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Thread: SynergyXJ Re-Build

  1. #1
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    Default SynergyXJ Re-Build



    I have a lot of big plans for the XJ coming up, so figured I'd get this build thread started.

    It's going to be lush.

    I've had this rig since 2003 and built it some in NC and VA. That portion of my rig's life was as a daily driver, and off road trials were hard to find. Now that I'm finally in Colorado and there are orders of magnitude more miles of trails and I have a new daily, I'm focusing on building it out more how I've always wanted.

    My build up to this point is summarized here on Cherokee Forum: http://www.cherokeeforum.com/f46/syn...-build-180050/
    My build from here on out will be in this thread.

    (as of 5/22/15)
    What has happened in this re-build:
    - New Clearwater HD cylinder head
    - 6.5" Rough Country Long Arm Kit
    - SYE (Advance Adapters) and CV driveshaft installed
    - 31x10.50 -> 33x12.50 -> 35x12.50
    - MC-CTIS (manually connected central tire inflation system)
    - Alternator Splash Guard
    - Bought a Miller 211 (my third machine)
    - Welded track rod bracket
    - Welded 2"x5" Rockers
    - Installed all-aluminum radiator
    - Welded front winch mount "bumper"
    - Installed Transmission Cooler
    - Bored throttle body to 61mm
    - Installed hood louvers
    - Relocated snorkel inlet


    Installing Right Now:
    - Chop Top
    - Rigid Foam Fender Flares
    - Steel Window Shield Things

    Over the next year:

    - Really crazy paint job
    - Disc brake conversion - riding the brakes down the mountains is hard on drums with 35's
    - Selectable front locker
    - Buy a truck to tow this truck
    - Truss, Link and Coil rear axle


    Greater than a year or maybe a different XJ:
    - Design a bolt on portal gearbox technology and sell those to you
    - Exoskeleton
    - Full width axles and 8" lift, if not the portal solution


    Circa April 2015:


    Currently Installed:

    Purchased Hardware:
    - 6.5" Rough Country Long Arm Kit
    - 35x12.50
    - Powertrax rear lunchbox locker
    - Clearwater Castings Heavy Duty Cylinder Head
    - Rusty's Steering Box Brace

    Fabricated or Heavily Modified Hardware:
    - [most of this just got cut off, list update after some project completion]
    - HD Hood Louver (that's Dome Depot, not heavy duty)

    Recovery:
    - 12,000 lbs Badlands (Harbor Freight) winch w/remote
    - 3x rear shackle mounts
    - straps, tree savers, shackles, snatch blocks etc.

    Electrical:
    - 100W Renology Solar Panel
    - Marine Deep cycle battery
    - 750W Power Inverter
    - Computer:
    - - AMD dual core 64 bit AM2, 2GB RAM, 64GB SSD
    - - GPS, OBD-II, DAQ

    Pneumatics:
    - Compressor feeding clean, dry air to MC-CTIS

    Aesthetics:
    - The headliner.



    Hang tight, I'll make some posts with pictures and stuff.
    ___________
    Engineer - Artist - Innovator
    Instagram: @jeepstream
    2000 XJ Chop Top Sport & 1992 XJ Backup Rig

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    [reserved for status updates, or something]

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Clearwater Castings Heavy Duty Cylinder Head

    In case you don't know, the 2000 Cherokees have a notorious cylinder head crack. I had crazy, spontaneous and [sometimes] self-correcting symptoms over the years that I later learned were symptoms of the crack. The main two that I noticed were wonky oil pressures and mucky coolant. Lacking a debilitating condition, I continued to drive it under close eye.

    In early September 2014, I was in the desert of Nevada and finally overheated and really cracked the head, resulting in a "break down" and a tow to Elko, NV. Being Labor Day weekend, I was stuck in a shut down town for 46 hours until a U-Haul opened and I rented a truck to get my truck back home. Through the adventure, I remembered hearing some rumor about an '00 cylinder head crack. I researched it more and my symptoms lined up - self diagnosis complete.

    I ordered a heavy duty replacement head, complete with valves and springs from Clearwater Castings, read up in my Haynes manual and caught up on some YouTube about head replacement. It was definitely the biggest gas engine project I've ever done, but felt confident and some 16 hours of work over a month later:

    I had my rig running better than it had in years. Awesome.




    Rockers removed, springs exposed.


    Work area next to my house.



    I'll skip a tire upgrade post. The tires used to be the bald 31x10.50 AT's shown above and now they're the 33x12.50 MT's shown later.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Why did you want to run so much lift (6.5")with such short tires (33's)?

