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XJ Crossroads in KY

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Old 03-20-2018, 11:19 PM
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Default XJ Crossroads in KY

Hello everyone !!! I just purchased my third Jeep !!! And naturally, there will be a build !!! I have chosen the title, "XJ Crossroads", pretty much because that is where I am, with this Jeep, as well as my life in general. I'll try to let you see what I mean. First of all, I'm 56,,, well some of you may say,,, that's not so bad... I am having a lot of health issues. Just a scant four years ago, I was doing great,,, thought that I was Superman !!! I was divorced, had a good paying job with a common, household name, multi-national corporation. I had a 401k, retirement plan, good health insurance, and knocking down $50+ k per year !!! I was injured on the job, went to Drs and PT for the next two years, only to be let go from my job of nearly 30 years !!! At that point, no more workers comp checks, I still couldn't work, so I went ahead and cashed out the 401k. After splitting that with an ex from hell, plus still paying $100+ per week in child support, that money ran out. So now I went ahead and cashed out the crappy retirement that I had left ! Once again, splitting it, child support and taxes,,, after nearly 30 years, I only got around $37k !!! To add insult to injury, I no longer have any health insurance and my health was heading south fast !!! Within four years, this is my state now. The job injury, was just the tip of the iceberg !!! I injured my back in two places. Neither one operable. So now I have a multiple back injuries with herniated and bulging discs, also have bulging discs in my neck. This is all complicated with ostioarthritis, lumbago, and a thoracic rediculopathy!!! I these past four years, I have discovered that I am now in the mid-stages of COPD, I have also developed asthma !!! Both of these are complicated by severe sleep Apnea and Insomnia. The insomnia is a side affect of all the meds that I am on now !!! I've always had acid reflux,,, so if you do as well,,, don't take it lightly !!! Mine has worsened and I now have GERD and digestive problems. I developed a hiatle hernia, plus had to undergo a hernia repair. Next emergency,,, Had to have my gall bladder removed !!! That pretty much made the ol saying,,, " never pass up a bathroom" a reality for me !!! There is so much nerve damage in my spine, I now have severe neuropathy in my hands and feet !!! I am in constant pain, 24/7 !!! The CPAP machine that I have to have to sleep, dries my mouth out every night. This has lead to the loss of the majority of my teeth, further complicating my GERD and digestive tract problems ! I just found out this past Nov, that I had an Acoustic Neuroma, a tumor bout the size of an egg ! So I underwent Gamma Knife Radiosurgery to have it removed. Less than four weeks after that,,, I had a hip replacement !!! So, now that I'm thru whining !!! Maybe you will get a better understanding of my build's title ! In my next post, I'll cover the Crossroads part, that the Jeep has in it,,, just how far to go with it or just keep it a poser mall cruiser for an old fart !!!
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Old 03-22-2018, 06:00 PM
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yikes, sorry about your situation. post some photos up!
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:13 PM
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Damn sounds like you beat a crap ton of problems and well your still here today to talk about it and remind us how to never take health issues lightly. So that said if you have the energy and time then I say go for your dreams with this thing. I know money is probably tight, you may or may not be able to do your own work but if your past all those obstacles sounds like you have the will and strength to survive longer and build this jeep. Good luck and subbing to see this one!
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:23 PM
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Default First update, initial reconciliation !!!

