The "I've finally decided to start the build" build

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
225
Denver, CO, United States
Hi all,

Per my other thread where I posted some pics, and asked several questions, I think I'm finally ready to commit to putting together a list of items that I'll be installing vs. what's already there. Some of these items might change as time goes on, but at least it's now written down, and I'll have a reference point to look back on as I move forward.

When I bought the '04 Sport I wanted to move slow in making changes rather than jump in with a shotgun approach. So I've spent some time with it, and learned the quirks, along with some of the things that I feel are a plus about it. Having done that, I think that I have a pretty solid plan to start from, and should be able to get this rig built in a fairly surgical fashion where I'm getting the most bang for my buck, while bolstering it to a point that is fun to play in on the weekends without too much worry of breaking my daily driver.

One thing I'd like to mention before listing stuff out is that I'm very happy to have found y'alls forum. The combination of personalities has a nice range from the no-nonsense to the light hearted, but even with that variation, along with some differences of opinion, the obvious goal from everyone here is overwhelmingly helpful. The active community and info gathered here has been the best I've seen so far, and it's been greatly appreciated.

Now, here's what the Jeep came with when bought.

1. Rancho 3.5 lift with what looks like 1" spacers (at least on the front) with the RS9000x shocks
2. Decent sound system already in place (no BT, or sub)
3. Nice set of sliders installed
4. Whatever the brand of flares it's got now
5. The Bestop tire carrier
6. MT 10" wheels with Cooper STT 35x12.50r15 tires (new)
7. Quadratec rubber floormats

What I've done so far.

1. Removed the rust and refinished the frame.
2. Removed the rear bumper and rust rotted trailer hitch that was on it.
3. Gutted the interior, and cleaned and inspected the conditions of the tub. Other than dusty, it was flawless.
4. Changed the head unit out for a Sony with BT.
5. Added a Punch 10" with amp sub. :)
6. Replaced the passenger seatbelt.
7. Installed LED headlights, and replaced the original broken fog lights with a couple of cubes for now.
8. Tuffshade and new Pavement Ends top

What I plan to do to the Jeep in the future. (This is sort of in the order I'm planning, I think)

1. Replace the fixed Rancho control arms with Savvy adjustable control arms.
2. Remove the drop on the skid and pull that back up to the frame.
3. Replace the drive shafts, and replace the rear with a a CV (double cardan).
4. Build up the Dana 35 to a Super 35 along with a regear to 4.88. I've also pondered the 8.8 instead... will decide as money is saved. During this process I'll be adding the SYE. I'll also, obviously, regearing the front. I'm still not sure about adding sleeves and gussets to the Dana 30 at this time. (need more research)
5. Thinking of adding a Antirock, and Correctlync, but still learning there as well.

After getting done with the drive line, my focus then shifts to mods to the body and such.

6. Adding Dirtworx front and rear bumpers, or maybe a Dirtworx rear with a Metalcloak front.
7. Warn M8000 along with the Durango alternator
8. Metalcloak fenders since I don't want to go any higher on my lift.
9. Refinishing my door latches and other sundries that could use some attention.
10. Somewhere during this process, if a nice set of 8" black steel wheels to replace the 10' alloys. Just have to find the right buyer for my current set.

Well, that's what I've got so far. I'm sure there are things I've missed, and if you see any fault in my planning, let me know. This is definitely preliminary, and subject to change along the way.

Here's what the Jeep looked like back in September of last year. The only things I had changed at this point was adding the ToughShade and replacing the passenger seatbelt. Below I'll post the progress pics as I can get them online.

IMG_20160817_180541713_HDR.jpg
 
Last edited:

Rob5589

Certified video trained differential rebuilder
Supporting Member
Aug 29, 2016
6,022
W Sacramento, Kalifornia
Sounds like a good plan. If you have the auto trans and plan on staying with 35's I would recommend 5.13 over the 4.88. And since it ain't my money, I would look into a tummy tuck. You will have everything you need for the most part sans the skid. If I think of anything else you can buy I will let you know :D
 
Reactions: XISophos

xxdabroxx

TJ Enthusiast
Hi all,

Per my other thread where I posted some pics, and asked several questions, I think I'm finally ready to commit to putting together a list of items that I'll be installing vs. what's already there. Some of these items might change as time goes on, but at least it's now written down, and I'll have a reference point to look back on as I move forward.

When I bought the '04 Sport I wanted to move slow in making changes rather than jump in with a shotgun approach. So I've spent some time with it, and learned the quirks, along with some of the things that I feel are a plus about it. Having done that, I think that I have a pretty solid plan to start from, and should be able to get this rig built in a fairly surgical fashion where I'm getting the most bang for my buck, while bolstering it to a point that is fun to play in on the weekends without too much worry of breaking my daily driver.

One thing I'd like to mention before listing stuff out is that I'm very happy to have found y'alls forum. The combination of personalities has a nice range from the no-nonsense to the light hearted, but even with that variation, along with some differences of opinion, the obvious goal from everyone here is overwhelmingly helpful. The active community and info gathered here has been the best I've seen so far, and it's been greatly appreciated.

