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  1. #1

    Quarantine Project - YJ Unlimited Stretch

    I've been wanting an LJ for a year or 2 now. I even made an offer on a few in the last few months, but nothing came together. I've had my YJ for 19 yrs now and it does 99% of what I want, except haul the family of 4 and the dog. Being stuck at home for a few weeks AND questions about the future of my industry (airline) has me rethinking spending the money to build another rig so I started shopping around. I found an LJ hardtop for $1100 and here I am.

    IMG_6001

    I wanted to maximize space inside, so I wanted to move the wheel wells back rather than stretch in the middle of them. I decided to cut up here on the aft side of the B pillar posts.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2iMe5Er]

    I drew this line by drilling a hole from the inside out where I wanted the cut. Then connecting the dots on the outside.

    IMG_6140 IMG_6138

    Hopefully this thread will be useful to some other yahoo down the road. More pics to come...
    Last edited by YJLopes; April 5th, 2020 at 08:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Lots of spot welds to drill out. I should have ordered a spot weld cutter, but I dove in before it would have been here.







    These buggers were hiding at the front end of the wheel well, securing the inside wheel well to the floor.



    Before I did the final cut, I made some marks on the top of the bedrail on both sides 10" apart, so when I stretch I have a reference. I also did the same thing down at the rocker. I hope these will help me get the tub close enough to squared up when its all said and done. I thought I had pics but they vaporized in my phone.

  3. #3
    Then this happened




  4. #4
    4 lines running to the rear end, fuel pressure, fuel return, evap, and brake. Just putting these here for my own reference since I'm liable to lose these later.






  5. #5
    That's where is sits now. Heading out in a bit to finish measuring what I want so I can cut the rear of the frame off. I'll try to update tonight. Hopefully this injects a little tech back in to CO4x4!

  6. #6
    Need a couple of tall-ish jack stands? LMK.
    Don't tell me violence doesn't solve anything.

    Look at Carthage.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Willie G View Post
    Need a couple of tall-ish jack stands? LMK.
    I have a decent collection. If I need more I'll stop by.

  8. #8
    J Kimmel's Avatar
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    looks great prefect time to do it
    The Car Guy

  9. #9
    Lots of grinding today. Cut the spring hangars off of the frame and cleaned that up.

    Measured and marked the location of the parking brake cable bracket. I did this so I can move it aft 15", and hopefully just extend the threaded rod at the yoke rather than get new custom cables.



    Here's the twist on my project. Rather than plug in 15" of frame, I'm splicing the back half of another frame on the the one under the jeep. I'm using a TJ frame I got for a case of beer. The rear suspension will be a TJ long arm kit. I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up the back end of the donor frame as well today.

    When I got them both about ready to cut, I decided to weld a temporary crossmember in place to hold the rails in position relative to each other. Probably not necessary, but pretty easy to do to keep things lined up.

    TJ frame with temp x-member just behind where it will be cut



    The frame under the jeep with temp x-member just ahead of the pending cut.



    Sold the stock YJ hard top today, so that put a few bucks back in the budget. Fedex brought the new floor, so I've got a few things to do before I run out of parts.

  10. #10
    newracer's Avatar
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    Nice work!
    Have you ever seen a man eat so much fish?

  11. #11
    Looking forward to following along, and a great time for a project like this!
    www.staythetrail.org

  12. #12
    I started today intending to dive right in to cutting the frame and the donor frame. I wasn't happy with the temp x-member I welded in last night because it would be in the way of fixturing the two frames together, so I decided to weld in a new one. My bride was using the dryer and I'm ashamed to admit I've been in this house for almost 4 yrs and still no 220 in the garage. The only 110 welder I have is a TIG, so I got to do a little TIG work in the driveway. No big deal except for the constant 3-5 kts of wind and the occasional 8-10 kt gust. Not real pretty, but not too bad. My 5 yr old watched and he approved.

    I've been researching this dumb idea for a long time and thought I had every angle covered. Right before I was about to cut the TJ frame, I stepped back and looked it over and thought there's no good reason to no test fit the tub and fuel tank now. So that's what I did. I have a Genright Stretch tank for a YJ, which ALMOST fits. The studs for the 2 straps were interfering with the crossmember in front of the tank.



    So I notched the crossmember for clearance.





    Now no problems fitting, but I had to match drill a few new holes in the gas tank skid that didn't match. I think 3 out of 7 lined up.





    I was able to reuse 6 out of 7 of the bolts. The 7th was off on the flange for the skid altogether, so I drilled a new one. I have to remember to weld the bolt in place from above because I can't get to the head with the tub in place.

    After I got the tank to fit, I tried the back half of the tub I cut off.






    No problems with that fit. I had some concerns with the upper coil mounts based on my bad memory working on a bunch of TJs in the past, but no problems.

