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Old October 9th, 2009, 04:33 AM   #1
MTUCJ7
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Default Low budget TJ

After not having a (driveable) jeep for almost 2 years, I found a deal here on GL4x4 and jumped on it. Expectations are fairly low since i'm attempting this build from Germany and working on it only when i'm home for a couple weeks per year.

First 'phase' is to make the Jeep a little more capable and hopefully be ready to go to Moab in the spring. I guess it will be a pretty standard build for most newbies, with future plans also in the works.

GE - 'good enough'
1997 TJ
2.5 liter 5 speed
30/35 4.10's
188,000 miles

Here is the condition that I bought it in. It was sight-unseen for me. I just called my dad and had him test drive it and then he took it home.
No top but does run/drive.
A little inspection shows a bit of general lack of maintaince and probably no washing the salt off anywhere. Oil was SLUUUUUDGE, power steering was f'ed, rear brakes were non-existant, exhaust leak at manifold, etc/etc/etc. But hey, it's a TJ, it's cheap - and i'm still happy.















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Old October 9th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #2
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So first thing on the list was to try and find a top/doors for it. My buddy Burnsy has a 03 Rubicon with both tops so he let me borrow his. Thanks again! Also, made a deal with another friend who wanted a little more 'streetable' tires. I traded the 4 Rubi rims/tires and a little cash for 4 - 33" Boggers and a 32" SX for a spare. All on black wagons.



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Old October 9th, 2009, 04:59 AM   #3
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So summer rolled around and I was in Michigan for my sister's wedding. Time to get started on the jeep!! I had a couple friends give me a hand and in only a couple days we got some things done.

- removed front clip
- cleaned/sandblasted/painted brakets/general cleaning
- Installed 1" Poly body lift
- Made and installed a 1" MML
- changed oil/filter/air filter
- replaced cracked/leaking PS reservoir with one from junkyard Astro van
- new front shocks installed

Funny story about the non-functioning power steering. I took off the pump and when i flipped it over to drain the oil out of it, I noticed a red shipping cap inside the suction port. The pump was obviously not that old and when someone replaced it they didn't notice to take out the cap. There was oil in it so the bearings are still good. Removed cap, re-installed and now it works!













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Old October 9th, 2009, 05:06 AM   #4
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I picked up some Rubicon springs and i'm hoping that will be enough to clear the 33's. If not, they will self-clearance and/or i'll extend the bumpstops. Also, I have already got Lock-Rites for both front and rear. I'll be going through both axles with new bearings/seals/etc. Yes I am aware that I am polishing a set of turds, but it will work for me until I finish the HP60/14bolt combo that I already have.

Also, i'll be looking to upgrade the cage a bit, bedliner the tub, some sort of homemade belly up, SYE, box the control arms and maybe some rocker protection. That should be 'good enough' for me.
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Old October 9th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #5
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nice lookin tj good luck with everything
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Old October 9th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #6
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nice job with the power steering reservoir. I had the same problem, it must have hit a bump and popped off of that stupid track fitting they have it on, on the fan shroud. I like what you did with it though. Here's my solution.

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Old October 10th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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i like your idea of useing what you got and having fun with it until your big axles are ready, cool project, what size tire are you going to run when you finish you other axles?
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Old October 10th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistol pete View Post
i like your idea of useing what you got and having fun with it until your big axles are ready, cool project, what size tire are you going to run when you finish you other axles?
thanks - i've had too many projects that were torn down and not wheelable and then ended up sitting for months/years. Maybe I am learning? Hmmm scary thought.

I'll be running 40's eventually. Just scored a killer deal on some!
-troy
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Old November 8th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #9
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nice looking tj!
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Old January 4th, 2010, 09:13 AM   #10
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Finally got back home to work on the TJ. Worked like crazy on it for 2 weeks during the holidays..... it's ready to wheel now.
Things done:
- New taller power steering bracket
- Plugs/wires/cap/rotor
- Stainless brakelines (OEM's were rusted through)
- Rubicon rocker skids on
- Roll cage in (this took me forever to get it to look right and paint)
- tranny/tcase lifted 1" (to match 1" MM lift/1" body lift)
- Rubicon springs and new shocks all around
- New brakes/seals/lockers in both axles
- U-POL Raptor bedliner
- New (to me) half doors

I did all the work in my dads shop so this thing is really on the budget. I'm pretty happy with how it works and i'll post up the total $$ when i add it all up.







