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  • #76
    Axle Swap (continued) & Front + Rear Suspension

    The front axle and suspension were finished this weekend, and I moved on to the rear axle and suspension. The 29-spline 8.25 axle came out of the donor pretty easy, and I started bolting up the rear springs. Not much to cover here yet. Next weekend will consist of cleaning and painting the rear axle, and finalizing the rest of the rear suspension. Given the amount of corrosion on the original bolts, I've opted to replace them with new hardware.

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    Attached Files
    Last edited by sjlplat; 09-22-2019, 12:05 AM.
    - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

    - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

    - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

    - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

    - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

    - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

    Comment


    • WJ_Guy
      WJ_Guy commented
      Editing a comment
      Looking good!

    • sjlplat
      sjlplat commented
      Editing a comment
      Slowly but surely getting there. I picked up a set of rear disc brake hardware on Facebook for $50 bucks yesterday, so that will get installed soon as well.

  • #77
    Axle Swap (continued), Front + Rear Suspension (continued), Wheel Adapters, Wheels, & 33" Tires

    I made some great progress today, and the rubber is back on the ground. The rear axle was primed, painted, and installed along with the rear suspension, wheel adapters, wheels, and tires. The wheel adapters are needed because I picked up a cheap set of wheels and tires from a Dodge truck to complete the lift. They'll be removed at a later time when I upgrade wheels and tires. It's sitting much higher than I thought it would, but I think it'll work just fine for me; my wife, well, maybe not so much!

    I also had some time to pull the transfer case in preparation for the rebuild and SYE install. The rebuild kit is out of stock at Quadratec, but I'm hoping it will arrive before next weekend so I can complete the rebuild next weekend.

    Finally, I picked up a complete set of ZJ disc brake backing plates, calipers, brackets, and hardware for $50 bucks. With a few minor modifications, these will bolt-up to the Chrysler 8.25 rear axle I just swapped in. This will pair great with the '96 XJ dual diaphragm brake booster and master cylinder I'll be swapping in next.

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    - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

    - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

    - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

    - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

    - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

    - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

    Comment


    • #78
      Progress Comparison - Day 1 vs. Today

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      - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

      - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

      - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

      - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

      - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

      - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

      Comment


      • sjlplat
        sjlplat commented
        Editing a comment
        LoL, that's what we said as soon as the rubber hit the ground.

      • NavySeal
        NavySeal commented
        Editing a comment
        So exciting!

      • Gotcha-Again-LOL
        Gotcha-Again-LOL commented
        Editing a comment
        That was a huge difference way to go

    • #79
      Transfer Case Rebuild & Slip Yoke Eliminator

      When lifting a Jeep XJ 4.5" or more, the rear driveshaft can begin binding and vibrating. There are a number of ways to address this, but the most effective is to install a slip yoke eliminator. The NP231 was designed with a splined output shaft, and a yoke slides over the shaft to couple with the rear driveshaft. A slip yoke eliminator replaces the splined output with a fixed yoke, which is then coupled with a double cardan (often mistakenly referred to as a CV) driveshaft. The double cardan driveshaft eliminates binding by adding a second u-joint. The slip yoke is then relocated from the transfer case side to the axle side of the shaft.

      The install is fairly straight-forward, though there are some permanent modifications to be made on pre-97 cases. The main shaft is replaced with a stronger 32-spline shaft, and all internal gears are transferred to the new shaft requiring the needle bearings to be pressed out. Additionally, the rod for the shift mode fork is about 3/4 inch too long, and must be cut to clear the shorter tail housing.

      Since I was going to be pulling most of the internals, I decided to do a rebuild at the same time. I purchased a bearing and seal kit, new chain, filter, and new pump, and proceeded to install those during re-assembly. The planetary gears, input bearings, and input seal appeared to be in good shape, so I opted to leave those alone. I replaced the front output bearing, and the new tail housing included a new bearing and seal. I also replaced the speedometer gear with a new one to adjust for larger tires. There was one small problem with the kit I purchased: It didn't include a front output seal, so I had to order a replacement after everything was re-assembled.

      Overall, it was a fairly uneventful install, aside from forgetting to replace the magnet after sealing and bolting the case back together, and having to pull it apart again. There are also several snap rings that are a pain to remove and install, even with snap ring pliers.


      A new rear driveshaft is required when installing SYE, but I've read that a front XJ driveshaft can sometimes be used in the rear. Since I've got a spare front driveshaft in the '96 XJ from which I pulled the front axle, I'll be trying that out before buying a new rear driveshaft.

