The Why's of Tommy's '93 Wrangler
This document explains why I performed the modifications I did to my
Jeep. They are listed in chronological order (that means that most of the really
good stuff is listed toward the bottom).
Click an item below and I'll explain why I did it
By the way, if you notice something on my Jeep that's missing from this page, please let me know.
|08/14/94||26,000||FlowMaster 2 chamber muffler installed|
|07/01/95||44,000||Lock-Rite lockers installed front and rear|
|Hand fabd rear cross-member to mount shocks to, new rear RS 9000 shocks (much longer)|
|¯||¯||4.56 gears installed in front axle|
|06/01/98||69,500||Installed a factory hard top and factory full metal doors|
|07/10/98||70,000||Purchased and Modified a 1967 M416 trailer|
|03/01/99||75,000||Installed a Mobi-Weld, dual Odyssey batteries and a custom dual battery tray|
|08/01/99||78,000||Changed all air hoses to Teflon lined / Steel Braided hoses|
|12/01/99||81,000||Custom "ladder bars" made and installed|
|Dana 44 front axle|
|¯||¯||Regeared and re-lugged the rear Dana 44 reverse cut axle|
|¯||¯||American Racing wheels with Champion Bead Locks|
|¯||¯||35"x12.5"x15" Super Swamper SSR's|
|¯||¯||Storage boxes on the fender wells|
|¯||¯||Fabricated a Fender Rack|
|04/22/01||86,000||Installed rear Revolver shackles|
|07/02/01||86,300||Fabricated a front receiver hitch|
|08/01/01||86,400||Fabricated a 6-switch electrical panel|
|09/09/01||86,500||Reconfigured leaf springs|
|¯||¯||Supported grille sides|
|11/07/01||86,800||Flat skid plate, 3" raised body mounts, gas tank and engine lifted 3", new shock cross member, new York compressor mount, air tank relocated|
|¯||¯||Upgraded air system from 90# to 125#|
|¯||¯||38.5" x 14.5" x 15" Super Swamper TSL/SX tires|
|01/03/02||87,000||AGR RockRam steering assist|
|05/21/02||87,500||3/16" Rocker Panels|
|05/22/02||¯||Front Shock Hoops|
|08/23/02||88,000||Swing Away Tire Carrier|
|11/13/02||89,000||Front frame work, steering box relocation|
|01/03/03||89,500||Rebuilt the roll cage|
|03/25/03||90,444||CTM's and Warn Chrome Nickel Alloy Axles|
|03/31/03||90,477||Changed out the rear axle to a ProRock60 / Rear 4-link and Fox coil-overs|
|¯||¯||LED tail lights|
|06/14/03||90,664||Sold the hardtop and full doors|
|01/07/04||91,300||New cross member, reworked lower links|
|¯||¯||Cutting brakes, adjustable proportioning valve|
|01/23/04||91,342||E350 Brake Master Cylinder|
|03/14/04||91,400||Rev1 front fenders|
|¯||¯||Removed stereo, CB & dual in-dash controller for the Rancho 9000's|
|04/24/04||91,500||Disconnect steering wheel|
|07/12/04||91,777||Atlas II 5.0:1 transfer case|
|10/15/04||91,865||Replaced the winch cable|
|12/12/04||91,934||Changed out the 9000i winch for the 9.5xp winch|
|06/06/05||92,014||Replaced one of the batteries|
|10/25/05||0||Hydrostatic Steering, round 2|
|01/15/12||1,800||Drivers side outer axle shaft replacement|
|06/03/17||4,400||Replaced catalytic converter|
Why did I purchase a new Jeep rather than a used Jeep? At the time I was interested in finding a Jeep I needed a daily driver that would not leave me stranded. I drove a lot of used Jeeps because I thought I could only afford a used Jeep. That is where I discovered the amazing resale value of Jeeps here in California. All of the Jeeps I was looking at cost between $7,000 to $9,000. When I looked at the dealer at new Wranglers, they were starting at $10,500. With interest rates being lower on new vehicles as opposed to used vehicles, I bought a brand new 1993 Wrangler with the 4.0L engine for $14,500. If I had it all to do over again I would now buy a older Jeep because I know that I'd be throwing away almost everything except the body and frame. And I now have another vehicle for my daily driver.
Sony CD player and changer
I chose the Sony CD player/changer control for my Wrangler because it was the best stereo I could find at the time. I felt I would most likely install a changer behind the rear seat someday. Soon I learned that my priorities were not audio related. Besides, how well would my changer handle 40" water crossings when the changer would have been mounted about 30" off the ground?
Sony CD player Remote Control purchased
I get a lot of heat regarding this one. Why do you have a remote control for a stereo that is at arms length away? The answer is simple to anyone who's owned a Jeep. How often does a Jeep owner adjust the volume of his Jeep stereo while driving around with the top down? The answer is, pretty much every time he slows down or speeds up.
installed, CB antenna on rear passenger bumperette
I needed a CB radio really bad. I went to the local Radio Shack and bought everything I needed to get talking to my friends while on trips.
1" shackle lift installed
I installed a 1" shackle lift on my Wrangler mainly because I didn't have a lot of money and I didn't know any better. It was a way to modify my Jeep while not spending a lot of money
30 Tires & 8
steel rims installed
I purchased a set of 30" tires from a friend for $200. I sold my original wheels and tires to a tire company for $200. Free upgrade except for the $100 for 15"x8" chrome wheels.
I installed the 2.5" lift because I needed a little clearance and I couldn't afford a real lift. The Add-A-Leaf creates a really rough ride and I don't recommend it unless it's a last resort.
