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The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 6/8/2014, 3:22 pm

Rocker guards covered up my rot behind mine, ha ha.

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/9/2014, 10:17 am

CrawlingForward wrote:Rocker guards covered up my rot behind mine, ha ha.

Well technically that's what mine are doing right now, problem is I just bought the current ones last year (I think, things are blurring) and they're specifically designed for YJs with factory flares, and I don't feel like spending another $100+ on something that ain't broke or needing replacement. Shaun was kind enough to give me the TJ extensions he didn't need, and it should take no more than 20 minutes to get them on so that makes things pretty straightforward.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/16/2014, 10:55 pm

Well I got the flare extensions on this weekend and they really complete the look all around. In case no one believed me, there is some serious rot under there that needed to be covered. I did sand the good metal and painted everything to hide it best as I could. You can't see a thing unless you literally get under the Jeep and look around...which is a good thing on the inspection sticker front. All that's left to do is slap a 'Rubicon' sticker on there and start telling people I did a leaf-spring conversion on a TJ.

Before and after shots:










I also adjusted some of my shackle bolts in preparation for the bushing replacement this weekend. I've read on a few forums that torquing the bolts under spec will give a much nicer ride and (hopefully) better flex off road. I can't confirm the better flex part yet, but I can definitely say that going from ~115 ft./lbs. down to 85 ft./lbs. on the shackle-to-frame bolt definitely made a noticeable difference. I will be torquing the spring-to-shackle bolts under spec as well this coming weekend for a better ride and to hopefully preserve the new bushings.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 6/16/2014, 11:55 pm

It's coming along nicely.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Andrew Miller on 6/17/2014, 1:23 am

Looks great TJ!

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/23/2014, 2:20 pm

Got the new spring and shackle bushings installed this weekend, and like magic my clanging noise around sharp right turns has totally disappeared. The whole process took about six hours, but I wasn't really in a hurry so that's no big deal, and I also installed the factory spec bump stops and re-positioned the rear fender flares at the same time.

Here's a couple of shots of the old bushings to give you an idea of why they needed replacing.





And this shot gives you a glimpse into how off the front axle is. The drivers side is even worse, which might explain why the bushings there (second photo) were toasted. I will try and address this alignment issue soon, which I think is a combination of the u-bolts being slightly out of place and a track bar that's too short. Might be time to invest in an adjustable one.



It seems the cause for the bushings' untimely demise was a combination of bolts that were over-tightened and the improperly aligned front axle. This time around I torqued the shackle to frame bolts at 80 ft./lbs. (about 35 ft./lbs. below factory spec) and the spring to shackle bolts at 60 ft./lbs. (also about 35 ft./lbs. below spec) both front and rear. I tightened the center shackle bolts to somewhere around 50-55 ft./lbs., I say that because I just tightened them using the 60 ft./lb setting on the wrench but didn't want them quite as tight. I also greased the bushings before sliding them into place in hopes that that would help their longevity as well.

We'll see how long these ones last before they bite the bullet. Initial observations are that bumps are definitely smoother (the removal of the rear track bar and keeping the sway bar 'permanently' disco'ed up front helped here too) and as noted the god awful clink has disappeared. You can sort of see from the photos where it looks like there was some metal on metal contact between the shackles and the springs, which explains the noise. This quells my fears of the noise being something costly and time-consuming like a bad hub or other steering component failing in the front axle.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 6/23/2014, 2:42 pm

Question....why are you still running a track bar at all?

It's not needed with YJ springs and it appears to be causing a lot of issues.

Am I remembering that you couldn't get it out? If it's causing this many issues, it might be time to grab the saw-zall or get a shop to drill it out (or just cut off the damn bracket)

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/23/2014, 6:13 pm

I keep it on because I'm a bit leery of taking it off the front end; there's something about it that makes me uncomfortable despite the advantages I know I'd probably gain. If this one becomes the trail machine though I'd most likely take it off. Honestly the ride has been great just from keeping the sway bar disconnected; much softer and I can't tell any difference in the body roll around heavy corners. It would probably come off fairly easily if I tried, I just haven't tried haha.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  CrawlingForward on 6/23/2014, 6:27 pm

I mean, I'm never one to tell people to remove safety features, but I removed mine in '08 and haven't had an issue over 4 years of DDing.

