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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is the build thread for a Jeep TJ that started out as a trail rig and (hopefully) will end up as a poor mans ultra 4 car. The focus is on having a bang for the buck buggy that is safe and passes ultra 4 tech. We have no definate plans to try to race this thing currently but hopefully the opportunity will present it self someday! Until then I hope to enjoy a safe, comfortable, and capable rig going on trail rides with friends.

On to the back story:


In 2003 My friend and I bought rigs to take a trip to moab for EJS. He got a spidertrax built sammy off of the izook classifieds and I got a stock tj 4 banger off of ebay. I put a 2.5" short arm lift on it using all used parts I got from ebay with the exception of a new set of pro comp es1000 shocks. It even had skyjacker front and pro comp rear control arms. It was a little ghetto but I dug the budget lift. I also stuck a lunch box locker in the rear. I then got a set of new 33's on black steelies from National wheel and tire. Here's a pic of it in golder crack at moab:

and another random moab picture:

It mostly stayed that way for a few years. I broke a dana 35 rear shaft at tellico in 06 and decided that I needed a different rear axle. Here's a pic of rusty on slick rock at the now closed tellico.




I decided to put a scout 44 in the rear of the jeep. The reasoning for this was that I already had the axle and a new 4.10 ring and pinion and install kit from a scout project rig that got parted out. I used some silly 3 inch wheel spacers in the back so that my track width would match up with the front 1.5" conversion wheel spacers I used. The front spacers let me convert the dana 30 to 5 on 5.5 so that my wheels would be the same bolt pattern front and rear. My brother and I made up a rear 4 link that was heavily influenced (stolen) from looking at the gen right rear 4 link kit. I also got some 37" krawlers to run and ended up throwing an aussie locker, new unit bearings and some yukon shafts w alloy usa joints in the front d30. It also got a rubicon t-case for some better gearing and I stuck the stock fuel tank in the back. I used a kit from advanced adapters to mount a ax15 to the jeep 2.5 to allow for the 23 spline input of the rubicon transfer case. This incarnation was the shortest due to a one ton swap. It only went on one trip to harlan and cruised around a bit in town before it went under the knife yet again. Here's the pics from that era.
Frame brackets for rear 4 link


new krawlers sitting in place to check things out

reused some of the factory coil bucket on the frame and the axle.

The polished turd of a dana 30 with super sweet red diff. cover

The rear 4 link after paint

pics from harlan:
Loaded up and ready to go


middle rock garden
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
and here rusty is at the can opener obstacle also at harlan


Next I decided I was gonna put a wagoneer 44 in the front. I got a housing collected and started collecting parts. However the $$ was adding up fast and I still hadn't bought fancy shafts for the front yet. I decided for the same price as a built 44 I could get a ford 60. I found one a dude had in indiana and went and picked it up. The dude ended up being the WEPS dude that makes stuff for mog axles. Very nice fella. For the back I got a 14 bolt from a buddy.

I decided that I needed hydro steering and front coilovers to allow for the amount of stretch that would get me to around 105" for a wheel base. I went with a psc single ended ram steering kit. For shocks I got some foa 2.5 front 16" travel coilovers and also got some 2.5" 2" travel bumps. In the rear I had to reuse the 2.5" springs and fox emulsion shocks that had previously been on the jeep. It also ended up with some 40" ltbs on 17" steelies. We geared the front and rear diffs to 5.38 and welded em up. We had to relocate the radiator for max up travel and it took a lot of head stratching to figure out the front 3 link and get the shocks and bumps located without redoing the front of the frame or making it a super hi rider

The front axle is a hp 60 out of an 86 (i think) f350. We welded the inside tab for the lower control arm to the cast center with no trouble out of it so far. For me the spring perches made perfect bump pads. Overall the axle was a great fit for a tj with coilovers. Using the coil springs would definitely be a lot more tough

Here's some picks of the front from before the coilovers mounts were on the jeep. Not sure were the pics from the front 3 link build ran off to.





Here it is at full bump as a roller

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
After we got it on 4 wheels again My brother helped me bend up a hoop to protect the radiator that went behind the grill. We then came off of that to make our coilover hoops. We used 1.5" .120 DOM for the front tube work.


For the 14 bolt we reused as much of the brackets and stuff from the 44 as possible. Even the truss was reused to speed up the process. The brake brackets are from ruff stuff.


Pic of the rear r&p setup

Pics of the front end during the final assembly.



With time running out before a wheeling trip, a decison had to be made. I had planned on building a cage to replace the factory rollbar but wouldn't have enough time to get it done. Did I take rusty with the factory roll bar and build a cage later? Or, Should I build a front addition to the factory cage as a temporary solution. I went with option #2. With 1 tons rusty was getting pretty heavy and I didn't wanna get squished if I rolled it over.

We made this crappy looking cage deal to get the jeep on the trail.

It lacked triangulation and bracing. It looked ugly as hell and what I had was only tied in to the frame in the front. This temporary cage would be in rusty for 1 year then cut out.

After sitting for almost a year the jeep needed some mechanical attention under the hood. When I started it up to bleed the psc steering kit I found out I had a siezed up alternator. Once that was broke free I noticed the bearings in the water pump were shot too. Then the battery went kaput (red top) and the starter was also junk. I replaced all that stuff with low quality autozone crap with the exception of buying a yellow top for my battery.
Here's a pic of the jeep it's fist day together at a SIU football tailgate. This would be in October 2009


Then it got taken back to harlan for the annual gaorc.com fall trip. The music is sort of an inside joke and pretty annoying on this clip
Here's a video clip with rusty in it. This was on pinball (i think) at harlay ky
YouTube - Scodum Fab Crew On Pinball Harlan Ky

Not any action pics from that trip since it rained the whole time and no one wanted to get there cameras wet.

