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My '98: The Warthog (Short, tough, and ugly)

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My '98: The Warthog (Short, tough, and ugly)

Old 03-07-2014, 01:44 PM
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Default My '98: The Warthog (Short, tough, and ugly)

Thought I'd start a thread and share where I'm at with my XJ and what I plan to do with it. I call it the Warthog. Mostly because I think it's ugly and looks like one, but also because I like the idea of building an offroader that's low to the ground but very stout. I want to focus on traction, reliability, recovery, and undercarriage protection before doing any lift and seeing how much I can do with it.

As it was when it got home. Purchased for $800 with 235,000 miles, but with one of the strongest and smoothest running 4.0's my mechanic has ever witnessed. We are guessing it was a lot of highway miles prior to the guy I bought it from, who had started to cut it up for an offroad toy. He lost interest, so I picked it up from there.


It did not have a current inspection, for a variety of reasons, so that was the first thing to remedy. Some exhaust work, new tires, some more cutting, welding, wiring... yea we found a lot of little issues, but nothing difficult.


The fenders had already been cut... poorly. The body was split along the edge of the wheel wells, so we finished the job and welded things back together. A few pieces had to be made to fill holes, but at this point at least the shell is totally enclosed again, and there was plenty of room for tires.




Got a new bumper with recovery hooks and a hitch mount (for a future winch) made by B. Lee's Offroad (http://www.bleeoffroad.com), who I found on the forums here. Top-notch guy; made me exactly what I wanted at a GREAT price for a simple, tough, low-profile bumper.

The tires are 31-inch Hercules Trail Diggers. Read a lot of good things about them and the price was right, about $150 each. They look great mounted on a set of cheap steel U.S. Wheels- 15x7, 4-inch backspacing. I really like the stance it has now.




Went with TJ stock fender flares to keep things looking legal and to cover up the cut/welded wheel wells. I like them, and they were cheap.

A couple other things that were added throughout this initial work were a Rusty's transfer case skid plate, and, more importantly, a No-Slip locker in the rear. For less than $2,500 invested, I think I'm well on my way to a very capable and fun 4x4.

As I said before, I'm not even going to think about a lift (OK, I've thought about it, but not doing it yet) until I maximize what it can do with stock suspension. The next priorities are more undercarriage armor, a front locker, and a hitch-mount winch setup. The armor is a given, but I'm not sure which I'd rather have first- the front locker or a winch. And the winch was always going to be a hitch-mount semi-portable setup so I could keep it in the garage when I'm not on a 4x4 trip or generally any place I don't need the winch hanging off the front. I'm open to opinions on the locker-versus-winch debate.

Now, since I have THOUGHT about a lift, the most I want to do is 3 inch, just enough to clear 33" tires whenever I wear out the 31's, and to give me some more articulation. I'll worry about that when I get there, though. I wanna stay low and wide
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Old 03-07-2014, 01:58 PM
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If you wanna get crazy with the low COG thing Ive seen 37s on stock suspension
37s on stock
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37s on 3.5"
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if they dont work I got them from this thread
http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/jeep-...19-xj-37s.html
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Old 03-07-2014, 02:08 PM
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I've read a good bit on Low-COG builds, but I doubt I'll ever get that extreme as those. I just never cared much for sky-high lifts, and 37-inch tires would make everything to easy, right?
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:00 PM
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Going to give the ol' homemade swaybar disco setup a try...
although I get the feeling that it's very easy to loose the pins and I wasn't able to find a lynchpin, with the locking hoop, to fit on these.

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Old 03-10-2014, 03:25 PM
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Subbed. And I must say, your PO deserves a punch in the face. Why swap older-style taillights into the newer body style? Looks like he hacked up the hatch for it, too.

Good on ya for taking on the project. Nice work so far. Where in Central PA are you again? I might've asked before..
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:31 PM
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Yes, the previous owner did a number on the thing. Mostly just hacked up whatever was needed to make things fit. I didn't really mind, though, since it's just an offroad toy for me and it doesn't need to be pretty; I'm more interested in function than looks. It's already got a few extra dents since I've had it...

