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91 Colorado Red SWB, as base as you can get

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Need to address bump stops in the rear.   Seems the longest easily available bolt ins are only about 4” tall.    This just isn’t enough to compensate for the SOA rear.

So, I welded a piece of 2x3” .120 wall tube to the top of the spring plates.   This should put the “top of the axle” back approximately where it was before relocating the axle.  And worst case provides a platform for additional bump stop extensions.



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RuffStuff shock mounts going on.   Factory location is just inside the springs (on the spring plate), but I didn’t like where that landed with respect to the brake lines, so I grabbed a bit of leftover 2x3 tube and spaced the shock shaft 3” in from the springs.  Puts a slight amount of pressure on the upper bushings but not too bad.


Shocks are a “modified” Billstien 5100 from a TJ, with a 4” lift.   Modified in that the TJ uses a bar pin on the upper so that had to be pressed out and a new bushing installed.  

Set it up so that the shock bottom out at full droop.    shocks have about 10” of travel and the axle should hit the bump stop at about 7.5” 















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And with all of that, it’s mobile again.  Of course just in time for snow.... so the alignment and test drive will have to wait a few days for Denver to thaw out some.

i think I did end up with a slight rake to the front end.  Yeah, I know the photo looks like a Carolina squat... no it doesn’t look like that in person.  4.5” lift in front, SOA 8.8 in the rear.  285/75-16 on TJ Moabs.



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Got it into the alignment shop Friday.   Was basically thinking told “custom suspension is too complicated for us” so ended up with a toe and go.   All told the numbers weren’t as bad as I’d expected.    Will have to get it into a custom shop in a couple weeks to finish dialing it in.



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Couple “as it sits” photos ow that it’s out of the shop and driving around.  Now with the 4.5” lift up front and SOA rear. Now has power steering and a 95 brake master/booster and ZJ proportioning valve.


I do think the 8.8 looks a little narrow under the back end.  Probably exacerbated by the wide flares.   May need to think about running some wheel adapters.






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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

So, did a bit more today.   Having a problem where it’d soaked the air filter with oil.   Replaced the PCV with a new elbow with the orifice; what was there was wide open.    

fired it up, and ran it for a bit at 2000 rpm to warm it up for a compression test.    Shut it down at operating temperature.


had a big puddle of oil under the vehicle... seems it puked a half quart out of the dipstick tube.  :(


ran the compression test... 80/115/120/120.... low compression in cyl 1.    Hrm...


hooked up shop air to the compression tester adapter.  Rotated to a point where both valves are closed.   Can hear/feel air escaping from the oil fill on the valve cover.   


put the straight elbow back.   I guess if I end up with a pool of oil in the air box at least I can monitor how much.

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  • 3 months later...

Bit more work past couple weeks towards the 4wd conversion.   

pulled out the 2wd AX5, stuffed in one from a 4wd TJ.  Swapped the clutch master cylinder and slave to match the new trans (external slave).


slight issue with the clocking of the transfer case.. it’s too high and contacts the floor.  Ended up re-drilling the transmission flange to clock the tcase down a bit.


swapped the slip yoke from the trans for one which matched the tcase; and then had the rear driveshaft shortened by Denver Driveline.


at this point I think I’m just a front driveshaft away from being 4x4.   I have a ZJ shaft that I’ll have shortened for that duty this week.














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  • 2 weeks later...

Milestone today, it’s officially a 4x4.  Had Frontrange Driveline shorten the rear driveshaft, found out the front driveshaft from a 1979 J10 is a fit and rebuilt that.    

Azzie shift linkage for the transfer case, though that took a bit of fanagling.   More or less put every piece of the linkage on backwards of how it goes for a 4.0L and it does fit/work on the 2.5L with the AX5. Photos of how it finished out and how it looks if you try to assemble per instructions.


It’s now winter ready; or ready for its first 4x4 trip.







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