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Fitz's Overbuilt XJ

Old 07-06-2016, 09:10 PM
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Default Fitz's Gunmetal DD Build

Hey All, My names Tom, or you can call me Fitz. I'm on here constantly and now that I've made some progress on my XJ I've decided to start a build thread. It's really just "overbuilt" for my personal needs than anything else. So my bad if the title gives the wrong idea.

I've had my 97' Gunmetal Sport for a little over two years now. When I bought it, it was bone stock with just under 57k original miles, and was in fantastic shape for being a Michigan vehicle it's whole life. This is actually my second XJ and I hope to keep it for a long time. Here it is the weekend after I got it. Right after I repainted the grill and wheels. Unfortunately the pictures are all phone pics. I do plan on getting a decent camera so I can post some more quality stuff.

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I'm mechanically inclined but never really did any work on vehicles except for oil changes and simple stuff. I'm using this XJ to learn and teach myself and keep a running list of what I've done to it. This forum and a lot of you guys have been a great help and continue to be, so please feel free to comment, ask questions, give opinions, etc.. I'm learning as I go so I eat that **** up.

Last edited by TFitzPat87; 07-14-2016 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 07-06-2016, 09:30 PM
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So shortly after getting it I started doing my lift research like most other newbies. I quickly ruled out RC, and was back and forth between Zone 3", RE 3.5", or an OME 3.5" kit from DPG. I'm pretty sure any of them would have been solid choices but I went with OME after reading so many great reviews of ride quality. I honestly should have gone with the 3.5" metalcloak (ARB addition) for the money I was spending, but some things worked out from it which I'll get to.

I knew I was gonna go with BFG AT's, so that made tire choice easy, and from there it was wheels. I wanted something that wasn't a soft 8 or a D window to be a little different. I settled on some American Racing Wheels.

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Unfortunately, I didn't get any lift install pictures. I always plan to take pictures, but then forget once I get working. I'm trying to get better though. I did the install over 2.5 days, by myself in the garage. It was an experience but I wanted to do it on my own to learn. Went fairly smooth except for one front leaf bolt, and all the rear upper shock bolts broke. Easy fix though. Here it is with the lift and wheels installed (no center caps). Love how it turned out!

Fitz's Overbuilt XJ-150629.jpg

Fitz's Overbuilt XJ-150807.jpg

Last edited by TFitzPat87; 07-14-2016 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 07-06-2016, 10:42 PM
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After the install I quickly had some vibes. Nothing crazy so I just go a TC drop until I saved up a little more to get an SYE. Well after about 7 months of driving it like that, the vibes started getting ****ty so I purchased and install an Advance Adapters SYE and Tom Woods DS. What a night and day difference that was!

Random Night picture. You can kinda see the TC drop here. I don't really like this picture. It makes my XJ look kinda weird for some reason.

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At this point, and actually before I started the lift, I knew 3.5" and 31's wasn't gonna be enough. My ultimate plans have always been to make it great on road and at highway speed, but to be able to hit most trails and it be a beast. Whether that be 3.5" and 31's or going bigger, it was always the plan. In short I decided 4 to 4.5" and 33's is what I'm going for. Here's a list of things a plan to do and parts I have accumulated/may have installed already.

                                  And some other stuff I'll get to in the next couple posts.

                                  Last edited by TFitzPat87; 07-07-2016 at 10:23 AM.
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                                  Old 07-06-2016, 11:18 PM
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                                  First!

                                  You have a Detours tailbone?
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 01:31 AM
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                                  Nice rig, like the color. lol
                                  Nice buy on the 3 link. Not sure how great it'll be on road, but plenty capable for sure. If you are going to use BW flares, and run 33's. don't get too ambitious with "too much" spring. I'm running a ZONE 3" kit with the BW flares and 33's and I can stuff them with NO rub. I've got adjustable Iron Rock LCA and UCA's too. If I feel froggy, I can always toss in a 1" shackle and spacer., but it's pretty good now. Best off road bang for the buck was selectable lockers. ARB's. and 4:56's. Makes it a beast off road. Here's mine. (and I"ve got monstaliner on the lower 1/4 too)
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 07:08 AM
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                                  Originally Posted by Jeepology View Post
                                  First!

                                  You have a Detours tailbone?
                                  Awesome! Not yet, but I'll be pulling the trigger very shortly. Unfortunately, it's a long lead time, but I love the Detours Tailbone. Clean look, and gets my spare outa the cargo space.


                                  Originally Posted by Krakker View Post
                                  Nice rig, like the color. lol
                                  Nice buy on the 3 link. Not sure how great it'll be on road, but plenty capable for sure. If you are going to use BW flares, and run 33's. don't get too ambitious with "too much" spring. I'm running a ZONE 3" kit with the BW flares and 33's and I can stuff them with NO rub. I've got adjustable Iron Rock LCA and UCA's too. If I feel froggy, I can always toss in a 1" shackle and spacer., but it's pretty good now. Best off road bang for the buck was selectable lockers. ARB's. and 4:56's. Makes it a beast off road. Here's mine. (and I"ve got monstaliner on the lower 1/4 too)
                                  Thanks! Good looking rig yourself! CavFab 3 link should be great on a DD. Xj88 is running his on his DD (CavFab "prototype" rig). Jeepology, myself, and Peligro will all be running ours on DD duty. Don't foresee any issues.

