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Obadiah the 2000 XJ

Old 01-20-2017, 09:20 PM
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Default Obadiah the 2000 XJ

Alright the time has come to start the build thread.

Long story short I have always had a big hankering to build up an XJ. I grew up working on one that was sadly 2wd and has since departed but always wanted to get into jeep/adventure camping/overlanding and certainly have the space to do it with some family land.

This past Thanksgiving the hankering reached a fever pitch so I hopped out and picked up this lovely 2000 XJ with 105k for a real deal from a man named Amos.




Here's the catch. While it is almost flawless on the interior and does run well, it has a tiny chip in the number 6 piston skirt it is not causing slap yet but certainly will one day, if not worse. It has some sneaky rocker rust from the first 5 years of its life up in Ohio and I bear the mark of the dreaded 0331. I'll probably have to deal with that since reliability is the name of the game.

I weld and have some basic fabricating skills so stick around at least because I will will be fabbing up almost every modification short of the lift going forward.

Big Goal: Moderately Trail capable XJ with all the space and goodies to go way off the grid and camp. Must be reliable since it will be a family transport and my wedding vows did not say anything about "til death-wobble do us part.

The Nitty Gritty of what what's on the docket in the short term:

- 4.5" lift (RE with drop brackets)
- 33's (Wrangler MTR)
- SYE & rear Drive Shaft
- 4.10 Regear & Selectable lockers (budget allowing may settle for a powertrax in the meanwhile)
- 1-ton steering, Track bar.
- Front Winch Bumper build with an Engo 9k (Stay Back Warn Zombies! * Shows them an empty wallet. They shamble off disappointed and indignant*)
- Rear bumper build with swing out tire carrier.
- 2x6 Rockers (Might become airtanks...Opinions welcome)
- Dual batteries with all the associated goodies.
- Cut and fold on fender wells
- Homebrewed flares
- A big A roof rack
- SEATs.... (ZJ maybe TJ. Thoughts? Definitely want to part ways with the bench in the back since I actually expect real full size people to ride on that thing)
- Rear ZJ discs
- Replace the 0331 head? (Again opinions welcome)
- Piston replacement, unless the whole engine goes before then.
- on board air.
- Coolant system replacements etc. Heater core work etc.
- Other small luxuries as allowed HID etc.

For the real long game:

-A roof top tent/or offroad tear drop trailer


I'll post updates as they happen. I've done a fair amount of offroad camping but not with a purpose built vehicle so bring on the thoughts and recommendations.
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:21 PM
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First thing first: Some sharp looking LED Conversions for all the interior lights.

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Old 01-20-2017, 09:28 PM
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Oh it's endless what you can do...LOL looks like a Great jeep to start with, I like to lift all my jeeps first, that a quick payday and helps me stay motivated to keep working on them...I think I've got a cut and fold writeup on here somewhere from like 10 years ago... Good luck
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:33 PM
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All steel has been picked up.




Rockers are 3/16" thick 2x6 rectangular tube. With some tie in supports I'll plasma cut from 3/16"

Bumpers will be 3/16" sheet with 1/4" unibody tie ins for front and 2x3 tube inserts for rear since we don't want to be tearing off that thick, burly factory mount now do we.

Fenders will be fabbed up from some 13ga cold rolled sheet (not pictured) and .750 steel pipe. I was tempted to go the galvanized conduit route for shaping these but honestly don't have time to get sick welding the stuff.

Bunch of 1x1 tube will become the roof rack since I will be routing the wires for all my aux lighting through the interior of these tubes.

The car pictured is Björd my dirty 98' Exploder I have rebuilt too many times and ways. Its sole purpose in this world is to go get stuff to put on the XJ now.

Yes it is a little bass ackwards to be getting this stuff before lift and suspension work. I'm fine with it.

Just FYI you can just about get all this steel for $600 or so.

Last edited by Obadiah; 01-20-2017 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jonb8 View Post
Oh it's endless what you can do...LOL looks like a Great jeep to start with, I like to lift all my jeeps first, that a quick payday and helps me stay motivated to keep working on them...I think I've got a cut and fold writeup on here somewhere from like 10 years ago... Good luck
Thanks jonb8,

I agree with you for sure! but given my arrangement with where I work I want to do a lot of my suspension work all at once If it can be helped. And since I am not ready to buy wheels and tires at the moment I would be rolling on 4.5" with some real nice 29"s.

I'll go hunt your writeup down and give it a look-see!
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Old 01-20-2017, 09:48 PM
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Since were playing catch-up! Here is how the roof rack is coming along! Goal was to build a large sturdy rack with lots of sqft that would completely replace exisiting POS stock bars.