Now, here's what the Jeep came with when bought.

1. Rancho 3.5 lift with what looks like 1" spacers (at least on the front) with the RS9000x shocks
2. Decent sound system already in place (no BT, or sub)
3. Nice set of sliders installed
4. Whatever the brand of flares it's got now
5. The Bestop tire carrier
6. MT 10" wheels with Cooper STT 35x12.50r15 tires (new)
7. Quadratec rubber floormats

What I've done so far.

1. Removed the rust and refinished the frame.
2. Removed the rear bumper and rust rotted trailer hitch that was on it.
3. Gutted the interior, and cleaned and inspected the conditions of the tub. Other than dusty, it was flawless.
4. Changed the head unit out for a Sony with BT.
5. Added a Punch 10" with amp sub. :)
6. Replaced the passenger seatbelt.
7. Installed LED headlights, and replaced the original broken fog lights with a couple of cubes for now.
8. Tuffshade and new Pavement Ends top

What I plan to do to the Jeep in the future. (This is sort of in the order I'm planning, I think)

1. Replace the fixed Rancho control arms with Savvy adjustable control arms
2. Remove the drop on the skid and pull that back up to the frame.
3. Replace the drive shafts, and replace the rear with a a CV (double cardan).
4. Build up the Dana 35 to a Super 35 along with a regear to 4.88. I've also pondered the 8.8 instead... will decide as money is saved. Also, obviously, regearing the front. I'm still not sure about adding sleeves and gussets to the Dana 30 at this time. (need more research)
5. Thinking of adding a Antirock, and Correctlync, but still learning there as well.

After getting done with the drive line, my focus then shifts to mods to the body and such.

6. Adding Dirtworx front and rear bumpers, or maybe a Dirtworx rear with a Metalcloak front.
7. Warn M8000 along with the Durango alternator
8. Metalcloak fenders since I don't want to go any higher on my lift.
9. Refinishing my door latches and other sundries that could use some attention.
10. Somewhere during this process, if a nice set of 8" black steel wheels to replace the 10' alloys. Just have to find the right buyer for my current set.

Well, that's what I've got so far. I'm sure there are things I've missed, and if you see any fault in my planning, let me know. This is definitely preliminary, and subject to change along the way.
On your plans:
2 & 3 will likely need to swap order and don't forget the SYE. If you plan on doing a tummy tuck in the future you may think about doing a super short SYE.

10. Might want to swap them for another set of aluminum wheels, they are tougher and less likely to bend. I've been running 10" wheels without issue though, so I wouldn't rush that one too much unless you spend a lot of time in the rocks or need to be aired down below 10psi.

And...... This thread is worthless without pics
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
225
Denver, CO, United States
Sounds like a good plan. If you have the auto trans and plan on staying with 35's I would recommend 5.13 over the 4.88. And since it ain't my money, I would look into a tummy tuck. You will have everything you need for the most part sans the skid. If I think of anything else you can buy I will let you know :D
I've got a manual transmission, and I've thought about going as high as 4.56, and then converting the transfer to handle 4:1. In my mind that would logically maintain some of the highway manners, but offer the low I'd be able to use on the trails. Now, that being said, I've not researched that much, and can't really say that this is a great idea over just going with 4.88's and calling it good. Any input to help shut down, or shape this idea is totally welcome! It sounds good on paper, but I'm unsure of the practicality with the NP231 playing nice.

I've thought of doing the tummy tuck, but that is still in it's infancy as well. It looks like I'd have to go with a body lift (which I'm not particularly adverse to. The only part that would be a pain is that well... I'm kind of a shorty. Going higher than the 3.5" suspension with the 1" spacer (which maybe just a front leveling spacer... hard to tell on the upper bucket in the rear) makes it more fun to get into. :D
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
7,655
NorCal
I was going to say, this build thread needs at least one pic of your Jeep sir.
 

xxdabroxx

TJ Enthusiast
I've got a manual transmission, and I've thought about going as high as 4.56, and then converting the transfer to handle 4:1. In my mind that would logically maintain some of the highway manners, but offer the low I'd be able to use on the trails. Now, that being said, I've not researched that much, and can't really say that this is a great idea over just going with 4.88's and calling it good. Any input to help shut down, or shape this idea is totally welcome! It sounds good on paper, but I'm unsure of the practicality with the NP231 playing nice.

I've thought of doing the tummy tuck, but that is still in it's infancy as well. It looks like I'd have to go with a body lift (which I'm not particularly adverse to. The only part that would be a pain is that well... I'm kind of a shorty. Going higher than the 3.5" suspension with the 1" spacer (which maybe just a front leveling spacer... hard to tell on the upper bucket in the rear) makes it more fun to get into. :D
FWIW, I've got 4.56's with 33" tires and wish I had 4.88's (5 speed trans). I also think the 4low conversions are about gone. I was looking around the other day and it looks like nobody is making them any longer.
 