Large flood lights on the
front bumper installed
Large lights? Hmm, I needed more light. Who doesn't like additional light?
31 Mickey Thompson Mud Tires
The Mickey Thompson Baja Mud Tires provided good traction but they had several drawbacks. They were noisy, caused Jeep wandering, noisy, wore out quickly and they were noisy.
JKS sway bar disconnects installed
The sway bar disconnects were a great addition. They provided much needed additional suspension flex. If I had it to do again I would make my own though.
I removed the rear track arm to provide additional wheel travel. It helped out a lot. It does make the Jeep a tiny bit more "wandery" on the road though. A sacrifice I did not mind making.
Cow Grille on the front bumper
Because is was free, that's why! Actually, it did come in handy a few times to tie climbing ropes to.
replaced under warranty
The engine was replaced by the dealer because the #1 rod broke and caused major problems. The engine block had 5 inch diameter holes on both sides.
Canyon City Spare Tire Carrier
With the added weight of a 31x10.5x15 spare tire, the tailgate was cracking. The Canyon City Tire Carrier came with steel reinforcements to strengthen the back of the Jeep body.
New front passengers
side fender painted and installed
Heh, funny story. Two unprepared Jeeps wander onto the Doran Canyon trail. End result, many broken parts and a mashed fender on each Jeep.
mounted in the dash (Clinometer came from a Daihatsu Rocky)
Because it was free! Actually, I find it a nice addition to the dash board. It mounts flush and is back-lit.
body lift installed
Because it was cheap. I needed a little extra clearance for the tires because they were contacting the fenders on full compression. I figured I'd get my moneys worth by buying the largest body lift I could find. This was before I learned that body lifts are not really that desirable on a rock crawling Jeep.
I found the need for rocker protection during the installation of the 3" body lift. I didn't have any convenient place to jack up the body off of the frame. Since then I've learned that there is no substitute for Off-Your-Rocker rocker guards. All of the other companies make aluminum protection that would have crumpled many times on my Jeep. The OYR guards have saved my hide many times.
gears installed in front and rear axles (original gear ratio 3.08)
I changed the gear ratios in the pumpkins for the same reason that everyone else does it. Larger tires, wanna go slower while rock crawling, etc.... I chose 4.10 gears because I never thought that I'd have larger tires than 31". I have since been proven wrong and have had to re-regear.
I installed the corner protection for the same reason that most people do, I smashed a corner panel and wanted to hide the damage and prevent future damage. The damage under the drivers side corner guard really isn't that bad. But after seeing how easy the body work folds when the Jeep is leaned up against a rock I decided to beef it up a little. I have smacked those corner guards on rocks all over the place and they still look brand new.
Less restricting muffler installed
I installed a different muffler because I wanted a less restricted exhaust system. However, this muffler was not a quality product and I burnt it up in less than one month. I wish that I could remember the name of this crappy product, but I don't. I recommend using FlowMaster instead.
FlowMaster 2 chamber muffler
This is when I installed a real muffler. The FlowMaster has never let me down. It is welded right up next to the catalytic converter and still it performs awesome. I needed to install this muffler to replace a pathetic muffler I had installed previously
re-located to the top of the spare tire carrier
The CB antenna needed to be relocated because I decided that I did not want to have bumperetts anymore. The mount on top of the Canyon City Tire Carrier was simple. Just drill one single hole and wire it up.
33 Mickey Thompson HP
As everyone else out there feels, I wanted larger tires. I chose the Mickey Thompson HP's because I liked the side tread and the 3-ply side wall. Unfortunately, I did not know about the handling problems with the MT tires. You can read more about the handling problems below.
Warn 9000I winch installed,
Cow Grille removed
After a year and a half of relying on Darrin to rescue me
if, when I got
stuck I decided it was time to fork out the big bucks. I really didn't like the cow
grille that much anyways.
10 wide steel rims installed
I installed the 10" wide steel rims to combat the handling problems I was facing from the Mickey Thompson tires. The MT tire company recommended that I run rims the same width as the shoulder of the tire. The 10" rims did help quite a bit, but I believe the root of the problem is that the 33" MT tires run at 20 pounds of air pressure, normally!
installed in the front and rear axles
I installed the Lock-Rite lockers in the front and rear axles because I needed some sort of locker with all of the new trails that we were trying. The Lock-Rite locker didn't last too long in the rear axle though because I couldn't stand the way it made my Jeep handle on turns. I never drove on ice or snow with the rear Lock-Rite, but I can imagine the carnage.
I got the altimeter for the obvious reason, I wanted to watch the altitude changes while driving the trails.
removed from rear axle, ARB installed in rear Dana 35C axle
I removed the Lock-Rite locker from the rear axle and installed an ARB because the Lock-Rite locker is a poor choice for the rear axle of on-road vehicles. I was ready for some adverse effects while driving on-road, but the adverse effects were way too much for my short wheelbase Jeep. The ARB was an expensive choice, but worth the money.
drive shaft modified to handle 1330-1310 conversion U-Joint
My Jeep was experiencing many rear drive shaft failures. 7 broken U-joints, 2 broken yokes (into the pumpkin) and 1 broken slip-yoke (into the transfer case). I replaced the input yoke into the pumpkin with a 1330 size yoke. I then used a conversion U-joint between the 1310 drive shaft and the 1330 pumpkin yoke. This provided U-bolts to hold the U-joint to the pumpkin yoke instead of those pathetic little "straps" and bolts. This solution greatly lessened the drive shaft failures, but did not eliminate them. The drive shaft failures were not eliminated until the Spring Over Axle suspension project.
air system installed
I made an on-board air system so I could air up the tires faster and I could run air tools effectively. The on-board air system includes a belt driven compressor (purchased from a friend for $40), a 2.5 gal "hotdog" air tank (purchased from Grainger for $60), a 1/2" check valve, 20 feet of 1/2" hose and an in-dash air pressure gauge (back-lit). I used the air pressure switch provided with the ARB compressor.
steering wheel installed
I like the Grant steering wheel because the grip is larger than a stock steering wheel. The diameter is just a wee bit smaller to give me more leg room. Also, the wheel is telescoped back a bit more which seems to fit me a lot better.
