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It appears I have never started a build thread here. I have just sort of nickel and dimed it. So I thought I would put it all together for you and just keep adding to this one.

I guess I never really showed my build in one piece here. I just sort of gave an incomplete few bits and pieces. So here it is.

I started out with an 86 stock XJ with 2.8L 5 speed tranny. Built myself a bumper and got a winch right off. Sorry I don't have pics of the bumper build, but it is made out of 6061 Aluminum and designed to deflect animals under the rig instead of over the top when hit. All I can say is, it works and saves damage from deer and other animals. I had a Mile Marker 9,000# winch that gave up the ghost with no fanfare so I bit the bullet and bought a Warn 9.5ti to replace it. Moved to CA and found the smog police not liking my little V6 and I couldn't buy carburetor parts for it. I wasn't about to scrap it, so I started on a build that just kept growing and is still not done.



The smog police wouldn't let me use a 5 speed so I had to use a 4L60E to go with the 93 4.3L Chevy. I rebuilt the tranny with all the good stuff you need to beef it up and used an adapter from Advance adapters to get the 6 bolt flange for the New process transfer case. Also pictured is the right side header and full three inch exhaust and high flow cat from Summit Racing.



Here is the left side header and 2 1/4' exhaust with mandrel bends feeding the 3" system





I got tired of getting junk yard steering boxes that leaked, so I bought an AGR steering box and high volume pump from 4 Wheel Parts. The box is tapped for a future rock ram.

My shop cat gets in on the action when I don't make too much noise. The cat decided I needed to upgrade my NP231 tcase, so I bought an Atlas 4 speed. Here he is showing his approval.



I clocked the case prior to putting it in. These things weigh about 185#. So it is much easier to do it out of the rig.











I used Advance Adapters motor mounts, but found I had to center the motor and tranny so I ended up doing a little fabbing on them. AA was kind enough to send me stuff free of charge to do this.



The 86 had mechanical gages while the 93 Chevy had digital. Here is the two oil pressure sensors, one on the left for the Jeep and one on the right for the Chevy ECM



It gets worse with the temp sensors. The one on the left is for the ECM, the one on the right I tapped in for the radiator fan control switch.



This one I tapped in for the Jeep temp gage.

 

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Dropped it in and made a cross member out of 2 X 4 X 1/4" rectangular tubing and got a little help hanging the tcase.







Cooling is a huge issue here in NorCal where temps can reach 115* in the summer. Whenever any kind of 90* V motor is installed in an XJ, the air flow is restricted and cooling is a real problem. To remedy that, I cut some holes in the hood. The ones in the front for air flow. The ones in the rear are fans on oil coolers that are turned on when the oil temp reaches 160* and blow cooler air into the back of the engine compartment. I am in the process of making louvers for the hood now.





T feed the oil coolers, I tapped into the engine oil filter adapter and ran the engine oil and tranny cooler lines up the back of the engine.



To handle the cooling duties, a Griffin radiator was ordered set up for a Chevy.





And since I melt in heat, a new AC condenser was mounted in the stock position.

 

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The Advance Adapters shift linkage was not console friendly, so I made this linkage for the main case and used the one they provided for the planetaries.



Here it is installed in the tunnel.



Here is how it turned out when finished. The extra wires on the T handle are for a manual torque converter lockout.







I plan on ditching the D35 this fall, so parking brakes will be a problem. To solve that, I got this parking brake from Parts Mike through Tom Woods Drivelines.



Th make it work, I modified the stock parking brake handle to have the rod come out the bottom instead of the back. You cannot tell the difference when installed.





Tom Woods drivelines were installed and the pinion angle reset for a CV driveshaft.

AC is hooked up, OBA done and custom air box and horn made for the Chevy. As of this time, it does 0 - 60 in about 100 yards and gets 16 mpg. I am going to wheel it this summer and start on axles in the fall.
 

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NOW thats some serious Machine you have there!!!
I LOVE IT!! :thumbsup:
Thanks, but it is not done yet. It needs a good breather.
So I started with three inch mandrel exhaust bends. These are the ones I had left over from when I made my 3' exhaust. They have a true 3" radius throughout the bend and are the same technology used by K&N and others to make their air horns for their custom intakes.



