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BigDaveZJ
10-04-2012, 04:54 PM
One of the biggest advantages I think the core group has to offer is the "BTDT" factor. There's a few of us who have been doing this 10+ years and have a lot of advice and knowledge we can share. Many of us have done stuff in the past to our rigs that we regret doing, and by sharing those we can help others save time and money with worthless mods, or stuff that was just stupid to do. Think of this as the "worst mod" section that they've got in the readers' rides sections in the mags.

So share some things you did, why you didn't like, what you could have done differently, etc.

I've shared several times how I regretted hacking my roof off behind the C-pillar, and why it sucked. If I was going the full buggy route, it would've been great, but I've moved away from that a bit. Having an enclosed rig to keep me and my gear out of the elements is a big factor if I'm going to be on the trail for 3-5 days at a time. I ended up putting a LOT of work into making my rig enclosed again, and it would've been a lot easier had I just never cut it up in the first place.

Another shortcut I took was a mini spool in the 8.8. Not a bad thing for a trailer queen, but driving on the street was difficult. Driving on snowy or icy roads was almost impossible.

zjeepin
10-04-2012, 05:13 PM
I should have skipped half ton axles completely and I try to advocate that to others..

I built a d44 for the rear of my zj and it was in there less than 6 months total.. picked up a 14b for less than $100 bucks and its still under there 8 years later with very minimal maintenance.

My zj was driven almost 300k on the origonal 4.0 before I started modifying it heavily so I can't say I cut up a perfectly good vehicle for a toy... it was time for it to be retired from daily use.

so my biggest regret on building my rig is spending money on the same parts repeatedly such as axle builds.. :smt021

Ken L
10-04-2012, 07:22 PM
My biggest regret right now is the electric fan. I've been burning out low speed relays like crazy, so I bought a relay/solenoid similar to, but not exactly like, the high speed one I have and it still doesn't work right. I'm going to get an identical one to the high speed relay and hope that cures things. I also regret putting an Ected in the front rather than sucking it up and putting in an ARB, but I didn't have the cash at the time. Now that I've figured out how the Ected works it's OK but still not an ARB. But it's more liveable than that stupid fan issue.

moparrr07
10-04-2012, 09:51 PM
My biggest regret right now is the electric fan. I've been burning out low speed relays like crazy, so I bought a relay/solenoid similar to, but not exactly like, the high speed one I have and it still doesn't work right. I'm going to get an identical one to the high speed relay and hope that cures things. .

i was going to say for me, not getting a dcc fan controller from the start, the taraus fan itself totally worth it, but any control that is not solid state is worthless

MUDDTRACKS
10-04-2012, 10:23 PM
For me putting a 44 front axle in when I knew I wanted one-tons. I much as i put into it i could have started my way on a semi built 60.

ATL ZJ
10-05-2012, 12:16 AM
Besides building a skimpy truss or two I don't really have any regrets. Building in phases and reworking setups over and over is a waste of money compared to getting it perfect the first time but the experience gained is priceless. For someone who started this whole thing with no mechanical or fab experience I owe pretty much all my knowledge to trial and error. The opportunity to learn from my mistakes has been way more valuable than any recipe for a perfect rig could ever be.

jfowlzj95
10-05-2012, 08:27 AM
Mine main regret is jumping to one tons too soon. Not saying they're a bad idea, it's just I wasn't ready for them knowledge wise and financially. Plus the idea of going from drivers drop to pass drop doesn't help either.

Other than that, the only other thing I reget was getting the posi unit for the 9" when I should've just gone straight to a spool. It would've saved me the trouble of having to fix it and reset the gears.

TN_WJ
10-05-2012, 08:51 AM
I agree with what Cam said as far as not regretting going through multiple build stages. Yeah its a waste of money but the knowledge as well as driving experience gained is worth it. That said, my biggest regret was swapping in and locking a d44a. The housing was all twisted up after just a couple months of use on 35s. Should have just gone straight from the d35 to the 8.8 I have now.

Mtn WJ
10-05-2012, 09:19 AM
My regret is everything between my initial budget boost set up and my current long arm set up. Everything inbetween had minimal gains with constant tweaking and wasted money.

