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Old 02-15-2019, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
Zeus of the Sluice
 
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Gambler 500 MJ Build

Found out about the Texas Gambler 500 from another buddy who's going to be attending in his Crown Vic. For those of you who don't know, this a very much a beater race. Participants are encouraged to spend no more than $500 to buy a vehicle with and beat on it for 500 miles over two days.

I thought it would be a blast so I began searching for a beater. I was actually about to pick up a Subaru that had damage to to the back end when another buddy found this 2wd MJ on CL for $800. For what it's worth, it's very difficult to find a running vehicle around here for $500 or less.

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When we got there, we assesed the front and rear end damage. It doesn't seem to bad, and should be able to fix it enough for our purposes. It also had a transmission issue that made grinding noises anytime the clutch wasn't pressed it. We were hoping it was something simple, but more on that later. After we looked at it, we talked the owner down to $650, paid him $100 to hold it for us, and went back the next day to pay the rest and load it up. It took both of our Jeeps to get it up on the trailer along with some 2x4s and old tires (my buddy didn't grab both ramps to the trailer). We ended up using my JK as an anchor and his winch to pull it onto the trailer. Then for the 10 mile trip back to my house.

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We managed to push it up into the driveway and discovered the parking break was pretty much useless, so we chalked the wheels.

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1989 XJ on 35s Work in Progress
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Old 02-17-2019, 01:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've done several Gambler 500 events over the last couple years here in WA and OR. you won't regret it. The bigger a crap can you show up with the cooler you are. It's the opposite of a car show and way better!
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yea, we're pretty excited about it, though I doubt we'll be in the biggest piece of crap. I've been watching the FB page and there are some shitboxes that will be attending.
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1989 XJ on 35s Work in Progress
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Made a lot of progress this weekend. Got the "new" transmission swapped in Friday night. Turns out 1st gear sorta works. It will pop out of gear or sometimes just refuse to shift into first at all. Also, 5th gear is completely unusable for some reason. It shifted into 5th and seemed to work just fine before we installed it, but going down the road, it won't shift. No grinding or any other noises, so we're not real sure what's going on with that. Maybe a synchro or something is bad.

Pulling the old transmission.

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We were hoping for a simple solution, like a bad throwout bearing. Unfortunately the throughout bearing was good, so we started to tear into it. Turns out this thing is trashed. Really unsure if I should keep it around for a rebuild or just trash the entire thing.

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Old 02-18-2019, 10:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So with the new transmission installed, it was time to start on the lift. We scored some free springs from the local Jeep shop. Not sure exactly what they are, but we think the front coils are 3.5" lift springs. No clue what the rear leafs are from, bit it gave us quite a bit of lift in the rear, at least 4". We scored some free stock JK wheels and Rubicon BF Goodrich MTs. Two of the 4 have some decent tread left, so those were installed on the rear. We bought the adapters from the same shop for cost, as they ordered them by mistake. We also managed to replace the valve cover gasket, and trim the front fenders. The rear fenders seem to be large enough for the tires.

Nothing like free parts!

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1.5" adapters

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Installing the lift. The front shocks were laying around. I had planned to use them on the XJ, but ended up going with a different set. Perfect for this project.

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Little man helping to clean years of oil leak off the motor.

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How it sits today.

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Last edited by GFY Racing; 02-18-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Looks great. What rear is in it? Dig up a locker or weld the rear and that thing will go anywhere. If you scout around enough you can find an explorer rear with 4.10s for cheap.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's a 92. We had considered welding the rear, but I have my doubts that the D35 would survive. My buddy is going to pick up an Aussie locker later this week for it. We're toying with the idea of running it in the dirt riot series. If we do, we'll be swapping in an 8.8 in the rear, along with a TJ D30 I have in the front.
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Fighting for the right for SORRY PIECES OF SHIT to protest at soldier's funerals.

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1989 XJ on 35s Work in Progress
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Old 03-02-2019, 12:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A small update. We got an Aussie locker installed. It took two attempts as the first one was the wrong part. Apparently there are two different carriers for the D35. The guy who listed the locker put the wrong part number in the ad. He made good on it though and even paid to have it shipped back. We ordered the correct one from Amazon and got it installed a few days ago. Weve also been adding some gambler bling. 

The front clip clip is removed right now. Im planning on building a bumper to hold a winch in the next few days.












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