Hey, thanks for the kind words ! I've always been a fighter !!! I have the tools and the skills,,, but everything is three times harder !!! Seriously,,, I couldn't go anywhere to work, couldn't give anyone a decent 40hr week. Between bathroom breaks, breathing and some days with too much pain, I doubt that I would be able to make it to work 3-5 days in a row !!! I prefer, and am going to attempt to do the work myself, it will be much slower ! I have already reinstalled one of the front fender flares, had to literally sit down after loosening or tightening each bolt !!! What I normally would shrug my shoulder at as a 20min job, ended up over 2 hrs !!!
So, I just got the Jeep. First things I addressed, fresh oil change and filter, new stock paper air filter. Topped off the transmission with 2qts fluid !!! Checked lube at both pumpkins and the t-case. Checked tires, wheels and air pressure. Checked the drive shafts, ball joints and wheel bearings. I have one bad wheel bearing. So with 208k, I decided to go ahead and replace both, just placed the order with Advance, using online coupons and thier speed perks program, I saved $70 on two Moog WBHubs and a much needed Fel-Pro valve cover gasket set !!! Seriously, check out the coupons at RetailMeNot !!! 30% off an entire purchase up to -$50 Max,,, that helps me out with my fixed income !!! Plus I used Advance's Speed Perks program, saved another $20. Also had a special for free Moog hat, spend $100 or more for Moog, get $20 off my next purchase !!! Anyways, I just wanted to run a couple of tanks of gas thru the old girl to get to know her, check mileage and find out what all she needs. I went ahead and added some Prestone radiator flush for the first initial run. I've got around 500 miles on it now. Next post will list the problems to address, and steps taken.
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:01 AM
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Default Pre-Build Prep !!! Stage 1

Ok, here's what I have discovered this far,,, most are typical and common easy fixes for the XJ. One bad WBHub, no heat, back door latch, window and door lock thing, the hood wouldn't even unlatch !!! I have a leaky rear main seal, hopefully no groove on the crank ! Needs new valve cover and oil pan gaskets. Since the hood wouldn't open, that tells me two things. It wasn't broke, they didn't have to fix it, but they more than likely neglected her !!! I am definitely doing a full tune up !!! The alternator thing where charges when first started, then gauge drops and light comes on !!! And of course,,, the battery was shot !!! The A/C compressor clutch bearing had froze up, and they simply removed it and did they replacement pulley thing !!! So I am assuming that the condenser had clogged up, caused the compressor to overwork, and sieze up. The speakers don't work on the driver's side. The rear wiper washer doesn't spray. The door locks would accuate on thier own, rear hatch too !!! The power steering pump has siezed up on start up a couple of times. The brakes are ok for now, but will be addressed soon. The stock radio has been replaced with a decent Pioneer CD player. The headliner will have to be replaced. The driver's seat is a bit haggered, but that can be fixed later. Dome light out, license plate bulb out. One fender flare was in the back seat with the old A/C compressor and it's bolts. The overall paint isn't that bad. One front fender has a couple dents from a deer. As far as rust,,, I only found one small area on the right rear rocker panel, bout 3" dia. Not bad, hardly any at all ! I do plan on checking under the carpet when I get to that phase. Though I can see none from the usual areas underneath. The rain rails are clean !!! It needs new wiper blades and bug juice. I have a plan for all the above, will update with progress as I go along. I am building this as my primary DD, but still want it to be respectible on a trail. I don't want, and can't afford to tear up anything. I usually pick a good line and finesse my way through as long as I can, until I have to get on it. I'm concerned about fuel mileage and economy, while still being a good, all around utility vehicle for hunting and fishing, pulling a boat and camper. As I progress, I'll give you guys my game plan and equipment choices for your consideration and comments before I move through each phase. Hopefully, the weather will break soon and allow me to get started,,, no garage !!!
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:07 PM
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Default Started Buying Shtuff !!!

