Thread: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9"

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  1. #1 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    I'm not much for words so I'm gonna use a bunch of pictures. Here's my build, it is very budget limited, down the road I'll get thing's like bumpers, frame stiffners, and the like. Most of my wheeling is in the snow in the winter so I should be ok without some of that stuff. . . until next summer.

    The Jeep in question, 96 limited with a 318.


    The axles are from a 76 ford f150 with 3:50 gears, since I have almost no money, I'll be running the 3:50 gears.



    The 9" all prepped with the bracket kit I got from Iron Rock, it's for an 8.8 but it was almost a perfect fit. I only had to grind one of the upper mounts to fit over the fat portion of the center part of the housing.



    Painted



    Under the ZJ, it sat like this for about a week before I tore the front apart. It definitely drew some funny looks from people passing by.



    Out with the dana 30



    Since I'm on a tight budget I decided to use the ford radius arms. I cut them and slipped some 2x.25 DOM over them to make my front radius arms. I also used big ol' rod ends at the crossmemeber. I left the webbing intact and notched the DOM so it would slide over the webbing.





    My buddy Clayton (not that Clayton) welding up the radius arms for me.





    Getting ready to slide the front axle under the ZJ to measure for the final length of the radius arms.



    With the help of my buddy I built a new crossmember. The outer pieces are .25" 3x6", It's what I could scrounge up, and it's strong. I would have preferred to use 2x6" for better clearance but beggars can't be choosers. the center section is 2x4" c-channel and it unbolts so that I can still pull the tranny if I need to.



    Finally getting the front axle under the ZJ for final fittment



    The crossmember and radius arm mounting points. The crossmember is bolted on with the stock bolts, as well as being welded on. The radius arm mounts, along with all the DOM, rod ends, and steering came from Ruff Stuff. (crossmember not welded yet in this pic)



    The finished product (kinda)

    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:07 PM. Reason: Fix dead pic's
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  2. #2 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    I still have to finish hooking up the steering, bleed the brakes, and hook up the rear sway bar. The rear suspension doesn't like the 5" lift, spool, and short arms, so the rear sway bar is a necessity for now. Hopefully before too long I can long arm the rear.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  3. #3 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    After driving it some I decided to hook the front sway bar up, I'm really not sure why I thought it would be a good idea to leave it off, especially since I already had disconnects. The front suspension works great on the street, way softer than short arms with the 4" springs. The down side is that the rear, which was already stiff feels a lot worse in comparison. Hopefully I can build some long arms for the rear sometime in the next year.
    Picture from today, I ditched the stock front bumper, if you can call it that. I also had to add 2" coil spacers to the rear to level it out. The way my front spring plates mounted lifted the front about 1.5" more than with the stock setup.

    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:08 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  4. #4 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Senior Member IndyZJ's Avatar
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    Looks like the swap went well. Why not trim the fenders and lower it a couple inches? You could clear those tires with 3.5" of lift with the right trimming/ massaging. It'd ride, drive, and perform much better overall, especially with the rear geometry being as atrocious as it is at 6" of lift. Assuming you're running inverted T, Your steering would be more responsive, too. With that much lift on short arms and a spool, you'll rip off at least the upper body side mounts in no time and shorten the life of the unibody with it pogoing around.
    re: testy
    Quote Originally Posted by CrawlerReady
    scrotum.
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  5. #5 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    I almost didn't put the spacers in the rear, and would rather pull them than rip off a frame mount. I am planning on cutting the fenders as well, I just haven't gotten to it yet. The front I'll probably leave al alone. To lower it I'd have to cut the springs and I don't really want to do that. The steering has felt tight so far. This is the biggest project I've done so far with a wheeler, and with the help of some buddies i think it went pretty well.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  6. #6 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Senior Member Ken L's Avatar
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    You will want to get materials to make your rear long arms sooner than later. Keep a close eye on your rear upper control arm mounts until you do. I tore both of my rear uppers off the unibody with 4.5"/33s/D60/ARB. A spool is going to put tons more stress on the uppers.
    Ken L
    '96 ZJ with stuff
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  7. #7 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Senior Member IndyZJ's Avatar
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    It looks good - you definitely went the right way about extending the radius arms. You probably wouldn't notice a difference cutting a coil out of the front spring. Depending on which springs you have, it only increases the rate by about 10% per coil.

