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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
At age 34 (I'm 40 now), I bought my first and only new vehicle ever - a 2005 LJ - as a spring/summer/fall daily-driver. I have always stored it in the winters, and driven a cheap "winter bomb" to keep the LJ out of the salt. I love the thing, and have pretty much babied it, to say the least (until more recently...read on).

Here's a stock shot of my LJ. Looking back, it looked pretty "wussy" on those stock-sized tires (not that it's huge now, but...).



A couple years ago, when the Wrangler GS-As were starting to get a little slippery (plenty of tread left, but the compound got kind of hard/slippery), I sprung for some 31" BFG KM2s and a budget boost. It's a great set-up. The handling is still great, and the tires aren't horribly loud for being a mud-terrain design.



Enter a Fall 2010 visit to Rocks and Valleys with my daughters (met up there with Crawler and his wife). One word...ADDICTED! So were my daughters. Mira was begging me to get a locker so we could do the Black Diamond trails. :grinpimp:




Current Plans/Status (updated 4/2/2012):
I want to give a H-U-G-E thanks to RockSolid Performance for all of the guidance, custom work, and great service. Thanks guys!


I installed a Currie Anti-Rock up front...




I picked up a CJ-10a Dana 70U for the rear. It's W-I-D-E (75") in stock form. The Dana 70U has a nodular iron center section, a smooth bottom (see photo below), 4.88 gears, and a Power-Lok limited-slip.



It's not a high-pinion axle, but the pinion is just below the center line of the axle, so it's not really a low-pinion, either.


Post-Anti-Rock install "playing" pic. I couldn't get any further up the rock with the open front diff. :(


I picked up 3 different sets of H2 wheels to get the 5 best for my own Jeep. Here's a shot on my friend Harry's Bridgeport mill, which he used to machine out the centers.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I want minimal lift. I'm sticking with the stock springs with 2" TeraFlex BB spacers for now. I got an AEV Highline kit to help maintain the low stance.


I also got some AEV skid plates, but will be returning the AEV Tummy Tucker in lieu of a Full-Traction Long-Arm kit (including a tummy tucker skid). I'm keeping the AEV 4.0L oil pan skid. The only problem...it came in gloss black. I scuffed it up and painted it with Eastwood Satin Extreme Chassis Black.


Here's the narrowed (to 65") Dana 70U. Big thanks to Chop at Sinister FabWorks/Unlimited Offroad Centers in Fenton, Michigan.


We pulled the OEM Dana 44, and have since removed all bracketry in preparation for installing XJ perches/shock mounts, and a T&T Customs truss. We're installing both Dana 30/Dana44 axles in my 11-year-old daughter's '93 XJ 2-door project (build thread HERE). EDIT: Finished, reworked-for-XJ Dana 44 axle pic HERE.


Here's how it looks in its current state, with my daughter giving her best "used car salesman" pose in the driver seat. :laughing: No heckling about the cinder blocks; I bought a couple sets of 6-ton jack stands since the photo was taken. :flipoff2:


I just got word this weekend that my front axle is almost ready. RockSolid Performance (right here in Cedar Springs, Michigan...near Grand Rapids) built up the Currie Iron Jock III front axle (66" wide). I bought just the housing/knuckles/bearings/brakes initially, as I had to financially do it in stages. RockSolid stuffed it with 4.88 gears, a Yukon Grizzly locker, 35-spline shafts, and Warn lock-outs.




So that's all for now. I hope to have it driving again in 2012 (summer would be excellent), but we'll see how things go. Spending time with my daughters, and working on my oldest daughter's XJ are huge priorities for me (along with a full-time job that gets in the way of my Jeep work :laughing:).

More to come as it progresses...

Craig
 

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Lookin good man. Checked out the other build thread too, must be an amazing experience. One word of advice....






























Don't allow her to join pirate for at least another 7 years. :flipoff2:


But all looks good. Keep it up!!:D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lookin good man. Checked out the other build thread too, must be an amazing experience. One word of advice....






























Don't allow her to join pirate for at least another 7 years. :flipoff2:


But all looks good. Keep it up!!:D
Yeah, there's no way she'll be signing up, nor posting here, until probably she's graduated high school. :laughing:

Thanks. We're having fun with her project, too.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have nuts. :D These are the new 9/16" acorn-style lug nuts for the D60/D70 axles (1 box of 2).