Beginning



Middle:




Might have gone a little overboard... We'll see..

More Middle



All wiring for lights will be pulled through the tube itself. Pics will come once I make a little more progress here.
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Old 01-21-2017, 01:17 AM
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You looking to store a car on top of the xj? Thats a bit more then over kill. Looks pretty good though!
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Old 01-21-2017, 02:48 AM
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Rack looks good. Wont it be heavy though? Be careful as that big of a rack may cause your center of gravity to change
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Old 01-21-2017, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 5-Speed View Post
You looking to store a car on top of the xj? Thats a bit more then over kill. Looks pretty good though!
Haha I was thinking landing a helicopter maybe. Really didn't like look of expanded metal rack floors but if I was to do it again would have gone with .5 od tube for cross members

It's coming in at 100 right now and will be used for luggage and gear but never a tire so I should be fine as far as cog is concerned.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:29 AM
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Default Little More Progress

Little update,

Found a full set of five brand new JK rubi wheels & tires (GY Mud-terrains) for a steal, like no-brainer cheap. They are 255/75r17 which is about a 32 or a little more. I came to my senses and realized that this would meet all my needs for this vehicle for the immediate future

For those interested they will need a 4.5x5 to 5x5 adaptor to run but the benefit is this provides the extra (1.25-1.5") backspacing rubi wheels need to clear right on the xj.



Now to the roof rack. Little bit of progress. and a test fit without sides up top.







After it came down I began the, in retrospect, ridiculous process of routing pull string through the tube body for lighting around the perimeter of the rack. I used pulling string so once it came time to weld junk up I wouldn't risk torching a wire in the pipe and could then follow around with the wire itself. (again in retrospect would have used sacrificial metal wire but the string actually did work! But I learned a lot about routing wire in 1in steel tube from this so would likely have changed a number of other things about my procedure as well.)




String Pulled and almost tacked up



Pulled and really almost tacked up.



Finished all my welds up after this and pulled wires through and tested for continuity and shorts. Against the odds it all worked. Pictures will follow later but It was late and I was ready to be done.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:14 PM
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Alright the rack is finished and mounted with grade 8 into roof studs. It's beefy enough I figure I'll carry my back-up jeep just in-case SHTF.





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Old 03-15-2017, 04:53 PM
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Default Long Update

Well The time came to lift her up.

Went with a RE 3.5 superflex with full leaf replacements.

One thing led to another and ended up doing a load of other things while I had it up.

Party started with a little trip to the junkyard. Pulled a nice HP d30 for my TJ buddy while we were there. Grabbed all the goodies of a '97 zj to go ahead and swap discs onto the rear.




Eveything came off:




compressor trashed my window on my parts getter car... and on our way back to JY




Front came out fine. Every single bolt on rear had to be chopped out. Shocks. Leaf springs all of it rusted into frame. suspected this would happen so had been pb blasting for days heat impact none of it did a thing. Many sawzall blades were destroyed. Replaced sections we removed from bottom of leaf spring mounts with 3/16" brakets that filled cutout hole, welded to the frame and held the new nut and i regret not taking pictures of these.

Rear axle came out and got all gussied up fot its disc brake conversion. Out of curiosity anyone know what type of gasket these came with from the factory. Kudos to the brother for coming out and wire cupping this thing all clean.





T-case came out really easy to get an SYE. Looked great on the inside. One of the bots on the fron drive shaft was fused to the yoke so it came out with it and the dremel made short work of it.








The goods came in the mail today.



Finally stuff started going back in.



Press mad short work of studs. BTW this is the part number for longer studs I could only find them at pep-boys near me.







Bad news careless removed the caps on my 8.25 forgetting it had adjusters and not shims... had the joy of setting up backlash again on rear gears...



Rear axle is back together with No-slip. and DB more pics of progress to come later.











Remade rear hardlines and replaced front to rear hardline with one from the JY since it was so rusted. Used a 3" exhaust u bolt to anchor ZJ softlines to axle.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:05 PM
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Default Stage 1 Finished Product

Pics of the finished product all work has about 500 miles on it now and no signs of wobble vibration etc. I trimmed some fender well out but will need to do a larger fender trim in the future. It is way to easy to stuff a wheel at the moment.







Next up will be WJ seat swapping for the rear split and some bumper building.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:52 AM
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I like your idea of the Ubolt to hold on the ZJ Soft lines to the axle. Im gonna have to remember that!
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