    Should be a good looking jeep when it's done.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    @gm4x4lover - Big lift on medium tires was mostly a function of timing. I really needed new tires and got them around September 2014, unsure of when I would get to do the lift. I'll most likely go up to 35" next time I need new tires, or just sell the 33's sooner. I'm also avoiding re-gearing until I'm ready for whole new axles.


    MO-CTIS
    Manually Operated Central Tire Inflation System
    [re-post from Mod For The Day thread]

    I hate deflating and inflating tires but I love designing pneumatic systems, so I'm developing this MO-CTIS. Basically, I connect all four tires with locking air chucks then open and close valves to inflate and deflate all four tires simultaneously. This also makes it very easy to measure the pressure without removing the chuck and all the tires have the same pressure.

    I've now run this setup for several trail rides and it's working great. The goal was to be easier than manually inflating/deflating each tire, but it turns out to be faster as well.

    Here are some pictures from Revision 1:


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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    SynergyXJ previously posted:
    "MO-CTIS
    Manually Operated Central Tire Inflation System
    [re-post from Mod For The Day thread]

    I hate deflating and inflating tires but I love designing pneumatic systems, so I'm developing this MO-CTIS. Basically, I connect all four tires with locking air chucks then open and close valves to inflate and deflate all four tires simultaneously. This also makes it very easy to measure the pressure without removing the chuck and all the tires have the same pressure."

    that is sweet!!!!!
    ___________
    "The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the nave forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
    -Thomas Szasz

  7. The Following Member Says Thanks to Rick For This Post:

    SynergyXJ (March 7th, 2015)

  8. #7
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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Long Arm Lift Prep

    I ordered a 6.5" Long Arm lift kit from Rough Country; along with SYE, driveshaft, tie rod and steering stabilizer.

    It came in 13 boxes, the most UPS parcels I've ever gotten in a day!




    Kit Contents, looks like it should.




    I was feeling in a rush to get started and my only work area is outside and covered in snow. I rented out a 10x20 storage unit to do the work. It's cramped, but definitely workable. I also got half off the first month, and I'm only using it for a month, so not a bad deal for a hard, level surface with a roof and [limited] power. Incidentally, the available unit is the one on the direct other side from the one I already rent. Now that the snow has melted, I have questioned my decision to work in a storage unit, but whatever, the rig is stuck there until I'm done.



    I painted the parts all crazy style!



    That was fun. I've played with a rattle can a bit years ago, but this was my first real splatter paint project. I'm pretty satisfied.




    I'm working on the transfer case now, hoping to get some of these radical parts on by this weekend!
    ___________
    Engineer - Artist - Innovator
    Instagram: @jeepstream
    2000 XJ Chop Top Sport & 1992 XJ Backup Rig

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    MultiScuf (March 14th, 2015)

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    sounds like your having a great time with your build ! looking good, the air system is sweet! ill have to look in to something like that on my yota build. you picked some crazy colors, but it will defiantly give it some personality I fully respect that! it nice to see someone go in a different direction and just have fun building!
    ___________
    LETS GO !!!

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    SynergyXJ (March 14th, 2015)

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Slip Yoke Elimination Challenge

    It wasn't really too challenging, but it sounded like an MXC reference so I'm going with it.

    The main challenge was removing the front yoke nut. I first tried a ratchet, then an electric impact wrench, then a pneumatic impact wrench, then a breaker bar with a clamp, then finally: 3' angle iron clamped to the yoke with a 6' breaker bar+pipe. That's probably the tightest nut I've ever removed. Assuming I put 80 lbs on the pipe 5' out, it took 400 ft-lbs to remove that nut.


    The guy in the Advance Adapters video has a bench with a mount to slide the yoke in to hold it.
    If I did this regularly, I'd make one.


    Second Challenge is to follow the directions in order. I took it apart out of order and reassembled it reverse of that, and therefore out of order.
    I took this picture like "hey look my transfer case is coming together!" then when I put it together, I realized the speedometer gear must go on after it's closed up. So if you're installing an SYE and you get to this point, back up and follow the instructions in order.




    The dichotomy of the new parts to the original 15 year old parts is quite noticeable:





    installed, hellz yeah:



    Oh yeah, and the First Challenge was actually to get all 6 transmission-to-tcase nuts off. As you can see in the picture above, I had to cut the exhaust to get one nut. I know it sounds ridiculous to have to cut something to access a nut, but I couldn't figure out another way. I was watching videos of these guys with TJ's and there's a bunch of room, but the XJ doesn't have this room - which is also baffling because the XJ is bigger. Anyway, I got to a point where it would be more efficient to cut it and re-weld it than dick around and continue being frustrated.
    ___________
    Engineer - Artist - Innovator
    Instagram: @jeepstream
    2000 XJ Chop Top Sport & 1992 XJ Backup Rig

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Did you remove the cross member to pull the t case ?
    ___________
    LETS GO !!!