I am located about 30 minutes north of Harrisburg, about halfway between Harrisburg and State College. I'll actually be making a trip to Rausch Creek this coming weekend with some friends. Might catch you there sometime.
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Old 03-10-2014, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Lyanheart View Post
Yes, the previous owner did a number on the thing. Mostly just hacked up whatever was needed to make things fit. I didn't really mind, though, since it's just an offroad toy for me and it doesn't need to be pretty; I'm more interested in function than looks. It's already got a few extra dents since I've had it...

I am located about 30 minutes north of Harrisburg, about halfway between Harrisburg and State College. I'll actually be making a trip to Rausch Creek this coming weekend with some friends. Might catch you there sometime.
It should be real nice and sloppy up that way! I'm sure we'll meet up for some wheeling one fine day. My rig won't be ready for Rausch for a while (at least as ready as I want it to be)
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:15 AM
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Didn't mess with the swaybar, but did get a few other things taken care of last night. I now have working door locks after replacing the passenger-front actuator and replacing the ground wire on the module.

Also, this:


The slapped-on "old style" tail lights have horrible reverse lights. That is no longer a problem. $40 for a pair of LED lights really lights up the night. They're just spliced in to the backup light in the housing, and I'm also going to install a switch behind the gas filler door to flip them on whenever some light is needed behind the vehicle.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Lyanheart View Post
Didn't mess with the swaybar, but did get a few other things taken care of last night. I now have working door locks after replacing the passenger-front actuator and replacing the ground wire on the module.

Also, this:


The slapped-on "old style" tail lights have horrible reverse lights. That is no longer a problem. $40 for a pair of LED lights really lights up the night. They're just spliced in to the backup light in the housing, and I'm also going to install a switch behind the gas filler door to flip them on whenever some light is needed behind the vehicle.
Good idea! My new tire carrier bumper has built-in LED lights. It hasn't arrived yet, but I've been considering how to wire it up and also with a switch somewhere for the same reason. Besides shutting the engine off and throwing it in reverse! lol (that does work though!)
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:27 AM
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Dont do the sway bar with the clevis pins, its not worth it, because our links dont move once you disconnect theres no where to put tie up the swaybar so it wont be in the way. I did it and ended up just removing the whole thing. And you also know how to get the bottom bolt out right? Its pressed use a pitman arm puller
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PocketsEmpty View Post
Good idea! My new tire carrier bumper has built-in LED lights. It hasn't arrived yet, but I've been considering how to wire it up and also with a switch somewhere for the same reason. Besides shutting the engine off and throwing it in reverse! lol (that does work though!)
Going to run the switched line to the parking lights, so any time the headlights are on there will be power for the LED's, in addition to the backup light circuit. After mounting the lights, my buddy and I started thinking how handy it would be to have that light available for outside the vehicle if needed. Those suckers are BRIGHT, too!
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by PurpleToxin505 View Post
Dont do the sway bar with the clevis pins, its not worth it, because our links dont move once you disconnect theres no where to put tie up the swaybar so it wont be in the way. I did it and ended up just removing the whole thing. And you also know how to get the bottom bolt out right? Its pressed use a pitman arm puller
I thought about that, which is why I didn't end up doing it yet. Wasn't sure if there was a simpler way to swing it out of the way, but I think I'll just carry on with it connected for now. I'm a bit afraid to run without the swaybar on squishy springs and shocks.
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Old 03-11-2014, 01:58 PM
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Squishy? What kind of lift do you have? And no sway bars isn't bad at all.
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:00 PM
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No lift, just the original springs and well-worn shocks
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:11 PM
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Ah okay, yeah when I did my lift, with my old shocks it was harder to pull them out to expand than it was to push them in. HAHA, any plans for a lift
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