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I've been sitting on this project for a while.  I needed to have a house of my own before I got rolling and the parts accumulation is going to take a long time.

 

But I started turning wrenches on it today so I'm going to start the build thread.

 

This is the starting point:   1987 low option 4.0/5 speed 2wd that has been damaged in the rear a couple of times.

 

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The plan for it is simple.  I'm going to make it into a trail beast that will do duty on some of the harder trails out there.  Minimum 40" tires with lift and fender clearance to match.

 

Right now, it has a Renix 4.0.  It has been sitting for several years so I'm doing a bunch of preventative work before I fire it up for the first time in a long time.  It has fresh oil and filter, coolant topped off, new air filter.  The state of the gas tank was unknown so I dropped it to make sure it wasn't running on varnish.  Turns out the fuel was still halfway decent so I'll be putting the fuel system back together with a new sender in about a week.

 

I'm going to get the engine running first to see if its worth saving.  Long term plans haven't fully set yet.  I may keep the 4.0 that's in it (or a remanufactured one).  I may upgrade to a 4.6 stroker.  I may do an LS swap.  I've entertained the idea of doing something like a 5.0 from an Explorer or F150 just to be different.  We will see.

 

Regardless, it will get an automatic transmission..  Either an AW4 for a 4.0/4.6, or a 4L80E for the LS, or the automatic that comes with the 5.0.  For rock crawling, I've done stick shift enough.  I'm going with a slush box this time.

 

The transfer case is still open.  It will probably end up being an Atlas 2 speed with 4.3 or 5.0 low range.  I'm entertaining the idea of going with an ORD Monster Box with a Ford NP205.  I have some of the parts for that already left over from a previously abandoned project.  Again, the monster box/205 would be something different.  It would give me 1:1/1.96/2.72/5.33 low ranges to pick from  And it would be triple sticked, making for good conversation.

 

I'm doing a fair bit of lift for the tires I want (which may be one of several, all 40"+).  I will be doing a custom long arm in the front.  I have frame brackets from StinkyFab Racing.  They're ready to go in.  I'll make my own links to go with the axle that's being swapped.  I'm also going to do coil overs but I haven't picked out what I want yet.  In the rear, I'm still not 100% settled on what I'm doing there.  I like the idea of doing a triangulated 4 link.  Better articulation, etc. etc.  But I may stick with just a spring over conversion with maybe a little lift on top of it.  That would keep costs down and let me finish sooner.  I may end up doing SOA first and then go back and put in the 4 link later.

 

The front axle is a 2002 Ford F350 Super 60.  Sure, people like the 05+ for good reason.  But I chose the 99-04.  I got a decent deal on it and it's narrower.  On an MJ, it will just look a little better.  I have the Artec truss and high steer brackets all ready to go for the swap.  I'm going to convert it to 35 spline outers, throw some 5.38's in and an ARB air locker, and do a high steer along with a hydraulic assist.  The rear is a Dana 8 out of a 2000 Ford F350 chassis & cab truck.  It's just under an inch wider than the front axle so it will look right sitting under there.  It's going to get 5.38's and an ARB locker as well.  It's a 35 spline and will probably stay that way.  It also has the same 8 on 170mm bolt pattern as the front so one set of wheels works across the board.

 

I'm still probably going to have to cut up some sheet metal to make room for the tires, even with the lift I'm doing.  The front fenders will stay intact and be removed.  I found some cut up XJ fenders that I'm going to bolt on and probably cut some more.  The rear bed, which you can't see well in the pictures, is shot.  It's been hit.  Several times.  It has thick bondo on it and it's been damaged since.  It's not going to make it.  But it will be perfect for a trail rig.  I will be putting the rear plastic fenders for sale once they come off as they are still in good shape.  And then the sheet metal will get cut.

 

I'm planning an exo cage that will integrate fenders that (mostly) cover the tires once they're on.  It will also stiffen up the chassis and provide some protection, as well as mounting points for things like gas cans and other accessories.  I'm not an LED light bar kind of guy but I will be doing some lights of some kind as well.

