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tjZ06

TJ's 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Build

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TJ let me know when we are doing the rubicon bro

owe are a Jeep fam too

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18 hours ago, jeeperdino said:

nice build, just in time for me as I just picked up one of these to use as

my next RV toad. after two trips to KOH in buggies and sxs I decided to

get something I could roll up the windows in. this one has a rustys 4.0 kit

on 32s. Question, did you use a drop pitman arm?

006.JPG

Don't do a drop pitman arm without raising the axle side of the track bar: it'll take the two links out of parallel with each other and introduce bumpsteer.

And don't drop the chassis side of the track bar instead.  It will try to peel off the "frame", even beefed.  Ask me how I know.

18 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

I'm already planning front, rear and center section frame stiffeners, as mentioned above.  Yes, the SD60/Sterling combo is a nice combo, but way wide for a WJ and also super-duper-extra-overkill for 35"s.  In fact, if I order the bolt-in axles I'd even be tempted to just do ECGS D44/44 vs. D44/60.  Agree also, any trail that needs tons (and 40"s... cuz tons 'n 40"s all the things) this isn't the rig/build for.  I like Overkill, but not THAT much Overkill.  

I agree, 33"s are plenty for the Rubicon (again, there are a zillion videos of stock Rubis on 33"s making it).  I disagree on the chromo standpoint.  The D30 needs every bit of help it can get if you're going to lock it, even "just" on 33"s.  Also, the only ARB option for my D30 is 35 spline, the only 35 spine axle option is RCV, so you're sort of stuck there.  

The D44A rear truss is pretty cheap: https://www.vividracing.com/-p-151782764.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwoqDtBRD-ARIsAL4pviB-8VMkd-fhAWlKeNQ8r5vkSlt4UEwGrsrJK2ftS3i96oGkdCpF1bMaAtCIEALw_wcB (that'd be if I go with the Clayton rear long arm, obviously) or https://www.ironrockoffroad.com/product/wj-44a-rear-axle-truss.html and they are something I know a few people that would burn in for some free beer (vs. a full axle build where I'd need to actually find a shop to do it).  I've seen lots of 44As running 35"+ with a good truss like that and zero issues.  

 

 

 

All-in-all you are probably right: this is not the rig for tons and Yuge tires.  Beefing up the 30 and 44A and sticking to 33"s at my current height (with the Notch fender flares) is probably the way to go - especially for my use case.  I'd still be able to do the Rubicon... and that's about as hardcore as I want to get (which isn't that hardcore at all in the crawling world).   I'd avoid a lot of extra weight, reduced ground clearance etc. going this way... and it's cheaper.  Still, as an ex-crawler I would feel like I was kicking my dog putting $ into the D30, but I guess I'll get over it.  I'll still do the frame stiffeners even with this combo, and do them ASAP so I can keep this thing straight 'n tight. 

 

-TJ

 

I've been rocking stock D30 shafts with new Spicer 760x joints and welded caps, locked on heavy ass General true 33s and steel beadlocks for years now.  Every hard line of every Big Bear trail, Rubicon (including some very spirited attempts at Soup Bowl fully loaded, meant to back after setting up camp but were too exhausted), Smasher Canyon, Chocolate Thunder, etc.  In that time, I had one cap twist slightly.  To prevent that from turning into a problem, I painted witness marks using 2 stripes of masking tape 1/8" apart across the caps/ears and a quick hit of silver paint.  They'll be fine so long as you don't jam a tire somewhere and keep trying, or try to rev-limit climb 

17 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

On a side-note, when it comes to 33"s vs. 35"s for my WJ, I sort of was just responding to the same question on another forum about 35"s vs. 37"s for a JL guy.  I just suck at taking my own advice.  Anyway, the point I was making to the guy was that there's only about 1" difference in actual ground clearance between a tire 2" taller overall (in his case 37" vs. 35", but it applies in my case when talking 35" vs. 33").  How often are I going to find that obstacle that is perfectly wrong to where I just can't get over it with a 33" (even winching) but a 35" and that 1" extra ground clearance would have made it?  Probably never.  Yes, the 35" has other advantages (contact patch when aired down, height helps it roll-over obstacles more easily) but if it's going to basically mean $10k of extra sheeeet and having the WJ taller than I want, are 35"s worth it? 

 

-TJ
 

They actually are, but going 35s on a clean WJ like that either means skyjacking it, or hacking up fenders.  Not sure about the 44A, but the D30 will be fine with it, chromos/full case locker, truss and respect for parts.  