      Next up: Bolting the transfer case back in, attaching driveshafts, and moving on to brakes.

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      Last edited by sjlplat; 09-29-2019, 12:58 PM.
      - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

      - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

      - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

      - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

      - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

      - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

      Comment


      • #80
        Quick Update

        No pictures today, but here's the latest update.

        After the transfer case was rebuilt with the new SYE, I realized I'd forgotten to install an o-ring on the pump pickup tube. Before re-installing, I pulled the tailhousing, speedometer gear, and pump to install the o-ring. A couple hours later, the case was reattached to the transmission.

        During the re-installation of the transfer case, I found that I didn't have any tools small enough to get the lower passenger-side nut tightened down. A quick run to Walmart for a cheap stubby wrench had that resolved, and the drivetrain was complete.


        I discovered that the front driveshaft is the perfect length to be installed in the rear with the SYE, so I don't need to buy a custom driveshaft. This is a great bonus, as both driveshafts are now identical.

        The brakes were fully bled, and I took the XJ for a short test run to see if anything was awry; of course, there were a few minor issues that became immediately apparent:
        1. I failed to clock the speedometer housing for the new gear, so the speedometer did not work. Easy fix -- clock the housing to engage the gear.
        2. The front tires rub the front of the fender flares at full lock . I think replacing the wheels and adapters with appropriately offset wheels will resolve this. Additionally, the lower front part of the flares will have to be trimmed for the front bumper install later on.
        3. The parking brake cables from the '98 are not the right length for the '88 parking brake lever. I'm going to see if the old cables will work with the new axle. If not, I'll have to find or make replacements.
        I thought about polishing off the remaining bits and pieces today, but I decided to save those for next weekend. In addition to the aforementioned issues, I need to pull the front driveshaft out of the '96 and swap that over, and take the rig in for an alignment. Other than these few things, I think it's safe to say the axle swap, lift, and SYE install have been a success.
        - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

        - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

        - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

        - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

        - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

        - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

        Comment


        • sjlplat
          sjlplat commented
          Editing a comment
          Yea, I'm old, slow, and dumb...By the time I get anything done it's like Christmas all over!

        • Gotcha-Again-LOL
          Gotcha-Again-LOL commented
          Editing a comment
          Hahah don't sew yourself short there good buddy 1% of the population would ever attempt all the swapping and modding we all do :P

        • sjlplat
          sjlplat commented
          Editing a comment
          I've surprised myself so far! Sometimes I'm amazed my junk doesn't fall apart right under me!

      • #81
        Axle Swap, Lift, Slip Yoke Eliminator, Wheels, & 33" Tires - Completed!

        Today I was finally able to polish off all the finishing touches on the lift, axle swap, and SYE. The speedometer housing has 4 positions, and I tested all of them before finding the right one for the new speedometer gear. The front driveshaft was swapped from the donor rig, the parking brake cables were swapped from the original axle, drag link was adjusted, fluids were topped off, and joints were greased. The only remaining thing to do is bring it in for an alignment.

        I was able to drive it around with no apparent issues. Ran 60mph on a county road for a short distance with no issues, tested all gears forward and backwards, tested the brakes, and flexed out in a small washout. Everything seems to be ready for the next phase!

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        - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

        - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

        - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

        - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

        - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

        - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

        Comment


        • #82
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          - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

          - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

          - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

          - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

          - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

          - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

          Comment


          • #83
            Loving the build and getting to see it wrapping up! Such a nice rig and should be really capable and comfortable!

            Comment


            • sjlplat
              sjlplat commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks man! That was the idea. It's nice to have air conditioning and a roof over my head. Still a lot to do, but it's getting there!

          • #84
            Axle Breather Kit (ARB Knock-Off)

            Living in New Mexico, waterproofing isn't something you really think of when you're building a rig. It wasn't until I joined the club on the Backroads Overland trip that I realized I needed to make some changes. During the trip, we experienced a water-crossing that would easily submerge the axles (among other critical parts of my stock rig). Given the amount of time and money I've put into the axle swap, I want to make sure everything is protected from the elements.

            ARB offers a simple universal kit to re-route breather hoses on any rig. There's not much to it: A manifold and filter, poly tubing, connectors, and mounting hardware for up to 4 lines. I wasn't willing to fork over the $80 for an ARB-branded kit, given its simplicity. Instead, I opted to buy a cheaper knock-off that looked to be every bit as effective as the pricier ARB kit.

