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The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

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

Post  dongalonga on 3/17/2015, 10:21 pm

Big things indeed!
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Tonellin on 3/18/2015, 8:45 am

Nice! It's gonna be a completely different beast with those 33's and an 8.8 you can hammer on with little regard..can't wait to see this thing in action

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 3/18/2015, 10:20 am

Yeah we're stoked. It's slowly (but now much more rapidly) morphing into the beast I used to daydream it would become back in college. With those 33s the D35 is now more than likely a bomb waiting to blow off road, and though we could probably keep it alive simply because of the 2.5 in the thing we'd both much rather have the peace of mind. The chro-moly shafts help things for now, but once the 8.8 is in I told my old man to go crazy and have fun blowing the tranny thinking he can beat Chargers off the line at red lights. (He doesn't quite baby the thing on the street like I used to.)

I start a new job in about a week and a half and the company gave me a one week grace period between my last day at my current job and first day at the new company, so next week will be spent taking measurements and making calls to ECGS, Steve's Jeep Country, Tom Woods/Carolina Driveline, and the body shop to start getting things rolling. It will also be spent doing some work to the Cherokee to make it a little more commuter-friendly, as my commute is going from 9 miles round trip up to 30.

Ideally I'd like to have the body work done before the lift and what not, but that really depends on a lot of moving pieces all at once. If the axle and SYE/CV drive shaft get here in like three weeks and the body shop can't get it in between now and then obviously plans change. Either way a lot of stuff is going to happen in a short period of time. Like I said I'd like to have everything tidied up by Go Topless Day/MaBell, but I acknowledge that's a lofty goal. It may be a situation where it's "road-ready" but not "trail-ready."

Expect many updates to follow.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 3/26/2015, 9:32 pm

It's official, we just pulled the trigger on the axle from ECGS. Once it shows up it should be a nice, straightforward drop in procedure. April is a tough month for me as I've got quite a few weekend commitments, but hopefully we'll be able to find some time to get it done. The goal is still to have things ready by Go Topless Day/MaBell, but if things line up right I'd like to have the axle in by the cookout to have both Jeeps in attendance.

We also ordered the replacement wheels earlier this week, and ended up going with 15x8 Bart Wheels Super Truckers in white with 4 inch backspacing. The white on white is going to look great, and it also gives the thing that old school flare that we want. The wheels are going to take a few weeks to come in, but they should be here well before mid-May.

Up next is ordering the OME springs and Skyjacker shocks. We've gotten the go-ahead for the body work but it may have to wait until the shop can find time in its schedule, and also because (even though it was my goal to have all this done around the same time) there's just too many moving parts happening at once. We've also gotten quotes for the SYE and drive shaft install from a few places. Each requested that the axle and lift be installed before the SYE work, and it's understandable where they're coming from on that front.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 3/26/2015, 10:18 pm

Let me know if you guys need any help.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Mark on 3/27/2015, 11:38 am

Wow things are happening over there, great to hear that you are doing some upgrades.
What type of pinion yoke did you go with on the 8.8,, flange, u bolt or strap style ?
Did you get some type of locker with it ?
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 3/27/2015, 9:47 pm

dongalonga wrote:Let me know if you guys need any help.

Will do. I'll post more updates when the actual install date is determined/gets closer.

Mark wrote:Wow things are happening over there, great to hear that you are doing some upgrades.
What type of pinion yoke did you go with on the 8.8,, flange, u bolt or strap style ?
Did you get some type of locker with it ?

We ended up going with the 1310 adapter flange and a full-time Spartan locker. I've read and heard good reviews of the Spartan which is why we went that route.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/4/2015, 8:19 pm

So after 21+ hours of work over this past weekend, both the 8.8 and the 2.5" Old Man Emu lift have been installed. The 8.8 is sporting 4.10 gears, disc brakes, and a full-time Spartan Locker, and the perches were burned on at an angle to work with a SYE and accompanying CV shaft. We stuck with factory axle shafts for now but in the future may upgrade to chromoly units. We went with OME heavy duty rear springs (#CS036R) with greasable rubber bushings on all four corners to account for the hard top we run in the winter and because we plan to eventually add a winch and/or heavy duty bumper.

