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The Black Dragon 2.0

Old 12-26-2012, 11:29 PM
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Default The Black Dragon 2.0

Ok, so I have been super lazy about doing an actual build thread on the forum, but really been meaning to, lol. So, as a precursor to the new year, I am going to finally start it. I intitially started with a 1992 Jeep Cherokee Laredo, 4 door, auto. I swapped an XJ Dana 44, and had kept it stock for a couple years, learning what I could about working on the jeep in general. I went to afghanistan for a year, and when I came back, decided I wanted a 2 door instead, and lucked out with my second jeep. I purchased a 2001 2 door, manual, Cherokee sport, becoming the second owner.

I kept it stock in suspension for a good 5 months, but did some parts swapping/upgrading on the engine. I swapped out the injectors for the 784 upgraded injectors. I didn't notice a difference in mileage, but I did in throttle response and in the low-mid range of the power band. I had purchased the Rusty's "Ultimate XJ Performance" package for the '92, and swapped most of it to the newer cherokee. So, I have the K&N 6x9" cone filter, "cold air intake", Bigger throttle body, throttle body spacer, and then bought a new flowmaster 44 and 2.5" tailpipe that I installed. I think the combination of everything increased throttle response and overall gains in the power band. I didn't notice any difference in the mileage still, but at least no decrease, either.

I got bored and really wanted to lift my jeep, and wasn't sure why I kept waiting to do it. So, I watched for sales on certain items, and started planning my build. I found a deal on Eaton E-Lockers for the front and rear and purchased those. I had also bought 4.56 gears for the original jeep a couple years ago. I then contacted Rusty's Offroad and gave them a list of things I wanted to purchase and see if they would give me a package deal. I ended up with a 4.5" short arm kit, their steering upgrade, upgraded the shocks to their RX200 series, longer pitman arm, Advanced Adapters SYE kit, and rock sliders. Here is the start of it all:
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-192983_10151405485874278_2113234501_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-277431_10151405486309278_296631444_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-277431_10151405486664278_1628617179_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-337971_10151405487109278_2093069021_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-325398_10151405487439278_1431406727_o.jpg  

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Old 12-26-2012, 11:31 PM
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Nice jeep, off to a good start with lift+lockers
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:44 PM
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I came into this lift having only done basic mechanical repairs, like oil changes and brake changes. The only person to help me with any of the lift install, was my uncle, seen in a few of the pictures. Here are some more pictures of the build. Putting it on the jack stands and removing the axles to be regeared:
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-414663_10151405487819278_942099632_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-474178_10151405488109278_2029757540_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-325370_10151405488424278_1259434545_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-192836_10151405488704278_2075383724_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-272756_10151405489299278_1978646634_o.jpg  