    Then I moved on to getting the last measurements I wanted, maybe even needed before I cut the frames. I wanted to verify the distance above a known point, with the frame level, to the aft-most body mount point on the frame. I figured that the fore-aft position, and even the left-right were fairly easy to dial in, but the vertical position of the aft body mounts could be problematic.

    To do this I first leveled the belly section of the frame.



    Then I took a laser level and drew a line through the top of the body mounts at the middle of the door and the next one aft.




    Once I had established this line, I measured from the top on the aft body mount down to the line.



    I also put a couple pieces of tape with a mark where the laser line was for reference later.



    The figure I came up with is about 3/16" off from the YJ frame drawings available all over the web, but I'm hoping it will be useful.

    My plan is to duplicate this with the new frame section in place to keep the aft crossmember properly aligned vertically. The reality is that this may be picking fly shit out of pepper, but worry about the ounces, and the pounds will take care of themselves.

    After I'd recorded all of this nonsense, I got to cutting. No pics of that because who cares? It's just a cut up frame.

    Here are a few pics where I left it with the section of TJ frame roughly in place where it will end up.



    Time for beer...good night

  13. #13
    Awesome work, nice to see some project tech on here!
    Murray's Toys: 76 FJ40, 00 Toyota MR2, 13 Triumph Tiger 800XC, 07 KTM 450EXC, 05 Suzuki SV1000S, 12 Yeti SB66c, too many skis to list...

    I got your Jeep thing....now it burns when I pee

  14. #14
    Mid-day photo dump.

    I've got the rear section of frame pretty well locked in to position, so I set the tub on to see how close it was to where it needs to be.




    Then just to verify all my measurements are close, I set the top on it. I've been operating on the assumption that the length difference of 14 7/8" I read about all over the net in all the other build threads is correct. I suspect that it is off and the Jeep advertising of 15" is probably dead nuts on. I've going to move everything back 1/8" and try again. I'm pretty pleased with how it's all fitting though.



    Side benefit of this pic is that it is very motivating.

  15. #15

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    Looking good!!!
    Contact me for all your firearms needs. Guns, ammo, accessories, NFA......

  16. #16
    You may be done quicker than you thought... I'm not seeing another 5-6 weeks of work here.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Willie G View Post
    You may be done quicker than you thought... I'm not seeing another 5-6 weeks of work here.
    90% rule of any project, 90% of the time required is in the last 10% of the work

  18. #18
    Do you have another tub to "donate" the metal at the top edge where the hardtop sits? Or are you going to roll/hammer/pound or otherwise persuade some sheet to form that top edge?

    Great work!
    '96 Grand Cherokee with stuff done to it.

  19. #19


    COVID May bring life back to Colo4x4.

    You’re welcome to barrow my MIG if you need it.
    :cool:
    CaveVan.com

  20. #20
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YJLopes View Post
    90% rule of any project, 90% of the time required is in the last 10% of the work
    Very much this.

    Looking forward to watch your progress. Thanks for posting!

  21. #21
    vb's Avatar
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    Wow!!!!!!

  22. #22
    Today was a bust since my wife went out and got her own quarantine project.



    1/2 dozen yardbirds so in 6 months I can be eating fresh eggs that only cost $6-8 each, or maybe just an expensive treat for my lab, who knows.

    Then when I was wrapping that up, a custom bar I ordered off of etsy showed up, so that ate up more time.

    Then my dad called and asked if I wanted to hang out at our shop. My dad and I have a great relationship and we run a small biz together, but we've been avoiding each other since I spend so much time where folks might have the `rona. We decided to go hang out on opposite sides of the shop and just bullshit. Time well wasted.

    By the time I got home, all I had time to knock out tonight was to fit the 2 slugs where I was lacking frame. 2 7/8" missing on both sides, so I trimmed that much out of the donor frame and whittled it down to fit nice and snug. It's interesting how the corner radius differs from YJ to TJ as seen in the second pic below.







    You can see in the last one where I'm mapping out the fish plate a little.

    Tomorrow I'll tear all of this down, clean up the weld areas with a flap disc, and bevel the edges a bit. The burn it home!

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken L View Post
    Do you have another tub to "donate" the metal at the top edge where the hardtop sits? Or are you going to roll/hammer/pound or otherwise persuade some sheet to form that top edge?

    Great work!
    No donor tub, I bought a replacement quarter panel for one side. The straight section of bed rail is about 33", I need 15ish per side. I hope I don't screw up. Cutting the panels should be the easy part. I do a ton of sheet metal on airplanes, only difference is we rivet that back together.

    I'm still up in the air whether I should TIG the body or tack tack tack MIG it together.

  24. #24
    A Jeep tub with all the panels riveted instead of welded would be neat!

