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Westtown Willy's 2004 Jeep Wrangler X

Discussion in 'Member's Rides' started by Westtown Willy, May 12, 2018.

  1. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    Location:
    West Chester, PA, USA
    I bought my first Jeep ever in December of 2016. I wasn't looking for a wheeler, just a summertime convertible to take out of the garage on sunny days & warm summer nights so my search was pretty much appearance as opposed to performance based. My short list included a 4.0 liter 5 speed manual that was one solid color on all black with a 3 inch lift & 33x12.5 tires; to my eye that is the quintessential Jeep.

    My search encompassed southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware. Being in the rust belt I figured many would be ruled out due to frame rot issues so I took my time & crawled under quite a few & ultimately found one in New Jersey that had every single thing on my list, a perfect frame, plus a couple extras that I really liked including the front bumper, rock sliders & a Banks Power exhaust which gives it a beautiful purr. It also had a winch but as I was bargaining with the owner we were around $500 apart so to sweeten the deal I told him he could take his winch off if that’d make him feel better about my offer, he did & the deal was done.

    $1,150 & one Warn Zeon S later the winch is back but that’s another story :pesas:

    The ‘convertible only street machine’ idea lasted only a few months before I made the mistake of wheeling it once, got bit, knew immediately I'd be wheeling the crap out of it which has held true; at that point the performance modifications began in earnest* :borra2:

    * My build is fairly modest among the hardcore crowd and I've kicked around the idea of going bigger but a couple factors have stopped me each time. Where I wheel there are plenty of trails and obstacles that are out of my reach based upon the limitations of my rig, my less than advanced skill level, or a combination of both. However as I've gone forward I've chipped away around the edges of those areas & the list is slowly shrinking. If I showed up next week with 40s on tons those trails wouldn't be nearly as challenging if at all, in fact most of the trails I do would become boring essentially shrinking the size of the park to a precious few challenges. Point being it's all relative, I guess I'm happier being a smaller fish in a big pond, for now anyway. Second factor is more practical, I'm fortunate enough that rust isn't an issue with my TJ & I plan to keep it indefinitely so it does not leave the garage in any kind of inclement weather, the only time it gets wet is when I wheel it and at the end of each outing it gets 3 or 4 cycles at the self-clean car wash including a complete flushing of the frame rails. As it stands I have less than one inch of clearance to get it into the garage so any more increase in lift or tire size would doom it to a life outdoors & that just ain't gonna happen.

    Anyway enough of that nonsense, here's how she looked the day I brought her home:

    04 TJ e.JPG 04 TJ g.JPG 04 TJ i.JPG
     
    RussTJ, Fonz54 and Chris like this.
  2. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    at 5 foot 7 I quickly realized it was a bit of an ass-ache getting in & out so within a week or two I made my first purchase, a set of Bartact paracord grab handles

    IMG_2418.JPG

    Also realized there's no good place to lock anything up so next thing to go in was the Tuffy:

    IMG_2474.JPG IMG_2475.JPG

    As spring of 2017 hit so did the need to ride cooler, so another box arrived

    IMG_2719[1].JPG

    and out came the Spiderwebshade, denim half doors & quick release mirrors

    IMG_2519[1].JPG IMG_2666[1].JPG IMG_2667[1].JPG
     
    Fonz54 and Rob5589 like this.
  3. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    Location:
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    With stock 3.07 gearing & 33 inch tires I obviously had to re-gear so you know what happened, in went proper 4.56s along with air lockers & 30 spline shafts:

    2.jpg 6.jpg

    Needed a new battery, went with an AGM due to the jiggle factor:

    Battery 2.jpg

    Prior owner had a tc drop to address the lift related vibrations, but I tweaked it up properly with the SYE/CV and Savvy double adjustable upper rear control arms:

    4.jpg 3.jpg 1.jpeg

    Next I slapped in an Anti-Rock because, well

    10.jpeg

    Armored it up a bit with ARB diff covers (no, they don't hit the track bar, suspension was cycled to be sure), plus a UCF aluminum engine/tranny skid, steering box, control arm & radiator guard:

    7.jpg Oi-tranny Skid.jpg Steering box skid.JPG Lower Control Arm Skids.JPG

    by the way that's all Rausch Creek clay & mud under there, not rust

    Following a case of angry sparrows I traced to the shot front shaft, in went an Adams heavy duty:

    21.jpeg
    And, one of my favorite add-ons, the Warn Zeon 8S, this is a thing of beauty, one of the smoothest operating machines I've ever owned:

    Winch install 7-19-17 #1.jpg

    There are a few other odds & ends but that's essentially the build, most of which was done in the spring of 2017. Since then it's been all about maintenance & replacing whatever I break. Here's how she sits today, not much different looking than the day I brought her home:

    Rausch Creek 048.JPG
     
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  4. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    That winch :eek: :aplastao:
     
  5. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    Chris I meant to put this thread in the Members Rides section but it looks like it's in the build section, can it be moved?

    Thank you
     
  6. Rob5589

    Rob5589 Rust•eze Bumper Ointment certified dealer
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    Nice Jeep. Should consider a ZJ tie rod conversion or something else before you taco the factory straw. In some of the pics it looks a bit bowed already.
     
  7. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    Done!
     
  8. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    Much appreciated!

    thanks for pointing that out, it's on the list now.

    Damn list :mad:

    Forgot to mention, I briefly ran a set of 6 inch Rugged Ridge Bushwacker knockoffs (due to tire coverage issues in PA), they lasted maybe 9 or 10 outings before I understood why people call them Bushcrackers. They weren't bad looking though I do like the stock flares better, glad I kept the stock to slap back on. This is what it looked like briefly:

    IMG_2739[1].JPG

    Much better below, getting ready to dirty her up a couple weeks ago:

    Rausch Creek 043.JPG
     
    Chris likes this.
  9. Westtown Willy

    Westtown Willy TJ Enthusiast
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    The stock steering has served me well but at 14 years old, 126,000 miles, shot boots that didn’t hold grease anymore & a bend in the tie rod (thanks @Rob5589 for pointing that out to me) it had to go before it started causing problems.

    Currie Currectlync is in & toe-in will be adjusted tomorrow, thanks to @Chris, @Jerry Bransford, and @mike d & his Longacre Toe-In Plates – I don’t know if this level of upgrade was necessary but I’m glad it’s in there. Right out of the box with no adjustment it drives really nice, will do a full off road test in two weeks.

    Maybe the best part was doing it myself, something I wasn't sure about until reading the threads here. All in for the Currie parts, toe-In plates, pickle fork & a tube of anti-seize I came in just under $500. Man when you do this stuff yourself it really takes a lot of the sting out of modifications. The tally:

    Currie steering: $413.46
    Longacre toe-in plates/tape measures: $63.16
    Pickle Fork: $12.71
    Anti-seize: $5.00
    Total: $494.33

    Here's some before & after pictures & side by side shots of the parts, I cannot believe how much bigger this thing is:

    003.JPG 007.JPG 008.JPG 010.JPG 011.JPG 012.JPG 016.JPG
     
    #9 Westtown Willy, Jul 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
    b0xcar, Ranger_b0b, Rob5589 and 2 others like this.

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