2005 Jeep LJ "Slow Roast" build (just another LJ on 1-tons)

City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#1
(Cross-post from a couple other forums. I thought you guys here would like to see my "Scrambler substitute".)


At age 34 (I'm 40 now), I bought my first and only new vehicle ever - a 2005 LJ - as a spring/summer/fall daily-driver. I have always stored it in the winters, and driven a cheap "winter bomb" to keep the LJ out of the salt. I love the thing, and have pretty much babied it, to say the least (until more recently...read on).

Here's a stock shot of my LJ. Looking back, it looked pretty "wussy" on those stock-sized tires (not that it's huge now, but...).




A couple years ago, when the Wrangler GS-As were starting to get a little slippery (plenty of tread left, but the compound got kind of hard/slippery), I sprung for some 31" BFG KM2s and a budget boost. It's a great set-up. The handling is still great, and the tires aren't horribly loud for being a mud-terrain design.




Enter a Fall 2010 visit to Rocks and Valleys with my daughters (met up there with Crawler and his wife). One word...ADDICTED! So were my daughters. Mira was begging me to get a locker so we could do the Black Diamond trails. :grinpimp:




Current Plans/Status (updated 4/2/2012):

I want to give a H-U-G-E thanks to RockSolid Performance for all of the guidance, custom work, and great service. Thanks guys!


I installed a Currie Anti-Rock up front...




I picked up a CJ-10a Dana 70U for the rear. It's W-I-D-E (75") in stock form. The Dana 70U has a nodular iron center section, a smooth bottom (see photo below), 4.88 gears, and a Power-Lok limited-slip.



It's not a high-pinion axle, but the pinion is just below the center line of the axle, so it's not really a low-pinion, either.


Post-Anti-Rock install "playing" pic. I couldn't get any further up the rock with the open front diff. :(


I picked up 3 different sets of H2 wheels to get the 5 best for my own Jeep. Here's a shot on my friend Harry's Bridgeport mill, which he used to machine out the centers.
 
Last edited:
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#2
I want minimal lift. I'm sticking with the stock springs with 2" TeraFlex BB spacers for now. I got an AEV Highline kit to help maintain the low stance.


I also got some AEV skid plates, but will be returning the AEV Tummy Tucker in lieu of a Full-Traction Long-Arm kit (including a tummy tucker skid). I'm keeping the AEV 4.0L oil pan skid. The only problem...it came in gloss black. I scuffed it up and painted it with Eastwood Satin Extreme Chassis Black.


Here's the narrowed (to 65") Dana 70U. Big thanks to Chop at Sinister FabWorks/Unlimited Offroad Centers in Fenton, Michigan.


We pulled the OEM Dana 44, and have since removed all bracketry in preparation for installing XJ perches/shock mounts, and a T&T Customs truss. We're installing both Dana 30/Dana44 axles in my 11-year-old daughter's '93 XJ 2-door project (build thread HERE).


Here's how it looks in its current state, with my daughter giving her best "used car salesman" pose in the driver seat. :laughing: No heckling about the cinder blocks; I bought a couple sets of 6-ton jack stands since the photo was taken. :flipoff2:


RockSolid Performance (right here in Cedar Springs, Michigan...near Grand Rapids) built up the Currie Iron Jock III front axle (66" wide). I bought just the housing/knuckles/bearings/brakes initially, as I had to financially do it in stages. RockSolid stuffed it with 4.88 gears, a Yukon Grizzly locker, 35-spline shafts, and Warn lock-outs.




I hope to have it driving again in 2012 (summer would be excellent), but we'll see how things go. Spending time with my daughters, and working on my oldest daughter's XJ are huge priorities for me (along with a full-time job that gets in the way of my Jeep work :rotfl:).

Craig
 
Last edited:
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#3
Here's my combined birthday & Christmas gifts to myself...for the next 2-3 years. :) Full-Traction long-arm suspension kit. Packaging was a bit shoddy, but Full Traction is sending me touch-up paint for a considerable amount of powdercoat damage during shipping.

