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  1. #21
    eric m's Avatar
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    So last winter was a bit rough with the soft top when the temps dipped below zero, and this past summer the rear window quit zipping. The side and rear windows were hard to see out of and they were predicting a cold winter this winter (damned if they weren't right...) So I started looking for used TJ hardtop and set of full doors...when I recovered from the sticker shock I started researching what it would take to modify a yj or cj7 top. Turns out it's not to hard you just need a grinder with a cutoff wheel and flap wheel.

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    So with a bit of grinding and some free truck cap clamps (I also removed and reused my soft top windshield latches) my $175 hardtop fit my Jeep. Plus checkout the cool '70s spoiler thing... As to the doors, my dad bought a yj back in October that came with a truck load of spare parts which included these cool doors

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    The Cheap Wrangler Build...-forumrunner_20140301_190711.png

    Well they didn't just bolt right up but they weren't top bad to install...I ended up drilling out and replacing the upper hinge bolts so I could tilt the door back so that it lined up well with the windshield frame. They also needed painted to match the top

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    Plus I needed to make some new striker pins, after some careful measuring I located the pin off the existing lower mount hole and cut two steel plates, drilled them, and welded in some 5/8" pins I picked up at the tractor store. As for a mirror I picked up a advance auto store mirror for $10 and drilled and tapped a broken mirror mount from my parts box. Total with paint, mirror, hardware, and weather stripping was $50.
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  2. #22
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    Well not too long after I got the top and doors done my 220k mike t-case bit the dust...I searched craigslist and found a yj t-case with the correct spline count for $125

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    I robbed the yoke and selector lever off my t-case and I installed a advance adaptors sye kit and tom woods driveshaft along with some Rubicon express adjustable upper control arms (to set the pinion angle of the cv rear shaft). Did all the work with just my 7 year old son helping me...first time tearing apart a t-case.
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  3. #23
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    Obviously the t-case replacement wasn't inexpensive but I don't mind spending the money for the quality upgrades...it helped that by doing the work I didn't have to pay labor plus it's always a fun trine to drive up to summit racing (where I got the sye and control arms). Well tax seasons has arrived and I've been sick of being beat up by the roads I have to drive so I popped for some fox 2.0 shocks and some bar pin eliminators from zone offroad.

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    They were worth every penny. The Jeep rides like it has 10" more wheel base. Also I really am impressed with the zone bpe's they're made here IM the USA plus they're about half the cost of jks stuff. As a tip zone only lists them as a rear bpe but if you nip 7/16" or so off the front edge they work great in the front as well.
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  4. #24
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    Been a while since I've updated this. Latest improvement has been some new front seats.

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    Jeep cherokee leather limited front seats, they even have heaters. Price for the seats was $0. Got to love free stuff!
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  5. #25
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    I also picked up some tj full doors for $250. I still need to paint them to match but now I'm a little more set for winter. Also just got a set of jku springs for $40 and ordered some .750" spacers from Rubicon express. Will be installing those next week.
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  6. #26
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    Started my jk to tj spring swap:

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    Nice shiny new springs, I'm currently running a 2" spacer lift front and rear. I've heard that jk rear coils net around 2" of lift so I removed the spacers I'm currently running in the rear. I did however choose to run some .750" spacers, my thinking that with a hard top, warn gas tank skid plate, 32" tire, tools, passengers they may settle more than if I was running a soft top.
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  7. #27
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    The Cheap Wrangler Build...-forumrunner_20150903_094001.png

    So far I've got the rear in. Front will take a little longer since I'm making a few changes with the bump stops. I've never been really happy with what I had up front due to rust issues during the initial spacer install.
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  8. #28
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    The Cheap Wrangler Build...-forumrunner_20150903_211951.png



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    Front is done in spite of the rain and storms that popped up. I replaced the beyond shot factory bumpstops with some energy suspension universal ones. They are the same height as factory but half the price. I also tapped the spring pads to install some bumpstop extensions.
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  9. #29
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    Re: The Cheap Wrangler Build...

    Post some photos of your new bumpstops if you get a chance. I'm also interested to hear what you think of the JK springs - I've never heard of this swap.

