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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I guess it's about time to post up my project that I hope to have rolling for the Easter Jeep Safari '09. I started out with a '99 Jeep TJ body, a '98 frame, and this beauty.

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I bought the truck, and it ran really well. I told my wife I was going to cruise past Weight Watchers, and try to pick up some women :).

Spec's for the build are as follows:

Cummins 4BT
NV4500
Atlas 2 speed transfer case
Dana 60 HP front
Currie Rock Jock rear
3 link front with 8" stretch
4 link rear with 4" stretch
40" Goodyear MTR's
14" Fox coilovers
Genright rear stretch corners
Full cage
hydro-assist.

Here's a poser shot of some of the pieces after I got the engine mounted.


Test fitting the engine.




Engine mounts in.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
I ended up with a 1" of body lift. The plan is to have a flat belly pan. So, I ended up cutting up the floorboards to make some clearance.




I'm striving for a low CG, so the goal is to have 5" up travel, 9" of down travel.
Moving the axle forward posed a problem.. The frame dropped down more than I wanted it to. I saw it was going to be a problem with it hitting the steering components, so I decided to modify it. First I made sure everything was leveled, then I welded a couple of pieces of angle iron across the frame rails to keep everything from moving. Then, I cut a couple of wedge-shaped pieces out of the frame.



I pulled the frame upward, measured both sides, and tacked the pieces together. Then, I took another two slices out of the bottom side of the frame farther forward.


Sorry for the shitty picture quality. I should have checked them more often.

Then, I welded both sides together completely and ground them smooth.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
After the grinding, it was time to reinforce the sides. I ended up using 3/16" steel plate on both the outside and inside of the frame rails.




Welded both the inside and outside up, and made sure everything was straight.





I gained a few inches more clearance under the front, and it worked out ok with the grill by omitting the lift puck underneath it. The grill actually got moved some, but that's for a later post.

I was getting sick of bumping my head on the greasy fawking engine, so I decided to blast it clean, change the rear seal, and kill the dowel pin under the front cover ( along with replacing the front seal).

I had rebuilt the NV4500 already, but along the way I picked up a cast iron adapter housing for the transfer case to bolt to. Well, it's a Chinese POS that was machined off center and was good for mock-up work only.





So, I bought a new aluminum one from Dodge, put it together, and painted it up.


Then, I pimped the engine with some paint. I plan on painting the exhaust black, but didn't have any high-heat black available at the time. So, I just used what I had and put on the ghey silver for now.




This is about where I wanted the transmission/transfer case to sit.



I decided to work on the cross member / skid plate next. I had some 2" square tubing that was 1/4" thick that I decided to use. I cut the top off of the tubing and made a "U" channel that went across to both sides of the frame. Then, I cut another two pieces that fit along the inside and bottom of the frame. I drilled these pieces to use the original mounting holes and welded all three pieces together in position.

Then, I cut a piece of 3/16" plate and welded it to those pieces.




I had to make it a little wider in the middle to clear the Dodge tranny mount. I also added a piece of 1/4" in the middle to raise the mount and give me a thicker surface so I could recess the nuts above the plate. I also cut the rear 1 1/2" of the plate and kicked it up at a 45 degree angle and welded it up. I ended up with this.



I still may have to trim the front, so I left it as is for now.

More to come tomorrow.
 

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I like it. I wish when I did mine I had trimmed up my drivetrain so it didn't hang under as much, but at the time my '66 CJ-5 didn't have the rear clearance for the driveshaft angle. I needed every degree I could get.

That thing is going to have a sweetbelly on it.
 

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red x's

:smokin::confused:all i see are red x's might be cool if you could make pics work ty
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was also working on the front axle at the same time. I started out with a '89 F350 DRW front axle. I decided to narrow it down on the passenger side by 4.25" making it right around 65" WMS using SRW hubs.



After I cut the axle tube and removed it from the inner "c", it fit very loose on the axle tube (due to living in the salt belt). I ended up using .015" steel shim stock to tighten it all up.



After everything was lined up, I cut the excess shim stock off and welded it up.

Then it was time to start on the front links. Here's a picture of a heavy-duty PVC link. :) It was a lot cheaper to use this for the initial set-up instead of cutting the high $$$ DOM at the wrong length.



