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Chili Pepper TJ Build

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Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/20/2012, 9:48 am

Figured I'd add the story of Veda to this forum. I've been building my TJ for just over 4 years now, and it really has come a long way. Instead of making this a long drawn out description, I'll just give it to you in the 3 most discernible stages.

Stage 1: Dec 2007

To begin my story, I bought the Jeep during Christmas after searching Craigslist for months, and finally found this '99 TJ Sport (83k, winch, hard top, tow pkg.) from a guy in a local town asking $7,000. Checked it out, brought it to my mechanic, assessed, and decided it was right. We went back and forth on price, but I ended up taking it home for $6,750. It stayed stock with the exception of a new radiator, new muffler, new tires, and new wheels. When it came time for the wheel/tire combo, I decided to make it a little tougher by adding 31" BFG All Terrains and Cragar Soft-8 rims. I ran it that way for a year before the bug really bit - thank you, JeepForum.






Stage 2: January 2009

January of 2009 and the fun somewhat began. I bought a 3" BDS suspension lift, Rampage front bumper with driving lights, Uniden 520XL CB, Uniden scanner, and started really putting some money into it. I didn't get to do a ton of wheeling, but it certainly got me through the winters and allowed me the fun of winching straggling drivers out of ditches during the snow storms. Come June of 2009, I moved to Orlando for 2 years. The Jeep remained at my parents house in MA, and I took my Audi (DD) to Orlando. In the end, the gas mileage and air conditioning were better to have. I was able to meet up with a few of the huge Orlando Jeep Club members and do things like wrench, and learn to weld. When I came home for weekends here and there I would take the Jeep out and give her some love, including some gentle wheeling.











Stage 3: June 2011

When I graduated from college last June, I moved back to Boston to take a job in the city. On my drive back up the East coast, I picked up a built 8.8 from East Coast Gear Supply in Carolina, and a built HP30 from a Jeep guy in Rhode Island. Worked out well, as I avoided shipping costs and they fit in the back of the moving truck!

The work that got done this summer was extensive. I went from almost stock on 31s to decked out for 35s. I replaced the Dana 30 and Dana 35 with 3.07 gearing for an HP30 with a Detroit and Ford 8.8 with LS and 4.10 gearing (my choice- didn't want to fund 4.88 at that point). Steering was all replaced with the ZJ tie rods, new stabilizers, drag links, knuckles, wheel bearings, Alloy USA outer axle seals, inner axle seals, Chassis Saver'd the frame/components, and wired up lighting systems that I had been designing and building for months.

The last few months have included an SYE/CV kit from Adams Driveshaft, and new front Currie Johnny Joint arms to ditch my stock ones that I'd been running for too long. I built a swing-out tire carrier and steering box skid in the fall as my first solo welding projects. So far, no problems! I've also recently replaced the exhaust from front to back (front pipe, cat, muffler, and tail pipe) with Magnaflow from the header to the cat, and Banks Monster for the cat-back system.














Stage 4: In the future....


Few more things to do, be it this year or in the next few.

* Tummy tuck (completely flat to the frame rail), body lift, MML
* Tube fenders front & back
* Rear corner armor
* Rock lights
* Cage

So that's it for me. Look forward to seeing you all on the trails!

- Ryan, Reading MA

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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/20/2012, 9:49 am

Last summer the tail pipe really deteriorated, so I cut it off. Last fall while wheeling, my exhaust cracked in half and got smashed on the driveshaft, so I cut that off on the trail and threw it in the back of the TJ. For the last few months the exhaust has been comprised of the front pipe and the cat, both of which started rusting. Most recently the front pipe rusted clear off of the header and there was a huge exhaust leak. VERY annoying, and VERY loud.

So I've been gathering parts to fix it, and finally got around to it. The front pipe and catalytic converter were replaced with Magnaflow parts, and the cat-back system was replaced with the Banks Monster 2.5" cat-back, which I scored for $100 on Craigslist. Total cost in this system is about $360 for the new front section, used cat-back, the O2 sensors, and some random parts. The biggest pain was routing the tail pipe, which took re-welding the hangars, closely followed by re-bracketing the header so that the front pipe could mount.












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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/20/2012, 9:59 am

As you may have noticed, she's also got a fair amount of electrical work done to her. There are just under 600 watts of forward facing light, 110 watts of reverse light, and amber strobes installed in the rear for winter road recovery when strangers need help. In order to accomodate all of that, I built a custom switch box which is responsible for triggering a remote relay box housed in an ABS container in the engine bay. Inside that lies 6x30a relays, and a Blue Sea Systems common hot/fuse bus. This allows me to take one single lead off of the battery, and spread it to 12 different fusable lines, as well as a 12-port ground. Really made for some clean wiring, considering the amount of electrical wires going around.











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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  wayne07jk on 3/20/2012, 4:45 pm

ryan the tj has sure come a long way from when you first bought it
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/20/2012, 8:17 pm

That's some serious wiring. Very nice.
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  dongalonga on 3/26/2012, 11:25 pm

Ahhhh JeepForum the cause of and solution all of our problems!
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/28/2012, 5:12 pm

Jeesh, updating 3 build threads (JeepForum, ExploringNH, and here) is hard to stay on top of! Sorry if you're a repeat reader from any of the others.

Anyway, I've got a new power steering box in the mail. Finally bit the bullet, skipping the Durango box upgrade, and bought the PSC Steering - which has nothing to do with Poison Spyder Customs - steering box. It's not one of there extreme duty boxes that cost $700 simply because A) I don't need that and B) I don't want to spend that much money. The hope here is that along with the new control arms and new steering parts, my highway wandering issues will disappear.