I suggest when building a Grand that people should start out with a Budget boost or up to 3 inch lift and then advance direct to a complete long arm system. Save your money for the LAs by by not bothering with a extended short arm lift.

Pearce
10-05-2012, 10:43 AM
No regrets with my progress over the years. The best thing I ever did was sell my ZJ and move to a YJ. But building in stages with no previous fabrication knowledge as stated before is priceless.
Some of the best advise I can give to avoid regrets is consider your wheeling conditions before you get to far along with your rig. Having had the opportunity to attend several different Grand Slams from Moab to Virginia has allowed me to experience different wheeling conditions. You can build a rig to wheel in the desert or you can build a rig to wheel in the mountains. Your rig will get beat up wheeling in the southeast/east and it probably needs to be built a little more. You can have a really nice rig wheeling in Moab and keep it that way with less modifications. And you can have a really great time. This is not to say you can't also beat the snot out of your rig in the west, but it's hard to get away with anything mild in the east anymore. Those places have all closed. It would be fun to have a really clean built full body Grand but there is no point in wheeling one around here any longer.

fluxcap
10-07-2012, 06:34 PM
I started this with what I thought was an adequate knowledge base. I was wrong. Building in stages and learning is good, but wasting money due to proceeding without knowledge is painful! The first thing I had to do was become comfortable cutting my grand. The second was adding bump stops. These two seemingly small things cost me a set of tires. Expensive boo-boo.

Secondly, I got a good deal on a set of tires. Too bad they are too big. Since I bought them out of order....Long arms....I was done wheeling for the year in June. Prioritise your spending...

IndyZJ
10-07-2012, 10:02 PM
X2 on what Pearce said about knowing what you're building for.

I like to think of everything as a learning experience, but my YJ has turned into a serious case of "since-you-was." A basic suspension overhaul into a complete ground-up rebuild with custom everything. Rust in the frame meant a new frame. Since I was taking it all apart, why not do an engine swap - a 5.3? After all, I already had a trans and t-case that bolted behind it. But then I needed bigger axles - why not go full width? Why not figure out a way to run bigger brakes while I'm at it? That meant a whole new suspension, so why not do a mild stretch?. Now the front 1/3 of the frame has been rebuilt accordingly. When it was time to sit the body down on the frame, I found some rust. Why not replace all that bad metal now? Now that the body's nice(ish), why not protect it with some armor? All said and done, I'll have a VIN, hood, grille, and 1/2 a tub from the original Jeep.

You get the point. Lessons learned (regrets?):

1. Know what you're working on. Do your research and become well-versed in known problems.
2. Never start any kind of build without a detailed plan.
3. Stick to the plan.
4. When building a vehicle from the ground up, multiply your planned budget by two and plan for three times the amount of time you think it'll take.
5. Don't be afraid to undo what you know won't work - you'll only regret it until you do it anyway.

Now that it's coming together three years later I don't regret any of it, but it could have gone much faster and I could have been back to wheeling a long time ago.

firehawkclone
10-15-2012, 11:09 PM
I'm new to the jeep world, but have modded cars and trucks for the last 25yrs. Some have gone all the way, like my 95 firebird. It went from a weekend driver to a full on trailered racecar. I regret that now, especially since I blew the motor up Saturday at the track. With the jeep I didn't want to trailer it. It was going to be an all around rig with a heavy dose of expo for a base. I've stuck to that with a lot of help from the vet's here. The biggest regret for a mod on the jeep, the turas fan! It just can't move enough air compared to the stock fan. And trying to save the hacked up SA kit that came on the jeep.

Cody
10-15-2012, 11:48 PM
The front 44 is my first regret

Using a ZJ as a tow rig is another

I wish I hadn't sold my buggy-ZJ, but I can't say it wasn't still the best choice. I got into this "sport" so I could get away from people, and when rockcrawling blew up, all of hte trails and places I could go to have fun and get away from people were suddenly full of fuck-faces driving all over the place and tossing beer cans everywhere. The last 4-5 years I've been able to do some amazing trips and get away from people, but the so called "expedition" bug has bitten a lot of the old rockcrawling crowd recently, so I'm starting to run into more fuck-faces again. I think I'm going to start planning more trips in the winter so I can find more solitude.

