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