangler TJ Sport 180,000 miles, Arizona Jeep so zero rust.
4.0 engine (20k on remanufactured replacement)
Automatic 32rh 3 speed (Leaks).
Interior light grey and all intact, full console , all carpeting and full rear seat.
Amethyst Pearl Paint with clear coat peeling on hood and fenders (Arizona Jeep) . Hard top with full doors.
Dana 30 front and Dana 35 rear axles geared for economy with 3:07 open differentials and 31" tires.
Stock steering set up with the optional "death wobble" feature included.
And power steering , brakes, rear wiper and cruise control that I have never used. Ever. Not even sure it works. I may have too try it this weekend just to see.
Ice cold A/C which was a deal breaker with the wife as was the A/T and Hard top.
As with every Jeep I looked at it leaked every fluid it had except fuel and Freon.
We bought it at night and thought we had scored a decent "Blue" Jeep. Went out in the morning and low and behold it was "Purple"!
Wife loved it immediately! It took awhile to grow on me but wouldn't change it now. It really is pretty unique and we get a lot of comments on the color.


So I start sealing it all up and general maintenance. Replace fluids, brakes , flushes, new radiator. Pull all the interior out and pressure wash.
For those that don't know me, I work in the auto industry but Jeep is not my product. Domestic is not my product. My thirty some years working with an Asian manufacturer has me totally intolerant to any leaks. So that and reliability were my first priority.

Then off to explore



Spring 2016
Did not take long to realize 307 gears were not going to be ideal with any size tire. So looked into a re-gear and man that seemed expensive. After researching the internet I found that 3:73’s were pretty common in the grand Cherokee and their Dana 30’s were everywhere and cheap. So I dig into Craigslist…..
I answered an add for some axles but when I got there he had already sold his Dana 30 but told me he still had a rear axle he knew nothing about. I look at it and it looks to be a Dana 35 from a TJ. I rotate the axle and count the pinion rotations and do some math…..bam 3:73 gears! I it has a blue nylon hose coming out of the housing and ask but he knows nothing. So $100 later I take it home and yes it was a TJ Dana 35 3:73 gears and an ARB locker that worked perfectly.
Next was a
GC Dana 30 for $125
Used Dana 30 lunchbox locker with broken pins……..$75
New pins ……$25
Used unknown 2.5 inch lift springs and sway bar disconnects……$100
Used 5x 33/10.50r15 mud claw tire mounted on steel wheels …..$500
Rubicon Express front track bar new…what ever wholesale price I could find.
ZJ rear disc brakes complete with e-brake cables from a u-pull wrecking yard acquired on half price
Wednesday of course…..$65
External trans cooler and some DV8 led lights…..
Oh also shot some paint on the hood and fender to make her shine a little more.
So if you haven’t already noticed I love to make a deal and I can be very frugal!

So that brings me to this stage



So around this time I picked up a used Procomp front bumper, a Smittybilt rear bumper with tire carrier and some takeoff Rubicon tub rocker armor. I know, I know , I know.... Smittybilt! What can I say? They did the job and I am not a role model. They are heavy, hard to open and close etc. Twice through the Rubicon and a dozen trips to Moab they never rattled, broke or failed me. The swing away has been replaced with a MORryde gate hinge set up.
The trail doors, duster, sun top and Hi-lift were given to me by a employee who traded her Jeep in on a new truck.


Shortly after that 4Wheel Parts grand opening sale.......... Smittybilt XRC9500 winch $225 couldn't resist and it hasn't missed a beat.

Summer 2016 a guy in one of the local Jeep clubs bought a set of Dana 44 axles but only need the front. I purchased the rear Dana 44 that was pretty rusty, stripped it, sand blasted and painted.


Pressed on new axle bearings with the disc brake retainers.


I was lucky that it was geared to 3:73 and that matched what I was already running. So a little cleaning on the bench.


I was pretty happy with the lunchbox locker I had in the Dana 30 up front so I picked up one to drop in the rear.


Spring 2017 finally getting the axle under the TJ. While I was at it I relocated the upper spring mounts the straighten out the coil springs. It's pretty easy, just cut the welds, move the seats


A little measuring to make sure your height is right and weld them in.


I also cut the factory lower control arm mounts off of the Dana 44 and welded on some 1/4" heavy duty mounts. Not sure it was needed but I seem to just bash into a lot of trail obstacles. I also did my mini skids at the same time.

