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  #1  
Old January 25th, 2013, 13:10
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Nate's '96 Build Thread

I kicked off my first XJ project last weekend. I'm starting with a '96 XJ SE with the AW4 auto and 146k miles that I picked up from a salvage auction for $500. The front and rear bumpers were demolished, but no other significant body damage.

I started by trimming the fenders, and I took the next step today by ordering my lift. It's a mix; I ordered the T&T long arm upgrade kit, and then called Rough Country and ordered all the components of their 4.5" long arm kit, including rear leafs, except for the trans mount/link bracket and the long arms. I've already got my 4.10 LSD 8.8 prepped for the install, and a couple months ago procured a set of 4.10's and a Eaton Truetrac for the Dana 30. I also got Rough Country's rear shackle relocation kit.

Follow along over the next couple weeks as I take this one from stocker to stomper.
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  #2  
Old January 25th, 2013, 13:36
whitexj98 whitexj98 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

What size tire?

Sounds like a decent combo, I have the TNT kit with 4.5 rough country coils in the front on 35s.
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  #3  
Old January 25th, 2013, 14:29
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

I'm gonna go with 33's for now. I don't think I have the gearing for 35's.
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  #4  
Old January 26th, 2013, 10:47
supernatural supernatural is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

I'm running 35's w 3.55's lol. (Gears are next on my list)
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  #5  
Old January 28th, 2013, 17:21
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

I just spent about 1/2 hour looking- how do I receive permission to post images?
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  #6  
Old January 28th, 2013, 18:57
supernatural supernatural is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Photobucket.com
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  #7  
Old January 29th, 2013, 09:40
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

I see that I can link to images stored externally on the Web, but can I not attach images? I found instructions for attaching images to these posts, but apparently don't have the functionality. Do I need to do something to gain permission to attach images so that they appear in these posts, or are those instructions outdated and everyone uses externally referenced files?
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  #8  
Old January 29th, 2013, 10:02
whitexj98 whitexj98 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Host on Photobucket, then past the link from them will look like:

[img]........[img]
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  #9  
Old January 29th, 2013, 11:49
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Here's a pretty bad photo of my starting point. The fenders are trimmed and I'm getting ready for disassembly in this comically small space I call a garage.


It took every bit of last weekend to get all of the factory suspension, axles and other equipment off the Jeep. I'm lucky in that this vehicle is form the Pacific Northwest and we don't experience corrosion here like in other parts of the country.





You certainly could do this job without a plasma cutter, but having one sure does make things easier. The lower control arm bolts were super tight, so I just cut the arms off, and then moved on to removing the brackets. Even with the plasma cutter, it took almost all day Sunday to cut off the LCA brackets and grind them flush. If things keep going at this pace...






And of course, what would a project be without unexpected problems. I was aware of a major oil leak after the first time I crawled under this thing. It didn't take long to find that the oil pan gasket was totally loose and flopping around at the front of the pan. I was able to pull the gasket completely out. So, I've dropped the pan and intend to do the rear main seal while I'm in there.



I gave some serious consderation to also doing the front main seal, but I gotta draw the line at some point. There's no evidence that its leaking, I wouldn't do the timing chain while I was in there, and its not going to be much harder to do after the rig is completely assembled if necessary. Here's to keeping the engine intact. Except for the pan and rear main that is.

Perhaps the bigger and more frustating issue is what I found had been done to the exhaust system. This one's a real head scratcher. This vehicle is completely stock, except for that someone had taken the time to weld together a custom header and exhaust system. If this were quality stuff, I'd be stoked, but its not. The person used a factory header and cut all the tubes off about 2 inches from the flange. They welded in fatter sections of header tubes, and then brought them back together using the factory collector. They bolted that to 2 feet of factory downpipe, then welded in a 3 inch section for the cat, then reduced it back down again to weld to the factory muffler and tailpipe. Can you say turbulence?
Making this even worse is that the short section of factory down pipe is dented just after the header collector, reducing the diameter by approximately 30%. I can't tell if this happened before or after the install of all the other custom exhaust, but the fact that all of this blows trough a dented downpipe is kinda the icing on the cake. I took off the exhasut, leaving the header bolted up, and I intend to replace the short, dented factory downpipe piece. I'll keep the 3" section containing the cat and weld on a new muffler and tailipe cuz the muffler is on its way out.



