Jun 4 2005

Removing the Front Wheel Well Pinch Seam

Since I moved my axle forward for a longer wheelbase, I never had to worry about the pinch seam in the front wheel well cutting up my 33″ tires. However, with plans of 36″ tires in the near future, I decided it was finally time to take care of that pinch seam.

This job is pretty simple, but I figured I’d make a tech article about it because I know there are plenty of people out there who like to see pictures before jumping into a project. Basically all that you need is some kind of cut-off wheel and a hammer. That’s it.

Start off by making some cuts in the pinch seam.

After the cuts are done, all you have to do is take your trusty hammer, and pound the pinch seam over

That’s it. I was lazy and didn’t shoot any spray paint on it, but if you are worried about rust, it might be a good idea.

Apr 9 2005

Replace Dana 30/44 Pinion Yokes

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and just finally got around to it. I’m not a huge fan of the strap style yokes, and wanted something a little stronger. I’ve heard of people drilling out their existing yokes and using the u-bolts in place of the straps, but I’m a little skeptical of that process, because those yokes were not intended to be used with u-bolts. That’s why I headed to the junkyard and managed to find two Spicer pinion yokes off of Dana 44’s that were the u-bolt style. These yokes were intended to use the u-bolts and it shows when you compare the two side by side.

For those of you wondering why I got two Dana 44 pinion yokes, it’s because the Dana 30 shares the exact same yoke as the 44, so they are interchangeable. Before we get started, I just wanted to point out that the Dana 30 and 44 do not use crush sleeves. If you have a different axle that uses crush sleeves, there is a completely different process on chainging put the yokes that I will not get into here. This how-to is shown with my Dana 30, but the Dana 44 process is exactly the same. It took me less than 30 minutes to do each axle. Here’s a picture of one of the yokes

First you have your old strap yoke.

Next remove the straps.

Once the straps are removed, drop the driveshaft out of the way, but be careful not to let the caps fall off and lose all the needle bearings. Now we have access to the pinion nut.

Now comes probably the most difficult part, if you don’t have an impact wrench…..and that is removing the pinion nut. I have an impact gun that I used to easily remove the pinion nut. Once the nut is off, you can also remove the washer.

Now you should be able to easily pull off the old pinion yoke.

Once the old yoke is removed, just replace it with the new yoke. I had to put a block of wood up against the front of the new yoke and take it all the way on with a hammer. Then you can reinstall the washer and pinion nut again, and torque to spec.

Now all you have left to do is reinstall the driveshaft using the new u-bolt kit that yu need to get from your local auto parts store.

I took both my old strap style pinion yokes and threw them into the storage box in my Jeep as trail spares, just in case I manage to break one of my new yokes on the trail.

Nov 21 2004

Storage Box

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

After removing my rear seat a few months ago, I thought it would make a good place for a storage box. I plan on moving my rear tire from the back bumper to the cargo area, so I decided that I didn’t want to build the box back there.

First I started out with a 2×4 and cut it to the proper width.

The rest of the box will be made from 3/4″ Birch Plywood.

Then I cut the front of the box. This is where it will latch shut. I will be bolting this piece through the metal seat support that is behind it.

Now I cut the two tops of the box. Each of these covers will be hinged from the 2×4 and lift up from the front.

Next I cut two small pieces to fill the open section on each side (they are just setting there for now).

After a trip to the hardware store, I came home with plenty of hinges, handles and other misc. supplies that I would need.

Then I glued on the side peices of the box to the front.

Next I painted the pieces and started to assemble everything.

Installed the hinges on the back of the lids

I decided to help keep the noise down from things bouncing around, and to help insolate the items from the exhaust below the box, that I would add carpet to the bottom of the box. I started out with the origina carpet that I had ripped out of my XJ a few months back.

Then cut it to size

…and installed it.

Then I finished installing the hinges.

Now I was almost done.

Next I bolted the front of the box through the rear seat support, and installed the latches on the front.

I also bolted the rear of the box through the floor.

Lastly, I found a small flaw in my design. I was unable to open the box while I was sitting inside the Jeep, because the handles on the rear doors got in the way. Luckily, since no one would be sitting in the back anymore, it was an easy fix. All I did was remove the handles on the rear doors.

Now it was time to fill it!

Nov 6 2004

Gila Monster Lower Quarter Guards Installation

I had been looking for some lower quarter panel protection for a little while and was just about ready to buy a pair from C-Rok when I first heard about Rock Lizard Fabrications new guards. After talking to Marty from RLF, I decided that these were the guards for me, and got in my order for the first batch that were being produced.

The install is pretty straight forward, and the instructions that were sent were very good, but I have a few tips that might help make things a little easier for you. Before you get started, here’s what you are going to need:

– Drill with 3/8″ bit
– 7/32″ Allen Wrench
– 9/16″ Wrench

The instructions also call for a second person to help with the install, however I was able to do it all by myself without much trouble. It might be difficult if you have short arms, though!

Time to get started. As you can see from the following pic, my lower quarters had taked some abuse from previous wheeling trips.

Since my XJ came with the Laredo package, I had the grey plastic trim that needs to be removed so the guards will sit flat against the body. I was able to pull off the trim pieces by hand.

Then I was able to use my fingers to remove the leftover glue.

Next I lined up the guard where I wanted it, and marked the top hole closest to the back of the XJ. Then I drilled that one out and loosely put the bolt in.

Then I made sure the guard was lined up again, and marked the top hole closest to the front of the XJ and loosely put this bolt in.

The next hole I drilled was the bottom middle one. I did whis while the guard was in place (the holes in the guard are big enough to drill thru without touching, if you are careful). Then I tightened all 3 of these bolts down and drilled out the rest of them. Finally tightening all those bolts.

One of the big tips I can give you is to remove the spare tire support when you are doing the driver’s side. It gives you plenty of room to get to the inner quarter panel so you can tighten the bolts. There are four bolts that need to be removed. You can see the top three that need to be removed in the following picture. The fourth one is located near the floor.

Once the four bolts are removed, you can easily remove the spare tire support and get it out of your way.

I’d also like to point out that RLF has done a great job matching their guards to the lines of the body. Mine lined up almost perfectly. I say “almost” because my quarters were a little beat up from years of wheeling.

Overall, I am very impressed with the guards and their build quality. I’d recommend them to anyone looking to protect thier lower quarter panels.

Oct 31 2004

Roll Your Fenders

After cutting my front fenders twice because of my 33’s flexing up into them, I was ready to cut them a third time. However, thanks to Eric (OOC), I got the idea to roll them instead. Not only would I get more clearance for tires, but I would lose the sharp edge that had put some cuts into the lugs of my tires.

Let me warn you, if you want t keep your XJ looking nice, my method may not be the best. But since my fenders were already wrinkled and dented, it didn’t really matter much to me. All I ended up using was a small 2×4, pliers, hammer, and some flat black paint.

Now you have to figure out how high you want to roll them over. Once that is decided, I started out with the pliers and bent the fenders back a little, all the way around. This gave the metal a little crease that would help me pound them over the rest of the way. Then I took the small 2×4 and held it on the inside of the fender lined up with the crease. Next I hammered the fender so that it bent over the corner of the small 2×4, while following the crease I had made along the fender.

Then all I did was sand away some of the chipped paint that was caused by the fenders being bent, and shot the area with some flat black paint to prevent rusting. I’m happy with the results…..and as a bonus, the fold has helped make the fenders more rigid and not as flimsy as they were before.