Ok, here's what I've bought already ! Two new Moog WBHubs, Fel-Pro valve cover and oil pan gaskets. Fel-Pro rear main seal. Accel performance tune up kit. Has copper terminals on the cap and rotor. 8.5mm wire set. Plus came with Bosch copper core plugs. Would rather have the Champions, but these are fine for now. Probably going to get the matching Accel coil later, but not pressing right now. I'm kinda in the middle of moving. No longer have the convenience of my air compressor, so I went ahead and ordered a new DeWalt corded 1/2" impact wrench and a set of sockets in metric and SAE. Another set of jack stands, new floor jack and a creeper. Check out Rural King for floor Jacks, best deal anywhere !!! I have cleaned and lubed up the hood latch hardware. Got that working well now. I got the back hatch opening again. Went ahead and disconnected the lock motor till I repair the wiring. Haven't been able to get busy on anything else for the weather ! Ok, so here's what I am thinking,,, the right rear spring is making a bunch of squeaky, sometimes a clunk, so I'm assuming that a leaf or possibly one of the eyes are cracked. Doesn't really matter anyway, both are sagging. I don't want to raise the Jeep over 3" and trying to avoid cutting fenders. So, I'm going to replace both springs with new leafs. Thinking 3" Old Man Emus. I would like to put better shackles on, but don't want any lift from them. If I have to, I could remove one leaf, and go with 1" lift shackles ? I was wondering also about upgrading the rear shackle pockets. Any thoughts or suggestions on the shackles/ pockets ? Also wondering about JKL boomerang shackles ? LMK what you think about that too. I want to replace all of the bushings. On my 79 CJ-5, I used the red Prothanes. From my memory, it made for a much harsher ride. So if there is anything new or better on the market, LMK about it. I am planning on going with the Bilstein 5100 series shocks all around, for 2-3" lift. Undecided on wether to go ahead and get the 3-5" models ??? Planning on going with BFG KO2s in 31x10.50 on 15x8" aluminum ECCO s or maybe something similar from Wranglers. If I stay with the stock 15x7" wheels, only a 30x9.50. Planning on doing the XZ disc brake conversion on the back, and going with slotted, coated rotors. Going to replace the front calipers and paint them all Red. After that, I want to replace and repair the entire A/C system and components. I have to have the A/C in the summer, just can't breath w/o it. On my CJ-5, I swapped out the 258 for a 4.0 to upgrade to FI, power steering and the A/C compressor for use as on-board air !!! Both of my bumpers were custom built and used for air storage !!! I am studying on attempting to make a bracket for two A/C compressors. One for each purpose ! Plus it will supply air for lockers that will be added later. I may have to relocate the battery to pull that off ? I want to replace all of the cooling system components as well. Complete new parts !!! I'd also like to upgrade to a bigger alternator, to supply the wench and other goodies. Want to replace the power steering pump and put the overdrive pulley on it and add a new steering stabilizer. Next, Gibson stainless, ceramic headers, new flex section added to the down pipe, ahead of a Borla hi-flo cat/Cat back exhaust system. After that, 62mm throttle body with a FI upgrade. Want a new back bumper with swing away spare tire carrier. New front bumper and wench. Then maybe some skid plates underneath, side skid rails, not too obtrusive. Lower the t-case. All the while, considering upgrades from other Jeep models !!! Then I'll begin on the interior !!! Just an idea of what I am looking for, and what any of your thoughts are on my ideas. LMK, thanks
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:37 PM
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Default Work Begins,,, slow!