8.8 and rear spring install

Shockingly the D35 came out with not too much effort, which was aided by the fact that we just left the old springs, shocks, and e-brake cables attached to it. Even the brake lines going to the junction block didn't put up much of a fight and came off with what I would consider very little effort. The e-brake assembly put up a bit more of a fight but my father tackled that part so I can't say from firsthand experience exactly how difficult it was. Our impact gun was a godsend and made everything exponentially easier, and luckily it fit in 98 percent of the places we needed it to go.







The hardest parts of the 8.8/rear springs install were installing the bushings into the springs; lining up the centering pins on the springs with the spring plates on the axle; and getting it properly centered underneath the Jeep. It took a lot of u-bolt loosening/tightening and yanking on the axle, but we got it done. The 8.8 did not come with a track bar mount, and I had already cut the old one off the D35 anyway, but if we had had to re-use the factory track bar the axle would have been a good deal off-center. I did take the time to completely remove the remnants of the upper end of the rear track bar just to be sure nothing could pivot and damage any moving part. As it sits now the axle is basically dead-on perfect side-to-side and front-to-back, and both rear shackles are almost perfectly vertical with no lean to them. The u-bolts that came with the axle were extremely long so I took our 4.5" grinder with cutting wheel and made quick work of gaining us a little more ground clearance.







We did run into a few minor issues with the 8.8 install:

First, the shock tab holes are not big enough for the stock bolts to pass through. This one I'm really upset about because this is clearly an issue with the mounts that ECGS burned on the tubes. We will likely widen the holes with a drill to get the bolts to pass through, and though this isn't a huge deal it's still something that we should not be something we're dealing with considering the hefty price we paid for the thing.

Second, the pinion yoke ECGS sent us is a one-piece unit, meaning the u-joint needs to be pressed into it. I was anticipating that it would be a strap-style unit like the factory yoke, so unfortunately we were not able to get the driveshaft installed yet. This one I'm not really upset about because the one-piece unit is clearly stronger than the factory style, it just sucks that we couldn't hook things up in one shot.

Third is that the factory soft line to the junction block is too short for the amount of lift and flex we now have. This is a fairly quick fix, and amazingly NAPA actually sells a line specifically designed for lifted YJs and is 4" longer than stock. Unfortunately the joint where the soft line meets the hard line looks VERY rough so we may have this line installed for us.

Last is that the passenger side e-brake cable that we ordered did not show up with the axle, so as of right now the e-brake is not connected and is just sort of dangling from underneath the driver floor. This will be addressed as soon as that shows up.

Front spring install

Though we didn't have to remove the front axle to install the lift, this part still proved to be moderately difficult. Again all the bolts blew right off with help of the impact gun, but because the axle wasn't coming out with the springs this time it required more care to ensure it didn't shift or come crashing to the ground (not ideal). Learning from the mistakes of the previous day (we tackled the rear on Saturday and the front on Sunday), this time around we stuck the new bushings and sleeves in the freezer hoping they would shrink down a bit and push in much easier. This worked ridiculously well and pressing them in with the aid of our small vice went much smoother than the rears.



Unlike the rear, the front axle still had the track bar connected, so we decided to go ahead and attempt to take it out while we were doing everything. Much to my surprise, the bolt at the axle end came off with almost no effort. However, the bolt at the axle side is a torx head with an almost impossible to grab nut on the back side. Knowing we would get nowhere trying to get that loose, and having bigger fish to fry, we tied the axle side of the track bar through a few holes in the frame. Even before the new lift the front axle was actually pulled toward the driver side because of how short the track bar was. Now (again after some u-bolt loosening/tightening and yanking) the axle is centered side-to-side and front-to-back, and for the first time in a long time both front shackles are almost perfectly vertical.

