Got most of my work done which is good since I'll be heading to Ouray in two weeks. For those of you who weren't at the Anniversary run my passenger side LCA broke and that my truck's belt was screeching like I just summoned Satan.
Essentially what happened was the jam nut on one side was loose and didn't keep tension on the threads and they became stripped. Now I'm assuming they've been stripped for a long time since my front tires have had very weird wear. To say the least I'm glad they came out when I was going 4 mph on the biggest run of year as opposed to driving at 80 mph between Montana and Colorado.
There was enough room I was able to wrap the control arm together with a ratchet strap and I had a friend come down with a trailer and get me. God bless good friends and god bless FR4x4. Everyone was helping out as much as they could as well as offering to take me out with them as a co pilot and I really appreciated it. Jim even offered to let me drive but I didn't want to end up breaking his rig like mine.
I'll see if I can upload a video after this post so you can see how bad it really is since this picture doesn't do justice.
To address the screeching belt I replaced it and then my truck refused to start. After replacing a whole bunch of parts and no success I got irritated and sent it to a shop. The shop called said the plugs were wet... well obviously the truck would crank and crank but not fire so yes they would be wet. I told them to change the plugs just in case there was something else wrong. Well new plugs got it started but they told me the belt immediately smoked out the shop then blew up. I guess the alternator was locked as seen below.
Yeah that might be why it locked up. As you can see the shop wasn't joking when they said it blew up. Luckily the alternator was easy to replace and Napa had a 117 amp one so I could upgrade for a little more electrical power. After replacing it the truck fired up and drove like it should.
So now it's time for all the "fun" stuff. I picked up Metalcloaks 3.5" TJ springs, LCA, Track Bar and extended brake lines along with CavFab 1 ton steering.
As you can see the Metalcloak spring on the right is significantly larger than the one that was in my truck on the left. The ones I had in there had thicker coil metal and were not progressive rate springs as the new ones and didn't ride very well. They were supposed to be 3" lift springs I never actually measured but it seemed more like 2" of lift. The Metalcloak springs have me sitting around 4-4.5" now (i really should measure). They also ride significantly better even with my junk Skyjacker shocks I have in there for now. Since they're so large they were a bit of a pain to get in to the truck but it should preform better on and off road now like I've heard from many people about these springs. I'm probably happiest that I don't have red springs in my truck anymore.
Metalcloaks thing with they're parts is ionizing them gold for strength or whatever reason it may be but the new track bar is on the right and the stock is on the left. The body mount is replaced from a TRE to a heim joint running 5/8" hardware and 9/16" on the axle mount. For anyone whose put in a new track bar knows how tedious the process is and it was no different for me. It eventually got to be ~1/4" more tire sticking out on one side and I called it good. I also replaced the LCA since as seen above one broke. Metalcloaks arms are the same as the track bar ionized gold and installed with ease since the truck was sitting at about the same height. I'm glad I replaced the arms I had in there other than it breaking because some of my joints were totally shot.
Next was the 1 ton cross over steering steering. It's 1.5" solid bar machined to run 5/8" heim joints. Which is without a doubt overkill but I've heard of a lot of people running this kit lately and being very happy with it. The price was also right at about $220 before shipping as opposed to Ruff Stuff or Currie at about $500. The problem though is it's too much over kill. They sell two kits the standard which I have and the high clearance (+$40) which has a couple bends to clear the sway bars and a larger diff cover. What I figured is that I wasn't running sway bars right now and I have a Solid diff cover which is about the same size as the stock cover I could get away with the standard. Well lo and behold the tie rod still makes contact and lot of it. I can get reasonable turning radius when turning left but not when turning right. Which I found surprising that the track bar bolt is more of a problem then the diff cover. So being very frustrated about buying something that had no mention of this I tried contacting CavFab no one has ever picked up the phone for me and I didn't get my message answered til a couple days later and all it said was to get grinding. So what I've experience from this steering is if your running standard you either need to run it OTK or get the high clearance kit. I've looked for offset heim joints that would work but I can only find 3/4" bore with a 7/8" shank where this steering kit runs 5/8" bore with 3/4" shank so that out of the question til someone make some. I've also thought that I'll just wait til I get back to school and try the tube bender in the lab since I only need 10 degree bend for it to work properly. Regardless of what I do it'll hold me over til I can get a different kit of find a proper solution.
Here is the final product of a couple hours and a couple beers in my buddies shop. Some final concerns: 1) I'm running the drag link over the pitman arm to get a somewhat correct angle with the track bar to avoid bumpsteer. When we were measuring for shock length the drag Link got a little too close to the oil pan for comfort. I did throw a couple hockey pucks in for bumpstops but I may need more. 2) Since these springs are so big I got some serious shock length measurements which seem a little unreasonable and where pushing the new brake lines to the max so I may have to get a limiting strap or longer brake lines in the future. 3) I recently brought my truck in to get an alignment and was in formed my ball joints and UCA axle bushing are shot and can't have the alignment fixed til they're replaced. So I need to get a quote to figure out if I'm going to be doing this or have them do it. I was really hoping to make it til next summer to replace the ball joints but on the drive over to the shop I was feeling some death wobble and knew I probably won't be so lucky. 4) Bilstein shocks have been ordered but only 2 have shown up out of the 4 I ordered so hopefully they all arrive.
The hope is have the beast make it up and back from Montana one more time which then I should get a full time job hopefully as an engineer and be able to get a cheap DD and put the MJ off to the side for some more serious upgrades. As of right now I'm also planning on not doing anything too serious next summer since I haven't really gone wheeling in the last two years and the one time I go my truck breaks so I'm getting a little irritated with working on stuff. But both of these things are also just hopes so we will see if they actually happen or not. I'm also pretty satisfied with where my truck is at the moment. Some rock sliders and tube fenders would be nice and I got a pretty easy final semester ahead with all my friends already graduated so we will see if I can find the motivation to make some with the decent lab I have at my disposal.