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Discussion Starter #1
Figured I’d post my build pics on here since I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and ideas from this board over the past few years. (I’ve been quite the lurker for the last 6 years.) So, I hope I can inspire others from my build…

Caveat: Please note that I had no intentions of posting this build, so the pics are from my iPhone and do not capture of all the build.

I started with a 2006 LJ Rubicon with the typical mods to support 35’s and east coast rock crawling/daily driving.

Stock Drive train
4” Currie springs
35” MTZ’s
JKS control arms
Bumpers and skids.
Cage (used the factory main hoop)
Etc.

I wheeled it in this condition for about 4 years, typically at Rausch and Big Dogs, while collecting parts for the next phase.















My plan was to build a platform to eventually support 40’s with some “grocery getting” capability to drive it on the street without hassle from the local PA police. This means that I couldn’t build a full width one ton platform unless I wanted gigantic (Dumbo style) fender flares. I decided that maximum WMS could be 65” with the H2 wheels I bought. I frequently referenced Swag MFG’s jeep as a goal, with some of my own touches…

So I gathered the parts, did my 4-link calculations and started building. I sold my Rubicon D44’s to offset some of the cost of the mods.



(Wow that looks waaay too shiny for 4 years of wheeling :D)





I reused the stock motor, transmission (6spd), and transfercase since they only had about 35K miles and they were in no need of replacement or rebuilding. Plus I figured I could still always upgrade those later if I was disappointed in the performance. I also decided that I would re-use the Currie 4” coils (now sagging to 3”) and go from there if it didn’t give me the lift and off-road performance I wanted. I knew that coil-overs were not within my budget for this phase.

I started with a CUCV 14 bolt rear axle (because of the Detroit and the price, should have bought all 3 in the yard I got it from) and used the DRW hubs to get the width I wanted (63”). I later added some 5/8” spacers on each hub as the frame clearance was not enough. I added a set junkyard set of E350 rear disks with the integrated e-brake, which keeps me legal in PA. I removed the factory 14B backing plate mounts and made my own out of 3/8”. Added a UCF truss (which is great for the price) and made my own upper (1/4”) and lower (3/8”) link mounts and coil buckets. I did a mini shave on the bottom, as I figured I would leave a full shave for the future.








 

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Discussion Starter #2
Moving on to the front axle, I started with a mid 80”s Ford king pin D60. I chopped the passenger tube down 5” to get 64.5” WMS. I did this by creating a reference mark on the tube and the inner-c for the rotation orientation, transferred it inward 5” and re-welded. Added a 3/8” truss I bent in my vise with some heat and big adjustable wrench. (I actually broke my bench top when making the first bend because I didn’t have enough heat in the plate.) I made some 3/8” lower control arm brackets to match the rear and a ¼” upper control arm mount welded to the truss.














I decided to use 5.38” gears, the factory CUCV Detroit in the rear and an ARB in the front. I’m going to skip the gear and locker installation, which is actually first time I replaced both the gears and a carrier in any axle, since there is plenty of information on that to be found in the tech section. Just a side note, during the front locker mock up/install, I accidentally dropped the entire assembly (with ring gear) onto my concrete garage floor from waist height. I was lucky that it landed on the carrier bearing taking most if all of the force. I replaced the carrier bearing which the local autoparts store had an identical replacement in stock.


For the suspension, I decided I wanted long arms; 4-link single triangulated (uppers) in the rear and a 3-link in the front. I debated on buying an off the shelf kit, but decided I would build my own. I started with making a 3 piece cross member (2 brackets on each side of the frame) and a center skid. This meant that I needed to support to the transmission and transfer case separately. Based on my previous experiences with the Medic skid and performing maintenance, it was important to me to make the cross member skid removable without having to support the drive train. I used some 1.75” DOM and poly bushings with mounts welded to the inside of the frame. The members that support the lower control arms are made from a 10” wide, approximately 30” long, piece of 3/8” bent in a “Z”. I reused the 3 factory mounts in the frame rail, added two more additional nut-inserts (one on each end), added a mount support above each CA joint that utilizes a ¾” bolt sandwiching the frame with Frenched in crush sleeve, and a center support to aid with distribution forces from the skid. The center support utilizes ½” bolts.
















Rear upper frame mounts
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Front upper frame mount


**Note: I later had issues with front drive shaft clearance and the front upper control arm mount bolt. This is mainly due to the size of the joint that was used and the location of the mount. But I remedied this with having the front factory driveshaft cut and stepped down to a smaller (but thicker wall) 1.5” where the bolt resided. Is used Quigley4x4 (makes the conversion vans) since they were local and they were very helpful and reasonably priced to make this mod.


After first trip: Big Dogs Main Jambo (2011)






After Quigley Mods


I used Ballistic 3” joints with with 2.25”OD x .25” wall DOM tubing for my lower links and Ballistic 2.625” joints for the uppers with 2”OD x.25” wall DOM tubing. I know that this is probably overkill, but I knew the rig was going to be heavy and as long as it’s at the lower portion of the rig, I decided it only helped the low CG theory…





At some point during the build, I found a sweet deal on set of 37” Blue label Krawlers. This actually worked out to my advantage since I wanted to get this thing on the trail sooner. Because I used the 37’s instead of the planned 40’s, I did not need to make a set of tube fenders and deal with trying to maintain flare coverage to pass inspection.

For the steering, I used GM one ton TRE’s with some 1.5”OD X .375” wall DOM. I had to flip the BTF high steer arms so that my drag link did not hit the frame when fully compressed.

