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Two For One—A Go Fast TJ and J10 Build

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Trevlaw

Trevlaw

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Here we go guys, finally got some TJ updates for this TJ forum!

So I used to run 2.5" 12" shocks in the rear, they were a pair of shocks I picked up used and ran as is. Most of the zinc coating was gone and my tires rub the shit out of the shocks pretty much every time I take a corner because of my excessive body roll. The 2.5's were looking pretty rough, all the COM bearings were shot and they needed a rebuild. That was like a year ago or so. Rebuilt the shocks, bought some new black top and bottom caps and eyes, sandblasted the bodies and resis and decided to try painting them with Steel-It Black. The initial thought process was the Steel-It would be durable enough to withstand the tire rubbing. A $90 paint job later with some badass looking shocks and the more dumb that idea was starting to sound, not wanting to ruin the paint on the first corner I never put them on.

Well what do you do when you want to run big ass shocks on tiny little axles? This was what I came up with. I had a pair of hard plastic dust covers from the pair of 3.0 IBP Raptor shocks I bought, but they use a weird triangle bushing lower eye to bolt the dust covers on. A few measurements and some quality time on our brand new lathe at work and these split clamps were born. They turned out awesome, a really nice snug fit on the lower eyes of the 2.5s with a matching internal groove to slip into the OD groove on the eye. Two 5/16" bolts to clamp it with three 1/4-28 holes on the OD for the dust cover to bolt up.

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Got the hard work done on the lathe with a small flat milled opposite of the 5/16 holes for indexing purposes later on. Moved to the bridgeport to drill and tap the first 1/4-28 hole while indexed on the milled flat. Then I bolted up the dust cover, marked the other two holes with sharpie and eyeballed the angle on the next two holes. Not sure what the angles are, but it wasn't a nice easy 120* between holes.

Then with all the holes in place, indexed back on the milled flat again and cut in half with a big slitting saw. A little bit of deburring work and they're all finished up. I made four pairs in case I screwed them up, but I managed not to scrap anything. I did get lucky as I didn't think two much about where the last two 1/4-28 holes would land, and they are real close to breaking through where I cut them in half, but luck was on my side.

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Eager to test out my idea, I made a trip up to Pcoplin's shop and got the Jeep on the lift. Had to trim the back of my Artec coil buckets just a little bit for clearance near the clamp. Got all the masking tape pulled off the shocks, and I gotta say I really love the color of the Steel-It black, seems like it has a bit of smoke or charcoal to it. Plus with the cleaned up blue hoses, these 2.5's are looking real good all blacked out. I spent a good part of the day carefully getting these shocks in, pulled springs to cycle the suspension and made some better bump stop extensions to replace my previous DOM version that used too small of tubing and cause the bump stop cups to start to bend up and around the tube. Also made some thin plastic split sleeves for the resi hose clamps, they've got a little OD groove for the clamp to seat in and snap into place nicely on one of the grooves on the resi, should keep the clamps from tearing up my paint job.

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Everything fits just like it used too, the tires rub the dust covers exactly as planned and I really like the sleeper look the blacked out shocks give, almost can't even tell they are there.

Full droop
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Ride height
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Full articulation
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And I'm happy to say that I made the 40 mile trip back home with the 2.5's on last night. Definitely got some good rubbing in taking some hard corners at 50mph. Got home, there's some rubber left on the plastic dust covers, and absolutely zero marks on the shock paint job, so it seems they were a success. Time will tell on how long the paint will hold up, but I think these should make the required touch ups a lot less frequent at the very least. I love it when one of my ideas actually works
 
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Trevlaw

Trevlaw

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I also did some other stuff on the Jeep while I was at his shop. I pulled the mini cats and gutted them, then put the exhaust back together. Have a leak at one of my Marmon flanges, gonna fix that today. It sounds pretty shitty right now and is louder than I'd like. Think I'm either going to add a small round resonator where the third cat normally is, or maybe even a second smaller round muffler in front of my flowmaster. Pretty sure my neighbors all hate me whenever I leave to go somewhere.

Also got the LSC adjusters pulled out of my front 2.0s, not my cup of tea, but I was just the test mule for some different tunes with them. I have some more surprises in store for the front shocks, hopefully the 2.0s wont be in there much longer, 13" of travel in the front is definitely too much lol.