Edited by Rockwood

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Oh yeah, another reason to raise the axle side: middle point of your track bar is your roll center.  If you drop the chassis side, you get more body roll, if you raise the axle side, you get less body roll.  

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15 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

I mean, you're not wrong. 

4890658.jpg

FoTiK9HGVxmIYImavX8kyKh4NbiUdglrh3CVvMHa

66JHcWf.jpg

8jCLZ9H.jpg

vaph9ysio1j11.jpg

 

There are just sooooooooooooooo many good ones.  I was actually looking for the one that just says "Overlanding is just camping with an InstaGram account" or something like that.  Then there are these guys:

1cqswq.jpg

They go "overlanding" in a State Park where girlscout troops camp but "kit up" like they're going deep into Syria after ISIS.  

 

 

 

Anyway, that's why I want the WJ a bit more capable than what "most" overland-types are after.  Hopefully I can find an obstacle on each trip that is just a liiiiiiiiiiiiittle too hard for a over-loaded IFS Tacoma to make.  ;)

 

-TJ
 

 

 

 

 

I see guys that commute to work, the grocery store, etc, every single day with all of that "overlanding" shit on their rig. You really need those plastic get you unstuck (LOL) boards to go to Vons?

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30 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

Oh yeah, another reason to raise the axle side: middle point of your track bar is your roll center.  If you drop the chassis side, you get more body roll, if you raise the axle side, you get less body roll.  

thanks to TJ and others for all the tips, nice to not have

to learn the hard way! I don't plan to do any crazy crawling

but I want this jeep to drive better. I feel I got a good deal

when I bought it because the previous owner couldn't fix

the bump steer this jeep has due to the drop pitman arm.

 

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51 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

I see guys that commute to work, the grocery store, etc, every single day with all of that "overlanding" shit on their rig. You really need those plastic get you unstuck (LOL) boards to go to Vons?

Toyota guys🙄

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1 hour ago, jtmoney714 said:

Toyota guys🙄

Every single one of them, yes.  I suppose when you can't really off road, you go a different direction.

Edited by Rockwood

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3 hours ago, Rockwood said:

Don't do a drop pitman arm without raising the axle side of the track bar: it'll take the two links out of parallel with each other and introduce bumpsteer.

And don't drop the chassis side of the track bar instead.  It will try to peel off the "frame", even beefed.  Ask me how I know.

I've been rocking stock D30 shafts with new Spicer 760x joints and welded caps, locked on heavy ass General true 33s and steel beadlocks for years now.  Every hard line of every Big Bear trail, Rubicon (including some very spirited attempts at Soup Bowl fully loaded, meant to back after setting up camp but were too exhausted), Smasher Canyon, Chocolate Thunder, etc.  In that time, I had one cap twist slightly.  To prevent that from turning into a problem, I painted witness marks using 2 stripes of masking tape 1/8" apart across the caps/ears and a quick hit of silver paint.  They'll be fine so long as you don't jam a tire somewhere and keep trying, or try to rev-limit climb 

They actually are, but going 35s on a clean WJ like that either means skyjacking it, or hacking up fenders.  Not sure about the 44A, but the D30 will be fine with it, chromos/full case locker, truss and respect for parts.  

Great info, thanks.  Good to know about your experience on the D30.  As for the 44A, everything I've read is that once it's trussed to take the load/stress off the center section a bit, it's every bit as strong as any other 8.5" 44 (non-JK).  

Have you looked at the Notch Custom flares:

IMAG27671.jpg?v=1519932530

I'd do them a bed-liner close in color to the Jeep so they blend in more, I've seen them painted body-color too and they look super clean... but body color flares are just gonna get destroyed.  You can go 35" on a 6" lift without having to bump-stop the crap out of it (I'm on 4" now).  

Here's a better example when they match the body color:

maxresdefault.jpg

IIRC that rig is on a 4" like mine, but only a 33" - and clears it very very well. 

 

-TJ
 

 

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13 hours ago, CHRIS J said:

TJ let me know when we are doing the rubicon bro

owe are a Jeep fam too

Will do!   What Jeep do y'all have?  

 

-TJ
 

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3 hours ago, Rockwood said:

I see guys that commute to work, the grocery store, etc, every single day with all of that "overlanding" shit on their rig. You really need those plastic get you unstuck (LOL) boards to go to Vons?