OP
XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
225
Denver, CO, United States
On your plans:
2 & 3 will likely need to swap order and don't forget the SYE. If you plan on doing a tummy tuck in the future you may think about doing a super short SYE.

10. Might want to swap them for another set of aluminum wheels, they are tougher and less likely to bend. I've been running 10" wheels without issue though, so I wouldn't rush that one too much unless you spend a lot of time in the rocks or need to be aired down below 10psi.

And...... This thread is worthless without pics
Concerning 2&3 and really part of 4... when typing this up last night, I almost put those together in the same bullet point just because that all will have to happen in rapid succession to make the vehicle serviceable. The only reason I made them separate was that I wouldn't know where the length of the drive shafts would lie until the belly skid was pulled up tight. I did forget to mention the SYE change that would occur when I do the axle work. I'm still on the fence about the tummy tuck at this point just for the simple fact, I'm not sure I want to put the Jeep up higher than it currently sits with a body lift yet.

That's great to know about the wheels. I had been doing some more research on here, and it seemed that 8" wheels were the favorite, and thought that if I keep the cost lower on the replacement wheels. That said, it is one of the afterthoughts on this build because I do really like the ones that are on it. :)

I'll transplant some of the pics I put in the other thread over along with some of the progress stuff that I have collected with the work I've done. The hard part lately has been my house is still a wreck because of the washing machine flood, and I've yet to been able to consistently power up the PC that has all that stuff on it. :/
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
225
Denver, CO, United States
I like the build list so far, sounds like the right direction to go.
Thanks, man. Realistically, I don't need it to be the meanest Jeep to ever grace the trails because, really, I don't really have the driving part of that skillset to back that up yet. My goal is to build a long term vehicle that is both sturdy and capable that I can learn on and from. The theory being that as the driver's skillset builds, the foundational parts of the rig are in the right vein to evolve with me without having to back up too much to move to the next step. The hardest part really is just waiting for the cash savings to build up from one stage to the next. I hear patience is a virtue, it's just never been one of my better virtues. ;)
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
7,655
NorCal
Welcome to the club brother! Patience and me are constantly at battle. I have the SYE, but not enough cash for the CV drive shaft. Story of my life!
 
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XISophos

XISophos

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
Mar 30, 2017
225
Denver, CO, United States
Welcome to the club brother! Patience and me are constantly at battle. I have the SYE, but not enough cash for the CV drive shaft. Story of my life!
I will say that I've been married long enough to have a very supporting wife that is onboard for saving quickly. By supportive I mean that she's sick of my crap, and wants the parts here as fast as humanly possible so she doesn't have to hear about it anymore. :D
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff Member
Sep 28, 2015
34,475
Salem, Oregon
The hardest part really is just waiting for the cash savings to build up from one stage to the next. I hear patience is a virtue, it's just never been one of my better virtues. ;)
You're preaching to the choir man. But take it from someone who has been there... Do it once and do it right.

When you end up getting antsy, you end up cheating yourself and going with inferior parts.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen the question, "I only have $600 to spend on a lift, which brand should I get?".

When you respond to those guys and tell them they won't get anything good for $600, they simply tell you that that's all they have to spend. Well, they're wrong... If they saved their money, they could get something much better.

I've been in that scenario back in the day, where I was an idiot thinking I needed something right away. I ended up buying a Rough Country lift. I quickly learned why those lifts sell for $500 or so, because you get what you pay for.

7 years later I'm going on 2.5 years with my Currie 4" lift. I saved up for a lot longer, but I'll tell you what... It was worth every penny.

So, yeah... If you have the patience, just save your money and do it right the first time. You'll be happy you did!
 
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JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
I have a similar affair. I am allotted a monthly Jeep stipend, no more, no less.
@Chris reminded me of the old adage, "It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission." Just buy the parts without telling her! I bought my OME springs on Sunday. Still haven't told the wife. I think I'll just wait till they show up at the door...LOL. This will be fun...Then employ her to help me install them. LOL!
 
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bobthetj03

vibrajeep
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Feb 3, 2017
7,655
NorCal
@Chris reminded me of the old adage, "It's easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission." Just buy the parts without telling her! I bought my OME springs on Sunday. Still haven't told the wife. I think I'll just wait till they show up at the door...LOL. This will be fun...Then employ her to help me install them. LOL!
Brave soul you are sir, lol! I did that when I bought my wheels. Hid them at work for a spell until I needed tires then bam! Sprang it on her. She was not amused.
 
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JMT

The Jeep Guy
Supporting Member
Ride of the Month Winner
Brave soul you are sir, lol! I did that when I bought my wheels. Hid them at work for a spell until I needed tires then bam! Sprang it on her. She was not amused.
While I have now done this, we did set up some separate money for each of us this year, that way it really is legal. LOL! And if she says something, she did say one day, I think your Jeep needs to be a little higher to look right. Well, the $383 will fix that! I'm probably going to laugh out loud if she says something. I'm sorta planning it. In the end she loves me and I love her...
 
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