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Old 05-27-2013, 07:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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TJ Budget build

Many of you know I have been competing with a 4 door Jk for years and well it was build like a tank and often made it up obstacles easier than anything else in the competitions it broke alot of things due to the weight (almost 7K) and had a hard time staying between cones as these comps are designed for MUCH smaller vehicles! Often times my width was wider than the cones they had setup and I would just look at the judges like "ok how does this work!" ha ha

Anyway last year I decided to build a comp TJ... There are a few things I had in mind...

1. I wanted it to be be relatively cheap so if I smashed it up I wasn't cryin
2. I wanted it to be extremely capable and built well
3. I needed to maintain stock engine and suspension type as some stock mod classes require this

I bought a pretty worn out Jeep for Jeep... Had a bent rear axle, and alot of issues; but the jewel was that it had extremely well built boatsides and was comp cut with a very well designed and built rear setup about 5 years ago by JB Customs in Indiana.

Here is the story...


Original Build by JB Customs...

Started by cutting off the rear frame to narrow it and make room for the comp cut...



Here is the rear frame and bumper...



Here is a shot of the rear frame welded on and the through the cab shock mounts...



That Brings us to 2013... This January... I started watching the classified and bulletin Boards for a TJ. I knew I wanted a TJ for the smaller body and the ease of modifying it. I have had JK's for the last 5 years and miss a few things about the TJ. At first I was looking for a stretched TJ with a V8 and at least 38's... I looked at several but they either weren't done right or were over 20K which was more than I wanted to spend.

I found this for about 6K and made the couple hour drive with my good friend Tim Goodwin to pick it up.

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Part 2

OK So I got it back and the Jeep had some major issues that were not as advertised... I felt bad for the guys thats sold it because he met me two hours down the road but in hindsight I probably should have given him a harder time about the REALLY bent rear axle and a handful of other things... But it is what it is and I still felt like I got this for a great deal despite the dents...

Here is the pic when I got home, you can see visually the rear axle is bent pretty bad...



The front on the other hand had a SWEEEET Spyder 9 that was in great shape and worth some $$$



At this point I needed to sell some things that I wouldn't be needing... so I enlisted by buddy DREW at Goatbuilt and he was such a great guy to loan me some workspace as well as his occasional expertise and even time (probably more than he should have!)

Here is the list of what I decided to part out and to the best of my memory what I got for it:

$750 4 Old style 37" Goodyear MTR's
$2000 Spyder 9 front, super bent 44 rear (but had a good detroit and 4.88 gears in it....
$650 Warn HS9.5ti (I already had a warn powerplant to put on it)
$300 Random parts
$200 Half Doors



It was also about 4 different colors so I painted it Krylon Flat Camo Green and Re-Rhinolined the interior

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Part 3

Ok Here she is all painted up before I started the major overhaul!





At this point I actually was thinking about just trying to unload it and get a different one... maybe I should have but I loved the comp cut and the boatsides and it deemed to run very well and had low miles... so I kept it and started the major overhaul!

So here is where the story gets good! The crazy thing is that after selling all the parts I listed above I was basically just starting out with a $2500 chassis with low mileage engine, well built rear frame, semi custom cage (that needed work), boatsides, skids, long arms, and some questionable suspension... not bad right!

First purchase: D60's

I shopped the local forums and found JOHNNYJ on the great lakes thread. Johnny is an experienced racer and builder and came recomended from a good friend. He was trying to sell a bunch of stuff to get KOH Cash and I called him. He had this set of axles that were on a TJ and already narrowed a few inches and had lockers and 4.88's n them.

THE GOOD: They were under $2000, were a great width, had chro mo axles, and had a detroit in the front and spool in the back
THE BAD: He wasn't 100% sure on the condition of the parts and their wear... the rear ended up being slightly bent, they needed alot of grinding and to be completely rebuilt (IMO)

JohnnyJ is a GREAT guy and actually gave me a few bucks back after I sent him a picture of a pipe in the axle to show the bend.











AGAIN, THANK YOU GOATBUILT FOR YOUR ABSOLUTELY AMAZING WISDOM AND HELP!
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Part 4

We completely ripped apart both the front and rear axles and rebuilt as needed using mostly the parts with them but changed bearings etc...

We mad sure the rear had a zero departure angle... I am still not sure if I want a rear tire carrier or to leave the tire inside... but either way... I knew where I wanted the rear end!



The front had lockout hubs and I didn't want that so I sold the hubs and bought drive flanges... ended up being almost a clean swap as far as price goes.



The front was getting a 3 link and I didn't trust myself to weld to the cast, so Drew helped me out and what amazing welds this guy can tig together! It was a piece of art!



Here is the front parts ripped open!





Bending some tubes for reinforcements on the front and back... again... Drew bent these! I have no idea how to use that thing... but it was amazing!!!