Late Sunday night when we were torquing the front end bolts we thought all was lost when two of the new u-bolts we got from Crown, on opposite sides of the axle, might have stripped. It turned out that two of the nuts they provided were no good, and luckily the threads on the u-bolts were intact and not ruined. I wire brushed the bolts and re-used two of the old nuts and all went together as it should have.

We did run into some issues with the front spring install also:

First, and most important, is that the front soft lines are WAY too short for the amount of flex we now have. Luckily NAPA also sells 4" extended brake lines for the front as well, and those we will replace ourselves since they were recently off and the connections looks to be in good shape.

Second, our sway bar links/disconnects are now a tad bit too short. They were designed for YJs with 0-2" of lift, and we now have 3-3.25"+ after all is said and done. To me this isn't really a huge deal because they'll obviously be disconnected off-road, but it remains to be seen how this will affect on-road handling. Until we replace the bushings on the sway bar itself the links will remain a bitch to reconnect regardless of the lift size.

The last issue is that the steering wheel is now cocked almost 180 degrees. This is partly because the axle was shifted so far to the driver side because of the too-short track bar, and partly because we have a much smaller than stock wheel on there so any front end alterations make steering adjustments seem more drastic than they are. Obviously it's going to need an alignment anyway after all the work we did, so this will be addressed then anyway. A related minor issue was clearance of the passenger-side tie rod clamp with a clamp installed on the spring to prevent lateral movement. All we did was flip the tie rod clamp 180 degrees and the problem was solved.

What's left

All that remains now is to hook up the rear driveshaft, install the new brakes lines and bleed the system, install the new (and longer) Skyjacker shocks (the current Ranchos are not only too short but pretty much non-functional), have an alignment done, get the e-brake squared away, order an aftermarket rear diff cover, and perform the new gear brake-in procedure per ECGS' recommendation. It sounds like a lot (and it sort of is) but in reality the difficult parts are taken care of.

It looks like we probably will not be getting the SYE kit installed before Go Topless Day/MaBell like we had hoped. Running MaBell will depend on the driveshaft angle/how much of the shaft is sticking out of the slip yoke and whether or not we have enough time to complete the proper gear break-in procedure like ECGS recommends. We don't want to thrash on the thing and risk prematurely destroying the new gears and subsequently voiding ECGS' warranty should something unforeseen occur.

Unfortunately we ran out of light so I don't have any photos yet of the final product buttoned back up, but I will post those as soon as I have them.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 5/5/2015, 12:16 am

I have an extended rear brake line you can have for free. If it works awesome!
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/11/2015, 11:10 am

After another gruelingly long weekend of wrenching, Oreo is finally ready to rock. We threw on the new shocks, bled the brakes, hooked up the rear driveshaft, removed the hard top and re-installed the soft top (for the first time in three years), threw on the tire carrier adapter and spare, and at 10 o'clock last night she drove (and stopped) for the first time in two weeks under her own power. Unfortunately we were unable to get the old brake lines off to install the new extended ones we picked up so those will be done for us later this week.





I am ecstatic. It's been three years since I've seen the thing with the soft top on it, and even without the beefy rear end and lift I was happy just seeing it that way. I've never wheeled without a roof over my head so I can't wait for that. The initial break-in drive last night felt great. As is normal and expected the locker is clicking a bit around corners, which will just take a bit of getting used to. I will say that under hard acceleration (i.e. quickly moving through the gears) it does feel like the rear end is kicking a bit, which I'm also assuming is normal and may lessen as the locker and new gears break in a bit. With the new springs and shocks it rides very well. The steering felt a bit squirrel-y to me but my father thinks it felt fine; it needs an alignment so should help things also.

Driving down the road, especially at night with it being bright white, the thing looks PHENOMENAL. The OME lift combined with the longer shackles and the TJ flares give it the perfect stance for the 33s. The springs may settle a bit (though supposedly the OME ones don't much), and even if that's the case it will still look great. I'd say it's pretty much dead on-level front and rear, though because of my bad cutting/mounting job the rear looks like it's lower because the rear flares aren't as high up as the fronts. Easy fix eventually.

