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Old November 3rd, 2011, 11:49 AM   #1
John D
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Making It Better

A few people asked me to do a build thread so here goes. I skipped through some of the details so if you want them just ask.

The XJ joined my life as a clean 72K mile stocker in January 2003.



Quickly made some changes… long arm lift, tires, wheels, gears, lockers, steering, brakes, etc.



Wheeled it for a few years and had a lot of fun, made bumpers, skids, etc.
Then decided to get more serious.

Out came the rockers, in went sliders.



I also spent a long time researching and designing a hybrid cage. I took my plans to JCR and they agreed to build the cage and some rear doors for me.



Then I put some paint on it - Hemi Orange.






I drove it around and wheeled it like this for a while and started to become unhappy with the “performance” of the 4.slow. I was never impressed with the stroker motors for the gain vs. cost and about this same time a friend put a 5.7L Hemi in his JK and another friend put an LS1 in his XJ. I drove them both and was instantly hooked, I HAD to have a V8.

I could not find an LS1 that was reasonably priced and I wasn’t thrilled about putting a scoop on my hood to cover the LS truck motor intake so I looked and read, looked and read and looked and read some more. Finally, I learned that an LSI intake could be mated to the 5.3l and with some accessory rerouting it would stay below my hood line.

Pick this up from a friend at Premier Auto Parts in Cedar Springs. It’s a 2005 5.3L 45K miles and all accessories, PCM, harness, TAC and pedal.



Found an LS1 intake with injectors and fuel rail on ebay and dropped it on top. That’s when I learned the water pump would be an issue too.



I picked up and LS1 water pump and started playing around with accessories rerouting and came up with this. I was never thrilled that the upper hose was captive, but it worked and I was up against the clock to get something done.



One of the things I really wanted to do was keep the Jeep instrument cluster. I spent a great deal of time searching, reading and experimenting but I was unable to make it work. Edit: The details start on post 95.

Ultimately this is what I ended up with and I am pleased with it.



Somewhere around this time I bumped up to 35’s. So, I was enjoying my new V8 and wheeling with a D30/8.25 with stock shafts. Although I never broke anything, the Internet made me think I would every time I went out.

Picked up a D44/9” from a ’75 F100 for 200 bucks and went to work narrowing and building them. OX/Detroit, alloys, 300M joints, 35 spline rear, 5.13’s, high steer, and hydro-assist. I did a write-up on those and you can find it here.
XJ: Narrowed D44/9" Swap - Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest


Everything was going great, trails were getting harder and harder and I was having a blast when the Internet again made me think my transfer case would never hold up to the abuse I was giving it. I started researching upgrades and decided to build my 231J into an HD version using a 6 planetary gearset and a wide chain. I did a write-up on that and it can be found here.
231J HD Transfer Case Upgrades - Great Lakes 4x4. The largest offroad forum in the Midwest


So, that pretty much brings it up to date. However this week I came across these babies! 38X12.5X15 Super Swamper SX, thanks Daryl.



So, now I know what I will be doing for my winter project this year…

Last edited by John D; May 11th, 2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 12:00 PM   #2
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beautimous!!!
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 12:10 PM   #3
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The cage is sweet!
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 10:49 PM   #4
VAhasnoWAVES
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that last picture is the dirtiest ive ever seen that jeep.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:23 PM   #5
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beautimous!!!
I like it, one of the better XJ's Ive seen.
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I didn't taste it but the tree stunk when I hung it.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, I kinda like it too.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #7
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that last picture is the dirtiest ive ever seen that jeep.
That's because I had to go on a gravel road. It was the first time it's ever been off the pavement.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 02:45 PM   #8
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Any pics of the LS1 in the Jeep?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:03 PM   #9
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nice job, I guess a stretch is in order for the winter, will you be adding any frame stiffeners with all that added HP ?
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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:05 PM   #10
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It's a 5.3L with an LS1 intake, but here you go.
The upper radiator hose is different now.







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Old November 4th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #11
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nice job, I guess a stretch is in order for the winter, will you be adding any frame stiffeners with all that added HP ?
Winter plans include a set of HD Offroad mid-stiffies and building my own fronts. I have the Ruff Stuff leaf spring perches with the three holes, so I am going to move the axle back 1" with that. Then I am going to open the rear wheelwell up similar to the T&T Project Low Wagon on NAXJA. They put 37" tires on 5.5" of lift, I have about 8".
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Old November 4th, 2011, 07:51 PM   #12
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are u keeping the 1/2 tons with the 38's? im hoping so other wise i have to rethink my half tons with the 38's i got. i figure if u can keep the front together i shouldnt have a problem with the 4 slow lol.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 09:28 PM   #13
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NIce XJ. I have seen several of the previous threads and I am in love. Keep up the awsome work.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:50 PM   #14
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This thing makes me moist...............
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:51 PM   #15
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This thing makes me moist...............
This thing is right up your alley isn't it, maybe he has some lift parts to sell you
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Old November 4th, 2011, 10:55 PM   #16
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Hmmm..............
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:31 AM   #17
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are u keeping the 1/2 tons with the 38's? im hoping so other wise i have to rethink my half tons with the 38's i got. i figure if u can keep the front together i shouldnt have a problem with the 4 slow lol.
Yes. The 9" has a 35 spline Detroit, so that will never concern me. I loaded the D44 pretty good - OX, chomos, 300M u-joints and truss so it should hold. Most likely I will put a set of the Synergy ball joints in though. I know there are people who break axles and ball joints (or both) just going to the mall, I drove/wheeled the D30 without issues and the only thing I did to that was put an OX in it.
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:32 AM   #18
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NIce XJ. I have seen several of the previous threads and I am in love. Keep up the awsome work.
Thanks
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:33 AM   #19
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This thing is right up your alley isn't it, maybe he has some lift parts to sell you
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Hmmm..............
Sorry, nothing left over.
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Old November 5th, 2011, 06:40 AM   #20
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nice rig
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tube bending and gear installs pm me for info! gears installed for $150 and up per axle.
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