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Old 12-26-2012, 11:58 PM
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Well, I also decided that if I was going to lift it, then I was going to replace the bumpers as well, so those had to go too. I got a deal from Nate of Nate's 4x4 on both bumpers and a roof rack. Next photos are from bumper removal and more of the axle removals:
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-202652_10151405489539278_565012613_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-620962_10151405490099278_1047880581_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-243561_10151405489019278_2008948131_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-243458_10151405490374278_174499650_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-272614_10151405489819278_1581530226_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 12:11 AM
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Here are the bumpers. They came as bare metal, so I had to clean them up, and paint them. I chose to primer them, then use the spray on bedliner from Duplicolor, Bed Armor. The rear bumper I got first, was the wrong one. It didn't have the d ring tabs I wanted. I figured that out after I primered it, lol. Nate was great about replacing the bumper though, and sent me the right one, along with a shipping label for the wrong one. Here are photos of them:
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-621617_10151405490754278_2080782073_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-615196_10151405490964278_989180951_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-336152_10151405492639278_467792614_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-219557_10151405492294278_881730638_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-621638_10151405492874278_785136083_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 12:27 AM
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Here are the new leaf springs installed. I also got 1.5" rear shakles from Frank Zimkas, of Serious Offroad Products. He was also the one that installed my lockers and regeared my axles. So, I installed the 4.5" leaf springs, along with the 1.5" shakles, bringing me to 6" overall lift. So, since that was the case, I purchased 1.75" spacers for the front to even out the lift.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-192836_10151405491414278_1253431544_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-324647_10151405491219278_1828397407_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-219494_10151405491979278_1636680028_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-220944_10151405491669278_500747268_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-287498_10151405493589278_1819684685_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:00 AM
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Once I installed the axles after being regeared, I then realized that even without the spacers in the front, the 4.5" short arms barely used the full droop of the coils. Not to mention that the adjustable track bar was at its limits as well. So, I called up Rusty's and asked them to swap out some components and apply them towards their long arm upgrade. Since I had only installed, and not used them, they allowed me to swap out the LCAs and track bar, and get the long arms and HD track bar. Of course, once I did that, I found that I needed the longer pitman arm, and extended brake lines as well. So, I got that all ordered as well. Now, the shocks were already an upgrade, and I waited too long to get those swapped out, since it was the last thing I thought about. The brackets for the front were just a long bolt going through another bracket and connecting to the fender well with washers and bolts. So, I went to lowes and got the same size bolt, just 1.5" longer, and to make up for the gap, I bought washers to fill it in, all grade 8. It sounded good in theory anyways. While it did in fact extend the front shocks, it also created a bigger point of failure when the axle was at full droop. I will get to that later. Back to the install. So, I didn't take too many pictures of it, but I did the slip yoke eliminator. I admit, I was overwhelmed with taking apart the transfer case and putting in the new output shaft and all. With encouragement from Frank, and help from my uncle, I managed to swap it out, quite successfully. Once I got the long arms, I realized there was no going back. It required drilling into the frame for the additional bracing, and cutting out the LCA mounts from the frame. Here are the next photos from all described.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-304633_10151405493844278_140862986_n.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-414654_10151405494639278_471941977_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-287977_10151405495214278_258186091_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-241303_10151405494964278_725434327_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-288000_10151405494219278_1785753922_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:14 AM
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More photos of the long arms being installed, along with other suspension parts.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-192860_10151405495439278_1404395932_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-472760_10151405496344278_800233935_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-327186_10151405499984278_1057751310_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-621628_10151405500234278_1075802586_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-241356_10151405495964278_877255122_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:25 AM
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More photos of the long arms installed and the custom woody's drive shaft installed on the new rear output yoke.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-202813_10151405495669278_1853901975_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-328948_10151405499464278_437497946_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-202747_10151405498949278_1565632808_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-474297_10151405499649278_1657501513_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-472698_10151405499819278_1166932020_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:36 AM
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Once all of this was installed, I put on the stock tires. Yes, it does look ridiculous/hilarious. ;-)
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-240819_10151405500404278_1410083249_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-337446_10151405496624278_2104776483_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-615059_10151405500649278_1827898324_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-615059_10151405500709278_680539136_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-621037_10151405500499278_321737484_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 01:51 AM
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Once I did this, I did a quick tape measure alignment to try and lessen any death wobble while on the way to get it aligned. After the alignment, I went and got my new tires put on. 33"x12.5"xR15 Kevlar MT/Rs on Unique 297s 15x8 rims with 4" backspacing. Well, I found out pretty quick that it wasn't enough backspacing and when trying to make full turns, I was rubbing on my long arms. So, I ordered some 1.25" spacers and installed them. Worked like a charm!
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-51974_10151438933399278_101549770_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-202071_10151438933939278_2089506085_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-332173_10151438934134278_946802608_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-332462_10151438934024278_756714244_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-621367_10151438933289278_446256324_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 02:05 AM
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I missed one of the photos where the front bumper was installed and put on the Rigid Dually 2 LED Lights. They are very bright, so I can only use them while offroading at night. I ordered some light covers to put on them and turn them blue, so I will post some pics of them lit up without and with them on. Anyways, here is the bumper installed, and the tires put on.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-621082_10151405497844278_1791395434_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-324501_10151405498564278_842799165_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-326869_10151438933609278_964913664_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-339094_10151438933504278_290558340_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-289891_10151438933724278_974252213_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 02:20 AM
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Well, once I installed the long arms, and got the new tires, next step was to armor up. Need to protect what I just spent all this time and money on, right? Well, I had those rock sliders from rusty's, but one problem. The front bracket sat right where the long arm brace was. So, I cut off the bracket on the rock slider for the front so that it could be welded to the long arm bracket. The install of the rock sliders was definitely a PITA, lol. It required drilling into the pinch seam, and into the frame some. Here are those photos.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-190803_10151438934569278_1620865858_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-536016_10151438934284278_793357720_n.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-48188_10151438934474278_1802058216_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-48198_10151438934849278_91773117_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-244127_10151438934749278_1350748643_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 02:24 AM
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Some more photos of the install and the finished look of the rock sliders.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-334502_10151438934669278_1134771084_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-387405_10151438934984278_1799118159_n.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-485830_10151438935109278_466094012_n.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-55971_10151438936109278_603406309_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-335228_10151438935714278_1626430467_o.jpg  

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Old 12-27-2012, 02:36 AM
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Once I got the sliders on and welded up, I decided to take it out for a good flex test up in the mountains. Turned out, I needed to trim some more from my fenders. I also had got a good deal on some of the bushwacker pocket flares. So, I sent to trimming up the fenders to install them. I ended up trimming more than I wanted in the rear, so I used some spray foam to fill in the gaps, and then trim it back to be flush with everything else. Did I need to do that? Probably not. Does it make me feel better? Absolutely. ;-) So, here are the photos of the trimming and install.
Attached Thumbnails The Black Dragon 2.0-218527_10151438936269278_596805467_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-469452_10151438936604278_1240836721_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-244394_10151438936499278_806780225_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-291296_10151442687424278_17924707_o.jpg   The Black Dragon 2.0-414130_10151438936709278_1019323100_o.jpg  

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