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Front Frame Work
I've been thinking for a while about moving my steering box forward and up into the frame.  To accomplish that I need to replace the round pipe under the winch that comes in a stock YJ.  This will give the room for the steering box.  I'm also going to relocate the front receiver up into the new cross member.  With the steering box relocated, I should be able to move the front axle forward about 3".

11/13/02 - Work began
I got a great start on the project today.  I removed all the bolt all equipment up front.  Then I laid out what the new cross member / bumper would look like.  I decided on a piece of 4" x 4" x 3/8" thick angle iron.  I went to the metal shop and found the perfect piece.  A little rusted, but I can work with that.  I cut the angle iron to the correct shape, installed the front receiver (which will double as the grille body mount) and I drilled the clearance holes for the winch mount.  In the past I have had my front bumper cut flush with the side of the frame, but it always bugged me a little.  I decided to leave about 4" of material off the side of the frame and put a 45 degree cut on the face of the bumper.  This will have a little more style than the previous bumper.

Next I welded a piece of 2.5"x2.5"x1/4"wall box tubing to the top of the frame to support the frame while I cut the stock round tubing out.  This worked out pretty good since the frame didn't budge while I had it dissected.  After I had the frame cleaned up as much as I was going to, and I needed the temporary brace out of the way, I welded on the new frame cross member / bumper.  After it was completely welded, I cut the temporary brace off.

The grille support body mount was next.  I cut a piece of 2.5"x2.5"x1/4"wall box tubing to size and drilled a hole in it for the body mount.  I didn't get the piece welded on today, but it's ready for tomorrow.

I started looking at what the steering box mount would look like, but I don't have anything definite yet.

11/14/02 - Steering Box Mount, Axle Move
I got the steering box mount completed today.  It's a little more "redneck" than I originally had hoped, but it should hold up fine.  I'm going to carry some scrap metal around for a while in case of a crack or something.  I figure, if I carry the metal, I won't need it.  I also got the body mount under the grille completed.  Everything is painted as well.  After the box was installed, I measured to confirm how much I could move the axle.  Then I removed the leaf packs and drilled out the top 3 leaves 3" forward.  When everything was finished I took the Jeep for a test drive.  I really like the axle more forward.  Stiffened up the front suspension a little and I didn't notice a decrease in turning radius even though there should be one.  I took a drive in some dirt near my house.  There's an extremely steep descent down to the street (about 15' long or so).  I felt really stable on the way down.

Check out the pictures below.  There's one in there that shows the new approach angle.  Looks like it's near 85 degrees.

11/15/02 - Bolt-on's bolted on
This morning I modified the steering box support to work in the new location, then I installed the winch, tow hooks and hi-lift jack.  I briefly looked at how the sway bar will install, but that's a larger project then I want to do today.  I still have to pack up for camping in Calico this weekend.  I added a couple pictures showing how the front of the Jeep looks with the new bumper and all the junk mounted.  I also ramped the Jeep on my dual ramps.  I lost a bit of travel in the front since the axle no longer mounts in the center of the leaf spring, but that's OK.  The better approach angle, more stable descents and stronger steering more than makes up for that.