Woodrow's 97 Green TJ Moderate Build

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Woodrow

Woodrow

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I enjoyed reading this thread over morning coffee. Great work, I really like the upholstery job!
Thanks. Fun, isn’t it? You’ve certainly got some work on your hands. I was born and grew up in the Detroit area. Do not miss the rust.
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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Some new parts are arriving for the next project(s):
E284D74C-03F2-4585-B9B0-48E47764FEC9.jpeg
4EE7992C-C3D4-4D47-9831-BA527F307595.jpeg

My mild tummy tuck was next. I have a UCF no body lift skid leaning against the wall in my garage which will give about 1.75” additional belly clearance and the Savvy cable shifter:
8744818F-CAE0-4C5A-84D7-D9F9A2982454.jpeg

96087725-C3B0-46EE-B7E3-1D5C62D6A9EE.jpeg

But I’m waiting for Savvy control arms and MML spacers. So, moving on, better brakes and a super 35: Above are the BMB 16“ brakes and Revolution 1541H 30 spline shafts. The brakes really look nice. They were delivered quickly and the packaging was excellent. I’d like to do the BMB rear disc conversion as well but @mrblaine doesn’t have those in stock so I may continue to run the drums for a bit. Also, I’m still waiting on an e-locker and new stainless steel brake line set, among other things. With the supply chain being as it is, I guess the next project to begin will be a surprise :/
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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While waiting on parts to complete a brake system overhaul, mild tuck and rear axle upgrade, another small project popped up. It turns out this TJ originally had a rear sway bar, but it was removed by a previous owner.
1643522957604.jpeg

I know most have them but thought it might have been optional (like on some pickups I’ve had). So, in an ongoing effort to improve drivability, I bought a Dorman OEM replacement rear sway bar and stock length links. For whatever reason, the 4 bolts and 4 nuts that attach the links to the bar and frame weren’t included. They bolts are fairly specific, so I ended up getting Moper nuts and bolts ($).
B0F4716E-64B0-49A5-8B53-EFB4EA5D6B83.jpeg
A straightforward bolt in affair, although the weld nuts on the axle mounts were pretty crusty.
5DD446DF-5DB6-465D-AFA1-33901DC2BBBC.jpeg

You can see, at full droop, the link bolts are right at the upper control arms although they actually aren’t touching. I put those adjustable upper arms in with the SYE kit and they are less bulky than the stamped stock uppers still present at purchase. Maybe interference there is why PO removed the rear sway bar? The tight fit could be solved with links that are slightly longer and I’ll probably buy or fab longer links at some point. At ride height, its not close:
D4DDCB27-8626-4F63-A8C8-51ECAD956015.jpeg

A test drive revealed more body control. Incrementally, this TJ’s road manners are getting better!
 
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DETOUR

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Some other minor stuff:
Factory exhaust ugly with surface rust. Also too quiet. Between that and the smoothness inherent to a straight 6, some times I’d forget to shift up. So got a manifold back stainless steel system. Magnaflow 2.5” header pipe, cat and muffler with new O2 sensors and custom welded 2.5” rear pipe (local guy did a beautiful job). Now that awesome inline 6 sound is audible but not loud and my shifts are better. It’s possible that I lost some low end torque by going from 2.25” to 2.5” behind the muffler. 3.07 gears make this more noticeable, I assume. Hmmm....

View attachment 257091

View attachment 257092

View attachment 257093
Woodrow
Can you post a sound sample , please n thank you 😊
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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I can. There is a short video on page 4 (first start of the stroker) from inside. Anything in particular you are interested in?
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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The TJ has been on the lift for an unreasonable amount of time and it’s not done yet (probably never will be but back on the road after the current project would be nice). However, here’s some progress: I’m a fan of good brakes and after the stroker and 33s, the stock brakes, though functional, needed some help. I live in a rural area and deer are plentiful. I usually see them in time, but about once a year, one gets a surprise jump on me. That happened a month or so ago. I managed to avoid hitting it and bending the front end, but it was close and I was underwhelmed by the brakes. So, @mrblaine set me up with some BMB 16” front brakes (they just fit inside my 15” steel wheels). And, inspired by conversation on @Irun s build thread, I decided to flip my ZJ tie rod as BMB offers a driver’s side knuckle pre-configured for the flip. It does require elevation of the front sway bar link attachments. The brackets for this are also available from BMB and that presented 2 opportunities: 1) address a clearance issue: the passenger side of the tie rod was hitting the sway bar link bracket at full droop and full turn to passenger. 2) a chance to try welding on the Jeep which is not as easy as welding on a table.
9EC622B0-7A21-411F-BB5B-1DBB3AA64DD3.jpeg