Vons can be a helluva trip, breh. 

 

-TJ

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2 hours ago, tjZ06 said:

Great info, thanks.  Good to know about your experience on the D30.  As for the 44A, everything I've read is that once it's trussed to take the load/stress off the center section a bit, it's every bit as strong as any other 8.5" 44 (non-JK).  

Have you looked at the Notch Custom flares:

IMAG27671.jpg?v=1519932530

I'd do them a bed-liner close in color to the Jeep so they blend in more, I've seen them painted body-color too and they look super clean... but body color flares are just gonna get destroyed.  You can go 35" on a 6" lift without having to bump-stop the crap out of it (I'm on 4" now).  

Here's a better example when they match the body color:

maxresdefault.jpg

IIRC that rig is on a 4" like mine, but only a 33" - and clears it very very well. 

 

-TJ
 

 

Nice. I love this stuff for trim:

24481D62-4998-4FA2-9E5E-544DA5683563.thumb.jpeg.5bf2a5af8413a35fa2d39a73fa60b5e5.jpeg

Bed liner doesn’t seem to like to stay stuck to fenders if you rub them against shit and is terri-facking-ble to try to touch up later. This stuff has enough texture and a satin finish that you just mask and respray and shit disappears, but not so thick that if you end up with a bald spot, you can see it unless you sand it all back to level. 

Edited by Rockwood

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This WJ bumper (HK Overland) looks nice:

2019-05-04-15-29-20_large.jpg?v=15570109

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Blah blah blah,,,,all this talk is over my head,,,,,Just let me know when you are gonna sell it!

My son just got a new Subaru Outback and he is into the overland scene. Wants to do a 2'' lift and 30'' tires and add some other stuff.

Always wanted a jeep all done up (moderately) if there is such a thing.

There are curbs at the mall that need to be driven over!!! :lol: 

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2 hours ago, matt86m said:

Blah blah blah,,,,all this talk is over my head,,,,,Just let me know when you are gonna sell it!

My son just got a new Subaru Outback and he is into the overland scene. Wants to do a 2'' lift and 30'' tires and add some other stuff.

Always wanted a jeep all done up (moderately) if there is such a thing.

There are curbs at the mall that need to be driven over!!! :lol: 

Man, maybe you should buy my other one.  We bought a '04 Overland for Melissa to use for her business, but our tax lady is telling us we need write-offs and a business car lease is a good one.  IDK, she really likes it, and it's good for what she does other than MPG isn't amazing.  But we sort of kicked-around the idea.  It has a fresh motor, fresh rad, fresh brakes, and lots of other new parts.  It does have a front seal leak I'm fixing this weekend.  

received_2325091454470283.thumb.jpeg.2192fce5953d3381778926882910375d.jpeg

It's a '04 Overland (so, fully loaded) and it already has the 2" budget-boost and these tires are brand-new, but they're snow tires.  It'd fit a nice 30 (whatever the metric ones is that comes out around 30.5, I think it's 245/75-16 that folks like to run on the budget boost... these factory wheels are 17" though and have all the bling-blang).  

 

 

Rockwood, yeah, something rattle-can like that will be the way to go.  The flares will for sure be getting scuffed up, so easy touch-ups are key.  Also, that bumper looks nice.  This is the one I've been considering so far: 

i-rZxPjSJ-X4-e1537815857894-600x400.jpg

i-MdHxQFR-X4-e1537659625638-300x200.jpg

i-PRQdqGb-5K-e1527461700269-300x200.jpg

I'd love to copy that whole Heep... 60s and 37"s and all.  

That's a Trail Forged front, and they're semi-local to me.  Their rear bumper tucks up super high too:

WJ-R-bump3-768x878.jpg

You can see that one has been tank-tucked vs. this pre-tank-tuck:

WJ-R-bump5-768x571.jpg

You can see how low the tank and spare-tub hang.  Gotta change that up fer sho.  There's also another local guy that used to work at Trail Forged that does some really nice WJ stuff... but like most ppl running small shops it seems like there might be a "story."  He was on his own, then went to TF, now on his own again, and is sort of "in between shop locations" and stuff.  Hmmmmm.   Sucks, cuz his rear bumper looks super clean:

WJBumper.thumb.jpg.2785e1f6db23fc039ac1a7389d11fc94.jpg

 

And just for funsies... here are a few random WJs on 35"s: 

WJ35s_2.jpg.9481136aa76f450dcccdd6bbfce262ca.jpg

WJ35s_1.JPG.55d8f7a961ccf64f51b50f33685af71e.JPG

 

-TJ

 

 

Edited by tjZ06

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What I'd like is a 4 door from the guy that had to have Rubicon on the hood, lifted it and put it on 35's and then never took it off road! Pull it behind the moho I don't own yet! :lol: 

I know what ever you do to yours will be researched to the 9's! 