Here's a few photos that show the progression over the last five years:

Started here (circa August 2010:


To this (circa February 2011):


To this (circa May 2013):


To this (Circa May 2014):


To this (circa November 2014:


To this (circa February 2015:


To today:


So that's where things stand for now. I'm looking forward to rolling into Go Topless Day for the first time since like 2011 without a hard top on, and then hopefully tackling MaBell the next day. She's slowly turning into the beast I always hoped she'd be.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 5/11/2015, 6:06 pm

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

Post  Ryan McKee on 5/11/2015, 10:36 pm

Loooks awesome man. Really & truly.

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

Post  onlytopher on 5/12/2015, 10:57 pm

Love the time line photos. It has come a long way.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/13/2015, 9:45 am

Thanks guys. It certainly has come a long way from where it started. If only the rust spots still looked like they do in that first picture from August 2010. Only a few more things it needs before I'd say its a self-sufficient wheeler, most importantly a winch and body work. Oh, and an e-brake would be nice too. For at least a bit though I'd just like to enjoy the thing and take it on trails and to the beach and what not. I'm going to be taking full advantage of the soft top situation.

The brakes lines should be done today, and have apparently been a bear to do even for a pro so I'm kind of glad we didn't bother with those ourselves. They were in real rough shape and none of our tube wrenches would even get on them so better to leave it to someone who has definitely dealt with that before.

My father drove it to work on Monday and said that it pulled extremely well on the highway. My best guess is that this is because there's more power to the rear wheels with the Spartan always engaged, which makes me feel better about not changing the gearing from stock (yet). The real test will be on the trails this weekend though.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/27/2015, 4:50 pm

(I'm going to preface this post by warning you that if you don't have a good 5-10 minutes to read it, you should probably move on. It's a decent read, just a bit wordy.)

Had some extremely interesting experiences with the YJ these past few days. As some of you might remember my father and I were concerned at MaBell because the Jeep had a pretty decent oil leak going on. After poking around some after the run we determined it was the oil pressure sending unit, which we had experienced previously on my Cherokee. We were also having an issue with a really low idle on the trail after getting off the gas. This had been happening for awhile and I knew it was the IAC valve and had just been putting off replacing it. It finally got annoying enough that we had to do something about it.

Last Friday I decided to take care of these things, as well as give the Jeep an oil change to go with the new sender. It turns out the old sender wasn't actually leaking or bad at all, it was just not tightened at all. I literally twisted it off by hand; when I removed the dusted one from my Cherokee it was so tight I was afraid it was going to snap in the fitting. So that explained the oil leak and oil all over everything. I also decided to just replace the IAC valve instead of cleaning it simply because the one on there was original (i.e. 23 years old) and it may have been permanently fried. Turns out this was a good call because the original barely had any carbon deposits on it so it wasn't simply it being dirty causing the issue. During this time I disconnected the battery to reset the computer and have it 'learn' the new sensors.

And so we come to the oil change. The removed oil was black but no signs of anything other than oil, and no signs of anything in the filter (though I didn't cut it open). I was a bit of a dummy and bought 10w-40 instead of 10w-30 so I had to wait a bit for my old man to grab some on his way home from work. Once I had the correct oil in, I plugged the battery back in, ran the engine code check (which showed nothing), and cranked her over.

Having been taught to look underneath the vehicle and check to make sure everything is hunky-dory, and having heard a strange metallic noise after it started, I looked underneath the Jeep to see that four quarts of brand new oil had decided they did not want to be in this particular motor. I immediately shut the thing down (couldn't have been longer than four seconds of running), attempted to get the catch bucket under the Jeep, and immediately signaled for assistance.

Once reinforcements arrived, we determined that the oil filter blew off the motor and came to rest next to the left rear tire. Mother fucker. My father and I then spent the next half an hour attempting to clean the 2015 Exxon-Valdez spill so I could crawl back under the thing and put the old filter back on and make sure the threads on the filter adapter weren't cooked. After I could crawl under there without too much oil dripping on my face, I determined the threads were not cooked and the old filter went back on. Filled it with oil (again), did some heavy praying, gingerly turned the key, and was met by much better results this time. Oil pressure was up, the Jeep actually high-idled for the first time in years, and it seemed we had escaped what could have been a much worse situation.

