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Project XJ Blog

Old 04-16-2013, 11:11 PM
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I guess I will attempt to try one of these threads. Im calling it a blog because the "build" process will be mostly slow because of $$$, so I plan to include everything that will involve my XJ in this blog.

My plan for my XJ is to have a well rounded rig that can be driven daily by either me or my wife, used for light rock crawling, longer expeditions, tow a light utiliy trailer, and be prepared to elope when the zombies come.

My wife and I bought our XJ in July 2012 for $4500. This is our first and hopefully only XJ we will to have purchased. It had 157xxx miles, 33" tires, rear locker, TC drop, quick disconnects, front and rear bumpers and a POS 4.5" lift. The lift consisted of 3" blocks, add-a-leafs, and shackles out back and 3" springs and coil spacers up front.

The photo from the Ad
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Here it is once we go it home
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8-18-12
We drove it around like this for a few weeks before we took it on our first trip up a trail called Mary Ellen Gulch in American Fork, UT. Over all the trip went ok other then the fact is died on me randomly while I was climbing halfway up a ledge. As you can see it took a few brains to get it going again and still to this day I have no idea what caused it to die randomly. One of the guys got tired of testing things and tapped on the distributor and it started again. Whether it was a coincidence or not i was able to complete the trail and get home with out a tow truck.

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After that incident I completed a full tune-up. I have also replaced the rear wheel cylinders and brakes with drums, installed a new starter, and a new water pump. I am learning that it wasn't in as great of mechanical shape as I thought at purchase. It still needs a small oil leak addressed and a leaking transmission cooler line. I'm holding off on the tranny line until I get an external tranny cooler.

10-7-12
I attended 4WheelParts Customer Appreciation Day at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, UT. It was a great opportunity to try and stretch the XJ out again. Thankfully I didn't have any issues and the wife was able to get her feet wet.

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Old 04-16-2013, 11:24 PM
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Is it geared or no?
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:45 PM
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After that trip I spent most of my time lining up financing for our new home, so from October to December I used it as a winter daily. I closed at the end of December 2012. During that time though, I was able to save enough pennies to redo the suspension.

I purchased RE 5.5" coils, RE 4.5" leafs, RE drop brackets with braces, Currie HD Steering, IRO hack-n-tap, RE track bar and bracket, ZJ pitman arm.

In February I installed the drop brackets.
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In March I installed the springs
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Front installed
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Rear done. Now the rear was tricky because I jumped the gun and installed a set of IRO 6* shims. This caused a driveline vibration because the pinion was pitched too high. The Teraflex shackles gave enough pitch to the pinion for the driveline. It was a great learning experience.
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Now because, I left the TC drop in I was able to use the stock driveshaft. The splines where able to completely engage the output shaft so I went with it for now. Later I hope to remove the TC drop and install JCR TC skid. Then I might install the hack-n-tap then.

4-12-13
Once I got most of the bugs worked out I flexed it out.
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Over the past weekend I was able to run it up a local trail to shake it down. I ran into another XJ so I stopped to say Hi. Cool guy.
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I found some mud before the weekend was over.
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I am currently running into a problem with the drag link hitting the passenger quick disconnect when I turn right. So I have been running the sway bar disconnected until I can order taller brackets on the axle side.

This is where I am right now in my progress to date.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by blakexcore View Post
Is it geared or no?
No, its running stock 3.55 gears. When the time comes I plan to run 4.56 gears.
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:55 AM
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I don't have any pictures, but I adjusted the driver's upper control arm about 3/4" shorter to match the passenger's upper control arm. They are both at 15 1/4" now and secured with barnd new 8 grade bolts. The front end feels more secure and the front axle doesn't feel like its fighting itself any more.

Are the bolts that secure the upper control arms to the axle suppose to be 10MM bolts? That's what I'm using right now.

I'm planning to order these early next week.
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:45 AM
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UPDATE

So I didn't get the opportunity to order those brackets like I wanted, but the wife promised I can order them no questions asked once I get paided on Wednesday.

Last weekend (4/20/13) I went up to a local trail and tried out my new GoPro. I tried uploading the video, but was told the video was too big to upload. So I need to find the time and help to edit it and get it uploaded to YouTube and this thread eventually. Since I was using the GoPro I didnt bother taking any pictures other then this one when I got back home.

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Last night and this morning I was bidding on a set of Lebaron hood vents, but lost the auction because I didn't want to spend $95 when I could probably find a set cheaper locally. While searching through Google for XJ hood vents I found a pretty cool write up on some home made hood vents that I thought looked pretty good, especially for the price. So I made a trip to Lowe's and Autzone for my needed supplies this evening and cut out my template.

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It will be a few weeks before I get the time to cut the holes because I plan on having my mother-in-law's boyfriend who is a body man help my cut them and we will all be out of town next weekend.

Here's the write-up I am going off of. http://www.xjtalk.com/showthread.php?t=2033

Also, per the wife's request I added some supplies under the back seat.

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Thanks for reading,
XJDaniel
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:33 AM
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Nice jeep. Thought I'd sub due to your location. Maybe we'll meet up some time. You still got that vibe? I have a deep moan at 65-75mph. Wonder if its a similar issue?
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:10 PM
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Thanks man. I'm always happy to meet local guys and hit a trail. I want to go up mineral basin sometime.