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5 minutes ago, matt86m said:

What I'd like is a 4 door from the guy that had to have Rubicon on the hood, lifted it and put it on 35's and then never took it off road! Pull it behind the moho I don't own yet! :lol: 

I know what ever you do to yours will be researched to the 9's! 

My buddy JUST bought the Heep you're describing.  I think it's a '15 so the newer motor and interior, ~40k miles, super clean, Rubicon Express 3.5" lift with 35"s.  Nice bumpers.  Real Rigid bar and pods.  Dude that had it didn't cut corners, but also didn't wheel it.  I think he paid $27k.  Does make me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm before I sink too much into a WJ.  ;)

 

-TJ

 

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1 minute ago, tjZ06 said:

My buddy JUST bought the Heep you're describing.  I think it's a '15 so the newer motor and interior, ~40k miles, super clean, Rubicon Express 3.5" lift with 35"s.  Nice bumpers.  Real Rigid bar and pods.  Dude that had it didn't cut corners, but also didn't wheel it.  I think he paid $27k.  Does make me go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm before I sink too much into a WJ.  ;)

 

-TJ

 

That's the one!

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So that's what its called "Overlanding" I pulled up to a newer jeep the other day and it had the snorkel intake at the height of the roof line, I stared at it in a perplex daze trying to figure out the purpose because did not think the swamplands of Pasadena was a issue.

Cool thread!

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10 hours ago, Rockwood said:

Oh yeah, another reason to raise the axle side: middle point of your track bar is your roll center.  If you drop the chassis side, you get more body roll, if you raise the axle side, you get less body roll.  

And don't drop the chassis side of the track bar instead.  It will try to peel off the "frame", even beefed.  Ask me how I know.

so how do you know? now I am worried about my frame as I was looking at the kevins offroad bracket that TJ suggested.

also I was taught that if you do a pitman drop then you drop the chassis side of the trac-bar

and when you do a high steer kit like on a JK mopar or aev kit then you raise the axle side,

btw, I am so glad that TJ started this thread, never knew that so many jeep guys are on GDS

 

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4 hours ago, Rockwood said:

This WJ bumper (HK Overland) looks nice:

2019-05-04-15-29-20_large.jpg?v=15570109

This one is way better

9B8772BB-8F19-4E24-B9EA-2ED812152031.jpeg

86F8AD4F-A2C3-4F92-8D33-16BB031A8D10.jpeg

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1 minute ago, sausage450r said:

This one is way better

9B8772BB-8F19-4E24-B9EA-2ED812152031.jpeg

86F8AD4F-A2C3-4F92-8D33-16BB031A8D10.jpeg

 

3 minutes ago, sausage450r said:

This one is way better

9B8772BB-8F19-4E24-B9EA-2ED812152031.jpeg

86F8AD4F-A2C3-4F92-8D33-16BB031A8D10.jpeg

does anyone know if you can just hook your tow-bar to one of these

bumpers instead of installing a standard baseplate kit for towing?

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7 minutes ago, jeeperdino said:

 

does anyone know if you can just hook your tow-bar to one of these

bumpers instead of installing a standard baseplate kit for towing?

Yea you can. 

Wj’s are very hard to build bumpers for though. The metal the stocker bolts to is thin sheet and minimal surface area. Just make sure the manufacturer ties it into the unibody real good. 

 

Can bolt their mounts to bumper or they sell shackle mount adapter

http://www.smittybiltdepot.com/SmittybiltTowing/Smittybilt-Jeep-Tow-Bar-87450.aspx?t_c=67&t_s=111&t_pt=3227&t_pn=S%2FB87450

Edited by sausage450r

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5 hours ago, jeeperdino said:

And don't drop the chassis side of the track bar instead.  It will try to peel off the "frame", even beefed.  Ask me how I know.

so how do you know? now I am worried about my frame as I was looking at the kevins offroad bracket that TJ suggested.

also I was taught that if you do a pitman drop then you drop the chassis side of the trac-bar

and when you do a high steer kit like on a JK mopar or aev kit then you raise the axle side,

btw, I am so glad that TJ started this thread, never knew that so many jeep guys are on GDS

 

My shit AFU:

DE3E7908-98C1-4A3D-8BB7-15727A2E6679.thumb.jpeg.50d5954d1dc31297369ca314339a64ed.jpeg

And I’ve seen it on other Uni-Jeeps. It’s a lot of leverage on the frame and increases body roll, so there’s no good reason for doing it. 