Tire rack modified to carry one metal can and one plastic can
The Canyon City tire carrier comes equipped to carry two 5 gal metal Jerry cans. I wanted to carry 5 gallons of fuel and 5 gallons of water. Well, metal Jerry cans do not carry water very well. Can you say "5 gallons of rust"? I only changed one of the mounts to accommodate a plastic container because I was still looking for a blue plastic container shaped the same as my red plastic container. I never did find one. :(
Bestop 2-pane upper
door halves installed - From ACME
I chose to buy the Bestop glass upper door halves because the plastic windows are difficult to see through at certain times. Also, the zippers on the stock upper door halves are difficult to keep clean. When the dirt/dust builds up a little, the zippers become jammed and sometimes dislocate. The glass windows have there good points and there bad points. Good = easy to clean, easy to see through Bad = the tracks collect dirt and small rocks, I can only have one end of window opening open at one time, glass shatters when it is bent (learned first hand).
lights removed and smaller flood lights installed
I wanted to chop the bumper ends off so I needed to mount smaller lights closer to the winch
Chopped front bumper
to be the same width as the frame
I chopped the front bumper down because I was tired of the bumper coming in contact with rocks while wheel'n. More than one person told me that now that the bumper is chopped down, I'll hit the fender on the rocks instead. I can tell you first hand that this is not true. The fender is quite a bit higher then the bumper ends were.
Spring Over Axle suspension
OK, this is the largest project I've implemented on my Wrangler so far. I researched many suspension kits/products/ideas out on the market. I did not like any of them. Each had there own good points, but I wanted a complete suspension system that did not have any drawbacks. I wanted to implement a shackle reversal system while lifting my Jeep. The problem with most shackle reversal kits is that they have this tower that hangs down from the front bumper that limits your approach angle. None of the kits would raise the spring hanger because that would greatly effect the caster angle on the front axle. Since I was planning on relocating the spring hangers for the Spring Over Axle setup anyway, I had no problem in rotating the caster angle back to where it belongs. Next, I wanted to move the front axle forward at least 1" so when the tire compresses, it will not come in contact with the fender. The JKS sway bars disconnects needed to be shortened because the U-bolt plate was relocated above the axle making the distance to the sway bar much shorter than stock. The U-bolt plates needed to be modified to provide a smooth surface for the bump stops to come in contact with. The front track arm needed to be added to combat "Bumpsteer". The angle and mounting locations for this bar are critical to creating a geometrically correct suspension systems. I modified the front passenger side U-bolt plate to mount the track arm to. I installed the MIT NP231 transfer case shortening kit to lengthen the rear drive shaft. This kit is expensive and the directions are incomplete, but when it was all over the kit worked great. Since the rear drive shaft was lengthened I was able to remove the hardware that lowered the transfer case. I also removed the 3" body lift because it was no longer needed. I then installed Rancho RS9000 shocks on all for corners and installed the dual in-dash control. Finally I was able to take measurements for drive shaft modifications. The front drive shaft only needed to be lengthened. The rear drive shaft is another story. It turned out to be a full 6" longer than stock, needed a CV universal at the transfer case end, a standard slip joint in the middle and a full 1330 universal at the pumpkin end. I have had not one single rear drive shaft problem since this upgrade (knock on wood). I have developed a bit of spring wrap from the SOA setup. I have tried a few different configurations to combat this but I have not found one that will eliminate the wrap and not limit suspension travel. Someday I'll come up with something. Besides, the spring wrap really isn't that bad right now with the stock engine. When I upgrade to a larger engine I'll have to do something about the wrap for sure. Overall the suspension project turned out to be a great success and I am very happy with it.
Why was the windshield replaced? Because it was cracked. No, the crack was not related to any four wheel drive trip gone bad.
Hi-Lift Jack mounted on the winch
First I searched all over my Jeep for a good place to mount the Hi-Lift Jack to. I couldn't find any place better then the winch plate. I used the standard Hi-Lift Jack mounting plates provided by Conn-Ferr. I cut them down quite a bit and welded them to my winch plate standing straight up. This holds the Hi-Lift Jack above the roller fairlead for the winch.
cage installed - Integrated CB mount and dome lights
I installed the full roll cage for added protection if I were to roll. I also wanted a place to mount a CB and a dome light. This setup has worked out really good.
Rock Crawler rear bumper installed, welded on U-Bolts for chain attachments
I chose the Currie "Rock Crawler" rear bumper mainly because it was on sale. I was going to fabricate my own, but this one was way too cheap to pass up. I bought it after Currie released there "Rock Crawler II" bumper. The release of the II bumper drove the price way down on my bumper. This bumper has an integrated 2" receiver box but did not come with any place to attach a chain when towing a trailer. I cut down and welded on a couple of old U-bolts that were used to hold the rear axle to the leaf springs.
2 springs re-arranged with the second leaf replaced with original second leaf
(lowered rear a little)
The rear suspension on my Wrangler sat just a bit too high. Apparently I needed a 1" lifted spring to make the Jeep sit level. I took apart the spring packs and exchanged the second longest leaf for my original second longest leaf. This made the Jeep sit perfectly level.
