Budget Iceland Offroad ZJ build

AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#61
And back out. :censored::censored::cry::cry:
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The engine ran great for about a 45 minutes or an hour while we were trying to set the fuel sync and then doing a little initial driving around for break-in, and to shake out the bugs (two vacuum lines too short, dealing with some pulley issues, etc.). It sat for a day as I went wheeling in the Scrambler, and then I got back to it on Sunday night. After maybe 20 more minutes of running, it went to 0 psi. The next morning I got a new sensor, put 20 minutes later it was back to 0 psi. Warrantied that one, and 20 minutes later, had zero psi. The machine shop had me install a mechanical gauge to verify what I was seeing, and although it didn't actually drop to zero, it was close. We also started hearing a very light knock, but it was completely inconsistent, and wasn't coming from a rod (verified by pulling plug wires). They asked me to do an oil change and go from 5W-30 to 10W-40, and that essentially didn't make a difference; it still idled at 4 psi when hot, and I couldn't get it over maybe 25 psi even when at 4000 RPM. They took apart the old filter and found babbit material, and then asked me to bring in the "new" filter that I'd just put on. They also asked me to go home and grab the balancer to see if I could move the crank back and forth by hand (I could, maybe 1/32"). At that point, with roughly 3 or maybe 4 hours of run-time, they told me to bring the engine back in. It turns out the main bearings immediately failed and took out the thrust bearing--thus creating the erratic knock as the crank shifted laterally.
 
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AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#62
And back in!
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We caught it in time so as not to damage any hard parts, and the shop essentially believes that Clevite just put out a bad set of main bearings. Everything else still looked brand new (cam bearings, rod bearings). Since it didn't need any further machining, I dropped it off on a Monday afternoon and they had the thing turned around and back to me by that Friday, this time using Sealed Power bearings. I put roughly 8 hours of drive-time on it with the mechanical gauge, then went back to the sensor, detailed the interior, handed it back over to my wife.
 
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AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#66
Engine had issues again in January, that led to the heads coming off and going back to the machine shop for steel valve guides. Hughes, who insisted that bronze valve guides would be fine in Alaska, was wrong, and our temperature extremes killed them (or maybe they were just cruddy valve guides). Either way, it was down for WEEKS again. Engine seems to be running great, so for the last two weeks I’ve been itching to get started on the long-arm system. Today the stars aligned for the first stage: stiffeners.

I’ve planned on doing this in three parts: 1) stiffeners, 2) crossmember, 3) rear-axle truss and springs. The rear end has felt a little wobbly lately which I attributed to a worn track-bar, and the front has been squeaking which didn’t bother me since it’s all about to get changed anyway.

I got to my buddy’s shop (I wanted a better welder than my flux-core 110) at 9:30, and quickly discovered the upper right rear control arm liberated itself from the subframe (better picture coming):
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Welp, instead of just doing the stiffeners, I guess I’m doing the whole thing now.

Prep-pics:
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Stiffeners are all tacked in, but that was an all-day 12-hour affair to massage them and get everything lined up correctly. I’m hoping tomorrow to have the crossmember installed/painted. I’ll probably take Monday off to get the rear axle done and the springs installed.
 

AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#69
Today’s progress: all the pieces sand blasted, primed, painted. Rear axle removed and prepped for welding the truss. Also worked on the cracked area by removing the spot-welds for the upper mount and tracing the cracks. The hole will get the one piece of sheetmetal welded back in, and the entire area from the former spot-welds to up beyond the damage will get plated.

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AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#71
I had to put in a few hours at my real job on Tuesday, and then go back to work yesterday and today. Progress from Monday:

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Crossmember/skid painted, prepped for welding, and laid out. All control arm ends reassembled with liberal anti-seize.

10B7A285-D3A5-4564-B5CA-FA63FB841612.jpeg Stiffeners in process of being fully welded.

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Crack area patched and plated.

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3M underbody coating and more weldable primer.


Tuesday, I initially assembled the crossmember piece-by-piece in place on the ZJ, holding it up with the 5 factory bolt holes for the OEM crossmember and skidplate. That allowed me to locate where it needed to sit to drill the holes for the rivnuts. The way this is designed, I think most of those rivnut holes already had locations in the subframe, but with the stiffeners, we either welded most of those holes up or simply covered them with 10 gauge, so I had to drill a LOT of 17/32" holes. In retrospect, I wish I'd just drilled 1/2" holes and pounded the rivnuts up. Either way it ended up working out well enough. After the holes were drilled, the crossmember came back off to install the rivnuts. This time, I took it out all at once.
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3/8” rivnuts.