    Give it that "aircraft" look.

  25. #25
    Makes sense on using the quarter panel.

    Regarding the chicks....my wife and I took the grandkids to Murdoch's a few years ago to look at the chicks before Easter. I told the boys, they were probably 3 and 10 at the time "look, there's where your Chicken McNuggets come from!" Holy crap did I get in trouble from my wife for that one. Who woulda thunk it?

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken L View Post
    Makes sense on using the quarter panel.

    Regarding the chicks....my wife and I took the grandkids to Murdoch's a few years ago to look at the chicks before Easter. I told the boys, they were probably 3 and 10 at the time "look, there's where your Chicken McNuggets come from!" Holy crap did I get in trouble from my wife for that one. Who woulda thunk it?
    My kids are pretty aware of where dinner comes from. My boy wants more chicks specifically because he wants more chickens to eat.

    Today's progress. I pulled it all apart so I could clean up all the areas that would be welded, then I beveled the edges so I could get good penetration. Once I got that done I put it all back together and started measuring. I measured the distance from the back edge of the YJ body mounts. I measured the relative height of the aft most body mount using the laser level as described above in post 12. Then I measured that the new donor frame was level left/right compared to the frame under the Jeep. I did this by clamping a straightedge under the belly of the jeep and setting the digital level on it like so.



    Then I set a straight edge on the donor frame just behind the splice to the new frame and measured there.




    After those matched I set the level on the rear crossmember to make sure it matched.




    Once all of those matched up, I went back and measured everything else again. I tacked everything in place and then measured again. Then I burned it home and measured again. Everything stayed where I wanted it to.

    I made these fish plates to go on the inboard and outboard sides of the splice.



    Then brown santa showed up with the next step.



    I think Artec has a 20% off sale for one more day if you need anything.

  27. #27
    Nice clamps!





  28. #28
    My employer decided I was "essential" yesterday, so I hauled 2 people to Cabo and brought 7 people back. Seems like a waste of 28,000 lbs of jet-A but not my call.

    Today was slowed a bit due to a sick bird, which lead to me presiding over my first chick funeral.

    Then I punched a few more holes in my fish plates for more weld.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2iPrsPr]

    I was able to burn one in. I don't think it's going anywhere.



    I've loosened all of the body mounts to get a little better access so I can do a better job welding the next 3. I've also got some strap to weld on top and bottom over the splice.

    I'm starting to read a bit about coilovers, just for packaging reasons up front. Does anyone have any good reading on them? Not sure if I'll go that route, but it may simplify a few things.

  29. #29
    The Original Opie-Gone-Bad!!! Aaron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YJLopes View Post
    I'm starting to read a bit about coilovers, just for packaging reasons up front. Does anyone have any good reading on them? Not sure if I'll go that route, but it may simplify a few things.
    Believe it or not, Pirate still holds a lot of good info. Having trouble finding other bookmarked links for you ATM but will look again later and hopefully be able to post some more up.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron View Post
    Believe it or not, Pirate still holds a lot of good info. Having trouble finding other bookmarked links for you ATM but will look again later and hopefully be able to post some more up.
    Yep, been reading pirate a bunch. Accutune has a ton of info on their site and nothing but good reviews on pirate as well.

  31. #31

  32. #32
    Thanks! I haven't read Billavista in years.

    Today was productive! I got up thinking that a cold garage might be just the excuse I needed to not get shit done. Fortunately, I was smart enough to buy the Husky digital level/thermometer which verified that the temp in the garage was indeed workable.



    I always thought this was a ridiculous combination of functions, but now I get it.

    On to the Jeep! It had been too long since I welded in a cold garage and I forgot how pleasant it is.

    I walked out of the garage last night knowing I was tired because my welds and standards went to shit. About the 3rd time I thought "that's good enough" I realized it was time to quit. Today I took the grinder to the bad welds and fixed them.

    Then I made these straps to weld on top and bottom of the frame rails at the splice.



    I welded the lower ones on and then moved on to the top. I had to lift the tub off of the frame one side at a time, then wedge a 4x4 in there to hold it up. I did one side at a time and had almost enough room to get my angle grinder in there with a flap disc to strip the dirt/paint off so I could get a decent weld.

    My dad taught me years ago if you have a tool that almost works, you don't have a tool. If you need to modify a tool to make it work, start cutting!

    I have no idea why harbor freight put these 2 ears on top of the grinder.



    For future reference, they are unnecessary.



    It's lighter now too, much less fatiguing to operate all day.

    So now I could wedge it under the tub and clean off the top of the frame rail. I clamped the strap in there and started welding .

    I got the strap done and all that was left was the fish plate on the outside. The problem was the body mount was in the way, so I took some measurements, cut the aft weld on the body mount and tweaked it out enough to slip the plate in there and then some.