 

It's probably going to get another coat of paint, perhaps after being blasted.  I think I've settled on Allis Chalmers Orange, as my grandfather was an Allis Chalmers dealer for decades.

 

It's going to be a great truck, but I work for a living and all of the parts and tools I need will take time to acquire.  Probably a couple of years.  So that's why this is "Project Slow Cooker".

 

 

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What started the wrenching was someone looking for a 3.07 geared MJ axle.  I figured I would end up scrapping it because it's a Dana 35 with 3.07s and an open diff.  But he wanted a quick bolt in axle for cheap.  So I pulled it and sold it to him.

 

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  • derf changed the title to Project Slow Cooker

sweetness. kinda headed my direction. be sure to play with the wheelbase measurements a bit. i pushed my front end forward 2 inchs. and when do the rear should be close to stock but depending o  suspension setup i may opt to move forward some to keep driveshafts same length.  but monster axles with monster tires. i like it. keep us posted on the progress. :popcorn:

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So the 80 is in a different location right now but preliminary measurements say a cab & chassis axle has springs perches right where the MJ springs land.  So it will bolt up for a rear SOA with basically no modifications other than shock mounts.

 

So I got that going for me, which is nice.

 

I will probably play with the front axle position a little to maybe alter wheelbase and improve approach angle.

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No real progress.  I just wanted to take a picture.

 

I'm going to get started with Cruiser's tips to get this Renix 4.0 back to life.  I haven't tried to start it yet but I want to head off the obvious problems first.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got some done today while it sits waiting for an axle.

 

I've been rebuilding the tail light connector at the chassis.  The DSPO (dip "stick" previous owner had hacked it up badly.  Wire nuts were involved.  But I also wanted to add full 7 pin trailer plug support.  The chassis plug has 7 pins with 2 unused.  It's standard metri-pack so I was able to set it up with all 7 wires.  I'm not 100% done but the tail harness works now.

 

The back up switch in the trans is bad but the wires work so that's just a new switch for $18 from Rock Auto.

 

But we got the fuel tank back in and a few gallons thrown it.  After a little weirdness with the starter it cranked for a bit and caught fire 

 

It has a little trouble keeping constant idle but it runs smoothly.  There is a little bit of a fuel leak but it's obvious where it is coming from and I need to replace the rubber anyway.

 

But ot starts. It runs.  It leaks.  It's a Jeep.

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Not major progress but I did button up enough for it to move under it's own power.  I shuffled it to the back to make room for the work I need to do on the XJ.  That will go for a couple months and then I can get back to this project.

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  • 2 months later...

Got the first round of replacement dash gauge layout taken care of.  I'm going to fabricate a flat steel or aluminum sheet metal replacement for the plastic dash piece, including the lights  on the left.

 

I've been measuring and measuring.  I got a basic template sized up.  And I'm using poster board for the first template or two.

 

Obviously, I'm going to move a few things a little for round 2.  But it pretty much all fits.

 

Gauges, beyond the obvious speedometer are, left to right, top row:  Air pressure (on board air), Tachometer, Water Temp, Fuel level (all Autometer Z-series).  Bottom row (all Autometer Autogage):  Temp (oil), Oil Pressure, Temp (Transmission), Voltmeter.

PXL_20210418_025715796.jpg

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I'm working on that.  I'm going to have to run some extra wires.

 

I'm probably going to cut the factory harness and put different plugs on so it's a quick disconnect.

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i was thinking of just cutting and splicing myself but that appears more difficult. i have managed bolts and temp as seems direct standalone, just not sure how to really go about replace the whole cluster. evenmore so now that i manage to cut out the wire to give me lights. :doh:

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Round 2 with a sheet of ABS plastic.  The lights fit a little better but there's still a hair of adjustment I want to make on the gauge positions.

PXL_20210424_183609145.jpg

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