Today I started working on the project. I ended up only getting one of the WBHubs replaced ! What should have only taken a half hour, took more like four hours !!! I just took my time and tried to enjoy it ! Been a long time since I have turned any wrenches ! I have always liked to do things right. I cleaned up bolts, used some Emory cloth on the inside of the knuckle. Pulled the shaft out and inspected it. Had to stop midway. Couldn't find antisieze compound. The caliper bolts were bastards, mismatched and gauled ?!?! So off to the parts store. Went ahead and got new caliper bolts, sleeve and boots with some brake grease and some antisieze. The project went well. The other one should be much quicker !!! I was wanting to order my new rotors and pads, but trying to save money for what's more important ! Not really worried about it. I'll be doing the shocks with a lift. Brakes will be redone then. I've been thinking of doing the lift in the front by using the ACOS adjustable spring spacer with the OEM springs for now. I figured that this way, I would be getting a lift and a leveling system at the same time ! Then get Old Man Emus 3" leafs, adjust the level up front more easily, plus at the same time, if I decide to go higher, just get some lift shackles for the back, and new coils up front. At that time, I plan on installing the new Bilstein B-5100s. Try to get some pictures soon. Just got a new phone today and haven't felt lill setting it up yet !!! Later
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Old 04-07-2018, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CRLAMBERTJR View Post
Today I started working on the project. I ended up only getting one of the WBHubs replaced ! What should have only taken a half hour, took more like four hours !!! I just took my time and tried to enjoy it ! Been a long time since I have turned any wrenches ! I have always liked to do things right. I cleaned up bolts, used some Emory cloth on the inside of the knuckle. Pulled the shaft out and inspected it. Had to stop midway. Couldn't find antisieze compound. The caliper bolts were bastards, mismatched and gauled ?!?! So off to the parts store. Went ahead and got new caliper bolts, sleeve and boots with some brake grease and some antisieze. The project went well. The other one should be much quicker !!! I was wanting to order my new rotors and pads, but trying to save money for what's more important ! Not really worried about it. I'll be doing the shocks with a lift. Brakes will be redone then. I've been thinking of doing the lift in the front by using the ACOS adjustable spring spacer with the OEM springs for now. I figured that this way, I would be getting a lift and a leveling system at the same time ! Then get Old Man Emus 3" leafs, adjust the level up front more easily, plus at the same time, if I decide to go higher, just get some lift shackles for the back, and new coils up front. At that time, I plan on installing the new Bilstein B-5100s. Try to get some pictures soon. Just got a new phone today and haven't felt lill setting it up yet !!! Later
I got a buddy locally who just installed some ACOS on his XJ with 4.5" lift. Expensive little buggers they are but apparently they are worth it.
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Old 04-07-2018, 12:46 PM
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Hey JR, where do you live in Ky.? I’m in southern WV near Gilbert. I wouldn’t mind helpin you out some if we ain’t too far apart.
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Old 04-07-2018, 03:31 PM
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Default Reinforcements!

Hey, I am in Flatwoods, near Ashland. I appreciate the offer. Give some time to get all my stuff together for the lift. I think I've finally decided what route in going to take for the lift. Got a set of JK front shocks on eBay last night for $15 ea. Still like to go with the ACOS up front to retain the same ride. Maybe switch to Moog springs if I'm not happy with the stock. I'm kinda surprised that no one else has kept the OEM coils and tried the ACOS spacer ? I've decided to try to keep it less than 3" ,maybe the Dorman HD springs or Rancho 1.5". Trying to get close to the upcountry specs. I have 235/75/15s on now. Was wanting to go to 31x10.50x15s. Not much difference between the 235 and 30x9.50s. Everyone keeps saying that I would have to go to 3" to go with the 31s ? I like the idea of OEM replacement parts.
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Old 04-08-2018, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by CRLAMBERTJR View Post
Hey, I am in Flatwoods, near Ashland. I appreciate the offer. Give some time to get all my stuff together for the lift. I think I've finally decided what route in going to take for the lift. Got a set of JK front shocks on eBay last night for $15 ea. Still like to go with the ACOS up front to retain the same ride. Maybe switch to Moog springs if I'm not happy with the stock. I'm kinda surprised that no one else has kept the OEM coils and tried the ACOS spacer ? I've decided to try to keep it less than 3" ,maybe the Dorman HD springs or Rancho 1.5". Trying to get close to the upcountry specs. I have 235/75/15s on now. Was wanting to go to 31x10.50x15s. Not much difference between the 235 and 30x9.50s. Everyone keeps saying that I would have to go to 3" to go with the 31s ? I like the idea of OEM replacement parts.
When I originally bought my XJ it had 32x11.50x15 on it with what I believe to be 3" lift.
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:22 AM
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Default More lift thoughts