SO- here's the box. Paid exactly $279 out the door from Q'tec with free shipping, and I am ordering a new pitman arm from the Crown dealer in Canton for $25 bucks which will be here shortly as well. I'll be looking for help with the install, so keep your ears open if you're up for assisting.


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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Tobit on 3/28/2012, 5:38 pm

Can't wait for you to get this installed so we can go do some scouting. bounce
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/28/2012, 6:05 pm

Nice box lol

Is there a core to send back or do you get to keep your old one? I need a box that doesn't leak...
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  CrawlingForward on 3/28/2012, 9:58 pm

angri wrote:Is there a core to send back or do you get to keep your old one? I need a box that doesn't leak...

Ha ha, leak is an understatement.

I always forget your Jeep is named Veda, btw.

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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/28/2012, 10:13 pm

CrawlingForward wrote:
angri wrote:Is there a core to send back or do you get to keep your old one? I need a box that doesn't leak...

Ha ha, leak is an understatement.

I always forget your Jeep is named Veda, btw.

Veda???
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/29/2012, 7:12 am

angri wrote:
CrawlingForward wrote:
angri wrote:Is there a core to send back or do you get to keep your old one? I need a box that doesn't leak...

Ha ha, leak is an understatement.

I always forget your Jeep is named Veda, btw.

Veda???

1) No core, they just send me a new one. It's technically a completely re-built Hummer box. I've heard nothing but great things about PSC so perhaps you should grab one!

2) Geoff was talking to me

3) Veda is the main character from the movie My Girl. It's a pretty butch name so I thought it fit the Jeep pretty well.


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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/29/2012, 8:44 am

Thanks makes sense now lol.

It's going to be a while before I can dump $300 into a sb. For now I'd like to replace it with a stock one that doesn't leak. That's the only leak I have and it sucks leaving a puddle every where I go. Any chance you'd sell your stock one?
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/29/2012, 8:47 am

angri wrote:Thanks makes sense now lol.

It's going to be a while before I can dump $300 into a sb. For now I'd like to replace it with a stock one that doesn't leak. That's the only leak I have and it sucks leaving a puddle every where I go. Any chance you'd sell your stock one?

You're more than welcome to have it, but I'm pretty sure it is the sole cause of all of my steering problems (hence the replacement of a more heavy duty box). I've got some wicked wandering problems on the highway and at speeds over 45-50mph and the box is believed to be the reason behind it.

Just so you know there are Durango steering boxes at a few local junk yards for $90, maybe that would be a good start for you. Rock Auto has TJ boxes for as little as $65 after the core is sent in.

As I said though, you're more than welcome to have mine.

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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/31/2012, 8:36 am

Thanks. I'd like to grab it after you do the swap. Let me know when you're installing the new one. I'll be happy to give you a hand with it if you'd like.
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 3/31/2012, 4:26 pm

angri wrote:Thanks. I'd like to grab it after you do the swap. Let me know when you're installing the new one. I'll be happy to give you a hand with it if you'd like.

I'll never turn down assistance! Box arrives Monday, pitman arm Tuesday. What does your schedule look like?

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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Tobit on 3/31/2012, 4:30 pm

Ryan M wrote:I'll never turn down assistance! Box arrives Monday, pitman arm Tuesday. What does your schedule look like?
Check JF as well. clown
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/31/2012, 11:12 pm

Are you planning on doing it next weekend? Saturday I'll be installing my new Tom Woods drive shaft which will take 20 minutes. After that I am free. Sunday (Easter) it looks like I'll be wheeling Smile
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  dongalonga on 3/31/2012, 11:34 pm

Never say anything will only take 20 mins affraid
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 3/31/2012, 11:37 pm

dongalonga wrote:Never say anything will only take 20 mins affraid

lol I normally don't. I took the shaft out in 15 minutes without taking the skid plate down. Going back in should be even easier...

I just can't help but feel I just screwed myself by saying that though lol
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  dongalonga on 4/1/2012, 1:40 am

Haha you know it. Well good luck either way. My heep goes in on Tuesday for the Ox install. Can't wait!
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  angri on 4/1/2012, 8:21 am

dongalonga wrote:Haha you know it. Well good luck either way. My heep goes in on Tuesday for the Ox install. Can't wait!
that's awesome. I haven't wheeled since I got my locker installed. Maybe we can test the lockers out together.
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  dongalonga on 4/1/2012, 2:13 pm

Yeah let me know. My schedule kind of sucks for meeting up for club runs. I work nights Thurs-Sat.
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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 4/2/2012, 8:47 pm

Box arrived today. Thirty pounds of amazingness stamped with a PSC logo. The pitman arm arrives via UPS tomorrow. I work Wednesday. Maybe Thursday for an install? Friday? Saturday? I've got work Saturday night 6p-2a so it'd have to be done early.





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Re: Chili Pepper TJ Build

Post  Ryan McKee on 4/8/2012, 1:18 pm

New box is in and has officially been tested against the rigors of Southern New Hampshire wheeling (ha ha ha....) Anyway, it's phenomenal to drive around town and up to about 55 on the highway. VERY responsive and light to the touch. However past 55 and it becomes a little too sensitive simply due to the gear ratio being much quicker than what I had in there with the stock box. The best part is that on the trails, I could have the front tires pinned up against a rock, turn the wheel- and the entire front end of the Jeep would shift over to wherever the wheels were pushing it. That's pretty bad ass.







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