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I have no idea what I'm doing aka the worst Ultra4 4400 build thread on Earth.

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Now that your expectations have been set. Welcome to my build thread. I'm going to speed through the old stuff to get you caught up.

It's 2018.

I bought a 98 Jeep XJ after discovering Jeepspeed with the intentions of racing in Jeepspeed 2700 (35" tire class). At this point I barely owned any tools and pretty much only knew how to do oil changes and brake jobs.
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Then I ordered a Full-Traction 6.5" long arm kit. I decided on this after seeing several other Jeepspeed XJs running it.

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and because I have ADHD I immediately opened all the boxes in my basement.

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My buddy was kind enough to left me do the install in his home shop.

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and because I didn't really have any tools or equipment I decided to go out and buy the safest jack stands known to man.

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also because the jeep was too tall for the jackstands i did have.

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It was at this point I ordered 37" tires... Which would bump us up to Jeepspeed 3700 (This sorta becomes a trend). I wanted to run 5.38s which won't fit in the 8.25. So I decided to build a 9" and found a good deal on a 79' Bronco rear axle. It was at this point I learned only low pinion D30s could run 5.38s. high pinion d30s max out at 5.13s. Whatever I went with a Yukon big bearing center section, a used Detroit, nodular daytona pinion support, 94 F150 rotors, and Speedway Motors big bore GM calipers, barnes4wd anti-wrap spring perches, and moved over the stock shock mounts.

Off to youtube it was to learn how to do gears.

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After building a few more axles I can say the 9" is my favorite to setup gears in. Once the axle was done I swapped it out in the street outside my house. If I stain the new pavers I'll get murdered.

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I wheeled it like this for a bit. It was a lot of fun but I also didn't have any experience wheeling anything besides local trails which was more mud than rocks or technical bits.

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I entered into a small race at a Jeep dealership and took 2nd place. It involved a car crush then into a mud pit. 1 lap timed. fastest time wins.

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At this point I'm getting tired of the local wheelers I've met on the trails because all they like to do is go park in the woods and drink beer at the bone fire. Ya know Wranglers with D30s and 40" tires. So I started a groupchat (as of 7/22/20 we have nearly 265 members) for people in the tri-state area to find others who want to go wheeling or need help. We also have a few subs on Reddit (/r/NJ4x4, /r/PA4x4, /r/NYOffroading, /r/4x4Buddy) that were started to help others find more wheeling friends by myself and a few people in the group chat.

Steering 37s on the stock box sucked.

Off to youtube again to learn how to rebuild and port/tap the stock box for hydro-assist.

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I ended up buying all my supplies from Surplus Center and put together my own ram/assist kit.

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Then I made the Full-Traction drop pitman arm double sheer. (The plugs in the pic below were temp while I was waiting for the ram)

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This worked well for a while until I sheered 9 teeth off my d30 ring gear. So I bought an 06 F350 35 spline D60.

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I ended up building this with a Barnes4wd truss/mounts, Barnes4wd crossover high steer weld on arms, welded the spider gears, and made my own trackbar, drag link, and tierod out of 1.5" OD DOM 1/4" wall, FK JMX 7/8x7/8" heims down to 3/4" high misalignment spacers and 3/4" bolts. At this point I could finally step up to 5.38s too.

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Bob Ross approves. Also if you're wondering why these pictures are in a shop it's because I got a job as a mechanic for a year so I could have access to equipment and get some more experience wrenching. I'm originally a computer nerd. I also own a computer/electronics repair shop and I occasionally make and sell some Jeep Liberty parts.

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At this point it's Dec-2019. I wheel it a few times at Ruasch Creek and AOAA but I'm limited on my steering angle with the xj box so I made my own pitman arm but ended up bending it. Fed up I rip it all out and decide it's time to stop pretending I can keep this street legal. Full hydro steering it is.