My vibe was happening between 25-45 mph after I took off from a light. It would fade away at highway speeds. I removed my shims and the vibes went away. The deep moan sounds like gears. Either in the transfercase or diffs. Have you changed your fluid at all?
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:59 PM
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UPDATE:

So I put my order into Poly Performance tonight for the Synergy sway bar relocation brackets I need to clear the Currie drag link. Now the waiting game for brown santa to show up begins.

The time frame for getting my hood vents done has been sped up. We are no longer going out of town anymore and I will be able to install them on Sunday. I will be sure to get some good pictures of the entire process/install.

I am going to see Terry at RigidCo tomorrow at lunch to see if he can mount his tire carrier to my rear bumper. Hopefully its good news. If so, that's what my pennies will be going towards. I need somewhere to mount a spare tire.

On a side note here is a cool 4D picture of my new little Jeeper due on Sept. 3rd.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:39 PM
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UPDATE:

So I went and talked to Terry at RigidCo on Thursday and he had great news. He came up with a plan to attach his tire carrier on to my current rear bumper. My plan is to save up over the rest of this year and give him the deposite he needs near Thanksgiving and have it paid for near Christmas/New Years. I know its a little ways out there, but half the year is almost gone and it will take that long to save up the money I need. Sucks being on a tight budget with an expensive hobby like this.

On a short note, my Synergy sway bar brackets should be here tomorrow and I can work on getting my quick disconnects reconneted.

Now onto the biggest update of the weekend, I installed my home maded hood vents. Yesterday my father-in-law (Brent) and I took the time to use some Hi Temp spray paint and paint the grills black. Here they are hung up and preped for paint.
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Today, my mother-in-law's boyfriend (Scott) helped me cut the holes and insert the grills.

First we removed the hood and set it up on a card table.
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Then Scott used his body man measuring with painters tape. We went 5 1/2" down from the edge of the hood and 2 1/2" in from the center.
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Then I took my template and traced it onto the hood with a sharpie and removed the tape. Then we took a 3/8" drill bit and drilled the corners.
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I don't have any pictures of the next steps cause it went quickly. After drilling the holes we used a saber saw with a new metal blade and cut both vents out. Then we took the door edging and ran it around the edge. Then we fliped the hood and cleaned it and ran black silicone around the edge. Next we palced the grills in the holes and taped them down and worked the silicone around the edge. Once done we stuck it out in the sun to help speed up the drying.
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While the slicone was drying the wife and I ran over to her cousin's house to pick up some lumber she needed for a craft project. While there I was able to snap a picture of his new TJ next to the XJ. It's very will built. Quick run down is RE long arm, 37" MTRs, 4:56 gears, Atlas transfer case, and locked front and rear.
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It was very funny seeing the looks we got driving around without a hood. I'm glad we didn't get hassled about it.

After dinner, Scott and I threw the hood back on and I love the final out come. Its different from the lebaron vents and is cheaper and still looks good.
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That's it for now. Hope to get my brackets in soon and have another update ASAP

Daniel
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Old 05-06-2013, 08:56 PM
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UPDATE:

Just a small update today. Brown Santa showed up today. I found my package from PolyPerformace on my front door after work. Planning to get them installed Wednesday after work.

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Old 05-07-2013, 08:33 AM
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What are those?
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Old 05-07-2013, 01:13 PM
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They are sway bar relocation brackets for the axle side. They are made by Synergy Suspension. They are taller so they will clear steering.

The joint where my drag link connects to my tie rod is hitting my passenger side bracket when I turn right with my sway bar links connected. So, I have been running no sway bar connected for the last month. I seriously considered leaving it that way, but I like the road manners better with it connected.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:19 PM
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UPDATE:

I got my sway bar relocation brackets on today after work, or I should say finished today. I spent two and a half hours yesterday after work just preping the stock brackets. This was the issue I was having with the stock brackets.

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This was not a good sound or feeling when I turned right. I didnt really have any issues with the link disconnected, so I left it disconnected and have driven that way for the last month or so. Anyway, last night I cut the top off the stock brackets and ground the hump down flat so the new bracket would lay flat against it. Cutting the top off took five minutes. The other 2+ hours was spent grinding those humps flat. There was a lot of material to remove, but I finally go it. This is what I was left with at the end of last night.

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Today all I had to do was weld the new brackets to the old brackets.

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Not too bad for a novice welder. I hit the welds, and the brackets, with a hammer to make sure the welds penetrated deep enough and wouldn't crack. Everything checked out okay. So I pulled out the leftover spray paint from my hood vents and hit them both with a few coats. Let it dry and reistalled my quick disconnect pins and hooked the sway bar back up.

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We now have clearance. There is now plenty of room for my steering to move back and forth.

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Before I realized I had this problem, my steering broke my linch pin on the passenger side and it fell off while I was driving. So I have a big cotter pin in its place for the moment until I can get over to a hardware store and match up a new one.

On a different topic, I have been looking into a stock fuel tank skid until I can afford a beefier one. customzj73 has offered me his old ZJ skid, so I hope we can find a time to meet up soon. That's what's next on my list of things to do. I have heard that the ZJ skid is a little beefier then the XJ skid. Anyone know how true that is?

Thanks for reading this far.

Daniel
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Old 05-13-2013, 05:21 PM
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UPDATE:

Not that big of an update, but I was able to pick up a replacement linch pin for my sway bar link on Friday.

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That's it for now. Hoping to have my new ZJ skid plate tomorrow, and I will start installing it soon after that.

Daniel
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