And finally...

Here's my combined birthday & Christmas gifts to myself...for the next 2-3 years. :) Full-Traction long-arm suspension kit. Packaging was a bit shoddy, but Full Traction is sending me touch-up paint for a considerable amount of powdercoat damage during shipping.

One apparent downside to the Full traction skid (vs. the AEV Tummy Tucker I returned) is that it looks like the Full Traction skid doesn't gain any real clearance over the stock LJ skid plate. Trade-offs...

Craig

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Because of my HUGE satisfaction with my Blair Rotabroach & Spot Weld Remover kits, and because my LJ needs some holes drilled in the frame to install the Full-Traction long arm kit, I picked up this "Large Diameter Hole Cutter Kit". I cannot speak highly enough of these Blair tools. They are far superior to any hole saw or drill bits I have used before, and they're made right here in Michigan! Highly recommended tools...once you use 'em, you'll wonder why you didn't buy them years before.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Disassembly begins for the Full Traction long-arm install. Drive shafts, track bar, front control arms & auto trans skid are all pulled, and the Jeep is up on jack stands. Install to begin this weekend. Woot!

Craig

 

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the stock 30 in her XJ is probalby more better than the one coming out of your LJ.

it should be a high pinion...

build is lookin good!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
lookin great.. will be watchin your build.... :)
Looks good man! Will be a cool jeep when its done!
Thanks, gents! :smokin:


the stock 30 in her XJ is probalby more better than the one coming out of your LJ.

it should be a high pinion...

build is lookin good!
Fair enough point. Mira's Dana 30 was a high-pinion, but with the smaller U-joints and 3.07 gears, 189K miles, and needing "refreshing" at a minimum on top of re-gearing. I considered using it, but my LJ Dana 30 has 53K miles, the right gearing, and larger U-joints. The only thing I did was add LCA skids, and it'll be getting repainted. The decision was easy for me, and the benefits of high-pinion for her XJ didn't make it worth not using my LJ D30, if that makes sense. I also bought my LJ new, so I know the history of the vehicle/axle (translation = babied :)).

Craig
 

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Any reason why your just going with 37" tires?

My buddy runs a 70 rear on 38's and gets hung up all the time. That rear diff is massive! Just sayin...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Any reason why your just going with 37" tires?

My buddy runs a 70 rear on 38's and gets hung up all the time. That rear diff is massive! Just sayin...

Another good question. Several reasons, actually. Much of this is subjective, but...

  1. I originally planned on 35s with the stock axles, but after looking at the AEV highline set-up, really liked the look of 37s better. It looked much more proportional vs. the 35s. Reusing my stock axles for daughter Mira's XJ build (link HERE; she's also in the Jan. 2012 Jp Magazine, pg. 56 :D) also made it easier to justify going bigger, and replacing my axles.
  2. Streetability. 37s seemed to be toward the upper end of a "streetable" LJ. Of course, this is highly subjective, and could be argued indefinitely, I'm sure.
  3. I'll probably do hydro assist at some point, but thought 37s were the upper end of being able to use stock steering until then.
  4. Price of tires. I got a great deal on the 37s.
  5. I planned on a short-arm set-up originally. It's a long story, but I ultimately ended up getting a deal on the Full-Traction "long-arm upgrade". It wasn't the original suspension direction.
  6. This D70U is supposed to have the same clearance as a Dana 60. With the 37s, I have 11" of clearance under the lowest point of the D70U diff. I'm not sure how that stacks up relative to some, but should be fine for me.
I won't be doing any ultra-radical wheeling in this thing. I have buddies with more radical Jeeps (and much better drivers!) if I want to experience harder-core stuff.

Craig
 

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hey craig, been watching this and Mira's builds over on GL4x4.



just to add a little to the dana 70 discussion. I know the 70u has probably the best ground clearance, like craig said almost the same as a 60. Now the 70b and 70HD are a different story. I have both a 70b and a 70HD sitting next to a 61 (roughly the same as a 60) and there is almost an inch loss on the 70b and over an inch loss on the 70HD, when compared to the 61. Also both the 70b and 70HD have a huge lip on the bottom compared to a 70u

so miguelitojeep, if your buddy has a 70b or a 70HD, he should look into taking a grinder/sawzall to the bottom and trim up the pumpkin a little bit.

thread highjack over.
 