I cut another mounting plate and started with what was half a bend and tacked it in. Then I put the air box in position and cut the 180* bend and tacked it into position.



Here it is partially welded. Then I cut a short piece to connect the air box.



Then it was time to weld it all together. Easier said than done. Exhaust tubing is kind of thin on the long side of those bends. It is also aluminized which affects the shield gas. Many times the welds turn black instead of shiny like most MIG welds. It is necessary to get them aligned as perfectly as possible. To do this I used a bench model belt sander.



Once tacked together I put it all in the vise and proceeded to weld. The method welding two thin edges together is a little different than just regular MIG welding. Normally, you want to weld on the level if you can and set the machine for the proper penetration. But with this, I set the machine to weld 1/8" steel and then welded down hill. MIG welds do not like gravity and will start flowing down hill. I used the puddle to shield the edges of the metal and then still add a good amount of wire. The result is not real pretty, but keeps the edges from disappearing. This is not structural anyway.



I had one spot with a crack in it and was too lazy to cut another, so I used the down hill trick again and stitched it. The nice thing about a MIG is that you can instantly turn it off and on and you don't have to go through the "striking an arc" procedure you do with stick. To weld the crack, I stitched one side down hill from the previous weld, then the other. Let the glow go out of the metal and then down hill stitch the two together, then repeated the process exactly like that. The result looked somewhat like a stick weld that had been done with little circles with the stick.



Next thing to do for a nice effect was grind the welds. I used a typical 4" angle grinder to start and then finished them with an angle die grinder with a sanding disk on it which makes it almost like a mirror.



One last thing was the oil breather tube. I used 1/2" EMT tubing and bent it with a bender.



Then welded it on.



I put the AEM filter in the air box and put it all in after painting.

 

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Went to the pick and pull and got an aftermarket 31 gal gas tank for $35 with sending unit, straps and skid plate. This one is apparently produced by a local company here in Chico. I was going to do something like this and try for 40 gal but I sure can't for this price.





The low part of the tank sits about 2.5" lower than stock. Here is a pick of the front of the stock tank on my shelf to compare the position of the sending unit.



There are a couple of problems with it, no big deal though. They punched a hole in the bottom to drain it but since it is heavy steel it is easily welded. Also looks like it needs a new o ring for the sending unit. Fill neck is a little short too, no big deal.

Here is a side view of the tank installed



Here is a rear view without the rear bumper.



Driving with it has been fun. Went on a trip here locally , about 160 miles with 105 of it off road. Used about 15 gal of fuel, which in a 20 gal tank would have made me a little antsy. The other thing is that it takes about 140 - 160 miles normal driving to get off full. Kind of nice.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of when I made my long arms. But not to worry, I will be remaking them from a y link to a true three link this winter. I will be strengthening the frame shortly.

I am sort of always tweaking my suspension to get what I want. Too cheap to just buy leaf springs I guess. I had a set of rear springs consisting of the main and a S10 heavy duty rear spring. If I used three leaves, it was good riding but not tall enough. If I used the whole thing, it had the right height but was too stiff. Our XJs are apparently quite a bit lighter than other comparable rigs which might explain why they do so well off road. So anyway, I have always wanted to experiment with some Isuzu Rodeo springs. They are slightly shorter than S10 springs, have about 2" more arch in them and have thinner leaves. The width is a metric size that is about 1/16" shy of the width of our springs, close enough. Here is the spring out of the vehicle.



As you can see, it has quite a bit of curve to the leaves. Here is an S10 leaf next to the Rodeo leaf

]

It is a well set up spring, here it is disassembled. Notice the space between each leaf. This space is called "snap". Probably because the spring will snap apart when the center pin is cut.



