Had a few days of spare time since we came back from the desert.
First I finally swapped the parking brake valve for one that actually works.
Then I mounted my fancy cupholder.
Then I started looking at the tailgate, scratched my head a few times and got busy.
Well that was a fun little project,it's all done, pretty happy with it.
I just need easier access to the recovery gear and tools in case I need them.
I officially suck at sheetmetal welding, but nothing that a little bondo cannot resolve. Made some more progress on my tailgate, just needs some cable and a way to latch it shut. In time I might just skin the inside with some thin aluminum diamond plate. Had to make a little frame to stiffen it since all I was using was the outer skin of a 1997 TJ tailgate
Kinda backwards, but here is the start of this madness
Two years ago after our second visit to the Hammers and running Clawhammer, Sledge Hammer and Big Johnson a friend and me both decided that to keep our daily driver Jeeps in one piece something a bit more carried away was needed to have fun and keep our Jeeps from looking better than something that sits in a junk yard. So after some horse trading and side work I got my hands on a 2004 TJ that had been rolled. I ended up with the Jeep minus axles, transfercase and suspension.
Here she is after I knocked the tub back in shape, sitting next to my little Jeep.
Once that was done the axle hunt was on ended up with a 14 bolt for the rear and a Dana60 HP out of a 79 Ford F350
Once I got some more side work done I really got going on it last May
I wanted everything underneath flat so no control arm brackets, skid plates or anything beneath the frame
Since I was waiting for some parts started to think how the transfercase was going to go under there
Whole bunch of sheetmetal had to go to make that fit
Had to modify the frame a bit to get some clearance for the axle and some room for the steering
Cut the front of the frame off and replaced it with some rectangular tubing, this way the steering box can come forward to accommodate the front wheel base Stretch. Front axle moved about 6 inches forward
Time to mess with the center console, the stock stuff had to go to make enough clearance for the shifters and I wanted it gone period
Plenty of room for more switches and idiot lights
On to trying the lockers out
Also in betwixed and between made a rear bumper with some shackle mounts
The finished product
Time for it's first road trip and shake down
Finally got a trailer to drag it to the trail.
The fenders on the trailer did not clear so out came the plasma and of the came. They are now easily removable
This week's chores were to install a rear anti rock and make an engine and trans skidplate
Well that took eleven months of all my free time and vacation time
So that's all folks I need a break and I am going wheelin
Gave it a hell of a work out on the Hammer trails in the last 2 days.
Love them Pitbulls, for as much as we spun them, pinched them stuck them under rocks, smoked en and what ever other abuse we could think off the didn't really chunk, bite pretty darn well and in general take all the abuse you can dish out for them without any complaint.
The little girl took her licking without to much complaint the score for 2 days of hammering is a bend tierod, might make a skid/ armor plate for it, a barber poled drive shaft, but it's a thick tubed one so it didn't bother it, some seriously scratched up skidplates and the front diff cover is leaking more than when I started. any way this is what happens when you only have 21" of bellyclearance
Fairly productive day today, my buddy Fred, drilled and tapped another steering gear housing for me, thanks Fred. Then I ran over to the autoparts store and ordered a new seal kit for it, should be here tomorrow.
Then ran over to a bolts place and sourced some bolts for the diff cover and a few big allen bolts to fudge around with the steering linkage some more, would be nice to get that higher up and out of harms way.
It will have to do for now though.
The crossmember for the rear lower control arms, seems to flex, so I will beef that up before it's next outing in a few weeks.
Started messing with a few things today. First called king and discusses what to do to get the Jeep to sit 2" higher, so will swap some springs later this week. Then started messing with the rear crossmember and cut this piece for it, needs a bit more trimming and that can be welded in.
Tackled the steering and diff cover today, took a bit of work but, the steering gear is rebuilt and working the way it should.
Straightened the tierod, that thing started to look like a pretzel, had 4 different bends in it from the last round of trail fun. Didn't hurt the auxiliary ram any though. I guess this summer I'll get around to giving the Jeep a true high steer setup or something close to that.
Swapped the leaking diff cover and fixed the a few fuel vapor lines that had a small leak according to the OBD 2 system.
All that is left is a bit of welding tomorrow and sticking the belly skid back on and she is good for another round of hammering
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