One apparent downside to the Full traction skid (vs. the AEV Tummy Tucker I returned) is that it looks like the Full Traction skid doesn't gain any real clearance over the stock LJ skid plate. Trade-offs...





Because of my HUGE satisfaction with my Blair Rotabroach & Spot Weld Remover kits, and because my LJ needs some holes drilled in the frame to install the Full-Traction long arm kit, I picked up this "Large Diameter Hole Cutter Kit". I cannot speak highly enough of these Blair tools. They are far superior to any hole saw or drill bits I have used before, and they're made right here in Michigan! Highly recommended tools...once you use 'em, you'll wonder why you didn't buy them years before.




Craig
 
Last edited:
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#5
Disassembly begins for the Full Traction long-arm install. Drive shafts, track bar, front control arms & auto trans skid are all pulled, and the Jeep is up on jack stands. Install to begin this weekend. Woot!

Craig

 

skiptown

CJ-8 Member
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Madison
State
WI
#6
I was pretty happy with my LT till now LOL Looking forward to seeing the finished product
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#8
Craig, is there any advantage to the new hood (aside from looks)???
Absolutely, Thoma. Notice where the lower edge of the hood lines up with the body. The stock hood lines up with the body seam that's about 3" lower. The hood gives you 3" additional tire clearance with no additional lift. It's pretty slick...you can fit 33s on a stock-height TJ with this set-up.

Craig
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#9
Note that it requires the rest of the AEV hi-line kit, it's not a stand-alone deal, and it's not inexpensive. I looked very hard at it a while back but decided not to take the plunge given that I was going to have to have it painted to factory-quality for my Jeep and that got into too much $$$ for me at the time.

I love the factory look when it's all said and done correctly though, most folks wouldn't be able to pick out what had been done to fit the large tires unless it was sitting next to a stocker. Very cool sleeper look :D
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#10
Note that it requires the rest of the AEV hi-line kit, it's not a stand-alone deal, and it's not inexpensive.
Yes, I should have mentioned the fenders. The kit also comes with the front & rear fenders flares. A lot of companies make compatible tube fenders, but I like the stock-ish look with the AEV fenders quite a bit.


I love the factory look when it's all said and done correctly though, most folks wouldn't be able to pick out what had been done to fit the large tires unless it was sitting next to a stocker. Very cool sleeper look :D
Exactly! :cool:
 

Bad Karma

Captain Sarcasm
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Garden Hill, Ontario, Cana
State
da
#11
I love the look of the AEV hiline kit... the hood is awesome too. sweet looking and functional (heat reduction)
I wish they made something like that for CJs. I'm not a fan of tube or flat fenders on later CJs..
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#12
This is probably pretty similar to the stance mine with have. Mine my be slightly lower, and 1-2" wider axle width, but it'll give you an idea. The one below also has 37" tires.

Craig

 

red mistress

Red Jeep Collector
City
Piney woods
State
tx
#15
Tummy Tuck

I think the H2 wheels & 37" KM2's will look great on Silver LJ.

I'm glad my LJ will be here next week, too much drooling over this thread.
Can't think of a better DD than a LJ.
Thinking of lifting my LJ and/or Hiline.


Got a Q:

Does the full traction bring the transfer case up close to floor like AEV's ?

Love AEV's dogleg long arms, but have read that tummy tuck makes floor hot from moving exhaust and engine closer.
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#16
I think the H2 wheels & 37" KM2's will look great on Silver LJ.
Thanks. I think so, too. :cheers:


I'm glad my LJ will be here next week, too much drooling over this thread.
Can't think of a better DD than a LJ.
Thinking of lifting my LJ and/or Hiline.
Congrats! I love mine.


Got a Q:

Does the full traction bring the transfer case up close to floor like AEV's ?

Love AEV's dogleg long arms, but have read that tummy tuck makes floor hot from moving exhaust and engine closer.
I haven't measured yet, but will say that the Full-Traction skid doesn't look to tuck things up as high as the AEV skid. I did have a good conversation with Steve (owner of Full-Traction) just yesterday, and he said they used to offer a shallow & deep skid option, but now only offer the deeper option, as the shallower one brought about some challenges with driveline angles, drivetrain variability, etc.