  10. #30
    eric m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryMason View Post
    Post some photos of your new bumpstops if you get a chance. I'm also interested to hear what you think of the JK springs - I've never heard of this swap.


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    They're nothing fancy, the uppers are universal energy suspension, the lowers are hockey pucks. I drilled them on center and counter bored the upper puck enough to sink the head of the bolt. At $2.50 each they are far more cost effective than the $30-$45 dollar interlocking stops that bolt on the same way.
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  11. #31
    eric m's Avatar
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    The Jk springs are awesome. My stock springs were pretty shot, but even compared to good low mileage tj springs these are hands down better. The rear Jk springs are a progressive type, so they deal great with the hardtop. The stock jk rear springs are about 2" taller than the tj rears but the fronts are around the same height (being a 4 cylinder stock 6 cylinder tj springs would have theoretically given me some slight lift ). You do need 2 " spacers in the front (I already had these since I was running a spacer lift.
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  12. #32
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    I've bounced around with additional lighting in the past on this jeep and previous ones and I've always wanted to try a decent led light. I went with a anzo USA 6" light bar. It's pretty impressive for its size, the light pattern extends roughly the same length as the low beams but it covers a wider area. The light is also starkly clear, I will get some night shots this weekend. The install is smooth, everything is nicely packed, the wires come with a pvc loom already installed. They also feature a weather pack style connection at the light.

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  13. #33
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    The Cheap Wrangler Build...-forumrunner_20150926_212412.png



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    Went to the 4 wheel drive hardware jeep jamboree today. I hit the obstacle course, it was a riot. The pictures don't do it justice, it was a blast. The jeep preformed awsome. I hit some obstacles that much more built jk's bi-passed.
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  14. #34
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    Re: The Cheap Wrangler Build...

    Did you end up putting turn signals on your flat fenders? I like what you did (looks cost effective), but I'm thinking that i need turn signals.

  15. #35
    eric m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryMason View Post
    Did you end up putting turn signals on your flat fenders? I like what you did (looks cost effective), but I'm thinking that i need turn signals.
    For the time being I have them in the bumper, I used some small but very bright led's.
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  16. #36
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    My latest project has been a cowl snorkel. I've been accumulating parts for awhile now. I used a spectre inline air box I bought from summit racing, part of the factory tj air system, some "ricer" hose's from autozone (however summit actually carries one in a 40" length that would have been nicer. Also grabbed an assortment of silicone couplers, a 3" firewall mount, a 45 degree elbow and a custom bracket I made. I had originally intended to build something similar to the river raider setup but I wanted to have a higher mount and I didn't want to try to cobble something together out of plumbing and shop vac parts, so I used the upper portion of a rugged ridge xhd high mount snorkel for a jk and pretty much re worked the base and bracket as needed.

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  17. #37
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    Sorry for the jumbled pictures I'm not used to this phone. My overall cost (counting the parts I used) is right around $275. Not dirt cheap but not $400 like arb (plus the intake isn't ran super low and the snorkel isn't hanging off the side of the jeep) and not $650 like the river raider kit. All of the hose couplings is already or will be sealed with silicone. The install was pretty smooth (I had pre-built the bracket and modified the upper snorkel) the key was spending the time to mock everything up that I could. The snag came in that I had to clearance the inside of the cowl a little bit. That was unforeseen but I will be cleaning up that area with some dyno mat.
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  18. #38
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    Re: The Cheap Wrangler Build...

    Could you have reversed the hoses end for end on the canister so they didn't cross each other?

  19. #39
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    Not with the size of the air box I used. It's 6.5" od , that limited my mounting locations. At the time that I ordered it the smaller diameter boxes were back ordered and I thought I was going to start this project much sooner. Actually it isn't is bad as it looks from the picture nothing is kinked or pinched in there.
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  20. #40
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    Re: The Cheap Wrangler Build...

    I like the canister bracket, simple and effective. Is the fender very thick where it's mounted? You might want to reinforce it on both sides of the fender so vibration doesn't cause fatigue cracks where the bracket bolts to the fender.

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