And then that much worse situation happened. After driving the thing all weekend with no ill effects, my father decided to drive it to work Tuesday morning. Shortly after merging onto Route 3 in Burlington my father reports that smoke began pouring out of the engine bay and the oil gauge showed 0 psi (those of you who have never been in a YJ, please note that the oil gauge is above the radio basically in front of the passenger seat). So my father immediately shut the thing off and coasted into the breakdown lane where he remained until a flatbed showed up to get him. The Jeep had once again blown the oil filter off the motor, except this time the motor was hot and run at highway speeds with little to no oil in it for an unknown amount of time.

I spent my day Tuesday reflecting on all the good times the Jeep and I had together, and how tough she was, and how I knew it would be my father who ultimately killed her, and looking for a replacement motor. I was reasonable and knew there was no way that motor was ever going to run right again. That was until I received the following message at 4:43 PM, which read:

"SHE'S A TUFF BITCH A TUFF FUCKN BITCH"

Somehow the fucking thing survived unscathed. Our mechanic had removed the adapter and cleaned the threads (which he said were actually fine), so my father picked up a cheapie Fram filter on it and the two of them filled it up, and wouldn't you know it the damn thing didn't miss a beat. I told my father earlier in the day if the motor wasn't fried (which I thought impossible) I might actually have to willingly step foot into a church and accept that there really is a higher power out there, and I'm almost beginning to think there might be.

Once I digested this legitimate miracle, the brain trust of myself, my father, and our mechanic began trying to figure out what the hell caused all this bullshit in the first place. We have settled on one or more of the following causes: 1) the new filter was junk from the start; 2) the old filter should have been really cranked down because the gasket was compressed and used; 3) the pressure relief valve in the oil pump is possibly being blocked causing massive pressure build-up now that everything on the motor is tightened/on properly.

Regardless, the Jeep is still alive and should continue to be alive for the foreseeable future. I believe Tuesday's event exhausted life #8 of 9, so we're getting pretty close to the end of the line here. Moving forward the plan is going to be to replace the oil pump as well as the oil filter adapter. Hopefully that takes care of things.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  dongalonga on 5/27/2015, 11:57 pm

TJ it wouldn't be you if this stuff didn't happen. Glad it's still alive.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 5/28/2015, 9:37 am

dongalonga wrote:TJ it wouldn't be you if this stuff didn't happen. Glad it's still alive.

Right? Like I've been saying the thing just has a will to live. Hell the motor on the YJ shows better oil pressure than my Cherokee and it's six years older.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Mark on 5/28/2015, 9:48 am

It's great to hear that the engine is ok....
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 7/6/2015, 10:59 am

In preparation for this weekend's run in Warner, we've finally taken care of a few areas that have needed attention.

The first was the replacement of the passenger side hub assembly. For honestly about 1.5 to 2 years I had been hearing a clinking noise coming from that side of the Jeep. I had both front u-joints replaced early on thinking it might have been them, but it never cured the issue (the u-joints were still in shit shape so it was worth it). It could have been a number of things: track bar bushing, spring bushing, shackle bushing; I could never really nail it down since it really only showed up on corners at speed. That was until recently when we jacked the thing up and the wheel shook like a hula dancer, and that solidified things. Instead of messing with it ourselves we had a shop tackle the job. We probably could have done it ourselves but honestly just didn't have any time to make it happen.

The second order of business was getting the e-brake cables hooked up to the 8.8. We ordered the cables from ECGS when we bought the rear end, but one was backordered so we couldn't get it hooked up when we dropped the 8.8 in. We had the same shop hook them up, which was actually was best since apparently it was a bitch to do. One line was apparently too long and required some fabrication to make it work. I had seen this complaint about the ECGS cables online and hoped it had been remedied but I guess that's not the case.

