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Author Topic: Runners Build Thread  (Read 20799 times)
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Runner
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« on: January 30, 2014, 10:14:25 AM »

Now that I'm a Member, I too can finally post a build thread. I'm piecing this together, from previous posts, so I have one thread. It is quite a lot, but here goes:

Admittedly this is a long read, which also demonstrates my somewhat anal side, so I apologize up front! I'll start with stating what my build philosophy is, then outline what I've done thus far. I typically have a structured vehicle modification path I follow. In general, I do all my own work, with the help of a good buddy, and my process looks something like this:

 1. Start with an end game in mind
 2. Ensure power-train (i.e. engine, transmission, transfer case, drive shafts, and differentials) durability and reliability
 3. Add safety related items
 4. Upgrade braking and cooling systems
 5. Upgrade suspension, tires, and armor
 6. Add creature comforts
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 10:05:15 AM by Runner »

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2014, 10:16:08 AM »

What I've done thus far:

Having owned a JKU, I missed the TJ platform, but also needed more room, so I decided to find a nice LJ to build. The plan was to start with 35" tires, but ultimately move to making major engine and other power-train modifications later (+ or minus 3 years). Since I knew I would be doing this, I specifically didn't want to pay the Rubicon premium, so I set out to find a nice "virgin" LJ. Here, I found a solid 100k mile one-owner, never offroaded, and rust free platform to build on. It had all the things I wanted, including: hard and soft tops, automatic transmission, full doors, and cruise control.  


Baseline Image
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 03:56:37 PM by Runner »

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2014, 10:30:38 AM »

After I brought the project vehicle home, I set to work.

1. For the powertrain, I did the following:
 - replaced the timing and ignition components
 - replaced most gaskets/seals (rear main, oil pan, timing cover and front seal, valve cover, etc.)
 - replaced the oil pump (checked main and rod bearings)
 - rebuilt the transfercase
 - added a JB Conversions SYE
 - replaced the automatic transmission filter, installed a Mopar transmission cooler, and flushed and replaced the fluid
 - both rears were replaced with Rubicon dana 44's and all bearings and seals replaced
 - upgraded 5 on 5.5 bolt pattern alloy axles were included for front (Dutchman) and rear (Superior)
 - Reid knuckles
 - Warn lock out hubs
 - new Tom Woods driveshafts added front and rear


Ingition, cooling system, gaskets, seals, etc.


Transfercase rebuild & JB Conversions SYE


Tom Woods rear driveshaft





Dana 44 front and rear install....with front Reid knuckles, Warn lockout hubs, and Currie HD steering

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 10:43:25 AM »

Suspension, tires, and armor
 - because I had these components already, I installed a BDS lift (with complete adjustable control arms and adjustable front track bar) and Bilstein 5100 shocks
 - installed JKS sway bar disconnects
 - installed a Currie HD tie rod and drag link steering system
 - cleaned painted and installed solid diff covers (front and rear)
 - installed a 1" body lift and MML
 - installed UCF tummy tuck and engine skids
 - cleaned, painted, and installed Skid Row radiator guard
 - cleaned, painted, and installed Kilby steering box skid
 - cleaned, painted, and installed Nates front and rear (with tire carrier) bumpers
 - installed 6" fender flares
 - added 35x12.50/17 Duratrac tires on steel wheels (looking to upgrade to aluminum in the future, but these were dirt cheap to start with)  


BDS suspension


UCF Tummy Tuck Skids


Skid Row radiator Guard


Kilby Steering Box Skid


Before - Baseline Image


After - With Duratrac Tires and Nates Bumpers
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 11:08:44 AM by Runner »

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2014, 11:00:34 AM »

Safety
 - added a 9Klb Superwinch
 - added synthetic line
 - added a Hi-Lift jack
 - installed Hella Fog and Driving lights
 - added a fire extinguisher inside
 - added an assortment of straps and shackles for extraction purposes


Hella Lights and Superwinch


Rear Bumper, tire carrier, Highlift Jack, and Jerry Can
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 11:03:06 AM by Runner »

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2014, 11:01:59 AM »

Creature comforts
 - added a new Kenwood stereo with Satellite, HD radio, and bluetooth
 - installed new Polk Speakers and a new powered subwoofer
 - replaced all the internal lights with LEDs (a patriotic combination of red, white, and blue)


Interior LED Lights and Stereo



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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2014, 11:26:07 AM »

With all that done it was time to tweak. After the tummy tuck I decided to relocate the locker air pumps under the hood.