During my trip to Surprise Canyon (major winching) my alternator decided to give out. After getting home I was faced with the decision to either rebuild my alternator or purchase an under-hood welding system. Well, budgets constraints got the best of me and I had my 75Amp alternator rebuilt to 90Amp. Someday I'll break down and get that darn under-hood welder.
RS5000 Steering Stabilizer installed
I replace my steering stabilizer with a Rancho RS5000 unit because the original steering stabilizer started leaking fluid
Wrangler Mud Terrain tires installed
After years of putting up with the Mickey Thompson tires causing my Jeep to wander in my lane while driving on the highway I decided to trade up. I got the Goodyear's because I liked the tread pattern and I had heard good reviews about them. I was very happy with them for quite a while. The downfall of the Goodyear's ended up being the thin sidewall. The sidewall is not necessarily "thin" but it is not heavy duty.
and slave cylinders for 1991 Wrangler installed
I changed the Clutch master and slave cylinders because I did not like the hydraulic line between them. The line started leaking at the joint with the slave cylinder and never stopped. I couldn't change the line itself without changing the slave cylinder. I decided that I would never be placed in that situation again. It took a little modification on the firewall (because the master cylinder for a '91 Wrangler does not mount in the same position as for the '93 Wrangler) but I managed to purge my Jeep of that pathetically engineered product. Next time I have any clutch problems, I'll be installing a bell housing, slave cylinder, and fork from a '95 or newer Wrangler. The new Wranglers no longer use the throw-out bearing/slave cylinder thingy. The new Wranglers have gone back to external slave cylinders. Good old fashioned engineering.
2950 10-meter radio installed, used as a CB. New antenna installed on spare tire carrier
I chose the RCI 2950 10-meter radio because of it's internal power. This radio can communicate in the CB frequency range and yet has 10 watts of internal power. I also installed a new antenna in the same place on the spare tire carrier to go along with the new radio
Splitfire plugs and wires installed
I chose Splitfire plugs and wires simply because they are the best available.
Hand fab'd roof rack,
mounts directly to roll cage
I built my own roof rack because (as usual) I did not like any other product available. This rack bolts directly to the roll cage, hence, must be removed when the soft top is installed (rarely). I did, however, make this roof rack hinge in the middle and can be folded in half to fit inside the Jeep behind the rear seat. Overall I'd say this rack has great potential, but does has it's limitations. Small, heavy, inconvenient in the rain, etc...
tire carrier modified
I modified the Canyon City spare tire carrier again. I wanted to carry two 5 gal plastic gas cans instead of one metal and one plastic. Also I modified the lower support arm to place pressure on the rear bumper instead of the tailgate. Canyon City's design has a bar that pushes on the tailgate to help steady the bouncing effect that can happen when driving down the highway. When I was carrying 10 gallons of fluid and a 33" tire the entire assembly would hop. This bar also was slowly pushing a dent into the tailgate, something I'd rather avoid if I can. My design was to push down diagonally on the rear bumper. This way I could place more weight on that extra bar (since it won't dent the bumper) and that would in turn help to eliminate the bouncing effect on the highway. Complete success!
new front bumper from Travis old stock bumper, cap'd ends, welded light tabs
Again, I was (still am) unhappy with the available products for the front bumper on my Wrangler. I decided to make my own. I started with a straight, full length CJ front bumper and started hacking away. I cut it down to the same width as my frame. I drilled new mounting holes since the widths of the CJ's and the YJ's are different. I welded on triangle caps to the ends to give it that finished look. I also welded on two tabs to mount my fog lights to in front of the winch. In the future I do plan on building another front bumper because I'd like to incorporate a front 2" receiver box.
Currie 2" receiver hook
I installed the Currie 2" receiver hook because it was cheap and very useful. Attaching the loop end of a tow strap to my receiver use to consist of removing the hitch pin, cramming the strap in the 2" receiver box and then trying to shove the hitch pin trough the loop. The Currie hook is a great alternative to that.
fabd rear cross-member to mount shocks to, new rear RS 9000 shocks (much longer)
The location of the rear upper shock mounts caused the suspension to be limited. The factory's solution to this problem on most vehicles is to lower the lower mount (located on the axle on solid axle vehicles) well below the axle itself. I did not like that solution because I wanted to increase my clearance. I chose to move the upper mounts instead. I welded in a piece of 4" x 3" x 1/4" angle iron as a frame cross member. I mounted the shocks toward the center of this cross member for two reasons. 1. increased rear axle travel through the use of longer shocks. 2. With the shocks leaning at a 45 degree angle the rear suspension is "softened". The lower shock mounts were also fabricated from scrap material. I used 1/8" thick stock and bent a 1.5" wide section into a square "U" shape. This "U" shape was then welded to the axle at it's center point (i.e. nothing hangs below the axle tube). I then bolted the shock to this "U" with the Rancho shock hanging bolt thingy's. It's really hard to explain so I'll place some pictures here in the future. (side note: I replaced this with a new shock cross member, so no pictures are forthcoming of the old design ;) The new design can be found on this page)
axle - Dana 44, reverse cut, 4.56 gears, ARB, disk brakes
I replaced my stock Dana 35C axle with a Dana 44 reverse cut axle because I bent the Dana 35C axle on a 4-wheel trip to Calico, CA. I hit a couple of whopp-dee-doo's a little too fast and all hell broke loose. The axle was still drivable, but it was definitely bent. I chose the Dana 44 Reverse cut for a couple of reasons. 1. I needed a beefier axle so I would be less likely to bend it again. 2. I needed a reverse cut axle to help eliminate driveline angles. I chose the 44 over the 60 because the 60 was about twice the cost! I could get a standard rotation 60 for the same price as the reverse 44, but then I would definitely have driveline problems. I ordered my 44 with 4.56 gears (which meant that re-re-gearing the front axle was needed), an ARB and disk brakes. I had an ARB in my Dana 35C so it was nothing new to me. The disk brakes however, where new to me and I think is a great upgrade. My braking control while backing down something is greatly increased. Driving down the highway I really don't notice any differences with the rear disk brakes though. I'll be upgrading my brake master cylinder and proportioning valve someday and I expect better on-road and off-road braking then.