    If you still have the stock coils, you could even try moving the spacers up front and throwing the stockers back up there with the lifted rears. It wouldn't be ideal, but it's free to try.

    What did you do for the front panhard and bumpstops?
    re: testy
    Quote Originally Posted by CrawlerReady
    scrotum.
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  8. #8 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    I got the jeep with a 4" lift in it, so I don't have the stock springs. I cut the front fenders today and pulled the 2" spacers out of the rear, and I started pricing parts for the rear long arm.

    The bump stops on the front are still the stockers that are inside the coils, I haven't measured yet to see how much they need to be extended. On the rear I used a piece that came with the spacers to center them, and welded extensions on it, and welded it to the unibody. I still have to fine tune the bump stops so that they actually function like they should. The jeep already had an aftermarket drop bracket on the frame for the panhard, the bar it self was an aftermarket adjustable one for a ford that I shortened. I used the stock ford axle mount, I haven't noticed any bump steer.

    I plan on cutting the rear fenders in the next couple days, I'll get some pictures up when I'm done.

    I'll try and remember to take some more detailed pictures of how I did the front springs and steering, since I kinda skiped over that stuff in my first post.
    Last edited by Gearjammer; 10-09-2012 at 12:20 AM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  9. #9 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Here's a picture of the steering and track bar and you can kinda see how I did my spring plates and sway bar mounts.





    Front fender cutting



    Front fender finished



    And a picture of the rear fender trim. Hunting season starts Saturday so rear fenders are just getting a quick seal and paint. After hunting season I'll come back and try to make it look nice-ish.



    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:11 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  10. #10 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    Swapped a 231 in last night, it was out of a 4cyl TJ and the input was wrong so I had to swap em. Pretty easy tear down and rebuild, I still have to modify the 249 linkage to function properly with the 231. I also got some new tires and wheels, I went with 35" KM2's and black rims, I like the look a lot better than the old crusty chrome rims that I were on it.





    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:13 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  11. #11 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    thats lookin good man
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  12. #12 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Took the family out in the ZJ for the first time today, it works much better than my YJ did to haul the family around in the woods. The only issue is how noisy the suspension is, it sounds like everything is loose and rattling, but nothing is loose. In the rear all the bushings are worn out, so that's a lot of the noise, but the front still seams to rattle a lot too.



    My buddies ZJ, it was what made me want to sell my YJ in the first place. He's running the same axles with a Clayton's long arm kit, it works quite well.

    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:17 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  13. #13 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Replaced the front wheel bearings on both sides and all my front end noise is gone. Gonna put it in 4wd for the first time tomorrow night, if we can find some snow.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  14. #14 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Built a front bumper today. I more or less copied one that a user on here built, I forget who, but thanks. I used 5x2-3/16 for the bumper.

    Here are a couple pics of the mounts. I will probably get some angle and use it to tie into the face of the factory bumper as well.





    The center part.





    Waiting for paint.





    I do plan to put some 3/16 plate along the bottom of it, but I don't have the plate yet. When I get a winch I'm either going to mount it on top of the bumper and slightly into the grill, or behind the bumper and deep into the grill.
    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:20 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  15. #15 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    I finally got some plate so I could finish my bumper.



    Painted it with some rustolem hammered finish, I was hoping it would come out a little darker.