PurpleZJ
10-15-2012, 11:54 PM
Ditching the 33s I had for 35s, then going for a one ton swap when I should have just saved my money and built a 8.8/hp30 combo in the first place. If I had done that I might have a working jeep right now. And let's not forget spending almost 200 bucks on a 8.8 from a local guy that ended up being bent to shit

SirFuego
10-16-2012, 02:33 PM
While I don't regret keeping my HP30 as long as I did, I do regret not saving up for the 1 tons while I was still wheeling it. I knew it was only a matter of time and when I finally blew up the HP30, the funds just weren't there and financial priorities shifted in other directions (in a good way).

My main regret, though, is not getting rock sliders earlier. I'm sure my rig would have gotten beat to shit either way, but it definitely would have prolonged its life as a full-bodied street legal rig.

ajmorell
10-16-2012, 06:33 PM
I don't have too many regrets, although I think that picking a grand to build isn't the wisest decision (compared to a TJ or XJ). I wasted a lot of money building in steps but I learned some invaluable stuff along the way. I'll be a little sad to see my ZJ go but my experience with it will have me well prepared for my next wheeling rig (whenever that is).

Z
10-16-2012, 11:34 PM
I don't have too many regrets, although I think that picking a grand to build isn't the wisest decision (compared to a TJ or XJ).

How is an XJ a better wheeling platform than a ZJ? Its a bit smaller, but still has a weaker (pseudo) frame than Wranglers.

ajmorell
10-17-2012, 12:42 AM
How is an XJ a better wheeling platform than a ZJ? Its a bit smaller, but still has a weaker (pseudo) frame than Wranglers.

It has a lot better aftermarket support

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

moparrr07
10-17-2012, 01:22 AM
It has a lot better aftermarket support

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

more parts available? sure... but name one part you can get for a cherokee (besides leafs springs :P) that isnt availible for a zj?

we make all our own parts anyways....

ajmorell
10-17-2012, 01:30 AM
more parts available? sure... but name one part you can get for a cherokee (besides leafs springs :P) that isnt availible for a zj?

we make all our own parts anyways....

More parts available at cheaper prices. It's not a matter if being able to find zj parts it's a matter if bring able to find reasonably priced zj parts. I'm not implying I want to build an xj or tj, just that it would've been cheaper to make one equally as capable as my zj is

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2

ZJ TINS
10-17-2012, 02:18 PM
Still living with a D35, yuch.

jsteves
10-18-2012, 02:45 PM
More parts available at cheaper prices. It's not a matter if being able to find zj parts it's a matter if bring able to find reasonably priced zj parts. I'm not implying I want to build an xj or tj, just that it would've been cheaper to make one equally as capable as my zj is

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk 2
XJ maybe but by the time you factor in the cost of the Jeep itself there is no way you could build a TJ for less. On the used market they sell like they were made from pure gold as opposed to ZJ's which are around for $1k all day and have been for a while.

ajmorell
10-18-2012, 03:17 PM
XJ maybe but by the time you factor in the cost of the Jeep itself there is no way you could build a TJ for less. On the used market they sell like they were made from pure gold as opposed to ZJ's which are around for $1k all day and have been for a while.

Yeah, that's a good point. Like I said, I have no desire to build either one...or another grand for that matter.

johnny_C
10-19-2012, 01:37 AM
only regret thus far is not making enough money to build it faster.........

kinda wish i started with a niner too...........

and going against what i wanted; 35s and long arms. did the middle step on 33s...... only to be swapping it all out again............

PassRunnerZJ
10-23-2012, 01:18 AM
Not going to Moab sooner!!! Actually the whole build up and learn to wheel on a BB and 31's was a great learning experiance as was picking up the 4.5" grinder and finally a welder.

Oh yea, I do regret trying to climb the ledge coming back from GBR that kind of bent my sliders. Of course it wasn't the ZJ, just banging the ledge w/two passengers and all my spares w/o enough ground clearance.

