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  #1  
Old August 20th, 2017, 08:07
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DutchVDub DutchVDub is offline
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Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

Try this again with Imgur since Photobucket got extra greedy all of a sudden.

After having to get rid of the JKUR as a result of a divorce and then playing around on ATV's for a bit I decided that I still hadn't learned my lesson and wanted to get back into a Jeep.



I initially picked up an 87 Pioneer that was fairly torn apart (no axles and a lot of the interior gutted) but completely rust free and really clean otherwise. The plan with that one was to make a mid-level crawler that would've been considered hard core back in the day. D44, Ford 9, 37's, cage, long arms, and most likely a rear 4-link. Basically I was going to rebuild my 92 XJ I had rolled plus do the rest of the stuff I had planned for that one. So I got some axles from the junkyard and hauled it home. I also ordered a Rusty's 4.5" Long Arm kit and an Advanced Adapters SYE.





To make this one again, only better.


Because it got serial crushed by a rather large guy.




After not finding any motivation to work on a stripped down Renix I decided to switch gears a bit and build something milder. I also wanted a more comfortable platform so I began looking at 97+ XJ's. Trent(Puttzer) found me a clean 98 on AutoTrader for $1100 or so and I jumped on it. The new plan was/is to basically build my 2000 XJ that I'd sold to get into the JK, but with some revisions due to lessons learned.

The inspiration




The new 1998 Sport after swapping the cracked header panel out for a clean, but incorrectly colored one.


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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 21st, 2017 at 20:46.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 13:54
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Re: Back in an XJ

After getting an e-test done and registering the Jeep I finally got around to installing the Rusty's 4.5" Long Arm kit. I had ordered the kit with 2 major changes from normal. The first and biggest change was I had them replace the Y-Link setup in the kit with their competition 4-Link setup. The second change was I had them swap the 4.5" leaf packs out for 3.5" leaf packs and longer shackles. I had also upgraded to their RX200 shocks.



Of course, between the time I had received the kit and the time I was ready to install it on my 98 Sport I had sold off the trac-bar, the rear springs, and the shackles. This was because I had been planning to link the rear of the 87 Pioneer and was also planning a front D44 with OTA trac-bar. Luckily Trent hadn't used the leaf springs yet and I was able to buy them back along with a set of RE lift shackles. Also luckily my 98 Sport had a RE Adjustable Trac-bar to go with its 3.5" BDS short arm kit. So with parts sorted out I made a plan to go to BV and run Chinaman's with the Chapter and started cramming on the jeep. I also had a barbecue and coerced some friends over to help do it at.

To save time on the BBQ/Wrench day I pulled the axles on my own the night before.




Then we replaced the rear main seal and transmission filter, installed an Advanced Adapters SYE, and installed the full long arm kit in 1 day with it winding up on 33's that I had bought used from Puttzer.









Needless to say my garage was a mess afterwards.
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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 21st, 2017 at 20:47.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 14:04
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Re: Back in an XJ

After that I spent the next week trimming my front fenders and building a front bumper. My buddy Steve used a torchmate to cut out all the pieces for the bumper and my buddy Nick machined out some custom shackle mounts for me. The bumper was based on Steve's design from his own XJ. Nick is running the same core bumper, but he made his "wings" out of plate. I opted to stick with a more minimal tube design like Steve was running, but tweaked it a bit. I also had originally meant to make the tube portion a separate bumper that could be removed/replaced in the event it was damaged but time constraints and my own impatience got the better of me and I just welded everything together.



























Pics are a bit out of order because of dumping everything onto Imgur from my phone.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 14:18
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Re: Back in an XJ

I think I got the bumper done and the Jeep ready a day or two before heading down to BV for the weekend. It was pretty close, that's for sure.

Loaded up the night before and the weather started rolling in.


The roads that morning were terrible and heading up 285 to Conifer the ass end of my truck kept wanting to slide out on the hills. Unfortunately my hubs won't lock automatically anymore, I'm pretty sure its the unit bearings I got from Rock Auto because they worked before I put those in, so I had to find a safe spot to pull over and lock them in. I should've just done it when I left the house that morning but I had forgotten. Once I got the hubs locked in and could use 4WD it was much smoother sailing. The Jeep was completely covered in ice and grime when we stopped for fuel and a potty break in Fairplay.


In the end we made it to the entrance of Carnage and met up with little David and his dad who had graciously offered up a space in the camper with them. Of course David being Air Force I made him the little spoon ..!. .!.., but all in all it was a very comfy place to sleep.


After getting settled in and a few libations we decided David should run Carnage in his little Yota truggy on 37" BFG A/T KO2's. My g/f Jessica rode with him most of the trail while his dad Matt and I drank beer and hiked trail, spotting David and talking smack as we did.