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Old January 4th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #11
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Checking for rubbing and a little wheeling....




and the first boxing mitt damage. I'm sure moab will add LOTS more.




-troy
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Old January 4th, 2010, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quite a transformation. Any plans to ditch the 4 banger for something with more displacement in the future?
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Old January 5th, 2010, 01:30 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Soy_bomb View Post
Quite a transformation. Any plans to ditch the 4 banger for something with more displacement in the future?
Plans or dreams??
No plans until something breaks.

Dreams - LS/auto/Atlas/D60/14B/40's

-troy
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Old January 5th, 2010, 01:37 AM   #14
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$4828 into it.
Here's the breakdown:

Jeep $2500

Jeep Stuff
Rocker skids/body lift/paint/bolts/cage tube/cage BTF tie-ins/half doors/bedliner/stainless brake lines $1171

Drivetrain
Tranny mount/Boggers & Spare SX/power steering/tune up/fluids/slave cylinder $279

Suspension
Rubi springs/shocks/box control arms (not installed) $155

Rear Axle
LockRite/seals/brakes/wheel studs/etc $389

Front Axle
LockRite/brakes/caliper bolts/etc $334

I'm sure there will be some more things I do to it in the future, but for less than $5000 it works!

-troy
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Old June 15th, 2010, 04:19 AM   #15
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Got home during the summer and needed to wrap up a few things before the Moab trip.
- New power steering box. Finally took care of the bubbles in fluid, the original box was toast.
- Top/doors. Got a new Sunrider Khaki top here off GL4x4 and ordered some new upper skins and frames. Happy with the factory fit. Had to make a bracket since it was back ordered forever.








Next up, MOAB! Will the D35 survive? Will the whole thing just exlode into flames????

-troy
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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:51 AM   #16
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We got to Moab with really no issues and great weather. It was HOT and sunny there the whole week although a bit windy. Really windy on some days.

First day, first trail (Cliffhanger) and i'm overheating. WTF - I had like 40 'test' miles on this thing before I left! It seems the clutch on the fan was toast. We wired it up with a shoestring and duct tape and left it running the whole day. Replaced the clutch that night and no more problems with that.

On Moab rim one day and all of a sudden I have a V8!!!! Well actually the exhaust got ripped off. Bungee corded it back together to get home. Next day fixed that with some 'L' brackets and sheetmetal screws. Surprised to see that it lasted the whole week like that! Good enough!







-troy
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Old July 1st, 2010, 02:56 AM   #17
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We ran all of the hard trails and the newly nicknamed "Tractor" handled everything just fine. I think I had to get pulled/winched only twice.

We did:
- Cliffhanger
- Hell's Revenge
- Fins & Things
- Moab Rim
- Poison Spider/Golden Spike/Gold Bar Rim
- Behind the Rocks
- Pritchett Canyon

THE DANA 35 DID NOT EXPLODE!!
I guess it can survive with 33" Boggers and a locker - maybe the 12 hp has something to do with it.













-troy
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Old July 1st, 2010, 05:41 AM   #18
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Even though it was a trooper and made it, there will be some upgrades.

I knew the gas tank skid would take a fierce beating...and did it ever. It was already rusted out and weak but now its toast. I think i'll go with the Rokmen skid. Also Rokmen makes a nice rear bumper 'builder' kit that has a tow point that I definately need.

I also need a TT since I was hung up a half-dozen times on that. Power steering skid is needed for hitting tall ledges. I think i'll keep the front bumper since it held up well, even with the 'White Knuckle Hill' dent.

I'll groove the Boggers eventually - they got chewed up pretty good.









-troy
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Old July 1st, 2010, 05:53 AM   #19
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i want to go to moab lol u should have taken me with yall
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Old July 1st, 2010, 07:53 AM   #20
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Nice pictures
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Dakota Truggy Tons and 43's
07 CTD tow pig With the goodies

Thank you to Jeeperz Creeperz Off Road

Cool stuff at Ironman Offroad
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