Also working on a rear swaybar solution, as I have all of the parts for the rear antirock kit, but I don't want to drop my savvy gas tank skid to the lower setting to fit the sway bar, and I don't think I can make the arms and links live in the same space as the 2.5s and springs. Space is tight there already if you haven't noticed haha. I might have an idea though, going to check it out today and see if it is feasible.
 
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NashvilleTJ

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Awesome machine work, Trev. And to think I knew you back when you were just a kid. I’m so proud….😢
 
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Trevlaw

Trevlaw

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Awesome machine work, Trev. And to think I knew you back when you were just a kid. I’m so proud….😢

Haha thanks a lot, I remember spending most of the days in highschool reading yours and other build threads on JF, maybe that's why I ended up as a machinist...

Definitely not the hardest parts I've made, but those long drills and taps get the pucker factor up when that turret swings around. Really didn't want to be the first to scratch the new lathe
 
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Trevlaw

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Felt pretty slick after coming up with this one. Made the air intake the other day, not a permanent intake, but we all know how temporary goes. Was pretty floppy with everything all clamped up. Noticed my ground stud that I welded to the inner fender happened to line up almost perfect with the filter.

One big chunk of nylon later and the air intake is nice and stable. The jam nut to lock it in place is missing in the picture. Probably gonna turn some more off the OD so it's not quite so bulky.

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Trevlaw

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More truck stuff

The factory 45* water pump neck on the LS wasn't going to work with my air intake location. Found a short 90* bend piece of 1.5" stainless on McMaster. Pulled the factory neck out of the water pump, cut off the press fit end and the barbed hose end and persuaded my coworker to tig it all together for me. Pressed it back into the housing with some loctite 680 bearing retainer. Hopefully it doesn't leak.

Also found this hose while wandering through napa, looks pretty promising, but I need to wait 24 hrs for the loctite to cure before I start messing with it. Gonna be real happy if I can make this hose work, was already able to find an off the shelf hose for the lower hose, but fitting 1.5" onto a 1.75" barb wasn't easy lol.
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Trevlaw

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The 100* weather hasn't been much fun, but I'm still getting stuff done.

Got my hoses routed most of the way for the transmission cooler. Went with some .5" ID derale hose, about 25' to get there and back. Just made some quick sheet metal brackets I welded to the frame like I did with the hard lines for the fuel. Clamps aren't as fancy though, just a 3/8" nut welded to the back of the bracket and some double hose rubber clamps.

I might need to add two more brackets to break up two of the longer spans, the hoses are a bit floppy. Not sure how much I need to worry about them rubbing each other, maybe I need to sleeve them with something or make some rubber separators I can put in the clamps or zip tie the hoses too.
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Trevlaw

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Decided to see if I could get these bolted in. They're some weird 10" 2.5 single tube compression bypasses with a top feed reservoir. Paid more than I probably should've a long time ago and finally got around to messing with them. Was happily surprised to pull them apart and find a 1" spacer between the piston and bearing block. I decided to go ahead and pull that out so now they are 11" 2.5 bypasses. The compressed length on these is 19.4" and the 13" 2.0's that are currently in the front are 19.1", so they are really close.

Unfortunately the drivers side didn't quite fit. At almost full articulation and a hard left turn the caliper bleeder screw and the brake line starts to get into the shock body.

Ive got a plan for tomorrow to hack off my old ugly lower shock tabs, and weld on some new ones slightly lower and about 1.5" further towards the rear to try and sneak that bleeder screw around the shock body.

Also going to probably swap my brake lines over to an AN hose with a banjo adapter to have less hardline poking off the side of the caliper to avoid the shock.

Then the resis will be mounted next to the shock nearly vertical in the inner fender. I'll have to have some super short double 90* hoses made for the resis.

All in all they fit pretty well, some tire rubbage but that's no skin off my back. The 11" of travel will be much better fit than 13" I have now, the track bar pulls the axle so far driver side it's not even funny. I think the first 2-3" of up travel from normal ride height will be in my bypass zone, so looking forward to playing with that and seeing what it can do at the dunes this summer.

Full bump in the front

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Trevlaw

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Got the 2.5 mounts finished up today. Just need to make resi mounts on the inner fender and get some hoses figured out.

