Big Daddy Offroad Tie-Rod Install
After a lift and a front Stabilizer install I come to the conclusion my Tie-rod looks so wussy under the bumper its not even funny. Ok, its more than looking wussy its a matter of supporting an upgrade such as tires and a lift. Lets face it. When your banging around on a trail and you hit a rock. Do you want your front wheels to buckle or do you want to keep on moving? I want to keep on moving myself.
I took a few things into consideration while laying down my credit card on this particular mod. First money being a decision and strength being the second. Yeah I must admit I picked price over strength, which is typically just my opposite. I normally look at the best then work my way back until I find something I can afford. I was considering a Tie-Rod upgrade and our buddy over at SwissMountain4x4.com introduced me to the idea of the Big Daddy Offorad tie-rod. First off the price sold me from the start. He then pointed me over to a review that RockCrawler did a while back.
DIY Quick Disconnect Pins
This mod is not my idea. I'll gladly admit I ripped it off another post on the interwebs. But I figured I'd snap some process photos and post the results here. And thanks Kizer for keeping a lid on this until I finally got it installed.
These were made for a friend of mine who's just getting into offroading (and modifying his Jeep).
We all know how helpful a quick disconnect link can be for unhooking the front swaybar. And we all know all the good aftermarket discos available. But their prices are not cheap at $80-140. For someone just getting started or on a smaller lift it's possible to make a quick disconnect pin for a fraction of the cost and simply use the factory swaybar links.
Front Stabilizer Install
Everybody always says you have to change your front Stabilizer when you lift your Jeep. I decided to go against the norm and not install a new stabilizer when I did mine. Was it becasue I forgot? Well actually no. I wanted to see what the front end would do in response to the addition of 33-inch tires. At first when I lifted the TJ it felt fine until I drove it down a dirt road. The front end was loose and felt really sloppy. When I hit a hole it felt like the wheel wandered wildly from one side to the other.
Now after a lift or a tire size swap we are all often told we should get our Jeeps in the shop for an alignment. Abnormal wear on the tread will result from an improperly aligned Jeep. What happens if you decide to do it yourself? Well you could really screw things up if you dont take your time or you could save a few bucks and do it more often because it doesn't cost you anything. Everytime I rotate my tires or do anything that affects the front end of my Jeep.at Im trying to do. How hard is a do it your self alignment? Well the first time I attempted it I took my Jeep to the shop and let them do it. I then came home and decided to copy what I thought they where doing. This is the exact write-up I followed and have done it many times with good success. So do you think Im going to have them do it again? NO.
HD TJ Steering Upgrade
HD TJ Steering Upgrade The purpose of this upgrade is not simply to repair the damaged steering but to improve it and make it stronger. To that end a Crown Automotive HD steering kit was installed. Essentially it uses the heavier duty 1996 era Grand Cherokee (ZJ) V8 steering components from drag link, to tie rods, tie rod ends, and adjusting collars.
Lower Control Arm Bracket Reinforcing
After 4 years and 50+ offroad outings the control arms and mounting brackets on my Jeep needed repair. The control arms were bent and one smacked by a rock so badly the pressed in bushing came loose. The bracket ears on the frame were dented and crushed to the point they interfered with the control arm movement. All this resulted in wonky and vague handling and disconcerting clanking and creeking noises from the suspension.
NthDegree Stinger/Slider with Redrill
As long as I could ever remember I've always like odd and unusual things. When it came to my Jeep I normally went with what worked and what was in the norm per say. A year or so I was surfing around on the net and came across NthDegreemobility.com. I was really interested in a few items they had simply because it was totally unique and nobody was trying what they did. Now my first thought was well maybe nobody is trying some of the things they are simply because they do not work or whos going to copy their original idea and look like they are copying?
I decided I wanted more coverage over the rear yoke because Ive seen a few lay down on a rock and beat the tar out of theirs and heard the rear slider gave you a more connected feeling. So I contacted a few people and spoke with Jay at Mesa4x4.com. He gave me a great deal on my LED tail lights so it was only natural that I knew he would take care of me on this project as well so I decided to install the Stinger/Slider.
RE Generation2 Disconnects
Im just like the rest of you. When I hit the trail I want to take complete advantage of my new modified suspension. The only thing I could never stand was how hard it was to pull the disconnects on my older setup.
I was browsing around and came across Rubicon Expresses Generation 2 system. Swissmountain4x4 said they were a very new setup and to his knowledge nobody has installed them or done a install/writeup. With that in mind I was definately going to purchase and be the first.
My intial lookover of the kit I was very impressed. All of the parts appeared to be very well put together. Upon further inspection I noticed 2 very inportant points. The connecting section to the factory sway bar utilizes a Hiem Joint. The section that attaches to the axle uses a thick rubber bushing, which requires no greasing. How cool is that? One less piece to grease.
Rubicon Express Spring Spacers
After installing a new bumper, winch, offroad lights and a hi-lift jack I noticed my front was sitting lower than my rear end.
Obviously its a known fact that when you add weight to either the front or rear something's gotta give. Either your springs are going to sag due to weight and your going to live with it or your going to install newer springs to make up for the difference. I decided I only wanted to raise my front end 3/4's of an inch to compensate my Rubicon Express 3.5-inch springs. Luckily there are spacers available to meet my needs. I contacted AllJeep.com and talked to Wayne and they sent me a pair of front spacers to correct what I considered needing correcting.
Sway Bar Quick Disconnect Tether
Every time I disconnect my sway bar links I worry about loosing them. Maybe Im just a bit careless or maybe its the worry about driving home on a long run to and from where I disconnect that worries me. Im getting ready to take a run roughly 500 miles away from home and Im sure if given the chance to loose one I will.