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Continued in next post
 

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
I went with a 2.5x10" (shortened to 9") PSC ram, TrailGear orbital, PSC 4.75" column with splined end to connect to factory steering shaft. I also swapped in an 01-04 WJ power steering pump using a PSC -8 flow control valve. I'm running -6 lines to the ram, -8 from the pump to the valve, and -8 on the return/cooler. The ram clevis is from Barnes4wd. Again using FK JMX heims.

Oh I also decided to switch over from Jeepspeed to Ultra4 4500 because I found out there are U4 races in PA which is a whole hell of a lot closer to NJ than NV or CA. Though with the full hydro it bumps us out of 4500 and into 4400 or 4800.

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After losing a bead at Rausch I really needed to get everything to 8 lugs. So I just went with a set of spacers/adapters to convert the 9". I was running regular 2" spacers before to match the width of the D60 upfront.

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Even at 10 psi the Jeep was too light to really get the sidewalls to bulge. This and blowing the beads led me to order a set of TMI DIY beadlocks.

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Then I picked up 150' of 2" OD DOM 1/8" wall, 140' of 1.75" OD DOM 1/8" wall tubing.

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Then I bought an 02 Yukon Denali with a 6.0L LQ4 (Iron block, alum heads). I also got a fantastic deal from Beerj on a TH400, converter, and cooler with fan.

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I bought the Yukon with a damaged 4l60e in it which blew up completely on the test drive so I called road side assistance to come bring it home. For anyone who knows Newark, NJ shouldn't be surprised that we watched this stolen bike get repo'd at the same time.

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I also got a good deal on these 14" 2.5 King piggy back coilovers.

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So I enlisted the help of another mechanic buddy and we started pulling the stock drivetrain.

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I live here now so if the town tries to complain about the build in the street I'm claiming squatters rights and this engine bay is a sovereign nation or something like that.

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We've finally reached today. Where I started to strip everything out so I can start cutting up the floor, firewall, and well the body and "frame".

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DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
and promptly stuffed everything into the Yukon so I can sprinkle in car parts without overloading my trash bin.

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I bought a set of 43" TSL stickies that I'm waiting to be brought up from GA in the next two weeks. I plan on using Ruff Stuff 48" trailing arms in the rear, converting the 9" into a full float axle with D60 unit bearings, 40 spline spool and shafts, front/rear stretch, and well everything else that comes with building a 4400 rig.

I'll most likely end up running 2.5 coilovers front/rear with 3.0 bypasses and 2.5 bumps.
 

Lil ugly

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2011
Messages
670
Location
Jacksonville, Fl
Very nice write up. Just a word of warning though. When you decide to do a full ground up buggy build make sure you keep the jeep to wheel while you build. It wont make the build go quicker but it will keep you sane.
 

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Started cutting out the floor. That lasted for about twenty minutes before I gave up and ordered a plasma cutter.

I ordered a Mophorn cut50 with pilot-arc off Amazon prime for $230. If it dies before I finish the project I'll just get a refund.

Its a 110/240v machine but I'll only be running it on 240v.

Not expecting much but shouldn't have any issue cutting the thin sheet metal that is an xj body and frame.

Going to build a table to sit the body on while I build the chassis. I also picked up a copy of Bend-Tech and have been practicing with it the last two weeks.

I built my buddy a roof top hybrid cage with it in exchange for him buying me the program and accepting that I'm going to make all my mistakes on his tube since this was the first time I've ever bent or notched tubing.

Somehow managed to break 4 harbor Frieght notchers. Keep the reciept and they'll just keep swapping them out. The threads the hole saw screw on to keep snapping off.


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Zjman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
2,009
If you are wanting cheap notcher go with the Eastwood notcher. Mine has built 3 rigs. You can buy replacement arbors off their site and I recommend buying 2. Accidents happen. But it’s a great cheap notcher
 

ridered3

Not Rigless
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
6,360
Location
Rockvale, TN
Nice title for a Build Thread. :dblthumb:

What's the plan chassis/body wise? Are you going to build a chassis with some panels to race 4400/4800 or are you going to build a chassis with XJ panels to race 4400/4800?

Also since you are in the north east, check out the Line Mountain Race Series.
 