To use this spring, it is necessary to cut off the eyes with a torch and use the main leaf as our #2 leaf. I tried using all three leaves with the bottom leaf upside down. This would be a good design for a two stage spring and not allow the leaves to over flex and loose their temper. I set it down and got an amazing 6" lift with it. However it was too stiff like that. I then removed the #2 Isuzu leaf, which would be our new #3 leaf and kept the bottom leaf upside down. It looked like this.



This gave a very soft spring with something like a stock spring rate with 3" of lift. But it seemed a little soft like that. So I took the leaf I removed and cut it to 10" from center on the short side and 12" on the long side and put it right side up in the bottom. This changed the spring from a two stage spring to a single stage four leaf spring, which is what was factory and a little stiffer, but still flexible. My estimate is that it is about 1/3 greater spring rate just like my front RE coils. This netted a 4" lift together with my 1" spacer blocks gives me 5" rear lift which gets me level, which is where I started only now I have softer springs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Since we are going camping in a month, the wife decided she wanted the luxury of a refrigerator. I kind of like the idea of nice cold beverages on the trail. So the inverter went back in. I used to have it mounted on top of the batteries, but it always rattled. So I took it out because it was annoying. Now I built a nice sturdy mounting frame and no rattles.



I did something I thought I would never do. I have got to stop saying that. I added GPS to my Jeep. I got a droid phone a few months ago to use as an internet car because it was cheaper and we live out in no mans land. Then I started finding apps that were all sorts of fun. Since it had GPS built in, I down loaded an off road topographical capability to the GPS. Then I got a car mount for it so I can easily see it while driving. This will be really cool when we go to Fordyce. There are some trails that go out on bare granite that if we don't find any signs prohibiting it, we will continue on. Here is a pic of it displaying Ishi Road, which I have posted on this site. It shows it as only a trail

 

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I have had good fans on my XJ, but in the coming weeks I am looking at the possibility of going up a 40 mile long hill and climbing 6,000 feet and flat towing a vehicle in the process with the wife with me which means the air needs to be on too. I have a good aluminum radiator but wanted to upgrade the fan so I could get more air through the radiator. I have drug this Ford Taurus fan around with me for about 7 years now and decided it was time to use it. It makes a good upgrade over the stock fan and is capable on the high speed of moving 4800 cfm if it has a good shroud. So here is how to make the shroud to fit in the space where the belt driven fan is.



The first thing to note is that the XJ 4.0L radiator is only 11" tall and the Taurus fan is 16" in diameter. If you bolt up the fan directly to the radiator it will not pull 4800 cfm, but more like 3800 cfm. If you are a whiz with geometry you can figure it out for yourselves. So you can have some of it above the radiator or below. In my situation, I only had about 2" to play with above so I chose to put the extra 5" of fan below. This is the shape I chose to use, although you could use a more square shape if you desired. I started with a flat piece of aluminum. I have the advantage of having a shear and brake in the shop, but I have made two other shrouds with angle aluminum pop riveted. Besides, I can't bend a 19" piece of hardened aluminum in my brake. So I used some 20 gauge galvanized steel, same stuff duct work is made out of and spaced the fan out a little farther than you will be able to with a 4.0L engine.

You can see if yo look closely I pop riveted it all together, which is not hard to do if you are using sheet metal or angle aluminum. The idea is to space the fan a little back behind the radiator and duct the air so it has to go through all the fan. Here is the final shape.



Next it was time to cut out the space for the fan blade. I don't have a compass that I can draw a 16" circle with, so I made one with a scrap piece of aluminum, a drill screw and a sharpie marker.



I used a saber saw with a metal blade in it to cut on the line, but I needed a hole to start with. A step drill makes a nice large hole quickly.

Here is the finished ducting on the shroud.





Notice there is quite a bit of fan on the outside edge that would not be used without the shroud. This is the most efficient area of the fan.



Next you have to get creative according to what you have to work with. I chose to use aluminum tubing and bend it with spring benders, the type plumbers use to bend copper tubing. However I have also used angle aluminum spaced out from the shroud in other projects. I then made a mounting plate to mount the motor to and welded the bent tubing to the motor plate and shroud. What you cannot see is some rubber grommets under the plate to help keep the motor quiet. Here is the finished shroud.