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Old 05-27-2013, 08:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Part 5

Had Goatbuilt fab up some front coil spacers (I made the rear and they weren't nearly as pretty!!!) and we added the steering arm that was purchased new and needed to be drilled.



Not a great shot, but this shows how the front was slightly bent... The best way to pull this is to use an ibeam and chains and when it is straight, weld a truss on... We didn't have either... so we did our best and I welded some tubing on to make and OLD SCHOOL truss. we got it withing about 1/8" of being straight.









Since the TJ has boatsides and skids changing the driveshafts wasn't fun... I cut a removable panel in the floor to access and change them... Sent the driveshafts to a local guy to have lengthened and balanced.



Here is the front end installed...



I also decided to go with a Dodge Durango Steering box since it matches up but has a larger center section... and had it tapped at REDNECK RAM for about $350.

Here is a look at the rear from the inside

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Old 05-27-2013, 08:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Part 6

Ok, so at this point I have sold all the parts and basically had $2500 into the Jeep...

I added D60's for under $2000, Redneck Ram and other steering for about $500, lengthened Driveshafts for $250, put better brakes on for $250, and spent about $1000 on bearings, extra parts, and a hundred dollar bill here and tehre and beer for a few buddies! (THANKS TIMMY GOODWIN, COSTA KATULAS, JOSEPH GELDERMAN, TROY TERTANY, MEL, AND SOME OTHER GUYS... and again a HUGE THANK YOU TO DREW AND GOATBUILT)

Lets call it $6500 Then I added 4 Iroks in near new shape and called Interco to buy the spare... $1000 more which brings us to $7500

The I had the beadlocks from the Jeep purchase, I had the Warn Winch, The Jeep had 4 decent Bilsetin 14" shocks but I put my 14" fox shocks up front because they were laying around!

Here it is...













At this point I had a bunch of friends working around the clock the night before I was leaving and supposed to take it to MOAB the next day for EJS! Well we finished the Jeep! I stayed up all night.

The next day we went to load up my double trailer on a buddies brand new 2012 diesel F250 and the truck and trailer didn't like eachother... long story but we left my Jeep at home and took his Jeep on a single trailer. I could have driven myself but it was complicated...) So the Jeep stayed home.

The whole trip to Moab I wish I had it! But oh well!
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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part 7

Ok so I got back from EJS and decided to try it out locally. We wheeled a few times and it performed well!

Here it is on my at home testing place!





PS it weighed about 4500 lbs

Here we are on a trial run off to the cliffs! (What an awesome place! They are the best!)









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Old 05-27-2013, 08:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Part 8

IT DID REALLY WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But it needed a few finishing touches...

I bent some tube and made a stinger, added a Mil spec marine waterproof stereo ($150) and wakeboard speaker and amp from craigslist ($200) and some LED lighting that I traded a buddy some jeep parts for!



The front tire is off the ground over 50"!















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Old 05-27-2013, 08:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Part 8

Still tweaking some things...

The Jeep originally came with the Currie anti-rocks front and rear... so I started tweaking them a bit, the front shocks needed to be mounted higher so I cut holes in the hood upper fender and raised the mounts...

I also drilled the winshield hinges out and made the winsheild a quick disconnect so it comes off and on in seconds...

Next I put horns on it... year Horns! ha ha... I had to bend tube around the windshield so it would still take any stock doors and a bikini top! They serve as door upper protection, Bump it and his the gas and the horns are the only thing that will hit! Works well! Saw it on a KOH race truck once! It also protects the lightbar... I wanted it to work with or without the windshield and kind of liked the horns so I left them... have found they help as limb risers too!









I also left the main B pillar rollbar but pretty much made the rest out of .120 DOM... It is tied to the frame in several places!









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Old 05-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Part 9

So I have had it wheeling a few times and it is amazing! I have climbed some hills I have never seen anyone make it up before and really loved wheeling it!

Here are some things That I may do...

Kind of wish I would have done coilovers on all 4 corners for $2000 extra...

It is running hot... Will try to tweak a few things...

It just has the stock 1:2.72 T case and 4.88 gears with stock 4.0 AUTO TRANS... and LACKS power! So it needs a RUBI 4:1 rocktrac or better yet an Atlas!

Before I do the above I am on the fence about a v8! I would love a 6.0 so I guess I need to decide on that before the tcase

At this point I have under $10k into it and unfortunately... Tj's with alot of dents aren't worth much more regardless of what they got... soooooo I may just ad a ROCTRAC 4:1 and be done...

Finally it STILL just has a spool in the back, which I kind of like, but I would love a matching detroit in it

I think thats it! Any suggestions?





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Old 05-28-2013, 07:10 AM   #11 (permalink)
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You had me til the horns......
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Ha ha yea I'm still on the fence about the horns too!!!
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Just busting balls, where I wheel they would be limb grabbers instead.

Sweet build for cheap like you said, I'd wheel the crap out of it....
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