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Old December 24th, 2014, 01:09 PM   #1
BearSquatch
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Default My version of the LJ

I picked up the jeep you see below in March and have been doing what I can to make it mine ever since, much to the dismay of my bank account. I'll try and outline what I've got in it so far from start to current.



Its a 2006 LJ Rubicon with the 6-speed. Came loaded from the factory with the 6-disc changer, auto dimming mirror, dual top group, blah blah blah. When I bought it the previous owner already had some work in to it.

-Sky Jacker 4" lift (springs, dampers, lower control arms, drop pitman)
-Daystar adjustable rear upper control arms
-Rusty's Off-Road Stering Conversion
-Rubicon Express Front Trac-Bar
-35/12.5R15 MT/Rs
-Black Rock (discount tire special) 15" aluminum rims
-High Rock front bumper by Bestop
-Smittybilt XRC Winch
-KC Hi-Lites (nicely wired in to the factory fog lamp switch)
-WARN rear bumper and tire carrier
-Airaid Cold Air Intake

Last edited by BearSquatch; December 27th, 2014 at 01:55 PM. Reason: parts list
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Old December 24th, 2014, 01:39 PM   #2
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On the test drive I noticed a pretty solid clunk when tipping in to the throttle, so after cleaning up the stickers from the previous owner and putting some miles on I gathered some wisdom from a few friends that have been at this longer than I and started searching for my clunk. Pulling the lower control arms showed the worn bushings had given up long ago. Pictures of the bushings that came out of the arms next to the new ones below for reference.



Knowing the replacements would eventually get worn out again, this was a temporary fix but a lot cheaper than buying new arms.

After running some trails up in Grayling it became apparent a few more additions would really make the jeep more wheel-able. (if thats not already a word it is now). So I picked up a VIAir compressor and some JKS quick disconnects for the front sway bar. I decided on mounting the compressor to the inner fender and mocked up a plate to hold it in place.









Using some existing holes in the fender and drilling a few more made the mounting pretty easy. I shaved nylon spacers to create a flat plane for the plate to mount too since the fender itself didn't provide a large enough area. It's made it this far through some tough hits and not so much as flinched so I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Not having to spend time on pavement with low tire pressure is well worth it to me.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 01:49 PM   #3
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Looks like Creepy's. I like it. Can't leave it alone.
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Old December 24th, 2014, 03:06 PM   #4
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Looks like Creepy's. I like it. Can't leave it alone.
Thanks!
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Old December 24th, 2014, 03:23 PM   #5
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Next on the agenda was finding some half doors to rock for the summer. As anyone who has looked for TJ half doors before will tell you, they're not always easy to come by. Work took me on a drive from south east Michigan to El Paso, Texas. I checked craigslist at every major metro area on the route and still didn't find a set. After looking around at places like Davey's and a couple forums, i found a set that would work. The catch was they were outside of Pittsburgh. While that doesn't seem super convenient I was traveling there to do some turkey hunting. Problem. Solved. The doors came off a tub that had been salvaged out of florida so they were in good shape rust wise. The uppers and interior panels were tan but had been painted black. They're not super pretty, but they don't need to be. This was my first attempt at doing any real painting that would be on display and given my near zero knowledge aside from watching a few youtube videos I'm happy with how they came out


They were short one hinge so i ordered one up up from Davey's. Initial test fit looked good.


Masking and sanding after removing the interior panels and weather seal.


I used the duplicolor rattle cans for the factory color match and clear. As I mentioned, this was my first attempt and its not perfect.


After the paint dried I got the door mounted up and mirrors swapped over. From 10 feet it looks good enough (for me) and when its dirty (most of the time) its hard to tell they're different. The thing that stands out is the gloss of the clear. I wet sanded and polished but just couldn't get it quite as glossy as the factory paint.
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Old December 25th, 2014, 11:37 AM   #6
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A little down time at home means time for another installment. I decided to throw a CB in the rig so i could bullshit with other people on the trail and occasionally be able to call out actual important trail info. Not knowing a ton in the subject I went with a cheap Uniden unit and a firestick antenna spring mounted to one of the teraflex taillamp mounts. I was assured it would be good enough, and that turned out to be true. It was also small enough that it gave me a nice mounting option in the center console.