CrawlerReady
10-23-2012, 02:41 AM
My biggest regret is not shaving more weight from the beginning. My GVWR has gotten out of hand....it's like 100,000# now. I'm going to be rebuilding the entire Jeep this winter.

reward_1000
10-23-2012, 09:49 PM
Buying and using anything from Rusty's Off Road is the worst decision I have made with my jeep. I have trashed 4 of the 12 joints that they told me they have not had a single problem with, I have split the trackbar bracket in half, the gas tank skid I ordered I had to cut a giant corner out of and the transfer case skid plate I bought I had to take a rosebud on the torch and heat it and hammer the piss out of it. Thanks to Rusty's crap my fab skills get better after each wheeling trip. So I guess I owe them a thanks!

PassRunnerZJ
10-23-2012, 09:56 PM
My biggest regret is not shaving more weight from the beginning. My GVWR has gotten out of hand....it's like 100,000# now. I'm going to be rebuilding the entire Jeep this winter.

Sounds like a sliders/boat sides up body replacement. That should be some interesting welding.

indy242003
10-24-2012, 01:08 PM
Buiding a D44 for the front. Granted, I had the 1979 F250 anyway. I sold it for about half what I had in it.

Other than that, basically just building this thing. When it's all said and done, one good roll will trash the rig. I have dumped a ton of money in the hydro steer, 1 ton axles, tires and wheels, but half way through this build I realized that one good "oh, shit" momment could land this rig in the crusher. Being that the body and frame are almost the same thing, all it takes is to take a hard roll off a mountain and your looking at a heap of scrap metal. This is why I stopped buying parts grand cherokee specific for it years ago. I invested all my money into things that can be swapped on another rig. So, when that momment happens, and notice I said when, I can pull off my investment pieces and shed a tear or two for my WJ, but still have my big ticket items to put on the next rig.

Don't get me wrong I love my WJ and every time I look at it, I get a chubby. It just looks tough and mean, but still carries the GC look. You just can't run one tons and over 40" rubber and expect it to last forever. You will keep pushing until you find the wheels in the air.

Kraqa
11-18-2012, 02:06 AM
i dont have many regrets. Starting on a ZJ gave me a great foundation for learning how to build strength through design instead of just throwing heavy plate at things. the ZJ unibody doesn't benefit from trying to weld 1/2" plate to it.

a few mistakes i've made are not building a suspension set-up at full bump. then on my first test drive down the street punching my link mount into the bottom of the oil pan nearly ruining a moderatly built 350 with less than 30 minutes of idle time on it.

not running bump stops because i didn't think i had room......always make room.

building headers that don't allow the sparke plugs to be removed.

and building motor mounts with poly bushings to close to the exhaust pipes.

ZJ TINS
01-07-2013, 01:01 PM
Building my front bumper I was looking at the 94 ZJ pic. They have lights straight across the front while the 96 has an uneven profile. I should have made it at the max height then cut away and fill where necessary. Would have been much easier... and look better.

rodd88
03-05-2013, 12:08 PM
Biggest regret was not spending my money wisely. If I had done so I could have had my old Zj and my mr2. It was the worst thing selling it to my brother. I see it everyday and it makes me a little sad everytime something gets changed on it. That's life I suppose.

JohnBoulderCO
03-07-2013, 12:18 AM
Not buying a Grinder sooner and cutting stuff that was getting in the way of my tires! :)

AprilzWarrior
03-07-2013, 01:46 PM
Mine bar none was a billet grille installed when she was a pavement pounder.
Second was crossover steering on my Soild 60, wtf was I thinking with 42" tires lol
Third was not going to coil overs sooner.

OverkillZJ
03-07-2013, 02:57 PM
Buying and using anything from Rusty's Off Road is the worst decision I have made with my jeep. I have trashed 4 of the 12 joints that they told me they have not had a single problem with, I have split the trackbar bracket in half, the gas tank skid I ordered I had to cut a giant corner out of and the transfer case skid plate I bought I had to take a rosebud on the torch and heat it and hammer the piss out of it. Thanks to Rusty's crap my fab skills get better after each wheeling trip. So I guess I owe them a thanks!