I've recalibrated the speedometer several times with all of the tire and gear changes. This time it was recalibrated because I was in the process of changing from 4.10 gears to 4.56 gears.
gears installed in front axle
I needed to change the gears in the front axle from 4.10 to 4.56 because I ordered the rear axle with 4.56 gears.
system rerouted to clear the axle which now has more up travel
With the new frame cross member and the new Dana 44 rear axle, I needed to reroute the exhaust. I have my exhaust done at a local shop because I don't have the tools to bend the pipe. Unfortunately, I'm not happy with the quality of the work this time around, which is why I don't mention the shop's name. Not only is there a problem in quality, but I got a lot of attitude because I was "picky" about what I wanted done. Last time I checked it was my Jeep he was working on and it's my money the he is getting paid with. I'll be thinking pretty hard before I bring the Jeep back there next time my exhaust needs rerouting.
Flex fan installed
I installed the flex fan in hopes of getting a little better performance at highway speeds. A flex fan came recommended by a friend who had been running one and was happy with it. Also, I've learned that when crossing deep water, a flex fan will splash less water than a factory fan. Someday I do intend to convert to an electric fan instead.
BFG Mud Terrain tires installed
Here I go again, larger tires. I've said it before and I'll say it again. "I don't think that I'll ever want/need tires larger than __". Fill in the blank with the latest tire size, 35". I changed to BFG Mud Terrain's because I like the tread pattern and the 3-ply sidewall. While driving the Dusy/Ershim trail I cut a sidewall on my Goodyear tires. That is unacceptable! Well, maybe not unacceptable. But with a stronger sidewall I can certainly waiver the odds more in my favor. So far (knock on wood again) I haven't cut the sidewall of my BFG's. (side note: never did cut a BFG side wall)
body lift installed, cut the original 3" body lift in half
Well, with the new 35" tires I guess it can be expected to have a little fender rubbing. I chose to body lift 1.5" because I had my old 3" body lift blocks lying there and I felt like cutting them in half. Then I ran to True Value Hardware and picked out a set of new bolts. My preference is to have no body lift, but I'd rather body lift than limit suspension compression.
35" BFG Mud
Terrain tire installed for the spare tire
I think it is important to have a spare tire the same diameter as the tires on the ground so if you get a flat, install the spare and need to run with your lockers locked you don't have to drive in a circle. :) I ran with a 33" spare for a while because I was looking for a used 35" tire for a spare. Well, shucks I couldn't find one. So instead I bought another 35" BFG and mounted it up.
reduction and 2-lo installed in the transfer case
Wahoo, I like this upgrade. First lets talk about the 2-lo kit. This kit makes it possible to put the transfer case in 2 wheel drive low range. This is useful when you're trying to make a sharp corner while crawling along in low range. I can shift on the fly to 2-lo, go around the corner and shift on the fly back into 4-lo. Very cool! Next, anyone who 4-wheel's "rock crawling" style knows the benefits to lower gear ratios. Those of you who don't know, it works like this. The slower you go, the farther you go, the less parts you break, the more time you have to examine the best line, the more fun you (I) have, blah, blah, blah... My crawl ratio went from 48:1 to 70:1 with the 4-1 kit. Want to figure out your gear ratio?
a factory hard top and factory full metal doors
I was originally looking for a factory hard top and doors but found the prices (used) to be unreasonable. A friend then bought a Jeep and he didn't want the hard top. He was looking for a soft top Jeep but came across this hard top Jeep and bought it. He sold me the hard top and full metal doors for real cheap. The hard top was gray and the doors were red. I had the hard top painted black and had the doors painted Chrysler white to match my jeep. With the full roll cage installed I couldn't roll the windows down with the doors shut, so I installed a power window kit from Summit Racing. I mounted the switches on my center council down in front of the cup holders. I had to change my full roll cage to accommodate the hard top. I had four bent bars going from the main hoop to the front hoop. These were too high and held the hard top up off the Jeep. I removed the roll cage, cut out the bent bars and welded in straight bars. I also had the windows tinted to help keep things cool inside.
Purchased and Modified a
I thought a trailer might come in handy on those trips where there's more people than Natalie and I in our Jeep. I like the sturdy construction and low price of these old military trailers. Project page.
a Mobi-Weld, dual Odyssey batteries and a custom dual battery tray
I've always wanted a under hood welder and I found that Mobi-Weld is the best one on the market. Same thing with the Odyssey batteries. I couldn't find a dual battery tray out there that I liked, so I made my own.
all air hoses to Teflon lined / Steel Braided hoses
I never liked the "hardware store" hoses because when I sat still for a while (airing up tires on 6 Jeeps) the hoses in the engine compartment would get hot and blow off the barbs. I had the hoses remade at "Top Line" in Temecula. These new hoses are 1/2" ID, Teflon lined, Steel Braided and have 3000lb pressure "spinning" ends. No more blowing hoses!