The little Yota did really good and the KO2's were actually very impressive. We did pull rope a few times and then David flopped at the exit. He blames the spotter but I... err, he says its all David's fault. Who knows really. After that we watched some TV and passed out eraly like a bunch of old people who had drank too much and actually did physical activity for once.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 14:23
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Re: Back in an XJ

The next day we got up and waited for the group to arrive so we could run Chinaman's. David and I took lead, which was probably a bad idea as we were both hanging a bit and kind of grumpy. We kept stopping for people to catch up and not realizing there were mechanical issues in the back we wound up getting too far ahead and finishing the trail before the rest. We took our time loading up to see if people would catch us but ended up leaving before anybody else. There were something like 10 rigs not counting ours so we weren't worried about them, just didn't get to do the group thing.







While on Chinaman's I found a few slight things to fix, the biggest thing was rotating my passenger side rear lower shock mount so that I had more exposed shaft on the shock and it would match the driver side.

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Old August 20th, 2017, 21:45
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

I found this picture of my 92 YJ and had to post it, I really liked that thing. Its a shame my ADD got the better of me on it.


Anyway, back to the XJ. After Chinaman's and relocating the rear shock mount the Jeep pretty much just sat. I got wrapped up in side work and all the other things going on in life and didn't have a lot of time for the Jeep. I decided that for Father's day that's what I wanted to do. Get the Jeep out and go camping with my son. We had plans for actual Father's Day weekend, plus my schedule at Colin with his mom, so we picked the Kelly Flats trip as the basis for a weekend in the mountains. We went up Saturday morning and managed to snag one of the last spots at the Kelly Flats Campground right across the street.



After setting up camp we went up the trail a bit t find a good place to do some plinking. Neither Jessica or Colin had ever shot with a scope and I put them behind my Walther G22 bullpup .22LR rifle to get some trigger time. They both struggled acquiring the target through scope, but once they figured that out they were doing great. I was especially proud of Colin, he is 8 years old and just shredded the Coors light can I hung up in a tree. Sure it was through a scope, but he was standing up and shooting.




After plinking we went back to camp and had lunch, then we walked around the camp ground for a bit before going back down the road to a hiking trail we'd passed that morning. I can't remember the name of the trail but it was definitely a more wild than we were expecting. Very narrow and hard to follow with a lot of rocks. By the time we got done doing the just over 2 miles we were far more exhausted than we should've been. When we got back to camp the dog literally got in her bed and just passed out.





The next morning we got up and loaded the truck back up, then headed to the trail head to wait for anybody showing up for the run. I think it was an hour after we were supposed to hit the trail that 1 guy in a JK showed up for the trail run.





We hit the trail and easily caught up to another group of JK's playing around in the Chutes


Then we parted ways and headed home. It was a good weekend over all but I decided then I was really not happy being back in an open/open rig on 33's. After having rigs that were more built I just didn't trust the Jeep. So with me getting ready to head to a month of training I began making plans for the next phase of mods.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 22:08
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

After getting back from Annual Training and with all that E7 money burning a hole in my pocket I decided to make my house a regular stop for the UPS truck. I ordered up 4.88 gears for both axles (or so I'd thought), a Yukon Zip-Locker for the Dana 30, picked up a used Trac-Lock for the 8.25, ordered an Artec Dana 30 truss and lower control arm mounts, a VIAIR constant duty OBA system, heim joint steering from Dirtbound Offroad, a brand new set of 35x12.5r15 BFG KM2's, and a set of 15x10 w/ 3" of back spacing steel beadlocks. I had also scored a used but free Warn XD9000 winch.


Parts piling up






Getting ready to pull the front axle


About an hour or so later


Front axle stripped and starting on the truss


Truss welded up




Welding on the lower control arm mounts


Time for gears


Out with the old


The cute little 8-tooth pinion set in place. This was also where I hit my first snag. The install kit I got didn't come with new axle seals and I thought I'd had some extras but was wrong. So I had to wait a day to get those.


The next day I was able to finish up the axle after work and even tossed some good old Rustoleum on everything to make it quasi-shiny. The old stock cover came in handy as I didn't want to paint the Solid diff cover black.


I took Friday off of work to get the front axle back in and then knock out the rear axle. I was supposed to have a wrench/bbq day on Saturday at my place to do gears front/rear on my buddy Nick's rig. So Friday morning I got the axle back in by myself in about 2 hours with requisite coffee breaks and FB time of course.





Now originally I was going to turn the Jeep around at this point to do the rear axle. Unfortunately for me Troy had decided to buy my 33's on Thursday and while I had my 35's the beadlocks hadn't been delivered yet. They were due by the end of the day of course. Snag number 2, but not really a big deal.

Rear axle torn apart.


This is when I hit snag number 3, and it was a big one. 355? That's a weird part number for 4.88 gears. Let me count. 1, 2, 3...... FRACK!!!!!



I spent the rest of the afternoon rechecking my parts order (yes, my dumbass accidentally ordered 3.55's), talking to Ron's Machining Service, calling every shop or person I could think of to try to find a set locally, ordering a new set of gears, boxing and shipping the new 3.55's back, and adjusting plans for Saturday to have the wrench party/bbq at Nick's house instead.