Front Track bar; I had already previously removed the factory casting on the frame and made my own mount to accommodate a 3” Ballistic joint and thought that I would just reuse it when I went to one tons, but it didn’t work out. So I made another mount and moved it forward too so it would clear the D60 truss at full compression. The trackbar is made of a 2.625” and a 3” Ballistic joint with a 1.5”OD x .6875 wall DOM.

As for the fuel tank, I reused my Kilby skid but had to modify it to clear the 14b diff. (Unfortunately I can’t find picture of that at the moment.)

I also got really lucky during the final assembly as my driveshafts were the perfect length. I only had to swap out the rear 1330 u-joint for a 1330/1350 conversion joint.

Here are some more pics of the build in no particular order:

Rear before paint


Front after paint









 

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Discussion Starter #4
Finally out of the garage and off the stands... :bounce2:



I know there is plenty more of little things that I added to this during the build, but this is the pertinent meat and potatoes of the transformation.


First shake down run at Big Dogs. I took it pretty easy and didn't hit all the trails that we usually do for several reasons; new gears, lots and lots of rain, front drive shaft was rubbing pretty hard, and no full size spare, but we manage to give it a good first run out.




Gotta have a poser pic :flipoff2:












Current Specs:

Front Axle:
80-91.5 Ford Kingpin D60
SRW hubs
narrowed 5” on the passenger side (64.5”WMS)
ARB
5.38’s
35 Spline chromo outers
Spicers U-joints
ECGS drive flanges
BTF High steer arms (flipped)
Ballistic diff cover

Rear Axle:
CUCV 14 bolt
DRW hubs with 5/8” spacers for a approx 64.125” WMS
D60 FF disks with integrated e-brake from a 99 E-350
UCF truss
Ballistic diff cover
Ruffstuff pinion guard

Suspension:
Ballistic joints (3” lowers and 2.625” uppers)
4-link rear
3-link front
3-piece cross member


Since then we hit up Rausch, which I failed to get any good pics only video of my fiance driving Otter's trail. I gotta figure out how to post those at some point.

My next steps are to add a hydraulic assist for the steering and eventually add coil-overs and 40”s.

After these few trips I've made a few adjustments to the upper control arm locations to aid with hill climbs and on road manors. One area that I knew I would have issues with was the length of the front trackbar. It's almost impossible to have high steering links, a D60, coil suspension, and a long enough trackbar so that you don't get any bump steer on the road. I'm planning to mitigate this with trying to get the drag link and trackbar closer to the same angle with either a flat pitman arm or eventually coilovers. I guess it all depends on how long I wait to start the next phase...




Oh yeah, almost forgot; in real pirate fashion, let the flaming begin.....:flipoff2:
 

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I've always heard that narrowing a steer axle to the same track as the rear will make the turning radius worse. I've got a monobeam 60 and will likely go the same route to center under a YJ... have you noticed any difference in turning? I can't see why it would as long as you have enough fenderwell clearance to go lock to lock on the steering...

Nice rig btw. Think I'd look at a set of tube fenders next...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Typical practice is to leave the front axle wider than the rear. This does help with steering radius but I was always under the impression it was for tracking capabilities (on road characteristics).

My steering radius is worse now... Larger tires, short axle, but it's managable on the tight trails.
 

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Looks awesome. Quite the sleeper. Custom front shaft or 78/79 inner? Wish i new about the e350 caliper/ebrake setup. I went driveline brake. I thought the choices were either cadi, driveline or dual. What caliper brackets did you use? Again, good work. :smokin:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. I had ECGS cut down and re-spline the factory passenger shaft. I'll be purchasing a full set of chromoly shafts when the budget permits and use these as spares.

I made the caliper brackets from scratch. I was not very fond of the GM caliper method (lacking an e-brake), nor did I want a drive shaft disk and caliper due to risk of rock damage. One drawback to the E-350 calipers is the fact that they are further inward than I would like them, more exposed to rock damage than the factory disks.
 

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very nice build. im starting my one ton yj soon and i have the same concerns as you about the PA police.. was ECGS reasonable with their price for cutting down the factory shaft?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Did some wheeling at RC this Sunday. The rig performed well, except I blew a bead on the rear driver's tire on the first obstacle. I took a bad hop on a hill climb obstacle and at 10psi with no bead lockers... I guess it's time to research using internal tube bead lockers (stauns or airlocks) or pony up for some bead lockers. I aired up to 12 and had only one other issue when running the Mini gauntlet. The bead on the passenger front started to go but got I got lucky and it reseated when I stopped.

Again, I didn't get many good pics... I guess i need to work that.

I also post my f-up's. I choose a bad line on Cemetery and got high centered. Had to winch forward. However, this did give me an opportunity to take some more pics of the suspension.
















 

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Did u just roll the rear shock brackets to be flat at the axle?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Did u just roll the rear shock brackets to be flat at the axle?
I'm not sure I exactly understand your question. My goal was to keep the rear axle shock brackets as high as possible (i.e. lowest part even with the bottom of the shock tube). That was not possible with the amount of lift I'm running or I would have had to run shorter shocks, which would have killed my down travel. On level ground, the lowest part of the shock bracket is about 1.5" below the tube... not optimal but manageable until I move the next phase of coil-overs.

Did that answer your question?
 

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That's a nice looking LJ you got there man. Liking the sleeper look as well. Couldn't see trying to conform to PA laws the way you did but great job with it. Let me know how the 4D's do with inspection if you go that route!

Chris
 
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