Ended up hacking off my old lower mounts. I needed to move the lower mounts back ~1.5". I ended up using some of that 6"x3"x.250" tubing I bought from work. Its internal radius was the same as the outside corner of the currie CA mount. Just shaped it around the bolt and tried to clean it up a bit. Used some .25" tabs that I had made a bunch of a couple years ago. Nothing too pretty, but much better than what was there before.

Unfortunately I screwed up the drivers side a tiny bit. At full lock left, full articulation, the body of the caliper just barely scrapes the shock. Luckily my brake pads and rotors are pretty worn, so once I replace those in a week or so, I should have maybe an 1/8" of clearance for a while. Could also cheat the axle over a tiny bit with the track bar. That original metalcloak heim should probably be replaced anyways since it's from 2016 lol

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So close, yet so far...
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It was also so damn hot out that my head spontaneously combusted while I was welding in the driver side mount, lost a good chunk of hair to that one...
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Trevlaw

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Just realized that I switched the lower mounts from 1.25" width to 1.5" when I made the new ones. I'll just make some custom spacers for the shock eye, a long and a short to shift the shock eye towards the rear maybe 3/16". Easy peasy
 
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Trevlaw

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Exciting stuff. Got the bypasses finally put on yesterday. Did a full rebuild on both and had to get the resi mounts in. Made my custom lower spacers to cheat the shock back an .125". After the brake job I've got coming up I should have plenty of room. Swapped out the factory bump jounces for some stiffer energy suspension ones I cut down to 1" long too, so that should help a bit on the hard hits.

With the shorter shocks I was able to go to the second stiffest hole on the antirock. Definitely felt a lot better on the ride home as far as body roll, though I had the bypass tube completely closed off so that probably helped some too since they have a good bit of valving and the low flow pistons.

Found some cool conduit hangers that I used as resi clamps, thought they worked pretty slick. Part number 454010 at platt electric for a 2.5 resi. They flip open 180* when the bolt is undone and have a rubber insulator on the inside of the clamp. Was only $4.50 for four of them too.

Only very slight rubbage at full turn full articulation, shouldn't be a problem I don't think. The 2.5's raised me up .5" in the front vs the old 2.0's, I've got an extra .5" isolator on the springs I may pull out.

Pretty sure my upper bumpstop tower is bent on both sides from hard hits, the whole coil bucket may be bent. Eventually I'd like to work some hydro bumps in front and rear, with them inside the coil spring. That'll be a good bit of work, and require whole new coil buckets and maybe shock towers in the front. I may try to lower the ride height an inch front and rear when I do that, but that'll be a ways away. Just thinking out loud.

Gonna plan a sand dune trip soon to test these bad boys out.

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Trevlaw

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Did you build your own hose for the shocks, Trev?

No those are the hoses that came with them. Got lucky and they ended up being the perfect length for what I needed after adding the two 90's at the resi side. Would've preferred a single 180*, but those were $35 a piece and I got all the 90s for $20 total.

I actually didn't notice until pcoplin pointed it out, but someone did make the hoses previously with the reusable fittings. After that I noticed my rear hoses are the same exact thing, and I guess two different people I bought the pairs of shocks from also went to the next size up, -10 hoses on all 4 shocks, instead of the usual -8 for the 2.5s. At least they match, and I like the blue hoses, kind of goes with the jeep.
 
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Trevlaw

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Been getting some good work done on the TJ this week. Did a whole front brake job, new everything including switching to some longer AN hoses to keep them out of the shocks way. May need to try bench bleeding my master, my pedal still feels a bit soft, though pretty much the same as it used to. I remember my dad's TJ having a lot firmer pedal, though he had the 15" BBK, but I'm wondering if maybe I've always had a little air in there somewhere.

Also added in the raised sway bar mounts on the front axle.

Speaking of sway bars, I've almost got the the rear antirock done. It definitely wasn't going to fit in the usual spot above the gas tank, as there's no way the arm and linkage was going to fit between the shock and tire.