"ladder bars" made and installed
I modified my u-bolt plates for the rear axle with a plate that extends up about 6 inches. At the end of this plate is a 3/4" bolt that mounts a single bar with Heim joints on the end. The "ladder bar" extends forward to the outside of the frame above the forward eye bolt on the leaf spring. I triangulated the axle position relative to the frame with the wheel completely compressed and with it completely drooped. I used this data to triangulate the most effective position to mount the forward end of the ladder bar. This way when the wheels are completely compressed or completely drooped there is no suspension bind and my wheel travel is not limited. To make room for the ladder bar mount I had to cut off the factory body mounts and fabricate my own, 1 1/2" higher then normal. I guess the body lift is permanent now.
Dana 44 front
While wheeling in Los Coyotes, my stock Dana 30 axle finally gave out. I decided that the axle was not worth repairing so I ordered a Dana 44 from Tri County Gear. I ordered the axle custom for my spring over and reverse shackle setup. I got 4.88 gears, an ARB locker, Warn hubs and Tri County's "High Steer" knuckles. This allowed my drag link to be nearly parallel with the connecting arm eliminating bump steer and the need for a track arm.
and re-lugged the rear Dana 44 reverse cut axle
I ordered my front axle with a 4.88 gear ratio so I had to change the rear axle from 4.56 to 4.88 to match. Also, since the "High Steer" knuckles are only available with a 5x5.5" lug pattern I had the rear axle lug pattern converted to this size.
Racing wheels with Champion Bead Locks
I had to change my wheels because of the new Dana 44 front axle. The "High Steer" knuckles are only available with the CJ bolt pattern lugs (5x5.5"). I figured while I was changing the wheels I might as well go for bead locks as well. I sent the American Racing Baja 15"x10" wheels to Champion in Fresno and had bead locks installed. I also had to modify my swing away tire carrier to hold a wheel with a 5x5.5" lug pattern.
Super Swamper SSR's
I've seen these tires around quite a bit lately and thought I'd give them a shot. Eric has run them on his Jeep for a while now and is happy with them.
boxes on the fender wells
I found 23" long storage boxes at Ace Hardware. They are actually tool boxes but fit perfectly on the fender wells of my Jeep to store all the junk that goes along with a Jeep. Tow straps, winch control, extra parts, etc. I installed footman loops at each end of each box to hold the box down and to hold the lid shut.
Fabricated a Fender Rack
I made a rack out of 1 inch square tubing. The front is mounted on a hinge and bolted to the front of the rear fenders inside the Jeep. There's a latch in the back to hold it down. I had the rack powder coated for more durability. When this rack is installed, I stuff my sleeping bags, clothes bags, Therma-Rests and tools under the rack. On top, I strap down the cooler and dry food box. This way we can get to the cooler during the day on the trail without having to dig under sleeping bags and clothes bags.
rear Revolver shackles
I've always wanted to give these a try and a price reduction convinced me. I can't use them in the front yet because I haven't made my front shock hoops yet. Therefore the shocks are too short and the Revolvers wouldn't ever open. In the back though, it's a different story. Project page.
Fabricated a front receiver
I'm tired of maneuvering my trailers around the house by having to backup. With a receiver hitch in the front of my Jeep, I can push these trailers around more easily. Project page..
a 6-switch electrical panel
I made a panel to hold 6 electrical switches. The switches are for Front ARB, Rear ARB, Compressor, Front Lights, Side Lights and Rear Lights. The Front Lights and Rear Lights are 3-position switches. The functions are ON / OFF / ON when in reverse or when the brights are on. I have pictures of the wiring on the back of the panel, and of the panel in the dash. I also installed new (smaller) lights on the front bumper and on the spare tire carrier. This switch panel mounts where I had my in-dash clinometer mounted. I never really used the gauge that much anyway, so in the trash it went.
The springs on my Jeep (2" Skyjackers) have settled over the years and my Jeep was sitting lower and the rear springs were wrapping more and more. A friend returned the 2" Add-A-Leafs he was borrowing, so I thought I'd give them a try. I replaced the 2nd leaf in the rear packs with the Add-a-Leafs. Then I took those 2nd leafs from the rear sets and installed them in the front packs. This netted about 1 1/2" of lift all around. Also, it stiffened up the ride a little which I needed. Spring wrap seems nearly gone. Also, on the trail I discovered I'm not nearly as top heavy, or at least I don't feel top heavy.
Finally I made my grille supports that I was supposed to install with my body lift. The front clip had dropped 1/2" and was obvious in the hinge gap between the hood and cowl. I used to scrap material I had in my metal drawer and welded them in place.
skid plate, 3" raised body mounts, gas tank and engine lifted 3", new
shock cross member, air tank relocated
I wanted the skid plate to be completely flat. To do that I needed to lift the body more than the current 1.5" body lift and I had to move the engine up 3". Moving the engine up 3" meant I had to make a new York compressor mount so the compressor wouldn't hit the hood. While I was remaking all the body mounts, I had the opportunity to move the gas tank up 3" as well. The 3" body lift also gave me room to move the rear shock cross member up a bit as well. I recently hit the air tank on some rocks, so I relocated it to a new mount on the new shock cross member. Project page.
air system from 90# to 125#
The primary reason I changed the pressure switch to a 125# one was because the trailer air brakes were slightly lacking. I wanted more pressure. A side benefit is more powerful air tools on the trail.
x 14.5" x 15" Super Swamper TSL/SX tires
A friend was looking to buy some 35" SSR tires, so I took advantage of the situation to go to larger tires. The recent suspension work, and increased "body lift" made my 35" SSR's look small. Also, I had a little extra space above the Jeep to the garage so I could fit a larger tire. I originally looked at the 37"x13"x15" Boggers, but I really don't like the horizontal lugs all the way across. I'm sure they're fantastic in the mud, but I don't see a lot of mud. The SX looked like a much better choice for me. Going to 38.5" really pushed the limits of fitting in the garage with the hard top on. I have to enter real slow because I do rub the rubber molding for the sectional garage door. No damage if I stay real slow. 9 months out of the year the hard top sits on the side of the house and I'll fit just fine then. I decided to go with the 14.5" width just to keep the tire proportional. I'll still fit on the trailer, but just barely. On the 15"x10" wheel, the tire is a little "ballooned" but I think it's acceptable. As soon as the digital camera gets back from Nikon I'll post a couple pictures.