These two items alone are gonna set me back a week or so. After I get these addressed, I'll move on with the SYE installation with the T-case left in the vehicle and then move on to install the front suspension.
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  #10  
Old January 31st, 2013, 21:22
cdrake261 cdrake261 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

my stock downpipe is also dented...odd to say the least.
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  #11  
Old February 1st, 2013, 06:41
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clean4drxj clean4drxj is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

They're all dented in that spot, thats factory
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  #12  
Old February 1st, 2013, 06:51
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ZipperheadXJ00 ZipperheadXJ00 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Your intro to the build made me think of a build they would do on Xtreme 4x4!

Looking forward to the end result!
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  #13  
Old February 1st, 2013, 10:38
cdrake261 cdrake261 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by clean4drxj View Post
They're all dented in that spot, thats factory
So would unbolting it from header and putting up a smooth wall replacement improve my performance/mileage?
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  #14  
Old February 19th, 2013, 12:58
paddlernate paddlernate is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Thought I'd update the build a little. Obviously, this is gonna take more than a few weeks! Since I last posted, I reversed my previous decision to not do the front main seal. when I had the oil pan off to do the rear main, I wiggled the timing chain around and couldn't believe how loose it was. So, I pulled all the accessories off and replaced the front main and timing set.




So, after several trips to the parts store and the tool store, I was able to start putting the engine back together again. Embarassingly, I had to put the water pump on three times. The first time, I had forgotten to put the coolant tube into the new pump before bolting on to the engine- my fault, re-do. Next time, I had the coolant tube installed and bolted the pump up, and then noticed that the pulley flange was incorrect- the parts store gave me the wrong pump, re-do. That'll put some hair on your chest.

Then, as I was going to bolt the valve cover back on with a new gasket, I realized that I had thrown the washers away. I thought that I was getting new washers with the new gasket, but all I got was the rubber washers, I needed to re-use the steel parts. This spawned a trip to the junkyard. A lot of trouble for some measly washers, especially after the nearby Pick-N-Pull didn't have any of the washers and I had to go all the way across town. However, while I was there, gathering what I found to be rare washers, I saw a clean WJ that had just arrived. I had been wondering what I would ultimately do about my steering, and had just about written off the WJ swap as being too time consuming. But when I saw all the parts there, right in front of me, in perfect condition, I couldn't pass 'em up.




I'm no stranger to junkyard improvisation, but for the life of me I couldn't get the knuckles off on the first day. Let this be a warning to you if you bring your Fisher Price tool set to pull an axle in a junkyard, the inner set is what I brought the first day, the outer set is what I brought after those failed:



Anyway, I can't wait to get going on the axles, but I gotta do some grunt work first. I want to have the exhaust fab'd up and complete before I bolt the new TNT belly pan up there for good, so that's where I'm headed next. I spent a good bit of time cleaning up the stock trans mount to use for mocking up the exhaust (that engine oil leak was pretty bad). I also had time last weekend to have that bogus factory downpipe re-made. I cut the down pipe off of my exhaustt where it changed diameters to a larger pipe and brought it down to "Darrell's Economy Muffler". I was lucky enough to see Darrell himself, and with 28 years of pipe bending experience to his name, Darrell was able to pretty closely match the tight bends of the factory piece using a piece of 2 1/4". Check out the restriction in the last photo. I've confirmed, as another reader here suggested, that the dent in the downpipe is a factory feature and all Cherokees have this nonsense:







Unfortunately, I'm gonna have to dial back my committment to this project for a couple months. I'm taking the PE exam in April and need to start studying. I'll try to keep making time for it now and then and post up the progress. I'll hit it hard again after the test to get it rolling. Let's just hope I don't forget where everything goes in the mean time!
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  #15  
Old February 19th, 2013, 16:02
cdrake261 cdrake261 is offline
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Re: Nate's '96 Build Thread

Let us know how much that downpipe helps out
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