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BT's 1998 Build Thread

Old 07-19-2011, 09:11 PM
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Default BT's 1998 Build Thread

Thought I'd start a build thread for my '98. I started casually looking at XJ's about a year and half ago. Finally sold our 2wd Expedition last winter and spend the next 6 weeks looking for a clean low mileage XJ. Not as easy as I thought. Most had either been wheeled to hell and back or had 200k miles on them. Finally found this bone stock '98 with only 64k miles on it in November and got to work. I've been into cars and motorcycles my whole life, but this is my first Jeep and it's really been a lot of fun and I've learned a lot in the past year or so.




My goal when I started all this was to have a clean, reliable daily driver that would also be a capable off-roader. Within a week of buying the XJ, I had ordered a RE 3.5" SuperFlex kit. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Rubicon Express was just about to shut down for their "reorganization". It took about two months to get my lift kit, it showed up piece by piece of the course of several weeks. In the mean time, I picked up a set of Kevin's Off Road sliders. I installed them while waiting for my lift kit to show up.



During this time, I also decided I really liked the look of the Moab wheels on XJ's and I found a nearly new set of take-off wheels and tires on CL. It looked really nice with the larger rubber and no lift. Also removed the black side mouldings to keep myself busy. I was nearly tempted to leave it this way and just drive it on the street.



Finally the lift kit all showed up and my son and I went to work in the evenings and had it all installed by the following weekend. It really changed the look for the better. This was really starting to look nice!



Took it out wheelin' for the first time with my boys on some really easy trails and set it up for a poser shot.



That was pretty much it for awhile, just drove it and wheeled it a couple times and tried to learn how to drive and figure out what the weak links were.

Last edited by Brent T; 07-19-2011 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:20 PM
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After the first off-road trip, I realized I needed to trim some plastic off the front bumper. Wheeled it again with several other Jeeps and really had a good time.



Decided to beef up the steering and went with the Currie setup. Also picked up a set of Riddler diff covers and installed all that one weekend.



Put the street tires up for sale on CL and bought a set of 285/75-16 MTR's.



Then wheeled it some more.

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Old 07-19-2011, 09:23 PM
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very clean...I like the wheel and tire combo. Nice job.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:25 PM
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Nice truck!

Did you go OTK with the currie steering?
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:03 PM
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During the past few months, I decided I wanted a cage of some type, partly for safety, and also to stiffen the flimsy unibody chassis. After much research, looking at several kits, I decided to have Hunter Offroad in Tempe, AZ build me a hybrid. I had seen one he had done for another XJ and really liked it overall. I had him make a few changes to his design, but stayed with the same general idea I had seen on his previous XJ cage.

Here's the beginning of the cage build.




Here's the completed cage before I spent many hours scuffing, taping and painting.




I decided since this is my DD, I wanted it to be a little quieter inside too, so I spent about 10 hours sound deadening the interior with FatMat before I put it all back together.




Taped everything off and painted the exo portion black in my garage.





Then taped and covered everything inside and painted the interior portion gray to match my stock interior.



Spent probably 25 to 30 hours trimming interior panels and carpet to make it look nice, then re-installed the interior. Still haven't put the headliner back in yet. I'm not quite sure how to go about it. I think I'm going to have to cut it into 2 or 3 pieces to get it in. I may practice on an old one and use it for a pattern. My stock headliner is pristine and I don't want to screw it up.




Last edited by Brent T; 07-19-2011 at 11:52 PM. Reason: add pictures
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:05 PM
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My latest project is to install a Detours "Tailbone" swing out tire carrier. So far all I've gotten done is remove the stock bumper skin and modify the nut strips to I can start the actual install. Hope to get it finished up by next week sometime.

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Old 07-19-2011, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Gee oh Dee View Post
Nice truck!

Did you go OTK with the currie steering?
No, just the stock UTK setup. I may go with the Goforit TRE flip on the driver's side to level out the tie rod
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:38 PM
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Couple other mods I forgot to mention above. I guess this is what happens when you start your build thread 9 months after you start the build.

I welded in some front LCA mini skids and reinforced the passenger side UCA mount.

Installed stock style front recovery points - new front bumper is planned for later.

Installed JCR rear lower quarter guards and trimmed the stock rear bumper end caps to fit.

Installed a SYE and driveshaft, welded in some wedges to adjust the pinion angle to get rid of the vibes I had.

Last edited by Brent T; 07-19-2011 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:47 PM
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I friggin love that cage!
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:55 PM
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Hey, thanks. I'm really happy how the cage turned out. Took longer than I expected to get it all done, but it looks almost stock I think. I know it could use more triangulation, but this is my DD so I had to make some compromises.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Brent T View Post
Hey, thanks. I'm really happy how the cage turned out. Took longer than I expected to get it all done, but it looks almost stock I think. I know it could use more triangulation, but this is my DD so I had to make some compromises.
how much did the cage run you?
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:29 AM
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lord have mercy that is some amazing clean work luv it man wish i could give ya my jeep too do that to it lol
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:37 AM
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Freakin sick build man! Jeep it up Opps i meant keep it up
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:16 AM
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props to your cage builder and your wallet
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:24 AM
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Nice looking XJ! Can't wait to see future upgrades and updates.
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