AGR RockRam steering assist
I thought the new, larger tires might make steering a little more difficult. I picked up this AGR RockRam system from a friend for a really great price. It includes the AGR Super Pump, steering box and of course the ram.
3/16" Rocker Panels
I originally had Off-Your-Rocker rocker guards on my Jeep. They worked great for several years. Recently, I hit the side of the Jeep on a rock on the Sledge Hammer trail just above the guard itself. Since the the OYR guards were only 4" tall and there was room for 6" of material, I decided to make my own. Another problem I had with the OYR guards is that they provided no lateral support. I twisted the passenger side rocker pretty good in the "Big Sluice" on Rubicon a few years ago and it's never been the same. My new guards run all the way to the center body mount underneath. This provides a TON of lateral support. I also made these out of 3/16" material which is about twice as thick as the OYR's. The break up the tall look of the side of the guard, I added 1.25" diameter, .25" wall tubing.
Front Shock Hoops
The stock front shock hoops just weren't cutting it. Especially with a 3" body relocation. I made the new ones out of 1.25" diameter, .25" wall tubing. I also had to change the shocks out for longer ones, Rancho 9000 9012's.
Swing Away Tire Carrier
The old tire carrier hung on the body. I developed some cracks, but they weren't getting any worse. The problem was the tire hanging so far behind the Jeep. The gas cans were between the tire and the tailgate. The tire weighs A LOT more than the gas cans, so it made sense that the tire be close to the Jeep and the cans hang behind it. I built the new bumper out of .25" wall 2"x4" box tubing. I welded bolts inside the bumper for mounting to the stock holes in the back of the frame. I also welded in a Swing Away hinge that is actually a trailer axle stub. Next, I welded on more supports on the back of my permanent body lift. The tire swing itself is made from 1.5" x 3" x 3/16" wall tubing. I made a separate attachment for the tire that can be flipped upside-down that will lower the tire 7.5" for more visibility when desired. In the center of the tire is a standard 2" receiver for mounting accessories. I made a gas can holder for it already. The latch to hold the swing shut is a triple lock system that can be operated with one hand. I haven't seen a swing away out on the market with an easier to use latch, yet extremely secure.
Front frame work,
steering box relocation
I wanted to move my steering box so I could move the axle forward. This required making major changes the front of the frame. Project page.
Rebuilt the roll cage
I was getting tired of the roll cage I've had installed for all these years. It's your typical Smittybuilt setup with a hoop from the drivers side floor, to the passenger side floor. I decided to try something a little more creative this time around. Project page.
and Warn Chrome Nickel Alloy Axles
I keep wearing out axle shafts so quickly that it just makes more sense to spend the money up front and take care of the problem. Project page.
Changed out the rear axle to a
ProRock60 / Rear 4-link and Fox coil-overs
While out at Johnson Valley, I met a guy that works for Dynatrac. He's getting me a great deal on a ProRock 60 axle that I can't pass up. I've been thinking about having a Ford 9" built at Currie, but it just doesn't make sense when for less money I can have a ProRock 60. At the same time, I don't really want to setup this axle with leaf springs. Might as well go for the 4-link and coil setup I've always thought about. Project page.
LED tail lights
While at Johnson Valley, I smacked my passenger side tail light on a rock and broke it. Not bad for a 10 year old Jeep. These were the factory tail lights. Project page.
the hardtop and full doors
I wasn't planning on selling them, but since I only had them installed for 2 days the entire winter, and the fact that my roll cage is just a little too big, I figured "why not"? A guy posted on JeepAholics.com that his friend was looking for a top and doors, so I said "OK". Funny, I bought the top and doors from a friend of mine who bought a Red '91 YJ. The hardtop was grey and of course the doors were red. I painted the top black, and the doors white. Well, the guy that just bought the top and doors has a red '91 YJ. :)
cross member, reworked lower links
The skid plate was taking a beating from the lower links. They just couldn't handle the stress. Project page.
brakes, adjustable proportioning valve
I've always wanted to have cutting brakes on my Jeep. Since I had to rework the lower links, I had to make new brakes lines anyways. Figured this is the best time to rip out the stock proportioning valve, install an adjustable prop valve and install some cutting brake levers. Project page.
Heard about this swap on the net and figured I'd give it a try. With a little coaxing, the master cylinder bolted right up and provides a little more braking power. Nothing earth-shattering, but better than the stock 10year old MC. Project page.
Rev1 called me up and asked me to field test their new fenders. RVMD was nice enough to paint them up for me. My stock fenders have been taking a beating the past few months and couldn't stand up to the abuse. The new fenders are very strong and should hold up just fine. Project page.