The width of the CB was perfect to slide right into the shallow pocket of the center console.


Rough cut done. Just did a little clean up afterwards to get rid of all the sharp edges.


Final install. The location made running the add-a-circuit really easy to the fuse block behind the glove box and tucking the antenna cable behind the dash was a plus too. It sits far enough down that there is no interference with shifter but the speaker is just above the pocket so its nice and loud in the cabin.
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Old December 25th, 2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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You look very happy
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Old December 25th, 2014, 04:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marshall View Post
You look very happy
I look like a big idiot... But that was a big happy idiot.
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Old December 26th, 2014, 09:53 AM   #9
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After the little additions above and running some more trails around the area I decided it was time to up the protection and capability on the Jeep. Having looked at some different tummy tuck options I settled on the Rokmen t-case skid. To prep I ordered up a Prothane 1" body lift and JKS 1" motor mount lift while I waited for the bank account to get enough funds for the skid. Aside from one snapped motor mount bolt, the install was pretty easy. The Rokmen skid is currently getting its final prep now before being installed in the next week or so.


Primed


Painted

The body is still straight and I'd like to keep it that way. I started looking looking at rock rails/rocker guards. Not wanting to drill any extra holes in the body and thinking anything frame mounted would be stronger than body mount i found the White Knuckle Off Road sliders. They can be ordered for stock height or 1" body lift which worked well for me and offered the side tube I was looking for so my shorter friends could still climb in.




Damn nice welds.


The sliders come with self tapping screws but after marking and drilling the pilot holes, i used a tap about bought some Grade 8 hardware to lock them in.


I really like the clean look of these.
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Old December 27th, 2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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I replaced the drag link rod end at the pitman arm and a leaky steering damper at some point. That combined with the new control arm bushings pretty well eliminated some DW that I was having. Over the course of wheeling this summer it slowly crept back. At this point I decided it was time to go ahead and replace the control arms with pieces that had joints designed for high articulation. I decided on the Rokmen adjustable arms with Currie's Johnny Joints.


Super beefy

I also discovered that one of the rod ends in the drag link was in a bad way. Since it was an original to the Rusty's conversion I assumed the rest of the rod ends were the same age and decided to replace all of them. What should have ben an easy job turned into a pain in the ass when one of the rod ends wouldn't come out. Even holding the tie rod in my press, heating it with MAP gas, and cranking on it with a 18" crescent wrench wouldn't budge it. After a call to Rusty's a new one was on the way. A healthy does of anti seize went in the new tie rod before the rod ends. I used the method from the thread below to do my alignment after getting everything buttoned up.
http://www.wranglerforum.com/f210/ba...ent-86996.html

After the last wheeling trip of the season to Rocks and Valleys, I also picked up an on-throttle vibration starting around 25 MPH through all speeds. My first through was a bad u-joint, and a quick internet search confirmed that was the likely source. My plan was to pull the rear drive shaft and go for a test spin in 4HI to ensure I was right. As it turned out the test drive wasn't necessary.


Cracked cap is suspect.


Once the yoke strap was off, the cap literally fell off the cross.

Finding the right replacement parts ended up being a hassle. First, no auto parts stores stock Spicer parts. Second, all available online information including Spicer's website says the u-joints should have been 5-1310s at both ends. After Brown Santa dropped off my parts it became very clear that the 1310s were too small. The cap size was correct, but the outside to outside was almost half an inch short. I searched multiple forums for people having the same issue but never found a definitive answer. Finally I got some calipers on the parts that came out of my drive shaft. They are Spicer 5-1330 pieces at both ends. I've finally got the correct parts in hand and they will go back together once I have a spare half hour back home.

I may have gone a little fanboy for Rokmen, but i ordered their high clearance gas tank skid and some adjustable bump stop spacers yesterday. My factory tank skid has taken some good hits already and I'd rather make sure its stronger before i put a rock through it. My lift did come with bump stop spacers, but the tires still get into the fenders under extreme articulation and this is a much cheaper option at the moment than doing full fender replacement.