Craig
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#17
First of all, I had a very good discussion with Steve, the owner of Full-Traction, last week about some of my customer service experience. Steve offered some good feedback, and I think there were just some miscommunications along the way that previously left a bad taste in my mouth. Having talked with Steve, I feel much better about things, and am excited to get my LJ rolling on the Full-Traction long-arm set-up.

So I got started on the install this weekend (it'll be in-process for a few weeks, I suspect). My buddy Jesse came over yesterday and we visited RockSolid Performance for a bit (he hadn't been to the shop before), then got to work on the LJ. I'm 99% certain that Spudy was a bit frustrated with the slow pace, but in all fairness, I warned him that's how I work before he ever came out. :D

We got the transmission/t-case supported, and dropped the factory tranny skid. The bolts came out like butter...love it! I also cringed slightly, then cut off the factory exhaust up by the 4.0L oil pan (required for the long-arm install).

These are the side brackets that also have the front/rear lower control arm mounts. and rear UCA mounts. I'm going to test fit everything before drilling the holes in the side of the frame to further support these brackets.


Here are the fuel/brake line relocators, which changes them from a vertical mounting to horizontal one above the side brackets. The fuel line will just need some very minor tweaking so that it doesn't rub the underside of the tub.


Here's another shot of the fuel/brake line relocators (changes them from a vertical mounting to horizontal above the side brackets), and rear UCA/LCA mounts.


Jesse also helped me lift the Currie Dana 60 out of my military trailer, and on to a creeper to get it positioned underneath. It's a heavy SOB!!! Of course it didn't help that my trailer is pretty high off the ground, too. Here's the Currie Iron Jock positioned under the LJ. I'll be talking to RockSolid Performance about steering soon, too. After a brief discussion with them already, I'll likely go wtih 7075 aluminum tie rod & drag link. I suspect that we'll also use a custom-built RockSolid High-Steer Arm (passenger side only), as well. They told me to hold off until everything is mounted under the Jeep to decide on the final set-up. I also plan on having them build me an adjustable track bar.


If you had told me 6 1/2 years ago that I'd be cutting bracketry off my LJ frame, I would have insisted (emphatically) that you were insane. Today, I did just that, and got one of the lower OEM control arm brackets removed, and the outside of the frame ground/sanded. Pretty!


Here's how it looks as of this evening. It's coming along slowly. The Full-Traction install instructions estimate 12-15 hours for the install of the long-arm kit. I'll probably have that just in cutting/grinding/sanding off the OEM frame brackets (they'll look like they were never there, though!). :D
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#18
Well, I took advantage of the warmer weather today and took an impromptu vacation day. It was a long day (10 hours on & off) of cutting, grinding & sanding. It sounds like a lot, but I'm very careful/detailed with the grinding & sanding - it's the only way to do it, in my book. The rears are all done, and just need to be primed & painted. The driver front UCA/LCAs are gone, but didn't get to the passenger front yet. Making progress...

LCA & UCA carnage.



Rear LCA & UCA brackets are removed...like they were never there!


 

red mistress

Red Jeep Collector
City
Piney woods
State
tx
#19
Surgeon

I see the tools of a good surgeon...Milwaukee Electric.

Operation looks clean !


Curious to see how U handle what all is modified with the belly pan swap.

U got link to good write-ups ?
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#20
I see the tools of a good surgeon...Milwaukee Electric.

Operation looks clean !
Thanks! Yes, over the years, I have been very happy with the Milwaukee tools. I have 3 grinders, a Sawzall, a sander, a large abrasive chop saw, and a drill. I'm a bit "manual" with my work (e.g. - no plasma cutter), but they serve me very well.


Curious to see how U handle what all is modified with the belly pan swap.

U got link to good write-ups ?
The belly pan swap on the Full-Traction kit is very basic/straightforward. It's not a true "belly up" set-up like some of the manufacturers. The biggest rework with the Full-Traction kit comes with a new exhaust set-up (from the oil pan all the way back), and removal of all of these brackets I have been working on. Other than the install instructions, THIS is the best write-up I found.


Craig
 
Top