Removed stereo, CB & dual in-dash controller for the Rancho 9000's
Seems I never use the Alpine stereo anymore. I've never liked having the radio on while on the trail, and that's the only place I'm driving the Jeep anymore. I had to remove the front speakers for the roll cage to pass through the dash, and the rear speakers were always in the way. With no speakers, the stereo wasn't much more than a clock. I also removed the Cobra CB because it's so large. Anytime someone would ride in the passenger seat, they had to be careful not to bang their knee on the corner of the CB. Instead, I mounted a much smaller, cheap Radio Shack CB in the hole where the stereo was. Lastly, I also removed the dual in dash controller for the Rancho 9000 shocks. Since installing the coil-overs in the back, the controller only changed the front shocks. And since I only ever drive the Jeep on the trail anymore, it was always adjusted to "5" (stiffest setting). Instead of having to bump up the controller several times a day to maintain that setting, I decided I would just re-install the knobs on the shocks and twist them to that setting and leave them there.
After having the cutting brake levers next to my seat for a few months now, I realized just how much they were in the way. When it comes to using the levers, they're in the perfect spot, but for getting in and out of the Jeep they're not. By disconnecting the steering wheel and getting it out of the way, I can get in and out easily. Project page.
II 5.0:1 transfer case
I've been wanting to switch to an Atlas for years now. It's always been an upgrade that was easily postponed since there's been other things more important. Since the trails we've been running are getting harder and harder, I knew that someday I'm going to blow up the aluminum NP231. It's better to remove it and sell it while it's still worth something. The new case has even lower gears (4:1 in the NP231 and 5:1 in the Atlas) which slow me down a bit. I was at about 75:1 and now I'll be at 93:1. Also the new case give me a twin stick control and allows front only drive in low range. That combined with my cutting breaks should give me some great options. Project page.
Back in June I broke my winch cable while using it for steering. The steering box had broken off the frame, so I routed the cable through a pulley and to the tie rod. Worked great, but I had to go 5 miles. About 3 miles into the trek, the cable broken because it was rubbing the bottom of the frame. I tied it in a knot and kept on going. I searched web forums for someone with a used cable for sale, but couldn't find one. I bought a new one from Warn.
Changed out the 9000i
winch for the 9.5xp winch
One friend of mine was looking to sell a new 9.5xp winch, and another friend was looking for a deal on a winch. I sold my 9000i winch and bought the 9.5xp winch. The 9.5 has about doubled the line speed as the 9000i, so that will be nice. Since I replaced the winch cable on the 9000i within the last 70 miles on the odometer, the buyer is getting a great deal.
Came time to replace the tires. I already had one brand new tire that was my spare, so I bought three more and rotated one of the old ones to be the spare. I stuck with the same brand and size, 38.5" x 14.5" x 15" Super Swamper TSL/SX.
I had to replace one of my batteries. The primary battery wouldn't engage the relay that connects the two batteries (a week ago). I checked the voltage and it was at 5v. I put the charger on it for a couple days and it only got up to 7v. A few days after that it was back down to 5v again. I got a pretty good life out of the old one, 7 years. Odyssey changed their battery colors, so the new one is red. I didn't bother changing the 2nd battery since it still reads 13v.
Last year, at Dinkey Creek, I broke my AGR steering box. The field fix solution was to buy a stock steering box from a scrap yard. All we could find was a '88 Jeep Waggoner, so I bought that box. It steered the wheels, but sucked. At a stop the steering was weak. At speed it was super powerful, basically the opposite you're looking for in a steering box. Over the last few months, the pump was been whining and the steering power was getting weaker and weaker. I had a decision to make. Either drop more cash into a stock steering setup that never worked all that great with 38.5" tires at 5psi, or upgrade to a "full hydro" or hydrostatic steering setup. I went the cheap and easy route with an 8" stroke, 2" diameter push-pull (single ended) piston. I kept the 1" solid bar tie-rod that I have been running all along on this front axle. I mounted the Orbitrol down on the frame near where the steering box use to be. It's a bit further back, and higher so it shouldn't interfere with anything. Basically, it's directly under the radiator. It was a lot of work to get the air bubbles out, but now that they are (as far as I can tell) the steering is great. The stock steering box gave me about 3.75 turns lock-to-lock. This setup is about 1.75 turns, so it's very quick. It's a little touchy at 50MPH, but I don't drive that fast very often. Most of the time when it's going that fast, it's on a trailer :)
Hydrostatic Steering, round 2
I went to a balanced steering system because the unbalanced system was annoying. More details on the project page. I also built a new dash with new gauges, which is why the mileage reset to 0.
It was finally time to give the Jeep a new look. Check out the project page.
With the Jeep taken apart for paint, I didn't want to throw the same 'ol dash back in. Check out the project page.
I had to cut the a-pillars on the old cage to get it out for the paint project. Instead of patching the old bent cage together, I figured I'd bend up a new cage with a new look. Check out the project page.
When I took the old front shocks off to paint them I discovered the driver's side shock was blown out. They had quite a few hard miles on them, so I replaced them with Bilstein 5100 series shocks. Check out the project page.
Drivers side outer axle
I was driving in the front yard with some friends and broke the driver's side outer axle shaft. It managed to take out the spindle as well. This was a lifetime warranty WARN chrome alloy axle, but I've been running it for 10 years or so. I figured I got my monies worth out of it. Also, it wasn't under much stress when it let go, so I figured I must have cracked it some time in the past, it just happened to let go today, in the front yard :) While I had things apart I decided to rebuild the CTM joints as well. I haven't greased them as often as I should have and they were getting wobbly.
Replaced catalytic converter
The catalytic converter was rattling with its innards falling apart. I welded in a new unit. While I was under there I discovered a crack in my transmission cross member. The mounting plate to the transmission had a cracked gusset. I welded the snot out of it. I also FINALLY sleeved the frame where the forward skid plate bolts pass through. 18ish years ago a friend convinced me that it didn't need to be sleeved even though I knew better. Nice to have that the way I want it.