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Building the RockyMountainExtreme.com Jeep Wrangler

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
I've been gathering parts for my next project, the official RockyMountainExtreme.com Jeep TJ. I'm going to use the Jeep to help promote the site. I recently picked up the base for this project, a 4 cyl 1997 Jeep Wrangler. I have some pretty big plans for it, basically I'm going to build a hardcore TJ. I want something that's more than capable to run the local CO trails, in addition to the trails in Moab.

After wheelin' a Toyota with a 4 Cylinder engine & a manual transmission, I think it's time for a change. I'm going for a V8 and an automatic transmission... more power and the convenience of an auto on the rocks will make the TJ a blast to drive. A linked suspension and coils should ride well & provide plenty of flex. A set of 1 ton axles built for 40" tires should provide enough strenght and clearance for the big Colorado rocks. I'm going to stretch the wheelbase by moving the rear axle back & the front axle forward... :cool: Here's a build outline-


Drivetrain-

  • 2003 Chevy 5.3l V8.
  • TH350 transmission w/ manual valve body.
  • Atlas transfer case w/ 4.3 to 1 ratio.
  • Rear Dana 60 with 40 spline shafts, 5.13 gears, spool & disc brakes. 62" wide.
  • Front Tera CRD60 with chromo shafts, 5.13 gears, ARB locker. 64" wide.
  • Full Hydro steering.

Suspension-

  • TeraFlex LCG for an Unlimited.
  • Rear coil bucket will be moved back 10".
  • No more than 3" of lift.

Tires & Wheels-

  • 17" steel black wheels.
  • Staun beadlocks.
  • 40" Maxxis Creepy Crawlers

Body Mods & Protection-

  • Comp Cut the rear quarter panels.
  • BTF Crusher Corners, 3/16" thick steel body protection.
  • BTF Rocker Protection, 3/16" thick steel.
  • Highline Hood, raised for more tire clearance.
  • BTF Tube front fenders.
  • Roll Cage built to take abuse.

So that's the basic plan. I have a good start on the parts, the TJ, 5.3l engine, Atlas t-case, rear axle, parts for the front axle, etc. I'm going to list my 4Runner for sale pretty soon so I can fund the rest of the TJ build & hope to have the TJ ready to wheel by the Fall. :cool:

I had been doing some looking around & the best example of what I want to do is the TJ that Tim (RedBullTJ) put together.-




Hope he doesn't mind me borrowing his pics... I love the look, minimal lift, 40" tires and one ton axles. Pictures of my project to follow... :D This will be the build thread as well.


I'm going to write-up a handful of separate tech threads that will go with this build, they'll be listed here-

 

Caleb

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Supporting Vendor
Location
Riverton
If i were to build my TJ you just described to the "T" what my game plan would be (down to the highline hood and all :D). It'll be good to watch this thread :D
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Can we at least get pics of the piled up parts? :D

This will be a sweet build...

Smartass! I'll see what I can do. :p



If i were to build my TJ you just described to the "T" what my game plan would be (down to the highline hood and all :D). It'll be good to watch this thread :D
Well... you do have a TJ!
 

RockMonkey

Suddenly Enthusiastic
Super Moderator
Sounds like a cool project. Why not coilovers?
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Sounds like a cool project. Why not coilovers?
Too expensive... :-\ I'd love to run coilovers, but they're hard to fit in the rear of a TJ without major frame mods. Since that's the case, I don't want a nice set of coilovers in the front and coil springs in the rear. I think it wouldn't handle too well at higher speeds... the rear would bounce around too much, IMO. And high speed handling would be my goal if I were going for coilovers. If I can afford them & had an easy way to get coilovers on all 4 corners, I'd really think about it.

I do want to run the air bumps so I can jump the TJ at the dunes in Moab... the V8 ought to get the TJ moving well enough. Hopefully air bumps will slow the rest down when the Jeep comes crashing back to ground. :greg:
 

RockMonkey

Suddenly Enthusiastic
Super Moderator
Too expensive... :-\ I'd love to run coilovers, but they're hard to fit in the rear of a TJ without major frame mods. Since that's the case, I don't want a nice set of coilovers in the front and coil springs in the rear. I think it wouldn't handle too well at higher speeds... the rear would bounce around too much, IMO. And high speed handling would be my goal if I were going for coilovers. If I can afford them & had an easy way to get coilovers on all 4 corners, I'd really think about it.

I do want to run the air bumps so I can jump the TJ at the dunes in Moab... the V8 ought to get the TJ moving well enough. Hopefully air bumps will slow the rest down when the Jeep comes crashing back to ground. :greg:
Sounds like good reasons. Extending the wheelbase like you are, I bet you could get a little creative and fit coilovers back there. Do you have springs and shocks already? If it were me I'd price out both options and then see if I could pick up some used coilovers.

Are you going to stick the gas tank in the back of the tub?
 

kyojin

Registered User
Location
Herriman
Back to the dark side huh? Glad to have you back in the TJ crowd :) Looks like you have a really good build planned.
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Are you going to stick the gas tank in the back of the tub?
Yep, probably use a 15 gallon RCI tank & sink it down a bit.


Back to the dark side huh? Glad to have you back in the TJ crowd :) Looks like you have a really good build planned.