                                  I'm gonna attempt to find a 33 that's true to size when the time comes, so 4 to 4.5" is where I want to be. I'll be posting some more tonight.
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 09:11 AM
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                                  Originally Posted by TFitzPat87 View Post
                                  Awesome! Not yet, but I'll be pulling the trigger very shortly. Unfortunately, it's a long lead time, but I love the Detours Tailbone. Clean look, and gets my spare outa the cargo space.
                                  Love the tailbone. I was considering it myself for some time, but you're right. Lead time is insane. It will be solid though that's for sure.
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 09:26 AM
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                                  Looks like a good start!
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 12:24 PM
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                                  Nice jeep! Cool to put some pictures to the person I've been chatting with about exhaust setups. We have very similar build ideas, except I did finally decided to settle on 31s.
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 12:48 PM
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                                  Originally Posted by WyoCherokee View Post
                                  Looks like a good start!
                                  Thanks!

                                  Originally Posted by cbs_24 View Post
                                  Nice jeep! Cool to put some pictures to the person I've been chatting with about exhaust setups. We have very similar build ideas, except I did finally decided to settle on 31s.
                                  Agreed! Right before you posted on Jeepology's build, I had figured the walker muffler and a high flow cat would be the way to go. Rattling cat and muffler are driving me crazy!
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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 01:37 PM
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                                  Pumped to watch the build.

                                  Thanks for your support!

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                                  Old 07-07-2016, 04:32 PM
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                                  Originally Posted by CavFab View Post
                                  Pumped to watch the build.

                                  Thanks for your support!

                                  Thanks! Can't wait to get it installed!

                                  After installing my SYE, DS and shims, the little bit of height I got out of the 4 degree shims pulled my stock shackles forward just enough to make my rear ride REAL stiff. I knew I wanted to install some SRB's and decided on HD's No Lift version. I wasn't too excited to cut into the jeep, but I figured their "standard" SRB's and new shackles would give me more height than I wanted. It was kind of a ***** cutting the box out. Grinder, saw, dremel, and was still a pain. If you go this route, try and get your hands on a plasma cutter. Sorry, no install pics. Promise that will get better.

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                                  Also, some repairs I've done... sometime last fall I replaced the water pump, tstat, fan clutch, and hoses. This past spring I replaced my radiator (it was leaking), and that finally fixed my slow speed/traffic temperature creeps.

                                  I've also installed 703 injectors and a 62mm bored TB. Both post lift but at different times. That brought back some pep that I lost with the 31's on 3.55's. Couple of my favorite upgrades.

                                  Oh, and I snapped a couple pictures of some mileage "milestones". Currently just passed 87k. She's still a baby! I had ones for 60 and 65k but can't find them.

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                                  Last edited by TFitzPat87; 07-14-2016 at 08:12 PM.
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                                  Old 07-08-2016, 08:48 PM
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                                  At this point we're pretty much caught up. I spent the fall and winter just driving it with nothing more than the lift, wheels, and tires. Also spent this time researching and building up the Jeep fund.

                                  Over this past 4th of July weekend, I did a couple small cosmetic upgrades. Smoked turn signal markers.

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                                  Before: Unattractive amber (they're orange if ya ask me).
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                                  After: Nice and clean!
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                                  Also did my interior LED's from One Way Light. I actually had the interiors for months before I went to install anything. When I finally did, I was surprised to find out I only had a dome and cargo light, so none of the ones I had worked. My mistake, should have looked instead of imagining the lights from my old 2000 when I ordered. Dropped Jason a line, he got back to me right away, and the next day he sent me the correct LED's (plus spares) with no questions asked. Highly recommend OneWayLight if you're looking to do this.

                                  Here's a before and after. Such an improvement! I can actually see what the hell I'm doing at night now.

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                                  Last edited by TFitzPat87; 07-15-2016 at 07:59 PM.
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                                  Old 07-09-2016, 07:48 AM
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                                  Looking good, I like where you're heading with it.
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                                  Old 07-14-2016, 08:16 PM
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                                  Small update, ordered my ZJ tie rod upgrade along with all new tie rod ends as well as a drag link. Figured I mine as well just do it all so everything's new. Pictures when it comes in.

                                  Also, my wheels and tires have been a ***** to keep balanced from day one. Weights kept falling off. Had them balanced 5 times in the last year and still ****. Now I can literally see they've worn/cupped like **** and I have a shimmy from 45 to like 52ish mph. So think I'm gonna get some Duratracs this time. Also thinking of new wheels too. The ones I have are ok, but not super happy with them.
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