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The Chubby

Old 09-19-2018, 09:55 PM
  #1  
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Default Chubby. The 4cyl Budget Crawler

Ever have a deal come your way that was just too tempting to pass up? Happened upon my next project by accident but it didn't take long to decide it needed to be mine!

So a friend of mine was clearing space in and around his garage and up came this little gem on my Facebook marketplace feed. Told my wife i was helping him move some things and brought it home and snuck it back behind my garage for her only to discover it days later *Surprise!* For the low low price of $250 i have a tube chassis already setup with link mounts.






So initially my plan was to find a silverado for an LS drivetrain and make this a wicked buggy/bouncer on 1-tons and big ol tires. HOWEVER- im already working on an LS swap project (my 73 J2000) and having another expensive one ton-V8 build to contend with wasn't seeming very thrilling or financially ideal. I already have an 87 MJ on tons, big tires, exo cage etc etc with an I6, AND a 98 XJ thats mildly setup for now but will have long arms and locked axles etc etc maybe this winter. So i really felt like this thing needed to be something i haven't considered before... Why not build it as a cheap lightweight rock crawler? Low horsepower and lots of gear, it would be my creepy crawling rig for those trips where things don't need to get too crazy.

It became very appealing building this ring on the cheap and having yet another rig to offer me a whole new wheeling experience. A manual trans and a very nimble vehicle should not only be fun but a little challenging as well forcing me to focus on the line and approach for an obstacle.

Build plans- as of now
2.5L engine and manual trans
pair of lighter duty axles (Dana 30 and Ford 8.8, Dana 44's, or Dana 44 and a 9inch)
35-37" tires
dual triangulated suspension
A flat belly - clocked t-case (which ever tcase i decide to run if it be a 231J or look into some type of doubler setup)
2.5" remote res. air shocks
hydro/similar bump stops

Like most of my builds go, this one will be a rather slow process, trying to gather parts on the cheap. Not so secretly building this in the hopes that by the time my 7month old son is of age to ride along that he will take to this hobby that i enjoy soo much.

Last edited by That Jeep Guy XJMJ; 09-24-2018 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:06 AM
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Looking forward to this! I'll have to check out your other builds
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:16 AM
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this is gonna be sweet !!
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Old 09-23-2018, 07:53 PM
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Here it is, the drivetrain donor for the project. This 96 cherokee has an absolutely rotted out unibody front to back (Just what i wanted to find). 2.5L 4cyl and a manual tcase. With a price tag of $270 i am beyond thrilled to have this part knocked out! Now the catch to this deal is that the starter is bad and its also missing an alternator so i didn't actually get to hear it run; fingers crossed for the previous owners promises that it runs without issues. Though i did just picked up a brand new starter today and will likely nab a junkyard alt for now. I'm hoping to get it together and running soon but with my schedule it might be a couple days so bare with me for that update.



There is more in store for this build soon as i'm working a killer deal for the axles and im sure you guys will like!
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Old 09-28-2018, 07:30 PM
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The donor vehicle lives!! So i stole an alt from my brothers travel tote and got it running and cruised down the street with it. Really not much more than that because did i mention how rusted out this jeep is - Just terrible!!


You may or may not be able to tell but there is a piece of angle iron crudely welded in place of a large section of missing unibody.



Right out the gate put the pedal down and dumped the clutch- a good 20' of pure american muscle! Well ok it may not be that powerful but the marks don't lie.
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Old 12-28-2018, 09:39 PM
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So i dragged the chassis into the garage and stuffed it into the corner in the hopes i can get some time to play. I figured dragging these pretty little axles into the garage would help motivate me. One of my wheeling buddies is making some serious upgrades to his TJ and didn't need these any longer. 1 - pair of Rubicon D44 axles with 4.88 gears and chromoly shafts. Locked front and rear and the front even has lockouts. Not sure if those are gonna stick around but i suppose we'll just see how they do.




I also picked up 4 more jack stands this week so this chassis will be off the ground hopefully soon.
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:11 PM
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Is the old VW Rabbit next on your list of rebuilds?
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:22 PM
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Looks like you are getting all the parts around getting close to starting to work on it. The last time I saw it was still behind the Garage. My brother wanted me to tell you that he has almost all his parts together to lift his higher he was bothered by the name you called him while we were there LOL! remember ( LIL GUY) he has not forgot it
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Whaanga View Post
Is the old VW Rabbit next on your list of rebuilds?
Not really gonna be a rebuild, just something i scored really cheap and I plan to fix it up some this summer and drive. little 1.6 diesel should be pretty darn efficient on fuel.

Originally Posted by RockinRonnie View Post
Looks like you are getting all the parts around getting close to starting to work on it. The last time I saw it was still behind the Garage. My brother wanted me to tell you that he has almost all his parts together to lift his higher he was bothered by the name you called him while we were there LOL! remember ( LIL GUY) he has not forgot it
Oh ya it sure is close, as of last night it found itself on top of 4 brand new jack stands and the drivetrain and axles chilling underneath it. That'll be cool, maybe we'll see you and Lil guy up at the jeep blessing next year in May?



I cut out most of the existing wiring to get it out of the way since it will get a completely different harness for the 2.5. Should have my link tubes in a few days and i'm trying to plan in my head how to setup the motor mounts and x-member. I have a few old polly link bushing's hanging around on old suspension parts i may salvage to knock that out. Then i'm probably just going to run 3/4" heims all around for the joints of the 4-links.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:54 AM
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Yes will look for you at the blessing already have plans to be there ! He should be a little higher bye then LOL!
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:09 PM
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Time for some motor mounts!

got a pair of polly bushings from Ruffstuff along with some other things i ordered for another project. They are/were 3" wide with a 1/2" bushing. Factory motor mounts use a 12mm~ bolt so these factory mounts needed to be opened up just a little bit.



Looking pretty!
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:38 PM
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Mocking up the engine and one of the throttle body sensors is parked awfully close to the original brake booster. Which at first had me worried about placement but then i realized I still had to swap out the booster/master cylinder and also drill holes to mount the clutch fluid reservoir, so there was a chance it would be ok as is.

As it turns out I was right after all. The old brake booster/master are just a little bulkier than what whats in there now.

Wanted to check for hood clearance before i welded in the motor mounts. So i dug the hood out of my back yard and tossed it on there However that doesn't come without its own little challenges as it needed to be clearanced for fitment.

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Old 01-17-2019, 06:23 AM
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Lookin Good!
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:38 PM
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That hood cut looks so good!
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