So after some measuring, I felt pretty confident it could fit behind the gas tank with some mods. The two rear most body mount lower bushings were kind of where the arm needed to be. So I eliminated the rear body lift pucks. Made some 1" thick tubing pieces big enough for the lower bushing to fit inside. Cut some .25" thick round plates to weld on top of the 1" tube for a 1.25" thick puck. Undid the body mounts, and used a 2" hole saw up through the cross member the body mounts normally bolt too. Welded the pucks in place and now the normal two body mount halves fit perfectly, just 1.25" higher up, tons of room now.
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Then I made two metal bushings for the antirock plastic bushings to fit in to. Measured off the normal rear TJ antirock brackets for size, they use a heavy .010" press fit for the bushings. I made mine about 2.55" long and 1.825" OD thinking the 1.75" hole saw would cut big. It actually cut to 1.76", but some quick flap wheel work with the die grinder opened it up nicely. I made a quick jig with some 1" thick aluminum and a .25" hole so after drilling through one side of the frame I could place the aluminum over the hole to use a transfer punch to mark the inside of the frame for the second hole location. Worked pretty well. 4 holes later and it was looking good.

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The holes ended up basically with the centerline aligned with the raised lip of the cross member and IIRC 1.74" from the bottom of the frame. Could've gone just a smidge higher from the bottom of the frame, but this still worked great.

Some mediocre welding, paint and a lot of hits with the deadblow got me to here. Even had a nice .125" of clearance between the cross member and the sway bar.


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Courtesy of @toximus I finally got around to using the sway bar arms he hooked me up with. There the normal TJ front arms, but should work great for this. The splined end of the arms is two pieces of flat bar welded together on one side, they leave the clamping bolt end of it unwelded. I wanted to get some clearance for it's rotation, so I welded the clamping end halves together, then cleaned up the drilled hole which was already right around .392". That happens to be the tap drill diameter for 7/16-20 threads, so I counterbored one end of the hole and tapped the rest, so now the clamping bolt will fit like this.
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Just need to clean the arms up some more, make the axle side tabs, and drill and tap some aluminum hex bar I have to use for the links.

I looked at the rockjock site and it seemed like the normal rear TJ arms are 12.75" from center of splines to center of the hole for the link. I'll have to trim 4 of the 5 holes off the TJ front arms, but they should be right around 12" from spline to bolt hole when it's done, so that worked out great too.

Also, the lesson of the day was don't touch freshly welded body mounts
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Trevlaw

Trevlaw

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Nice work, Trev. Cool solution raising the body mount.

Thanks, I thought it worked pretty well. Can't say I've seen it done this way before, but I'm sure I'm not the first. Pcoplin actually gave me the idea after me putting this off for years. Once he said to put it in the bumper, I came up with this and it just seems so obvious now haha
 
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Trevlaw

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Well after dealing with the linkage obvious may not have been the best way to describe it, but I was able to make it work.

Took some trial and error, but I was able to squeeze out just enough link length to make it work at full droop. There's about a 10-15* difference between the linkage and the arm at full droop, hopefully that's enough to keep it from inverting.

I decided to just notch the arms a bit for body mount/cross member clearance instead of cutting and dog legging them. Was able to just put a small 1/4" tab off the side of my shocks mounts for the axle mount. Would look a little better if 18 year old me had done a better job making the shock mounts lol. But, I'm gonna roll with it for now.

Had to cut the left hand 5/8-18 threads on the lathe at work since I couldn't find a tap. I neglected to check if the tire will get into the link during articulation, I'm hopeful it won't haha. If it does I may need to redo the links to use both right hand threads, don't want the tire to try spinning it, break the jam nuts loose and unscrew my link lol.

Got the links made last night, just need to paint the arms, buy some bolts and throw it all together. Should have that done tonight I think.

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Hopefully this will help my shock guards last longer, you can see the passenger side tire has done some work on that one, it has a small hole rubbed through it, but it's still working.

For some reason it seems the gen 2 and newer raptor shock guards are impossible to find replacements for. I've got a brand new pair of the gen 1 versions I bought hoping they were the same. If anyone wants a new pair for cheap, I've got them for sale lol
 
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Trevlaw

Trevlaw

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Bought some incredibly overpriced bolts last night at home Depot and threw it together in the parking lot at 10pm.

I drifted the first corner I took lol. It's definitely way nicer to have both sway bars, been so long since I haven't had tons of body roll.

I was taking corners pretty hard last night and no sign of the tires getting into the links yet. I think the bolts look kind of stupid, some mini skids on the axle mounts might be needed. I might redo the links eventually when the cheap ruff stuff heims wear out. Probably go with some lower profile round tube and maybe some EMF heims

Hopefully I'll have some videos of me getting after it at the dunes later this week.
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