After messing around with it for a while, I ended up figuring out where the lower links needed to be on the axle and frame. My driver's side axle mount needed to be on the axle housing, so I got some Certanium 889SP welding rod, and welded it up (after a little preheat). I used 1/4" steel plate for the mounts on both sides, and added another plate to the top and bottom. I also peened the welds after I welded them. That rod and process seemed to work well.





After I got both sides welded on, it looked something like this.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
After I got the 3-link where I wanted it, I figured out where I wanted the steering gearbox mounted. I'm using an Astrovan box, and I was going to use the Astrovan pitman arm also. I ended up with the gearbox mounts quite a bit higher on the frame rails.





As I was mounting the box, I knew that I would have had to chop a bunch out of the grill to make clearance for the box. Instead of doing that, I kicked the bottom of the grill out forward, sort of like a new JK.





I still have to lengthen the front of the frame and add a winch mounting plate/front bumper.

After I had the gearbox location fixed, I started messing with the tierod and draglink. I bought a set of high steer arms, but after articulating the steering and setting it at full stuff, I didn't like it. I was having clearance issues with where the panhard bar was going to mount, and the tie rod. I could have made it work, but I would have had to limit my up travel quite a bit. So, after screwing around with it for what seemed like forever, I ditched the high steer arm setup and went with the Chevy style crossover steering. That allowed me to stuff the front axle quite a bit more.

Then I ran into another problem. As I was fabbing up my pvc draglink, I realized that the steering gearbox was running out of travel before the steering stops on the knuckle were hitting. I ended up using a pitman arm from a Jeep J 20 pickup truck. The Astrovan pitman arm was about 6" long from hole-to-hole, and the J 20 was just under 7". This pitman arm drops down about 3/4" more, but that ended up working out better in the long run anyway. Now it was hitting the stops on the knuckles first.

I was waiting for some new knuckles to show up from Reid Racing, and they were on a few week backorder, so I made an estimated guess where the panhard bar needed to mount to be parallel with the draglink. I tacked the mount on the axle, and made the frame mount. Then I cut, drilled, and tapped the panhard bar and installed it.



Here's a couple of shots checking while checking the clearances. This isn't close to being fully articulated though.





Next up is mounting the front coilovers.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I saved the sides of the truck with all the pastries on it :D. I was going to put "Powered by Dolly" on the back of the jeep when it's done with a little doughnut next to it.:)
 

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great idea on the front frame chop, and definitely unique...but I have to ask, why not just chop it and tube out the front? Seems to me it would look cleaner than the stock frame, and be lighter
+1 on the frame... That would have saved me a ton of time on my front.

I am not sure about him, but I know I wanted to keep the rectangle tubing so that it matched the rest of the frame. Also, I do not think weight is a huge issue with the cummins up front.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had seen you did that to your rig Kirby. It's one of the rigs that inspired me to build this one. But, I already had this one cut before I saw your post on your solution.:( You know, by the time it's all said and done, I probably should have just made the whole fawking frame :).

There's no doubt this thing is going to be heavy. Hopefully the weight will be distributed halfway decent. The motor is sitting really high. It's a tall engine, and I didn't want the oil pan sitting low, so I raised it more than most people do. It's also pretty far back. I'm going to have to do a little mod to the heater ducts to make room for the sheetmetal from the firewall where the exhaust pipe exits the turbo. I'll post up a few more pics of the front end here shortly. I just finished welding all the brackets to the front axle last night.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Then I started mounting the hoops for the front coilovers. Here's a few pictures of what I ended up with









I ended up here for the night. Then, when I went to bed, I started thinking of the upper tabs sticking out from the sides of the hoops. I was envisioning the tabs ripping out of the hoops after a nice jump. So, the next morning, I ripped it all off and started over. I bent two longer hoops, and made 4 new tabs that were under the hoops instead of next to them. Then I ended up with this.





Then I added the cross tube and flanges.



Then I added a couple of braces to the hoops (leftovers from the first hoops I removed). I'll be tying the cage/front fenders into the hoops somewhere, and I didn't like the idea of the hoops just being attached to the top of the frame in two spots.







This is where I left it. Right now, the hoops clear the hood by about 1/2". I had ordered a set of Reid Racing knuckles because my stock Ford ones looked like half of the material had rusted off of them. I know they're weak to begin with, and these were thinner yet, so I got a smokin' price on a new set. The only problem was the three week backorder. I figured I'd finish up the front when the knuckles showed up.
 
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