I think the vertical weld is OK but the upside down welds under the gusset look awful. Hopefully they are functional…
I also put in new Spicer ball joints. I actually did the welding with the old ball joints and knuckles in place to hopefully prevent any warping of the yolk. Then primer before paint.
AEB67055-3FE9-4BCF-91CB-96046BA5F5F0.jpeg
Since this Jeep is 26 years old in May and I was able to find Mopar parts, I replaced the brake booster and master cylinder and put in new stainless steel lines:
AD53EADA-D20B-4EE5-B8DF-98EE0D087F37.jpeg

At this point, I‘ve cycled the front suspension pretty thoroughly with the shocks and track bar attached but the springs out and sway bar disconnected. I did need to trim the front of the driver’s spring perch slightly. But now, after setting the steering stops, there’s no interference. The tie rod flip really moves the steering linkage up nicely. The springs are back in, sway bar links shortened and everything is torqued down. Next, I need to bleed the brake system, reset the toe-in and re-center the steering wheel. I’m looking forward to trying the new stuff out.
01FC69DD-186B-4278-9766-B66C9631C9D6.jpeg
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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The front brake/tie rod flip project is complete.

Brakes are bled with new DOT 4 synthetic, toe is re-set at 5/16". The steering wheel did not need re-centering. I would've set the toe a little less (1/8" to 1/4") but with ZJ tie rod, the rod end to tie rod clamp bolts interfere with the driver's spring perch if they are rotated to the back. The stock (with 3" spring lift) interference at full droop on the passenger side of the tie rod with the passenger spring perch area is now resolved after removing the stock sway bar link attachments and installing the elevated BMB brackets. I ended up setting my steering stops at 23mm of height R and L.
Drivers:
TJ drivers TR-spring perch.jpg

Passengers:
TJ pass TR-sping perch.jpg

The 16" kit (12" diameter rotor, vs stock 11", and 2 piston caliper is a snug fit in a 15" steel wheel):
TJ BMB caliper fit.jpg

Have a look at the ZJ tie rod position before the flip:
1645387549233.png

And after:
TJ BMB & tie rod flip.jpg

After following the recommended break-in procedure (clean rotors w/ simple green before install, 5-7 moderately hard rolling stops from about 40mph, 10-15min driving around to cool down and repeat, then overnight cool down and 5-7 more rolling stops) the brakes feel good. As others have said, they feel similar to stock in normal driving (not grabby and good modulation is maintained) but in hard stops, the increased power is evident and the front wheels will now lock, if you really stomp on it, whereas they wouldn't before with the 33s (my TJ doesn't have anti lock). Again though, modulation is good and its easy to back off from lock while still maintaining firm pressure.
 
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NskLJ

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The front brake/tie rod flip project is complete.

Brakes are bled with new DOT 4 synthetic, toe is re-set at 5/16". The steering wheel did not need re-centering. I would've set the toe a little less (1/8" to 1/4") but with ZJ tie rod, the rod end to tie rod clamp bolts interfere with the driver's spring perch if they are rotated to the back. The stock (with 3" spring lift) interference at full droop on the passenger side of the tie rod with the passenger spring perch area is now resolved after removing the stock sway bar link attachments and installing the elevated BMB brackets. I ended up setting my steering stops at 23mm of height R and L.
Drivers:
View attachment 310971
Passengers:
View attachment 310972
The 16" kit (12" diameter rotor, vs stock 11", and 2 piston caliper is a snug fit in a 15" steel wheel):
View attachment 310966
Have a look at the ZJ tie rod position before the flip:
View attachment 310967
And after:
View attachment 310965
After following the recommended brake in procedure (clean rotors w/ simple green before install, 5-7 moderately hard rolling stops from about 40mph, 10-15min driving around to cool down and repeat, then overnight cool down and 5-7 more rolling stops) the brakes feel good. As others have said, they feel similar to stock in normal driving (not grabby and good modulation is maintained) but in hard stops, the increased power is evident and the front wheels will now lock, if you really stomp on it, whereas they wouldn't before with the 33s (my TJ doesn't have anti lock). Again though, modulation is good and its easy to back off from lock while still maintaining firm pressure.
Looks good, I will be doing that this week. On your toe in have you tried removing the rod end from the spindle and rotating it one turn? This will give you1/2 of rotating the sleeve.
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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how was the brake booster replacement? And do you have a parts link?
Straight forward install. 4 nuts on inside of firewall, 4 at the master cylinder (on just 2 bolts) plus vacuum hose and clip to hold pin on the brake pedal. If you aren't replacing the master cylinder, there is enough flex in the bake lines to move it forward and get the booster out. I also had to un-bolt the evap canister which sits on the driver's inner front fender on my '97 to be able to move the booster and master cylinder forward enough. Your 2003 will be a little different. I got the part from MoparPartsGiant.com (stupid expensive like seemingly all OEM stuff).
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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Not directly Jeep related but practicing with the new welder and other metal working tools. 12' gate for tractor access to the yard. Because of the slope, its a parallelogram not a rectangle. Took a lot longer than I figured and still needs latches and paint.
gate.jpg
 
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NashvilleTJ

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Nice work. I would suggest a couple cross braces, otherwise even that steel structure will rack.

gate.jpg


But that's very cool. I wish I had a yard that required tractor access!
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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Nice work. I would suggest a couple cross braces, otherwise even that steel structure will rack.