Still to be done this week: have the MTRs mounted and balanced on the new white Cragar Nomads that showed up last week; drain and refill the 8.8 and install the new Riddler 8.8 cover (with a Lube Locker, you all win); add some spacers to the front bump stops to try and prevent the front fenders from being totally destroyed; possibly install the new high-flow water pump and associated hoses; and if we're feeling real ballsy mount and hook up a set of LED lights that my old man picked up.

And an update to the oil filter saga: haven't had any problems since the correct (like actually correctly threaded) filter was thrown on. Oil pressure is great at speed and at idle and the motor feels plenty strong with no strange noises of any kind. We also haven't noticed any smoke since replacing the oil pressure sending unit, so it looks like that was in fact oil dripping and hitting the exhaust and burning off. A nice bonus from the sender replacement is that the Jeep is no longer marking its territory with oil drips, something it hasn't done in quite some time. Looks like that old sender was leaking for quite some time.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  THOOPY3 on 12/7/2015, 8:22 pm

I've got some exciting news to report on the upgrades front. My father learned over the weekend that he was the November winner of 4WD Hardware's "Bucket List Adventure" promo. The prize was a complete set of front and rear MCE fenders. We were planning on addressing the various rot spots this winter and upgrading fenders at the same time, so needless to say we are freaking stoked. We were given our choice of 3" or 6" and went with the 3" variety, and MCE is being flexible with us (pun intended) and sending us YJ fronts and TJ rears to accommodate the fender trimming I did for the TJ flares. We're not sure if they're sending the Gen II or Gen III fenders, but either way it's at least $630 worth of free upgrades so we couldn't care less. From everything I've read and seen the MCE fenders are an awesome product and should be perfect for us.

It's been a bummer not being able to hit the trails with you all the last few months. Years of putting off front end work and the move to larger tires have taken their toll on the steering components and have made the YJ a driveway ornament since basically August. To get it moving again we picked up a JCR over-the-knuckle steering assembly during their Black Friday sale. Benefits all around as we'll be replacing worn and inferior parts and also gaining at least 2" of tie rod clearance in the process. There's a little bit of work involved in making the move to OTK but the benefits will be well worth the effort. At least we don't have to worry about trimming and boxing coil buckets and relocating the track bar and sway bar link mounts like you coil sprung guys.

Long story short, come Spring she should be a whole new animal. And in anticipation of Winter we threw the hard top back on this weekend. I can't explain why it's the case but the thing just looks so much meaner with the hard top and full doors than it does with the soft top.




(Not the best photo but you all get the idea.)
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Post  Kenny 1020 on 12/7/2015, 8:53 pm

Tj are you going to sell your fender if you are going to give me first shot for them let me know text me 978 996 0067
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Tonellin on 12/8/2015, 9:10 am

Congrats! I love my MCE's. Shaun just ordered a front/rear set for his LJ as well

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

Post  THOOPY3 on 12/8/2015, 9:23 am

Kenny 1020 wrote:Tj are you going to sell your fender if you are going to give me first shot for them let me know  text me 978 996 0067

Hey Kenny, I totally would except the MCE's actually require you to keep your factory fenders but trim them and install the fender/flare to them. Even if the MCE ones just replaced them I'm not sure you'd want them anyway, there's some pretty decent rust eating through them...

Tonnelin wrote:Congrats! I love my MCE's. Shaun just ordered a front/rear set for his LJ as well

I didn't realize your fenders were MCE until your comments and photos of your Jeep started popping up all over the JeepForum pages I was visiting, haha. I've always liked the look of them on your LJ so I'm even more certain they're going to look and perform great on ours.
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Re: The Oreo (T.J.'s YJ)

Post  Tonellin on 12/8/2015, 9:52 am

I think you'll really like them. I'm interested to see how the rears look in person I've never seen a set. Maybe it will convince me to shake the money tree and pick up a set of rears haha

Plus you don't have to worry about damaging your tub/grille like rob did with his MC's! Laughing

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

Post  Andrew Miller on 12/9/2015, 1:20 am

That YJ will look killer with those MCE's!

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

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