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Thread: Wildman's TJ Build

  1. #1
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Default Wildman's TJ Build

    Okay this will be a long thread with a bunch of pictures. I have about two years to catch up on.
    Here is what my Jeep looked like in Sept 2002 when I bought it. It was a 1997 TJ SE w/33X14 Boggers & a ProComp 4" suspension lift. It had 55,000 miles on it and had NEVER been off-road.

    Seeing if I could break that D35 rear axle.

    This is what it looked like in Sept 03 before I was deployed to Iraq.


    I had come home on leave in Sept 04 and got to go wheeling ONE day while I was home.!! Long story.

    Then I went back to Iraq and on 19 Oct 2004 I was shot!!! It is the day that changed my life.
    In Dec 04 I could pull myself into my Jeep and kind of drive it. The first thing I did was go buy some 35X13.50 Toyo M/T's. It was real funny watching me pull myself into the Jeep with my leg brace on.
    I was able to start walking again in May 05 and one of the first things I did was install a TeraFlex long arm kit.


  2. #2
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Okay on with the story.
    In January 06 I took my Jeep down to a buddies shop in Vancouver. We installed some PSC tube fenders & trail cage. Also did a few other little things like fuel tank skid, tranny/t-case skid & hood hoop.




    In March 06 I got an insurance payment from the military. I went a little stupid crazy with my build. If you ask me now I wish I had done things differently. But hindsight is 20/20.
    So I took the Jeep to a shop down in Grants Pass, OR. to have them install a Magnum V-8 into the Jeep. The shop is Backwoods Off-Road and he has been doing these swaps for a while.



    Now I had planned/hoped to have the Jeep all fixed and running ready to go to Moab in May. Ya RIGHT!!! :scratch: I didn't even pick the Jeep up until the weekend I was suppose to be leaving for Moab.

    While the Jeep was down in Oregon I was building a front axle for it. I took a mid-70's F150 HP44 axle and cut it down to Waggy width.



  3. #3
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    The inner knuckles really were not hard to get back on. Getting them off was harder.

    Then I used a Rubicon Express bracket kit for all the TJ mounts.




    Front axle got an ARB locker, 5.13 gears and a fresh paint job.

    I had also ordered a air bag system that replaces the coil spring. It is made by Off-Road Only and is called the AiRock system.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Once I got the Jeep back to my garage I started taking it apart so I could install all the new parts I had bought.

    Put it up on jack stands and started ripping out what ever we were not going to use. Both axles were being replaced, a whole new suspension system was also getting installed. I had also replaced my NP231 with a STaK's 3 speed t-case. Ever wonder why they call it a monster box??

    So I had a Dodge Durango 5.2L V-8 and it's 4 speed auto tranny.

    Had some wheeling buddies form CWU who came over to help.

    The brackets for the new Long Arm suspension weleded in place.

    Then the mounts for the front & rear lower control arms could be bolted on.

    The Nth Degree Tummy Tucker installed.

    Not a lot of clearance here but I fixed it later. Here is how much it was clocked to start with.

    I went back and reclocked it later.
    Getting the bracket for the rear axle installed and modified to fit. Nothing for this whole build was bolt on. But then it wouldn't be fun if it was.

    First trial fit of the front axle. And as you can see I had replaced the Tera long arm with a Nth Degree long arm kit.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Now with the AiRock system I needed a on-board air system that would work and work WELL. I installed a York compressor using a mounting kit from Brad Kilby. He is a long time internet friend and I knew he had installed one on his TJ when he did the V-8 swap. It is not a kit he sells on his web site.

    Also in that picture is my 175Amp Primier Power alt.
    The rear axle is a Tera CRD60 with CroMo shafts, Explorer brakes, ARB & 5.13 gears. I have a few stories about it too but that is for later.

    Because of the crawl ratio I felt the need for Better brakes. So I installed a VanCo HydroBoost kit.


    You can also see some of the plumbing for the on-board air system. And due to the size of the STaK case I had to move the air tank I had back some.



    Here you can see the sensors mounted that tell the AiRock kit what height the suspension is at.


    This is the distorbution block/computer that controls when and where the air goes.

  6. #6
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Now you want to talk about FUN!! Try fixin all this steering and track bar and stuff on a TJ, then add in the fact that you have air bags that can't be too close to any moving parts.


    The steering is on it's third revision now.
    The rear lower control arms just clear my air tank.


    I got a back then just released outboard shock kit from Poly Performance. The real scary part was having to notch the frame.


    The upper shock brackets.

    Cut and ready to be installed.

    Test fit.

    Welded into palce.

    Shock mounted.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Lower Mounts on the axle.

    I have a Mean Green dual battery tray. I needed a place to mount the relay. So I welded a tab on the upper battery tray.

    The dual batteries mounted and some of the wiring hooked back up.

    The clearance between the lower battery posts and the fender, I felt it was a little TOO close so I made a rubber pad to sit betweent he two.

    More pic's of the dual battery kit. It is a NW Power Products system and is pretty much the same as any of the others out there.

    So it was finally getting closer to sitting on it's own 4 wheels at this point. I was seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

    I started painting the cage at this time. My theme for the Jeep is this, if it is stock I have left it white and if I added it on it is black. Kind of the MadCow look.




  8. #8
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    So next was my dash. Now I have a Tuffy overhead console that my stereo & CB are mounted in. So the dash was being reworked to hold some gauges & switches.



    I tried some sheet metal first but it wasn't strong enough and would flex. So next I used plexi glass.

    Also I installed MasterCraft seats in the front.


    This was the original STaK shift. Ok but a total pain to adjust.

    I got JE Reel drivesahfts made with 1350 joints. Good God those things are not cheap!!!


    So first time out of the garage under it's own power.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    At this point I was running Toyo Open Country M/T's 35X13.50X15 tires on 8X15 Allied beadlocks.

    I've just sold them and am getting new tires and wheels this spring.
    I drove the Jeep in to Cle Elum and got a exhaust installed.


    The new FlowMaster muffler that you can pound with a hammer.

    And the new cat so I am still smog legal plus so the computer will work like it should.

    And the tail pipe that isn't there anymore.


    This is the air block for the ARB lockers. I got it from Power Tank. It works great.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Wildman's Avatar
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    Next was a Skid Row tranny & engine skid. Of course they don't make one for a V-8 TJ so I had to fab my brackets and make it work.






    Then I added a M.O.R.E. steering brace.


    Next on the list of things to do, PSC Crusher Corners. So off with the BesTop flares.

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