View attachment 314026

But that's very cool. I wish I had a yard that required tractor access!
Thank you.

I wondered how much they will sag (especially the 8' section). I was hoping the cattle panel welded in the center would also help. Most of the livestock gates around the property (like the one in the background) don't sag much and are similar 0.065" material but they have more tube structure built in. On the other side of the yard is a cedar gate which I put a steel cable brace on in the manner which you drew above. It has a barrel to adjust tension and I may do the same here if these sag.

Also, its a small yard. I just need to get the tractor back there every now and then to bring dirt to my wife's garden boxes or some such.
 
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Woodrow

Woodrow

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Its been a couple of months since I’ve done anything to the TJ, other than daily drive it. The 16” Black Magic Brakes are good. It was time for an oil change and I’ve been making a list of things to do next time it’s on the lift:

1) Oil change. This is the 2nd oil change since the stroker went in. Golen sent a bottle of zinc additive for the first oil change which I used. I’ve been reading on zinc in oil. As many know, ZDDP (Zinc Dialkyl Dithiophosphate) is a necessary lubricant especially during break-in for older design engines. Its even more important in flat tappet engines like the 4 liter in our TJs. My stroker has a slightly hotter cam and stiffer valve springs so paying attention to ZDDP content in the oil seems important. Based on some reading, in the past, minimum ZDDP was standardized by the American Petroleum Institute (API) to around 1200 ppm. This was reduced to 800 ppm in 2004 because higher levels were hard on catalytic converters. The problem is lower levels of ZDDP lead to higher wear on cams with flat tappet lifters. It’s hard to find the exact ZDDP content for a given oil. I use Castrol GTX 10W40 in my TJ (because I always have-no better reason than that). I assume it has around 800 ppm ZDDP, but I may be wrong. If I’m right, my motor should probably have another 500 ppm or so to protect the cam. Lucas TB Zinc plus has 50,000 ppm. So, in 6 quarts (192 oz), 1.92 oz of Lucas TB plus (I rounded up to 2 oz) should add the desired 500 ppm of ZDDP. I realize there are a bunch of assumptions here, so if anyone has hard data to refute this plan, I’m all ears.
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2) Frame drain holes: It seems like everyone on this forum knows TJ frames rust from the inside out due to lack of drain holes in the low spot between the front and rear lower control arm mounts. My TJ has lived out west, presumably free of salt, but it’s also 26 years old in May so it’s past time for some drain holes. Therefore, I drilled four 5/8” holes in the bottom of the frame just in front of the rear LCA brackets and just behind the front LCA brackets. The metal seemed to be full 1/8” thickness (yay!). Using a small brush, I painted the bare metal in the holes with self etching primer and then black rust inhibiting paint. Although I stick a hose in the frame rails for a minute or 2 whenever I wash the TJ, it was remarkable how dirty the water running out the new holes was at the next wash. When its warmer and drier, I plan to finally do the Eastwood internal frame coating.
CF3FCDA4-2D18-4215-B002-1C916C9F3741.jpeg

3) Extended rear track bar links: Recently I added a stock style replacement rear sway bar which had apparently been taken off by a previous owner. It improved the TJ’s handling. However, with the 3” spring lift I noticed while on the lift that the upper bolts for the links contacted the rear upper control arms at full droop. While this didn’t seem like a huge problem, it bothered me some. So I bought JKS adjustable rear sway bar links (JKS part no. 2942). I cut them to 8 3/4” which JKS recommended for2-4” of suspension lift (stock is 7” and max for these links is 10 1/2”). My OCD is now satisfied (on this point-more rear axle work to come).
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621753A8-41FB-4310-8BE8-7E0401C4FAEA.jpeg
 
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Wildman

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I can't comment on the zinc but I have read of others with stroker engines who had their cams wiped out so I'd run the stuff even if it does harm the cat over time as that is a lot cheaper to replace compared to a new engine or at least a cam at the minimum.

Mine never had a rear swaybar either so I'm looking forward to see how it is with the rear anti-rock.
 
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Woodrow

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I can't comment on the zinc but I have read of others with stroker engines who had their cams wiped out so I'd run the stuff even if it does harm the cat over time as that is a lot cheaper to replace compared to a new engine or at least a cam at the minimum.

Mine never had a rear swaybar either so I'm looking forward to see how it is with the rear anti-rock.
I’ve seen those wiped cam issues as well and don’t want to go there. I also agree with you that a new cat is cheaper than a new motor 😀.
 
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