I pretty much wheeled the jeep in this current configuration with out changing anything. I tried to rip the rear truss off the axle a few time but was able to catch it and get it patched up before it became a disaster. I also broke a 30 spline lockout. Not a surprise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I really liked wheeling the jeep better than ever at this point but it still had it's short comings. The 4 cylinder motor had just enough power to pull ya about 50mph going down the road. But, on the trail the jeep was geared plenty low with the rubicon case and 5.38 gears.

My buddies and I got the great opportunity to put on a rock race at the duquoin state fairgrounds in duquion illinois last year. We called it the rock jam and at last minute I decided to enter my rig in what we called the trail gunner class.

I decided to lose as much weight as possible to give the 2.5 a fighting chance.
The rear tailgate was tossed as well as doors and all brackets for that stuff. Then since my windshield had a crack in it anyway I busted it out of the frame. I took off my winch as well my rear bumper and any other little crap I could think of.
I lost over 200 lbs taking rusty from 4080 to around 3880. I was happy but rusty was still slow. Here's some video with rusty in it my bro nate made up from the race.
YouTube - Rock Jam 2010 Trail Gunner Heat 1
YouTube - Rock Jam 2010 Trail Gunner H2, Finals
I ended up winning the trail gunner class in Rusty and was super excited. The CJ 5 I was racing against was my brothers rig with one of my best friends driving. It was a blast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
From there rusty was wheeled at gray rock, flat nasty. Then it got raced at the second Rock Jam we put on and also went to Harlan again last fall.


This pic was during practice. I swear more people showed for the actual race
 

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Awesome Jeep!

Are they gonna do any more Rock Jams?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks man. There should at least one Rock Jam this year. We are in talks with the people at the saline co. fairgrounds where we had the 2nd one. I'll be sure to let you central IL fellas know when and if we set a date
 

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In the pic of rusty coming off the big ledge at the beginning of lions den, the passenger is one of the best looking fat dudes i have ever seen!:flipoff2:


BTW...i really like that you included rustys history. Adds a lot to the build thread!
 

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In the pic of rusty coming off the big ledge at the beginning of lions den, the passenger is one of the best looking fat dudes i have ever seen!:flipoff2:

I can't see the passenger. Is he below the dash? :flipoff2: J/K

Lions Den is Badass! Where did you get the coilovers? I may be in the market for a set.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
So, a few months ago I started preparing to finally put a legit cage in my jeep.
Here it is with the old mess of a cage torn out


Oh yea after half way trying for the last year or so I got a hold of some red lable 39" krawlers that show up in these pics. They're on trail ready beadlocks too. super excited about this! Here's a pic of one of the wheel/tires I got


From then things got a bit out of hand. It turns out that rusty isn't just a clever name. My jeep came from up north and was seriously rusty. The back part of the frame had a good bit of rot and the back of the tub was getting beat up pretty bad. Not to worry though here's the solution my brother and I came up with



Once we got down to a solid, rust free platform to build off of we were good. Plans were for a juggy type deal with 2.5" coilovers and bumps in the rear end to match the front, some sort of fuel cell and more rear stretch to get the wheelbase to 112" but more importantly to make the rear driveshaft work with 16" of rear travel.


The new cage/juggy chassis thing is pretty wide and tall but should be comfortable for me since i'm a pretty big dude.
Here's the rig as it sits currently with a bit more bracing installed and the cell and currie sway bar I bought sort of mocked up.



The new structure is made out of 1.75 .120 wall dom. Bracing will be 1.75 .095 wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
So that's pretty much were we are at. Plans for finishing rusty up this time around include.
Heavier rear truss and more rear stretch.

New 2" 3/8's wall dom lowers and 1 3/4 1/4"wall uppers.
All control arms have Jonny joints on the axle end and energy suspension bushings at the frame.
We did this for cost savings initially and I don't really like it. Could end up with johnny joints at the frame end or I would really like to upgrade to ruff stuff heims throughout but don't really have the $$$

I picked up a nice 2002 5.3 ls style motor a few weeks ago. I want to have jims performance do the harness maybe put a ls6 cam in it and let it eat

I'm going to order a th400 trans as soon as I can sell some stuff I have sitting around to pay for it. Probably have a mild stall converter and some other goodies

I plan to follow the ultra 4 rulebook making a rear firewall and all the other stuff they want rigs to have. I won't have enough $ to think about racing this thing for a long time but it would be nice to have most of the big stuff in order if the opportunity presents itself. If nothing else my trail rig is gonna be super safe and that's ok by me!

Well your pretty much caught up now. 7ish years of building and rebuilding in just a few posts. I didn't include really any useful detailed tech in the overview so If something doesn't make sense or is interesting to you please ask and I'll try my best to answer all questions you have.
 

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where do you get your DOM at?
I can tell your building your jeep in this area. Blue grade 8 bolts by the pound FTW!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Got the drive train together for making up some mounts. The th400 is just a core for mock up. Still hoping to get a built one later.

Also ditched the firewall. I was planning on rewiring and ditching the dash so the firewall seemed more trouble than it was worth.
 
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