WJ guys don’t have good reason to replace anyway since the stock track bar and pitman rod are pretty high. 

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16 hours ago, Stugots said:

So that's what its called "Overlanding" I pulled up to a newer jeep the other day and it had the snorkel intake at the height of the roof line, I stared at it in a perplex daze trying to figure out the purpose because did not think the swamplands of Pasadena was a issue.

Cool thread!

Yeah, I don't dig the snorkel thing.  When I lived in Australia and New Zealand urrrrrrrrybody had them.  For the longest time I assumed they were primarily for deep water crossings, but when I would inspect the vehicles nothing else was prepped for deep-water (axle, trans, t-case breathers not relocated high, nothing done for water-proofing under-hood etc.).  I finally asked a few people about them, and lots of guys claimed it was for dust, not water.  I guess the idea is to pull cleaner air up high.  I don't see it though, if you're not the 1st rig the dust seems to disperse pretty evenly and hang up high too.  If you're the 1st rig you have clean air anyway.  Honestly, I think it's mostly just a looks thing. 

As for calling it "Overlanding", yeah that's the current buzz word.  Like I said before, if you go on Jeep and 4x4 forums you'll find dozens of threads with hundreds of posts each arguing about what "Overlanding" is... or isn't.  Honestly, it's just what always called "car camping" when I was younger and was into backpacking with my Pops.  You just happen to be in a slightly more capable "car" and you can get a little further on a little tougher trails.  To me, the idea is to get to more remote beautiful places that most people can't/won't go to.  

 

14 hours ago, jeeperdino said:

And don't drop the chassis side of the track bar instead.  It will try to peel off the "frame", even beefed.  Ask me how I know.

so how do you know? now I am worried about my frame as I was looking at the kevins offroad bracket that TJ suggested.

also I was taught that if you do a pitman drop then you drop the chassis side of the trac-bar

and when you do a high steer kit like on a JK mopar or aev kit then you raise the axle side,

btw, I am so glad that TJ started this thread, never knew that so many jeep guys are on GDS

 

Yeah... lots of Jeepers here.  It's funny, because most of us also have SxSs and/or rails.  We all know SxSs are better at 99% of the stuff we'll end up doing with our Jeeps, but there's something about being able to drive to the trail, run the trail, camp, and drive back.  I know a pretty big group that does lots of "Overlanding" out of their RZRs and I was really close to just building a 4-seat RZR with rear-seat-deletes, roof-rack, etc. to "Overland."  At the end of the day though, that still means taking the tow-rig and trailer somewhere, finding a safe place that you can leave the truck/trailer that's within the OHV boundaries is a PITA here in Cali... and it's just a more complicated thing - too much BS for me for single night trips. 

 

14 hours ago, sausage450r said:

This one is way better

9B8772BB-8F19-4E24-B9EA-2ED812152031.jpeg

86F8AD4F-A2C3-4F92-8D33-16BB031A8D10.jpeg

Sarcasm?  I hate a lot of WJ bumpers because they look like this to me:

maxresdefault.jpg

Also I prefer something that doesn't put the winch up in front of the cooling stack like that. 

 

9 hours ago, Rockwood said:

My shit AFU:

DE3E7908-98C1-4A3D-8BB7-15727A2E6679.thumb.jpeg.50d5954d1dc31297369ca314339a64ed.jpeg

And I’ve seen it on other Uni-Jeeps. It’s a lot of leverage on the frame and increases body roll, so there’s no good reason for doing it. 

WJ guys don’t have good reason to replace anyway since the stock track bar and pitman rod are pretty high. 

Yeah, at my current height no need for the pitman.  I do want to do all the stiffiner stuff and gussets and blah blah before I start really beating on this thing... it's a very clean, straight, rattle-free Uni right now.  I want to address the weak areas before I turn it into a mushy rattle-box. 

 

-TJ
 

Edited by tjZ06

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All this Jeep talk is making me want to build another Bronco.

F81117AA-78CA-4484-A4CA-FC09FEC1FE32.png

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