Yep... I'm looking forward to an open-topped Jeep again. The V8, Auto, Atlas Dana 60's and 40" tires will just complete the package. :D
 

Kiel

Formerly WJ ZUK
I can probably say that tims jeep(redbulltj) works the best out of any tj based vehicle I have wheeled with. He had done everything he ever wanted to accomplish with it last year when he came up except for the big hot tub on hells revenge and the waterfall on conctrictor. With the new addition of sticky tires, he did both this year no problem. Goat helped him build it so he might know more, I will try to dig up some more pics when I get home
 

greenjeep

Cause it's green, duh!
Location
Moab Local!
I've often thought of using an Unlimiteds rear control arms to stretch a TJ, seems like the easiest way to me.

Why the Tera LCG? I haven't heard much about it, and most of that hasn't been real positive. I love my RE long arm kit.
 

Bart

Registered User
Supporting Member
Location
Arm Utah
That's real close to my build, but I'm drooling over the V8 and the front 60. I think you nailed the axle widths. I haven't had mine up to freeway speeds but I'll let you know how the coilover front and rear coils work. I plan to do a coil over rear when the pocket book will afford it. Keep us posted on the progress.
 

Bart

Registered User
Supporting Member
Location
Arm Utah
Speaking of the high fender kit, here is a pic of the LJ I was in last week in Oregon for the Detroit Locker Trail Tour. We had a blast. He has the AEV hood and high fender kit and fit the Mickey Thompson 40s very well.
 

Attachments

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Plastic, yes? -_-
Mabey... I want to use the rear seat, I've seen a lot of people using those new RCI tanks. I don't know how they're holding up though. If the seams are going to split, I'll find something else.


I can probably say that tims jeep(redbulltj) works the best out of any tj based vehicle I have wheeled with. He had done everything he ever wanted to accomplish with it last year when he came up except for the big hot tub on hells revenge and the waterfall on conctrictor. With the new addition of sticky tires, he did both this year no problem. Goat helped him build it so he might know more, I will try to dig up some more pics when I get home
That's cool... I love how it looks. I have enough pics, thanks for the offer though.


Thats ok, I guess you need to hurry and build it so we can go do Billings SOON
I'm trying! In the meantime, the 4Runner just got a set of 38's. I think I'll be breaking axles if I try Billings with those tires.


I've often thought of using an Unlimiteds rear control arms to stretch a TJ, seems like the easiest way to me.

Why the Tera LCG? I haven't heard much about it, and most of that hasn't been real positive. I love my RE long arm kit.
I like TeraFlex suspensions, Catherines XJ got the TeraFlex Long Arm upgrade and I was really impressed with their parts. I think they offer one of the most heavy-duty control arm & rod end components out there. Ben Hanks built a very capable comp buggy that used an LCG suspension. He abused that thing hard & it held up to his use quite well.

Judge for yourself, these are the pics & specs from my XJ install-





  • Control arms are 1.75" DOM, .281 wall tubing.
  • Modular Rod Ends are 3" OD, 5" shank length.


That's real close to my build, but I'm drooling over the V8 and the front 60. I think you nailed the axle widths. I haven't had mine up to freeway speeds but I'll let you know how the coilover front and rear coils work. I plan to do a coil over rear when the pocket book will afford it. Keep us posted on the progress.
Good to hear Bart, I like what you did with your TJ. I hope my combination of parts makes a great Jeep, I don't see how it couldn't. Keep me posted on the coilover/coil spring combo... I'd love to hear that it works fine. :D
 

redbulltj

I'm a cutter
Suggestion with what tank to use. Contact Sunfire Offroad. They have a cylinder type tank that you drop in all your factory pump, pick-up ect....

I love this tank, it will run practically upside down.....ask me how I know. Also, you can use your rear seat!!

Hey Greg...I will post up/send you pictures of my new rear suspension set-up. I think its kinda cool if I say so myself. I actually put the rear upper arms through the bottom of the tub to keep everything low.

Also, beware of those Tera made joints. A guy here in San Antonio built a Bruiser with those joint and they distort under load. He has to rebuild them already with only a few runs. I run Johnny joints and have yet to wear them out after 3 friken years of swinging one tons under my TJ.

Also, I do not run coil-over for the sole reason.........old school coils are just way more stable. I run 4.5 RE coils and my junk is more stable that any other coil-over rig I have seen.

I do not run any sways bars either! Try that with coil-over or air shocks.

Greg, Tell me what you need to see on my rig and I will snap a bunch of pictures for you.
 
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Bart

Registered User
Supporting Member
Location
Arm Utah
Also, I do not run coil-over for the sole reason.........old school coils are just way more stable. I run 4.5 RE coils and my junk is more stable that any other coil-over rig I have seen.
I'm glad it works for you, and your set up looks nice. But that statement is purely personal opinion and many would disagree with you including myself.
 

bryson

RME Resident Ninja
Supporting Member
Location
West Jordan
Also, beware of those Tera made joints. A guy here in San Antonio built a Bruiser with those joint and they distort under load. He has to rebuild them already with only a few runs. I run Johnny joints and have yet to wear them out after 3 friken years of swinging one tons under my TJ.
I don't necessarily agree with this... What part of that joint could distort? Take a Tera joint apart and set it next to a Johnny Joint and tell me what the difference is. The technology behind each one is almost identical. The only reason either one of the joints would distort under load is if they are not set up properly (joint not lined up properly for the applied loads...)
 
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