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Old December 28th, 2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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Default LJ 5.3 BUILD THREAD PT 1 - Boatsides

Ok Here goes Jeep/juggy build number 6 for this year... however it will mostly be done in 2014... I bought a Jeep LJ that was fairly well built as a sleeper jeep. It looked like a fairly stock LJ but had alot of great mods. It had a professionally installed Chevy 5.3 crate engine backed by a rebuilt TH350 and lomax 300 twinstick 4:1... the Jeep has less than 20K and the engine is slightly less. It also has Teraflex CRD 60 axles with 5.13 gears and ARB's (luckily with 60 outers as well, alot of the CRD 60's have smaller outers.) The suspension is 5.5" lift with OME shocks. It also has 39.5 Irok Bias tire on TR beadlocks. So it is a well built jeep but my standards are high and I want this to perform on and off road very well. This is my personal Jeep that I will likely have for the next several years.

Here are the plans:
  • Boatside Rockers
  • Raise front fenders 3" and cut the hood for a highline conversion, add metal fender liners
  • Slightly comp cut the rear opening up wheel area and ad a skin
  • 4link, with 14" coilovers and bypass shocks
  • PSC Hydro assist ram and box
  • Rebuild cage
  • Probably trade the iroks out for a set of sticky's
  • Truss the axles and do a slight rebuild and possibly extend the wheelbase slightly


So the first thing I needed to do was trim the rear opening to get it ready to be skinned and open the wheel well slightly on the forward side. Then cut off the rockers that the previous owner had welded on... Here is the starting image:



One of the first things I did was trim the rear warn bumper making it a little slimmer, mostly for looks:



Next i lopped off the previously welded rockers with my plasma cutter and cleaned it up with a grinder:



Next i removed the front fenders and the diamond plate "rocker panel" and cleaned things up:



Here is an image of the back cut. I cut as high as I could still keeping the inner fender walls in tact:
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Old December 28th, 2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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Now we are ready to install the boatsides. I chose the Boatsides by Dave's Customs. I love the way these look but more importantly they are bolt on... most boatsides you need to weld on... I live in WI where nothing survives the salt on the road so I have a need to remove things every few years and re powder coat them etc... Dave's has an excellent reputation and were very happy to work with me on requesting full length rockers etc... The showed within a couple weeks of custom ordering and were packaged extremely well and came with easy directions. I called and emailed several times and the communication was awesome!

Next we measured as the directions said 2.25 inches under the door opening and 2 inches under the vehicle making a straight line and cutting the body off:





Here is a shot after the body was cut away:


Next we clamped up the boatsides... I had them cut everything long long so i could cut them as I chose. We used a set before we drilled the bolt up holes.

I decided to weld the nuts to the inside of the body before putting everything together so I had to make a small bolt to aid in the welding process:



Once everything was clamped and in place I cut the rear rocker to length and tacked a cap on it



At this point I needed to put the front tube fenders on and i moved them up 3" for more upward wheel travel...



Then I cut the front of the rocker to length:


You might notice I "changed my mind" meaning I cut the rocker and ended up welding it back on to recut it longer... you will see that later

I didn't want to cap the front because I want to the ability to powerwash inside the boatside... but I didn't want to leave a knife edge either so I slightly capped it:



I pulled them off at this point finished welded everything, grinded and polished then put it back on... eventually it will be powder coated...



There it is! The first side is done! I will repeat these steps for the other side and then probably tackle the rear skin next! Stay tuned!

RYAN@Expedition44.com
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Old December 28th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #3
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Here are a few shots of the finished edges next to the uncut rocker:









Even though I opted to weld the nuts inside the body in most cases Dave's recomends cutting larger access holes inside the body in a few places which I did... here is a photo of what it looked like... you can cut them any size but I used a 2" hole saw

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Old January 8th, 2014, 11:28 PM   #4
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Boatside weld at front
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Old January 9th, 2014, 04:59 AM   #5
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Looks good!
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Old January 10th, 2014, 08:08 AM   #6
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It will never work.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 08:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Green View Post
It will never work.
I think you forgot to log into your TVjunkie account before posting this morning. :Teehee:
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Old January 10th, 2014, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Green View Post
It will never work.
Huh?! Ha ha ;)
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Old January 10th, 2014, 09:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadcooper55 View Post
I think you forgot to log into your TVjunkie account before posting this morning. :Teehee:
I figured I would beat him to it LOL. I meen I fingered I wod bet hem tue et.