I think you have the reverse of what a lot of guys do, which is lose the trackbar and keep the swaybar connected.

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 6/24/2014, 10:16 am

Yeah I've got it set up a little differently than most do. And I will say, the track bar is definitely limiting the amount of flex up front (in particular droop), at least on the passenger side, because when I had the front end completely detached on Saturday only the drivers side wheel had enough flex to touch the ground (because as you know the track bar attaches to the passenger side of the axle).

I'll definitely consider removing it, but I don't know if that will happen before Rausch. If current thinking holds, Oreo will probably be getting put to the back burner for a bit to focus on Little Red. There just aren't enough days in the weekend to make it all happen quickly.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 7/9/2014, 10:36 pm

So got the Jeep back from the shop, and it does indeed seem that it's a sticky lifter. They ran the thing with the valve cover off and oil is getting to the top end and there's nothing broken anywhere, so the plan for now is to just run it how it is. The bummer is that means I probably could have made the trip to Rausch last week, so I apologize for screwing up those plans. Only thing to do now is drive it until it blows up, which hopefully won't be for quite some time.

Go figure, I let the thing run a little while ago and could barely hear the lifter, but it now indeed sounds like the water pump is starting to go...only after I've returned the new pump I bought. That's OK though, because my father has been doing some research into cooling system upgrades, and he seems to want to invest in a high-flow pump and thermostat. Probably a decent idea for slow speed crawling, especially in the summer.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 7/10/2014, 1:24 pm

Just replace your lifters, pushrods, and rocker arms. Those are cheap parts and will prolong the life of the engine.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 8/10/2014, 9:48 pm

(I want to start this post by saying I tried like 10 times to post photos, but for some reason the uploader isn't working so I'll have to post them at a later point.)

Alright, so after a month of nothing happening moves were made this weekend. After getting the questionable tire patched and a tube put in it, we decided to mount the full set yesterday. As a refresher they're 32/11.5/15 BFG Mud Terrain T/A KMs. Before I could get them on though, I did a little re-positioning of the rear flares, which also involved trimming a little more sheet metal from the rear of the wheel wells. Now there's no more annoying metal back there sticking out like a sore thumb, and they're a bit higher providing a little more clearance.

On a negative note, I think we tracked down my occasional front end clink in the form of worn-out passenger ball joints. I could see the knuckle moving up and down on the joints, and when we did the same movement on the driver side there was zero play at all. That'll be addressed soon because already worn out ball joints + bigger tires = bad situation waiting to happen.

The tires are mounted on factory 15x8s with 5.5" backspacing, so rubbing was going to be an issue. I did buy a set of 1.5" wheel spacers from Shaun, but after getting them mounted it was apparent that with the TJ flares and the trimming I've done that they'd stuff perfectly in the fenders. So we decided to do the washers-on-the-steering-stop trick to alleviate the problem. We played it safe and went with three washers on each side, though two may have worked but it was big time close.

Initial impressions: these fockers are loud as hell. I was expecting some noise, but I've never run mud tires first-hand so it was a bit of a surprise. I'm running them right now at 30 psi, but that may go up a few more depending on how things go. In total honesty they're in terrible shape as far as tread-wear goes, in facts these are some of the worst tires I've ever seen. Two of the tires were around 37 psi when I mounted them -- and they had all been sitting for awhile -- which means the PO was probably running them close to 40, explaining the absolutely awful wear patterns (they'd barely be touching the ground at that level). All that being said, they ride shockingly well. There's no front end vibrations, they track nice and straight, and frankly I think they're far less jarring on bumps than the 31" Grabber AT2s that I took off (and swapped onto the XJ).