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I have a few questions for you if I may...Did you have to have axles made for the D70, or were you able to have the ones in it resplined? How wide is the overall width with the tires from outside of tire, to outside of tire, both front and rear? I am planning the same basic build and am interested in knowing if it will fit on my trailer or not. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #16
hey craig, been watching this and Mira's builds over on GL4x4.
Thanks BIGBEN68.


I have a few questions for you if I may...Did you have to have axles made for the D70, or were you able to have the ones in it resplined? How wide is the overall width with the tires from outside of tire, to outside of tire, both front and rear? I am planning the same basic build and am interested in knowing if it will fit on my trailer or not. Thanks
Yes, I had to get aftermarket axles (Yukon), as the stock ones tapered down slightly right inside of the splines. I had hoped to have them just cut & re-splined, but no luck.

As far as the width, I'll have to get back with you about that after I get the wheels/tires back on.

Craig
 

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Discussion Starter #18
First of all, I had a very good discussion with Steve, the owner of Full-Traction, last week about some of my customer service experience. Steve offered some good feedback, and I think there were just some miscommunications along the way that previously left a bad taste in my mouth. Having talked with Steve, I feel much better about things, and am excited to get my LJ rolling on the Full-Traction long-arm set-up.

So I got started on the install this weekend (it'll be in-process for a few weeks, I suspect). My buddy Jesse came over yesterday and we visited RockSolid Performance for a bit (he hadn't been to the shop before), then got to work on the LJ. I'm 99% certain that Spudy was a bit frustrated with the slow pace, but in all fairness, I warned him that's how I work before he ever came out. :D

We got the transmission/t-case supported, and dropped the factory tranny skid. The bolts came out like butter...love it! I also cringed slightly, then cut off the factory exhaust up by the 4.0L oil pan (required for the long-arm install).

These are the side brackets that also have the front/rear lower control arm mounts. and rear UCA mounts. I'm going to test fit everything before drilling the holes in the side of the frame to further support these brackets.


Here are the fuel/brake line relocators, which changes them from a vertical mounting to horizontal one above the side brackets. The fuel line will just need some very minor tweaking so that it doesn't rub the underside of the tub.


Here's another shot of the fuel/brake line relocators (changes them from a vertical mounting to horizontal above the side brackets), and rear UCA/LCA mounts.


Jesse also helped me lift the Currie Dana 60 out of my military trailer, and on to a creeper to get it positioned underneath. It's a heavy SOB!!! Of course it didn't help that my trailer is pretty high off the ground, too. Here's the Currie Iron Jock positioned under the LJ. I'll be talking to RockSolid Performance about steering soon, too. After a brief discussion with them already, I'll likely go wtih 7075 aluminum tie rod & drag link. I suspect that we'll also use a custom-built RockSolid High-Steer Arm (passenger side only), as well. They told me to hold off until everything is mounted under the Jeep to decide on the final set-up. I also plan on having them build me an adjustable track bar.


If you had told me 6 1/2 years ago that I'd be cutting bracketry off my LJ frame, I would have insisted (emphatically) that you were insane. Today, I did just that, and got one of the lower OEM control arm brackets removed, and the outside of the frame ground/sanded. Pretty!


Here's how it looks as of this evening. It's coming along slowly. The Full-Traction install instructions estimate 12-15 hours for the install of the long-arm kit. I'll probably have that just in cutting/grinding/sanding off the OEM frame brackets (they'll look like they were never there, though!). :grinpimp:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, I took advantage of the warmer weather today and took an impromptu vacation day. It was a long day (10 hours on & off) of cutting, grinding & sanding. It sounds like a lot, but I'm very careful/detailed with the grinding & sanding - it's the only way to do it, in my book. The rears are all done, and just need to be primed & painted. The driver front UCA/LCAs are gone, but didn't get to the passenger front yet. Making progress...

LCA & UCA carnage.



Rear LCA & UCA brackets are removed...like they were never there!


 

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Discussion Starter #20
I got the Full-Traction rear control arms & V-bar slung under the LJ today with the help of my loving fiancee, Amy (thanks Amy!). It's a bit tough manipulating that pig-of-a-rear-axle myself, and appreciate her getting out in the cold garage to help me!

It's now sitting on its own weight in the rear again. Woot!

Craig

 
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