    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:21 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  16. #16 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Junior Member dragordie's Avatar
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    nice clean work on the front bumper
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  17. #17 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Nice ZJ. I'm building one just like it, same axles with radius arm set up. do you have any close up pics of your coil bucket mounting up front, and spring retainers for the rear bottom coil buckets? also a picture of where your joint end of the radius arm ended up in relation to your frame? I have the RC crossmember that I hope I wont have to modify..
    really?

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    • 11-06-2011 03:06 PM

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      for not knowing the difference of 8 inches and 8feet.
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  18. #18 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Here's the coil bucket. I used the stock ford buckets with some 1/2" x 2" tubing and a piece of 2" flat stock across the top. The coil buckets are bolted to the flat stock. This isn't how I originally had the coil buckets mounted, the first time I used 2" flat stock bent to a 90*, drilled new offset holes in the coil buckets, and bolted them to the stock holes on the radius arms. This put my coils out too wide.



    I had to use counter sunk screws to attach the flat stock to the radius arms, the coil bucket sits slightly over the top of the bolt holes. I also need to move this bucket outward about 1", I just haven't yet.



    Here's how the radius arms mount to the crossmember I made.



    As far as the rear coil retainers, I used Iron Rock Off roads 8.8 axle swap kit to mount the 9". It came with a spring retainer for the coils that sandwiches them to the mount, I wasn't able to get a picture that was worth a crap.
    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 07:23 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  19. #19 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gearjammer View Post
    Here's the coil bucket. I used the stock ford buckets with some 1/2" x 2" tubing and a piece of 2" flat stock across the top. The coil buckets are bolted to the flat stock. This isn't how I originally had the coil buckets mounted, the first time I used 2" flat stock bent to a 45*, drilled new offset holes in the coil buckets, and bolted them to the stock holes on the radius arms. This put my coils out too wide.


    I had to use counter sunk screws to attach the flat stock to the radius arms, the coil bucket sits slightly over the top of the bolt holes. I also need to move this bucket outward about 1", I just haven't yet.



    Here's how the radius arms mount to the crossmember I made.



    As far as the rear coil retainers, I used Iron Rock Off roads 8.8 axle swap kit to mount the 9". It came with a spring retainer for the coils that sandwiches them to the mount, I wasn't able to get a picture that was worth a crap.
    thanks for the pictures.
    really?

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    • 11-06-2011 03:06 PM

      Thread: 2012
      for not knowing the difference of 8 inches and 8feet.
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  20. #20 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    I Love the use of oem parts. I'd replace those heims with Johnny Joints on the crossmember. That may help cut down on the noise.
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  21. #21  
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    Using Johnny joints at your crossmember would be a bad idea imo. I would think the heim would be more tolerant to being out if phase
    4.5" front custom 3-link, dual triangulated 4 link, 35s, custom front bumper. upcoming: custom belly skid, rear bumper, rocker cutout/boatsides, half doors
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  22. #22 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Senior Member MallCrawlin Supporter biggoofy's Avatar
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    I run Johnny joints at my crossmember and its great
    93 ZJ long arms, 35's, F/R Long arms, 4.56 gears, and a bunch more
    98 5.9 slate gray 4" lift with stuff (sold)
    96 ZJ Lift, Long arms, 35's and a bunch of other shit! (RIP)
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  23. #23 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
    Member Gearjammer's Avatar
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    I used as much oem stuff as I could due to my tight budget. My buddies red grand has the Clayton long arm kit on it, it uses Johnny Joints at the crossmember, he claims the suspension makes a lot of noise in his too.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  24. #24 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    This Jeep is long gone, but I felt it worthy of having all the dead pic links fixed, so I just got done fixing the ones I could. Here's a couple pic's of it getting used, and a finished pic from when I sold it.







    Last edited by Gearjammer; 04-01-2020 at 08:03 PM.
    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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  25. #25 Re: 1/2 ton zj build with a HP44 and a 9" 
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    One more video

    96 ZJ 4.0, AX15, V8 axles, welded rear diff, some lift
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