Not sure what's next for the YJ, but I can't wait to see these puppies in action on some trails. I'm betting they'll go like hell.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Andrew Miller on 8/10/2014, 10:26 pm

Sounds like some good progress, next mod will be ear plugs right?

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 8/11/2014, 6:17 pm

Update with photos!







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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Andrew Miller on 8/11/2014, 10:29 pm

Dude! Your YJ looks so badass, the canyons give it a nice look. Maybe because they already work with the TJ flares you have on there.

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 8/12/2014, 9:34 am

Andrew Miller wrote:Dude! Your YJ looks so badass, the canyons give it a nice look. Maybe because they already work with the TJ flares you have on there.

Thanks dude, it's really starting to come together now. It's now time to decide what the next major mod is going to be. I've considered bumping up to 2.5" springs with the .75" shackles, but with the fender trimming I did the 2" all-around setup should be fine until these tires call it quits. Plus I like the whole low and slow concept, so if I was going to bump up the suspension height it would only be to accommodate some larger meats, which I won't need for a few years now. I would like to put a SYE and custom shaft on it, but I'd hate to do it then bump up the suspension height and have to buy a whole new driveshaft again. Might be time for a front locker and/or a winch, then those 32s should take me just about any place I need to go.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Tonellin on 8/12/2014, 9:50 am

Looks real good on the new rubber

I've always liked the look of moabs on XJ's, such a good looking wheel I kinda wish I never got rid of mine

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 8/13/2014, 12:58 pm

Looking good.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 10/14/2014, 12:51 pm

Well this thread has been dead for awhile, but I figured I'd update it with a little bit of info. The 32s that we mounted have not come to fruition, as one of the fronts has a slow leak and the one that we patched and put a tube in has once again failed and now holds no air at all. So last night (out of necessity) we brought the old 235/75 Goodyear SR-As that I put on the thing four years ago to Sears and had them mounted to the shit steel rims that came on the Cherokee when we bought it. Side note: those tires were sold to me by Clayton when he worked at Sears well before I had any affiliation with the club. And in true fellow-Jeeper form he was pushing me to go with 31s.

The thing looks like it has a 6 inch lift with those wimpy things on there, but those tires are still in great shape and until we can figure out a plan for new and bigger meats they're here to stay. Back before I had any idea what I was doing I used to wheel those tires completely stock at like 35 psi and smash them off or rocks they had no business trying to conquer, and to their credit they didn't bat an eyelash, so with proper off-road deflation they'll handle stock-friendly runs. And with the lift, sway bar discos, TJ flares, and removed track bar it should flex and stuff like it's riding on coils. You're all doing it wrong by the way: the key to more flex isn't bigger lifts, it's smaller tires. Laughing

I told my old man it will be a nice learning experience for him wheeling the thing like I used to, but in reality it's so much different than it used to be. Puts hair on your chest trail-riding alone with inverted factory leafs, basically stock size tires at 35 psi, and no recovery points or means of recovery. Oh to be young again. Honestly though I prefer the path I took because that's how you learn the most about what your vehicle is capable of...and you'd be amazed the lines of approach you come up with. I'm a little disappointed that I won't get that same kind of learning curve with the Cherokee, but at the same time I'm not complaining that it's already lifted and ready to conquer. "Stock" just means a 4.5" lift and 31s, haha.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/10/2014, 9:53 pm

Things still remain quiet on the YJ front. Latest developments are that it has been officially "winterized" and now dawns the full doors. We're planning on having it on the trails for the club run in a few weeks, with or without the 32s on there. We may end up picking up two 32/11.5 Dunlop Mud Rovers, as their tread pattern is very close to the old school BFG Mud Terrains. Oddly enough we can get a pretty good price on them at Sam's Club up in New Hampshire. For the time being though it continues to look ridiculous with the old tires on there.