            The install is pretty straight-forward. Remove the factory breather(s), drill/tap the breather holes if necessary, thread in the connectors, mount the manifold, and run the lines. The hardest part for me was figuring out how/where to mount the manifold. I ultimately decided to use a galvanized conduit clamp that I flattened out into a simple L-bracket, and bolt it into the old closed-loop coolant bottle location that was removed during my open cooling system conversion. This places the manifold high on the firewall, and offers easy routing of the poly tubing.

            The front axle has a pressed-in breather fitting, so I had to tap the hole with a 1/8" NPT tap to thread in the tubing connector. The rear axle routes the breather through the brake line distribution block, so I decided to retain the factory rubber breather hose, and adapt it to the poly tubing with a brass union. This seems to work well, offering plenty of flexible slack in the rear without having to figure out how to secure the brake line distribution block and re-route brake lines.

            I used all of the tubing in the kit to route both axles, leaving 2 available ports in the manifold for the transmission and transfer case. I will order more tubing to complete the install with raised breathers for the rest of the drivetrain at a later time.

            Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the kit. Quick and simple install, effective design, and relatively complete for $40 bucks. Much cheaper and easier than draining and cleaning out the diffs, transmission, and transfer case after a day of wheeling in the rain and mud.

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            - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

            - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

            - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

            - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

            - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

            - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

            Comment


            • #85
              Front & Rear Bumpers

              I've been shopping around for bumpers since buying this rig. It wasn't high on the priority list, as I figured I would come across a good deal sooner or later. Well, that deal popped up when NavySeal parted out his amazing 1-Ton XJ to build a new 1-Ton LJ. Big thanks to both NavySeal and Gotcha-Again-LOL for the awesome deal!

              The front bumper is an old Rusty's stinger, which appears to be discontinued now. I had been looking at the Rusty's Pre-Runner front bumper, and this stinger is basically the same design. For the price, I couldn't pass it up. Coming off a rig that had been wheeled, it had a few scuffs and was losing some of the powder-coating, but a little sanding, rust-proofing, priming, and painting had it looking like new. The bumper had a pair of Hella driving light already attached, so I'll wire those up and put them to use. The bumper also includes tow hooks and a winch plate, so I can add a winch later on.

              The rear bumper is a basic no-frills Rusty's trail bumper. Unlike the front, the powder-coating on the rear bumper is in great shape, so I didn't have to do any cosmetic work. It was a simple bolt-up install. I opted to pull the factory hitch, as I intend to add reinforced bumper support that ties-in to the unibody at the hitch mounting points. This will guarantee the rear bumper is mounted solid, and further protect the unibody from deforming.

              There are a few modifications to be made after the install. The vacuum canister was originally mounted inside the factory front bumper. This has been relocated to the engine bay, and some excess vacuum line from the old CAD axle has been eliminated. Additionally, the front fenders don't quite flow with this particular front bumper, so they will have to be either trimmed or replaced. I had really been hoping to avoid cutting the sheetmetal on this rig, but that may be inevitable in this case. The alternative is to replace the factory fenders with aftermarket fiberglass pre-runner style fenders, which I may opt for to keep the original parts intact.


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              - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

              - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

              - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

              - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

              - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

              - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

              Comment


              • Gotcha-Again-LOL
                Gotcha-Again-LOL commented
                Editing a comment
                Looks so AWESOME! way to go!

              • sjlplat
                sjlplat commented
                Editing a comment
                Stinger will take some getting used to. I had a shorter one on my YJ, but this thing sticks WAY up there.

            • #86
              New Meats

              You might have noticed the bald Comforser tires I installed along with the lift. These were a cheap and temporary solution to avoid driving around with roller skate tires. They didn't last long, but that was expected.

              In preparation for our annual Backroads Overland trip, I knew I was going to need some tires. Unfortunately, I haven't found the perfect wheels just yet. This meant that I needed another cheap tire solution.

              When I say cheap, I mean cheap! These 285/75R16 Thunderer Trac Grips are the cheapest, bottom-of-the-barrel 33" mud grip tires I could find. At $124 a piece, I figured I'd take a chance on them. Online reviews were pretty good, with the primary complaint being they are a pain to balance.

              I ordered a set to be delivered to my local Wal Mart (did I mention I wanted something cheap?), and they were shipped in 3-days. Mounting, balancing, and road hazard warranties added another $100 to the set.