(don't kill me junkie!!)
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Old January 10th, 2014, 12:47 PM   #10
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Nice boat-sides.
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Old January 12th, 2014, 05:18 PM   #11
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Took about 3" off the hood for a DIY hi line hood...

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Old January 27th, 2014, 09:39 PM   #12
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So I decided to do some cagework...

Side supports added






Front V supprt added



Side laterals added



TOP VIEW



Also welded a stinger on... still needs some reinforcement work

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Old February 2nd, 2014, 11:12 PM   #13
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Looking forward to see this. I've seen a few of your past projects and liked them.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 11:05 AM   #14
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Been spending a little bit of time continuing the work on the cage and tubing... Ended up welding on the steel tube fenders on the front, I was debating between trying to keep them as bolt on accessories but in the end decided I wanted the strength of welding everything together... Which at this point means I will have to paint the whole vehicle but I'm okay with that!

So I ended up welding the tube fenders to the TJ Grill and then mounted the TJ grill to the frame by welding some 1.75 tubing for core support...

I ran a series of tubes to tie everything together and I'm sure I will probably do more once I start the coil over project in the front!









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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:05 PM   #15
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Is the tub still mounted with rubber or poly body mounts? With the whole front clip welded straight to the frame then hard mounted to the tub that's floating on pads or bushings, I could see that being an issue. Just a thought. The quality of fab work looks good but I'm not seeing the logic in hard mounting that stuff.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 01:16 PM   #16
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Well this is a common discussion is it better to separate the body from the frame using poly bushings or to keep the frame and body as rigid as possible for optimal off-road performance...

I have done both and have found that I mostly use my Jeep off-road and it seems very little on the road time so I preferred that it be as rigid and strong as possible...

The reason you would separate the body from the frame with Poly is to help the vehicle flax and dampen vibration on the road... But I don't want my jeep body to flex so adversely I'm going to reinforce the body everywhere I need to so that it doesn't flex... Basically the same theory is if I were just building a buggy from ground-up.

Just my reasoning not trying to convince anyone this is just the way that I have chose to build the jeep! And it was a tough decision there are things that I'm bolting on to this jeep were using poly spacers that I haven't used in the past... Such as my decision to keep the boat sides able to bolt and un bolts rather than completely welding them to the body and frame as I have done with the last two jeeps... But even that I could strongly are you for either side!

Anyway thanks for the comment... Always something to think about
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Old February 5th, 2014, 04:12 PM   #17
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I understand the isolated vs hard mounted theories, I'm not trying to figure that out. I'm hard mounting everything on mine. My question was simply whether you were hard mounting EVERYTHING or just that front section. If it's only the front section then you're going to be transferring a lot of stress through the fender mounts at the tub; an area that was never meant to see those stresses. Over time I'd expect to see wrinkled and/or cracked sheetmetal there. Even poly bushings holding the tub and/or cage will still allow movement that the steel mounts of the front clip won't.
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Old February 5th, 2014, 04:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbaXJ View Post
I understand the isolated vs hard mounted theories, I'm not trying to figure that out. I'm hard mounting everything on mine. My question was simply whether you were hard mounting EVERYTHING or just that front section. If it's only the front section then you're going to be transferring a lot of stress through the fender mounts at the tub; an area that was never meant to see those stresses. Over time I'd expect to see wrinkled and/or cracked sheetmetal there. Even poly bushings holding the tub and/or cage will still allow movement that the steel mounts of the front clip won't.
Ok... Sorry I guess I misinterpreted your question... Great point and I completely agree with you go one way or the other it's probably not a good idea to mix it! Although I have always wondered if it would work or not...

But like you I'm not going to find out on this project everything is getting hard mounted... Cutting off the frame bushing mounts to the body and replacing them with dom tubing at 45° to aid the boat sides...

The cage will also be tied in directly to the frame without any poly...

I have done this with two jeeps in the past but I didn't own either of them for longer than six months so I'm actually not sure what the long-term adverse effects of hard mounting everything might be... I do know that it was crazy stiff compared to a jeep with body mounts & Poly.... And personally I really liked the rigidity

If you have any ideas or suggestions or experience with something I might not have thought of let me know open to anything!!!
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Old February 8th, 2014, 09:54 PM   #19
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Well I decided since the front clip is now attached to the frame I better do everything here are the new 45° tubes going from the frame to the body
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Old February 9th, 2014, 10:07 AM   #20
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Tied in the back of the cage this morning... Had to do some tube bending to get around all the gas tank parts etc.



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