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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 11/18/2014, 4:24 pm

Well I have some good news to report: the YJ will be back on 32/11.5s for the club run this weekend. Town Fair in Woburn price matched a pair of Dunlop Mud Rovers at $174 apiece, $430 out the door for mounting them and balancing them and the two good BFG MTs. It's definitely not our preferred method to run mismatched tires on the thing, but the tread pattern on the Mud Rovers and the BFG KMs is so similar that I don't expect any issues until we get four matching tires. And honestly I was sick of hearing my father complain like a five year old that all the other kids on the block have big boy tires and he didn't. Everything is being done Thursday afternoon so there probably won't be any photos until the club run.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Mark on 11/18/2014, 4:38 pm

It will be fine that way.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 3/16/2015, 9:27 pm

Been awhile since I updated this. Big things happening on the YJ front.

In the coming weeks we'll be ordering a Ford 8.8 from East Coast Gear Supply to replace the D35 out back. The D35 has been good to me and never given me any problems, but it's recently developed a pinion seal leak and with the plans we have for this thing it just wasn't going to cut it. The plan is to keep the gearing at 4.10 and have a Spartan locker installed, keeping it locked full time. This makes the most sense for the YJ because it is now basically the designated wheeler/occasional weekend cruiser so there's really no need for fancy air lockers or anything like that. So with that said...

This past weekend we scored a good deal from a club member on some mounted 33/12.5 Goodyear Wrangler MTR/Ks. Supposedly they only have a few thousand miles on them, and they are definitely in great shape. They came mounted on some black steelies that unfortunately have some structural issues, so we're gonna end up replacing them with 15x8s with 4 inch backspacing in the near future. And to be honest the current wheels seem like they may be 15x10s (I didn't really measure them before mounting them because we know they're coming off soon) and we'd rather have them smaller than that.

So despite all the rain/snow/nastiness we took off the 32s and swapped on the 33s. (On a side note this afforded us our first chance to try out the electric impact wrench I bought my old man as a Christmas gift and it performed flawlessly.) The 32s will not be just thrown aside however, as the plan is for me to run those on the Cherokee during club runs and when I go camping, etc. The 4.5" lift on that should provide plenty of room for those (they were on it previously after all) and I'll be bump-stopping it accordingly to prevent any fender carnage.

Now I know I'm biased, but I think the thing looks like an absolute TANK now. And I've got the street queen photos to prove it:











BEAST MODE. We took it for a few rides, both around town and highway, and all things considered the power is still there. I think that speaks to how healthy the motor is. We did run into some clearance issues on the front fenders right around full lock, but that was nothing a little massaging with a hammer couldn't fix. These tires are also quiet as all get out, to the point that my old man and I could actually have a conversation on the highway without having to raise our voices.

As you can see, it could probably use a little more lift to comfortably run this size tire off road, and the thinking at this juncture is to run Old Man Emu 2.5" springs, either with or without the current .75" shackles currently on the thing, and upgrading the shocks to Skyjacker hydros. I'm also planning on chopping the front fenders and trimming the TJ flares to give a flat fender look and add even more clearance. The goal is to keep a low center of gravity with a focus on droop. We may also add Smittybilt 3" rear tube flares for more clearance as well, but will be decided after the lift goes on.

Since we'll be adding height (albeit not a tremendous amount) we'll also be adding a SYE for the 231 and a new drive shaft. We'll also be removing the rocker guards to have the totally rotted driver side rocker and floor pan replaced professionally so we won't have to worry about it moving forward.

Up first will most likely be the SYE/drive shaft install before the new axle is put in, simply so we can actually drive the thing to and from the shop where it will be installed (Steve's Jeep Country in New Hampshire). I'll be calling ECGS probably next week to get the 8.8 ordered, and hopefully we'll get things rolling from there. I'd like to have all of this done by Go Topless Day mid-May, but that is certainly a lofty goal that we may not meet, especially since significant body work is going to take place to get the rocker and floor fixed. The good news is the lift, shocks, and axle install all go hand-in-hand so one good weekend should take care of all that.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  AquilesT on 3/17/2015, 9:41 am

Looks nice! and sounds like you have a solid plan.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

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