Sounds like cRusty's junk hasn't changed.

ZJ TINS
03-14-2013, 09:53 AM
Buying a Harbor freight grinder instead of a real tool (which I now have). I good one cuts the grinding time in half compared to a HF.

BigDaveZJ
03-14-2013, 01:24 PM
Buying a Harbor freight grinder instead of a real tool (which I now have). I good one cuts the grinding time in half compared to a HF.

Quality abrasives are just as important. The HF abrasives SUCK. I've bought quite a few from Heleta and been happy with them, and they are much cheaper than buying from Home Depot or Lowes.

ajmorell
03-14-2013, 02:08 PM
Quality abrasives are just as important. The HF abrasives SUCK. I've bought quite a few from Heleta and been happy with them, and they are much cheaper than buying from Home Depot or Lowes.

It's amazing how much longer a good cutoff wheel (I've had good luck with the DeWalt wheels) last compared to the cheapo house brand ones you get from True Value or whatever

SirFuego
03-14-2013, 02:23 PM
Buying a Harbor freight grinder instead of a real tool (which I now have).

I agree with this, but the damn thing won't die. It's scary as hell to use for a cutoff wheel because of how poorly designed the switch is. Plus I didn't realize how much the thing vibrated compared to a brand name grinder.

I now really only use mine with flap disks. I bought a Ryobi to replace the HF one, but after I had it for a while and finally needed to use a cutoff wheel -- I realized they intentionally designed the arbor to not accept cutoff wheels. The Ryobi was very nice for grinding. I finally picked up a Dewalt on sale at a local hardware store and it's amazing how much nicer and smoother it is to use. Sure I probably spent more money on grinders that a "regular" person probably should, but I do use all three -- it's kinda nice not have to swap out a cutoff wheel, grinding disk, and flap disk with I'm cutting/fitting/prepping metal.

fluxcap
03-14-2013, 09:55 PM
I agree. I have a VERY old 4"Makita I really like. It is harder and harder to find wheels for it and it takes 2 wrenches. Not the modern button stop. The second is a HF that i have to use a wrench and vice grips on since the fragile button broke. It is weak and heats up quick. And the other is a 7" Rockwell that is awesome for quick metal removal. It is unwealdy for small stuff, but when I need It I feel like Tim Allen.

redneckrollercoaster
03-16-2013, 07:40 PM
I thought I was so smart when I took the zj upper tierod adjuster sleeve and mated it to the wagoneer steering instead of having to ream out the pitman arm. Honestly, it worked awesome and I was all proud of myself. Bought the zj drop pitman arm and tracbar drop bracket, all that jazz. Have had no problems with steering, other than my turning radius SUCKS. Got under there today thinking I could just take out the steering stops and make it somewhat better. No dice. Now had I known the wagoneer pitman arm has a lot more 'throw' before I had bought the zj drop pitman I would have bought an FSJ wagoneer pitman instead! For less money, even. And had my stock turning radius retained in the process...DAMNIT!
So anyone swapping in a front waggy 44, don't do like I did. I am sad now. The good news is I read somewhere that the drop pitman for a fsj wagoneer is the same as a 70's f150 pitman arm. I will find one tomorrow and find out for myself

PoserZJ
04-15-2014, 03:07 AM
I regret buying the el cheapo(Zone)short arm lift that ripped the rear track bar bracket off my D44a. Should have bought a longarm kit! My 5.9 has spent too much time sitting in the parking lot.

Ken L
04-15-2014, 07:58 PM
I regret buying the el cheapo(Zone)short arm lift that ripped the rear track bar bracket off my D44a. Should have bought a longarm kit! My 5.9 has spent too much time sitting in the parking lot.

My guess is that it wasn't the short arm kit's fault. It likely came with a track bar relocation bracket instead of an adjustable rear track bar. Rear relocation brackets always tear the bracket off of the axle. Always.

PoserZJ
04-16-2014, 02:20 AM
That's exactly what happened, polished the paint off the rear springs and made the rear inside of the tires whitewalls. Live and learn.

snaps
02-25-2016, 04:17 PM
My biggest regret is waiting so long to buy a plasma torch.