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    94ToyBear previously posted:
    "Did you remove the cross member to pull the t case ?"

    I did remove the cross member. One of the nuts is behind the transmission mount, which is mounted to the cross member.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    I use a fine tooth flex ratchet wrench to take to hard ones out. Keep up build, fun to see this un fold
    ___________
    LETS GO !!!

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Oh yeah, a flex ratchet is what my tool box is missing!


    The lift installation is nearly complete! Most things are installed but I have a few things left to weld, like the track rod bracket. I managed to drive it, or limp it, slowly back home tonight through neighborhoods. Welcome home! It was dark by the time I finished, but here's this picture from earlier.




    Here's a problem: One of the big bolts going through the front of the driver leaf spring broke off during removal. It was tough, so it soaked in PB blaster overnight and it made at least one full rotation before snapping. I'm planning a coil conversion, so the fix is pseudo-temporary. I've had a few ideas and my favorite is to cut out the stuck bolt, the thread it's in, and a slot on the bottom of the bracket. I'll then make a flag nut to stick up in there.
    ___________
    Engineer - Artist - Innovator
    Instagram: @jeepstream
    2000 XJ Chop Top Sport & 1992 XJ Backup Rig

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Wow, I've never seen one of those break! Usually, the weld nut pops off inside the bracket.
    SynergyXJ previously posted:
    "I've had a few ideas and my favorite is to cut out the stuck bolt, the thread it's in,"

    Put a punch on it and whack it with a hammer, done!
    ___________
    The Lost Boys motto: We don't know where we're going, but we'll be there for awhile. :)

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Air hammer with a small chisel bit....
    I have walked 3/4 bolt for sheer blades.
    The sheers I was working on cuts a 812 steel I beam In 10 secounds.
    700 tool steel with a grade 8 bolt bust off in it.
    and sure as **** it can be walked out.....


    Lookong realy good man.
    I think multiscuf is still lookong to sell his 35's.
    he wants to much but I think he would take a grand at this point.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    I'm enjoying this build keep the updates coming
    ___________
    1990 Jeep Comanche

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    SynergyXJ (March 22nd, 2015)

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Read you message brother XJ :P

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Hypoid previously posted:
    "Put a punch on it and whack it with a hammer, done!"

    I did that at first because I was going to drill it out. Drilling it sucked and I'm glad I stopped.


    dieseldoc previously posted:
    "Air hammer with a small chisel bit...."

    You mean, like, chisel the bolt on one side to rotate it counter-clockwise and out? It makes sense in theory but I doubt it for a bolt too stuck for two dudes on an 8' double ended breaker bar. It definitely would have been worth a try it if I had an air hammer.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    I went with the most fabricationesque method I could come up with:
    -Plasma cut the broken bolt and nut out and a cut square hole around that
    -Cut a square of 3/16" plate, drill 5/8" hole
    -Weld a nut to the plate
    -Weld the plate into the square hole on frame extension


    Here's a blurry picture of the repair and the removed scrap. Ran out of shielding gas right as I finished and got a spot of porosity, but I still feel good about it, also considering the plasma cut left a big gap to fill. The way it all fits and bolts together, it can't actually come out even if the weld did break.






    I got the most of it together. Still have a few odds and ends to finish up. I sold my 33's to my friend (pictured) and put his stock rims and ~28's on to go get a set of 35's (not pictured). It was entirely goofy driving around on those tires with a 6.5" lift, kinda squirrely. The 35's ride much better, but I didn't take a picture yet. They also look proportionate.




    Speaking of my friend's rig, he came over to cut/hammer/weld/bondo his wheel wells this week. It's still on 20 year old stock suspension and we're going to put it on my old stuff temporarily until he gets some new lift parts. I'm pretty stoked to have another Jeep to work on but not have to pay for! This probably won't be the last time his rig sneaks into my build.





    Conclusion: The suspension and steering work is pretty much done. I took it for a test drive and it drove pretty well, it felt better than I expected. However, up in the mountains, the engine started misfiring. Darn. I managed to get back home with occasional misfiring. At least everything I did works! I started reading and diagnosing the misfire and think I have a direction to go in, but more on that later.

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    Default Re: SynergyXJ Re-Build



    Good to hear you got it moving. The repair looks good.
    I sure hope I can wheel soon so we can go out with you and see this thing finished!

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