Notice in the photo there is a small sheet metal hook to go on to the stock radiator shroud mount. The other side rests on the frame rail where the notch is.

Here it is mounted in the XJ





Next, you have to wire it up. I like things to operate like OEM things, and since my wife needs to be able to drive this it has to be a no brainer. So here is my wiring diagram for it.



Now a few words of explanation here on this diagram. First I have functional AC. So it has to work both fans when it is on. Second, the fan needs to work on low speed during normal operation and high speed with AC or when the engine is working hard for extra cooling. The other thing is that both of my fans can pull 50 amps on start up, so heavy duty 12 gage wiring and 60 amp breakers were used for both. Also, don't try to use light wiring plugs on the breakers. Get 50 amp relays and plugs that attach that are rated for that much or you will start frying wiring and it will quit on you. I have already found out the hard way with my other fan set up. So don't skimp on this part of it. My primary sensor for the Taurus fan is a Gm sensor that goes on at 200° and off at 190°. It is located in the intake manifold next to the thermostat housing which holds a 190° tstat for right now. It operates by grounding the coil on the relay. This relay powers the next relay, which if not switched on will default to the slow speed on the Taurus fan. If however the coolant going into the engine is above 185°, the middle relay will switch to the higher speed and turn on the aux fan. Between the two they will pull an amazing 7000 CFM, which Griffin Radiator assures me will handle 600 hp on the engine. If the AC compressor comes on, the wire attached to that will kick both fans on even if the engine is cold and provide enough air going through the condenser coil at idle to give the same cooling as cruising the highway thereby giving you the coldest air possible at idle in traffic or wheeling.
 

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I got tired of trashing my track bar regularly, so I decided to make some alterations. I got some joints and tubing from Parts Mike and built this track bar.



I modified my heavy duty lower mount I made to accept the new joints, which are larger than Johnny Joints. Didn't take much, moved one flange and drilled the hole to 9/16" for the larger bolt. But when I hooked the bottom in and went to make the top bracket, I noticed I was going to get some interference with the axle components and the sway bar mount. The reason for this is that I have a high steer and had to move the mount up 5" and toward the driver side, which made a shortened track bar in the first place. So, I decided to move the tie rod end on the steering box side up 4". To do this, I used a pitman arm off a Camaro



You will notice it is almost 2" longer, which is a good deal since the upper arm on the high steer is also longer. This will compensate for that nicely. Here is a pic installed.



This will also place less strain on the steering box when wheeling.



Here is the mount I made. It is a little higher than the stock mount and is about even with the bump stop.




Here is the finished product. Drag link and track bar exactly the same length and parallel.
 

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Finished my new really heavy duty three link suspension today. It uses 3" rod ends and bushings from Parts Mike, DOM tubing and 1/4" steel brackets welded to the frame. I had a Y link, but I made it as a temporary suspension to play with until I decided what I would end up with. Here is the results.











 

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Yeah, whatcha putting in?
 

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Now comes the part on why I chose the joints that I did. They are not the cheapest, but I thought they were the best because of ease of rebuilding and adjusting. One of my spherical rod ends had become dry from being in mud and water while wheeling. It was beginning to rattle slightly when hitting stuff. So, it was time to grease and adjust it. The first thing was to take it loose. You can see it looks dry.



Second, remove a small allen screw that keeps the halves from unscrewing.



Parts Mike has a special spanner that fits a half inch drive ratchet that they threw in for no extra charge when I bought my joints. A plethora of bovine manure never hurts.

Fit the spanner in the holes on the side and then turn the ratchet clockwise, without having to remove the arm or use any presses or snap ring pliers.



Insert the allen screw, grease and bolt it back up. A little extra cash paid off in time and lack of frustration.
 

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Thanks man. Not done yet though
 

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i know its been a wile since you did your leafs but how did you reattach the eyes because you said you cut them off. could you message me with a little better discription of how you got 6"s of lift out of those.
 

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I used the XJ main leaf, just like any other bastard pack. So the eyes are not needed anyway.
 

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Time for a bump I suppose...
 
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