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I realized with it out, it's intentionally designed (I think?) with some 1/32" gaps for the pieces that drop out, so you shouldn't find yourself in a bind with the drop-out portions completely pinched into place. Here, I've got the four outer pieces (that get welded) tightly bolted together, and all the internal bolts/nuts just a hair loose.

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And up! I tightened all the outer subframe bolts first after confirming that the transmission mount was aligned happily, then went through and tightened all the internal bolts. Maintenance won't be fun, but it'll at least be possible. I tried to stick a front lower control arm on, but realized that the lower OEM bracket had to come off, so I called it and went home around midnight.
 
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AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#72
Wednesday was control arm day. I had to finish cutting out the front lower control arm mounts for clearance, as well as removing move of the header-pipe. I was hoping to just do a "light" modification to it for clearance, but I didn't see a realistic way to accomplish what Ironman4x4fab suggested was needed to retain it.
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The fronts are a HUGE PIA to get in/out. The lower has to go in first on the crossmember end, then you insert the upper into the locating bracket, and the locating bracket goes up into the crossmember.


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These last two above you can see all the nuts for the front upper locating bracket. I really wish these nuts were simply welded to the crossmember. In retrospect, I would have done this before painting had I known. Since the bolts are all counter-sunk, there's no reason for these nuts to have any level of movement anyway. Andy sent the nuts that have the little grippy edges, so they do bite down most of the time without needing to use a wrench on the back.

There isn't a what I would call a lot of room back inside here, but there's enough to easily reach each nut/bolt with your fingers. And once it's all together, it definitely makes sense. There was a lot of thought that went into this system, and even with the couple of things that I'd have done differently, it impressed me each step of the way.

The exhaust MUST end up being designed so that it's sectional. I don't think it will be possible to remove the crossmember drop-outs with the exhaust in place. The right side will end up being VERY tight when a pipe/cat/muffler/flanges/etc. is all done.


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Limiting straps and longer brake-lines will be a must-have item.
 

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AK-RWC

Legacy Registered User
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City
south central
State
AK
#73
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As I lowered the lift down for the night (in case there's an earthquake or something) and cycled the rear suspension without springs, the upper control arms made contact with the body before the bump stops or the truss. So, these will need to come down at least one or maybe two slots.


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370DAF50-E91D-4221-8F57-2DDB5D1FE646.jpeg Parting shot, until Saturday comes.


So, things to finish: install front springs/shocks, buy and install longer front brake lines (I'm looking at the early '90s GM lines), buy and install a longer rear brake line (Dorman makes one that's 4" over stock, and I don't think the shocks have that much more down travel with the 3.5" lift, so it should be OK), install rear springs/shocks, install f/r limiting straps, bleed brakes, install rear diff skidplate, paint welds, touch-up the undercoating where the lift hit it while it wasn't fully cured.
 
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AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#74
Futzed with the upper rear control arm slots today to figure out how high I could get them and still have clearance with the body. Installed the springs and shocks at all four corners, cut off (most) of the OEM rear upper control arm bracket from the axle, welded on a bolt to retain the brake line block, welded tabs on to retain the rear diff skid, put some weight on the axles to tighten all the control arms, reinstalled the rear driveshaft, bled the brakes, put on tires, touched up the new undercoating where the lift rubbed it off (before completely curing), and finally rolled it out.

As expected, it looks . . . exactly the same.
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I’ll drag it to an exhaust shop on Monday, and (hopefully) drive it out to the guy I trust to do a full alignment who is in Wasilla whenever the exhaust shop is done.

Today was another nearly 12 hour day by the time I was cleaned up and the other project (that vacated the lift for a week so I could use it) was back in place. I’m ready to go back to my desk job for a while.
 

tower210

Scrambler Junkie
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
Olathe
State
KS
#75
Man, can't tell from the finished stance what a beefy machine that is now!!

Is it a 242 Transfer case?
 

AK-RWC

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City
south central
State
AK
#77
Man, can't tell from the finished stance what a beefy machine that is now!!

Is it a 242 Transfer case?
231HD. I put a 6-pinion planetary, 1.25” chain, and 32-spline SYE in it. Look at posts 32 and 33 for pics.
 
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