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Idle hands: assorted projects

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Well, it didn't take me long to find a deal on 2 drive shafts. Picked up an aluminium that requires a pinion flange swap and a stocker in case I don't feel like doing that.




Didn't get either of them installed yet, because seasonal gift giving occasion had me busy making other things.





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  • 1 month later...

Well, between birthdays, holidays, cold days and playing with my new garage toy it took a while to get around to finishing this project. I finally got around to relocating the one pesky O2 sensor and making a few strategic dents to clear a few spots on the transmission then everything got bolted back together.


But she's back on the road.



Did a quick shake down run to the spray and wash to knock the layer of dust off and all seems well. New transmission is light years ahead of the old t5.

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  • 10 months later...

Since the days of having my first dedicated daily driver (read beater) I've managed to avoid the temptation to modify them. Well, that time has come to an end so now I have another money pit.


Shortly after picking up my new DD. 2001 Cherokee (heretofore xj) currently sitting on a 2.5" lift with some 30X9.5x15 tires, otherwise stock.



First step was mostly maintenance, diy sway bar disconnects, throwing on a cheap winch bumper, and swapping out the old busted add a leaf packs and spring spacers for proper coils and leaf packs. No pics of any of that, but now the real fun begins.


Getting a start on the quick/easy parts.


Replacing the busted steering spacer.



Adding some heat extraction just in time for winter.



Amassing parts




I'm still waiting on some parts to show up before starting on phase 1 of 3 of the winter mini build. 
Phase 1
- Rear frame rail stiffeners 
- No lift shackle relocation boxes
- Bumper/tire carrier
- Clean and paint the underside of the rear section
Phase 2
- Mid section frame rail stiffeners
- replace rocker panels 
- Patch floor pans
- Sound deadening
- Clean/paint
Phase 3
- Front frame rail stiffeners
- Short arms
- Front locker
- Axle seals
- Paint all of the tings
Long term plan is to make this into a capable overlanding rig that can double as a mild/moderate wheeling toy.  As part of that goal there will be several other mods not listed in the above phases, mostly because they shouldn't actually require the xj be removed from service to do them. These other mods include, but are not limited to, dual battery, roof rack and removable sleeping platform.
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No wobble here, but then again everything under the front end (except the ball joints) is new/upgraded.


Giant pile of parts got bigger.



I now have everything to start phase 1, but will likely wait until after the winter solstice holiday travels to get rolling. I did take the time last night to make sure that I could break loose the bolts holding on the hitch and only managed to snap 2 out of 8.

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I have replaced the steering stabilizer with one that claims to be "Heavy Duty", but I suspect it was no different than the old one other than it being new. I did however do a little steering upgrade by switching to a ZJ tierod. Hard to tell in the picture, but the top one is the stock XJ which is a pretty thin walled hollow tube where as the lower one is a stock rod from a V8 ZJ (Grand Cherokee) which is a good chunk thicker and solid.


Picture courtesy of the internet.



I managed to get the old hitch off last night. Reminded me a lot of the early days of working on the datsun. All told I snapped 3 bolts, cut 1 and was actually able to remove 4 of them.




While I was out there I started to whip up a replacement for the fuel filler neck cover that has all but disintegrated.




As long as snow holds out the real work should start next week.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Well after weeks of doing nothing I'm back out in the garage ready to tackle this project. First steps in phase one were to remove the bumper and fuel tank.


How to gain access to bumper bolts when exactly zero fucks are given about the bumper.



But of course it wouldn't be a project without some unexpected additions to the list.






I guess its lucky that these spots are pretty simple to make panels for, and since they'll be hidden under some armor plating that came with the new bumper I don't have to bother taking time to make them perfect.




I feel like I could have just waited another couple of weeks for the tank to remove itself.



Now with the tank out of the way the real fun can begin. Lots of cutting, grinding and welding.

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Back at it this evening. Old shackle boxes are now gone.




The PO certainly wasn't doing me any favors.




Seems he had broken a bolt in the captive nut and rather than drill it out he just cut it out and welded in a washer to keep the bolt centered and then welded the head of said bolt to the outside of the shackle box. This is actually a little better than I had expected since I figured I'd have to drill out a broken bolt, but instead I just have to cut out a washer and weld in a new one with a nut attached.


Loosely test fitting the new bumper brackets and shackle boxes. I think I'm going to end up welding the new boxes to the bumper brackets, and while I'm at it I'll probably add some additional support to the boxes themselves.






Beyond that I managed to do the rough cuts for the corner rust repair.






I also found a section of frame rail that I'll need to repair while I'm at it. The rest of the time was spent introducing the floor pan (luckily solid) to a wire wheel to knock down some surface rust.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This week on Why did I decided to take apart my daily during winter, I got the other stiffener burned in, shackle brackets clearanced and bolted in and hung the bumper.


Prepped and ready to weld.



Welded and primed and verifying shackle/bumper bracket position as well as playing around with shackle positions. Not pictured, but I have also gone back through and seam sealed around the stiffeners.



Some modification required for a proper fit. Some of which is well documented from other installs found on the internet and some of it specific to installing them along with this bumper.



Very heavy main section of the bumper in position.



Followed by the not as heavy swing arm.



And finally the tire carrier mount/tire so I could adjust the cam on the swing arm.



while the bumper is on and mostly in position it does still need some adjustment, sadly I've maxed out the adjustment built into the brackets so I'll have to do some clearancing of my own.  This was also anticipated based on other install reviews. For now at least its close and doesn't interfere with the rear hatch so I can worry about final adjustment after I get the rest of the jeep put back together.

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Thanks gents. Getting there one piece at a time.  It's been a good dependable beater and surprisingly capable even in mostly stock form. Can't wait to get it back on the trails in the spring and see how it does with the new bits that are/will be going on.

Dinner time update. First of 6 panels (1 of 2 that actually require bending) is mostly made.

Dat tension fit doh.

Hoping to have all of the panels for this side made tonight so I can get a coat of weld thru primer on them before sticking them together for good.

Edit: after more than 4 years of faithful service my surprisingly trusty hazard fraught grinder finally gave up the ghost. So, no more panels tonight and will be off to get a big boy grinder tomorrow.

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Almost there.






First side is all welded in and that corner is now solid as a rock. I'm using 16ga. for the panels, might be over kill but I won't likely have to worry about denting them.


I have the outer panel for the other side mostly made so just a coupe more to go followed by lots of welding before being able to call this phase a wrap.

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Other side is mostly patched up. Just need to close up the front bit between the panels.




Unfortunately it was rather humid in the garage last night so there wasn't going to be any priming of anything.




So, I finally pulled back the carpet to get the floor plates in for the shackle boxes.






And discovered a project for another day while I was in there.



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With phase one of the XJ build out of the way another project rolled into the garage tonight.




This one isn't mine, but is a project I have been working on with a friend for a couple of years now. 1992 3000GT VR4 with a freshly rebuilt heart and several other goodies. For the most part this is a finished project, but its got a couple of bugs to work out. Rather than drive across town to work on it it'll be living in my garage until everything actually works right.

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Today I struggled to figure out where the catch can would live. This little spot between the air box and the recirc valve hose seems to be the only reasonable option.




I also started working on the battery tie down (pictured above) to replace the square knotted nylon strap it rolled in with.




Still needs some finishing, but should do the trick.

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