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I really don't have any pictures of the next phase of transformation, but after putting the Dana 44 with lunch box locker under the TJ I instantly hated it! The lunch box locker would lock up under any power at all. If you could coast through corners it was fine, give it any gas and it wanted to straighten you out and push you into the other lane. On a curved road if you accelerated at all it would try to push you into the curb or on coming traffic. Off road it worked ok. It locked up giving traction but the Jeep was awkward in tight maneuvers. I started looking for selectable lockers. I met a fellow Jeeper who ordered a set of Eaton's for his JK but ordered the wrong part numbers and could not return them. I bought him out of them at a fair price. I figured if I was going this far it was time to re-gear. So a set of G2 4:10 ring and pinion sets, master install set, G2 front aluminum cover and PS cast rear cover later I was off to the 4X4 shop.
This is the only mod on my Jeep that I have not done myself!!
It was still a learning experience. I ordered all the parts for a TJ Dana 30 / 44 set up. Well I forgot I don't have a TJ Dana 30 , I have a Grand Cherokee Dana 30. One has a short pinion and one has a log pinion. So the Jeep is down for a couple weeks while I ship back TJ parts and wait for GC parts.

Parts come in and 4X4 shop gets me back in and done.

Next is doing a flat belly upgrade.....

I decide in the ultra-high clearance UCF skid plate. This is a waterfall project.....
First the UCF skid plate
1.25" body lift
Adjustable rear upper control arms
1" motor mount lift
Transfer case shift cable
Teraflex ultra short SYE
Shorter muffler and exhaust pipe modification.

Again no real pictures, however I will tell you that you can run the Ultra-high clearance plate and retain your factory transmission mount. The UCF LOPRO trans mount just was not going to work for me. This was a battle but I won. It was very important to me not to have any vibrations at idle, in gear with my foot on the brake.

That brings me to here.


Is there a reason for the Teraflex vs JB Conversion?


I've had experience with both and would go JB over Teraflex. Also, there is this....


I have no experience with the JB. I went with Teraflex primarily because the quality was pretty comparable and I could get the Tera through a automotive/off-road wholesaler I use in my business. That saved me quite a few $. That being said, I have not had a single issue with the Teraflex except for changing the speed sensor once. That was not the units failure. My trans mount broke on a waterfall in Parker and the trans slammed the sensor wire into the tub breaking it. I would not hesitate to use it again.
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Rock carnage on the trail ended up eating a couple of my Rancho 5000's



I scored a set of four Bilstein 5160's new in the box for a 4" lift TJ for a price I could not pass up. The same guy had a used Anti-Rock and a UCF engine skid that rounded out our deal.


Pretty straight forward install..

A couple obligatory flex shots.....



And we are off to Moab to play with the new toys..




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Rear is about a foot and a half off the ground. Landed on the front bumper hard! Pretty wicked drop for a short wheel base. Ledge to the right and big rock on the left. I pulled my air bag fuses before I went over, just in case!

The fall on Steel Bender, isn’t it?

Most short wheelbases use a safety strap from what I’ve seen.
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The fall on Steel Bender, isn’t it?

Most short wheelbases use a safety strap from what I’ve seen.

Yes. I think they call it "Dragon Tail" or something. Debbie drove that whole trail except for that drop. All the other short rigs did a safety strap but I was last in line so I just winged it...I have a video of it somewhere. I will post it if I can find it.
I ran the Bilstein's for a couple months decided I was underwhelmed. They felt ok if you hit something hard or drove it like you borrowed it from a brother in law ! Just driving on the street was fair but on a dirt road or a trail I could feel every rock or pebble I went over. They are really not tunable with the exception of adjusting gas. Oh and they leak! Bad! First on started to leak a month after I installed them. I called Bilstein and was told they are a "Off-Road Performance" part and there is no warrantee. That did not please me so I started a long arduous battle. I used some of my industry contacts and was connected with "The Bilstein Guy" at Toyota. He introduced me to the Industry rep who got my first shock replaced. I ended up replacing three out of the four shocks. Never damaged or abused. They all leaked at the hose bung at the shock body. Now I had run 5100"s on multiple Toyota trucks and never had a problem. One of my employees had a 5100 fail and Bilstein replaced it no questions asked but 5160's whole different ball game.








Any way I continued to run them with no additional failures until I did my out board project.
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