I pulled and cleaned the entire bracket, from the drivers side, and painted it. I then mocked up a location and drilled the mounting holes:


Locker Air Pumps Mockup

I then installed the bracket and pumps and wired everything up:


Locker Air Pumps Installed

Once that was complete, I ran the wires inside and cut two (2) holes in the heater control panel and mounted Daystar switches:


Locker Switches Mounted

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2014, 11:31:01 AM »

Because the BDS disconnects were junk, I installed a new set of JKS swaybar disconnects:


JKS Swaybar Disconnects

 

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2014, 11:50:57 AM »

After running the suspension for a couple of months I couldn't stand it anymore. It hit/binded in multiple places rode, couldn't handle the additional weight added, and generally rode like crap. After extensive research, I decided on replacing it with a Metalcloak 3.5" short arm kit. After the install the ride was waaaaaaaaaaaay better all the way round.

 -Reduced driveline vibration
 -No binding or funny "clunks"
 -Smooth riding
 -No noticable body roll or "wandering"
 -Improved articulation (I do still need shock work here!)
 -Roughly 2" of additional clearance at the fenders






MC Front Coil and Brakeline


MC Front Control Arms 1


MC Front Control Arms 2


MC Left Rear 1


MC Left Rear 2


MC Right Rear


MC Front Track Bar View


After Metalcloak Suspension Install
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 11:52:35 AM by Runner »

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2014, 11:55:02 AM »

Next steps are to install the Metalcloak Rockers, front and rear fenders, and extended corner guards. Will need to wait for some warmer weather though!




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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
unl1mtd
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King George, VA
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2014, 09:35:44 PM »

I'm glad to see you are now a member and that you have started a rig thread.  Grab a Wrench!

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Runner
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 07:27:50 AM »

I'm glad to see you are now a member and that you have started a rig thread.  Grab a Wrench!

Much appreciated. Inching my way towards a 5.3 and 4L60e conversion. Probably won't happen until next year, unless something breaks, but that's the goal.

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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Runner
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 07:54:09 AM »

I finally had some time this weekend to work on a couple of things. However, as is generally the case for any of my projects, things never go as planned. The goal for this weekend was the following:

 1. install the Metalcloak (MC) front fenders
 2. install the Round Eyes headlight upgrade
 3. install the Genright fuel tank

As Meatloaf sang, "two out of three ain't bad", and I was only able to tackle 1 & 2. This was largely due to the amount of time I spent with the MC fenders. For these, I decided when I purchased them that I would go with body color, Patriot Blue, instead of taking the black powder coat or paint route. Although I was second guessing that this weekend, in the end they turned out awesome and I'm glad I did. The process to get to the end state did however turn out to be a comedy of errors, which looked something like this:

 - remove stock fenders
 - prime MC fenders
 - paint MC fenders with Nason PBT
 - clear-coat MC Fenders Nason clear

Here is where the trouble started. After putting down a first coat of clear I ran out of mid temp activator (yes, I thought I had more!) and had to switch to something else. Upon laying down the second coat it wrinkled badly. Of course my immediate reaction was to mutter all kinds of colorful metaphors. I then had to wait for it to dry, so it could try again:

 - sand previously painted and cleared fenders
 - paint MC fenders with Nason PBT
 - clear-coat MC Fenders Nason clear

After finishing this they looked pretty good, however, Mr. Murphy visited and things went south. As I was walking away I accidentally kicked the stand, and down went the newly painted fenders. Needless to say, more colorful metaphors flew and I walked away. Next, repeat previous steps:

 - sand previously painted and cleared fenders
 - paint MC fenders with Nason PBT
 - clear-coat MC Fenders Nason clear

Third time was the charm and I let everything dry. The next day I came back and began the install process. In this case, I will give huge accolades to Metalcloak. I've installed lots of aftermarket parts over the years and I have no issues saying that this was the best quality and most complete kit I've ever installed. Everything was included, fit exactly as I expected it should, and I didn't have to hack up or drastically modify anything. In fact, all I really had to do was bend one of of the existing brackets (i.e. cruise control) and break off a tab on the washer reservoir bottle. The only issue I did have was that the instructions tell you to have two people to push in on both sides of the hood simultaneously, so it won't rub on the fender rails. I didn't have someone there to help, so I'll have to address this when I have the opportunity. Other than that, it all turned out great. Enough about the words, here are the pictures:




Fender removal & clean up



Prime & Paint Fenders




Install Fenders

 
I still need to wire up my marker and turn signals, but am very happy with the finished product. Next comes the rockers and rear armor and fenders!



Finished Product


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2004 LJ, 1999 TJ Sporticon - "Owning a Jeep is a sickness. However, it's one I'll gladly endure!"
Renegade3
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 08:25:58 AM »

This is a great thread, thanks for sharing!

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2006 Rubicon
unl1mtd
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King George, VA
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2014, 08:59:20 AM »

looks great. can't wait to see it at the show & shine.  Grab a Wrench!

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