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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all. I was going to wait until I was a bit further along to start this build thread, but I’m getting to the point where I figure I’ll start forgetting what I’ve done so may as well start now.

The plans: updated 4/4/19 as my ambitions have grown.
YJ with an 18” body and frame stretch
One tons (Chevy 60 front, Ford 70 rear)
40” Bias Ply Trepadors
Atlas 4 speed
SOA with Rubicon Express SOA springs
Full Hydro steering
4.6L stroker
General Lee paint job to piss of the liberals

This will be a slow build. I am fully expecting this to take at least a year to complete. Between working 48 to 50 hours a week, my wife, my almost 4 year old daughter, and working on getting another bun in the oven I have been getting just a few hours a week to get any work done on this.

I have had this YJ since 2001. It was bought to replace my 1991 GMC Jimmy that was stolen my first week of college. As with most around here it has undergone quite a few changes over the years as I got more and more into wheeling so I’ll start with the evolution.

When I first got it. Bone stock.



Iirc this was some eBay 2” lift shackles front and rear and a ghey light bar that I’m not sure what I was thinking when I put it on.



Probably the biggest mistake I made, rough crappy 4” lift kit, 33” all terrains, some home made rock rails, etc



Stepped up to 35” procomp Xterrains



More or less how it currently sits. Swapped to Rubicon Express 4.5” extreme duty springs after having so many issues with the rough country junk over the years, Great Lakes Offroad diy beadlocks, still on 35s. A few armor upgrades over the years, tossed in an 8.8 with an ARB when I blew up the Dana 35, etc.







And the real motivation for doing this rebuild


 

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Discussion Starter #2
So as you can see above, my little girl is currently strapped into a kids suspension seat sitting on a frame I built to go above my fuel cell. I figure she’s only gonna fit this set up for one more season so I gotta get something done to give her some more space.

I was watching the sale forums here and bought a YJ tub and semi hacked CJ 7 tub from Hurleygo3 and dragged them home to use for this build. Nice thing with this is I am building the tub first in the garage and I don’t have to take down the Jeep until the tub is done.

First thing I did was build a table of sorts to work on the tub. I built it to the exact intended dimensions I am stretching to. I am adding 18”s to the body and the frame. Once the table was built I had a buddy help me slap the tub on it. Then I carefully measured and marked and chopped the tub in half right behind the door frame.







Then I carefully measured and cut some of the top rail section off the CJ tub for my top fill plates





Then I got detoured and spent some time filling all the unnecessary holes in the firewall and plating in the Cowell vent hole as I will not be using the stock heater.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Next order of business was to measure my aluminum fuel cell and go ahead and cut the hole in the rear floor for it. This time I am moving it back as far as I can so I have plenty of room for a rear bench and my growing kid.

Since I cut thru one of the body crossmembers I broke out my TMR Customs dimple dies and spent way too much time making a new one that nobody will ever see to beef up the edge of my cut a bit.





Next I had to decide what parts of the floor to stretch. I decided to split the difference and add 9”s to the upper floor section where the seat will mount, and 9”s to the lower floor for some more backseat legroom. (Something severely lacking in Wranglers)
Since the floor of the CJ tub was pretty rusty, I decided to use new metal. So I hit Quadratec and ordered some factory replacement patch panels since they were the correct gauge, already bent and ridged, etc and I just cut them up for the pieces I need.

For the rear I cut back a bit more of the factory floor to get rid of the mangled area where the spot welds were and give me a bit more surface area to weld along the fenders.







 

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Discussion Starter #4
Up next was the rear step. Again this is a patch panel from Quadratec.





When it came time to make holes for the spot welds I started with a drill and quickly realized it would take me weeks. Quick visit to Amazon got me this trick little pneumatic hole punch that made perfect holes in a second.



For the fill panels in front of the wheel wells I just cut up some more of the upper floor patch panel I had left over.







 

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Discussion Starter #5
Next I moved on to the lower floor section. Again I hacked up some replacement panels from Quadratec to get the pieces I needed.









 

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Discussion Starter #6
I currently run Blue Torch fab comp cut corners. I want to try and keep this monster somewhat light though so I decided to go aluminum for this build. I got in touch with Genright about getting some custom AL comp cut corners from them with 18”s added between the door and wheel well. However they told me I would have to order a minimum of 10 sets for them to make me what I needed. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen. So I got in touch with Stout Fabrication here on the board instead. No problem. Custom made 3/16” Aluminum comp cut corners showed up from them in just a few weeks.







 

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Discussion Starter #7
Now it was finally time to make the two halves one tub again. I burned in the top caps from the CJ tub and broke out my super high tech CAD design system to figure out what I would need to cut from a half sheet of fresh 16 gauge steel to fill the giant holes in the side of the tub.