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Nice title for a Build Thread. :dblthumb:

What's the plan chassis/body wise? Are you going to build a chassis with some panels to race 4400/4800 or are you going to build a chassis with XJ panels to race 4400/4800?

Also since you are in the north east, check out the Line Mountain Race Series.

I plan on making a full chassis with a wheelbase stretch and sit the xj body over it. I do plan on dove nose/tailing it. I plan on stealing a lot of the overall shape after Matt's scorpion crawler. With a lot of "insperation" from goatbilt and TMR's.

Or alteast I'm going to try.
 

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DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
It was pretty much 100° all day so took it easy and got the lq4 ready to be pulled. Going to finish it up tomorrow before the sun comes out.

Waiting for the plasma cutter to be delivered Wednesday before I jump back on cutting up the body.


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ridered3

Not Rigless
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
6,360
Location
Rockvale, TN
I plan on making a full chassis with a wheelbase stretch and sit the xj body over it. I do plan on dove nose/tailing it. I plan on stealing a lot of the overall shape after Matt's scorpion crawler. With a lot of "insperation" from goatbilt and TMR's.

Or alteast I'm going to try.

Sounds like a plan and was just curious.
 

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
I got the LQ4 pulled and sent the Yukon to the funny farm to sit while I try to part it out. I plan on doing a BTR stage 2 or stage 3 cam with springs. I need to do some research and see what everyone suggests for a trunion upgrade.

Pulled the harness intact so going to give a shot at cutting it down myself and re-looming it. If that doesn't work out then it will be enough to push me to a Holly terminator and harness. I like that it has canned tunes which I would hope would let me get away without having to pay for a dyno session until I've added a few more mods.

Plasma cutter came in and cut a test strip of 1/8" angle. Tomorrow I'll start cutting the floor out of the Jeep with it. Will get pics/vids of how well it cuts.

I'm also planning on ordering an engine gasket kit from Mahle off rockauto.
 

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DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Pulled off the 37s STT Pros and burned in the Total Metal Innovations diy beadlocks. Went with a thin ring to keep weight down. 3/16" inners and 1/4" outers. I really dig the anti-coning tabs.

I picked up a set of 43x14.5R17 Interco Super Swamper TSL stickies from a guy selling them on Pirate. He was in GA. I'm in NJ. Somehow everything worked out perfectly with my buddy going to GA to visit family and had enough room to stuff them in his RV.

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My back hurts.

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Nothing to see here.

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It'll be nice having the extra diff clearance.

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DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Hit the attachment limit.

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Now that I have the tires I am going to pull the axles tomorrow. I have to figure out what the wheelbase is going to be. I'm going to shoot for 120".

I also got in FEL-PRO head gaskets, rear main seal and rear cover gasket, valve cover gaskets w/ grommets, intake manifold gaskets, timing cover gasket, water pump gaskets, gasket gaskets, gasket gasket gaskets.

Some shiny ebay headers

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And egr/evap block off plates.
 

DobermanRacing

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2020
Messages
103
Location
NJ
Broke the LQ4 down, replaced all the gaskets, cleaned it up, and painted the block Ford Gray and the aluminum covers Aluminum. Left the valve covers unpainted aluminum.

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Got a lot cut out of the XJ body and rolled the axles under it. Here it's sitting at 125" wheelbase. I'm thinking about moving back axles back ~2-3".

I was shooting for 120" but I'm thinking that will be too short for somr of the obstacles a 4400 rig will encounter.

What do ya'll think is an ideal wheelbase for 42-43" tires.

I also plan on dropping the ride height a bit more too.

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FlatlandFSJ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
1,057
Location
SoWal Florida
If you plan on racing east coast woods stuff, I'd almost say 120 is gonna be longer then you want. Healy's new car is a 116 wheelbase and the miller chassis cars tend to be 113-116 in east coast trim. I doubt you see many 120+ cars unless its in the desert. Long rigs that dont turn well tend to get hung up in the trees pretty bad.
 

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