    Then I welded the plate to the frame. When I pushed the body mount back up again the plate, I remeasured. It turns out between the cut and what I ground off of the frame, everything was where it needed to be, so I put a few stitches on the mount and called it good.



    I repeated for the other side and everything came together nicely.



    By the end of the day my welds were starting to look okay.





    While that was cooling off I cleaned up a bit. I stared at it for a few minutes and finally worked up the nerve to put he jack under the rear crossmember. I lifted it up, removed the jack stands from ahead of the splice, put a couple jack stands under the tail end of the frame and it hasn't collapsed yet.





    Here's a random pic my wife took today of me trying to burn down the house.



    Tomorrow I'm torn whether I should start on the suspension or splicing the tub back together. I guess I'll see what strikes me in the morning.

  33. #33
    vb's Avatar
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    Nice work man!!!

  34. #34
    newracer's Avatar
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    Looks great so far!

  35. #35
    Heat penetration looks good, but looks like you need to slow your wire speed down a tick. Might help it from standing up so much and laydown in area between the two plates better.

    This build brings back memories of a similar project i did with one of mine. Thanks for posting for us and i look forward to watching your progress.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Impaired View Post
    Heat penetration looks good, but looks like you need to slow your wire speed down a tick. Might help it from standing up so much and laydown in area between the two plates better.

    This build brings back memories of a similar project i did with one of mine. Thanks for posting for us and i look forward to watching your progress.
    Thanks for the tips. The welder I'm using has minimal adjustability, but I'll certainly be playing with it more trying to dial it in. Is that a general observation or pertinent to one or two pictures?

    Today was spent at my shop on the lathe. 19 years ago I didn't have any money, so I did a body lift with hockey pucks. They have served me well, but I think they have reached the end of their useful life.

    My son and I spent a few hours turning one big piece of aluminum in to lots of little pieces.









    And the final result...



    I started mapping out some suspension ideas and measuring a few things. Hopefully have a better idea how all of that will fit tomorrow.

  37. #37
    Subscribed! Looking forward to seeing it come together!!

    TLJ
    God Forgives, Rock's Don't www.ucora.org
    1973 Bronco, 351 SEFI, Locked, discs, 35's ZF-5spd and Atlas 4spd. 235:1 Crawl Ratio

  38. #38
    Just a general observation and suggestion from the photos.

  39. #39
    It has been a slow couple of days sorting how things will fit. I had stretched the wheelbase previously around 3-3.5" on both ends using Rancho 44044 springs which are Waggy fronts. They have similar dimensions to YJ springs, but with a 2" offset center pin and offer around 4-4.5" of lift. I also used offset perches to get the other 1-1.5". When I added the 15" of this stretch, I thought I'd just add it to the stretch that was already there which when I measure put me around 114.25" wheelbase. Packaging concerns mostly centered around the coil spring perch relationship required my to rethink that and give up about 1 11/16". I was scratching my head trying to keep the axle back and it occurred to me, Why? I was after every last inch before, but now I'm covered up in wheelbase, no need to get greedy if if makes life so much easier to go this way. I finally settled on a rear axle location that allowed me to sort out the coil spring perch issue and makes the track bar fit well, so I welded in the upper spring perches and tacked the truss on the axle for fitting everything else.

    I had to cut out the long ends of the spring brackets and swap them left/right to get them far enough back against the track bar bracket.





    I had a bunch of these little wedges left over from hanging doors in my old basement, they have proven invaluable for fine tuning like this. I was trying to hold this perch against the frame at just the right angle.



    Dialing in the left side...


    And finally worked up the nerve to weld it.





    One thing that Artec warns you about is potential interference between the truss and the vent. The vent is a 7/16x20 thread so I used an old ring gear bolt to make a plug.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2iRwCo9]

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2iRsd4M]

    I welded it home and ground it smooth.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2iRsdk3]

    Once that was done I found a new home for the vent inboard a few inches and clocked up a bit on the tube. I drilled and tapped it so that's done.



    Not much excitement from a build thread this round, but lots of parts in Brown Santa's hands that should be here early next week. I'm putting off the tub splice until the suspension is close to done since it is so easy to get at all of the important stuff. I think the suspension will be interesting since I'm off the reservation a bit on what I'm doing and it will either be awesome or a train wreck, both of which are entertaining from a spectator perspective.

  40. #40
    Looking good. I like it.
    CJ/buggy,FI406,465,205,D60,14boltFF on beadlocked 39.50 swampers.See build.
    http://www.colorado4x4.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=134201
    '70Jeepster, 225,T-14,D20,10bolt,12bolt on 34/9.50/15 Swampers
    www.tubebuggies.com

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