So I got all 4 JK shocks on eBay, $15 ea ! Was kinda thinking the Dorman HD leads with 1" lift @ the shackle relocating brackets, or OME 3" remove one leaf, either go with JKS 1" boomerang ? Yet leaning towards the OMEs - 1 leaf and the relocated bracket. Also want the JKS/ACOS up front with matching OME coils, or the Moog coils? All the while looking at the crappy exhaust system that is clearly hanging down too low ??? I will be fixing it too, but was wondering how low everyone else has thiers ? If you went with 1" higher motor mounts, would it be worthwhile to raise the exhaust and TC, oil pan, etc ? Would really like to get it right the first time ! I'm planning on doing the other wbhub tomorrow. Anyone tried the JKS front shock bar pin eliminators ? I am thinking of going with all new rubber bushings on the shocks and shackles, with poly on the sway bars, links and control arms. Undecided for engine and tranny mounts ???
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by CRLAMBERTJR View Post
So I got all 4 JK shocks on eBay, $15 ea ! Was kinda thinking the Dorman HD leads with 1" lift @ the shackle relocating brackets, or OME 3" remove one leaf, either go with JKS 1" boomerang ? Yet leaning towards the OMEs - 1 leaf and the relocated bracket. Also want the JKS/ACOS up front with matching OME coils, or the Moog coils? All the while looking at the crappy exhaust system that is clearly hanging down too low ??? I will be fixing it too, but was wondering how low everyone else has thiers ? If you went with 1" higher motor mounts, would it be worthwhile to raise the exhaust and TC, oil pan, etc ? Would really like to get it right the first time ! I'm planning on doing the other wbhub tomorrow. Anyone tried the JKS front shock bar pin eliminators ? I am thinking of going with all new rubber bushings on the shocks and shackles, with poly on the sway bars, links and control arms. Undecided for engine and tranny mounts ???
Never tried the the JKS front shock bar bin eliminators. I did the rear ones on mine with some amazon cheapo's but they were made of high quality steel. Seem to be working out well and then this way I won't have to worry about those bolts or nuts up there to remove when I replace my shocks. Not to mention the bar pins that break. I noticed some lift kits come with the front ones. Interested to hear how they are and if worth getting.
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:57 AM
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Default JKS bar pin eliminaters

I think I am going to try them. Suppose to allow better shock movement, they will be stronger. Plus they add a half inch of travel to the shocks. I applied for a vanity license plate already. Wanted the USMC Veterans plate, but didn't have a copy of my DD-214. So I got the Ky League of Sportsman plate. Has a nice buck on it, with white background. Got the letters, XJ with a space, then 99, so, " XJ 99 " is going to be pretty nice ! My old CJ-5 tags were, " MY-CJ5 " still have the plate !!! Someone else in Ky had already taken ," 99 XJ " lol !!!
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:09 AM
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Default More Progress !!!

Well the weather finally broke today, I was able to get some work done on the jeep !!! I finally got to replace the other wbhub ! Both were bad are 208k. She's really quiet now, I could actually hear the engine and exhaust !!! Big day planned for tomorrow! First, trip to the car wash and gunk time. Then back home to start on replacing the valve cover gasket, next,,, full tuneup with the new Accel ignition kit !!! New distributor cap, with copper posts, new matching copper rotor, 8.5mm plug wires and Bosch copper core plugs. I would rather had the Champions , but these came with the kit. After that replacing the rear main seal and another fresh oil change. Going to get a Fram PH8 filter. It's bigger than the recommended OEM size. My new hip transplant seems to be holding up pretty good. I just go slow and steady . Still have to stop for breather rests ! Today was the first time I tried working with latex gloves on ! It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be . Just wish they were tougher. Went thru bout 4 or. Definitely see a new set of alloy axles up front in the future . The plastic color has been too far from the housing . The axle has rusted considerably where it first enters the pumpkln. While I was at it, I greased the front end and closely inspected everything . Pretty much all of the bushings are mush !!! So that will come shortly after the lift. Going to do the front brakes next. New Stoptech slotted/painted rotors. New set of calipers. Going to paint them red. Decided to try my first set of Akebono ceramic pads. I'll upgrade the lines after the lift. Got a near new set of JK/JKU front shocks on the way. I also want to replace all of the bushings and go with the JKS front bar pin eliminater. Got plenty to do. So what do you guys think,,, poly or rubber??? I was thinking of going with rubber on the shocks and shackles? Poly everywhere else. Will update with my progress tomorrow .
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