Mar 25 2006

Trackbar Brace

Everyone who wheels an XJ finds out just how much force the trackbar bracket and unibody rail at that point needs to stand up to, as it usually becomes a trouble area. In order to help relieve that area of extra stress, I decided to build a trackbar brace (similar to what Rubicon Express offers) for my T&T trackbar and bracket. Here’s what the bracket looks like.

I started out by fitting a piece of 1/4″ angle to the side of the existing bracket, and drilling a hole for the existing bolt to help with alignment and tie it in better. I then welded this piece to the bracket.

It fit nicely.

So that I could easily remove the bracket if necessary, I made up another plate that would bolt to the new bracket.

I then bent up the piece of 1″ x .120″ HREW to fit, and welded both bolt on ends to it.

Then all that was left was to bolt it up (except of course painting it)

Nov 9 2005

Replacement Rockers

This article isn’t a normal “how to” but more of a step by step process on how I built the replacement rockers for my XJ. It’s mainly to help give you ideas and help on building your own rockers.

After a few years of hard wheeling with my rock rails, they had managed to push up on the pinch seam so much, that it was being pushed up into the unibody and also pushing the floor up around it. It was also time to gain some more clearnace under the rockers, so I wouldn;t get hung up on them quite as much. So I decided the best route would be to replace my rockers with some boxed steel. I was originally going to buy the steel, but since I was going to be in Colorado I talked to Formatt and picked up a set of his replacement rockers, since they are the exact size I was looking for: 3x4x3/16″

Obviously, the first thing you have to do is cut out the existing rockers.

When most people replace the rockers, they only weld the tubing to the sheet metal of the XJ unibody. I didn’t feel that this setup would be strong enough to withstand my wheeling habits, so I decided to tie them into my cage.

Luckily, I had some spare tubing left over from my cage, so i decided to use it here. I took my trusty hole saw and made two holes in the inner rocker.

This will allow me to add two legs that will attach the rockers to the cage.

Once the legs were cut to length, I welded them to the rockers.

Now all I had to do was weld the top, weld the pinch seam, and weld the legs to the cage.

Once the welding is complete, just add paint.

Done. Check out the new clearance.

Nov 7 2005

Upper Quarter / Corner Guards & Tail Lights

This article isn’t a normal “how to” but more of a step by step process on how I built these corners for my XJ. It’s mainly to help give you ideas and help on building your own corner protection.

After smashing up one of the rear quarters pretty good when I was out in Colorado, coupled with the fact that I was cutting my roof off in the back, I thought it would be a good idea for some quarter protection (and to cover up the existing damage).
At the same time, I was planning on getting rid of my tail light boxes, as they stuck out too far for my liking (since I no longer was running a hatch), and they kept getting peeled back when dragged along rocks and trees.

I figured it would be a good idea to combine the upper quarter protection with my new tail lights. Not only would it look pretty cool and be strong, it would also keep everything tight to the body of my XJ and smooth, so nothing would get cought up on a rock or tree.

I started out by ordering the upper quarter guards from Chris at Performance Metal Works, and bolting them up to the body. I then took some 1/8″ plate, cut it to size and tack welded it up where I wanted it.

Once I was sure everything was lined up, I welded a bead along the outside corner, and then used a flap-disk to grind it down smooth.

Next, I took the complete corner off, and welded the inside corner for added strength.

Next came the paint.

Last I got out my drill with a 4.5″ hole saw, and cut the holes for my tail lights.

…..and the final product.

Jun 23 2005

Mounting 10lb CO2 Tank

After receiving my 10lb CO2 tank from Formatt Fabrications and getting it filled, I needed to find a place to mount it. After some searching around, I decided that I liked the way that Brian at mounted his. I took a few more pics of my install that I thought others could benefit from if they decide to do the same thing, which is why I made this tech article.

Here’s what you start out with.

First I got some bolts that fit in the existing holes for the tire carrier support (I had lost mine a while back, otherwise I would have used those).

Unfortunately, none of the holes in the mounting bracket lined up, so I had to drill two new holes near the bottom.

Next I took an angle bracket I had laying around…..

….and cut it down to the proper length.

Next I bolted this angle bracket to the top part of the spare tire support that sticks out through the plastic trim.

Then I bolted the bracket up to these 3 locations.

All that’s left to do is put the tank in the bracket, and you are set!

Jun 7 2005

Installing Rear Dana 44 Bearings & Seals

After receiving my Alloy USA Chromoly Shafts from my rear Dana 44, I had to install the bearings and seals that were included with them. These shafts came with everything you need, except the retainer plates, which you can take from your current shafts if need be. I am keeping my current shafts for trail spares, which means I had to go to the dealer and pickup some new retainer plates. Also, don’t forget that XJ and TJ retainer plates are different, so m ake sure to get the right ones.

First thing that goes on the shaft is the retainer plate. Don’t forget this, otherwise you will be kicking yourself later when you have to remove everything else to get the plate on.

Next comes the seal. This one can be easily pushed on the shaft with your hands.

Now it’s time to press the bearings on.

Generally, the bearings are pressed on with a press, but I was being lazy and did not feel like driving to my friend’s shop with a press. SO I went ahead and found a pipe that had an inside diameter of 1.5″ and was about 48″ long which worked out perfectly. I then put the pipe over the shaft and rested it on the bearing.

Next I took my trusty sledge hammer and punded the bearing on. The bearings only took a few good whacks with the hammer before seating fully.

Next comes the retainer ring.

I installed this one the same way as the bearings, however, it took much longer and a lot more effort. After some determination and a sore arm, it did finally seat all the way.

That’s it. All that is left to do is to install the new wheel studs and install the shaft.