              The balancing issue is no lie. The tire tech said he struggled with them, and after a liberal application of 80-lbs of lead ingots to the rear driver-side wheel, they finally balanced out!

              The ride home was surprisingly smooth, and not nearly as loud as expected.. It was clear that the old tires were out of balance. As for performance and longevity, time will tell! I don't expect anything like my go-to BFG's, but maybe I'll be surprised!

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              - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

              - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

              - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

              - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

              - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

              - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

              Comment


              • WJ_Guy
                WJ_Guy commented
                Editing a comment
                Looks incredible. I had a friend tell me about the benefits of Wal-Mart. I was able to snag my 35' Patagonia's for about $212 apiece. If all else fails on the balance, I've had great luck running the balancing beads.

              • sjlplat
                sjlplat commented
                Editing a comment
                Yea, I thought about buying some beads to see if they work any better. For now, everything seems balanced and runs smooth, so I'll let it go, but that pile of weights on my rear-driver wheel is a bit of an eyesore.

                For the price, I can't really complain. This rig isn't daily driven, so I don't need a premium set of tires.

            • #87
              Front Fender Trimming

              I'd been trying to avoid it, but I finally broke down and started trimming fenders. The new tires had just enough height to catch the sheetmetal at 1/2 turn with minimal spring compression. I'm hoping this is as far as I have to go, but we'll find out quick when I flex it out.

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              Last edited by sjlplat; 12-30-2019, 04:24 PM.
              - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

              - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

              - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

              - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

              - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

              - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

              Comment


              • WJ_Guy
                WJ_Guy commented
                Editing a comment
                Report the pics, Scott. They didn't come through.

              • sjlplat
                sjlplat commented
                Editing a comment
                Fixed! I seem to have issues when posting from my phone.

            • #88
              Headlight Bypass Harness & Sound Bar

              XJs are known for having poor headlights. This is partly caused by a voltage drop in the OEM wiring harness, so it's relatively common for XJ owners to bypass the OEM harness with a pair of relays, and draw power directly from the battery. If you recall one of my previous posts, I did something similar with the gauge cluster to improve the accuracy of the voltmeter.

              While I was at it, I also installed a soundbar that I pulled from the same rig from which I pulled the bumpers.

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              - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

              - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

              - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

              - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

              - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

              - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

              Comment


              • #89
                Fog/Driving Lights

                After installing the headlight bypass harness, I drove home in the dark. Not only was it dark; it was also raining.

                While the OEM halogen headlights did seem brighter, they still were woefully inadequate. Since the OEM headlight harness was free, and I had a pair of cheap pod lights sitting in the garage, I decided to wire in a set of driving lights. I was able to use spade connectors to plug directly into the headlight socket, which makes the driving lights function exactly as they would from the factory: on with low beams, and off with high beams.

                I'm a little concerned with blinding other drivers since these cheap lights don't have sharp beam cutoffs, so I also ordered a set of 55w halogen driving lamps to replace them, just in case. For now, I'll try out the LEDs and see what happens.

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                Last edited by sjlplat; 12-30-2019, 06:30 PM.
                - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                Comment


                • #90
                  Auxiliary Lighting

                  Well, since those pod lights scatter light all over the place, I can't use them on the road. Figured I may as well wire up everything with a switch since they were already installed.

                  Pod lights are dual switched from the headlights and auxiliary switch, so they only turn on with both the headlights and the spots. Spots are auxiliary only.

                  I've installed a changeover relay so I can add halogen driving lights, and switch between halogen and LED with the auxiliary switch.

                  I've also ordered a pre-runner style light cage for the roof and four 7" flood lights. Those will be installed on a separate circuit when they arrive.

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                  - 1988 XJ Base - I don't actually drive it. It just sits in the driveway while I throw parts at it.

                  - 1990 XJ Laredo - Old and busted, but it'll get the job done!

                  - 1994 XJ Base 2-door - Where'd the other doors go?

                  - 1996 XJ Sport - It's red. What else can I say?

                  - 1997 XJ Country - My wife wanted something "pretty".

                  - 1998 XJ Limited - Cheap and leathery.

                  Comment


                  • WJ_Guy
                    WJ_Guy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Got lights?!

                  • sjlplat
                    sjlplat commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm afraid of the dark...and spiders, so I'm installing Raid cannons and flamethrowers next!
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