As well Ive had somebody at work pull my pins and then just as I walk out to my Jeep they warn me and attempt to pull a bit of black mail to get me to do something before I head out. Fear, anger and the urge to pound on something went through my head. Whats to keep somebody from doing the samething as a joke or even worse to cause harm. Well nothing sort of removing the disconnects is going to stop that, but the ability to make sure the pins do not leave you vehicle is what you can.
Nobody on the market seems to make a system to hold your pins onto your sway bar quick disconnect links so I decided to make some of my own.
Teraflex Bushing upgrade
After a while of owning my Teraflex lift I noticed it became a bit clunky. I know thats not really a discription, but after checking everything once, twice and even 3 times I became so frustrated I just knew it had to be my control arms. Ive read several forums and everybody who talked about the Teraflex control arms came up with the same response. The bushings are horrid and need to be replaced often.
I decided I had to replace them as well. The only problem I kept bringing myself to was the fact I simply did not want to change them out next year or the year afterwards. There simply had to be solution more permanent than changing them out on a regular basis if that was the solution. So bushings being what I needed I just happened to be looking around on a sponsor of Links4jeeps and they carried the Daystar line. Daystar just happens to make Poly bushing replacements for Teraflex control arms. How difficult could it possibly be I asked myself? 3 Days later I had two orders of bushings at my front door. I would like to thank Inclined-Vehicles for jumping on a request so fast. As well I would like to thank all of the sponsors on board for the many inquires and offers to lend a hand.
I started with the factory CJ-8 springs that came off my wifes '81 Scrambler First I ordered an Add-A-Leaf for the rear of a CJ, made by Hellwig, the leafs were only about 18" long (kind of like overload springs, too short and stiff) I returned them and then bought a set of BDS suspension Add-A-Leafs for the rear of a YJ.
Air Lift Suspension
After installing my used 3" coils, I noticed that the rear end of my Jeep sagged quite a bit with the added weight of my hard top, Kilby gas tank skid and roof rack. Once I loaded up with gear and family, I could pretty much kiss my lift goodbye. To top it off, I'm currently in the market for a swing-away tire carrier/bumper and can't imagine how that's gonna help things out. What to do right? Well, my first thought was to get a set of new 4" coils for the rear to compensate for all the extra weight but in the end, I was afraid that they too would just not be enough. So, I did some research, talked to a few people and decided that maybe what I needed was an Air Lift Suspension.
I had always been very interested in the ability to control the aspects of a jeep from in the cab. The ability to tilt and lean, correct when off camber, lift the jeep when you get high centered, or lower it for better riding on the highway. So I decided to install a 6" AiROCK suspension into the Jeep. This write up is currently a rough draft but since a few people wanted to see it, I decided to put it up a little early or in this case since I'm far behind on write ups, a little late. This was actually installed last year in 2004.
AiROCK installation guides
The AiROCK installation guides below are available for both standard, (short) arm kits, and the Rubicon Express Long Arm kit. If you have a high speed connection you can download the one large file, or if on dial-up download the small files.
Bar Pin Eliminators
Ca-Clunk-k-k-k-k! Ca-Clunk-unk. Clunk-Clunk Clunk. What could it be? My control arms have been contorted beyond belief and the bushings are probably getting tired? The track bars have seen their fair share of abuse. Maybe the bushings are due there too? Or perhaps it's the exhaust rattling around on a broken or compromised hangar?
I must admit to being a procrastinator at times. There are some things that I will let go way past the time that any normal person would get down and poke around looking for the source of the problem, then deal with it. Not me. Anyway, I listened to a clunking for months but told myself it was one of the things listed above and just let it continue. I made some half-hearted attempts to track it down but all the stuff I checked was fine so I just let it go.
My trip to Maine was probably the last straw for the problem. My Dad, ever aware of noises that should not be heard, immediately picked up on the clunking.
Basic Front End Alignment
After installing a lift on your Jeep, it is important to have your front end aligned before you drive anywhere. Failure to do so will result in severe tire wear and/or death wobble. Although not perfect, these are a few things you can do yourself to set your toe-in and re-center your steering wheel.
Budget Boost your Grand Cherokee
There are several routes to take to lift your WJ and many of those routes are based on the type of trail riding you plan on doing as well as daily driving capability. Our project "D4" will be going through a few transformations, and starting it off will be the Skyjacker 2" BB Kit.
Centering your steering wheel
After a lift or alignment your steering wheel can be off. Im still not sure, but almost everytime Ive ever taken either one of my rigs to get the alignment done the steering wheel is always off center. The only way Ive ever been able to fix it is to do it myself. Its pretty easy and shouldn't really take you more than 5 minutes per attempt. I do say attempt because you really wont know if you corrected the problem is until you take it for a test run.
Cherokee Sport Home Brew Budget Boost
I finally talked a friend of mine into adding a little lift to his stock 1998 Cherokee Sport. He told me that he just wanted 2" of lift and he wanted the ride to be better than stock. I told him about the Old Man Emu (OME) 2" kit, but it was way out of his price range. He told me to do what ever I had to but my budget was $350. More than enough for a 2" budget boost. But, being very impressed with the ride quality of the OME kit, I set out to put together my own kit. My challenge to myself was to put together a kit that had the ride quality similar to that of the OME kit, and to do it for as little money as possible. Over the period of 2 weeks, I came up with an idea and started gathering the parts.
CJ-2A Borgeson Intermediate Shaft Install
When I swapped a 4.3L Chevy V6 in to replace the 3.8L Buick V6, I had to rework the intermediate shaft. The Chevy engine mounts are in the middle where as the Buick mounts are in the front of the engine. The only way I could clear the engine mount was with a three u-joint intermediate shaft from Borgeson.
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