And that should cover about everything up to now... More annoying posts soon when the tummy tuck skid is installed.
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Old December 27th, 2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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The only thing I don't like about the front lower arms is there is not much clearance vs a bent arm that takes it into consideration when building. Not much droop with no bend.
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Old December 27th, 2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
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The only thing I don't like about the front lower arms is there is not much clearance vs a bent arm that takes it into consideration when building. Not much droop with no bend.
Very true. But sticking with short arms I wasn't too concerned. I didn't have any issues getting hung up on the Sky Jacker arms they're replacing. I was considering the Clayton 3-link front for a while but decided at this stage that would be a big jump and the Jeep really hasn't let me down over anything.

I'm looking at beefing up the diff covers, and new fluids next. Any wisdom (preferably from personal experience) about a whole new cover like the Riddler or Poison Spyer covers vs. a reinforced plate cover like the ones from WARN vs. the cage style like Rough Country pieces? The RE track bars should clear what ever i put in. The cage style are cheaper and I like the idea of reusing the factory covers since I know they seal well.
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Old December 28th, 2014, 12:01 AM   #13
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My roughstuff specialties cover has taken every hard hit without breaking a sweat
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Old December 28th, 2014, 07:26 AM   #14
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Nice LJ.
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Old December 28th, 2014, 08:29 AM   #15
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Rokmen is GREAT in terms of service and quality. I had their gas tank skid and rear coil spring relocators on my 1-ton '05 LJ (there's a build thread on here if you want to check it out).
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Old December 28th, 2014, 08:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wramblerguy View Post
My roughstuff specialties cover has taken every hard hit without breaking a sweat
Those look pretty nice. Given they're 3/8 i would think they're pretty much indestructible. I like that the flange is machined after welding too.

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Nice LJ.
Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1x1_Speed_Craig View Post
Rokmen is GREAT in terms of service and quality. I had their gas tank skid and rear coil spring relocators on my 1-ton '05 LJ (there's a build thread on here if you want to check it out).
I've spoken with Jeff a few times on the phone to follow up on orders and get some clarification. They have been nothing but helpful. I've apparently spent enough of my money with them that when I called last time he recognized my name. Not sure if that's good or bad.

I forgot to mention that I also put on some extended front brake lines from Inline Tube. I used some long soft springs and well placed zip ties to hold them out of the tires. The new u-joints went in the rear drive shaft today and as expected based on the ruined joint, the vibration is gone.
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Old December 29th, 2014, 08:51 AM   #17
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Nice build. A word of caution, don't get over confident with a new dif cover. Your stock d-30 axle is not going to hold up to hard impacts. Your dif cover is there to protect your gears, not the whole axle. To your question, I prefer a good robust dif cover over a plated stock cover or bolt on guard.
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Old December 29th, 2014, 09:09 AM   #18
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Nice LJ! I love LJ's. The most under rated 2 door Jeep ever built!
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Old December 29th, 2014, 03:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiterhino View Post
Nice build. A word of caution, don't get over confident with a new dif cover. Your stock d-30 axle is not going to hold up to hard impacts. Your dif cover is there to protect your gears, not the whole axle. To your question, I prefer a good robust dif cover over a plated stock cover or bolt on guard.
Thank you! I understand the cover itself won't make the axles (Rubicon Dana 44s) stronger overall, but for pushing rocks I would like to upgrade the cover for some insurance.

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Nice LJ! I love LJ's. The most under rated 2 door Jeep ever built!
Thanks!

I got the Jeep washed today in preparation for the tummy tuck, but being lazy on the couch had proven to be too attractive this afternoon. I plan on touching up the paint on the frame rails when I drop the old skid before the new one goes on so I've got to get the garage temp up a bit this evening to make that happen.
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Old December 30th, 2014, 01:17 AM   #20
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Following the tummy tuck. Good to see someone not scared to continue using short arms instead of jumping on the long arm bandwagon.

I want to do the tummy tuck on my 04 LJ, but several are more geared toward long arms and I'm planning to stay short arms myself, currently on 33s.

I may have missed it, are you using an SYE? Are you planning on an SYE if you don't currently have one?

mac 'Long Jeep' gyvr
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