Then after I cut my panels out I tossed them in my SWAG press brake to bend the bottom edge for some rigidity

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Next began the tedious process of burning them in. I had forgotten how much I hate welding sheet metal. I am definitely no body man. Luckily the armor will cover most of the imperfections on the outside and the Monstaliner will cover it on the inside. Got them all burned in and cleaned up as best as I can with a flap disc from Roark Supply. Might have to bite the bullet and use some filler in a few places before paint, but all things considered I’m pretty happy with the job I did. (Namely a 220V Miller 185 with .25 wire on the lowest setting I could get it on STILL burning holes. First time in my life I wished I had a 110v welder)


















That brings us up to date of where I am on the body right now. I have to finish welding the fender tops back to the body as the comp cut was high enough to cut thru the seam. Then I will flip the tub onto its sides so I can do the welding underneath. Spot weld the floor sides to the side panels, trim the excess from the bends, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The axles for this project came from another member here and a buddy of mine. They were in his CJ that he split the frame in half on. I have a Chevy Dana 60 front with a Detroit locker and 5.13s and a Ford Dana 70 rear stuffed with the same.

We used his bucket loader to get them in the bed of my truck, but when I got them home I had to get creative to unload them.





Another part of this upgrade is I am tired of blowing Dana 30 shafts. I am famous in my group for being the fastest front axle replacer they know because I’ve done it so many times. Don’t think I’ll have that issue with these.



I will be converting the 70 to discs. So far I’ve only blown the hubs and drums off. Cleaned up the hubs and put all new Timken bearings in them.







Past that, I took advantage of some Memorial Day sales and have started stockpiling parts. Goodies from Motobilt and RuffStuff respectively.






Also went ahead and ordered and picked up the custom rear bench from PRP to help with mock up.



And that brings us up to date with where I sit at present. I will continue to update as I keep rolling forward on this project.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Nice! Good call on the pneumatic hole punch.
Seriously. That was just one of those things. As I said I drilled maybe 4 holes and realized it would take forever. So I kept thinking about it and I was laying in bed about to go to sleep when it hit me. Grabbed my phone, hit Amazon, found that little beauty for $40 with free same day shipping. Ordered it at midnight and had it by the time I got home the next day.


Onto today’s progress, limited though it was. I managed to finish welding the wheel wells back together and was finally ready to get the tub up on its side to start the bottom welding. Then I hit a little snag. Turns out the table I made is too tall to allow me to stand it on its side on the table. I was a good 2 feet off on clearance. So what to do when working all alone?

Definitely to be filed under the “kids, don’t try this at home” file. I found I couldn’t really lift the tub by myself. So I grabbed some chain, my harbor freight come along that I used to unload the axles from the back of my truck, a heavy strap, some eye bolts, and some shackles and got very redneck very fast.

Ran the eyebolts with washers and nuts thru some of the floor drain holes. Made a big X with the chain hooked to the eye bolts. Wrapped the strap around the rafter in the garage and put the come along in between. Cranked it up until the tub swung clear off the table. Dragged the table out from under it, and slowly lowered the tub to the floor. Got it up on its side and started welding some of the spot welds on the bottom until the wife and kid came home.










It worked really well. Amazingly I only have to straighten out one drain hole that got a little tweaked from the lift.
 

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This has the ingredients to be a cool build, thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

:beer: :beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Looks like its going to be a good build.
Thanks. Looking forward to giving you guys more of my money. :grinpimp:
I just got the email confirmation that the other set of spring hangers I ordered from you is set to be delivered tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Didn’t get too much done worth reporting this week. Did some additional panel welding underneath the tub. Trimmed the excess metal left from the bend I did for the side fill panels, etc. all small stuff really. I did start fabricating another dimpled strip to add a bit more rigidity to the upper floor extension but ran out of time and had to go pick my daughter up from preschool.

I did however take delivery of a modified electric over hydraulic JD2 model 3 with a couple of die sets.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Didn’t get too much done this week as I spent both days off with a Bitchin cold and just couldn’t bring myself to drag ass out to the garage. I’m sure my welds would have been fantastic with all the sneezing I was doing too. :rolleyes:

However I did get a little bit done this afternoon after work.

I felt the upper floor extension could use a bit more support. It was flexing a bit more than I liked so I knocked up another dimpled sheet crossmember and burned it in. It spans the distance between the bends and I also went and welded it to the flange of the step to help tie all the pieces in together just a little bit more. Feels much firmer now. Also added some more tack welds along the edges underneath at the seams to help tie it all together a bit more and welded the floor to the last side panel.







Then I couldn’t resist trying out the new bender with a scrap piece of tube real quick.






 
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