After going to the post office and then picking Colin up from school I did come home to a nice big stack of brand new beadlocks. Unfortunately they didn't come with valve stems and we only have a NAPA in Milliken that closes at exactly whatever time it is you realize you need a part real quick. So when my buddy Jim arrived to help me with them we instead cleaned the garage up, drank most of a case of PBR, and just caught up as he'd recently returned from Kuwait and we hadn't seen each other much since he'd been back. That was snag number 4, but after snag number 3 it really didn't matter.
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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 20th, 2017 at 22:57.
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Old August 20th, 2017, 22:18
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

Yesterday after getting back from Nick's house I picked up some valve stems and mounted up my tires.


I couldn't help but toss one on the Jeep to see what it looked like.


And today I started working on getting my OBA system installed. I started with figuring out where I wanted everything and after a lot of moving things around I settled on a spot for the tank and compressor in the back. Unfortunately where I wanted the compressor wasn't where there was a flat surface to mount it. So I drove to Greeley and hit up Home Depot for some NPT fittings and some 16ga sheet metal. Once back I got to work cutting out the piece I wanted and drilling it for the mounting holes on the compressor.



Then I decided that I couldn't just have a big piece of plain sheet metal under my compressor. I mean, I do have a dimple die set for 1.5" holes so I have to use it. Right? Well that's fine and all except that both of my 1.5" holes saws were apparently trash so that meant another run into town for a new one. Still, it does look cool (even though you can't see it with the compressor mounted) and will allow that much more air flow to the compressor (my justification to myself).





Then I cut out two more pieces of the 16ga and put the entire contraption together. I welded them to the base plate for the OEM spare tire and then set the new mounting plate on top of that.



Then a little bit of primer followed by some truck bed liner and we have a snazzy little spot to mount my compressor. I also made a little bracket for my air hose fitting that'll come from the tank and let me air up my tires. Luckily I thought if that before I painted it, because I'd have probably been too lazy to grind away fresh paint if I hadn't.



Tomorrow I'm going to try to finish mounting up the tank and then start running wires and air hose. Hopefully by the end of the day I'll have all of that fully installed; including the pressure gauge, on/off switch, pneumatic switch for the locker, and the hose ran to the locker.
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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 20th, 2017 at 23:00.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 18:54
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

I've enjoyed following your build on FB. You make me feel like I'm moving at a snails pace...(I am )

Great build and I am looking forward to wheeling my own XJ with you!
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Old August 21st, 2017, 20:55
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

Quote:
Originally Posted by hjeepxj View Post
I've enjoyed following your build on FB. You make me feel like I'm moving at a snails pace...(I am )

Great build and I am looking forward to wheeling my own XJ with you!
Thanks. Now that have this Imgur thing figured out I'm probably only going to post little teasers on FB and try to do more in depth posts here.
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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 21st, 2017 at 21:09.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 21:07
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

I got the OBA fully installed today. I started out by marking where the tank was going to go. I then removed the carpet from spot under the mounting feet and drilled a few holes for nut-serts/threaded inserts. I did a better job of measuring for the holes than I thought because they all lined up too. Once the tank was bolted down I finished the last of the connections between it and the compressor.



Then I set to work on the center console. I figured out where I wanted everything and started drilling holes. The switch by the pressure gauge is for the compressor, the switch by the transmission shifter is for the front locker.





I also installed 2 1/4OD push lock bulkhead fittings in front of the t-case shifter in the floor. 1 is acting as a pass through for the locker supply hose. Its 5mm OD and fits nicely through it. The other one will stay open under the jeep and has the exhaust hose from the pneumatic switch plumbed to it.



After that I just ran my wires and the hoses. Once everything was in place I hooked the battery back up to test it. At first nothing happened and I was trying to think of why, and then I remembered I never put the inline fuse into the holder for the main compressor power wire. Once I installed that everything worked perfectly. The compressor isn't too loud in the cab and it even if it was it fills that 2.5 gallon tank rather quickly. The front locker is working and doesn't have any air leaks either, so all in all not a bad bit of progress.
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Last edited by DutchVDub; August 21st, 2017 at 21:10.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 07:29
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

What compressor set up did you get? I'd like something like that.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 09:31
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

He's got the Viair 10007 setup.

I'm planning on the near same (I'll probably go with the the 33" or 35" model), but mounting my tank under, just in front of the gas tank with it's own "skid".
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 10:15
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

It was maybe a 50$ difference between this one and the one under it rated for 35's. That one actually has a faster fill rate for a 35" tall tire but isn't a constant duty compressor. I figured for the minimal price difference I'd go with this one in case I ever need to run air tools.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 10:28
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Re: Back in an XJ: Building a mild 1998 Sport

Yeah, don't blame ya. I'm putting together a trail tool kit for the buggy, and picked up one of these:



$60 off Amazon Prime.

It filled my 40" up from 8 to 22.5 PSI in about 4 minutes. Not the quickest ever, but it's more meant for full flats and having on deck for the truck and trailer.

Someone up this way has the Viair 450P for $200 on CL (he'll go down to $180). However, I can still buy three of these for that, and these might see some rough riding
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